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.
- 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