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“Wedding of Our Dreams” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana

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Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa de Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #54 of 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
Napanee, Canada
1 review
“Wedding of Our Dreams”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2011

We just came back from our wedding. We had a wonderful day and week.
The service was amazing, catered to every need we had. We brought our 2 year old daughter and they made sure she was happy and well looked after. Whenever we needed a drink they either brought them to us or we had lovely service at the many bars.
Our room was perfect, seating area was a great size for a playpen that they provided and the bed was very comfortable.
The grounds were beautiful and always kept up. We even had a worker climb a coconut tree and throw us one to our balcony.
Our wedding coordinator was great, she helped us to cancel a photographer and get a great one within our budget. She helped organize everything to make it less stressful for us. The day of the wedding was beautiful. I had my flowers delivered to my room, and if I did complain about anything it would be that they were not as lovely as I would have hoped, they were starting to brown, but they photographed well. Our photographer was amazing, great ideas, beautiful shots, hard to choose at the end. Our location was the garden, it was a little more private than the other locations. Still had onlookers that took pictures, but it just made us feel like celebrities. We had a judge and pastor Rick York marry us, highly recommend having both as the judge was in Spanish (translated by the wedding coordinator) and was short. The dinner at the Steak house was good, not great. The cake was amazing, We had a three layer square cake, two layers white, top chocolate, so yummy, bast wedding cake we have ever had. The chair covers and sashes were provided at the ceremony and dinner and they were perfect, matched our colors very well. After dinner we went down to the entertainment area where they had a band playing and we asked for a wedding song. They played one for us, and all the guests sat and watched us dance, we had the floor to ourselves. We received a gift and shirts and a nice letter from the hotel. We also had a couples message, only 30 minutes, not long enough.
Highly recommend the Micheal Jackson show, the sunrise and Sammy Sosa drink, red wine, and the beer and the Krystal restaurant. We also went to the disco, had a great time dancing with the staff and friends, great music. We also went to Hang Gliding, so much fun.
We bought a fairly big painting that they wanted $225 for and paid $45 and they threw in a smaller one for free, so don't pay what they ask, haggle them down.
Many thanks to all the staff at the resort.
Also many thanks to our friends and family that joined us on this special trip and wedding.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Burlington, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2011

Excellent resort! No complaints! Food is great, service is great, rooms are nice and very clean. Staff are exceptional--we stupidly left our cameras in the jewelry shop, and when we retraced our steps the next day the shopkeeper had them there waiting for us! Exceptional in any country!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2011

In search for some r&r my fiancée and I traveled to Riu Palace Punta Cana. We booked through Apple Vacations as an all inclusive, and after a week of pretty decent food and excellent service, overall we thought we had gotten a pretty good deal. As always, the truth lies within details, so here is the breakdown the way the two of us - pretty fussy travelers and foodies - saw it:

Upon arrival the bus load of people crowded the front desk and even though it seemed that the guys at the front desk were a bit sleepy and not into it - it was, after all, almost 2am, they somehow managed to check everyone in.

The hotel: the grounds are beautiful, the palace really seems like a real palace. On occasion you'll find the beautifully and creatively placed towel animals. Since we switched rooms after our first night there, I wonder, though, if all rooms have very hard mattresses and we thought the palace could really use a small investment in plusher mattress pads and nicer blankets and bed covers. A few of our pillows had a very strange moldy smell, but being in that location one has to count on having to deal with some amount of mustiness.

If you are not a morning person - try to request a room in the left wing (if you are facing the beach) - 4th floor in the middle: you will get both mountain view and the beach view, sunsets are an extra bonus on that side, and it is the most quiet area, as you don't hear all the noise from the pool. We lucked out on that one.

Food:
After day 2 of booking one of the 5 restaurants, we realized that the food was the same as in the buffets and the service for the 2 seatings of 6:30 and 9pm - extremely rushed and impersonal. For the rest of our trip we enjoyed the buffet sand the more personalized and super attentive service there. The food was actually very good, and we are usually not buffet people.

The pool and beach: if you are looking for piece of quiet, do not go there November through March - during our stay the pool, the beach and the buffets were so crowded, we felt we had landed in Cancun during spring break with something amiss... we tried to make the best of it by figuring this might just be the same Cancun spring break crowd just 30 years later and in general 30+ lbs (per person) heavier.

