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Riu Palace Punta Cana

Riu Palace Punta Cana
Riu Palace Punta Cana

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Riu Palace Punta Cana Resort

Riu Palace Punta Cana

Playa de Arena Gorda
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone: +1-809-687-4242
Website: www.RIU.com
Rating: 4 Star
Rooms: 612
Floors: 2
Restaurants: 6
Category: All-Inclusive Resort
Pools: 2
Fitness Center: Yes
Day Spa: Yes
Riu Palace Punta Cana Reviews

Facilities:
612 Rooms, A/C, This Dominican Republic Resort is all-inclusive which means all meals/snacks, unlimited domestic drinks, 6 restaurants, multiple cocktail bars, 24 hour room service (fee), nightly entertainment, 2 swimming pools, gym, spa (fee for spa services), non-motorized water sports and 4 tennis courts.

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Review Posted by a Professional Travel Agent:
Reviewed By: Mindy
From: Central, New Jersey
Trip Date: June, 2008
Overall Rating:  
Dining at Resort:  
Sleeping Room:  
Pool Area:  
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Friendly Staff:  
Riu Palace Punta Cana
"The Riu Palace Punta Cana"
- Mindy Gilbert - My Vacation Lady
Remarks:
"We stayed at the Riu Palace Punta Cana for 7 nights in June 2008. This resort is just over 2 years old and is by far the nicest and most opulent of all the Riu properties in Punta Cana. As a Vacation, Cruise and Honeymoon Specialist, I tend to be a bit more critical of resorts than the average traveler. Driving up to the resort is like driving up to a stunning white palace. It is very impressive to see from a distance. Arriving at the resort is just as impressive. The lobby is air conditioned (a definite plus and unusual for Punta Cana where most are open air). It is filled with comfortable seating areas, all of the tour operator representatives, a gift shop, a large and welcoming piano bar, and a sports bar with slot machines, pool table and the internet cafi. The check in was fast and efficient. We were given a 30 second introduction to the resort by one of the front desk representatives and were handed a map of the Riu properties on a map. We were given 1 key for the room (on a large plastic key ring with the room # on it), a key for the safe on a long cord and were told to come back for towel cards. We were given a sticker to put on our luggage to have it delivered to our room but the bell hop was free and took it as he showed us to our room (sort of- he got confused and ended up taking us to the wrong floor).

Room: We asked for a courtyard view room (as opposed to a standard garden view room) and were given room 1104, which is on the same level as the lobby. All rooms are junior suites- with step down to a sitting room with a sofa, coffee table, dresser and TV. There is crown molding, tray ceilings and dark hard wood furniture. The floor is tile with area rugs around each side of the bed and in the sitting area. The balcony is a nice size with 2 cushioned chairs that recline, a plastic snack table and a drying rack which is attached to the side wall. The balcony is private on both sides with solid walls separating them from the neighboring balconies. The bathroom is large with a high step in jetted tub/ shower. There is a double sink with lots of room. The vanity is higher than usual which might make it a bit difficult for children or short adults. There is no drawer space or medicine cabinet but plenty or room on the vanity for putting personal items. The beds are the major issue with these lovely rooms. The options are 1 king or 2 doubles. The 2 double beds are pushed together (with separate sheets and blankets) but only has 1 headboard. This bedding set up may cause issues with families or guests who may not want to sleep side by side. These beds can not be separated by a night stand to create privacy. The other issue with the beds is that they are hard as rocks. One guest equated them as sleeping on books. I felt that sleeping on the floor would have been more comfortable. For a brand new and deluxe resort, I would have expected comfortable pillow top bedding. Each room has a mini bar which is restocked every 2 days with water, sodas and beer. Right above the mini bar is the Riu signature liquor dispenser. There are 4 bottles (gin, vodka, rum and something else) inverted for the guests to use throughout their stay. If you can, ask for a courtyard view room rather than the standard view room. The courtyard view rooms have a lovely view of the fountains rather than of other hotels. The courtyard view rooms may be considered to be the superior rooms vs the standard rooms and may command a higher room rate. Pool and Beach Although the pool looks small for a resort of this size, it was never really crowded since the beach is so gorgeous.

