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“Not as good foodwise as previous visits”

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Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
Ranked #67 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Skipton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Not as good foodwise as previous visits”
Reviewed April 25, 2012

This was our fifth visit to the Riu Palace Punta Cana and we have had great times there but I think the food on our recent visit is not upto the standard it used to be.
We found that if you sat in the same section of the restaurant for your stay and had the same staff serving you they got used to you and you get a better service.
Reception has always been good for check in with little delay before your in your room with luggage soon brought to you room.
On this visit there were lots of Americans (young ones) and as other reviews have said they can be quiet noisey and seem to shout rather than speak in a normal way.
I feel that Riu are cutting back and on this visit I do not think that the hotel food could be rated as a 5 star a la carte hotel.
We still enjoyed our stay and the staff we came in contact with over the past vists are all excellent,the bar area at the side of reception is great and Marycruz and all the staff were great always on hand when your drink was getting low to see if you wanted another drink.
All the hotel ground are clean and well presented and you feel you have come to a great hotel for your vacation and the hotel manager is walking round the hotel and pool area daily to check that everthing is upto standard.

Room Tip: Rooms at the front section of the hotel facing the fountains are best
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Christina1001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tremelo/Belgium
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2012

First of all, forgive me if I make some spelling errors. I’m Belgian so I’ll do my best to make as less as possible.

Here we go; we went to the Palace from April 1, 2012 until April 12, 2012 as a party of 6.
My parents, our 2 kids (9 & 11y), my wife and I.

Airport: Upon arrival around 10PM no problem at all to get through the checkpoints, pay our $10 contribution to their corruption bank account. Luggage pick up no issues and unto our bus for our transfer to the hotel scheduled by our rep.

Check in at resort: Very fast check in, got what we asked for as being two adjoining rooms. We booked and got 2 Junior suites and we weren’t asked if we wanted an upgrade, which is no problem.
1 Room was booked for 4 persons and to our surprise an extra queen size bed was provided and already put in place. No sleeping couch for the kids thus good service so far.
We asked for a spare key for each room so we could enter any of our rooms whenever we wanted. They told us to come back the next morning. Here we go was my first thought, the next morning, they told us to wait 20 minutes and then come back again. Again, by now you can guess my thoughts, but once more to our surprise, they had our keys ready. No extra charge was demanded. Again, good service.
We only received 4 towel cards and I went over to the reception again to get 2 more. I only spoke out the word towel and was given 4 more cards. Until now, all goes well.
Oh yes, it helps if you speak a little Spanish. I practiced some palabras before going and it helped but if you don’t, no problem, they speak more than expected English.
The next day we received a phone call from reception to hear if we had any requests or issues. Nice touch.

Rooms: We got rooms 0135 and 0136 which are located on the first floor somewhat in the middle of the resort which was perfect for us. Both rooms had 2 queen size beds put together and as mentioned before an extra queen size bed for the kids which after 2 days got broken and needed replacement. I heard someone from the staff in our corridor and I stopped him, asked to come in the room so I could show him the problem. The bed got replaced within the hour. My mother asked for an extra blanket and got it in less than 3 minutes.
For us, the beds are NOT too hard. I don’t know what beds all the complainers have at home but again, we liked the firm matrasses. A soft and a hard pillow are provided for each bed and an extra pillow was found in the closet.
AC worked fine but shuts down when you open the door to access the balcony. If you want it to keep going, bring a screwdriver and some tape so you can unscrew the magnet mounted on the door and tape it to the magnetic contact et voila.
As we read upfront and feared, we got musty smelling rooms also being a little bit humid. I thought that it wouldn’t be much of an issue but actually it was and when after an 11 day stay you take your pants out of the closet and there is mold on your leather belt and on the sleeves of my jacket, they do have a problem.
OK, it’s a humid environment but during a previous visit to another resort we didn’t have this problem.
Room key and safe key are oldschool but come on, who cares? If you fall over that… they are easier to find where ever you put them than an electronic card.
Some people wrote that furniture needs replacement, not in our rooms, I have seen far worse.
The couch was moist and had some staines but what do you want when people sit in it with their wet bathing suites putting on sun lotion and everything is already damp. It never gets the chance to dry up.
One night I woke up from a noise just outside our room. When fully awake, I heard someone tampering with the doorlock. I jumped out of my bed, opened the door rather in an aggressive way and asked what the problem was to achieve a surprise effect and get the advantage, if needed, on my side. You should of seen the faces on the other side. Two couples who probably had just arrived must have gotten the wrong key although my room number was written on the key. They apologized and went back to the reception. I didn’t mention it to reception or any other staff because we believed it to be an honest mistake. Anyway, it got my adrenaline moving.
Maids are very loud, shouting at each other from morning ‘till evening, but who spends the entire day in their room?

