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“Picture Perfect Punta Cana”

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #42 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 1, 2005

my wife and i stayed at the riu palace macao from july 22-29. it was a last minute honeymoon trip since our plans to riviera maya were cancelled due to hurricane emily. needless to say our trip to punta cana was enjoyable and relaxing. the beaches, the palm trees and ocean water were picturesque.

the service
the service at the palace was very good. every worker was pleasant and hardworking. if there was a problem, it was taken care of immediately. on our second night, our tv was broken; it was fixed within 10 minutes. bartenders, servers, and the front desk people were kind and could speak some english.

the room
we did expect an upgraded room since it was our honeymoon but we did not get one (and neither did another couple who was on our plane). hence, there is no need to bring your marriage license. the rooms were cleaned and the snack bar was restocked daily. we received an ample amount of towels. there were no actual bottles of water given (just a gallon jug)-we brought our own. there also seemed to be water pressure problems at times in the hotel-take your showers before dinner. our bed was turned down nightly and our room was decorated with flowers daily. **note-bring plug adaptors;my wife could not plug in her curling iron in our room.

the food
this was probably one of the few disappointing things about our trip. meals seemed to be the same at all of the restaurants-daily. breakfast at the buffet was adquate-we recommed the the pancakes. lunch was repetitive- greasy buffet foods. good thing we packed munchies. dinner was the same nightly at all dining areas with the exception of tuesday's mexican night at the buffet;it was very good. if you're into a picture perfect view, eat at the caribe grill (early seating) and get there early to sit at the ocean front. the food was average but the scenery was breathtaking.

pools & beach
the pool was small at the palace with no swim-up bar. if you are into swim-up bars you can take a short walk to the bambu or naiboa. the beach was beautiful and clean-much nicer than the iberostar. also, the water was clear for the most part. we were surprised at the numerous amounts of topless women. be aware fo this if you want to take young children. bring plenty of lotions, sunscreens, and aloes! drink plenty of liquids-the sun is intense.

not much of a nightlife here. we didn't go to the disco. there is a very small casino-not much for this either. we went on the outback safari tour. this was the definite highlight fo the trip. we traveled through the hills of the dominican, learned about the culture and visited several scenic areas-great for pictures. our tour guide, elvis, was a very intelligent native who spoke four languages fluently. he made the experience entertaining and enjoyable. the lunch provided on the tour may have been the best meal we had during our trip. we also went on the marinariam snorkeling adventure. my wife wasn't that impressed and i totally disliked it. way too much swimming!

punta cana is gorgeous. the riu palace is a tremendous place to stay. we probably won't return in the future-maybe for an anniversary or something. we encourage those looking for a relaxing vacation to go to punta cana.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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14  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Farmington, CT
Reviewed July 27, 2005

Just returned from an 6 Golden Apple RIU Palace Macau Vacation. The Hotel in itself is very nice the grounds are also nice. There is no beach service at all! there is no bottled water at all! the food is basicly the same every day. All the meats are fried, fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried beef, fried fish. you basicly get 8 trays of food to choose from for a typical lunch, this includes rice, beans, french fries, some sort of meat "goat" yes it was goat on some days "not bad tasting" , pasta, and a vegtable. also hamburgs and hot dogs and pizza every day. pizza was pretty good. This resort does not have botteled water they serve you water in an 8oz cup. many times there is no ice. towel service at the beach ends at apx 4pm so if you plan to go swimming after this get a towel early. I was in the casino and playing roulette and they make a lot of mistakes " quickly removing chips without payment and very poor math skills" but they did say they were mistakes! If you are an american you will get a room on either side of the hotel. The ocean front rooms are for europeans. The rooms are very nice and also cleaned well daily. mini bar was stocked at least once a day.
there is not always room service if you call to early before 7 am or after 4 pm nothing. and there is not food 24 hours a day as stated. We did not get sick but met many who were. We did get bad hart burn. so overall i would say in apple terms a 3 or 4 red apple would be just. this is not what i paid for. the build is very nice but airconditioning is very very limited. I could go on in writing this review but the more i think about this place the more i get discouraged.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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15  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2005

We have travelled to the Dominican 9 times over the years with 3 kids and often many family members in tow. We have stayed in many areas of the D.R and in many 4+ and 5+* hotels.

We have just returned from Club Med, Punta Cana.

We have been spoiled by our 2004 trip to the Riu Palace. On our first day at Club Med we were very disappointed and tried to relocate to the Riu but unfortunately it was fully booked.

Riu Palace is a fabulous hotel and the only one we'll now go to in the D.R.

You won't be disappointed here!

