Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Riu Palace Macao
Riu Palace Macao
Tanya 
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
July 2008
Read Tanya's Wedding Review

My husband and I were married July 1, 2008 at the Riu Palace Macao. We knew we wanted a beach wedding and we couldn’t have asked for more… the entire day was perfect! As a bride I found it difficult to find out information about a destination wedding, what needed to be done and what to expect so I decided to put together this review for those people who are thinking of having a destination wedding at one of the Riu resorts in the Dominican in hopes of providing you more info.

Resort
We had 52 friends and family members join us for our wedding and we all stayed at the Riu Palace Macao. My husband and I arrived three days before our guests so we had time to explore the resort and complete some pre-wedding planning (you must be in country a minimum of three BUSINESS days prior to your wedding).

The hotel rooms were nice; our guests were in standard rooms that had king size or two double beds. All rooms contain a full bar (which is stocked every other day), full bathroom with tub, TV, air conditioning, etc. A few of our guests complained that their air conditioning wasn’t working in their rooms – for those who’s air really wasn’t working the resort either fixed it or moved them to another room. A few things to note with the air conditioning – your patio door must be fully closed in order for the air to work. If the door is open even a slight bit the air automatically shuts off (this was the case with many people). Also, the air conditioning doesn’t run as cold as you may have it at home so don’t expect that you’ll come in to your room and it will be an ice box. My husband and I stayed in a Jacuzzi suite, our room was large and spacious and on our balcony we had stairs leading up to a private Jacuzzi outside. Our room was perfect!

The entertainment staff and the waiters at the hotel are awesome! Especially Johnny Bravo, Super John, Big Pappi, Angie & Antinito (waiter at the pool). We went to some of the shows – the ones held in the Copacabana are nice because the theatre is outside (the indoor theatre is musty and can get hot).

At night most people hang out in the lobby bar, the casino or go to the Pacha (the night club). You can get into the night club for free but you have to pay for drinks. We did go to Pacha a few times, and we just got drinks at the resort and took them into the night club with us to avoid paying while we were there.
The resort it’s self has many activities such as: Tennis, Water polo, Sailing, Windsurfing, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Body Boarding, etc. The only activities NOT included are motorized water sports like Jet-Ski or Banana Boat Rides. Paddle boats, Sail boats, snorkeling, and all sporting equipment can be borrowed free of charge.

If you want to go off the resort there are a ton of activities you can enjoy including the following (we did the reef explorer, dune buggy & monster truck tours):

Golf – The is the number one golf destination in the Caribbean , Names like Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are trade marks to some of our more than 30 golf courses. Punta Cana offers a great choice for golf lovers. Play in a course designed following the lay of the land, using natural terrain to provide a route easily to remember long after the player has finished. The trade marks features are strategically placed, bunkers, mounds, and gently rolling terrain with well-defined and generous fairways and greens without forgetting an unrelenting wind.

Manati Park
130,000 square meter preserve with permanent exhibits of birds, reptiles, and fish. A show with parrots, dolphins and dancing horses is included in the admission fee. Optional possibility of swimming with the dolphins for an extra fee. Reservations should be made as soon as you arrive in the country if you want to swim with the dolphins. Stroll along the lush gardens, take pictures of the beautiful orchids and tropical plants, or buy some local crafts in the souvenir shops.

Rafting:
If you’re a whitewater fan, The Rio Yaque is the longest river in the Caribbean and offers challenging courses like the “Mike Tyson”, which features a 12-foot vertical drop!

Deep Sea Fishing:
Half day trips or full-day excursions for the serious sports fisherman are available in one of the best fishing destinations in the world. Fish for Wahoo, Kingfish, Sailfish, Marlin or Barracuda. Snorkeling & Diving: The water is warm, the reefs are plentiful and the region offers more than 20 open-water dive sites.

Santo Domingo
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the first city in the "New World" and the capital of the. Visit the palace of Diego Columbus (son of Christopher Columbus) and the conquistadors headquarter for over 60 years; the Cathedral Santa Maria La Menor (first in the New World) and the Royal House Museum. These are just a few of the spectacular sites of this rich colonial and historical city. Enjoy time at leisure on El Conde Street (first commercial street in the new world) to explore on your own.

