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“riu palace macao POST renovation”

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #44 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 15, 2012

Just returned and are able to give a bit more info.
We booked throughThomson and were told over 18 only but this is wrong. There were some chidren of all ages around, not many but be aware ; adults only from early Nov 2012 but for a trial period only say Riu.
We got an upgrade overlooking the sea and pool, but had to use our loyalty points or pay US$300 for 2 weeks.They are very strict on free upgrades now. Free suites impossible. Some rooms overlooking building works which was noisy although fascinating.No health and safety!!
Also there were problems with the decking area round the pool and lots of drilling going on which was irritating.
Rooms excellent inside clean and well decorated, spacious.
Food at buffet in our opinion the best; lots of choice, roast duck, steaks fish roasts. Individual sweets and starters all excellent However labelling is poor. My wife is allergic to fish and there was stuffed marrow which she fancied but is was stuffed with crab! Breakfast as you would expect for Riu nothing exceptional bacon hard as usual! Lunch in the beach cafe excellent always good choice but the chinese food every day became a little boring!
The animation team led by Juan was the best ever they work really hard and try to please. Don't be a snob and play bingo; great fun and prizes! Be aware of the casino- we wondered about it; enough said.
The directors of Riu are present and wandering around to answer queries, but they can be a little aloof.
Beach lovely , pool lovely scenery great.
Finally a pet hate of mine, the drinks. Lager weak and tasteless. Some spirits were NOT what the label said . We ordered 4 Jack Daniels they were all poor quality whisky but came from a labelled bottle.The rums were better, guess they won't doctor their own drinks! Coke shocking, take it from your fridge in the room!
However we would recommend this hotel; it is not massive like some Riu Palaces. It is more homely and generally the whole experience and ambience makes it a worthwhile place and worth the money. 4.5 stars !!

Room Tip: Get a room at the front but be prepared to pay extra
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
25  Thank susie101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 7, 2012

I write by saying that I have just returned from a 14 night holiday which was purchased through Thompson and stayed at the Rui Macao. This hotel is rated as a 5 Star hotel all inclusive, but obviously anyone with any commonscence (and travelling experiance) understands that doesn't mean for £2,800 approx. including flights and transfers from the UK you will be getting the Grovenor House or Dorchester-so lets get real-you get what you pay for.

I have read some of the reviews on this hotel and the negative ones are on the whole complete and utter nonescence and obviously written by people that I can only surmise had a bad experience and in revenge have decided to rubbish the hotel. Ignore them it simply isn't true.

These are the facts out of 10 (0 being extremely poor and 10 being excellent)

1.) Hotel cleanliness 10
2.) Room facilities (all brand new and modern with Iron and Flat Screens) 8
3.) Variety and quality of food-this really is good-9
4.) Helpfulness of staff 9
5.) Daytime Entertainment by Animation Team-although not my cup of tea as a bit cheesy by UK standards-10 for effort and delivery - 4 for actual entertainment value - due to repetiveness overall 6.
6.) Evening entertainment again cheesy and not targeted at adults with some silly games- 5 (Dancers are good, magician was okay)
7.) Hotel staff and friendliness 10 nothing is too much trouble
8.) Recommended trip:-Truck Safari -a fun filled day. I went on a few, including the helicopter which is very expensive, but I put it down to one of those lifetime experiences.
9.) Beach and setting 10

To the downside:- hotel rooms on arrival do smell damp-and I believe this is due to the air conditioning but put the fan on go for a drink and it soon subsides. This is a very humid country with 70-80% humidity so it is to be expected as they can't leave patio doors open as the Mosquito will be having a banquet on you.

WiFi is only free in the lobby-reception area and you will only be able to log on once. 10 days hotel wide WiFi can be purchased at 50 US$.

Warning if you are like me and like a flutter, be very, very careful, as you walk into the Casino they have staff that give you two free US$2O chips and take you to this table where they play this game where you throw six balls into a bowl that has numbers on it. Don't play it-you will lose all your money-after the free go I realised this was a scam. Don't change currency in the casino the exchange rate is very poor. The tables also have limits so if your like me and like to get big you will come unstuck very quick with max us$50. I gave it a miss as I realised the odds were seriously stacked in the casino's favour.

They prefer US$ as opposed to their local currency this is even outside of the hotel.

