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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #38 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 April 2014

My husband and I enjoyed a week's visit to the Riu Palace Macao. This was our fifth time in the Dominican Republic, and our first visit to Riu. In comparison to the Excellence and the Grand Bahia Principe, we most likely will not return to this resort, however we did enjoy our stay.


We found the food at the breakfast and dinner buffet to be better than the restaurant dinners, so after a couple of restaurant tries, we decided to stick to the buffet. They have a huge selection to choose from, really something for everyone. This was the best buffet out of the three resorts we have visited. The lunch buffet outdoors was hit or miss. One drawback was that the outdoor eating areas allowed smoking. This resort was definitely smoker-friendly, however it would have been nice to ban smoking at the eating establishments.

Our room was clean, and had a decent view. I was a bit disappointed with the amenities, as we were not provided shampoo (which I had read about, and brought my own) nor were there any bath robes as we had at the two other resorts. Also, If you are one who needs a private bathroom, this is not a resort for you. There are large vents in the door, and glass tiles between the shower and the sleeping area. The refrigerator was always well-stocked, and the steward refilled with requests. The water bottles were gigantic, and awkward to carry around. We ended up saving empty Pepsi bottles from dinner to refill for the day.


The beach was by far the best our of the three resorts. There was never a lack of chairs, and the swimming area was large and safe for swimming. One drawback was that there were quite a few children on the beach... not that I don't love children, but at an adult only resort, the beach area should be child-free (and worry-free). The pools were nice, with a good selection of seating. I loved the fact that the beach chairs were covered by a retractable roof, so you could sit in the sun or shade. I did not like wearing an wristband, or having towel tickets. The Excellence did not require either.

The drinks were horrible at just about all of the bars at the Riu. The mojito I ordered literally had huge branches of mint twigs sticking out, and tasted mostly of soda. The martini's were thick and sweet, and the pina coladas and daquiris were made with cheap tequila, even upon second request, there was tequila. We ended up sticking mostly to Presidente beer for evening cocktails.

The nightly shows were entertaining, but don't expect any high quality productions. Simply attend for the culture and entertainment, and you will be delighted. However, the resort "late evening" entertainment on the veranda was often dull. A violin player one night (very good, however just about put me to sleep) and slow sultry singers. Some upbeat dance music would have hit the spot for my husband and I who rarely get an evening out to dance. Something in between the lively disco and the violin music would have been nice.

Being accustomed to casinos, I guess we assumed that a casino associated with the Riu hotel chain would be legitimate. We were greeted at the door upon entering the casino and given free chips to play a roulette game in the back corner. The game consisted of throwing marbles into holes with numbers. The numbers were added up and markers were placed on corresponding numbers on a table. There was a variety of ways to win chips. We started off winning small amounts quickly. We needed 50 points to win the jackpot, and quickly earned 49, like in a matter of 15 minutes. However, at that time the bet began to double. We soon realized that the man running the station was pocketing marbles so we could not score on the high points. However, at this point, we had already signed our wager form. After being taken into a back office, we felt pressure to pay, regardless of what we saw. We were in a foreign country, with bullies. What were we to do? The Riu should think about hiring an honest casino company. If you enjoy casinos, my advice is to go to the Hard Rock casino, a twenty dollar cab ride away.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank LPeggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 April 2014

