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Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
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Reviews (5,351)
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2,165
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All reviewsdon manuelmusty smellla bodegaspecialty restaurantssports barpalm treeskrystal restaurantcaribbean streetdominican republicmake reservationsother resortssteakbeautiful beachplenty of chairsthe wait staffmain buffetoutback safari
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1,563 - 1,568 of 5,351 reviews
Reviewed 2 June 2014

Lovely hotel for the Dominican Republic, so lets start off with the good. Great pool, big rooms, lovely garden and beaches, and excellent service. Had so much fun winding the days away in the sun or partying in the pool and meeting new people. I really enjoyed the shows and especially the carnival. The Sports bar and it's staff were awesome and is open 24 hours a day...they also have a refridgerator that you can get Fruit salad plates, sandwhiches and desserts our of anytime you choose. Now the poor part of our trip.
Got a room that the front desk told us was beautiful and had a garden view...what we got was a room facing a fence to a work area...with a broken toliet (completely broken with no seat) and a broken liquor dispenser. I went to front desk and the best I could do to change rooms and get a room closer to the pool I was told by WELLINGTON at the front desk I had to pay him $100 cash. I say his name as the resort will sometimes act like this is isolated experience by an ex employee...this happened to 3 people we met and prices ranged from $100-200 cash..I talked him down from $150. It did get me same exact room closer to pool and nothing broken other then the whole in the ceiling in bathroom and shower and the leak on the floor the whole time. The beds were hard as rocks but that seems to be the norm no matter where in D.R. you stay.
Be sure to bring at least $100 in ones as no one wants to give you change for tips. We went to the Pacha nightclub that was supposed to free alway has a special event going on so on a Wednesday night it was paid admission and nothing was going on. Weak, Weak, Weak..dont go.

Lets talk about food. I have stayed at other resorts and highly reccommend the specialty restaurants in leiu of the buffets but not here. I went to the Italian restaurant, The steakhouse, and the Japenese Steakhouse and all three were terrible and unedible. I took2 bites at italian and 3 at the Steakhouse. Pretty bad when buffet is the best!

Now lets talk about the $1000 resort credit that you are unable to use at the Riu Palace and have to high tail it over to one of sister resorts to use...you can only use it in small increments of $35 and under. I had to ask Vacationexpress representative three times about it and she acted pissed that I dare to ask and gave me to coupon sheets totally $100 if I would have used them, so I think its safe to say that the Resort credit is Bull!!!! Vacation Express rep was good for nothing other then trying to sell excursions and told us we must come to the desk the day before our departure to check the time we should be in the lobby to go to the airport in their book but LOW AND BEHOLD the book was missing. All and all we had fun but only because we worked hard to. I think my Punta Cana days are over. I hear the Rius in Mexico are nice but I will not stay in one again if I have to bribe my way into a room that works. How crooked third world is that.

Room Tip: we were told there were two types of room..the JR suite and the bigger rooms...but apparently you can get same room in a nicer area of hotel if you pay cash to front desk.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Mick D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2014

We were awed by the beauty of this location. You felt like you were in a palace! All of the staff went out of the way to make sure you had a pleasant stay. The only issue I heard of was some rooms had trouble getting internet ( not ours) we stayed on the right side of the building ( if you were looking at the front of the building). The place offered various activities that you could choose to participate in, there was plenty of choices to drink and you are able to walk right out to the beach.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Mary B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We just returned from a week stay at the Riu Palace Punta Cana. We booked through Expedia and everything went smoothly. We were checked in quickly and were given a brief orientation. Since we arrived early, our room wasn't ready. We ate lunch at the buffet. We returned to the front desk and were given keys to our room. It was ready several hours before official check in. There are no magnetic key cards and you receive two keys (door / safe). It is attached to a very large plastic key ring. You may want to bring your own key ring to save space. We were then led to our room by the bellhop, who explained the amenities. He mentioned the beverage service includes a bottle of wine, but you need to request it from room service.

The room was located closer to the restaurants, lobby, sports bar and buffet, but far from the beach. This hotel has two main buildings that run adjacent or across from each other, with one end near the pool and the other closer to the facilities. There are really no ocean view rooms as the position of the buildings do not face the beach. We called and inquired about being moved closer to the beach and we were moved to a different room with no problem. After moving to our new room, we were surprised when room service delivered a bottle of wine. Apparently the bellhop had taken it upon himself to request it when we had mentioned we wanted wine. This is what i call great service.

