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“Perfect for a laid back, relaxing vacation.”

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #43 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Hoboken, New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Perfect for a laid back, relaxing vacation.”
Reviewed May 11, 2013

Some background first: we are a married couple (34y.o.) and have stayed at many other all-inclusives, including a few Club Med Resorts (Cancun, Turks & Caicos, & Sandpiper) and the Divi in Aruba. We booked the Riu Palace Macao after much deliberation and decided that an adult only resort was most important for this kid-free getaway. The Riu Palace Bavaro and Punta Cana are gorgeous, but compared to the Macao, they are huge. The Macao was the perfect size for a relaxing, laid back vacation. I was also pleased the the mix of ages at the Macao. There were plenty of couples younger than us as well as older. I would not recommend this resort to Spring Breakers or singles.

The beach at the Macao was by far the best of all the Riu Resorts in the complex (and other resorts in the area). It was the least crowded and spread out. You don't have to wake up early to save chairs. There were people selling goods on the beach, but they were not harassing and they seemed to all have permits. The ocean was wonderful and I spent more time swimming than laying out. However, there were plenty of people who laid out from sunrise to sunset.

Pools: we spent a lot of time at the pool bar (Noel the bartender was fabulous) and met many other couples/groups. Although many people save chairs early in the morning, I never had a problem finding at least one chair to put my stuff on. The other pool was more relaxing and the crowd was more subdued. We greatly enjoyed both pools.

Food: Compared to other all-inclusive buffets, I thought the Macao's was superior. The dining room was elegant and there were plenty of options. Yes, the food was a little repetitive throughout the week, but I just ate something different everyday. Everything was delicious. We went to Krystal (fusion restaurant) - the appetizers and entrees were delicious - and Kabuki (Japanese restaurant) - we were disappointed with the meal but the fried ice-cream was amazing. After that, we stuck to the buffet as our party had grown to 6 for the rest of our trip (and the food was great). I thought we would spend more time at the speciality restaurants, but the only have 2 seatings: 6:30pm or 9:00pm. I think 6:30 is too early for dinner and 9:00pm is too late.

Overall, our vacation was great. Great weather, great resort, comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and we met some great people. I would definitely return and I am thinking about booking the Riu Palace Bavaro for our next kid friendly vacation.

Our only disappointment was the nightlife. We were not told in advance that the discotheque would be closed for our entire stay as it is being renovated. We were not told this at checkin either...we found out when we went looking for it the first night and found jackhammers working instead of people dancing. The shows at the Macao were mediocre and the lobby bar was brutally hot and full of smoke most nights. We made our own fun, but I wish the nightlife was better. This is the only reason why I did not give an overall rating of excellent.

Room Tip: Definitely book a superior room with an ocean view.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mommy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

From the wonderful staff to the hotel grounds, this is an amazing hotel! Check-in was quick and painless. We received a map of the Riu property and were on our way.

I’ve seen the “before” pictures, and I must say that the “after” results of the renovation at this hotel are fabulous! The makeover has done Macao a lot of good! Every area in the place is beautiful and kept very clean. Our room was spotless. It had a nice LCD TV and a cabinet stocked with Rum and Vodka. The fridge was also always well-stocked with soda and water. The maid service did a great job at maintaining the rooms and we did leave a few dollars each day as a “thank you” for their services. Just a note: They do also enter at night, so ensure that all valuables are locked in the safe if you are away from the room. That was a little disconcerting, but we were not upset about it. (Also, I did follow the advice of several others and brought a night light for the bathroom. It came in very handy! Great recommendation!)

The main pool and swim-up bar pool were maintained very well. The only disappointment was the swim-up bar closing at 6pm every night. I hear they do it to clean the pool but it seemed like every day they had to kick patrons out of the pool. If it is always full, it would be nice to keep it open at least a few more hours. The Animación team did a fantastic job! I am really astounded by how hard most of them work. A good 14 hours or so everyday playing games poolside by day and then entertaining/dancing at night. I don’t know how they do it! But it sure made for great fun each day. My favorites were Iris and Alex! They never stopped smiling!

Another staff member that deserves recognition is Polanco in the main dining buffet area. He waited on us for dinner every night. He was so cordial and professional. The meals in the buffet areas were quite delicious. There are a number of options to please every palate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although I highly suggest they use some sort of lids or covers on the buffets at lunch. It is in an open-air space so flies tend to land on a lot of the salads, desserts and fruit. Sadly I had to stay away from those every day which limited my options. But no complaints for breakfast and dinner. We also tried Kabuki (Japanese) and Pancho (Steakhouse). The former was pretty good but I definitely preferred the Steakhouse. I got the Surf n Turf which was delicious! They do tend to overcook the steaks. Knowing this I ordered mine a little more on the rare side.

The beach is very clean with soft sand. There is a shack on the south side where you can rent equipment such as snorkel gear, boogey boards or catamarans for free or purchase water excursions. So you really had everything you could need here. My only real gripe is about the lounge chairs around the beach. The canvas is tied on so tightly that it does not allow for the chairs to fully recline as they are intended. So if you’d like to lay on your back, you must resort to an awkward position to do so. Hopefully someone catches wind of this and resolves that issue.

