Riu Palace Punta Cana Reviews


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Riu Palace Punta Cana  

Playa de Arena Gorda, Punta Cana. Dominican Republic

"nice vacation spot"
Posted by: ryuicho on Jun 23, 2014
see all reviews

Riu Palace Punta Cana Reviews
Riu Palace Punta Cana Pictures and Information
Riu Palace Punta Cana Punta Cana-Bavaro Dominican Republic

#23
of 78 Hotels in Punta Cana-Bavaro

User rating 3.4

Based on 20 reviews

Riu Palace Punta Cana Information


Standing on the beach of Arena Gorda, the Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana(all inclusive 24 hours) is surrounded by a garden of palm trees, where you can enjoy the very best in quality, service and luxury.

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Riu Palace Punta Cana Reviews

Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 3.4 of 5 20 reviews
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"Disappointing"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tracy  on Mar 14, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
704 people found this review helpful

Recent visit to Riu Palace. (March 6-13) Fabulous staff,nice accommodations,very disappointed with pool(too small), food terrible. Had to constantly track down maid for towels that should have been left in room. Rooms were clean and staff very accommodating. All in all this hotel is about 3.5 star. Would not recommend for families. Kid's program almost non existing.

Room Number:
3013

Arrival:
March 6-13,2011.

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"pedestrian at best"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  carl  on Mar 12, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
378 people found this review helpful

we were there 3/3-3/10/11 and would not go back. We have been to about 14 all inclusives and this is supposed to be a 5+gold apple. The truth is it might be considered a four apple without gold. The beach is fantastic and the pool area is very good, but we arrived and I told the woman at the front desk we were on our honey moon and was there any possibility to give us a good room. She said we would get a special room and not to worry. We arrived at our room which was a typical room, but it overlooked a construction sight. I went back to register my dismay and she said maybe tomorrow we would get a better room ( let me add that I had given her $5.00 when she initially said she had arranged a special room for us.)

The food is pedestrian at best. The buffet is the usual which I expected, but since they claim to have 5 gourmet restaurants we arranged to try them. The Krystal is the best and in truth it is very good, but the Brazillian restaurant is poor quality meat and we would have been better off going to the buffet. The Italian restaurant is ok, but not special, the Japanese restaurant is poor. The adds claim to have domestic and imported alcohol. There is some truth as they had stoli vodka, jack daniels black and vo, but not much else and the after dinner liquors were standard cheap house brands. The shows at night were what we expected and they worked hard to put on the shows. Even though this in an all-inclusive every one expected a tip and I gave out $1.00 to the waiters, maids etc. every time. There is a language problem, but I consider that minor. The room did smell musty and the room safe is not a key in number, but is a regular key which makes no sense for a hotel as new as this. I think I am generous in giving this a four apple rating and I can not believe apple rates this a a 5+ gold apple. Caveot emptor or let the buyer beware.

Room Number:
2153

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"Can't wait to go back!!"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Amanda  on Feb 1, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Wedding | Family and Kids
408 people found this review helpful

I had a fantastic time & am anxious to go back as soon as I can! :)

Room Number:
1161

Arrival:
We arrived at the airport on time, weather was beautiful but overcast at first. But the beauty of the place made up for that & it didn't take long for the sun to poke thru! :) Our travel package included transportation to and from the airport. We were with a group of 18 & had our own mini bus which was nice, air conditioned & we had more than enough room. I almost felt bad that we didn't bring more ppl from the airport b/c there were plenty of seats available.

Rooms:
We had to wait a while for our room ~ our travel agent neglected to mention check in was at 3pm and we arrived around 1pm. When we did get our rooms they did smell musty, but we were prewarned of this. Makes complete sense when you're in a tropical environment. I mean, let's be real about that one. My aunt was smart to bring air freshener so that helped. Our air conditioner worked very well, as did the ceiling fan. We left it on low with the fan on & it made a huge difference.
The cleaning staff were friendly & kept everything clean & tidy. There were no real 'specific' time they would come, but we didn't care b/c we knew it was GOING to be done & we didn't go to hang out in a hotel room anyway! We went to experience the land, beach & surroundings.
Our fridge was stocked up everyday, never out of anything. We used a lot of the bottled water b/c you can't drink the water there, but there was never a shortage of it handy. Anything we did need that wasn't there or needed more of, we put in a request and got it.