We then took a tour of the grounds and everything was easy to find. All of the six restaurants, except for the steakhouse, are located in the same courtyard area. The steakhouse is located near the pool. Reserving at any restaurant was easy and you can eat at a different restaurant every day. They only accept reservations for two days in advance, so you will have to return two days later to reserve your next two. Reservations can be made each morning at Luigi's restaurant. We had dinner at the Bodega. They had a very small buffet area with soup and salad. The main meal consisted of various meats like chicken, steak, pork chop, sausage, etc being taken to your table. If you are a meat lover, this is great. We found the meats to be overcooked and kind of rough. If not for this, our meal would have been great. We also ate at the steakhouse. It was very good. Their lobster was small with not enough meat. It was definitely not a Maine Lobster. Despite this, the rest of the meal and service was very good. We did not eat at the other restaurants as we did not find the menu items to our liking. That is not to say they weren't good, but we found the buffet to have more than enough items to meet our needs. At the buffet, if you sit in the same area, you will be served by the same person. We did this and our waitress got to know our needs. I tipped her several dollars each night at dinner for her service. While tipping is not necessary, I don't understand people who have a problem giving a few dollars to workers who are living in real poverty. In all but the steak restaurant, males aren't permitted to wear shorts or tank tops. There is a limited room service menu located in the room.

The Riu complex is a series of hotels next to each other. As a guest at the Palace, you are able to use the facilities at the Bambu and Naiboa, including bars and buffets (not dinner). We visited the Riu Macao and Bavaro and used their pools, but could not get drinks. We checked the Bavaro restaurants. They had the same exact menu as the palace. There is a cobblestone path at the end of the beach that leads to each resort.

The palace has a good gym with treadmills and steppers. There is a 2nd gym at Caribbean Street with free weights, but the equipment is rusted. There is a disco located across the casino open till 4 am. Entry is free, but drinks must be purchased. If you don't want to walk to the disco or casino, there is a free shuttle that will drop you off at the casino. There is also a very nice pool bar located at the Naiboa. It has a view of the pool and tables to sit at. The ambiance was very good and the drinks and service was awesome.

The main attraction is the beach, which is beautiful. We never had a problem finding chairs, but there are not many shaded areas and no canopies to hide under, so bring sunscreen. Bar staff provide service at the beach, but we found it quicker to get the drinks ourselves. We had our own large insulated cups which they gladly filled. The bars have a menu listing the various drinks they offer. Chairs were a little harder to find by the pool, but you could always find one nearer the 2nd or 3rd row from the front.

Our room had daily beverage service which consisted of water, beer and sodas stocked in the refrigerator. I would leave several dollars every other day and our fridge was always stocked. A coffee machine is provided and there is also an automated liquor station with four bottles that you could use freely. The balcony had a built in rack to hang or dry clothes. The room was always extremely clean and everything worked well. There is an lcd tv, but it is not connected to hd. To our surprise, there was daily turn down service each night. We didn't see any insects or bugs and there is no need for repellent. We received a call several days into our vacation to inquire how everything was going and if the hotel could do anything to make our stay better. This was very nice. Having been to Punta Cana before, we were very surprised that no timeshare solicitation, or offers of free gifts to get you to attend one was ever attempted. We were glad this was the case.

In regards to the entertainment, there are nightly shows, the sports bar, and disco. Every night we walked to the other Riu hotels to see if we liked their entertainment better. We also did an atv tour and a safari tour which showed you the local area. It included lunch and horseback riding but the many stops were really intended to attempt to get you to buy items such as cigars, coffee, cocoa, liquor, pictures, etc. I believe it would be better to negotiate a price with a cab and do your own tour to avoid the sales pitches and to spend time visiting or doing things you actually want to do. Macao beach is beautiful and I highly recommend visiting.

In closing, the Palace is an excellent resort that was kept immaculate. The service was outstanding and the buffet was very adequate. To avoid sales pitches for tours, skip the next day orientation and confirm your transfer pickup the day before you leave. We will definitely return!!!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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16  Thank ae2j1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We spent six days, five nights at the hotel. The first impression was only fair as we needed to have our room changed however the bellman was so helpful and the staff responded so well that we felt very good after settling down. The junior suite was spacious and the bedding was great. Housekeeping in the room was very good.
The beach and pool areas are spectacular. Very active and the service was great, The evening entertainment was fun and interesting. The was plenty to do at night considering you also had access to other hotels in the resort.
The restaurants were great for breakfast and lunch. We had our dinners and both the buffet and specialty restaurants. All being considered, the Italian restaurant was the best specialty restaurant. The buffet restaurant has very good quality in the evening. We were disappointed with the steak house.
In conclusion, the service staff is really exceptional. This experience ran through the entire hotel and I would go back because they made me feel welcomed and I relaxed./

Room Tip: Location and access to the pool and beach is the best opportunity. You need to be persistent with location because it does make a difference in this hotel.
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled solo
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3  Thank gibadlo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014

Good service from staff, clean rooms, good food and pool activities and very buenas.Lo living only thing I do not like is that on the night enter the room that is not normal and it was a group with four separate rooms and we all step. But good hotel.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Hector F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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