  • Stayed: August 2004
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12  Thank Hampson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2005

This was 4th trip to Riu Palace Macao and it was better than our fist visit. We left for the D.R. on July 13th after debating whether or not to cancel due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Emily. Fortunately, Emily went south and the weather was wonderful for the entire week. Hotel rooms have been refurbished and are absolutely spotless. I like to request a room on the 2nd or 3rd floor to avoid the "musty" smell that has been reported, but did have a first floor and there was no problem with odors at all. One night the maid had put sheets on the beds that were "nubby" and kind of painful, but we pulled them off and they were replaced with fresh ones the next day. Pillows were in need of replacement, but since there were about 6 in the room we had a selection. The food was varied and very good. We traveled with our 13 year old nephew who is (at best) an extremely picky eater and he was able to survive the week with no difficulty. (plenty of pizza, pasta, bread and ice cream) Against my better judgement, we ate at the Steak House restaurant expecting steaks to be the tough, caribbean meat you usually find. WRONG!! They were very good...We ate and drank everything and no one became ill at all. They sprayed the property every am (very early) for mosquitos. Bugs were not a problem at all. There was the occasional millipede in the hall, but that was no big deal. Alcohol was premium and plentiful.

THE BEACH is the best. Soft white sand, long, wide and full of palm trees for shade. Never a problem finding a beach chair. We've been to many many beaches, this is one of my favorites. The swimming pool is not huge, but very clean with continuous fountains. I personally hate swim up pool bars so it was a blessing not to have one. If someone feels that is necessary, just go to one of the nearby other Riu Hotels which do have swim up pool bars. We traveled with Apple Vacations out of Baltimore and they did a wonderful job as well. One word of caution....When departing from Punta Cana Airport make certain to check, re-check, and tripple check your departure gate as they change them without notice. It would be easy to miss your flight if you do not keep up to date.

All in all, really great hotel and we will continue to return. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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25  Thank Susan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2005

Just the facts. The beach was awesome. The sand was soft with clear blue calm water, after the hurricane passed. The service was excellent. The food was ok. We had to shoo the flys off the food at the buffet at some of the resturants. I did get very sick with food poisoning.
The resort was beautiful all in all. BUT, the rooms smelled like an old basement. We changed rooms right away the first day. Mold and mildew is growing on everything in and out of the room, including on the mattress. The beds were hard as rocks and the linens were falling apart. They felt like sand paper on your skin. My fiance and I suffered from back pain all five nights. Our plan was a nice relaxing vacation, not the case. The pool was smaller than expected but refreshing. The entertainment was fun and upbeat. We did not go to the disco at night but it was large and airconditioned. I was happy to come back home to the US. I will not go back to the Dominican Republic.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
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18  Thank Lulubird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Milford, Delaware
Reviewed July 7, 2005