All in all I had the time of my life at this resort and have every intention of returning! I did speak with someone at the airport on the way out of Punta Cana stating that the customer service at Riu Palace Bávaro was sub-par. So I’m not sure if it’s a testament to the General Manager whom I saw monitoring the hotel on several occasions or if it is just the staff that absolutely love their jobs, but this place is absolutely incredible! Thank you for making my stay such a memorable one!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank TillyTally84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antibes
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

great beach, great hotel, good food, beautiful swimming pool. Only issue was that the first given to us was a small room with a small bed (3393, giving on the restaurant backyard thus very noisy), even tough we booked a double room with king size bed( as advertised on the hotel website they say all rooms have king size bed). We ended up paying an upgrade of 120USD (for 7 nights) for a Superior room with beautiful view on pool and sea. I guess they were full and gave us one of the last remaining rooms, but nevertheless, in other usual hotels, the upgrade would have been for free if the room booked was not available anymore. Waiters are incredibly nice. Room was clean. At departure, we asked for a shower room, which they gave BUT it was a dirty room, not cleaned yet after previous customers left!! Quite disgusting full of hairs!! But overall: HOTEL + ROOM + BEACH were great.

Room Tip: Ask for superior room, and dont accept room ending in 92 or 93! These are not the king sized bedroom...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank JanAntibes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

We had been to the Riu Taino (which no longer exists in the Riu complex in Punta Cana as it has been demolished in favor of a newer hotel which is more like the Macao is now) and we had such an amazing time that we had to go back and try a different hotel in the same complex. The Macao was everything we hoped it would be! The rooms were very clean and spacious, the grounds are kept very clean and the staff are very friendly. Especially Diomendez. We saw him every morning at the buffet for breakfast and he treated us very well. He pulled chairs out for the kids and brought them the same drinks they'd had each morning. As usual, the beach was second to none. The Bavarro beach is absolutely gorgeous! If the beach is what you're looking for then this is the place for you! Plenty of beach chairs, plenty of space on the beach and in the water, the sand is like powdered sugar and the water just off shore is clean and clear with very few rocks or obstructions. You can body surf on the waves right from shore without worrying if you're going to land on something that may hurt you.

The food is plentiful and hot. Lots of options even if you're a picky eater. There is always something to eat or drink no matter what time of day it is. My daughter had the pasta every day and by the end of the week was trying to speak some Spanish with the staff that were so graciously helping her each day. Lots of fresh fruit and fish. Plus, ice cream! Very tasty. Something that people may worry about is the language barrier but, for the most part, it isn't bad. Most of the people that you'll come into contact with will be able to understand what you need from them and if they don't, they're still friendly about it!

One thing that some people might find a little distracting is the helicopter tours going overhead, para-sailers, the water taxi and some of the other water based activities. We didn't mind them at all and found that there was plenty of space along the shore to play in the water or on the sand without disturbing anyone around you.

Make sure you speak to your vacation rep about an excursion. The first time we went, we swam with sharks and stingrays. The second time we took the kids swimming with Dolphins and that was well worth the cost! They had a blast, we had a blast and the dolphins definitely had a blast! They're so gentle and friendly and playful!

I would recommend this hotel to anyone and I would book there again myself in a heartbeat! Unfortunately, there is no direct flight from my home town anymore which makes it a little more difficult to plan. Maybe we can get back there someday though! It was an awesome second trip for my wife and I and an amazing trip for my daughters and my father-in-law. We owe my mother-in-law a do over though. Her doctor told her to stay out of the sun and out of the water... what kind of holiday is that!! She got to sit under a palm tree on one of the nicest beaches on earth though so it wasn't all bad!!

If you're thinking of booking at the Riu Palace Macao, stop thinking and book it! You won't be sorry!!

*Note - My wife and I took our two kids and my in-laws to Macao in January of 2010 so the "when did you stay" is a bit of a white lie.

