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“BEWARE OF JACUZZI SUITE ROOM 3123” 2 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 #52 of 100 Hotels in Punta Cana
Kearneysville, West Virginia
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“BEWARE OF JACUZZI SUITE ROOM 3123”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2011

THIS REVIEW IS SPECIFIC TO JACUZZI SUITE - ROOM 3123.
THE BAD:
1. Air conditioner not even close to sufficient to cool the room. It was approximately 85-90 degrees at all times with the unit functioning on “high”. No vent in bedroom section or bathroom section. Maintenance crew came twice and confirmed the unit was functioning at its full potential. It took 3 lobby visits and 4 days to get a fan delivered to the room.
2. Front desk did not provide safe lock & key, or towel cards upon arrival/check-in.
3. Keys to the room did not work.
4. Window did not lock.
5. Cover broken on the toilet paper dispenser. The maids left it lying on the floor for the duration of our stay.
6. Poor TV reception. 2 channels clear enough to decipher.
7. Hot and cold water in the shower. From the time you turn on the water, it constantly went from cool to scalding hot every 3-5 seconds.
8. No light, fan, or ventilation in the shower.
9. Drain cover in the shower not secure. 4”x4” drain wide open enough for your entire foot. Supervise your children or you’re guaranteed a broken ankle.
10. No fan or ventilation in the bathroom sink or toilet areas.
11. Bugs from the decorative flowers spread and are present at all times on the floor and in the furniture (couch, dresser drawers).
12. Housekeeping only brought wash cloths once.
13. Leaks all over the resort. Halls, lobby and room. The daily showers left dangerous slip areas all around the resort.
14. The front desk management did not offer help or solutions to the insufficient air conditioning issue.
15. Restaurant reservations. You have to make your reservations DAILY. If you are not in line by 7:30 a.m., you likely were stuck with the buffet.
16. The RIU Resorts access road is horrendous.

THE GOOD:
1. The view. Overlooking the courtyard, pool AND beach.
2. The room layout and appearance is very nice.
3. There is an indoor Jacuzzi tub between the bed and bathroom, and another on the private, 2 level, roof top terrace. NOTE: We had no desire to use either due to the intolerable temperatures inside the room. Tough to sit in a hot bath when you have nowhere to cool down afterward.
4. The terrace was spacious and included a spiral staircase to the roof top Jacuzzi.
5. The pool is enormous and the pool bar has both, bar seating, and built in benches to relax.
6. The bar and wait staff were very polite and attentive, particularly in the buffets and around the pool.
7. The activities. Daily tournaments in horseshoes, dance, and ping pong, games and water aerobics among others.
8. Alejandro. He appeared to be a wait staff supervisor. He acted as a floater during evening entertainment making sure every table and guest had drinks, seats, food or anything else they needed.
9. The resort décor. Particularly the lobby, lobby bar, the grounds, landscaping and restaurants. You truly felt you were in a Palace.
10. The steakhouse restaurant. The chicken was GREAT!
11. Krystal restaurant. Try the Chilean Sea Bass.
12. The fridge refill service. Large bottles of water, sodas and beers filled daily. (This may differ in other standard rooms)
13. The buffet food. Having stayed at a few other PC resorts, I can say the food at the RIU was slightly above average.

FINAL THOUGHTS – Third trip to Punta Cana. First stay RIU Palace PC. Upgraded to the "Jacuzzi Suite". The room ruined the stay. Other than that, very nice resort. Will not stay at a RIU again. Perhaps back to Iberostar.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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London, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2011

Just returned on February 20th...yes in the middle of snow storm in Detroit...lol...I have to say that out of all the resorts I have stayed at over the years, this resort stood out!!! Very big resort yes but other than a few minor problems which were solved very quickly I was very impressed. Beach were beautiful and you could walk for miles. Staying at this Riu you could walk down the beach and have lunch or drinks at all of the Riu's making for a lovely 2 or 3 hour walk, since my husband has a bad knee this help a lot.
The most impressive part of this resort was the fact that the staff are thee most honest people I have ever encountered. One night at the buffet my blackberry fell out of my purse under the table and our waiter Lorenzo found me and returned it..That say volumes on the honesty of the staff!!! Also friend's of our left there safe unlocked one day and the staff left a message in the room that his safe was left on locked and if there was any problems to let them know. NOTHING missing and all was fine!!!
The staff at the front desk were always helpful but very busy!!!
Did on excursion with Angel and Leo from the Outback Safari Adventure and they were wonderful. Great way to learn about the culture and history of the island.
Anyway I would personally recommend this resort and Apple Vacations did a great job also!! Thanks to all for a great vacation!!!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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
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UK
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
102 helpful votes 102 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2011

This is an excellent experience. Although the hotel is imposing and large the service is excellent. We never had to wait more than a minute or two for service at the restautants or the bars. The food is of very high quality especially the meats and it is very well presented and cooked. We always found something we liked. The rooms are large and comfortable yhough yes they are somewhat musty though one soon fails to notice this until you get home.

