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“Hotel front desk was horrible!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
Ranked #74 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed August 1, 2012

This is the first time I stay here and i must say the front desk was the worst ever! They treat you like if you don't belong in their country. Karin the front dest clerk did not even greet us!
We had an issue with reservation and it took over 4 hours to resolve!No supervisor on staff and poor service skills. The hotel is nice & bartenders were good! But would not stay there again. Many other hotels to choose from.

Room Tip: none construction during stay
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank carlosm305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 31, 2012

I have never written a review before because quite frankly i never had to. usually if its one or two issues that go wrong on a trip i let it go. this was not the case, other then being there with a large group where we made our own fun it really was awful

The staff was rude, didnt speak english at all. Even the key people who took your dinner reservation or waiters couldnt communicate and asked you to point to what you want. The drinks are the bottom of all bottom shelf. the food is worst!

Rooms were musty hot and had a few roach encounters within our group...our friends are unpacking their luggage in the back yard just in case.

normally I dont stay at all inclusives because they tend to be like this but for sure will never be staying at Riu palace again

BRSS CREW

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank brugalb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2012

My husband, daughter and myself all spent 4 nights at the RIU Palace in Punta Cana July 25 - 29th. I don't really know where to begin as the whole experience was just too comical to be "mad" about. We just decided while we were sitting on our balcony the last morning looking over the beautifully manicured grounds that we need to be spending our vaca dollars in the USA!!

First morning we had to be at the airport at 4:30AM. When you work for a living and my husband owns his own business....we get up early every day so to start our vaca at 2:45AM was not a treat....but anyway...the flight was uneventful. Arrival in the DR was exactly what we expected, moved through the lines relatively quickly. Our Apple rep was waiting with all the info we needed and our bus to get to our hotel - Great!! Then we waited....and waited...and waited for everyone to get to the bus. The journey to the hotel began and we made SEVERAL stops along the way...with each stop we became concerned because the hotels did not look nice at all, you had to wind down long drives and everything looked very primative. About 45 minutes later we arrived at our hotel and it looked like something out of Saudi Arabia.....words cannot discribe the beauty! Check in was simple - very few words, very little English, but expected since we are in the Dominican Republic!

Fast forward to our room....very damp, very smelly and the maid was very proud that she had the extra bed already made up....sheet only with a small pillow for our 24 year old daughter. This was the only time she did anything for us without us asking multiple times. We only had two chairs on the balcony and two coffee cups in the bar area. There was no ice in the ice bucket (EVER the entire time we were there) We were 3 ADULTS in the room, but the room was setup for 2 ADULTS and a small child....anyway we made some calls for cups and chairs and went about our business of getting bathing suits on to head to lunch and then the beach....it only took two days to get a third cup and chair

The Food I'll discuss later....the Beach ... the most beautiful we've ever seen, and we've traveled to beaches all over the caribbean....hands down this beach beats them all!! Plenty of chairs and plenty of shade or sun, whichever you prefer! Drinky Drinky says the bar staff that wind through the chairs offering watered down cheap liquor with pepsi or sprite only....even when you ask for "diet" or "lite" pepsi you get a smile and "si" and they hand you PEPSI... ugghhhh!Beaches were the only PRO about this place, the CONS far out weight the pro's. Plenty to do on the beach .. it reminded us of the island excursion you get when you take a cruse and get off the boat for a couple hours ... but the activities were all day - set like clock work and with every activity someone from the hotel entertainment came around and asked WHY you don't want to participate .. that got old. We parasail and kayak and windsurf, but we don't play volleyball and dancing games.... and we don't want a message!!

The food,,,, where to begin. Fill up on breakfast because the rest of the food is just crap. This country really caters to the Euro's at the hotel or the Euro's don't have a very sophistocated palette past french fries and mushy food! Truly horrible food. The "specialty" restaurants - just say NO! Men have to wear long pants and sleeved shirts, which is no big deal, but it is the tropics and there is NO air conditioning!! My husband was such a good sport though, but he was melting - and the power went out twice during our meal and the service just kept coming, they were putting food on our plates that we couldn't see. I was not about to eat it until I could see it!! Speaking of the European's - RUDE!!! Without a doubt the most unfriendly individuals I have ever had to spend time around. They think they are so superior to everyone, with their fat stomachs and ugly yellow teeth, they are ugly inside and out....and I like everyone. To put it into one simple comment - the last night our daughter came back to the table from the 100 ft buffet line and on her plate was one small little brownie, she said with a sweet smile, "it's the only thing I think I can choak down at this point". She ate it and was done.

