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“My summer vacation”

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Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
Ranked #70 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed June 7, 2014

Visited hotel first week of June 2014. Went with best friend and old man. We stayed for 5 nights and 6 days.

***PROS:
Booked directly on hotels website. Paid cash upon arrival (same cost).
Safe key, Alcohol, soda, club soda, tonic and bottle water provided in all rooms.
Where given rooms that we requested right near each other.
Very large hotel. Has 3 floors. Rooms on both sides of large court yard. Large pool facing ocean. They have 3 hot tubs.
Hotel is right next to all RIU hotels. Nice paver walking trail between all RIU's. Gives you a chance to walk on their grounds and see the layout and you can walk on the entire beach without being cut off.
Beach was clean with plenty of palm trees that offered shade. Many women where bathing topless.
Plenty of beach chairs and although all RIU's where close together, beach was never crowded.
Many couples and friends, very few children however they offered children activities.
Two buffets in open air eating areas. Three restaurants, but MUST make a reservation to eat and all restaurants, they are located on first floor of hotel.
Hotel staff worked tirelessly. Serving, entertaining, front desk, bar attendants. All the staff appeared to be between the ages of 21-30yrs.

***Excursions: We booked ours with the hotel concierge which are located on the beach.
-Catamaran was fun. Two hours for $40 each including snorkeling in the ocean and party area where the water was waist high.
-Swimming with the Dolphins ($135 at Manati park) Non- swimmer paid ($35)
-Dolphin photo video cost ($45) for about 30 pictures
-Para sailing- fun pictures where taken about 64 shots for ($35)
-Full body massage for 1 hour cost ($70)
-Shopping at San Juan Market, free bus but all stores sold American items for high prices. Very few stores and has supermarket.

***CONS:
We knew after reading reviews to bring plenty of singles for tips, however, we felt like it was more EXPECTED than appreciated. Tipping someone for doing their job, hmmm. I don't get a tip for doing mine... However excellent service does merit a tip. So we tipped quite a bit.
There are some stores on the grounds to shop. However they where begging us to come in and wanted to negotiate prices depending on what you buy. Everywhere you shop was a PAIN.. constant begging to purchase. Also they charged double the price for everything. So I started dividing all the prices in half and negotiated from there. PAY WHAT YOU REALLY FEEL SOMETHING IS worth to YOU..
-Low end alcohol.. suggestion: bring your own or go somewhere else if you want top shelf.

COMMUNICATION: If you know some Spanish, you can get by. The staff try's to communicate in English, when they have to. Take a common phrase cheat sheet with you.
Their favorite words: (cheapy, cheapy) (looky, looky) (clappy, clappy).. LOL!!!

Finally, my girlfriend and I got sick after day 3.. started having loose stools. By the time I we reached home I had severe travelers diarrhea. Don't know what exactly caused it but, I drank about 3 pina colada's, used ice for my drinks in restaurants. Ate the same breakfast every morning and had fine dining for 3 nights.

My best advice: If you have a low acid stomach, start taking an antacid before you start eating and drinking to protect your stomach.

Overall, we had fun. Weather was wonderful, sunny and warm everyday. They played Latin music the entire time except about twice the played Beyonce.

Room Tip: I stayed on top floor which I enjoyed a quite sleep. Not facing the pool.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
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7  Thank avirtuouslady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 4, 2014

We had an absolutely wonderful time. This RIU is a bit older than some that I have stayed in though. They give you and actual key not a key card. You are also given a lock mechanism and a key to the safe. That is also dated. Not a problem though. Everything else was absolutely wonderful. The rooms were very clean and large. We stayed in room 3033 and it was very quiet. We did face the sister resort not the pool, but I didn't care. I was only in my room to sleep and get ready. If you want to see the sites, walk around. Don't complain about the view from the room. The service is excellent also. The do not by any means skimp on drinks. They give you lots of booze and it is every where (room, beach, etc.). We didn't want to be tied to a time for reservations at the restaurant, so we stuck with the buffet and it was very good. There was lots of different variety each night. Manuel was wonderful. Ask for him. You won't regret it. The beach here is extremely clean and the water is warm and refreshing. My husband and I swam in the water for the better part of the day. Don't listen to the negative reviews. Go with an open mind and enjoy your trip. I know we sure did!

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Izzy47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2014

First I should mention I have travelled to many 5 stars and I can tell you that this place is excellent by my standards (and definitely great for the price!) Not a 5 star but great bang for your buck. First time in the DR as I tend to travel on cruises (so I have become very picky) and we frequent the Mayan for an all inclusive every other year. After this vacation, no more cruises as we enjoyed the relaxing week at the beach!

Will we return? 100%
Does it need improvements? Sure but I am just being very picky

Pros:
Food is AMAZING at the buffets believe it or not! I mean surprisingly amazing. Tons of choices and very fresh and delicious! Fresh fruit and cheese all day...great rice and beans and stews and pasta bar was excellent!

Grounds are very nicely groomed and CLEAN!

Rooms are large

Service is outstanding! (we never ran into a rude person the whole week)

Beatiful stretch of beach in front of this hotel and not crowded at all (great for walking to see other resorts that are very crowded)

Weather was great all week (in the 40's)

Front desk was very accomodating and friendlty when we had an issue with our room

Drink service on the beach comes so often it amazed us (we saw them walking by and offering us drinks every 10-20 minutes saying "drinky drinky"

Great entertainment staff that didn't bother those that weren't interested

Pool bar was very happening if you like to sit in the pool (until 7pm nightly)

Cons:
Rooms can get musty because of the humid climate so pump the AC in your room when you're at the beach and lower it when you sleep so you dont get sick like many of us did

Alcohol was lacking (we enjoy premium alcohol so buy from duty free if you do too)
The sugar filled drinks in pretty glasses were gross and we could spot out the newcomers by looking at what they ordered. This place needs to serve fresh fruit daiquiris and a decent mojito. Wine was very nice.