Monster Truck Safari
The Monster Truck Safari offers an adventurous day full of breathtaking landscapes, sparkling rivers and streams and unforgettable experiences. Join friendly and professional guides on the large 8x8 all terrain trucks made especially for your comfort and safety as they take you through lush vegetation, back country roads and small colorful villages. Taste freshly cut sugar cane straight from the field, sample fresh brewed coffee and enjoy endless juicy fruits. Cool off with a swim in the river then sip on a Cuba Libre, a cocktail made of Cola, lime and rum, dance or just relax on the hammocks.
The Monster Truck Safari also offers an opportunity to go shopping at the local market where you can browse through a variety of handicrafts, hand-painted masks, ceramics and local coffee, rum and cigars. Be sure to bring your camera with you while enjoying the Monster Truck Safari since there are numerous photo opportunities offering great views of the Dominican Republic’s natural beauty.

Dune Buggy
We did the dune buggy excursion. It was $65. USD per person, and included horse back riding, a cave, and a visit to a beautiful natural beach.
The whole tour is a half day and was a lot of fun! If you do decide to go, pack some clothes that you will not mind to throw out, ....you get covered in mud from head to toe. We decided to just toss our t-shirts and socks but our shorts and shoes I soaked when we got to the hotel and then washed properly when we got home. Most of the stains came out however if you take clothes you can just toss then this might be easier. Helicopter Tours A photographers’ dream come true! Discover the unspoiled beauty of Punta Cana, fly over its beautiful surrounding areas of lush tropical vegetation, golf courses, endless white sand beaches and turquoise water; enjoy the amazing view of wrecked vessels while flying above thousands of coconut trees swaying effortlessly to the rhythm of the breeze. Discover paradise from a different perspective.

There are two dinner seating’s (6:30 and 8:30). You are assigned a table in the buffet restaurant, and you eat at that time for your entire stay unless you opt to go to one of the ala carte restaurants. Note: the men have to wear long pants to dinner. The buffet was ok, there was a variety of foods and enough to choose from. You need to make you reservations for the other restaurants between 7-8:30 in the morning, otherwise they are booked. We enjoyed the view from the Caribe Grille (where we also had our wedding reception). The steakhouse was ok and we quite enjoyed the Japanese place as well and found it to be the best! We’ve been to a number of all inclusive resorts and we found the food at the Riu to be quite good. That being said we did hear a number of people complain that they didn’t like the food… the thing that people have to remember is that you are not going to get food like you would find in restaurants at home so don’t expect it.

Another thing to remember is that whenever you go to a resort (this one or any other), be sure to lock your valuables in the room safe. The hotel provides you a safe for free and you should use it. If by chance something is stolen from your safe (this didn’t happen to anyone as far as we know) the resort will reimburse you for the items. If however you have items outside the safe that are stolen you won’t be reimbursed. We have a few guests who left cameras out or their cell phones charging while they weren’t in their room and these items were stolen. We reported these incidences to the front desk and to our travel company (Sunquest) but because the items weren’t in the safe there was little they could do.

Read Tanya's Wedding Review
Riu Palace Macao
Debbie 

July 2008
Hi . We recently returned from a stay at this fantastic property. We stayed there from June 13, 2008 until June 20, 2008. We also stayed there on Jan. 27th for one week. Needless to say, we returned to this resort because it is absolutely fabulous. We loved the size. It is much smaller than the Riu Palace, making it much more easier to socialize with other guests. It also was easy to get around, and we never had trouble finding anything.

The rooms are beautifully furnished, with marble everywhere. We had rooms overlooking the pool, which was nice late in the day, when after showering you could still look out at the activity on the resort. Some rooms also afforded a look past the pool, through the trees, to the ocean. There was a mini-bar that was stocked every day. As well, there were liquor dispensers in the room, which we personally never touched. The rooms were always spotless.

The Buffet Restaurant was incredible. I agree with everyone else that the buffet was far superior to the a la cartes. We had superb variety, and they served everything from caviar and champagne, to lasagna. There was something for everyone. We also liked the fact that we were shown to the same table every night. This enabled us to establish a good rapport with our servers. They anticipated our every needs...special kudso to Elias and Villy.