Tons of noise and activities at the pool area, if that's what you like. We didn't, so we went almost all the way off the property to find a somewhat less occupied beach front and claimed a luxurious lot almost 10x10 feet. Only problem - now we got all the beach activities sales guys asking us over and over if we wanted to go para-sailing - but in 2 days we befriended all of them and after that they left us alone.

The steady stream of half naked tourists parading the waterfront both directions was impressive, at times it seemed like a mall during Christmas time with a beautiful Carribean Sea as a backdrop. If you go for a week and want a quieter beach with less people - walk a mile or more to your left (assuming you are facing the beach) until there is the end of resort line-up.

Overall - we would definitely go there again, but not in the high season. In general - the Palace is truly palatial, but lacks in real estate for all the people. Since there are about 600 rooms, during our stay it was at 95% capacity or just over 1100 people, and there simply isn't enough room in the pool and on their beach to not have them all on top of one another. Still, a palace worth seeing.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Sussex
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2011

We have just returned from yet another excellent trip to RIU Palace Punta Cana. As reasonably seasoned travellers, we fail to understand the adverse comments that are sometimes made about this hotel? The repeated comments about the smell seem to be over exaggerated. Yes, you may encounter a slight smell in some of the rooms, but really only on a very moderate basis. Remember, you are in the Caribbean and it’s humid, so this is what to expect here. However, don’t be put off by the comments you read here on Trip Advisor – we have just returned from our second trip just a year after visiting the place for the first time last January 2010 and have had a wonderful holiday.

Reception
The staff are extremely welcoming and ‘bend over backwards’ to help you wherever they can.

Cleanliness
I’ve yet to encounter a hotel where hygiene is taken so seriously. The staff are constantly cleaning and polishing.

Food
There are several ‘themed’ restaurants in the hotel, but frankly having tried most of these, the main restaurant really does take some beating. Meal of the week on our latest trip was Langosta, a spiny lobster, which was truly exceptional. There are always huge choices on the menu during all mealtimes, so there is something for all. Also for those who like to ‘dine in’ room service is free.

Cocktails
This hotel takes its cocktails very seriously and you won’t find them watered down as you do in so many hotels. Very good.

Surroundings
The grounds of the hotel are very well kept and managed. The general feel of the hotel is that of luxury, with high ceilings, beautiful chandeliers and lots of highly polished marble.

Rooms
The rooms are of a good size and very comfortable, comprising of a large bathroom, changing area with bar and fridge, large bedroom area with a lounge area complete with large TV and balcony. The air conditioning works well and there is a ceiling fan for those who like them.

Beach
The beach area is nice with palm trees and plenty of beds. Something we do like is that the hotel waiters come around with a large selection of drinks whilst you are lounging on the beach – not just once, but throughout the day!

Pool
There is a large well-maintained swimming pool with glistening clean water surrounded by sun beds, although we preferred the beach. There were plenty of sun beds around the pool area, with seating in the pool around the pool bar and also sun beds actually within the pool, so there is no excuse for not staying cool.

Entertainment
Well I suppose everyone has a different idea as to what they like. The only disappointing thing for us was the evening entertainment, which started at 9.45pm each evening. However, prior to this there is usually a lively band playing or someone singing during the evening outside in the piazza, together with a pianist or saxophone player within the bar at the hotel, all of which were very professional and enjoyable.

We had a great time and were very sad to leave. We shall definitely be back for another visit very soon. Bliss.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menomonie, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2011

My wife and I stayed here from March 6th through the 13th 2010. We had a very nice time. We ate at all of the ala cart restaurants and my only complaint would be with the brazilian restaurant, I forget the name. All of the meats served there were under cooked, I like a medium steak but the beaf was pretty much still mooing. Other than that all of the food was pretty good.
The grounds were emmaculate and we received good service from all of the staff. No fault to Riu but there was construction going on next door which created some noise.The beach was very nice with plenty of shade to be found. Pretty neat seeing a ship wreck out in front the resort. The lit up walking path from resort to resort was nice also. On that note do not go to the casino next door as it is a rip off. I won 40 bucks on a slot and when I cashed out the machine only spit out 20 bucks. Not a huge deal I didn't expect to win any money but they need to give up what is owed.
This resort seemed to be geared more towards people from 30 on up. We did not see very many young people, which was fine by us. There were many people that were in there 60's and 70's.
We did a snorkeling excursion with Caribbean Festival at Stingray Bay and that was a blast. Its not very often that you get to swim with both sharks and stingrays. We also did a tour into the mountains where we got to see how the locals live, a sugar cane plantation, cigar factory, etc. On this tour they also took us to another beach that was in a remote location. Wow was this beach ever beautiful, surrounded by cliffs with blue water crashing up against them and beautiful white sand.
This was our first trip to the DR and we noticed that the alcoholic drinks were much stronger than when we have stayed in Mexico, none of it seemed watered down as was the case with some of our other trips. I did notice that some of the street vendors were quite a bit more pushy than vendors in other places we have been, however most of them left you alone if you told them no thanks.
Overall we thought this was probably the nicest resort we have stayed at to this point and we would definately go back. Remember that if nudity offends you that you probably don't even want to go to a resort such as this as we saw probably 6-10 different topless women everyday at the beach.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2011