No disco onsite but a Riu bus will take you to Pacha from your lobby (Riu disco) for free every 30 min or so and you pay $5 a drink. It was a lot of fun but I should mention the Riu entertainment staff was a bit shady and were waiting to get lucky with the Riu guests. It felt very creepy and a suggestion I would have is that only Rui guests should be patrons at the disco!

Rooms on the highest floor are quite nice and do not have any bugs (we found 2 roaches in our 2nd floor garden facing suite on day one and were quickly moved to the 4th floor Superior room the next morning and we didnt have any issues) IT HAPPENS IN THE CARIBBEAN

Back to the booze - they only have Ron Barcelo and Brugal rum and Slodjanka vodka and Presidente beer on tap. Mojitos were very inconsistent as usual.

Room Tip: high room bring your favourite booze adn TIP VERY WEEL
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  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank DiscoD27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2014

At the first glance this resort looks so majestic with it's huge fountains and pools but when u look closely you can see and the mold EVERYWHERE!! This cannot be healthy . We returned from a 2 weeks vacation in punta Cana and avoided to go back because of the mold . We have a 10 months old baby and didn't wanna expose him to that.

The food was good and the service was decent . We went last Christmas and they had a christmas dinner and a show about the birth of Jesus , it was very nice . The lobby was also very nice with wifi and wifi on the beach .

I would like to return to that resort once they update their rooms and take care of that mold

  • Stayed: December 2013
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4  Thank Nado1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2014

There we goods and bads about this resort. The goods were the trip advisor was outstanding!!! (funjet) The resturant and bar staff was incredible. Now the bad, We did not get the room we paid for. The view was of a roof and when we asked to change rooms the manager called us a liar and we had to take someone to our room to prove the view. Then finally after three days we were moved to a smaller room that at least had a view of the pool. When we booked we where told that their would be a honeymoon gift which there was not. We where also told that we would be upgraded to the honeymoon suite if avalible which we were not (and by the way their was one avalible because we met another couple that got updated to it 10 minutes after we checked but they gave a $100 tip. The food was not very good. We did our best to make things pleasnt by not staying in the room because the toliet kept overflowing and had a fowl smell. So no I would never recommend the RUI. When I tried calling to complain I kept getting put on hold. We have a large family (6 kids) and have been saving to take a family trip and needless to say the RUI will not be on our list!!!

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Mark H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2014

Lovely hotel for the Dominican Republic, so lets start off with the good. Great pool, big rooms, lovely garden and beaches, and excellent service. Had so much fun winding the days away in the sun or partying in the pool and meeting new people. I really enjoyed the shows and especially the carnival. The Sports bar and it's staff were awesome and is open 24 hours a day...they also have a refridgerator that you can get Fruit salad plates, sandwhiches and desserts our of anytime you choose. Now the poor part of our trip.
Got a room that the front desk told us was beautiful and had a garden view...what we got was a room facing a fence to a work area...with a broken toliet (completely broken with no seat) and a broken liquor dispenser. I went to front desk and the best I could do to change rooms and get a room closer to the pool I was told by WELLINGTON at the front desk I had to pay him $100 cash. I say his name as the resort will sometimes act like this is isolated experience by an ex employee...this happened to 3 people we met and prices ranged from $100-200 cash..I talked him down from $150. It did get me same exact room closer to pool and nothing broken other then the whole in the ceiling in bathroom and shower and the leak on the floor the whole time. The beds were hard as rocks but that seems to be the norm no matter where in D.R. you stay.
Be sure to bring at least $100 in ones as no one wants to give you change for tips. We went to the Pacha nightclub that was supposed to free alway has a special event going on so on a Wednesday night it was paid admission and nothing was going on. Weak, Weak, Weak..dont go.

Lets talk about food. I have stayed at other resorts and highly reccommend the specialty restaurants in leiu of the buffets but not here. I went to the Italian restaurant, The steakhouse, and the Japenese Steakhouse and all three were terrible and unedible. I took2 bites at italian and 3 at the Steakhouse. Pretty bad when buffet is the best!

Now lets talk about the $1000 resort credit that you are unable to use at the Riu Palace and have to high tail it over to one of sister resorts to use...you can only use it in small increments of $35 and under. I had to ask Vacationexpress representative three times about it and she acted pissed that I dare to ask and gave me to coupon sheets totally $100 if I would have used them, so I think its safe to say that the Resort credit is Bull!!!! Vacation Express rep was good for nothing other then trying to sell excursions and told us we must come to the desk the day before our departure to check the time we should be in the lobby to go to the airport in their book but LOW AND BEHOLD the book was missing. All and all we had fun but only because we worked hard to. I think my Punta Cana days are over. I hear the Rius in Mexico are nice but I will not stay in one again if I have to bribe my way into a room that works. How crooked third world is that.

Room Tip: we were told there were two types of room..the JR suite and the bigger rooms...but apparently you ca...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Mick D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2014

We were awed by the beauty of this location. You felt like you were in a palace! All of the staff went out of the way to make sure you had a pleasant stay. The only issue I heard of was some rooms had trouble getting internet ( not ours) we stayed on the right side of the building ( if you were looking at the front of the building). The place offered various activities that you could choose to participate in, there was plenty of choices to drink and you are able to walk right out to the beach.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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3  Thank Mary B
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
#44 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#59 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#61 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#64 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#65 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $190 - $480 (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):
* 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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