I brought my own pillow case b/c I was worried about the detergent they use & if my skin would react to it. I removed it everyday after waking up so it didn't get washed & I was glad I brought it.

Restaurants and Bars:
I had no problem with the food on the resort. The buffet was delicious & had a huge variety to choose from. The menus daily were pretty consistent but there were always a selection of different things to choose from. If people complain about the food being the 'same' they would likely be the same ppl who would complain about their favourites not being served more than once. You can't please everyone unfortunately. ;)

Our group at at most of the restaurants. I personally ate at the Steakhouse, Luigi (Italian) and the Bodaga restaurant (Brazillian). I enjoyed them all ~ but wished I had chosen a different item at the Italian restaurant. I had a pasta originally with shrimp in a cream sauce but I substituted the shrimp for chicken. It didn't have a lot of flavour to it, but I tried my cousin's stuffed chicken & it was phenomenal! I was craving pasta which is why I chose that. Had I known the little buffet they had in there had pasta I'd have chosen the other. There's a good variety at the little buffet. (sorry not sure the proper name of it)

The steakhouse was delicious & I LOVED the open atmosphere with the wind blowing thru. I ordered the chicken which was fantastic!!

The Brazillian was good as well.. I have never had so much meat in all my life, lol. I thought we got to choose from the selection, but what you read on the menu is what they serve you!! ALL of it. On top of the mini buffet.

We visited every bar, lol. The lobby bar was cozy & enjoyable, plenty of room to sit & they had the piano man playing in the evenings.

There was a bar in the entertainment lounge that was huge, some nights it took some time to get our orders from the waiters/waitresses but other nights they were right on the ball & fast. With so many ppl there it's understandable to have to wait. I ended up ordering two at a time with a glass of ice so I didn't have to wait 'between' drinks, lol. ;)

The pool bar was awesome.. full of spunky, friendly & fast staff. They played music & laughed with you, remembered you & your drinks. I loved them all.

Service on the beach & the common grounds was great with the number of ppl there. I was impressed how they remembered where everyone was sitting, especially on the beach! lol

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Clean & Gorgeous!!! I LOVED taking in every aspect of this place. Every morning they had gardening staff out trimming the loose branches/twigs off the bushes. They used machetes which was extremely cool to watch & realize they did all of that beauty with a big blade, by hand.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
I personally only went on the shopping excursion which wasn't so much an 'excursion' rather than a shuttle bus, but it was nice to see more of the countryside & go to a local mall. Many of the stores were overpriced, but there were a TON of name brand stores so the real shopaholic would be in seventh heaven.

Some of our group did the snorkling excursion, parasailing & had a massage at the outdoor beach spa. No complaints from anyone.

Other Comments:
I cannot imagine anyone complaining about this place. Other than the musty smell that you probably wouldn't be used to ~ but again, should be expected in tropical climates. Bring some air freshener & your own pillow case (or pillow like my aunt did b/c she can't sleep without it) and it'll be fine!

We tipped a couple of US dollars a day to the cleaning staff & every once in a while to the wait staff/serving staff/bartenders b/c they really really did an outstanding job. I personally would have tipped them everytime but my funds didn't allow for it. I LOVED my experience and am already planning another one as soon as possible.
I met the entertainment staff who were friendly, outgoing, hilarious & easy on the eyes, lol. They are forever in my heart making my experience that much better.