The specialist rtestaurants vary at least to our tastes. The steakhouse and the Itallian restaurants seemed the best. The Japanese and the Gourmet restaurant disapointed. The beach is outstanding if somewhat crowded and fine for long walks.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Suffern, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2011

The structure of the resort is beautiful. But I beleive that is all you are paying for. No one spoke english (including the front desk staff) The rooms all had a musky smell to them, the drinks seemed weak and the food was certainly not up to par for a 5 star resort. The beach and pool was lovely. There was hardly any entertainment, so we found ourselves at the neighbor RIU bamboo for the majority of our stay. all in all I would not go back to this hotel, The food was really bad! and the customer services was horribly lacking. the 5 stars given should really be 3 stars in my book.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Edwardsville, Illinois
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2011

We stayed at the RIU from Jan 27th through the 30th. From start to finish it was one of the best vacations I've ever had. I'm a 27 year old male and went with my 25 year old wife. This resort wasn't a boring adult only resort, but it also wasn't an over the top party resort either, great for families.

When we checked in everyone at the front desk was very helpful and spoke english very well, even though some people say they don't. They were very quick during the check in process, advise you of everything at the resort, give you a map of the resort and provide you with a key to the safe and your room. When we went into our room we were blown away by how nice it was. We had marble fixtures, beautiful black trim, a separate lounge area with a couch and a great balcony view of both the ocean and the mountains. There is a very nice liquor dispenser in the room and they keep your fridge stocked with tonic water, soda, water, club soda and Bramha beer! Our room had a double lock on it and at no time did I not feel safe. House keeping was always respectful and never bothered us when our do not disturb sign was on the door. We always had fresh towels every day, had no issues with theft of any kind and our room had no musty smell. Room service was awesome and I never waited longer than 10 minutes for my meal, even at 1 in the morning :-)

The restaurants at the resort were fantastic. The buffet was our number one spot and had almost anything you could ever imagine and just tasted fantastic. Within 30 seconds of sitting down our waiter would give us water and an entire pot of coffee on our table and leave it for us so we literally had an entire pot of coffee and they did this every day we were there. The specialty restaurants were very good and the staff was very friendly. I wasn't wild about the Italian restaurant and though they could have had more of an italian section, but the beef I had was wonderful. The fusion restaurants was FANTASTIC. Great wine, great food, great service.

Every night in the theater they would have a show. They interact very well with the audience and really get everyone involved. If they approach you and you don't want to be involved they are very nice about not being pushy and move on to the next person. The shows could have been better and seemed kind of the same, but it was a lot of dancing and native stuff to their culture which was very cool. I hear the Michael Jackson show is very good, but it was going on the night after I left :-( Every few nights they do allow the locals to set up their merchandise stands near the fountains and sell their stuff but I never had any issues and they never seemed pushy. Just a police No Gracias was all that was needed and they would leave you alone.

Now to my favorite part of the trip....the bars. The swim up bar is hands down the best one at the resort. My boys Cristian & Super Negro always kept the drinks flowin and would interact with people and have a good time. We bought our own drink cups with screw on lids and straws and they will make your drinks in those with no problems at all. The other bar that is in the lobby is awesome too. At night there is a bar tender named Bianca and she makes the best Mojitos on the island by far!

Now to the beach! The beach is the most beautiful beach I've ever seen. The sand is white, the water is crystal blue and the people there are beautiful. There are palm trees planted all throughout the beach and literally almost run into the ocean. You can drag your sun chair around pretty much anywhere you want so you can catch some shade or direct sunlight if you'd like to. There are waiters who walk around the beach with fresh fruit and drinks so you don't even have to leave your chair so thats awesome. There are the occasional locals walking around selling palm leaf hats and sea shells and stuff, but a nice No Gracias is all that is needed and they will not bother you again.

The pools at the resort are also very nice. They have some lounge chairs built into one of the pools which is very cool and amazingly seem to always have some open so its not hard to find one. They have a smaller infinity pool that is nice to get away from the big pool if thats what your looking for. The main pool has the swim up bar located in it and has little tables and chairs built into it where you can hang out and have your drinks without ever leaving the pool!

