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“Great experience”

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Ranked #44 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 August 2014

I have been meaning to post this review for months so I apologize for it being late. We stayed at the Macao in March of 2014. It was our first time in the PC and at an AI. We traveled with another couple.

Airport: We had a direct flight from Pittsburgh through Apple. Using the advice from the forums, we sailed through the airport and were on the bus to the resort within 25 minutes. The ride to the resort took about 30 minutes with stops. Effortless! We were at our resort by noon.

Check-in: No problems. Our room was not ready so they took all our bags to our friends' room since it was ready (rooms were side by side) so we could change and go to the pool/beach and grab a bite to eat. They promised to move our luggage over within the half hour. We were relaxing poolside in minutes.

Rooms: We had a superior pool view room. We were able to see clear out to the ocean. The room was spotless and cleaned well each day. Towels were plentiful and fridge was restocked each day. We left a note if we needed anything and our requests were always granted. Thank you Google translate. Please note that the AC and fridge work only when the light switch was left in the on position. There was no musty smell in the room. A good number of hangers were provided and there was a nice drying rack on the balcony. This made refreshing suits and clothes easy. WiFi works best on the balcony or at the pool but that can be a common issue with buildings with several floors.

Pool: Both pools are lovely and clean. We loved that you had no problems finding shade or sun. The pool bar got a little rowdy in the afternoon as there was a large group celebrating a wedding but it was fun to watch. There was a bit of a towel game in regards to saving loungers but we are all early risers but it would be an issue if you slept late. We were also there in peak season. We did notice that the drinks were typically better at the bar behind the pool as opposed to the one in the actual pool. And the drinks in the actual lounge bar were the best.

Beach: AMAZING! We did not find the water rough but we are used to the Carolina coast. The sand was super soft and there are plenty of loungers and shade. There is not a beach bar but there was service. The pool bar was also close.

Food/drinks: We were pleased with the food and the alcohol. The buffet had a good variety for dinner. Breakfast was fantastic. The lunch buffet is okay and the pizza and burgers were quite good. The coffee bar is wonderful. We had coffee drinks each night after dinner.

Entertainment/Staff: The entertainment staff works extremely hard. Brenda was great. Fortunately we did eat an early dinner because by 730 the lounge area gets crowded and seating can become difficult to find. They do need to do something about the inside room they use for some of the evening shows. Very musty. VERY. We called it the stinky room.

All in all we had a great trip. We would definitely return in a few years. We are traveling to PC again this coming March but will have a 15 yo with us so an AO is out of the question.

Room Tip: Superior rooms with pool view are worth it. We were directly above the lounge and had no problems w...
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank pctrav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 August 2014

We recently returned from a 7 night stay at the Riu Palace Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The Macao has been renovated and we thoroughly enjoyed our adults only all-inclusive vacation. Our room was spacious and included a private balcony overlooking the pool and the beach. The walk-in shower was huge and a much needed improvement. The food at the Macao is nothing special, but we didn't travel to the Dominican for the food. We went for the beach! The ocean was lovely; it was that amazing green blue you see on photographs. The beach has plenty of beautiful palm trees for much needed shade in July. We enjoyed the entertainment and games during the day and in the evening. They are geared for an older crowd and there isn't much night life. Pool bar service is excellent and it is certainly fun to drink a coco loco from a coconut. Our massages on the beach were wonderful and a great way to celebrate our anniversary!

Gary Goldstein at Pan World York PA is an excellent travel advisor. Thank you for booking numerous vacations for us, including recommending destinations and suggesting changes in schedule to take advantage of a pricing discount. We always enjoy the "special" park, sleep, and fly arrangements at BWI. We appreciate his personal touch and caring, especially when we needed to return home unexpectedly due to a family tragedy.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Janet S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2014

First time in Punta Cana and it was great. The hotel is modern and nicely appointed. The RIU macao is the adults only RIU property so it makes it very serene. No screaming kids running around which is fantastic! Perfect place to just relax. It has two great pools- one with a swim up bar. We never had an issue finding a chair or a bed by the pool to lay out eventhough the hotel was completely sold out. The staff is very nice and attentive. One of my few complaints is that they under staff the waiters by the outskirts of the pool so it takes an eternity to get a drink once they take your order. During the day they have a dj by the pool, which keeps the energy alive. The staff goes around asking you to join in their activities, but are not pushy about it. If you are into water sports, you can just walk along the beach and you will find several operators offering everything such as snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, and other boating activities. The room is very spacious as well as the bathroom. They have this towel arrangement of two swans which form a heart in the bathroom when you first check in which i found to be a sweet touch. The room is set up to not have privacy. LOL. the wall that divides the shower and the room is made of block glass so you basically give a peep show everytime you shower. The food here was good. The breakfast buffet is HUGE. Has different stations for everything you can think of (I'm a big breakfast person). One huge plus is that there is wifi through the entire hotel and never had an issue with the connection.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Katherine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2014