As mentioned in the beginning, we went for a wedding. My aunt got married. It was incredibly beautiful & an experience I'll never forget. The pictures she had taken were some of the best I've seen. The only complaint I heard from my aunt about the wedding being there was having to be involved in some of the planning taking her time from the beach!! lol

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"Nice ground but smelly"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  frank  on Jan 16, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jan, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
369 people found this review helpful

I was quite dissapointed in this resort. Although it was very nice to look it our room smelled like mold. It looked clean, but something wasn't right. Being that it is winter here I wore a coat, and I have tried everyting and cannot get the smell out.I only wore a third of the things I took but everything had to be washed. The pillows smelled like old shoes, I couldn't even sleep on them. There are no non smoking room, and every morning I could smell smoke coming through the vents. I have stayed at other hotels where they allow smoking and I don't recall having this problem. If you like to gamble this is not the place to stay, my basement is larger than there casino. We went to the Hard Rock $40.00 for taxi, but the place was beautiful. I would stay there if I went back. I was also surprised that they didn't give us any survey to fill out. ( I guess I know why). Anyway it was beautiful to look at, if you can get past the smell.

Room Number:
2029

Arrival:
no delays came in on time. Everyone is trying to sell you time shares. We had transportation which was there on time. We were told it is $175.00 from the airport to the hotel if we didn't.

Rooms:
Nice to look at they smelled. They need some upgrading.

Restaurants and Bars:
Reminded me of the buffets on a cruise. Other restaurants were ok, nothing to get excited about. Everytime I asked for a drink that they didn't know how to make they put a banana in it. I found this quite amusing.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Very nice to look at, they could use some new covers for their chairs, the towels were always damp, and sometimes they didn't even look clean.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did not take advantage of these

Other Comments:
If you can handle staying somewhere smelly go for it. The people were very nice, However it's not for me.

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"wonderful relaxing vacation"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  denise  on Oct 25, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
415 people found this review helpful

I have one question for the person who told us rui palace punta cana is not worth your money - stayed april 2010. Did you write up the review you did to ensure they would always be able to accommodate you? I have stayed at this resort four times in the past three years. I have gone to the Domincian 7 times total in the past six years. While there are issues at the rui palace they are not specific to the rui but to be expected at any resort in the Caribbean.

Arrival:
The staff at the Rui Palace Punta Cana is very willing to accommodate people's individual needs. The is a large amount of staff at the front desk, so if you have to wait it is not long.

Rooms:
Rooms are large with everything you could expect. wet bar, safe, iron, jet tub, hair dryer, laundry service. maid service twice a day. wet bar service once a day and by calling.

Restaurants and Bars:
Staff is very willing to meet your needs and are willing to help with special requests. restaurants are clean and comfortable. tables are spaced nicely apart from each other. staff is very willing to pull things together to accommodate large parties.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
GREAT - could not ask for more. plenty of chairs, clean, shade with trees and umbrellas. as much sun as you want. drink servers are always available.

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"We LOVED the Palace!!!"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Janine  on Aug 12, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
427 people found this review helpful

We stayed at the RIU Palace March 8-15, and cannot say enough good things about this place. We have stayed at the Palace before, in Riviera Maya, and while we loved that one too this is the one we will go back to! I honestly cannot undestand any of the negative reviews I have seen posted!

Arrival:
Luckily we had been pre-warned by our friends who had been to Punta Cana before about the airport situation. While it was fairly seamless, DO NOT put your bag down. If you do, you run the risk of people who are not really airport workers picking it up and carrying it for you – then expecting a tip. Once we walked through that crowd of men at the bottom of the ramp, we found our tour company easily and were pointed straight to our bus that took us to the hotel. It was about a 35 minute drive.

Check in was very fast. We arrived around 1:30 and were ushered straight to our room, but not before we were given a mango margarita, which was tasty!

Rooms:
Rooms: We were given Room 1162, which faced the fountains and was right in the middle of the hotel. We paid a little extra per person when we booked the trip to make sure we weren’t facing the back of the hotel, like we did in Mexico. If you want a nice view, it’s worth it. (The back of the hotel faces construction basically.) Yes, the room smells a little musty when you walk in, but you are in the tropics where it is damp, so what can you expect? By the second day, you can’t even smell it anymore. I do however; suggest packing some fabric softener sheets in your luggage to keep it from picking up that musty scent. I put it in the drawers and left some in my luggage which helped alleviate that problem.
When we walked into our room, we noticed it had two queen sized beds, but before we could ask where our 8 yr old daughter would sleep, they were back in the room with a cot for her.
Each room had the typical RIU mini-bar and stocked fridge. We told housekeeping on the first day to keep the beer coming and gave her a tip – needless to say – she made sure my husband had extra beer everyday.
The air conditioning worked the entire time that we were there, and kept the room nice and cold!

Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants: While it is true that people line up before 8am to get their seating choice in the ala carte restaurants, it’s slightly unnecessary. I would stroll over there around 9 and there was no line and never really problem getting a seating time. That said though, we did only try two of the ala cartes while we were there, because we were with my 8 year old daughter. The menus for each place were good, but with only 5 or so entrée choices, it was dicey when it came to her.
Breakfast: I am not normally a breakfast eater, but the buffet there was excellent. They have so many different items to choose from that you couldn’t go wrong.
Lunch: This was my least favorite meal of the day. Nothing spectacular-burgers, nachos, pizza, lamb chops, some kind of beef stew, etc. The salad bar wasn’t anything great either. I will say that one day they had Paella and that was outstanding. If only they had that everyday!
Dinner: I will say that the Italian restaurant was outstanding (and I come from a hard core Italian family). Their food rivaled anything I have had in NJ/NYC. They had a hot and cold antipasto bar that was excellent. It’s hard to find a place that cooks calamari correctly, but they did! The only slight disappointment I encountered was the steakhouse. Their food was alright, but if you are in the mood for a big juicy steak, you will be disappointed. I had the rack of lamb and had no complaints on that. When I go back there though, I will avoid the steakhouse. Everyone else raved about the gourmet restaurant and said the Chilean Sea Bass was outstanding. I heard the Japanese steakhouse was decent.

Most nights, again due to our daughter, we ate at the buffet and were never disappointed. They have different food every night, with theme nights 4x a week. We missed the first “Dominican Night” when we arrived (unfortunately we were at the steakhouse) but heard all about the giant lobsters they were serving. We did make DN later in the week and they had sea bass that night, which was excellent. If anyone tells you the buffet isn’t fantastic, then I don’t know what they possibly could have eaten there. The selection is wonderful!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach/Pool: I do suggest getting down there early and getting your towels. Most people would set theirs up on the pool chairs, but I didn’t bother with that. I headed straight for the beach loungers each morning and picked our spot. Not that you would have a hard time finding a chair, but we wanted to sit close to the water, yet near the smaller palm trees. The beach is a little crowded, but it didn’t bother us. There is drink service. We learned years ago to bring big insulated cups with us, and have them filled at the pool bar on the way to the beach. The waiters would get us refills in them though, if we asked.

Each day around 4, we would go up to the pool to unwind a little more before dinner. It’s a really nice sized pool, and the pool bar is great. By the way, if you throw them a few dollars in the morning, they will remember that and make you some strong drinks all day long! There is entertainment at the pool during the day, as well as games. We chose to return to a RIU Palace because they have a no spring breakers policy, and while there are families there, it is not over-run by screaming kids, like I have witnessed at other hotels.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Activities off-site: This is the only bad spot on our trip. We signed up for the quad adventure, and are sorry that we did! Other tours had 25 or so people on them…ours had the 3 of us and a tour guide…NOT GOOD! For $180, we were driven in the middle of nowhere through a shanty town, where he would stop every few minutes in an effort to get us to buy things from the locals who would have a stand set up in the middle of nowhere. My husband is a BIG guy (and a cop) and we didn’t feel safe at all. We were consistently harassed throughout the tour, and treated poorly if we chose not to buy their wares. After that harassment, we flat out refused to even look at what they had. It was absolutely ridiculous. I can’t forget to mention that I got to ride through a garbage dump, and the guide, who obviously had no knowledge of quads, got himself stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere. Some farmer had to come along with a tow-rope to pull him out. When he did, they got into a nice little argument because he wanted money for that. It was absolutely ridiculous. We were going to go on the catamaran/ snorkeling adventure, and really wish we had. That will be our choice next time, for sure!!