Resort: Nice and clean. Does it need to get updated? No way. If you don’t like the style or the looks of it, book another resort. Being in the internet era, anyone can do some research. The resort on it’s own isn’t too big. I would say just the right size. The adjoining RIU resorts make it perfect to make nice long walks. For me personally it was the nicest of all RIU’s there. The brand new RIU Bavaro is very nice as well.
The buffet restaurant is big enough to accommodate all visitors. We never had a problem getting a table for 6 people. I have been to Egypt where the restaurant had the same size but the resort was twice as wide and 5 times longer than this one. You can imagine what problems we had getting a table over there.

Food: We only went to the buffet at the lobby and at the beach. We didn’t make reservations for the à la carte restaurants or use the buffets at the other RIU’s because we were fine at ours. The food is actually, for our standards, good. Really, if someone complains they are either used to Michelin star resto’s or have no sense of reality.
For breakfast they have 11 (eleven) different kinds of cereal… so many choices of egg preparations, sausages, bread, fruit and so on and so on. Never in my life have I ever seen such a buffet.
Oh yes, please people, if you want to try some foods, take a little to start with and if you like it go and take some more. Don’t pile up your plates in a way the Egyptian pyramids or Mount Everest would be jealous of and after one bite put it all aside. Come on, people are starving of hunger over there. You can see the tears appear in the eyes of the staff when they have to throw away so much good food. I have been to the USA and in the many establishments were I had breakfast, they served the same food as here but less choice. Also, many girls and women dress up like a million dollar babe and for some reason are just not able to use cutlery. We have seen many of them put the salad on their fork using their fingers. Why not just grab the food with your hands and drop the attitude. Lunch and dinner mostly offered the same apart from some theme nights, which were nice. The only complaints here are that some foods were lukewarm but never cold and at the pasta bar, to my opinion, the pasta should be pre boiled to al dente. You can choose vegetables to be cooked with some pasta. First they cook the vegetables, then throw in some sauce and last the pasta for about 20 seconds. I don’t know about you folks but I don’t like uncooked pasta. These were the only faults we could find and trust me, I’m a picky eater. If I don’t like what I see, I don’t eat it. I didn’t like the different meats they served though always found something to my liking.
The food at the beach was more than ok. I especially liked the hamburgers. Well cooked and absolutely not dried out.

Pool, beach: The pool concerned me because in advance I feared it would be too small for the resort. I had nothing to fear. Pool is well maintained, very clean, nice water t°. If you want the best spots, you have to play the towel game. If you don’t you’ll still find space but a little bit further from the pool. We preferred the beach, always plenty of space even if you wanted shade or not. Never played the towel game and always found a satisfying spot. Vendors are selling their stuff but never got annoying, a friendly “no” and off they go. Drinks at the pool are not what I expected, could be better. Sand at the beach: I have seen cleaner beaches in the Carribean. It’s no ashtray but also, could be better. The sea tends to have waves when it gets windy. I have read that people complain about the see having waves… we loved it.

We did a few excursions with Wimpy. He’s a Belgian guy so for my fellow Belgian’s and the Dutch; if you want to have a nice time contact him: http://www.wimpypuntacana.com/ You won’t regret it.

If you tip the staff do it like this: put the money in the palm of your hand, shake their hand and slip the money to them during the handshake. If you leave it on the table, the supervisors will see it and they have to hand it over to them. Corruption over there is beyond believe but I won’t bother you with further details about that. If you tip them like I have explained they will go all the way for you. I really noticed the difference. Same way for maid and minibar service. First I left the money on the minibar for the maid. Money always got taken by the guy who fills up the minibar because he always comes first into the room.

Finally my biggest disappointment: Americans!!! They are very LOUD! I suspect they are all collective deaf. Always shouting at each other only standing a foot apart. They believe to possess etiquette but they don’t. During the final night of our stay they were constantly shouting, singing, putting on loud music for the entire block. I am very tolerant and people must have fun and have a good time but NOT during nighttime and early morning hours in the corridors. Families with kids try to sleep during night time. I got out off my bed, went into the corridor and gave it my best. They stopped for a while but were too drunk to realize what they were doing wrong so it all started again. I was so glad when in the early morning a staff member came along with some device that was so loud I had my revenge. I do believe in karma…
Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Americans. When I visit the USA I always have a blast and a wonderfull time. I always feel like I'm treated like a king int the States, but here in the RIU... an American guy actually came to me and apologized to me for the behaviour off his fellow country men and women and I didn't even act annoyed.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank druppel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2012

I just came back from travelling with a group of 23 included my husband and I and I can't think of very many complaints!

I will start with the wedding. It was amazing and pretty stress free! We had it directly on the beach. The chairs were set up with an aqua sash (my colours for the wedding) and they had palm arches down the aisle. We were married by a judge and it was in Spanish so the wedding coordinator was our translator. It was all done in about 10 minutes. Then for dinner we really wanted it to be on the beach and it was amazing! They had set up the tables in the sand on the beach again with my wedding colours and the centre pieces i had brought. The food was absolutely amazing I don't know if it was because we were down there for a few days that the food tasted that good or not but it was delicious! We had steak, lobster, Chicken, ribs and fish. It was a buffet style and we also had an assortment of vegetables, salads and potatoes. We also had a dj and a small dance floor on the beach. The Dj was great he had all the music my guests requested and he even got up and danced with us.