There were a mixed age of guests here but I will admit there were a lot of older guests than at other resorts I have been to. That being said, I am in mid 50's. If you are looking for night life this isn't the place to go; however, it was very relaxing and laid back. On both check in and check out I found the front desk staff to be very unhelpful. However, the remainder of the staff was always very helpful and pleasant. Our room was very nice - AC was comfortable and always had plenty of fresh towels. The food was only so/so compared to other all inclusives I have been to. Yes, there was plenty of food to pick from but the majority of it was fried and overcooked. At times the lunch food seemed to be left over from the night before. We both got sick and I believe it was from the food, not the water as we did not drink any water from the room (there is a sign at the sink telling you not to) and even didn't drink water at meals. The "snack"/coffee room was open 24 hrs but very disappointing. The basically had containers of fresh fruit and sandwiches where were 90% bread w/one slice of cheese and/or meat, some nacho chips w/cheese and depending on time of day behind the counter they had little sandwiches or desserts.
Beach - This was my biggest disappointment, but on a personal level. The beach with all the palm trees was beautiful. However, I would have preferred if the water was a bit more calm. At times the waves were a bit much. And there was a lot of seaweed, both in the water and along the beach. There were plenty of lounge chairs and with all the palm trees there was plenty of shade. Bar staff would even come around and take drink orders which was nice (both at beach and pools)
Pools - When the pool with swim-up bar got crowded, we would just switch to the other pool. Water in both pools was like bath water but then I like that and what can you expect with temps in the 90s and humid all the time. Plenty of lounge chairs around the pool.
WIFI - While I couldn't get it to work in the room or the enclosed interior areas, I had very good WIFI both on our balcony and everywhere else on the resort. I thought free WIFI was a definate plus as even a lot of the upper end resorts do not provide such a service.
We enjoyed ourselves but I would not return to this resort.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank love2read59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

I am 31 and i traveled with a group of single friends that were ages 26 to 30. This place is mellow and boring. Only Old people should stay at this resort. The property rooms and beach are beautiful but the resort is too restrictive for young ppl.... the pool closes at 6; you have to make a reservation for EVERYTHING a whole day in advance including specialty restaraunts and the included water sports. THIS VACATION SPOT CATERS TO THE 50 AND OVER CREW. THE food and bar drinks was disgusting and limited as compared to the other RUI properties on site.... the wifi was patchy and all around slow and unresponsive in some areas. if you are young and wanna have fun check out the RUI Palace Punta Cana..... we ate there everyday.... management gave us a band to eat there because complained how bored we were..... Palace Punta cana had bigger menu seelectilons and a live pool party everyday

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank wakiki27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

We have just returned from a fabulous 2 week stay at this Hotel. We booked the holiday to celebrate our 50th Birthdays; we wanted somewhere special and different to our usual holidays, and we weren't disappointed.
The view which greets you upon arrival at the hotel is breathtaking, the reception staff were friendly and helpful, all bags were taken to your room. The service from all staff from arrival to departure could not be faulted. All staff work extremely hard, always speak and serve with a smile on their faces - 'excellente' was the word of the holiday.
There is plenty to do if you want to join in with the daily activities or just relax and watch others take part, which can be very entertaining! The entertainment team work very hard all day and night, but do not force anyone to take part if they don't want to. There's lots of Mamajuana to be won (their special rum!) Special mention for entertainment team member Alex.
Water activities - try a catamaran lesson, good fun, kayaks great too.
Pools - these were always very clean with the water being constantly tested. No need to reserve sunbeds as there are plenty. Waiter service around the pool and beach. Very easy to find a quiet spot on the beach.
Room - we had a 3rd floor side sea view next to Carribean Street, very nice and didn't find it noisy.
Food - you won't go hungry, 5 restaurants to pick from - the main buffet and the Italian, Japenese, Krystal and Steakhouse, which have to be booked each morning. We tried them all, some better than others, depending on your taste, but all good quality food. The main buffet has so much choice even for a vegetarian like myself.
Excursions - we booked the Thompsons Dolphin Explorer trip, middle priced package, quite expensive but well worth it, I have always wanted to do this and wasn't disappointed, it was amazing. The swim is photographed and filmed by a photographer, this is expensive, but we have a great CD and DVD from it to look back on, however you are not pressured into buying these.

