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“Riu Palace Macao Refurbished, what to expect?”

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #43 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
41 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Riu Palace Macao Refurbished, what to expect?”
Reviewed 27 May 2014

First of all I would like to emphasize that this was our sixth visit to this hotel. Our last visit was in 2009 after which I stated that the hotel was outdated and needed to be refurbished. Now in May 2014 we returned to Palace Macao and found out that the management refurbished the hotel in a positive way without forgetting the old characteristics, which in fact made us feel at home again.
Reason for choosing this hotel is mainly based on the fact it is a compact hotel with approx 370 rooms which does not make you feel like being in a enormous building like Palace Bavaro next door or Palace Punta Cana 300 meters away.
Reading previous reviews I feel that people have a different mindset planning vacations in this hotel. Although mentioned as a five star rated hotel people with lots of travel experience should know that this in fact is four star in general. But why talk about stars for holiday resorts? For us the main thing is that we spend our holidays in an environment we can relax and find the time to do things we have not got the time for during the rest of the year. Reviewing hotels like this is mainly pointing at the positive points and making suggestions to improve points that could be better. Still we as Europeans and other country citizens spend our holidays in a developing country and it is not fair to expect Hilton, Sheraton etc. treatment.
Further to our holidays in Macao I would say that we spend 17 nights in the hotel from May 8 until May 25 and did not find anything to argue about. We had a room at the back site of the hotel at the 3rd floor with a huge round balcony that looked over the back entrance of the hotel. Indeed the room has changed from a dark colored to a white and bright looking room. Bathroom has been updated a lot with a walk in shower and 2 sinks. The room was really quiet, except when during the night at approx 2 am people left the discotheque shouting around the Carribean street. Of course this is not subject to hotel's responsibility, but partying people should pay more respect to the sleeping guests.
We are quite satisfied about the food offered in the various restaurants. Every morning we enjoyed breakfast at the terrace of the main restaurant and had lots of choices to enjoy. During these almost 3 weeks we visited all the a la carte restaurants without any booking problems in the early morning. Two times we had to book for the night after, but no problem for us. For us the Steakhouse was the best experience where we enjoyed one of the best Rib Eyes we ver took. Krystal is very nice because of its beautiful view over the ocean and food is really fusion like, but nor special. Kabuki (Japanse) and Volare (Italian) were ok.
The beach of this hotel is fabulous and offers enough beds in the morning. The beach in total provides the opportunity to make long walks as we did up to the Hard Rock Hotel about 4 km's away to the west. Heading to the Hard Rock Hotel area will even make you feel more in paradise as the beach there is far not as crowded as near the Riu Resorts Area. So I would recommend to do this.
Finally I would like to recommend sailing with one of the catamarans at the beach near Palace Macao at Scuba Caribe. This is nice to do and easy to learn. Please ask the service people to give you a lesson and enjoy the sailing. You can do this for one hour every day and it is included in the accommodation. Do not forget to take the insurance for eventual damage as boats could easily be damaged by big underwater rocks in the ocean!

Finally I would say that we renewed our experience to this beautiful site and resort and are looking forward to our next visit. Gracias por todos to all the staff at Riu Palace Macao for making this holiday unforgettable.

Room Tip: Room 3302 please have a look at my comments about discotheque
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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16 Thank gerrydehaas1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2014

I want to start off by saying, that we will most definitely be visiting this hotel again! Unless you are extremely fussy about the finer details and willing to pay much more then this is without a doubt the best holiday. The 8.5 hour flight is made much easier by the new Dreamliner and we landed feeling fresh and ready to go. Leaving Punta Cana airport is slightly confusing and we found ourselves leaving the wrong exit, being coaxed in by several private taxi drivers. Luckily we managed to find our way to the Thomson coach and then we were on our way! The transfer took some time as we were the second drop off but on arrival our first impression of the hotel was WOW! Nice refreshing drink on on arrival and a lovely welcome speech from the guys in reception. I do recommend emailing the hotel before arrival if you have any special requests, we did this and were lucky enough to get a free upgrade to a beautiful sea view room. In the evenings the entertainment started around 8pm, drinks topped up every 5 minutes, the staff could not do enough for you and treat every day as a new one. Everybody who worked there was very friendly and the entertainment team kept things going and treated you like friends. As for food we ate several times in the A la Carte restaurants (Krystal was our favourite closely followed by the steakhouse, although do avoid the Kabuki as we had to walk out half way through due to the food) however we did really like the buffet. There was a lot of choice, even for the fussiest of eaters. There is a huge choice of excursions available directly from the hotel, the best of which we found to be the Caribbean cruise (exclusive to Thomson). On the cruise you had unlimited rum, get to visit a desert island, hold a star fish and go snorkelling with beautiful fish. Our only complaint over the whole holiday would be the room service. After some excursions we were late for lunch so ordered some food which often arrived cold. The minibar in the room was not stocked up as they said it would be and we found ourselves asking for water at reception a number of times. However when we brought this to the hotels attention we had a fully stocked fridge within 5 minutes (so credit for that). The rooms were kept very clean and the view was out of this world. Despite what some silly reviews say, there are NO KIDS in this resort, the beach is obviously a public area and is the only place you will see children, absolutely none on the resort! As for the Thomson reps, they are very helpful and available at any time. Overall a fantastic holiday. very good value for money and we will almost certainly be visiting again.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
16 Thank Kyleaj1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elgin, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2014