Excursions - we did only one, so i can only tell you about this one, we heard second hand about others and it seems like they are all about the same - Saona Island, just don't do it ($115 USD)... it is beautiful, but we were picked up at 7:15 in the morning and dropped at our hotel at 7:30PM that night.....the only drink (unless you bought or brought it yourself) was rum and coke or sprite. yes they had water in a construction orange ice chest (not bottled, just being poured into a cup) ....not about to drink it!!! It was a 4 hour ride to the boat - short speed boat ride to the island, lunch, drinking more rum and coke, sun sun and more sun....beggers on the beach to buy their stuff...enough already! Then we are put on a catamaran sail boat....no shade - more rum and coke - still no bottled water and the music begins .... blarring so loud you can't even talk to your family. Then the drunks start getting sick, but still drinking and dancing (or falling) all over the boat. We arrive back at the dock after an hour and half and we start the drive all over again .... only this time we stop to "shop" at a road side shop, what is suppose to be 20 minutes turns into 30 - 40 minutes, apparently people really wanted BARGAIN with the locals!! Seriously!! We just want to get back to the bad food and wet stinky room! Let us off this bus!! The hotel should tell you, you will be gone for 12 hours with little to hydration or food!

Leaving the hotel....not a word when we checked out, the guy never looked up as he passed a small piece of paper across the counter and grunted. This small piece of paper was needed when we got on the bus to make sure we didn't owe the hotel any money....good thing I didn't toss in the trash since there was no communication from the staff on what to do. They were done with us at that point.

Summation of the hotel...other than the facade of the building - nothing is worth staying here. As American's we tip on service provided ... a job done well is rewarded. These people want the tip up front and then they would decide if they were going to take care of you .. it was a crap shoot. We tipped well at the beginning of our stay and as we saw there was no service we decided to stop tipping and we were ignored...literally ignored!! I work to hard for my money to spend it in a place that doesnt care if I'm there or not.

So like I said at the beginning ... we will spend our American dollars in AMERICA!!! If you get bad service here, they at least understand you when you tell them your not happy!! GO USA!!

Room Tip: Dont stay at the RIU
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank klwinkles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2012

I want to start out by saying that I am a very go-with-the-flow kind of person, and hardly ever complain, but I really expected a "paradise" atmosphere at this resort, and did not get that at all. The airport: Very unorganized. We were amongst many people who were trying to get to their transfer locations, and we were sent to this man at a kiosk. We thought he was trying to help us find our transfer locale, but instead he was trying to sell us a timeshare. All we wanted was to get to our resort after a long flight, and coming into the hot airport.....our 1st impression of the island (I understand these people need money, but we did not like feeling hassled 24/7). When we got to the resort, we were given a room that smelled so incredibly bad of mold. Since we were staying for 6 nights, it would have been so unbearable to even sleep in there, so we went to the front desk to request another room. They gave us another room that still smelled bad of mold, but it was only a little bit better than the 1st one. At that point, we were so tired, that we just figured that all of the rooms smelled like that & just took it. We figured out that the bad mold smell was coming from the AC unit. The bed was soaked as was everything else in the room. Even the lampshades had black mold growing on them! This is very unacceptable for a 6 year old resort. Staying on the mold subject, we noticed that on the outside of the building, there were many big spots of black mold. When we entered the Japanese restaurant, the smell of mold was horrible. We looked up at the ceiling in that restaurant & there was a huge black mold stain-again, very unacceptable!! Now on to my next biggest complaint: The smoke in the lobby!!! There's nothing like having a smoke-free environment at home. When we wanted to get out of our moldy smelling room, and get some fresh air, or come in from the humidity from outside to get some fresh air, and feel cool, we stepped into the lobby (which was very beautiful), but it reeked of smoke!! Anywhere you went, you could not escape from the smokers!! Not to mention, the flies were annoying in the lobby, and at all of the restaurants. Also, the lobby's wi-fi did not work half the time, and many people were getting frustrated. The electricity went out a total of 6 times.....which it must happen quite often since the workers seemed to be very calm when this happened. Another complaint: The food. It's just not very good at all. Same choices all of the time. How do you mess up eggs? They were watery-scrambled eggs are supposed to be firm & scrambled, not a watery, cut in pieces omelette. At the steakhouse, we ordered the surf & turf: the steak was overcooked and the lobster was undercooked. Also, there are stray cats that wander this steakhouse day & night. Bizarre! The best restaurant in our opinion was the Italian. The shrimp & linguini dish was very good. That was the only restaurant worth eating at. Back to the room, I forgot to mention that they did not supply washcloths. I know that may sound minor, but it's very inconvenient to soap yourself up with only your hands. Not to mention, the shower pressure was bad, and so was the inconsistant water temperature: it went from hot to cold constantly. The beach: If you ever visited Bermuda's beaches, nothing compares to their beaches. We kept hearing how beautiful Punta Cana's beaches were, but were disappointed in the huge amount of bristly seaweed. Many times, we just wanted to go in to our ankles, but found it very uncomfortable due to the seaweed. Also, the people do not leave you alone on the beach. They are always coming up to you wanting to sell you things. Entertainment: The only show that was very entertaining was the Michael Jackson show. All of the other shows were just ok, and at times very corny. The animation staff were friendly, but we were getting very tired of seeing the same moves & songs in the beginning of each show.
Now, we have been on a few cruises before, so we are used to an "all-inclusive" atmosphere. We wanted to try something different, hoping that our experience was going to be similar to a cruise, and it definitely was not. It was a big let down, and you really do get more bang for your buck by going on a cruise. The trip was intended to be a relaxing, paradise-type setting, but we now know that we tried to make the best of it, but it was extremely hard to do so.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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8  Thank Brenda P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2012