Was at the Riu Palace Punta Cana this past week (1-22 thru 1-29). I was concerned going in as the reviews are all over the place. I came away having enjoyed the experience. I would say I am a seasoned traveller and know what I like. Not too fussy and easily accomodated.

Check in and check out were a piece of cake. It took a couple of minutes each time. My Brother had arrived earlier and asked that the three rooms we reserved be close together. We were just looking to be in the same section of the hotel, but they put us in three rooms in a row, which was nice, midway between the restaurants and the pool.

The room had a musty smell when we first arrived, but I did not notice it after that. It's the Caribbean and it is humid, so no big deal. Regulate your air conditioner properly and the room stays cool. We kept the patio door open in the morning to enjoy the fresh air and never experienced a problem.

The bed just came with a sheet, but you can get covers if you need them. We turned off the a/c off overnight while we slept and the room stayed comfortable.

The bar was stocked with beer, soda and water and always replenished. Friends asked for 6 bottles of water to be stocked everyday and they were. There are bottle dispensers of Vodka, Gin, Rum and one other in the room as well.

Room service menu is full for breakfast but limited for thebalance of the 24 hrs that it is available, but who needs room service when you are eating all day long.

There were 6 of us and a pool attendant had lounges with tables and umbrellas ready for us each morning. One of us saw him on the first day, let him know what we would like and he had it ready. No rushing around with towels at 6 in the morning to make sure you had the spot you wanted. There were plenty of chairs by the pool, and even more down by the beach.

The beach was great. Good for walking. Water was warm, plenty of waves, but not set up for body surfing, as the waves break into the sloped beach. Volleyball is available and their is usually a game in the morning and the afternoon, if you want a bit of exercise. Water aerobics were always interesting. The staff play lively music around the pool, usually starting at about 3:00. If you like it more peaceful, this is a great time to go down by the sand.

The common areas of the resort are beautiful. From the Lobby to the inside bar, outside at the plaza, there are places to sit and relax or play cards. Plenty of servers around. If you do not need anything a simple no thanks and you are left alone. There are spa employees and Watersports people arounf the pool and beach, if you have a desire to do those things. Again, not much of a bother, just learn to say no thanks and keep doing what you are doing.

I do not know every's cultures viewpoint of tipping, especially at an all inclusive resort, but spreading around a couple of dollars at a meal or by the pool isn't going to kill your budget, and if you do not believe in that you will still get great service.

Each morning we came down at about 7 for some coffee. After the first time, when our server from the previous day saw us coming, he started getting our coffee ready.

The resort was a mix of cultures. I would put the makeup as follows: 30% Dutch or German. 20% Latin America or Spain, 20% Canadian, 20% American 10% Other.

Now onto Dining. After reading reviews I was totally perplexed, as my experiences appear to be 180 degree different from some, but here are my impressions:

Breakfast Buffet-Plenty of choices. There is no cream for the coffee, but hot milk (leechi?). It does not cool down when you put more in, nor get much lighter. Ready made Omelettes, or eggs are available. I wanted to speak up to the gentleman who was yelling that he wanted a poached egg, when what he wanted was sunnyside up, which were readily available. Pancakes, French toast, breads, rolls, pastries, cereals and cold meats and cheese were there, along with loads of fruits and juices. There were also cooked vegetables and rice for breakfast if that is your want.

Lunch Brunch-Regularly ate at the buffet by the pool. I enjoyed cutting my own bread to make a cheeseburger, as I found the rolls to big. Burgers, hot Dogs, Pizza, rice, meat fish, salads, soup and plenty of desserts were there everyday. It's buffet food, but it turns over quick and there are always fresh items being cooked.