The hotel sits in the middle of a nest of Rui hotels. Rui Punta Cana Palace -5 Star, Rui Bavaro-5 Star and two lesser hotels the Rui Bamboo and Navaro. The last two are also all inclusive but on a UK star rating are 2-3 star and full of youngsters and people drinking too much. The Bavaro is the top hotel on the complex followed by the Punta Cana Palace and Macoe. There are no real differences between the Punta Cana Palace and the Macoe, albeit the Macoe is supposed to cater for couples only with no kids. This is not true and was one of my major disappointments although there wasn't many. When I booked I assumed the Macoe was the flagship hotel. It is not the Bavaro is.

Overall rating of the Macoe for value for money, friendliness, cleanliness and quality of food 9

Room Tip: Do not ask for pool facing as these can be noisy unless you have paid for a suite
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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23  Thank Stuart D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

If you travel in the Caribbean and Mexico then you know the drill. Every property has its problems which can change from week to week. This RIU property is pretty much like all the other RIU properties around the caribbean in that they are "all inclusive". The rooms are nice and the staff is friendly enough. In all honesty, as all inclusives go, theses RIU Dominican properties are decent vacation/holiday destinations. However, yes there is a however, the buffetts and food served are not as good as they have been in past years. I, as my friends would tell you, am not a picky eater and have literally consumed food from all around the caribbean, Mexico and Europe. It really has not been very good this trip. Seems as though they have had to cut their food budget. And, while I'm critiquing, the reader needs to know that you have one choice of beer at the RIU properties. One brand on tap and the same brand in cans. Truly, you have no other choices and the same is true when it comes to the wine list... white or red? I wish I could tell you the food is better but alas it is not.

So, the rooms are clean and refreshed. As is usual, the properties are kept clean and the grounds are in good shape. If you're a diver don't come here. Head to Cozemel or Belize for better diving. And be aware that there is a lot of construction going on here and you may get a room right next to some very noisy building project as we did on check-in. A few dollars more and we were moved to another part of the building. Not everyone has the same taste in food but beware too, that food choices change with the number of rooms filled upon your visit. We leave in three days and I just wanted to share a little bit with those interested. I will update after check-out this week. Chow....

Room Tip: Seek a room near the lobby but keep in mind that the "Disco" is very noisy at night and ma...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank Parrotheadjoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012

We had another wonderful vacation at the Riu Palace Macao, 12 - 22 August 2012. It was our 6th trip and our 20th wedding anniversary celebration. I’m going to divide this review into renovations (by area), food, entertainment and service.

Renovations: We noticed the renovations right away as we drove up. The entrance sign had changed to large, dark granite slabs with the Riu Palace Macao name and 5 stars beneath the name. There was a large white pineapple statue (traditional sign of hospitality) in the circular driveway. The foliage up the driveway and in front of the resort had been “thinned out”, leaving a cleaner look. Gone is the dingy paint on the exterior of the resort. Everything is now a blindingly bright white, with the turrets topped with gold finials.

As we pulled up, we were greeted by bellman David (pronounced Da veed’ by the new German female manager, whose name I can’t recall). He instantly remembered us from our previous trips and gave me a big hug. The staff at the desk welcomed us home and before we could even start filling out the paperwork, our welcome drinks had arrived. In addition to the new manager, there is a new assistant manager, David, who seems very involved in the food aspect of the resort.

The main lobby has been redecorated, but not substantially changed. Gone are the chandeliers and wall sconces. The ceiling fans and lighting are now the modern brushed nickel finish and are of a more modern look (cylindrical rather than the ornate chandeliers). The walls are white instead of the creamy tan color. The lobby furniture is of a lighter color (but sturdier and larger) wicker with solid cushions. No more chasing the pillows. The open air courtyard between the main lobby and the buffet and lobby bar area has also been landscaped, with gravel, rocks and new statues.

The lobby bar itself has been redecorated with new furniture, lighting fixtures and décor. The furniture is more comfortable than before. The lobby bar also seems to actually stay open until 0700, unlike in the past. Before, if there were no patrons, the bartender could not be found. Now, no problem! We were able to get a fresh ground coffee and a margarita at 0530 the morning of our departure.