Room Tip: If you can get a room closer to the ocean your view will be better but most rooms that are up off th...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jason A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
north carolina
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Awesome, beautiful resort. The people are absolutely the nicest, humble human beings who want you to have a restful and fun vacation. The "anamacion", or entertainment team, were energetic, wanted you to participate in all the daily activities and even learned our names, despite the language barrier. Very little English is spoken at the resort but the staff really try to communicate. A little Spanish knowledge would be very helpful to you. The entertainment team wasn't pushy but simply encouraged participation. We won awards for participating in the "Olympic games" our last day there (a certificate and recognition prior to the nightly show in the theater).
The food was amazing. I'm not sure what people are complaining about. What the heck do you expect...and what the heck do you eat on a daily basis to complain about the variety of food at this resort?! There was everything there at every meal to choose from, including fresh fruit, meat, pasta, American fast food, Asian dishes, pizza, a beautiful salad bar, etc....and beautiful people there to serve you. It was all beautifully displayed as well. Americans have much to learn about customer service. We tried Kabuki and Krystol for our specialty restaurants. Kabuki had great sushi, appetizers and entrees, along with FRIED ice cream. Quick service and friendly staff. Krystol was a bit odd. The beet gazpacho is definitely a no go and the appetizers were just weird. We got the lettuce wraps and the beef Carpaccio. No good unfortunately. Our entrees and dessert made up for this and we left full and pleased. It was just a strange start.
Our room was lovely, as I said before, and all main areas are open to air which was nice. The weather is always humid but dining al fresco is nice.
The pool is nice but yes, it's strange to me that they close at 1800. They apparently put cleaning products in the pool at that time. You can use the other resorts if you tire of this one and you can also eat lunch at any of the Riu's. There is a lit pathway between them and we felt safe walking together at night to visit each one. The Riu Palace has live music every night and we went there to dance after dinner. The disco is closed for renovations at the Macao unfortunately. We were a little disappointed about this, as it was a few yards from our room.
Someone complained that the beach was far from the resort. Really? It's about a three minute walk through beautiful palms. There are always plenty of chairs and you don't have to worry about getting there early to stake your claim. Also, we saw a lot of bare-breasted women and a lot of thong bikinis. It didn't bother us but just brace yourself if you're not used to this! We loved that this resort was adults only...definitely an older crowd but there were many young couples there as well. If you want a more relaxed, quiet resort, this is it. Just visit the other Riu's for nightlife if that's what you want!
Everything was VERY clean...we constantly saw housekeeping (who wear French maid uniforms-hilarious) cleaning between the slats on the stairwell, etc. Just beautifully maintained. There is a drink cart that circulates the building, refreshing your mini-bar with whatever you desire....beer, Pepsi Light, water, etc.
I can't say enough nice things about this resort. Please give them a try. We booked through Cheap Caribbean and had a seamless transfer from the airport and back. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank bethinnc82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newfoundland,
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2013

We visited for our second time April 15th - April 29th.
The renovations are for the most part very nice but I could understand the glass wall in the bathroom being an issue if not travelling as a couple. We were and had read the reviews so we brought a night light with us and just left it there. The king size bed was comfortable.
The room was cleaned a little late in the day, but was very well done and we always had lots of towels and facecloths. Staff came again during the evening and brought more towels and anything else needed. If you don't want to be disturbed just put out the do not disturb sign.
The check in and check out was painless and the staff were courteous and pleasant.
The staff working there are the best ever. The only complaint I had was with the person who braided my hair - I am sure she was swearing on me in Spanish - her loss because she didn't get the $5 tip I had in my bag for her.
The food was great and we never tired of the buffett even though we were there for 2 weeks. The selection varied and the salad and desert bars were presented so well they belong in a magazine. There was always lots of fruit and the chocolates are much too good. To the people who complain, I don't know what you eat at home. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants.
We did receive a phone call twice during the night (3:30 and 4:30) from room service they said but we hadn't ordered room service at any time so I don't know what that was about. I told the front desk and it didn't happen again.
The animation staff work really hard but they didn't pressure us to participate in activities.
We would stay at this hotel again.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank abbottlind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2013

We returned from Punta Cana three weeks ago and can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday at this superb resort. The hotel was modern, spotlessly clean and the most amazing selection of food you could ever wish for. The rooms are large and very clean with a huge double/treble bed and a walk in shower thats huge. There are two wash basins for each of you and the rooms are cleaned every day to very high standards. The fridge is re-stocked regularly with beer, soft drinks and water and there are 3 optics for visitors which have vodka, rum and gin and these are all included in the all inclusive price. The restaurant is large, clean and the waiters and waitresses are very friendly and very polite. There is a choice of other restaurants within the resort, a steak house, a japanese restaurant, an italian (no pizzas on this menu) and a different restaurant for lunch with as good a choice as the main restaurant which is closed at lunch. The entertaiinment staff are all great fun and very friendly and very polite and did a very funny show on our last night. They don't bug you to join in the different activities during the day but are happy if you do. There are double four poster beds round the smaller pool and even double beds in the pool. The towel man is very friendly and obviously enjoys his job. There are a few shops within the complex but it is not advisable to go out of the complex and we felt a bit confined by high walls with barbed wire and guards on the gate. There are trips you can go on like swimming with dolphins but these are all quite expensive. There were only two pedalos on the beach but both were broken! There was also catamarans and wind surfing that you could take out on to the sea. One thing we didn't like was, nearly 10 hours in a plane. We flew from Gatwick to Punta Cana but the flight seemed endless coming back but that was probably because our holiday was behind us. All in all, a lovely place, quite relaxing with good evening entertainment laid on. This is an adults only hotel with children at the next hotel so no children to stop you going in the pool and using the pool bar.

Room Tip: Wherever you are put, the rooms are all superb.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lynn H
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, 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 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 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 ... 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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