Oh yeah, my wife and I got a massage at their in house spa there and it was wonderful. For any men going, they do things a little different in the Dominican as far as massages go and you are fully nude so if you're shy about your goods, I'd recommend you don't get a massage, lol. But it is wonderful and leaves you feeling refreshed for sure.

To wrap it up, the resort overall is beautiful from top to bottom. It has wonderful landscaping, beautiful architecture and a great staff. I did not meet one staff member who was not super friendly and always willing to help out. Every staff member I met spoke English and I had no issues communicating at all. I know some spanish and they really enjoy it when you attempt to speak to them in their native language. Just remember you are in a spanish speaking country so don't get mad if someone doesn't speak english, but like I said I had no issues at all with that. The people at the resorts works super long hours for nearly nothing. One thing I would recommend is to add in some extra money for tips on your trip. Not one person there expects one, but if you give a couple bar tenders $5 and your house keeper $5 here and there they really appreciate it and they will go out of their way to do anything for you, regardless if you tip them or not. But I tipped everyone that was helpful to me and only spent $100 on tips over 4 days, but that was my choice. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone who is going to Punta Cana! OH yeah, one last thing, if you want to use the phone over there you have to purchase a phone card from the hotel. They are no more expensive than any other phone card, but the ones you buy in the states don't work over there. If you use your card in your room you get charged a $2 connection charge, but its no bigge cause you can hit # after your call to make another call and you don't get charged any other connection fees. Anyways, I loved it and I can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed December 2010, 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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New York City, New York
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2011

Just returned from 4 days at the Riu. We were actually booked at the Macao through riu.com, but they emailed me 2 weeks before the trip and said for reasons beyond their control (read: OVERSOLD!) they are moving us to the Riu Bambu, but will also give us a bracelet with full access to the Riu Palace Punta Cana as well as a voucher for a free 3 nights at any Riu in the Americas. Not a bad deal!

Rooms: The Bambu rooms were fine. Nothing fancy but they were clean and quiet ,and we both slept very soundly. Even with the kiddie pool nearby we didn't hear a thing! Beds were very hard but not so hard that we didn't sleep comfortably. Minibar was restocked every other day and we had no problems with theft.

Food: Most of our time was spent at the Riu Palace as our friends were there and we heard the food was better there also. I must say the food is bad. The only thing that saved us was breakfast where even they didn't manage to screw up good omelets, bacon, french toast and delicious fresh made doughnuts! But the buffets and especially the specialty restaurants were just bad, bad, bad! How can you screw up a simple steak and shrimp? By burning the steak and it tasting like butane, thats how! Honestly I would definitely choose the buffets over the specialty places in the future as at least you have more of a choice. At the buffets we were always able to find something to fill our bellies even if it weren't the greatest. But even the desserts were bad. Who creates these menus and for whom are they created for?

Beach: Beach was beautiful and clean. Stunning water and swaying palm trees. Tons of beach chairs to lounge on at any time of the day. We also got massages at the hut on the beach which was divine! Just wish we had timed it better so as not to hear the bachata instructor and music nearby during the whole massage! But overall we thoroughly enjoyed the beach there.

Pool: Pools were great as was the pool bar. The bar can get crowded midday so we steered clear when that happened. Victor was great and kept us going with constant drinks. Maybe a little too much :-)

Nightlife: We went to the casino for a few minutes. Dead there and smelled musty so we had no interest in staying. Did Karaoke one night which was fun but just as we were all getting into it they shut it down. Why only 1 hour? There is also a nightclub just off the grounds which I thought was gross. Stunk of a terrible musty smell and saw some prostitutes leaving with some men which was enough for me. Never again.

Service: We had no issues with the service there. Most don't speak english but we never had any real issues with which we needed help so it didn't matter much.

Overall I would recommend the Palace but just don't expect good food or wine. Drinks are great. Pool is great. Beach is great. We had a wonderful time.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2011

We are experienced travelers and have been going to all inclusive resorts for 10 years in mostly Mexico and Carribean. This was our fifth year in Punta Cana. We have stayed at the RIU Bambu, Iberostar, Grand Palladium and Gran Bahia - Esmeralda in previous years. I traveled with my husband and his family and we are all in our late 30's and early 40's and would consider us all easy going and experience travelers. We stayed 2/6-2/13/11.

