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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
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Reviews (4,314)
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Reviewed 25 June 2009

My wife and I stayed at RIU Punta Cana last summer for our honeymoon. We had a great time, to say the least! The pool was lovely, and it was nice having the beach just a short walk away. If you're looking for a vacationing spot for lounging around, Punta Cana is great for that. The service was excellent. As for the food, the buffet was very good and reliable. The restaurants were not the best, but we were surprised with the Japanese restaurant. We had read that the food there was terrible, but it ended up being our favorite. Room service is not worth the wait.

As for leisure activities, talk to the travel agent/specialist onsight at the resort (usually available in the lobb) before embarking on any journeys, like windsailing, snorkeling, horse back riding, etc. Companies will advertise on the beach and around the pool area, but at the time of our honeymoon, those groups were not insured. Our advisor "advised" us against going that route, and we set up all expeditions through her. We went snorkeling and horseback riding, which we enjoyed both very much, especially the horseback riding during the sunset. That was an amazing experience, and I highly recommend it. If you sign up for the horseback riding expedition, I recommend a massage the following day. You will be quite sore!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Teddyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2009

The bliss of your destination wedding and week-long vacation will truly boil down to your expectations and those of your guests. If you have high expectations of your wedding resort (even though it is a 2 star property and you paid next to nothing to be there) you are setting yourself up for a fall. Likewise, if you have lower expectations, paid little and understand that you are going to a foreign country, you may be pleasantly surprised. BUT, what if you have high expectations, because you have paid a lot to be there and the resort is advertised as a 5.5 star property and you arrive...and it's not? Then you will have the same issues I had....only it will not just be a vacation - it will be your Wedding Week and you will have 40 people with you, looking just as displeased. This is the case with the RIU Palace Macao.

Before I chose the RIU Palace Macao, I did extensive research. When you are inviting over 50 people to spend their money and fly with you internationally, you have to be sure that you are getting the best value for their dollar and for yours...especially in the midst of a recession. I contacted travel agents and spoke to those who had been to the Macao and was assured that the property was the 5.5 stars that it was rated in by Sunquest Vacations in Canada. They said it was. However, the traveller reviews on this site said otherwise...and so I started to grow worried. As you will see, the reviews are quite varied and making a decision on where to go for your vacation, much less your wedding is difficult. But in the end, we chose the Macao based on the stay-at-one, play-at-four deal: you can have full access to the other RIUs on the complex with the exception of the Palace Punta Cana for no extra charge. We thought that if guests got bored at the Macao, they could venture onto the other properties.

My wedding group of 40 stayed at the RIU Palace Macao from May14 - 21, 2009. In Canada, the Macao is rated a 5.5 star hotel available through Sunquest Vacations/ Thomas Cook Group. This is truly false advertising. The Macao is a 4 star property at best and Sunquest is aware of this. I was told upon return that it is one of the first Palaces that RIU built...so it is a 14 year old palace. The problem with this is that, if you have seen palace standard since, it has been upgraded significantly...and the Macao is no longer a palace. However, as the Sunquest rep. told us, they cannot downgrade the property...it is popular and one of their best sellers. So they advertise a property at a rating that no longer reflects the quality of the property. Strangely, in the USA, the Macao is (correctly) rated a4 star property...what a discrepancy.

All of this to say that we paid for 5.5 star tropical elegance for our destination wedding for ourselves and for our guests and we really did not get it.

The wedding coordinators are fabulous as everyone says and really do make your day memorable...it is the rest that is not quite what you expect.

They have two seatings for dinner - 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. They close at 8 pm to clean up, refresh the buffet and re-open to serve the later guests. It is nicer to be able to eat when you want, as you can at other resorts....because what if you are not hungry at 6:30 pm? You miss your dinner time and it can be a hassle to get a later seating. In truth, this is really not necessary. Other resorts clean up and refresh the buffet all through the night. It would have been nicer to have the choice to eat when hungry, especially when on vacation and the atmosphere is so relaxed. I think this is just specific to the Macao...we honeymooned at a RIU in Jamaica and this was not done.