Other Comments:
Staff: The people that work for this resort are top notch and all work their tails off! The waiters at the buffet spoiled my daughter all week long. They decorated our table with flowers each morning and night, all made it a point to come speak and joke with her, and hung up the pictures she drew for them. If you go to the buffet, ask for Marino. He is far and away the best employee they have there!
We went to the plaza each night and were treated like gold by the outside manager, Alejandro. He would have a table for us, no matter how crowded it was, and always had our drinks ready for us.
*One thing I need to say here is to PLEASE tip the staff!!! I could not believe how many people I saw who didn’t do that all week long! I know it’s all-inclusive, but these people work HARD. A few dollars goes a long way for them – and they are unbelievably grateful when you do.

Nightlife: As I said, each night we would go sit in the plaza for some drinks, music and a show. It’s really a great, laid back atmosphere. The bands would play at night, and many people would get up and dance. It’s a good chance to show your skills if you take a dance lesson at the beach during the day.
Twice a week they bring the vendors in. If they give you a price, go at least half of what they are asking. You can always shop and barter at Caribbean street too. No matter where you buy from, they all have the same stuff.
The nightly shows were pretty good. They have Grease, Las Vegas Night, a Michael Jackson impersonator, Latin dance shows, and a magic show. If you’re expecting a Broadway production, try to remember that you’re on vacation. I personally thought they were pretty good. Everything wraps up there around 12am, but there are bars inside the hotel and a disco at one of the other RIU’s as well as a casino. Be forewarned about the casino, I heard nothing good about it.

Other comments: Aside from the tour disaster, we had a fantastic week at the RIU and are already planning our return trip for next year. I highly recommend this resort, especially if you are looking to just relax and enjoy the sun!

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"Absolute Nightmare - don't waste your money"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Nick  on May 31, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
437 people found this review helpful

My wife and I stayed at the Punta Cana Palace from April 24 to May 1, 2010. We have visited all-inclusive resorts in the past, but this was our first visit to one of the Riu properties. Prior to arrival, we anxiously awaited a truly memorable holiday; when all was said and done, it was definitely memorable, but not for the right reasons.

Do you remember being a child and really wanting the latest new toy for Christmas? You told your parents how much you wanted it; you dropped hints about how much it would enhance your quality of life. Maybe you even ripped pictures out of the catalogs and left them out where your parents had to see them. When Christmas morning rolled around, you were convinced that all of your hard work would pay off. Once your presents were opened, however, you found you got nothing but socks and underwear.

Our trip to the RIU was like getting socks and underwear.

Before I get bogged down by our concerns, I’d like to touch upon what we really enjoyed during our stay. Visually, the property looks amazing – very palatial. Upon arrival, we both felt a sense of satisfaction hearing the other guest on our transfer bus speak about how jealous they were that we got to stay there. The designers have definitely mastered the art of creating a great first impression. The lobby is literally breathtaking, from the replicas of paintings and sculptures to the stained glass ceiling.

However, much like a Hollywood movie set, this was merely a façade – once you got past that first impression, there was nothing left to see. By the end of our trip, we were the ones jealous of those staying at the other resorts because, surely, they had a better stay than we did.

As I mentioned previously, we had never stayed at one of these properties, but our travel agent raved about what a phenomenal trip she had there. We had seen their properties on other vacations and decided that we deserved to be pampered, so we booked our holiday at the Palace.

We are both savvy travelers and immediately jumped online to check out some of the reviews from recent travelers. My heart sank as I read time and again how miserable people had been while staying there. People complained about the food, about how rude the employees were and about the conditions in the rooms. Surely, this could not be the same resort we had heard about. After digging further, we realized that some were confusing the two Palace resorts with each other. For the next 4 months, every time we read a bad review, we attributed it to the Palace Macao and all good reviews were about the new Palace. We were ready to be blown away.