Also booked the Saona Island Carribean Cruise, this included a speedboat ride, snorkelling, brunch on the boat, endless rum and beer, swim in a natural pool with starfish and fresh lobster and meat lunch with more wine and rum on Saona Island. 3 hours to spend on the island to walk along the hot white sands, swing in the hammocks from the palm trees or swim in the carribean sea before returning to dry land by speedboat then catamaran - idyllic and well worth it.
The only reason we would not rate this a 5 star is because of the fact that smoking is allowed everywhere except the main restaurant. This and the fact that there were some very loud selfish guests during our first week, fortunately the second was quieter.
Evenings - varied entertainment provided every night, but if you want peace and quiet, take your drink and sit by the pool or on a sunbed on the beach, so peaceful and much cooler with the sea breeze.
Overall, would certainly recommend it and would return.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the top floor with a side sea view, we had room 3317, it's quieter as it's...
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Jillian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

We visited during 9th July to 23rd July and absolutely loved it here, the few poor reviews we have read we feel are totally unfounded, yes there were a couple of things that could have been better but don't you get that everywhere? This might be a bit long winded but I want to give this a review bit by bit as I think it deserves that.....

So check in was quick and easy, staff were helpful and spoke perfect English. Our room was lovely, slightly damp smell which we thought was more of a mop smell than the smell of the room but it wasn't bad enough to complain about. Our air conditioning was ice cold and one of the best we have ever encountered anywhere, ideal when coming in form the intense heat and humidity of outside. Our towels were changed twice a day and our bed was turned down every night. For me the bed was far too hard and I found it uncomfortable, however my husband loved it, so that's a subjective opinion right there!

The pool area was beautiful, we recommend the shaded area under the awnings. There was never a shortage of beds or shaded areas, there is also an option to sit under the palm trees on the beach which we did a couple of times and it was wonderful. The pool itself was coolest in the morning, we didn't use it in the afternoon and opted for the sea as it was simply too warm, it was like getting into a hot bath at times.

The sea was lovely. It was mostly clear and that amazing greeny blue you see on picture postcards, the afternoon sometimes bought the seaweed in but we went in nonetheless. The beach is lined with beautiful palms and it's nice and breezy so again a welcome break from the heat by the pool.

The food.....well what can I say? It was amazing, plentiful and varied with something for everyone. I am an extremely fussy eater and found something at every meal, our recommendation would be to sit in the raised area down by the desserts, it was quieter here and away from the hustle and bustle of the main seating area. The waiters here are very attentive and remembered our "Champagne" as they called it every night. It was actually Cava but was very pleasant all the same and made a nice change from the usual offerings at all inclusive hotels.

Definitely utilise the coffee shop, we had coffee here as often as we could as it was so nice. They have a menu with many different coffees listed an the iced coffee was perfect when we came up from the beach each day. We can also recommend the little chocolate donuts and the also the finger sandwiches which are offered at no extra cost.

Animation team....one of the best we have encountered. We always stay in Riu hotels and usually the animation teams are a bit half hearted but the guys here are awesome! Particular mentions for Brenda and Alex who where the most enthusiastic pair, they made a point of speaking to us everyday and even noticed when weren't there one day. When they asked if we wanted to join in with activities and we declined they were fine about it and wished us a good day, they didn't take offence in the slightest. The whole team made a great effort to get everyone involved. There was a beach party each Saturday and paella making in the beach on Sundays. Definitely go to the beach party, you'll get a fresh coconut with the top sliced off in front of you and then topped up with rum, they are amazing. There is also finger food ranging from prawns, chicken, squid and others bits and bobs.

We had a lovely the time here and enjoyed every minute.

A couple of bewares.....

Grounds staff offering coconuts - most afternoons, at around 4ish the grounds staff come round with wheelbarrows full of coconuts offering them to you with or without rum. Despite having it drummed into us that everything there was FREE during check in (I think Leo said it about 5 times actually) you WILL be expected to pay for them, anything from $1 to $5 each, and they do get a bit cross if you say you don't have any money with you.

The humidity - during the time we stayed the humidity at night was sometimes unbearable.

American Guests - with meaning offence they were very loud and sadly took over the pool bar in the afternoons, it sounded like a holiday camp sometimes which for us was disappointing.

Airport - the most horrific check in and baggage collection experience ever. After a long flight we weren't expecting to have to queue for an hour to get tourist cards, then queue again for 40 minutes to check in and then wait another hour for our baggage.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank Carlym666
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
#35 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: £136 - £328 (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):
* 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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