I have never reviewed on TripAdvisor before but after reading Jet Set Scotty's review I felt that I had to hopefully reassure those who may have a holiday booked to this hotel.

I believe that my wife and I were at the hotel at that same time as in the earlier review but our recollections were totally different.

We have been staying at the RiU resort annually for the last nine years but this was the first visit to the Palace Macao. The hotel is indeed listed locally as a 5* and although you have to remember that this is a developing country, it does mainly deliver to european 4* standard.

Our room (a standard room on the 3rd floor) was a good size with two wing-back armchairs and the usual RIU all-inclusive mini-bar with spirits (rum, gordons gin, vetterano brandy and russian vodka) on optics attached to the wall. There are also ice-machines on the landings to fill the provided ice bucket. The bathroom has two sinks and a large walk-in wet area with standard shower head and rain-shower head.

The pool area is beautiful and a short walk (100m) through the palm trees to the beach. There is a larger pool, rectangular in shape so good for swimming lengths, that has tiled loungers big enough for two on ledges down both sides. The smaller pool houses the swim-up bar with tiled stools in the water to cool off when it gets too warm. This pool did get a little noisy on occasion but not to the point of spoiling the holiday. The beach is just stunning. You can walk for miles in total safety and we did every day. Please visit the flea market 20 mins down the beach and haggle with some of the locals. They, like everyone we met, were really friendly.

The entertainments team do make some nose around the pool area. There is a comprehensive program of 30 minute activities during the day starting with stretching at 10am with a break from 1230 until 1500. Yes, they do shout for volleyball etc. Jet Set Scotty, but only every 30 mins and people were taking part. If you want a holiday on your own, get a villa.

Apart from the swim-up bar, there is a chic pool bar for the occasions when you don't want to get wet whilst ordering your drink. There is a lobby bar as well and a patisserie for my wife's favourite, the iced coffee. If you enjoy US style sports bars, the RIU Bambu has a 24 hour air-conditioned sports bar next door if you want to chill. We would go there after dinner for a coffee and liqueur if we didn't fancy another Espresso Martini in the lobby bar

Now, the main reason I am writing the review. The food. As I said, my wife and I have stayed in RIU hotels in the Dominican nine times now and have never had problems with the food. We never drink the tap water but do you do need to drink plenty of the provided bottled water to prevent dehydration. My wife enjoys the roasts in the buffet restaurant and I am a fan of the grilled fish but there were lots of different stations from local dishes to traditional international choices. The desserts were the best I have seen at a RIU hotel and both my wife and I put on weight during the 2 week stay. The four À la carte restaurant options are Italian, Japanese, Steakhouse and Fusion (which is unusual but works). There was a complaint that it was difficult to book a table after 8am. I don't understand as although we couldn't always get a table for that night, you could book 3 days ahead and we just organised ourselves accordingly. We didn't see anyone tip the booking desk to get seats.

In summary, if you are holidaying here from the UK then the price you are paying for this hotel shows real value for money. If you have a holiday booked, you have nothing to worry about. If you are thinking about booking then go ahead, you should be pleasantly surprised.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
20 Thank Paul R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Stayed many times in Riu Palace hotels ,all with out exception were brilliant,so thought this would be the same'WRONG'knew it was an old hotel but the entrance had the what factor rather than the wow .The bedroom was very clean but seemed as if it belonged in a seaside b and b, old chest of drawers over painted to look new,it didnt, ok so you dont spend all day in you room but it still is all part of the holiday experience .Food ok,not brilliant but ok,never ask for bacon for breakfast after 8am because all you get from the surly cant really be bothered chefs is finished all gone although breakfast is served until 11am Dont bother going to Italian 'Volare' restaurant its an annex of the lunch time buffet restaurant zero atmosphere,we went one night sat down at 9pm ate our meal 'dreadful'out the door thank you very much goodnight 9.45, a lady near to our table asked if it was possible to change her wine as she didnt like it two waiters came over' it is good wine you should not need to change it' .Good old Riu Palace service didnt go to the 'Pancho' steakehouse as a group of Americans said it was rubbish .We heard that some people were going next door to Riu Bambu as there was a better choice there strange that as the Macau is supposed to be better hotel .Drinks next ,very poor choice of 'branded' spirits as against those at other Riu Palaces watered down cocktails by the pool and on the beach.This review has been negative from the start but the highlight has to be the beach'not much Riu can do about this' the beach is lovely with plenty of loungers and the service from the guys on the beach was the best we have ever had there were great .We were mistaken in believing that we could trust Riu to deliver what they promise Luxury in a Riu Palace hotel the trust has gone shame really because we have had some great holidays with them so its back to the Bahia Principe Ambar for us and you if youve got any sense