The Salon where they have bingo and the shows has also been redecorated. It’s sort of hard to tell, since the chairs are the same style (just a different shade of blue) and the carpet is very similar (dark blue with spots). The best thing is that the horrible musty, mildew smell is gone and it is a no smoking area. The casino has been expanded and has a lot of slot machines, some card tables and roulette wheels. We could only find two video poker machines in the place, which is the extent of our gambling.

The Main Buffet has changed quite a bit. The entrance area (where you used to make ala carte reservations) has been walled off. That unused area was basically turned into the Patisserie. The buffet chairs now have shorter backs and have the brushed nickel finish, as do the ceiling fans. Some of the food stations have changed, but I’ll address that in the food section. Another row of tables has been added to the patio outside the buffet, so there was never any waiting for an outdoor table for breakfast. That means no more people sitting on the wall, watching and waiting like vultures for your table while you eat! You now make your reservations for the ala carte restaurants at a table in front of the Japanese restaurant. Reservations are still made in the morning.

The Patisserie had coffees and cappuccinos available, as well as some snack items and drinks in a cooler, muffins and nacho chips and cheese. It also has some seating inside. It opens at 10am. That’s not our kind of thing, so I can’t speak about the quality of the food.

The patio outside the lobby bar has also been renovated. Gone are the small, rounded wicker chairs, wall sconces and earth-tone table lamps. There are now larger, sturdier wicker chairs with the single cushions, brushed nickel ceiling fans and nickel cylindrical wall sconces. There are also skylights in the ceiling.

We have debated back and forth about this, but we’ve decided that the roofline across the patio, or at least portions of it, has been extended a bit. The bushes along the patio have been removed (which means no more feeding bacon to the cats in the morning!) and the palm trees that used to actually grow up through the roof are gone. In fact, the garden area between the patio and the pool area has been re-done to remove all of the bushes and add some (I think) yucca plants and other foliage. It looks very clean and open.

To the left of the pool area (looking toward the ocean) is the renovated pool buffet. It doesn’t look like a thatched hut anymore, rather a tinted glass and open air building in much in the same configuration as it was before. However, the restrooms have moved from the middle of the building to the left side of the building. They are nice, modern and air conditioned, so that’s very nice. The sides of the building are still open and it’s nice to sit in the breeze on the ocean side. There are skylights over the buffets, which I’ll talk about more in the food section.

The sidewalk between the pool buffet and the Krystal restaurant has had all the bushes removed and other things planted that are small and still growing. The Krystal restaurant building doesn’t seem to be changed a bit. The bathrooms are still the same.

The pool area has been completely changed. The old pool with the fountains is gone, as is the little round “kiddie pool”. In its place is a rectangular pool that has lounging beds “in” the pool. There are new, comfortable loungers around the pool, beneath an awning that can be pulled open and closed. There’s a second row of loungers around the pool that have umbrellas. At either end of the pool is a row of eight canopy beds.

The old pool bar with the wicker chairs and ice cream machine is gone and in its place is a new towel shack and a swim up pool bar with loungers in it and canopy beds around it. Also new is a pool bar with chairs, tables and couches on the back side of the swim up bar. It’s open on the ocean side and has about a six foot wide by one foot deep pool on three sides of the bar. There are also skylights in the bar.

The tiled sidewalk from the pool to the ocean sidewalk is gone, as is the mermaid statue. It’s all sand now. The coconut grove has been cleaned up of small clumps of foliage and seems a bit more open. Of course, the tree crew was at work while we were there, trimming the coconut trees. What’s missing is the beach bar. The shack and stone stools are completely gone, without a trace.  We’re not down by the beach very much, but the shower heads and changing stalls seem to have vanished.

Also gone is the wooden, three table massage shack. It’s been replaced by a two table massage tent that’s much closer to the Krystal restaurant and much nicer, in my opinion. However, we had an issue booking massages. Our travel package included a 15% discount at Eternal Spa, which used to do the massages at the Macao and have a spa on Caribbean Street. Not so anymore. Eternal Spa only serves the Riu Palace Punta Cana and the Riu Bambu. The Renova Spa serves the Riu Palace Bavaro and the Riu Palace Macao. In order to book several massages and pay by credit card, we had to go to the Palace Bavaro. Not a long walk, just out the front of the Macao and across Caribbean Street and follow the sidewalk to enter the Palace Bavaro. The spa is right there. However, we didn’t figure this all out until late on the third day of our visit, after a lot of running around and question asking. So, there’s the spa tip. 