Dinner Buffet-hey have a couple of theme nights, but the basics of the buffet remain the same. Pastas on request, cutting stations for Chicken (Roasted Turkey on one night) and beef or pork, plenty of fishes, soups, breads, etc.. Great desserts and you can take small portions and create your own sampler plate.

Restaurants;

I thoroughly enjoyed Krystal. It may be that I had something different but three things are worh recommending. First was the Vegetable Ravioli with Shimp appetizer in a Chardonay sauce. It is one of the best tasting dishes I have had in my life. I could have eaten the sauce as a soup and been satisfied. A friend had the Pumkin Soup with Scallop. The waiter pulled a great stunt as he brought the plate with a lone scallop in it with a dollop of soup placed in the bowl. Our friend was getting upset about what he ordered, asked the waiter waht this was since he ordered what he thought was soup. The waiter reaches behind and reveals a tourine to pur the soup into the bowl on top of the scallop. I was told it was delicious. The entrees were good, although we found that beed was usually overdone, so we learned to choose other meats or fish, knowing it would be better prepared. The highlight though was desset. Order The Chocolate Coulant with Vanilla Ice Cream. It was a chocalate cake with a molten hot fudge center. Again, one of the tastest desserts I have ever had. Apetizer and Dessert made the meal great.

La Bodega-Brazillian. One of the worst meals of my life. It is served Brazillian style which is meat on a skewer, brought to your table. The server cuts you off a piece. The meats were Chicken, Chorizo, Pork, Beef, Turkey and I think a Beef rib. All the meats were overdone, but the Beef Rib was not edible. It seemed to have some type of grizzled membrane surrounding it. You couldn't cut it with a knife or gnaw it with your teeth (I tried both). It was simply amazing, and not in a good way.

Japanese- A suishi appetizer was ok, but I do not know anything about sushi. I enjoyed the tempura vegetables and especially the tempura shrimp appetizer. Since we were now onto how beef was cooked, I got the Szechuan Shrimp with Rice. I traded some shrimp for chicken and made a nice stirfry. The Tempura Icecream was ok. A nice place to eat and a change of pace from the buffet, which you have for breakfast and lunch every day.

Italian-A nice salad, antipasto, pizza and pasta buffet is available as your appetizer. Our group really enjoyed the Sea Bass and Salmon. I ordered the beef, which had nothing to do with italy and I knew about overcooked beef. It was ok. If you like fish, go in that direction.

We decide to skip the steakhouse, since we did not care for the beef and enjoyed the variety at the buffet.

I was told that the wines were not that good, so they stuck to Champagne. Throw some Orange Juice in it for breakfast and they were all set. Cappucino was from a machine, but did the job.

Those are my impressions. Some will agree, some will disagree. The most disappointing aspect of the trip was that I wanted to watch the Green Bay Packers Vs the Chicago Bears game on that first Saturday. There are about 100 channels available, including Fox News, however Fox was not available. CBS was there for all of the Steelers Fans.

The casino stated on a sign that they had a holdem tourney every night, but on the night I went to play, it was not running. They had Bingo going on instead. I saw another sign that said tourneys were Wednesday and Saturday. I was not there on either of those nights so I do not know if they ran.

The Riu Palace Punta Cana is not for Foodies, not for those who need the finest in accomodation with nothing out of place.

It is for those who want beautiful surroundings, a very helpful and cheerful staff, 80+ degrees in the winter when you are just happy to get away from the snow and cold. There are probably more elegant places, but I felt that it was worth the price of admission and I received an appropriate amount of value.

Great staff that we met were Wanny, Mello and Raul in the buffet area. Sylvester by the pool and Ventura at the rooms. The waitresses in the indoor upstairs bar were very attentive and provided excellent service.

Enjoy your stay.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2011

We just got back from a 7-day visit. The Palace was for sure the best hotel of all ones you can choose from within this property. Super-friendly staff, great beach and pool, beautiful grounds. We are easy to please when it comes to food. If you're a "foodie" this might not be the place for you. We upgraded to a Jr. Suite and it was the nicest room we've ever had in an all-inclusive resort (we've been to 4-5). Check in and check out was a breeze and very fast. Lots of beach to walk in each direction. Overall a feeling of safety and security. Only one minor thing--no ATM on the property. Apparently none of them do. We loved it and can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana

Address: Playa de Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#38 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#42 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#48 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 612
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Macao, Riu Taino, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * 4-story building * Surrounded by 63,000 m2 / 75,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Hig??Ey * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int???L. Airport ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Punta Cana Riu Palace
Riu Palace Hotel Punta Cana

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