My wife and I returned from a 14 night holiday at the Riu Palace Macao last week. The hotel is situated on a large Riu Resort complex that contains five hotels. We chose this hotel because it is adults only and I had read one or two critical reviews on tripadvisor before we went, but we found nothing that we could possibly criticise.
A couple of days before we left home, I had emailed the hotel to request an 'upper floor' room (to minimise the liklihood of ants, cockroaches, etc.). We were allocated a room on the third floor (top floor) with a balcony overlooking the Riu Bambu: that suited us very well as it proved to be very quiet. Upon check-in, we were given cards that could be exchanged for pool/beach towels and we were given sign in passwords for the free wi-fi that operates throughout the hotel without restriction. Our room was immaculately clean with plenty of storage space and a very high ceiling as we were on the top floor. There were plenty of electric sockets for charging gadgets and these would take either the U.S. flat pin adaptors or the European round pin adaptors. The in-room safe was complementary and easy to operate. The bathroom provided twin washbasins and an enormous shower (four feet by five!). I estimate that twelve people could have fitted in there together, but I was unable to find any willing volunteers!
The main buffet restaurant was very tastefully decorated, probably the nicest that we have found out of many AI hotels, and the choice of food was very wide ranging with four or five fish options, several meat options, a wide range of salads, vegetables, pastas and puddings. Sushi was a regular option also! We found the drinks service to be first class - I tend to drink a few glasses of wine with my meals and have found some hotels to be rather slow in replenishing your glass: however, in this hotel the staff would offer to top up my glass whenever it got half way down! We tried each of the four a la carte restaurants (Italian, Japanese, Steakhouse & Gourmet) during the first week and, while it was nice to have waiter service, my wife and I preferred the main "el patio" buffet restaurant.

Between the Macao and the Punta Cana is a Caribbean Street, with a number of small tourist shops that seem to be open every day. That street is also the venue for a street party every Thursday evening with live outdoor music for all Riu guests.

The pool area was very nice and we found no shortage of sunbeds, even though this was during the Easter break. However, as other reviewers have pointed out, the swim up bar tended to fill up with loud, friendly Americans in the afternoon. As it seemed to be very hot around the pools, we sometimes moved to use sun-beds on the beach where there always seemed to be a refreshing breeze. The bar service also operates on the beach and the staff are not looking for tips each time they serve you, although the occasional tip is much appreciated. I would advise that you take US dollars rather than local currency and reception are happy to break down larger denominations into single dollar bills!
Every member of staff and the entertainments team was friendly and gave excellent service. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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18  Thank TimC_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2014

This hotel is great! What a location beautiful beach, fantastic service, lovely staff, very clean and well kept hotel!!! But just not as grand as some of the riu palaces!
The only thing that wasn't great was the wine except from the sparkling wine ( champagne) But there was plenty of other types of alcohol to choose from!
There is no sports bar and no broadway productions! But apart from that this was a fantastic holiday! Thank you to all of the staff at the riu Macao keep up the very good work!

Room Tip: Just relax and enjoy!!
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank nicola c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

We went to the RUI April 16th-April 20th. Great Staff, very friendly. Couple of issues I would mention. First the alcohol is not the best nor the mixed drinks. Only El Presidente beer, only good if you are already drunk. Then there were kids everywhere on the beach and even in the resort late in the evening 11:00pm etc. Just average for the price. There are better resorts for less $$.

Room Tip: Get a room with a view of the ocean for sure.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Brad D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2014

Relaxing, well kept, very clean hotel. The beach is lovely, if a little busy at times with lots of people walking along the waters edge but this didn't bother us as their are plenty of sun beds away from the walkers.

The food was ok, nothing wow! we tried all the speciality restaurants more than once with the exception of the Japanese, the food was ok in here but I just didn't like the room it was served in. I felt in the speciality restaurants you were rushed, the food was ordered, served very quickly, they then served your coffee if you wanted coffee, with your desert not after. You then had to vacate your table. Nothing special, other than sitting down and being served compared to the buffet restaurant. The Krystal restaurant at lunch is lovely, but it is not advertised and was only open our first week, not second week. It is a sit down three course meal, which we didn't have to book into. When we left the reps said they would be opening the Krystal again soon at lunchtime, if you get the chance it's defiantly worth a visit, we actually preferred it at lunchtime than in the evening.
I liked certain parts of the breakfast, banana smoothies, pancakes, omelettes, bacon was not very crispy! And no sausages, if like me you like a traditional English breakfast your not going to get one here. But your not going to starve either!
Staff are the friendliest we have come across, very helpful didn't expect a tip every five minutes or ignore you at the bar if you didn't tip like in Mexico. You could tip the ones who you wanted too, which we did as they do earn very little wages.
The drinks we thought were good for an all inclusive, rose wine was a lot better than the white, the Mama Juan certainly hit the back of ones throat ......... The coffee bar is lovely but could do with more staff at busy times when raining (not that we experienced that much) and between four and six plus more stock of the lovely mini cobs, far more appealing than the white sandwiches in the fridge that everyone can help themselves too.
The Thomson reps are the nicest I have come across so friendly and helpful, they even have small supply sun cream, toiletries if you run out that have been left by other guests. Take lots of sun cream as you will need it, never used so much on a holiday before, if you buy it in the hotel or on Caribbean st. it is 40/50 dollars!
We didn't experience any money being taken from our room safe or hear of anyone having money taken from their safe during our stay. We did keep some money locked in our suitcases, as I had read reviews on tripadvisor before going which did unsettled us a bit but hopefully the hotel management have now addressed this.