We had a great experience with the level of service we had in there. We found when we arrived that the room wasn't exactly what we paid for ( nothing to do with the hotel but the travel agent) well, after talking for a while, Eugenio, the manager came up with a solution sying that he always put customer the heart. We are here right now and we are having a lovely time!

  • Stayed: July 2012
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4  Thank Vegamerodio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2012

just got back from this resort, one thing the Dominicans enjoy to do is to make you queue all the way through immigration, it took us an hour to get through.
Bad points first, we were moved from our original hotel without notification and only found out when we tried to check in. When we finally get our room, we found that it wasn't a family room ie 3 beds. Complained at reception and a man and maid arrived with a mattress which he promply put on the floor, I was abit perplexed but assumed that the bed/divan would be arriving soon no, second mattress placed on the first and then the maid started to make up the bed. Had to then go back to reception and have abit of a rant, bed duly arrived and we where set.

if you are a non smoker you will find it quite irritating if you want to eat outside of the buffet as smoking is allowed in this area, also upstairs in the cocktail lounge and sports bar can be quite smokey.

there is also building work on the next complex and quite a balconies will overlook this, we decided to stay put as most rooms don't have a sea view and we spent no time on the balcony, it was also quite interesting to see how quickly they throw these bildings up. Some people that we met did request change of rooms which was sorted after the weekend.

there also doesn't seem to be any pricing in the shop, seems to be what note is in your hand is the price you pay so take plenty of 1 dollar notes.

trips are extortionate, it was just shy of £400 for a family of 4 to go swimming with dolphins, parasailing was fun at 35 dollars.

cocktails where hit and miss, but only in the sense that some had too much alcohol in (never thought I'd say that), and the beer wasn't Presidente.

The pool wasn't the biggest and got quite warm in afternoon but the sea is only a 100 feet away.

food was good, plenty of variety only problem with the pre booked retaurants was the times, 6.30 was too early and 8.30 was too late because of the children but this is a personal thing. If you are a vegetarian I would expect you to be quite disappointed as everything was geared up as a meatfeast especially the Brazillian. No problem whatsoever with the service in the restaurants, there was 1 rude member of staff in the Italian but we had minimal contact and interaction, it was quite amusing to see that the Dominican had its own Basil Fawlty.

The good.
Grounds where well maintained and impressive to look at, loads of loungers round the pool, you do have to reserve if you want ringside seats but there where always empties.
The staff worked incredibly long hours and apparently long shift patterns. We did notice a decline in poolside service when the staff changed but it proved quite amusing watching the poor waiter trying to remember which drinks had been ordered by which person.
The music if there was any wasn't played at deafening levels, and was only on whilst poolside activities were on, the massive water balloon fight was good fun, coconuts always available and the beach party was a nice touch.
Wifi was available in the lobby but was quite hit and miss especially in an evening but this could have been due to number of users.
Service outside at night was excellent, as soon as your glass was nearly finished there was somebody round to take your order.
There was also lots of space and you never felt crowded in be it round the pool, in the lobby or n any of the restaurants.

All in all, a good holiday, a decent hotel, decent room after the inital teething troubles, the resort the hotel sits in is unfinished but the building work isn't obtrusive, the staff were mostly friendly and attentive but don't be expecting permanent smiles, evening entertainment was adequate. Would I go again? no.. but this is only because there are far too many places to see in the world. Did I have any complaints? again No.

Room Tip: ask for a room which doesn't overlook the building work on the nighbouring complex.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank briss0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2012

My trip was part of a wedding group (19 arrived the week earlier, I arrived the week after). After reading the reviews I thought I was prepared for anything this hotel could throw at me. Not on your Nelly.

You might be lucky and actually recieve the good service that everyone is talking about, however the service I recieved was so bad I am taking it further with Thomson, who I booked with.

