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“Good, but not 5*”

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #41 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 15, 2011

Just back from 1 week in August 2011 having had a very good holiday with the family. Overall the hotel is good and every one there seemed to be having a pretty good time.
First and foremost the service and friendliness of the staff in all areas is excellent, some of the best I've come across. Talking to some of them its clear their performance is regularly measured by the weekly customer service questionnaire you get to fill in. They like to give you some 'coaching' on how to fill the form in :-) , but anyway I'm sure they score highly.
The proximity and quality of the beach is also very good. Its not crowded, and its very easy to get a good location on the sunbeds whenever you want. The beach is clean, including the public part right on the water front. I did smile at the JCB digger that turned up most mornings to carry away the seaweed that washed up the day before - its fine really. The bar service is very good by the beach, with waiters coming round frequently to keep you 'topped up' - careful !
On the other hand some aspects of this hotel are not 5*. In reception area they display their awards, there are many over the last 12 years or so, but none that I could see in the last 4 years. I don't think this is a co-incidence, the hotel gives the impression of having had its heyday 5-10 years ago but is now in need of a makeover. The rooms although generally good are tatty in some aspects - the paintwork in our room needed re-done, the handle on the patio doors was broken, one of the patio doors was off its running rail, and the air conditioning was only just adequate. (I did hear some others complain about the air conditioning - its nowehere near as good as some other hotels I've stayed at).
The food in the main restaurant is good - wide selection and well prepared. Some of the meat dishes seemed to get over-cooked but I think that's the Carribbean way rather than this hotel. The speciality restaurants were disappointing. We tried the Kristal Fusion restaurant (not very interesting food and not air conditioned), and the Japanese restaurant (some of the vegetables for main course taken straight out of main restaurant created a poor imitation of Japanese). Also have to say the the wine (plonk) you get served up is not the best.
Overall though I stand by a good rating. If you've already booked to go - its fine. If you're thinking of booking I'd also take a look at some of the other hotels in the area.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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6  Thank kel999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,235 - 2,241 of 4,043 reviews

Reviewed August 14, 2011

While I have never visited D.R. prior to this trip, I have been been to two different Mexican all inclusive resorts but they can't compare to Riu Palace Macao. I stayed for eight days with my family and we all agree that this was our best vacation ever. The entertainment team is hilarious, inviting, friendly, and awesome yet not at all obnoxious when trying to get guests to participate. The team was the only reason why I participated in the "Crazy Game" on a daily basis; they give out fun prizes too (I won a t-shirt and a bottle of rum). This resort is for everyone: younger guests can have fun with the various activities whereas older guests who choose not to participate can find a quiet, relaxing spot under the palm trees near or on the beach.
As mentioned, the service is top notch. The entire staff is there for any of your needs and is always happy to help. They are extremely friendly and work so hard to make your vacation the best. My family and I were frequent tippers being that they are paid so little for their exceptional service and were always extremely grateful for the tips. The waiters at the restaurants always made sure that your glass was full and that your table was clean. They were also friendly and remembered our usual drink orders and names. The maids always left our room absolutely spotless and we never had to ask for extra towels. While at the bar, we were never neglected and even though I had just ordered a drink, I was asked by other waiters what I wanted to drink while I was waiting. I have never experienced such exceptional service!
The pool and beach are both amazing; there was always a waiter in both places ready to take down your order. The pool and beach are immaculate (I have never seen a beach so clean). There was always a lounge chair available and shade either under a palm tree or umbrella. The water at the beach was crystal clear, refreshing, and calm whereas the pool water was a bit colder yet perfect to cool off in since it's so hot!
The food at all the restaurants was delicious and we never got sick. There is food for everyone at the buffet; from all american food like hot dogs and pizza to things like salmon salad and traditional Dominican foods. My favorite food was at breakfast because of the vast multitude of pastries, fruits, egg dishes, and pancakes. I ate at Krystal and a steakhouse and while the food was high quality, I enjoyed the buffet more because I like simpler foods better.
Honestly, this resort is amazing and though it is a bit aged, it adds character to the experience. I admit that I'm not that easy to please, but Macao surpassed all my expectations I had from reading these reviews. I highly recommend booking your vacation here because you won't regret it.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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10  Thank Lisa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2011

