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“Returning this June!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Macao

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #37 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Returning this June!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2013

I visited this resort in June of 2010 before the 14 million done in renovations. My fiance and I will be returning again in 4 weeks from now. I must say that the whole experience of this resort is fantastic. Relaxing, many options of food to pick from, awesome staff, and a beautiful beach. I gave this resort 4 stars because my fiance got sick from something she ate. I did not. I would encourage anyone traveling from outside the country to carry some sort or antibacterial medicine for your stomach. She was sick for 2 days in the room, we then visited the resort doctor who just referred us to go to the nearest hospital. At the hospital, they don't really speak English...I speak Spanish though. It turned out that they wanted to charge 2500 to 3000 US dollars for an overnight stay and an I V drip of Cipro....antibaterial medicine. Luckily it turns out my fiance had this medicine in her purse. We left the hospital, she took her medicine, everything was fine from there on out. Make sure that if you go to the carving stations, the food is well done. Don't drink their water, watch for all fruits and vegetables in case its cleaned with their water. I do believe their water is filtered so I don't know exactly how my fiance became sick...can only assume something she ate. When you brush your teeth, keep a bottled water for rinsing and cleaning toothbrush off. I enjoyed the food, not the best, but pretty good. Overall, the resort is definitely a good option for the cost. Do not take the initial price offered from any vendor....they will come down. A wide variety of people from all ages and all races attend this resort so their is definitely a great mix of people. I did not experience any thievery. The front desk was awesome. Pacha night club is a little intense, but ok. I can't wait to return and see the newly re-done riu macao! I will be back to give another update on my 2nd time staying.

Room Tip: I'm a deep sleeper and can sleep through anything, just make sure the AC is working so you can s...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TandC336
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (718)
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English first
London, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

We stayed at the adults only Riu Macao from April 24 to May 1, 2013. Everything about the trip was pretty much amazing. The beach was beautiful white sand, no rocks and clear ocean water. The resort was small and conveniently located to everything including the two neighbouring Riu resorts, Bavaro and Naboa. The food was beatifully presented and plentiful. There was always something to our taste served. And the breakfast and dinner buffet area had a high quality feel. We almost felt bad wearing shorts and a t-shirt because it was so nice. The lunch buffet area had seating with a view of the ocean. We did not attend any of the sit down restaurants because we were very pleased with the buffets. Octavio was our main server and provided excellent service with his partner. Customer service was excellent. Our initial room was near the noisey nightly entertainment/wedding reception area. We spoke with the front desk staff who immediately provided us with a different room in a quieter area. The resort staff were always friendly, pleasant and helpful. The entertainment staff like, John, Juan and Iris were amazing, positive and full of energy. They obviously love their jobs! My only complaint was that the fitness equipment was lacking. There were two gym areas to use. The one on Carribean Street was shabby and ill maintenanced. The cardio room in the Bavaro was very nice with three newer treadmills, two elipticals, one stepper and one bike but there was always a line up of people waiting for the equipment, even at 7am! Overall the resort seemed to have the right balance for us and as a result we had a fantastic vacation. We would definitely go back!

Room Tip: If you are a light sleeper and need a quiet room then avoid the rooms by the swim up bar and nightly...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank kar72_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pickering, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
131 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

This is our first time in the Dominican Republic and we were very lucky with the hotel, it was on a beautiful beach. This All Inclusive holiday was also a first for us as such as we are avid cruisers. On arrival we discovered we had been upgraded and had a lovely swimming pool and sea view on the 2nd floor so very happy with the room plus it was quite big and had a large walk in shower in the good sized bathroom. It has recently been refurbished and so was spotlessly clean. The food was very good, huge amount of choice at every meal, with some food cooked to choice and other chosen from the buffet. There were 4 speciality restaurants at no extra cost and we visited 2 the steak house and the Krystal restaurant and we had very good meals in both. However, I did enjoy the main restaurant as there was just so much to choose from for every taste, burger and fries for those who want that sort of food to sushi, roast duck, ribs, in fact most things you could think of. Plus the salad buffet was fabulous and as a slimming world target member it was heaven for me. However, the desserts were certainly not from slimming world, especially not the chocolate fountain. Couldn't help thinking of Dawn French with her "going in" comment to the chocolate fountain.

The beach as I have mentioned is beautiful and we did a 90 minutes walk every morning, you could walk for hours and hours and not come to the end. We thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the holiday, you still had people going down at 6.30 in the morning to put towels on beds but there was no need, there were plenty and the hotel was full! There was a lot of smokers but as a general rule they were very courteous. I gathered the house wine was awful but just stuck to cocktails or rum and coke and that was fine. All in all a lovely relaxing, chilled out holiday.

Room Tip: There are quite a lot with no sea view so make sure you stipulate sea view if that is what you like
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SusieB53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2013

I am not one to normally write reviews, and do typically take the 5 star and 1-star reviews with a grain of salt on TripAdvisor but wanted to give my feedback and thoughts on positives/negatives of the resort. The only other all-inclusive my wife and I have stayed at is Excellence Playa Mujeres, so I may not have the best insight into how this resort compares to more mid-priced all-inclusives.