If you ar concerned about your wedding meal, read on: your wedding dinner will be at one of the specialty restaurants. The only issue (and it is a big one) is that there is no special wedding dinner menu. The food is the same as it is every night. So if you or your guests have eaten at that specialty restaurant at any time during the course of the trip, they will have the same meal offered as your wedding dinner. Some of my group ate at our restaurant the night before....and had the same meal for our wedding dinner the next day. It would be nice if they could offer a special wedding menu...or just cook the chicken differently...so that it adds a bit of specialness to your reception dinner. Otherwise, it is common...the only difference is that you are eating it in your wedding gown.

The grounds are OK, but they are nothing special. This was my 12th all-inclusive, so I have been to many properties and can say this...you will know paradise when you see it. The Macao is pretty, but it is not beautiful...and choosing a pretty spot to vacation in and a beautiful location to get married in are not the same thing. This is a trip with greater significance.

Therefore, I cannot recommend the Macao to other brides unless: a.) you expect a 4 star property b.) you paid $1000 or under for 7 days c.) you just want a "pretty" place to get married in and d.) this is your first all-inclusive. I say this because if it is your first all-inclusive you will have nothing to compare it to and may not be disappointed. All of my guests had travelled before...so when we offered them a chance to see us married at a 5.5 star property, they were excited. They were not so excited when we arrived and they realized that their money could have taken them to much nicer places. As the bride, you will deal with your guests' experiences and reactions all week long.

I did not hate the Macao...I hated that I had chosen it for the special occasion that I had based on wrong information. My advice is to really research other resorts before choosing this one...even though they offer free weddings...and expect 4 star quality.

If you have not already discovered Best Destination Wedding as a website to talk and plan with other brides having destination weddings, I really recommend it at www.bestdestinationwedding.com. There are reviewsand tips and a place to scream if you need to...in the company of others planning the same thing.

The Macao just isn't what it is cracked up to be. The Palace Punta Cana is beautiful...but we were told that it is all aesthetics. The food quality and rooms are the same. They also have the same evening shows as the same performers travel between the 4 resorts.

Should you need any other info, feel free to send me a message.

  • Stayed: May 2009
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1  Thank SynceeGee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2009

hotel was nice little smelly but that was all around resort. If your in your seventies and like to think your something your so not this is the place for you.champagne more lambrini. Staff were nice although just going through the motions like robots. We went for two weeks one would have been more than enough.Niteclub very seedy dont go there.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank tommo9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2009

First moved into the RIU Naiboa next door to the Palace Macao. Was at the Naiboa two days and could not wait to upgrade next door to the Macao. Best move I mad that vacation week. Stayed for 5 days at the Palace Macao and we loved it. Stay away from the RIU Naiboa, it's a horror.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Kuota3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2009

Our second time to this wonderful hotel. Everything here is perfect from the friendliness and attentiveness of all the staff to the lovely food and the superb cleanliness of the room.
To our amazement we were given the same room as we had last year!. This was really lovely as it over looked Caribean Street. When it was Caribean night we were seranaded by the street bands whilst getting ready for our evening meal. It was truely magical.
The food here is awesome. Last year we did not try the a la carte reastaurants, but this year we did. Do not go here without dining at the Krystal. It is really wonderful and the food is as good as a first class restaurant. The staff are wonderfull. Please rememember they are poorly paid and will gratefully receive any tips you give.
Last year we were fortunate enough to meet two people who have now become our best friends. We met up with them again this year and our holiday was made even more fabulous because of the memories we all shared of this lovely place.
The beach is like being in paradise, and I don't know where we are now going to go to better this. What a problem!
110%
PS. All four of us are now members of the Antonito Fan Club. "I love my job"

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank holidaygill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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