Apparently, they were talking about the proper Palace all along…

Your Arrival:
Traveled with Apple Vacations - flight was fine, but when once we arrived at the airport and took our luggage to the parking lot, they had no idea where our van was. Our attendant had us walk through the sweltering heat for almost 30 minutes before he finally just stopped and told us to wait, so he could figure out what was going on. Ten minutes later, he came back and escorted us to a tiny minivan where we were crammed in with 5 other people. How luxurious was it? There wasn't even enough room for the luggage; I had to keep my bag in my lap for the 30 minute ride to the hotel. How much money did we spend for this?!?

Rooms:
For starters, the A/C only worked occasionally. I realize that because of the local climate, you can expect some humidity, but you should have some control over the rooms themselves. I hung some clothes up on our first day and by the time I put them on towards the end of the week, they were damp – how is that luxury? And having to huddle directly under the ceiling fan to get any relief in the room was ridiculous. The A/C did work sometimes, so we knew it was functioning, just not very well…

The overall appearance of the room left much to be desired as well. For starters, the moisture was creating rust on the appliances (light fixtures, wall sconces, drawer handles, etc) which just took away from any feeling of “luxury”. The bed was hard as a rock and the bathtub leaked all over the bathroom floor. We were finally able to figure out how to control the bathtub, but it meant we had to sacrifice one of our towels to control where the water was leaking from every day.

While in the “comfort” of our own room, we assumed we might be able to watch some television to relax. Yet another wrong assumption. Out of the 100+ stations the satellite service offered, only about 10 were in English. And the reception was so poor, you could only watch it for about an hour before you started to get dizzy and couldn’t watch anymore. Initially, I thought it might just be our television, but when I checked the bar, I could see that the reception was just as distorted. I understand that the resort is trying to cater to an international clientele, but the fact that they can’t provide quality reception is totally unacceptable.

During those moments we decided to relax in our hot, damp rooms watching television programs we couldn’t understand, we were constantly interrupted by various employees of the hotel. Maid service is totally unreliable. Our sheets weren’t changed once during the entire week (we saw the same stain every time we pulled the blanket back). We had a couple of days that they never came by at all. And you could never count on any regular time. With most hotels, if you leave for the day, you know that by the time you come back, the room will have been handled; that was not the case here. A few times, we came back to the room around 4:30 or 5 and it hadn’t been completed yet. (And yes, we were tipping them every day, so that shouldn’t have been an issue…)

I’m sure you may be saying by now “if the ‘do not disturb’ sign was out, they would have stayed away.” However, we never got a ‘Do Not Disturb” sign. We asked for one 4 times (2x with the front desk and 2x from housekeeping) and one was never brought to us. I can’t speak for all of the guests, but some of like a little privacy. Having the maids knock while they’re unlocking the door doesn’t really allow you a chance to get dressed or anything. The last night we were there, I had to put out a handwritten “Do Not Disturb” sign on the doorknob… and they still walked in!

Restaurants and Bars:
My wife and I are both huge foodies. We love trying new dishes and exploring what local cuisines have to offer. The chefs at the RIU, however, seemed so focused on pleasing everyone, that they let all of us down in the process. I understand that with such an international clientele, it must be difficult to make everyone happy, but the food was so bland and unappealing that it just turned us away time and again.

At the buffet, most of the items were not labeled, so it was difficult to determine what was what. It was like a culinary Russian Roulette. Even the salad bar was beyond basic – the dressings had no flavor and what few vegetables they had were all soggy. I realize that the humidity adds to the overall sogginess, but there are dozens of other resorts in the Caribbean that can counter it – why can’t RIU?

Flavors aside, the “variety” was a let-down as well. Every breakfast and lunch, the same dishes were rolled out – watery eggs, overcooked pancakes and undercooked bacon. After a while, every dish seemed to look alike.
And the problems weren’t limited just to the main Dining Room. Even when we tried the ala carte restaurants, the results were underwhelming. One night we visited the Italian Restaurant – Italian food is a personal favorite – and it was horrible. I ordered a sea bass in some type of cream sauce and what I received was 2 fish sticks in a bowl of melted butter. That’s high class dining?