When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted with drinks from very polite members of staff. We were escorted to our room which was a short walk away. Our room was perfectly presented it was very clean and a fairly big room, to sleep at night the bed was very comfortable and we had a balcony with nice comfy seats, we felt very much at home here. The staff were very helpful at all times, they made sure each person in the hotel was served at all times, they would gets you drinks while you were sunbathing by the pool or on the beach, i didn’t experience any of the staff without a happy face they were always extremely nice and very polite. The food was absolutely delicious, there was so much choice, we especially liked the breakfast and dinner menus and there was a different theme each night with Mexican being my personal favourite. The location was a short walk onto the beach and the beach was a good half an hour walk, we didn’t feel the need to go out of the hotel complex but we did have a walk through the other Rui hotels and they were presented very well, and you were welcome to have food or drinks in any of them. Evening entertainment was very good as well. I would absolutely recommend this holiday to anyone if they wish to have a relaxing luxury holiday.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank laura_baxter3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2011

We first stayed here in May 2010 & always said we'd like to go back, as we'd had such a fabulous time. A great deal came up via Thomson that was too good to miss...so off we went for a return visit.
Just like last time, the staff were absolutely brilliant...& some of them remembered us from a year ago, which was flattering (we think !?). It was also great to see Antonito again, complete with his extensive range of silly hats & glasses.
The pool service was first class - if we'd accepted an alcoholic beverage every time we were offered one, we'd have been insensible by lunch time ! As it was, we were generally well behaved & insisted on water until the sun was over the yardarm...but we occasionally had our arms twisted & downed a few mid morning rum punches, just to be sociable (well, that's our excuse !!).
I lost a pair of sunglasses but didnt realise till I found the empty case the following day. I'd no idea where I'd left them, as we'd been for a nosey round the other hotels...but one of the waiters tracked me down later in the day, having found them by my lounger the previous afternoon.
We really loved the Krystal restaurant last year & paid several visits this time...but the rest of the time we were more than happy with the selection available in the main buffet.
The shows in the theatre were a bit hit & miss but we met some lovely people (including Gayle & JJ from Florida) & spent many a happy evening just chatting & laughing over a cocktail or 6.
There was a great circus show by the pool one afternoon (a troupe of professional performers inc trapeze & highwire acts) & it was a relief when the rain which had been threatening for hours managed to hold off until they'd finished.
The rooms definitely need an update but were always kept immaculately clean. We tried room service one night, having fallen asleep & missed dinner (blame it on a few too many Bloody Mary's whilst stranded in the pool bar for several hours during a torrential rainstorm). Cant say we were impressed & we made sure we never missed dinner again !
Anyway, in a nutshell, we had some very changeable weather (but enough hot sun to send us home well tanned)..plus my friend had a bad reaction to some mozzy bites & had to see the doc (very nice lady)...but yet again we had another great holiday there & we'll gladly return if the price is right.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with friends
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8  Thank grimsbygals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2011

First family vacation with babies, including 5 adults and 3 kids including a teenager and 9 month old twins. I was apprehensive about staying in the hotel due to the reviews but at the end of the day the beach and service makes up for the bad shape of the actual hotel. Lets start with the good, the beach is to die for, best in punta cana, left untouched as opposed to some of the other stretches I've seen and trust me I go to PC or DR every year and i'm originally from the DR. I know a good beach and this is one of them. Not crowed and has drink service, no need to get up to get your own drinks. Pool, small but fine, the set up was good with the restaurant and bar near it. The service, I cannot say enough about the service. IT IS TOP NOTCH. I'm talking 5 star hotel service, I would compare the service to much more expensive hotels. The waiters, the bartenders, the maids everyone was above and beyond hospitable. Example, the bartender by the pool bar would take the babies formula everyday and put it in the fridge, regardless that I asked for it 4 times a day he did not seen to mind and asked several times how the babies were doing. The waitress by the lobby bar rearranged an area so the babies could crawl every day in the afternoon and served me my favorite drink without being asked. And had our table ready for after dinner. The restaurants all made sure my babies had pureed food for dinner and would deliver a container of puree vegetables at 5pm to our room. We did try all the restaurants and never had an issue making reservations. The best or must I say the closest to the original intention was the japanese. My brother discovered the trick to ordering at the alacarte restaurants, always ask the waiter to bring you the best dish they have and don't order. He usually got the best dish everytime. Once 3 of us did not like our main dish and the waiter just took it away and got us something else, no questions asked-again the great service. I also like the fact that this is a smaller hotel, I had to go back to the room about 5-6 times a day and in a larger hotel that would have been annoying but again i'm writing from a point of view of a mom with twin infants.
The bad, the hotel is in bad shape. They need to scrap it and build a new one. The only have one bar in the lobby, while great I wanted a bit more choices at nightime. The lobby does not have AC and the mosquitos were rampant. The rooms need new furnishings, all new, the mattress had a nail sticking out which I discovered only after I scratch my back playing with the kids on the floor. Imagine if my kids would have discovered that? Anyway, I told the maid and she flipped that mattress in 2 seconds to the inside of the bed so it would not face out. The bathtub was made of plastic, or some bouncey material but no problem I put towels down to bathe my kids, but the shower head would never stay up so my husband and I had to shower holding it. We found a huge roach in the toilet bowl, I understand this is the caribbean and all, again I spent the first 10 years of my life there but nothing living should be in the bowl. Again, told the maid and a full scale exterminator team went to my room while I was out with the kids. My brother had the same problem with bugs in the bathroom. The crib they got us (yes only one) we sent back because it was 1-missing half a leg, 2-had no mattress, 3-was older than I am, and i'm not in my 20s anymore. It was just unsafe, my twins would have destroyed it just by getting up and holding the rails. It should've been in the garbage years ago. The maid felt so bad, she came and apologized and said that all the cribs were taken due to other babies staying in the resort and that she was ashame they did not have sufficient cribs. The gym and spa, a joke, I mean it, a joke, the gym equipement was not working and the gym is housed on a non air conditioned house in caribbean street. The casino another joke and the club passable at best.
I think the staff tries their best to do everything possible for their guest but they are working with a run down facility which is not their fault. I did visit the palace and it was really pretty but to big for me, the pool and beach were very crowded, but maybe when the kids are older. The new one they are building next door looks good however I hope RIU does right for Macao and builds them a new hotel because the staff is amazing.