Room Tip: Dont stop here but if you do suites are only option
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Roger P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlisle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2014

My wife & I have just returned from a brillant hoilday What we got was more than we expected the hotel was clean and well run the bedding was changed daily the food was of a very high standard as most hotels the food can be a bit bland but not this one the food was very tasty and a good selection we stayed for two weeks and enjoyed every day The day time entertainment ( Alex & Jefferary And others ) got people to join in with their small games each day and thats what made every one become a big family good fun, if you did`nt want to join in then just sleep in the sun or walk the golden sandy beach etc etc, at night the entertainment was a little poor and could be improved but what was their was good the circus night was brillant and must be seen very good show, The drink at some hotels (All in ) can be poor but not this one a very good selection that can kick the right places all in all we stayed two weeks and could have stayed on people we talked to said the same they could have stayed another week one thing we did that I wish we never is we took domin money
folks just take US Dollers every thing is priced in US Dollers its much more easyer with us dollers
tip the waiters at the start of your meal and get the service not at the end when its to late same with the pool waiters they will look after you Folkes go and enjoy we did. / R & C Fell

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
9 Thank Bob F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2014

I may first start my review by stating that I stayed here for 3 weeks, and could not wait to come home!
Never before have I lost so much weight on holiday before.
The food was so bad we had to go to local supermarkets to get crisps and SURVIVAL food and so on and go on a 40 minuite bus ride to Pizza Hut because what was on offer is a joke!!
One decent meal I had was in the steakhouse yes one,
The only time we eat here because all the Americans bribe the booking man and get tables and ""0h shock fully booked at 8am in the morning even for the next day"
My room was mouldy photos to follow and smelly.
This holiday cost us £4500
And honestly would say its not even worth half of that.
Thomsons should be ashamed
Rui should be ashamed
They say you can use other hotels in the brochure, these are of lower standards as above so beware!
There is other bad points such as annoying entertainment staff who walk around the pool shouting volleyball a million times and doing a stupid dance EVERYDAY twice a day.
After day 10 it's awfull.
Please please don't read the 5*
Reviews you will be devestated when you arrive, they must all be on a different planet to me
5* never 3 * maybe just maybe if the food was better. Last word
Devestated by 3 weeks of unedable food, Devestated.
End of review!

  • Stayed May 2014
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Jetsetscotty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
stratfordupon avon Warks
Level Contributor
55 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2014

We had visited this hotel in 2008 and since then it has had a makeover.....and is much much better. We visited in March 2014 this time. The rooms are well decorated and although we had a room overlooking Caribbean Street which wasn't ideal and we were unable to change, even though we were returning guests, it was adequate. The only thing is that I wished there were a kettle in the room not just a coffee percolator, as I hate coffee and if the percolator was used just for water it still tasted of coffee!!
The restaurants were very good serving a wide variety of food and the themed restaurants were lovely too.....not a lot of menu choice but what was there was good.
The bars were clean bright and buzzing. Beware shots of Mama Juana at pool bar.....its LETHAL!!!
Waiter service slow at busy times, but you can get your own drinks from the bar with no problem...drink choice was excellent. The café offering all night snacks was a great addition except it served only food items from midnight until 8am.....would have loved to be able to get a cuppa if I woke early......in 2008 there was tea available from 5.30am......please bring that idea back again.
Entertainment was patchy and 90% was done by the resident entertainment crew.....some more outside acts would have been good.........shame they didn't use open air theatre more...only once during our stay.
Pool areas and beach to die for.......even waiter service on the beach......
All in all this was a clean, beautiful hotel with good food and drink and an idyllic setting. The couple of points I made could be easily addressed by management and make a great stay an exceptional one. We will certainly return.....

Room Tip: Ask for a room NOT overlooking Caribbean Street.......not a great view
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank nikita1961
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

Property: 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
#35 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Macao 4*
Number of rooms: 364
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana. * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. * Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Bavaro, Riu Naiboa and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu. * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * 3-storey building. Colonial style architecture. * Surrounded by 30,000 m2 / 36,000 sq. yards of palm groves alongside the beach. 50 km / 31 miles from Higey. 200 m / 660 ft. from Caribbean Street. 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int'l. Airport. * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... 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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