We also visited the Japanese restaurant one night. At first we had high hopes, because it looked nice (again, appearance is the only high point) and the sashimi appetizer was pretty tasty. However, before the end of the meal, 3 tables in the dining room (mine included) had to leave because we all felt sick. I guess we shouldn’t have had the shrimp…

By the way, the fact that the “24-hour room service” only provides salad, a club sandwich and nachos, doesn’t really count as an alternative dining option.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Another issue with the common areas was the fact that so many visitors were allowed to just walk onsite. We were constantly harassed by tour operators at the pool and on the beach. People kept trying to sell us everything under the sun and if you turned them down, you risked having an unfortunate argument on your hands. My wife and I witnessed a tour operator dealing with a couple by the pool area. When they said they weren’t interested, he kept nagging them. Eventually, it got to the point where he was accusing them of taking money from his kids by not purchasing his tours. He even used this line: “You’re obviously rich, you can afford to stay here! Shouldn’t I have the chance to get rich? You have to give me money so I can take care of my kids!”

Then, on the way to dinner, we had to run the gauntlet of vendors and various people trying to sell more junk to us. I heard a few guests express similar frustrations as ours. Isn’t that why the shops are located nearby? If we want something, we can go there. Don’t the guests deserve some level of respect? We are, after all, the ones paying to stay there.

Other Comments:
Taken individually, these events would have been easy for us to accept. We know sometimes that “things just happen”. When they all happen at once, though, it’s no longer just a minor inconvenience. It was a 7-day nightmare and a tremendous waste of money as well as our valuable time. What was supposed to be a stress-free vacation was one of the most agonizing weeks of my life.

Visit the Grand Palace at your own risk.

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"Excellent service"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Vince  on May 16, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
399 people found this review helpful

The resort has a luxurious look from the entrance out front to the lobby and beyond.The best service we have recieved at an all inclusive in ten years.If you are a reasonable person take any bad review with a healthy dose of skepticism.The level of service far exceeds the price for the resort.We love the design of the Riu Palace resorts.The square to enjoy drinks and listen to the entertainment provides a cozy atmosphere at night.We stayed at the Macao a few years ago and enjoyed it and this resort is improved in comparison.If there is anything to complain about it is that the tropical sun has weather beaten parts of the buildings roof and fountains, but they are still wonderful to look at.

Your Arrival:
Check in was quick, we had a short wait for room and off for something to eat.

Rooms:
Room is quiet, firm mattress, we had third floor court yard fountain view.Air conditioning is good with vents in bathroom and shower!It was not the biggest room we have ever had but well appointed and everthing from the lamps to the tv,mini fridge and bar worked well.Two tier floor design is nice touch.

Restaurants and Bars:
The lobby and entertainment bars are beautiful in design and service is quick.Sports bar is great place to run and check your favourite teams progress or demise while your wife shops across the hall.It is also 24 hour service and snacks which is great if you leave early for a trip before restaurant opens in morning.The Krystal is the best restaurant, fusion gourmet.Italian has best antipasti bar as usual.If you are a serious carnivore the Brazilian is for you, most of the women won't get past the first couple of portions though.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
If you have never been here the beach is great, white sand breezy, and no fighting for chairs at this resort.Clientele is a little more classy they won't show up at five in the morning to tie ten chairs together with towels.The grounds are immaculately kept,tall palms reach up to third floor level.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Typical caribbean dance lessons, scuba in pool.The spa has all inclusive steam, sauna and european jacuzzi.

Other Comments:
If you are a prude the beach and pool area will shock you.Great for couples on romantic getaway.

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"As much as I'd like to say otherwise, but most of the reviews about the food are correct... It's terrible. As in REALLY bad- read below"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Adam  on Mar 29, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
320 people found this review helpful


Your Arrival:
Un eventful. We took a taxi as the bus from our booking service (Apple Vacations) was slow and packed. Got to the resort VERY quick thanks to the Dominican version of Mario Andretti. Ended up paying $35 and well work the $$$ for the fast service and adrenaline rush of a white knuckled ride.