As a previous travel agent and flight attendant I have stayed in all sorts of properties from the U.S., Mexico and Europe. I must admit that not only I, but my husband and my 14 year old daughter are used to staying at the best hotels when we go someplace or we do not go at all. And we don't get into eating at Mc Donalds while we are on vacation. This was one of the first vacations that I had actually considered cancelling because I had read alot of very mixed reviews of not only the hotel but vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Thank goodness that we did not decide to cancel. The Riu Palace Macao is exactly as it is described and then once you settle in it becomes even more. If you are looking for Disney World or a 24 hour party, this is DEFINATELY not the place for you. However if you want total class and a really nice upscale family vacation where you actually get the chance to talk to eachother and truly enjoy the real Caribbean experience of relaxing while listening to the wind blowing through the coconut palms and love the sound of the waves gently breaking on the beach, with the option for all the water sports you can handle, this is it. There is shopping nearby too. The hotel is like a step back in time, almost like a Morrocan palace that might have been in some Hemmingway book. The hotel is true Caribbean with dark woods and marble. Absolutely the cleanest hotel I have ever stayed at. Not 1 bug! The staff is absolutely charming and due to the fact that it is not a monster sized hotel the staff all know you within the first couple of days you are there. Anything you could possibly need to ask for is taken care of and then followed up on by the asst. mgr. Infact, one day I had really overdone it and become dehydrated and sick to my stomach, enough for the mgr. to have to call the doctor. Larissa, the asst. mgr took my husband personally to the manager of all the restaurants, introduced them, explained that I was upstairs in bed sick and that at any time no matter what time of the day or night that they make me anything that I wanted and would'nt even let him carry it to my room!!! Who does that??? I can even say that I have experienced a Dominican doctor and have nothing but good to say about that too! Nothing some electrolites could'nt handle. For the first time at an all inclusive I had an assigned dinner time, thinking I would hate it but we loved it! I loved being able to pick what seating I wanted for dinner as I had the same table every night and the same waiter and waitress who knew exactly what we drank and who we were. We never had to jockey for a table. If we wanted to swith times we could . Even better was the no limited nights to your dinners at the specialty restaurants like at other all inclusives.Our standard dinner staff greated us every night and took care of everything we needed and never rushed us. We had the same waiter and waitress every night. They addressed us with smiles and a friendly greeting everytime they saw us. They become your friends. And even if they aren't really glad to see you, you would never know it. The staff as a whole are the hardest working and happiest staff I have ever come across. I have to attribute this to the philosophy of Riu Hotels first for having such high standards and secondly for the Dominican people and proper staffing. EVERY night the asst. mgr, Larissa was in the dining room with a pad and pen, stopping at each table taking the time to speak to every guest, meeting all of us, asking questions about their stay and then writing down anything that someone might like changed or noting something that made someone unhappy and then actually looked into whatever the problem was and fixed it by the next time she saw you! (Effortlessly) She never stopped working, even when her husband was home with her 3 year old extremely ill.
In comment to the Americans who have problems with the type of food that is prepared, please keep in mind that you are not in the United States. Also remember that this is not an American Hotel. Riu Hotels is run by a company based in Spain. It's primary clientele is from Europe. Therefore if I had to describe the food I would have to say it has a strong European influence but also is mixed with some Caribbean/Dominican. For those die hard U.S. travelers there is pizza served all day long as well as roast beef and turkey in the dining room for dinner. Pancakes, ham, sausage,cereal, toast plus lots of other European type choices for breakfast. If you can't find something to make your stomach happy here, considering that you are where you are, you might as well stay home. The difference if the food is part of the total experience. This is a very upscale hotel in a very POOR country. Have we had better food in other countries? Yes. But I really have no complaints nor did my husband whose family are caterers.
To wrap things up, my family and I absolutely loved our vacation form our tennis games in the morning, the smiling faces at the front desk and restaurants, the entertainment at night and during the day by the pool, the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, the landscaping, my soft sheets and most importantly, how the entire staff made you feel. You were'nt just a room number in a huge all inclusive. You were a GUEST. And they made you feel that way. Some people just "get it" and some people it just does'nt click with. Infact I was not surprised to learn that about 75% of the Riu guests are rreturn customers every year. As I said, you eiter get it or you don't. It is BECAUSE of the way we were treated that we will continue to return. Infact just yesterday I recieved an e-mail from the asst. mgr. just saying hi and checking on the status of my Riu Club Card. We talk about our families and our lives as if we had known eachother for awhile. We have never experienced this at any other resort before. If you are expecting an American Holiday this is not it. If you love meeting people from other countries and sharing cultures in the laps of luxury this is it with total class... just not the flashing lights and Imax theatres of Cancun and Las Vegas. Not that they are'nt great too. It's just not that kind of vacation. It's a classy non-rowdy hotel. Kindof that old money feel but not stuffy. I am 41. My husband is 43 and my daughter is 14. It's not just for a bunch of old people. The staff is there for all ages and all cultures. You just have to remember you're not in Kansas anymore and enjoy the Dominican people. We did and are so glad we went. We are already trying to figure out when we can get back.

  • Stayed: March 2005
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56  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Baltimore, Maryland
Reviewed July 4, 2005

My husband and I honeymooned at the Palace from 6/27-7/1. Prior to leaving, we read dozens of reviews from other past guests...all I can say is listen to everything positive about this place!!! This place is absolutely beautiful...not perfect, but the natives try their hardest to make it perfect! If this is your first time on a resort, like us, you will fall in love with this one. If you have previously traveled to other resorts, you will fall in love with this one. I am going to break my review down in some categories:

SCALE OF 1 to 10

Loved the fish, grilled veggies, and abundance of fruits. There were some questionable dishes, however, what can you expect when you are in another country? I say, if you keep an open mind, and think outside of the box, you will be satisfied with the food. The best part was that we didn't have to cook for ourselves for 4 days! :)

This was one of the best parts of the trip! Understanding that DR is a very poor country, you'll be amazed by the service that the natives give despite their circumstances. They gave wonderful service with a smile, and they expected nothing in return. I can say that we spent a nice portion of our money on tips (because we wanted to, not because we had to). Also, I saw security checking the bags of the cleaning ladies before they left off the resort to go home.