The holiday was all inclusive for myself and my sister. It cost us for the week, just under £2000, which is the most I have EVER spent on a holiday. This was my first time going all inclusive, but second time for my sister.

Arrived at the airport to be picked up and the guide for the THOMSON bus, was from another company. Slightly off putting.

We were originally going to stay at the Riu Bambu but recent building works meant they offered everyone in the wedding party a free upgrade.

Arriving in our room we were disappointed to find out we were still facing a construction site. This was the reason we were moved from the Riu Bambu. Others in our party expressed the issues and trouble the had with moving and even just trying to move rooms so we did not ask to move rooms the first few days of our holiday.

On the first evening, however, the toilet overflowed twice and the shower room did not drain properly. I felt embarrassed to let my family into the room as it became known as the ‘maids quarters’ and the ‘disabled room’ as there were no separated areas and a wet room. There was also no room service booklet or TV remote. Others within our party had either a Jacuzzi or a bath/shower.

I went to reception and told them my issues. The man behind the desk told me someone would be along shortly. No one turned up.

Building works carried on throughout the night and during the day. I could not relax in my balcony as there was no privacy and the noise was deafening. My blinds had to remain closed during my entire stay.

I returned to the reception the next morning and was told again someone would be down shortly. No one came again. In the afternoon I spoke with out Thomson rep, ‘JJ’, and he seemed to understand and tried to deal with our problems. He spoke to the reception and assured me that everything would be sorted.

As I returned to the room that night none of the issues had been dealt with. I returned to reception who handed me a breakfast order form but nothing else.

At this point I gave up trying to get things sorted. I am supposedly on a 5* (Thomson rated) holiday, but have been dealt with better at hostels around the world.

Throughout the week the toilet continually overflowed and clogged up. My sister ended up going to reception to complain and was told someone would be there shortly. No one turned up again. Another guest had this issue and it was dealt with immediately.

On the Sunday our rep ‘Monica’ spoke to the reception to have our room changed at the earliest time. This was 1 pm the following day. I viewed the room and found no reason to move with only a few days remaining as there was no improvement in the room.

During the day we received maid service but were flummoxed to discover the maid was supposed to return in the evening and down turn the beds. We never received this or saw a maid near our door at night/evening. After I complained about this, the maid returned for one night, and never again.

On day four my aunt received the room service booklet destined for my room by a surly maid, but not in out room (0167) but her own (0146). How was this possible?

I cannot fault the serving staff, the food or the public areas. Elvis and Rafel in the Sports Bar are genuinly lovely guys who put up with our roudy lot and made us feel very welcome.

The internet in the lobby is turned off frequently and the price of the internet kiosks are over the top expensive. It does not matter if you go at any specific time of day/night/evening, either the internet works, or it won't. Very off putting.

Three times in the shop in the lobby I have been either overcharged or short changed with no apology. Service in the gift shop is horrible with customers having to wait for more than ten minutes for the employee (woman) to get off the phone or stop mesing around iwth the displays.

One night I needed the spare room key. It as around 5 am and the man behind the desk glanced for the keys then told me it was not there. At first I was fearful - did someone have our spare key? - but I asked him to heck in the back. He found the key. I returned both keys when I left as anyone would ask for any room key and receive the key. I did not feel safe. This was also the case for other individuals.

This holiday was supposedly (if we booked the Riu Palace initially) to cost around £1500 each. It was supposed to be Thomson 5* rated hotel. The rooms were worse than hotels I had stayed in, the reception could not deal with issues that were very important, many of the male grounds staff were sleazy and made us feel uncomfortable. I could not relax on this holiday and have not enjoyed myself. The reviews for this hotel and Thomson clearly have been written by Thomson staff or a long, long time ago. This hotel is no more a 3 star hotel that is all inclusive. I feel I have waisted all my money.

Others in the wedding party had their own issues and some were dealt with, others were not. It truley seems to be the luck of the draw. There was also frequent power cuts.

Room Tip: Ask for one on the opposite side of the construction. Ask for a safe key and lock as soon as you ge...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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Thank SerenKimbo
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

Address: Playa de 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 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
#62 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#63 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#67 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#67 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $226 - $462 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 612
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 24-hour All Inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana opens all year round and is located in holiday area Punta Cana on the Dominican Republic's eastern coast, it is part of RIU Resort with four sister hotels, is situated on the Playa Arena Gorda, which stretches for 26 km. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Punta Cana Airport PUJ (25 km) and El Cortecito (10 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 612 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa, or get in shape at the gym. 4 outdoor pools, 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment, as well as our Pacha discotheque. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main restaurant, Japanese, Brazilian, Italian, Fusion restaurants, as well as 5 bars. ... 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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