We stayed in a Superior room (3232). It has a nice view of the garden and pool areas and the ocean. Gone is the dark wood and yellow and tan colors, lamp-shaped wall sconces and narrow, slippery bathtub. The rooms now sport bright white furniture, walls and linens, fuchsia accents and chairs, a large flat screen TV, white plastic deck chairs on the balcony and an electronic safe. I kind of miss the rocking chairs, but the plastic chairs are sturdy and comfortable. A bit more hygienic, I would think.

The bathrooms are the best part of the room makeover. The large closet that existed along one wall is now smaller and has been moved to the hallway to accommodate the shower. The party shower. The “larger than the elevator” shower. It has a detachable hand-held shower head and also a large fixed shower head hanging from the ceiling. There’s a glass block wall between the shower and the bedroom. With both lights on in the bathroom, it can be a bit bright into the bedroom at night. With just the shower light on, it makes a good nightlight when you wake up at 3am and want to be able to see when you come in from a smoke on the balcony.

There are dual sinks. They are bowl-shaped and sit on the vanity. The bidet is gone and there is just a toilet. I wish they had invested in a comfort height toilet, but it’s still very low to the ground.

The beds are typical Riu beds – pretty darn firm. However, we thought that these new beds were just a *tad* more comfortable than previously. But, we like a firm mattress so others might not care for them.

Food: In the Main Buffet, they have moved the traditional salad fixings to the small bar to the right as you enter, where ice cream used to be. The first island that used to hold the salad bar and appetizers now holds a huge variety of appetizers. They have gone upscale here, too. You can find martini glasses with mussels and tempura prawns, small individual dishes with sushi-style appetizers and tree-shaped wooden holders with curved spoons containing appetizers stuck into it. The appetizer bar still has the large variety of seafood salads, cheeses and meats as before. Every evening brings a variety of different types of appetizers in a variety of different presentation styles. Very lovely and all that I tried (which were many!) were very tasty.

The food at the main entrée area is pretty much the same as always, with a lot of variety in the side dishes, etc. The best is always the beef and fish dishes. I must mention that the shrimp (no matter what dish it was in) was so much better cooked than in previous years. Not mushy at all. Hopefully, their lobster will follow suit.

The dessert bar has changed *so* much! Instead of large cakes, pies or containers of dessert in which you hack off the desired amount that leaves the dessert in a mess, each portion of dessert is served on its own tiny individual dish. Other desserts are in shot glasses, like the milk and white chocolate pudding dessert with a milk and white chocolate straw. The variety of the desserts is just amazing and so are the sugar sculptures that are made. And of course, there is always fruit, cheese and ice cream at the bar along the wall, near the waiter’s entrance to the Japanese restaurant. The last night we were there, there were three chefs working the sugar and they invited a guest to assist them. He got a great kick out of it and many of the patrons wandered over to watch. It was very entertaining.

The carving station at the rear of the buffet has the usual haunch of roasted meat that they carve, or made to order pasta. During breakfast, this station now has pancakes, waffles, puffed, fried bread and the like.

The new steak house, Pancho, is one half of the pool buffet in the evening. Nice ambiance but the food needs a bit of work. The menu had changed from last year. The seafood appetizer (raw salmon, shrimp and mussels) was pretty good and quite filling. Follow that with the chicken Caesar salad (passable) and we were already satisfied. We tried both entrees, the surf and turf and the ribeye steak. Both were served with a foil wrapped baked potato and a large elevated dish of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. The steaks and potatoes were pretty good, but the lobster tail was mushy. The vegetables were not extremely overcooked, which was a nice change of pace. All in all, a decent enough meal but not of the quality I had hoped.

The other restaurant in the pool buffet building is the Ita ‘Liano, which obviously serves Italian cuisine. We didn’t have a chance to eat there, but were not really impressed with the set up. The appetizers and desserts were on a buffet bar in the main part of the restaurant. So it was pretty much self serve, except for the entrée. We wanted to try the restaurant, but by the time we got around to making reservations, it was “closed for the weekend”, the weekend being Sunday and Monday. The steakhouse was closed on Tuesday night, so I’m not sure what the definition of “weekend” is. I won’t pass judgment on food that I haven’t actually eaten. However, the appetizers and desserts that we saw on the Italian side buffet when we went to the Steak house showed up on the lunch buffet the next day.