First the positives:

Service – Service was good at the bars/restaurants. Drinks were made quickly and the staff was generally very friendly. Never a problem getting a drink.

Beach – Second best beach I have been to after Turks and Caicos. A large amount of shade under the palm trees which was very peaceful.

Room - Fine, no issues, AC worked well, was well appointed

Negatives:

Front Desk - Upon check in we were pulled to the side and told that we were very lucky and that we were upgraded to the Riu Palace Bavaro, the finest hotel in the fleet, to which we replied that we have specifically booked this hotel due to its adults only nature and we would prefer to stay here. After 30 seconds of blank stares they indicated that the hotel was full and there weren’t any accommodations for us here. I read a similar review of this happening on TripAdvisor and thought it was a one off occurance….but it isn’t. There were a handful people that were transferred over every day because the hotel was overbooked. The hotel movement caused us to miss our blue travel rep to schedule our return trip to the Airport. After numerous attempts to meet the rep in the lobby (who never showed) I had to use the front desk phone to arrange our return travel on our final day. It took nearly 30 minutes to arrange our return transport and I started receiving attitude from the front desk that I would be charged for the phone time, at which point I almost went over the edge. Luckily all was finally resolved but needless to say the laziness and unaccountability of the front desk staff was a prime detractor from the hotel.

Food & Drink – Another review paraphrased the wine and champagne as gasoline and that review was accurate. Probably the worst wine/champagne I have ever had. Beer was ok, only one kind, the mediocre local Presidente. I would have preferred more options, but suppose I should have done my research ahead of time. After reading many positive reviews on the food at the resort, I am at a loss as to how anyone could rate the food so highly. But then again lots of people think Applebee’s/Chilis is a great meal as well, so who knows. The food was bad, and the chefs have no idea how to prepare basic dishes. There is an American food section that features such delicacies as hot dogs with slices of kraft cheese melted on top and pizza with squid on it (YUMMMMM!). I grabbed a burger one day and it crumbled apart with each bite…..probably was some sort of rat meat.

Entertainment - The formal shows at night were ok, but the animation staff is terrible. I have no idea why you even have an animation staff at an adults only resort. Love nothing more on vacation than having some guy come up to me every five minutes in some new costume asking me if I want to get up and party. I had to pretend I was asleep so they didn’t come and bother me. I think 5% of the people in the resort actually enjoyed the animation staff, while the other 95% of people avoided them. The staff models their entertainment after the show Sabado Gigante, which if you haven’t seen is characterized by spurts of fast music and danceing for 15 seconds, followed with expectation that you will applaud. It is not applause worthy.

Other Random thoughts:

Everyone smokes. Bothers some people, doesn’t bother me. If it bothers you, don’t come here.

Décor for all the Riu chains is odd. Particularly the Palace Bavaro. The architect must be a huge fan of Scarface or something…place resembles a 1980s Miami Nightclub.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Matthew K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2013

Just returned from 2 weeks at the Macao 16-30 April. Had an excellant relaxing holiday, all the staff were very attentive. Rooms are lovely very light and airy, kept spotless with day and evening maid service. There is also 24 hour room service, for snacks. mini bar kept well stocked with mixers and beer and optics of vodka, rum, whisky,brandy on the wall. The whole complex is spotlessly clean, food is good and restaurant is open for most of the day so you won't go hungry here. The animation team work hard to ensure you enjoy day/evening activities. I found the evening entertainment a bit repetative, the same dancers almost every night and live music, both more suited to the over 60's!! But there is the Pacha nightclub nextdoor, opens after 2300, you pay for your drink here though. You can use the facilities in the Bambu and Naiboa, the beach party at the Bambu on Friday night is fun for a lively evening.
The only negative issue I have was the pathetic individuals who save sunbeds from dawn til dusk and never/ hardly use them, exacerpated by the pool staff indulging this practise (probably for tips). We often saw guests save two, one either side of the pool so they could move with the sun. Get a grip people and relax, you don't need to be on the same sunbed every day, and why save it when your never going to use it? But you get this everywhere I guess. I agree with an earlier review, that they should have a tip box, where guests can leave tips for backroom staff, gardners, cleaners etc they all work equally hard to make your stay a good one. Definately would recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mandie310863
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2013

We just got back from a 1 week stay at the Riu Palace Macao. We had a lovely time there although we probably wouldn't go back. Here are the pros and cons:

The Pros
- The staff were fantastic. Definitely the friendliest and most attentive staff of any resort we've been to. They never let your glass run dry and would offer mamajuana after every meal. The buffet staff have their section that they work in every day/night, so I recommend sitting by the windows overlooking the pool and you will be treated well. They learned our names the first day and greeted us by name every time. We did tip them but they definitely deserved it!
- We had access to 2 other Neighbouring Riu resorts which was a nice bonus. They were very close and had easy access
- The room was generally clean and modern. The furniture was new, there were double sinks, the bed was comfy (with the exception of one stinky pillow that we just put on the floor ... It probably got wet at some point so it smelled mildewey).
-The resort was very well maintained and modern. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the scenery and the resort has a nice carribean feel. Compared to the two neighbouring Riu's (Bambu and Naiboa) the Macao was definitely the nicest and the cleanest.
- The resort is well laid out so that you're close to everything, and the beach is very close to all the rooms
- The staff do a great job of quickly cleaning up plates and dropped food, so birds are not an issue in the outdoor eating areas, which we've seen at some other resorts.
- The resort is quiet, peaceful and not too busy. There generally weren't lines for anything and you could always find a table/chairs/sunbeds wherever you wanted.
- The beach is wonderful. No
shortage of chairs, and white sand as far as the eye can see in either direction. There is also a little snack bar right on the beach if you get hungry during the day.
- The food was reasonable, we found it pretty typical for an all inclusive. Nothing was spectacular but it wasn't bad either. Lots of selection, but it did get repetitive after a while.
- The resort is close to the airport (30 minutes) so no long trip on the way there/back
- The front desk, like all the staff, were helpful so check in/check out was a breeze
- I believe that all of the rooms have balconies and we enjoyed that
- There is a street with shops right beside the resort, which was sort of fun to check out and you could get some souvenirs. There is also a doctors office there if needed.

The Cons

- One of the biggest cons of our vacation in general was that there were constantly people trying to sell you things and it got tiresome after a while. Not all of this was the Riu's fault (eg. Beach vendors selling cigars on the beach and off resort property - which we were advised not to buy because they could be made with banana leaves which is apparently bad). But there were also some vendors on the property selling excursions, Segway rides, etc. This would all be fine except that they're very pushy and don't take no for an answer. We did the Soana Island excursion and that was even worse (BTW, wouldn't recommend that excursions) so we were a bit tired of constantly being asked to buy something.
- The ocean was pretty choppy most of the time (red flag 80-90% of the time we were there). We prefer calm waters so this was a con for us, but the water was lovely.
- The room keys are real keys (not cards like at most places) and we only got one room key to share between the two of us. When we asked for a second key, we were told that they only have two keys, one for the guest and one for the front desk to keep. This wasn't a big deal for us, but I could see it being a challenge if you want to do different things.
- The bathroom is interesting. It definitely looks modern and is nicely designed, but essentially the wall separating the shower and the bedroom is made of glass blocks. This has a few implications. First, it means you can actually see from the bedroom into the bathroom, and so I had a direct view of the toilet from the bed. Although the glass distorts the picture, you can still see well enough. This would be especially awkward if you were travelling with friends. Second, the bathroom light completely illuminates the bedroom, so not great if one person gets up in the middle of the night.
- The room was pretty humid the whole time, which again isn't the resorts fault and comes with a tropical climate. The solution to this seems to be to blast the air conditioning so our room was always freezing (the maids would turn the AC up when they cleaned). The bed also didn't really have a blanket/duvet, just a slightly thicker sheet, so combined with the AC it was kind of chilly at night.
- There are Mosquitos so bug spray is recommended (they do sell it at the gift shop for a low cost of $14 a bottle). I got about 20 mosquito bites my first 2 days there before I got the bug spray, but my husband got none. So it may or may not be an issue for you.
- The daytime entertainment at the pools was virtually non existent. There were no games going on in the pool, no music played during the day. We're certainly up for quiet relaxation but it did get kind of boring. That being said, you can go over to Babmu next door, which has a much livelier feel. Perhaps this is intentional because the Macao draws an older crowd??
- Near the end of the week, the maid stopped giving us facecloths despite the fact that we tipped everyday. Not a big deal, but a little annoying.
- And finally, although we're not certain, we think the maid may have stolen some money from our beach bag during the turn down service on our last night there. We had read other reviews of theft so we were very careful, but we had about $10/$15 in the beach bag for tipping and stuff. When we came back from dinner it was gone. It's possible that it was stolen during the day while we were at the pool, so we didn't make a fuss about it, but we had kept a close eye on our bag during the day so we think this is less likely.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dee_Matt0909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 4, 2013

Stayed here for two weeks at the beginning of April, I cannot say enough good about this hotel, when we booked it was shut for the refurb so we took a chance, we were so glad we did, the staff were so friendly we never met one without a smile, food was excellent and so much choice you could always have something different. The beach was beautiful ( our main reason for returning to dominican ). The people here are so nice and work so hard to make you happy, I would like to thank them all for a wonderful holiday and hope to return next year. We have stayed at several riu hotels and as usual have no complaints with this one.

Room Tip: We had a ground floor but was a bit noisy in the afternoon maybe a higher floor would be quieter.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wong18
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

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Address: Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling 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
#24 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#32 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#32 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#33 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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, Amex. ... 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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