Must say Dreamliner is very nice to travel such a long distance on ......

Room Tip: We stayed in room 3232, limited view of sea. Quite noisy from 5pm as on the side if the pool bar and...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank emnig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2014

This was a nice vacation at an AI. Very clean and has a very large area of beachfront that truly is adults only. Kids do not walk through pool area, etc as in some complexes. RIU complex is huge (approx 10 minute walk down beach before you reach next resort). The beaches in front of other RIU properties was significantly more crowded and this was with Macao being sold out for months before our arrival. Some staff were more friendly than others and premium liquors rationed (their Baileys substitute was kept in a drawer behind counter in cappuccino bar). Food and buffet was very good, but specialty restaurants really have no ambiance compared to major AI chains such as Sandals or Couples. To illustrate the lunch buffet at night was divided into two sides, one of which was the Italian restaurant and the other side was the Steak house. Japanese just a room with little decor. Several posts here mention eating lunch at the Krystal restaurant, but that wasn't an option this week perhaps because the resort was completely booked. Despite this no problem getting chairs at pool or beach. Room like picture was stark white, but clean. Personally I feel there are better AI choices out there for similar or slightly more $$, but definitely worth paying the extra.

Room Tip: Because of beautiful palm trees, not much of an ocean view available. Rooms very quiet. If you hap...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PhilAmyLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2014

After a very long journey including flight on the Dreamliner, it was well worth it. Wow. Check in was a little chaotic but once in the room, all was good. We had a standard room 3233, big had everything you would need. Bed very comfortable. Plentiful towels, replenished twice daily, although not necessary. Toiletries available but no shampoo. Tea and coffee in the room kettle a percolator but worked nonetheless.
Fridge full of drinks which was replenished daily, as were the optics. Food was very varied, and of a very high standard. Sampled all the restaurants I personally preferred the steak house, but to be fair the main restaurant was perfect.
Staff, well they couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.
Everywhere was beautifully clean, nothing was to much trouble. Entertainment team very good, not in your face. Plentiful loungers and towels, well In March.
We were out for my sons wedding, they definitely ensured their day was very special, everything was perfect.
Nothing negative to say at all.
Monica the thomson rep was probably one of the best and most helpful rep I have ever come across. We had a medical emergency and she was there for us, as was the hotel staff, they even loaned us bedding, towels.
Trips, went on the half day buggy trip & the Caribbean cruise, the latter was out of this world, would highly recommend.
A perfect 2 weeks spent with my lovely family and their friends on a paradise island. Thank you to all concerned.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
8  Thank E1OVO
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:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre 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
#32 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: £159 - £269 (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):
The Adults Only & 24 H All Inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Macao opens all year round and is located on the beautiful Playa Arena Gorda beach, in holiday area Punta Cana on the Dominican Republic's eastern coast. 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 364 comfortably 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, Water park "Splash Water World" . Day and evening entertainment, as well as our Pacha Discotheque. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our buffet restaurant, Japanese and Italian, Fusion, Culinary restaurant and Steakhouse, as well as 6 bars. ... 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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