The pool is at the far end of resort, closest to the beach in the middle of the property (between the 2 buildings). It has Jacuzzis on either side with a large swim up pool bar. At the other end, there are a dozen or so tiled loungers in the water. The pool is not for diving-the entire pool was only waist high. Unfortunately, the pool water was so warm that it really wasn't refreshing and you would need to go to the ocean to cool off. Just in front of the main pool is a large round pool. It is not a kid's pool, nor is it a Jacuzzi. It was rarely used so I'm not sure what it is used for. It is shallow- maybe only a couple of feet deep. Around the pool, lounge chairs and umbrellas were plentiful but since this property is so new, the palm trees provided very little shade and the chairs around the trees were at a premium. The beach is beautiful! It is wide and deep. The water is a stunning shade of turquoise. The sand is powder fine and white- not hot to the touch. There are a good number of trees to provide shade and there are plenty of lounge chairs. Since the beach is so beautiful, there were more people there than at the pool. ***The one suggestion that I would make is to bring your own beach towels. Since the hotel only provides 1 per person at a time, and they are all the same color, it is much easier to spot your lounge chair.

Food: Overall the food was good, not great. The buffet restaurant was pretty comparable to any other buffet restaurant. It is air conditioned, which is a plus. The wait staff was fast and friendly but most of the food was drowned in a sauce or butter. The breakfast buffet was plentiful with a cereal bar, fruit bar and bread table. Their breads were wonderful. Lots of cold cuts and salad items that Americans probably wouldn't eat for breakfast. Don't miss the smoothies- they were very good! You can get made to order omelets but it is the same person making large omelets and cutting them into portions. He is right near the eggs and he will make an omelet made to order. There was never a line for omelets since no one could find him. Dinner at the buffet was mediocre at best and is best avoided, if possible. The restaurants- our favorite- the Gourmet- Sir Oscars, then the Steakhouse, Japanese, Brazilian and last the Italian. (We are from NYC- you can't compete with NY Italian food). Dinner reservations had to be made between 9am and 12 noon at the Italian restaurant for that night. The line started at about 8:45 am but wasn't terrible. The lunch buffet got pretty redundant- always pizza, burgers, fries and the salad bar. One day they had a pasta station and another day there was a paella station which was very good. We ate at the steakhouse most days for lunch since it is closer to the pool and beach. Room service was delivered quickly. The menu was ok and delivery is from 7am to 11pm. Their 24 hour snacks at the sports bar is a joke- Hot dogs, hamburgers and nachos that can be heated up in a microwave.

Entertainment: Please keep in mind that we are cruise people and are used to good entertainment. This can't compare. The animation team did the same dances to the same music daily. The daytime activity schedule is posted on a board outside the theatre. I would have preferred it in writing- especially since it doesn't change day to day, it could easily be handed out with the welcome package. Since many of the guests are not American, and English is not their primary language, all activities and shows are announced in 4 languages- Spanish, French or German, English and then another. Their accents are so heavy, that even when they are speaking English, it is very hard to understand them. The shows in the evening start at 9:45pm with a 15 minute ice breaker- some games with some audience participation. The only evening show which was decent was the Sunday night show- Cabaret. Most of the others were so bad we ended up walking out on them. The casino is located at the entrance to the Riu Palace Macao which is about a 15 minute walk or a 5 minute shuttle ride away. The blackjack tables are a $10 minimum. Roulette was $5. Lots of $.25 slots- but lots got stuck mid way during playing. I was hearing a lot of bells going off and 1 person won $1000 in the slots while we were there. Beware a scam game that they try to sucker you in with a 'free' $10 chip. There is no name on the game and they try to keep you playing by changing the rules with their money until you are 'so close' to winning the jackpot and now have to use your money. This is not a property that I would recommend for families. There is a small kid's area with a jungle gym and tiny pool. I never saw any kids there and never saw a children's staff. Although there was a kid's activities list posted on the activities board, unless they were hiding the counselors, I never saw any kids participating in any organized activities. The spa is lovely- although we didn't get to use it. I did walk through it. I honestly don't remember seeing a fitness center on the property. I can't imagine that they don't have one but since I wasn't looking to use it, I really didn't pay much attention.

Travel Agent Summary: This property is gorgeous and will be even better when the foliage on the trees grows in a bit more. The staff is eager to please. Some speak better English than others. This is not a resort for Americans who expect to be with lots of other Americans. The English speakers were in a minority the week we were there. It is also not a property for families. We saw other properties in Punta Cana which would be better suited for families. I'm not sure if I agree with the Apple Vacations rating of a 6 Golden Apple. There were other properties that I thought were more deserving of that rating. Who would I recommend this property to? -Honeymooners who don't want much in terms of activities -Older couples -Those who like a more European atmosphere -Beach lovers Who would I not recommend this property to? - Young singles who want a lot of action - Families We saw a total of 14 properties while we were in Punta Cana, and there were others I liked more and others that I liked less. After seeing all of these properties, I feel confident of being able to recommend the right property to my clients.
If you have specific questions, feel free to email me directly. I have many pictures of the resort and rooms as well."

Mindy Gilbert - My Vacation Lady
Website: www.MyVacationLady.com    /    Email: Mindy@MyVacationLady.com


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