The only complaint I had was that the bathroom was kind of far from the dinner and that we had some wedding crashers drinking our limited reserve of beer but once we told the bartender he stop serving them. (Yes these are not a big deal but I really did not have anything negative to say)

The resort its self was very nice the grounds were well kept. The food was pretty good they had different things every night on the menu at the buffet. I usually stay away from the a la cartes because on vacation I don't like having to be told when I have to be some where and they are usually too rich for me. I heard mixed reviews from my guest about the different a la cartes but I heard that the steak house was good and the buffet at the Italian was good as well.

Well that is about it. Any brides looking to get married at the riu feel free to email me at Gilly_2222@hotmail.com to ask any questions as i felt that there wasn't too much information out there to ask questions about.

Oh and the wifi in the lobby and the lobby bar was very good. My husband was able to watch the jays game on my phone which made him very happy!

Room Tip: Choose a room facing the inside of the resort one of our guests had 3037 and it had a great view. If...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Gillian0623
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2012

The hotel is beautiful. The staff are all very polite and friendly. The grounds are beautiful also as well as the beach. Be a little cautious of slippery floors if it rains. If you are planning to relax and enjoy some time off work, some drinks and a wide variety of food (ate waaaay too much) and some great scenery, you will be very happy with this resort. Just a note to some of you grumpy travelers: If you are nice to people, say "thank you" or "gracias" once in a while, and tip the staff a little here and there, you will see that everyone is happy to help and greets you with a smile. If you are demanding and ungrateful you should probably stay home- this is the caribbean and its a vacation.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank McSun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BRUSSELS
Level Contributor
62 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2012

I unfortunately have to stay several times a year as cabin crew in this hotel or any of the neighbouring Riu hotels.
Loud rooms, nasty smelling, not always clean. Maids scream all day long through the corridors to communicate with each other. Cartwheels have no more rubber on them and over these tile floors they rattle from 7am till early evening.
The food is absolutely awful in the main restaurant which is more of a canteen with kitshy colonial interior. Service is slow and horrible. Just had lunch and a waitress came by with the table cloths for the evening... she dropped some while playing with other workers, picked them up and started using them on the tables! Need more stories?
And then the hotel set up: some much lost space with these fake fountains while everybody has to be squeezed around a pool that is way too small for the number of guests in this hotel.
And these are just a few examples. I absolutely hate the place!
If you want to go to Punta Cana, use these: Iberostar Bavaro, Iberostar Grand Bavaro, Paradisus Palma Real, Excellence or Sivory.

Room Tip: as close to the sea and viewing the fountains or the wing away from the other Riu hotels
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
3 Thank DFWJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2012

It was ok. The food was excellent but desert was where they needed help. Not much to do but lay on the beach all day and get bothered by locals trying to get $ from you by over pricing everything. If you stay more than 3-4 days you will drive yourself mad. If you want a cheap decent vacation that's all inclusive come here. The highlights apart from nosey people starring. The local girls and workers are good to look at.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Chu U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholasville, KY(suburb of Lexington)
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2012

A couple of my friends and I stayed at the newly opened Riu Palace Punta Cana in January 2012. It was a beautiful new facility and fun place to spend the week. The staff are very friendly and accommodating in every way to make your stay a pleasant experience. We booked our vacation through Delta Vacations which included a percentage off of massage and beauty services. This wasn't just a one-time "deal", but for each massage or hair cut, etc. I could use it over and over again. I thought that was VERY nice! There are several restaurants on site to choose from, but a reservation is required unless you are eating in the main dining room where the many buffet tables are located. If dining in a restaurant, one piece of advice is to go early in the morning to make your reservations as they fill up quickly. We loved the buffet in the main dining area as it had a huge variety of selectionss to choose from. The dining room staff offered fantastic service and were always available to offer refills on drinks and whatever else you needed. The weather was perfectly beautiful and the beach was clean and well kept. Unless you want to go on an excursion, there is no need to ever leave the resort. There are plenty of shops around the resort as well as some a short walk down the beach. Another nice feature is that there are other Riu properties adjoining the one where we stayed and we were at liberty to eat at their restaurants for breakfast and/or lunch and use their pools, if desired. One last thing, we felt very safe at this resort!

Room Tip: We stayed in a VIP suite which was conveniently located near the beach. This area also had its own...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Vacati0nGirl59
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 Punta Cana

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana - Dominican Republic, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#56 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#59 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#60 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#62 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 612
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Macao, Riu Palace Bavaro, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * 4-story building * Surrounded by 63,000 m2 / 75,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 40 km / 31 miles from Higuey * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Intl. Airport Accepted Credit Cards: MasterCard, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Punta Cana Riu Palace
Riu Palace Hotel Punta Cana

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