Room Tip: Just asked during check in we had amazing rooms overlooking the pool. Just asked they are there to...
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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6  Thank ndelapaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2011

I was a bit worried after reading reviews about a shabby hotel etc, but when we arrived the hotel was lovely, our room was very clean and we didnt have any damp smells. The bed was lovely and comfortable and we received extra pillows. The bar and entertainment staff were very friendly and worked really hard. We ate in all the restaurants and loved the Kristal and Kabuki best, the service was excellent and the food was lovely. I would advise people to take American dollars as everything is priced in dollars. We took the peso and felt we were being ripped off when they gave us the price. We done the saona Island trip and this was awful we were out for 13hrs and only had 1 1/2 hours on the island we spent at least 9 hours on the coach (never again) the Bavaro Splash was amazing we had plenty of time on the speed boats and the snuba diving was fantasic. we also done the Buggys that was excellent we had a great time and got very dirty. The only problem we had on this holiday was the Rep he was new and the welcome meeting only lasted for 10 minutes as he was very nerviuos, then he didn't know about the trips or the hotel, i asked what happened in the Ampitheatre at the hotel and he didn't even know the hotel had one. We went to Carribean Street and got all the information from a Rep their. In my opinion this is not the Reps fault as Thomson should ensure that all the Reps are trained, this was very disappointing as everything else about the holiday was great. we would definetly go back to this hotel in the future.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 3217 (i think) overlooking the pool and it was lovely
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank elainedoke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2011

My husband and I regularly go to the Dominican and have stayed in some beautiful places and this did not disappoint, in the view that this was on parr with the riu Bambu which is just next door. The hotel itself was really nice as was the rooms. We had read that the rooms were in need of an overhaul which may be true in some of the rooms but our room was of a good standard. As usual the staff were very nice, friendly people which we come to expect of the dominicans anyway (they have yet to be anything else with us). We booked the Palace this time because we had already visited the Bambu back in Jan 2011 and really enjoyed our stay. Our friends who we holidayed with had encountered a couple of problems and as an appology the manager had arranged for the 4 of us to have a dinner evening at the Palace. We went to the Palace Punta Cana and enjoyed the evening. So when we booked we thought the Palaces were all the same not realising they were 2 different places. We would have rather stayed in the Punta Cana Palace for the experience of staying in an actual Palace, we did not see much of a difference to the Bambu. the waiter service which you get around the pool and on the beach is very nice, those boys are round and round all day long bringing you drinks if you so wish, this is the only advantage of the Palace Macao. Overall we had a great time, we always do. the beaches are beautiful the people are beautiful drinks a plenty, food a plenty (Although we thought the food had much more variety at the Bambu) What more can you want ????? Go and ENJOY.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank AHowe70
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 Macao

Address: Playa Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 35100, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#19 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $203 - $445 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Macao 4*
Number of rooms: 364
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana. * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. * Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Bavaro, Riu Naiboa and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu. * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * 3-storey building. Colonial style architecture. * Surrounded by 30,000 m2 / 36,000 sq. yards of palm groves alongside the beach. 50 km / 31 miles from Higey. 200 m / 660 ft. from Caribbean Street. 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int'l. Airport. * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Macao Hotel Punta Cana
Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana
Riu Palace Punta Cana
Rui Palace Punta Cana

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