That brings up another issue for me. The new pool restaurant with its skylights is a problem. Two of the food buffets are right underneath the skylights. I’ve never gotten ill before from the food while staying here, but there’s always a first time. During lunch, you could feel the heat radiating down onto the buffet (both ends only) and I told myself that eating some of the food in that area was probably not smart, especially since it was the seafood and cold salad type of stuff. Enough said and I didn’t eat anything from under the skylights again. Under those skylights, you could see the chocolate desserts and the cheeses melting. I know of a couple of other guests who mentioned that bad placement to management, too. Caveat Emptor.

We didn’t eat at the Japanese restaurant this trip. We have eaten there the past couple of trips and have always found it to be very tasty and a good experience. Can’t speak about the Krystal restaurant. We have never tried it as the menu doesn’t appeal to us.

Entertainment: As much as it pains me to say this, I don’t think the Animation Team was on par this year. I will admit that I didn’t participate in the games much this year, but that is mostly due to the fact that we were in the coconut grove and couldn’t hear the announcements very well from the pool area. By the time I was aware that there was an activity going on, it was already underway. The AT didn’t seem to follow the schedule posted in the lobby as closely as they have in the past. Additionally, the AT didn’t interact very often with folks who weren’t at the pool. I don’t think I once saw them cross the sidewalk onto the beach proper to talk to / engage with people. I could be wrong, of course. We had one nice lady (can’t remember her name) talk to us a couple of times; Jhon, Alex and “Little” Juan conversed with us while we were in the coconut grove.

It just seemed like there was some dissention in the ranks of the AT. The other three ladies we saw all week weren’t friendly *at all*. Didn’t really see them engaging with patrons, just kind of going through the motions. In fact, you could see them mocking Juan while he was running bingo. A couple of the guys did the same the thing, so I think there are some personality issues among the AT. That’s a real shame, as in the past we have really enjoyed the AT. We only saw one show while we were there, as we are used to retiring early and rising early.

Service: Well, we really can’t say enough about the quality of service. Excellent as always, from the front desk staff to the bartenders, waiters and the cleaning staff and drinks guy. When we went up to the pool bar, our drinks were quickly refreshed. Sitting on the lobby patio and in the Salon, just as the drinks were starting to hit bottom, here arrived a refill. Special shout outs to Juan, Antonito and Miguel in the Pool Bar, Wandy and Suero in the Salon Bar, Eusabio, Octavio, and Roberto in the Main Buffett and David in the Lobby.

Pros: Updated nearly everything
More variety and presentation in the food
Most of the staff returned to continue to provide great service

Cons: No beach bar or beach drink service
Animation Team a bit lacking

Room Tip: Go for the Superior rooms for garden, pool and ocean views. The A/C worked great!
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
82  Thank Ark_Trav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

We stayed in this hotel in July last year I emailed ahead to ask for a room with pool view and double bed. We got this and much more the room was big and the view was great pool and sea view, the balcony was very big it had 2 rocking chairs and 2 sun loungers. The service was second to none as soon as your drink was near finished they were straight there to ask if you wanted another. the only down side to the hotel was the bed was not very comfortable and did get a few bites.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank suesafc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2012

We stayed here last Christmas with our family of four. Do not have any complaints about the room as they were very clean and the food was good as well. The 'moldy smell' everyone complains about is completely normal when staying somewhere as warm as Dominican. After a day, you don't smell it anymore. The only thing I can think of that I disliked about this resort is that it is extremely quiet during the day. We had two young adults in our group that wanted a bit more partying in their vacation. If you are there to only relax it is perfect! We quickly realized that the resort next door, 'RIU Naiboa' to which we had access, was much more lively and we had a great time. May I also suggest that if you do choose this resort, the restaurant 'Krystal' is a MUST! It is so elegant and very tasty. The entertainement at night was AMAZING (RIU NAIBOA).... Felt like we were at a 'Cirque du Soleil' show. Very talented. We are experienced travelers and this resort is by far one of the best we've stayed at.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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9  Thank AcadianTraveler_1990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2012

Great value beach was brill .the Macao is getting old but it was clean and good service and it's getting refurbish this year

  • Stayed: November 2011
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12  Thank lsuttonboy
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
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 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $185 - $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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