I was really debating giving this property a 2 out of 5, but the service and location made me give it an average rating. I believe this hotel is only about 4 years old, but it looks like it's 15 years old. I will rate each part of the resort separately as I feel like it's important to point out what's really good and really bad about the resort as some of the things we found disappointing may not be important to other travelers. We base where we stay on reviews on Trip Advisor so I take the reviews very seriously and understand people could be basing their decision on what I say good or bad. A lot of people speak of parts of their trip besides the resort, but I'm going to try to stick to reviewing just the resort.

Check-In/Rooms
Check in was fine - don't complain if you can't get your room before check-in at 3pm, we arrived a little early and went and had lunch at the buffet. Once we got our room keys (they are actual keys for both the room and the safe), we went to the room. We have experienced a musty smell and understand we are in a tropical environment, but the musty smell in these rooms are much worse than other locations. The clothes in the closet were almost damp after a few days. There was rust on the lamps and mold on the couch, the pillows had a terrible smell - yuck. We have heard about bugs in other resorts, but never had an issue. The bug problem here is serious and they need an extermination service. The safe key was very hard to operate and my husband was frustrated by this everytime we got in the safe. We were there with 4 other people, one of the other rooms had no blanket and the other room had no hangers. Again, not that big of a deal, but when you add all these little things up they end up making the experience disappointing. I would rate the rooms a 2 out of 5 as they really do need to try to do something about the moisture/bug problem.

Restaurants
Again, not a fan. We stayed at the Gran Bahia last year and thought the food tasted very fresh and none of us had any digestive problems. I understand they are providing food for a ton of people, but so is the Gran Bahia and there was a real difference in the food quality. We are by no means foodies and as long as we aren't starving can pretty much be satisfied with anything. We didn't starve and could always get pizza, fries, boiled potatoes, etc...at the RIU. Also, we really didn't like any of the a la carte restaurants; we ate at the Steakhouse, Japanese and Brazilian. I don't think I could recommend any of them. The Japanese sushi rolls were pretty good and the chicken caesar at the Steakhouse was also nice. Both my sister in law and myself had major digestive problems and stopped eating anything but toast and potatoes for the last couple of days. Again, everyone should be able to find something that is edible, but just not something I would say is top quality. We did order room service a couple of nights and it was pretty good. They do have a sportsbar that offers drinks/food 24 hours. Restaurant rating 1.5 out of 5.

Now that the bad stuff is out of the way - on to the good stuff......

Beach/Pool - the beach really doesn't have that much to do with the specific resort, but the beach location is very, very good. No seaweed and very nice waves. There were plenty of beach/pool chairs even though people save them with their towel and never come back. We were a party of 6 and never had trouble no matter what time we got to the beach or pool. The pool and pool bar is very good and a lot of fun. 5 out of 5 - fantastic!

Service/Entertainment/Entertainment Team
The one unique perk we experienced with this hotel is the great cocktail service on the beach - the best we've ever had. Nelson took care of us everyday-all day and remembered what our entire group was drinking. You never had to wait long for a drink as they came around regularly with water, soda and juice. The service at the pool bar (in the pool) is ok, not great, but the service at the pool bar (outside the pool-top) was much better. The service at the other bars and restaurants was also very, very good.

The nightime entertainment is typical for all inclusive resorts - enough to entertain you while you talk with your family/friends, but nothing I wanted to get seats in the front row for.

The entertainment/animation team is very good at this resort. They want their guests to be as active as you want. They had games at the pool bar everyday around 3:30-4:00 which were a lot of fun if that is your thing. We like doing the games so we really liked the pool in the afternoon. They danced with the guests at night and seemed very interested to make sure everyone was having a good time.

The only reason I wouldn't give the service a 5 out of 5 is because we actually had a family emergency while we were there and had to send one of our family members home early as her husband suddenly passed away back in the U.S. The front desk person in the middle of the night didn't understand the urgency of the situation and wasn't super helpful - he wasn't terrible, but the language barrier definitely played a part in my ability to communicate with him. I should learn to speak Spainsh better as this is a Spainish speaking country so I'm not complaining big time about this situation, but this was a little bit of a challenge.

Overall, we probably wouldn't go back to this resort based on the other resorts we've stayed at and considering the pretty big price tag we paid. I think our expectations were a little higher than they should be. I read every review for the last 4 months on this resort and I would say the people that said it was really terrible were being a little harsh, but it definitely wasn't as high as Apple or FunJet rated it either.

I'm happy to answer any questions if anyone wants to contact me.

Happy Travels!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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:
#36 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 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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