Rooms:
Not quite 5 star in my opinion but didn't experience the musty atmosphere as others have. It was adequate and room service staff was OK. No theft, which is nice. We locked everything up in the safe. I would give it a 3+ star rating.

Restaurants and Bars:
Disappointing... We expected the cuisine at a 5 star resort to be a highlight in our vacation. We were ready to leave after 7 days to eat some "people food". Due to the nature of all-inclusive, we were held captive and subjected to some of the worst meals I've had the displeasure of enduring. (Some worse than my time in the Marines)

In speaking with patrons of other resorts, the island has a problem sourcing quality meats and other foods. Combine that with the fact that yesterday's custodian is cooking tonight's main course and you get the picture. Although the buffet looked presentable, I had to stick to about 3-4 things that seemed edible. The breads and desserts must have been professionally prepared and shipped in from off-site as they were good. Not great, but pretty good.
The breakfast was a disappointment. I was hoping to satisfy my hunger with an omelet that looked amazing on the outside, only to be disappointed with raw egg on the inside. Great way to start your day...
No option for other, non-buffet restaurants for Breakfast and Lunch. You're stuck with a buffet. Enjoy…
The dinner restaurants were just OK. Some were more edible than others. Japanese menu seemed to be the most palatable of the 5.
Skip the Crystal room- the chef couldn't burn toast to save his life.
The Brazilian steakhouse was interesting: you get a diverse menu with plenty of options, but it's purely for decoration as they don't take an order. In Fogo-de-chao fashion, they bring a skewer of meats around to each guest; I can only assume its cat, rat, stray dog or other exotic mammals as it didn't taste at all familiar. Even the chicken didn't taste like chicken... The meats were dry, bland, cooked too slowly and weren’t trimmed and cut properly. Skip it.
The other restaurants weren't better or much worse and completely forgettable.

A quick note about the bars: The barkeepers are friendly, but almost uninterested in mixing up a watered down excuse for a drink without a tip. If you slip them a couple bucks early on, the service is quite good. But, the choice of booze is on par with the spring break resorts in Mexico; bad booze with an aftertaste similar to that of rubbing alcohol. I'm sure this does the trick for somebody in thier late teens/early 20's, but if you appreciate a good drink with top-shelf liquour, you're barking up the wrong tree.

If your palate can’t discriminate between Kibbles-N-Bits and a Filet Mignon, please disregard the above rant. You’ll enjoy the cuisine experience.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Great beach! Water was perfect and the sand was white and soft. There is a reef off the coast a bit which really cut the hieght of the waves, which is good for kids and relaxing near the shore.
The pool was great too. Very warm water. But, tile was missing allover as well as some stool-tops on the swim up bar. The pool needed a bit of renovation as well as a filter change but didn't stop us from enjoying the festivities. You'll have to turn a blind eye to the taste of suntan lotion in the water. No resort in the world gets rid of this.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The resort itself didn't have that much of a night life. They had a Dominican band most nights but they stopped around 9. There was a broadway-type show at the theater which was amusing. Only one or 2 bars in the place were open past 10.
The water activities are amazing- Scuba diving is great even with a stronger than average underwater current. I really enjoyed it.
We also did a zip-line canopy tour, I'd highly recommend! It was fantastic and the guys there know how to have a good time. If you choose to do any of the off or on-site activities, do NOT book online as you can negotiage for far less once you're down there.

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"RIP OFF"

Riu Palace Punta Cana
User Rating:  Riu Palace Punta Cana Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  John Kenneth  on Feb 8, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
303 people found this review helpful

Smelly.Room had an odor but clean.After one week you got use to the smell whatever it was.When we got home that odor was in our clothes(clean ones never worn and dirty ones),my luggage may need to be thrown out along with some clothes.We will never recomend the riu palace punta cana to anyone and if your thinking on going there DONT.

Your Arrival:
O.K.

Rooms:
Smelly but looked clean

Restaurants and Bars:
restaurants O.K. bars only saw 2.One at the pool and the little lobby bar.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach beautifull,pool nice,grounds neat.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
did not see much

Other Comments:
Highly overated.I give it a 2 or 3 star tops

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