I can say that the pictures on this website do not do justice for the rooms. The rooms are much larger in person. Ours was an ocean-view suite, but because we were on the 2 floor, we didn't have much of a view of the ocean, but we had an excellent view of the pool and garden area. We had 2 queen-size beds put together to make one huge "loveboat." :) The bathroom was very nice, and the balcony was large. oh...you can easily dial home by dialing 9+1+area code and #...for a $2.00/minute charge. :(
One negative that we experienced in the room was small ants and almost invisible little spiders, but we wiped the the dresser with disinfectant wipes, and had the hotel spray the room, and we didn't have a major problem with it later. Since I am a country girl, that really didn't bother me. It was kind of expected on an island with so much vegetation. Also, they kept the room stocked with sodas and liquor. One more thing, if you keep your towels and washclothes on the racks in the bathroom, they will assume you are willing to re-use the same. You have to put them on the floor if you want a new one. At the end of our trip, after we had to check out at 12:00 noon, the hotel was kind enough to give us a temporary room until we were scheduled to leave the resort at 4:00pm. I guess this was a room set aside for that purpose because it was very small. The view was non-existent, and the the furniture was not in the best condition. This let us know that our original room was excellent because it could have been worse! Guess you get what you pay for! :)

I did not go into the pool at our hotel, which was beautiful with 3 fountains in it, however everyone else looked as though they were really enjoying it (topless and all!). I did go into the pool next door to the right of the hotel, but, honestly, I wasn't too crazy about it because there was some "yellow stuff" and other "debris" floating on the edges. At one point and time, I took in a little water...the next day my stomach was a little queazy...a little immodium AD and 7-up cured that problem! The pool at the Palace did not look dirty from where I could see.

Plenty of chairs, space...
Again, I am not a swimmer, so I didn't get the full effect, but my husband, who is a "fish," was in absolute awe. I thought the water was a little rough, but he thought it was just right! I did get use to the water after a while. I enjoyed sunbathing on the beach more than anything else. Being a beautiful, dark-skinned African-American woman (and definitely a minority at this resort), I found it wonderful to stand out from the rest of the crowd. I took advantage of the topless opportunity (that of which I would never do in the states!) Everyone was very respectful, and no one gawked, but I did notice some admirers! :) I can say that this place really did give me more appreciation and love for my own body and skin, especially seeing all the different people who were not afraid to share their bodies as well.

If you are fortunate enough to go on the OUTBACK SAFARI and have "NACHO" as your tour guide, you will have the opportunity to learn so much about DR that you probably did not know before visiting. This excursion is well worth the money (approx $79/person). We were able to travel into the country side, and see how some of the Dominicans live on a daily basis. If you go, make sure to purchase some of the fresh coffee. Also, despite how some others say to take something for the local kids, NACHO explained to us that, not only is it against the law, but also they discourage tourists from giving money, candy, toys, etc. to the kids because it promotes begging, and they want their children to understand the importance of working hard to earn their money, etc.

Make sure you get the price that YOU want to pay for anything that you purchase there. The hotel prices are not really negotiable, but everywhere else (including high-priced Caribbean Street) can be negotiated...start ridiculously low and then move up. Be absolutely serious about it. Remember the exchange rate right now is like 29 pesos to $1.

We enjoyed Carnival on one night on Caribbean Street, but other than that, nightlife was a little non-existent at the Palace. You see people walking around, but it wasn't nothing to write home about. This place is about pure relaxation. If you're looking for a place to party...this is NOT it, but it is a place to enjoy the person you are with.

I'm not much of a drinker, but I had my full of drinks! :) They didn't seem very strong; however if you asked them to add a little something extra in it, they were more than happy to oblige. My husband really loved the Presidente beer.

Pretty much this place is filled with Europeans (Germans, French, English, etc...). It was great to see other Americans, but on the other hand, it was very nice to observe the ways of the other nationalities and cultures. We could learn a thing or two from each other...some of them could learn to loosen up a little, and some of us could learn to be a little more reserved when appropriate. :) However, if you make eye-contact and smile at some of the Germans, you may be able to get them to break their stoic facial expressions.

We received a 30 minute couples massage. They mainly focused on our backs. I've had better massages, but maybe if we paid for more time, it would have been worth writing home about.

We were a little confused at first only because of the language barrier; however, we quickly figured out what we needed to do from other knowledgeable Americans. Then we were met by an Apple rep who lead us directly to our transport van (about 45 minute ride to resort).

some mosquito bites (but i'm still here to write about it)
heat rash (but i'm still here to write about it)
spiders/ants in the room (but i'm still here to write about it)
missed the lobster dinner on friday night (but...well i'm still a little upset about that one...BUT i'm still here to write about it :)

pack lightly, it's very hot and humid
if you're of a paler complexion, take a black bathing suit, and if you're of a darker complexion, take a white bathing suit...the contrast on the skin is amazing! :)
take plenty of sunscreen (AAs, too)
don't forget meds (tylenol, immodium, etc)
don't swallow the water (not even the pool water)
guys take plenty of t-shirts (it's very humid)
TAKE SMALL BILLS ($1, $5, $10) - you can lock your cash in your room safe...we never used our VISA, and our large bills were used for the excusion only
stay for atleast 7 days, 4 was too short for us


  • Stayed: June 2005
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40  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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
#36 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $184 - $453 (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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