The Bars were just as outstanding. They did not skimp on the alcohol at all. We especially liked the 24 hour bar which served martinins and always had live entertainment at night.

As mentioned in previous reviews, there was no swim-up bar. We actually liked this, because it meant that people were not sitting in one spot and not moving the whole day. It offered lots of shade around it, and the bar service was very quick. We loved the mermaid statues that were everywhere. We also enjoyed the massage hut that operates in between the pool and the beach. The ladies that give the massages know what they are doing...they get out all of your kinks and you leave feeling totally relaxed.

The beach is the best part of the resort, of course. The resort is blessed with lots of natural shade. Riu did not remove a lot of the palm trees, as other resorts have done. There there is a lot of shade to be had...very important when you are going in the summer! For those who wanted to be sun-worshippers, there was plenty of wide-open expanse to sunbathe as well. We have been to many resorts all over Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. The beach at Punta Cana is in my opinion, one of the best in the world. One can walk for miles. The sand is white, powder-soft, and never hot. The ocean is usually clear, due to the reefs just off of the shore. The waves for the most part are very gentle.

I have done most of the excursions in Punta Cana, but the land excursion that I would recommend the most is the Monster Truck Safari. You get a full day of Dominican life experienced in a fun, safe way. You will visit a voodoo doctor, go swimming in the Altos de Chavon River, visit a school, see sugar can plantations, etc. I cannot say enough about this resort. Be careful when booking it. Make sure to request the Monster Truck Safari by name, as there are similar excursion out there that do the same thing, but do not give the same value for money.

The water excursion that I would recommend highly, if you don't mind doing something that is booze-free, is the Coral Reef Explorer. It is owned by the same company that does the Marinarium exucursion, but instead of getting just 45 minutes of snorkelling, you get about 3 hours, along with getting personal encounters with de-stinged stingrays, and swimming with sandsharks. It is one of the best snorkelling excursions I have had. The reefs are beautiful, and the whole things is very relaxing. You can take out water kayaks, and even get a massage for free!

On the whole, I abosutely love Punta Cana, and plan to return again this winter!
Riu Palace Macao
Cathy 
Massachusetts
May 2008
My name is Cathy and i recently was at the RUI macao. I would have to say my overall trip was great except for a few problems. First of all I will have to say the beaches and pools were beautiful very clean and plenty of shade if you wanted. The animation team was wonderful all of them very good at their jobs of keeping people busy during the day and the shows at night. I will have to say that the hotel needs to take care of the water situation sometimes it was fine other times it tasted like bleach.My biggest complaint was I came back from a wonderful day at the beach and the pool only to find my cloths in the baday (sorry cant spell that 1) 2 pairs of capris and 1 pair of shorts. I called the front desk and they told me they would get back to me this was on the 1st of may and we were leaving the 2nd. So i went to the front desk later that night and told the man at the desk what the issue was he did document it in their book and told me to come back in the morning at 930 that the manager would be the but he wasnt. I of coarse took a picture of it and asked for the manager agian at 1130 am before we left and showed him the picture I had taken and he seemed kind of shocked that I took the picture, all he said was you took photo and I said yes this is not good considering i threw the cloths away not because the baday was dirty because it was never used it is just the point of comming back to your room and finding your cloths there.The cloths were folded and put on the stool under the sink, I would have rather found them on the floor then were I did find them.So needless to say nothing was done about it and I am very dissapointed about that, we made sure we tipped them at least 5.00 a day for the people that cleaned the room and made sure we tipped the person that filled our refridgerator everyday.
Riu Palace Macao
Mary Beth 
USA
April 2008
My husband and I flew from Buffalo, NY to Washington, DC to Punta Cana. Flights and arrivals were fine, customs was fairly simple. We were each required to buy a $10 (US) tourist card in the customs line at the Punta Cana airport. In the airport, we were immediately surrounded by young men in shirts from an unfamiliar tour company who grabbed our luggage. They spoke limited English, so when I tried to ask them about OUR tour company, they acted as if we shouldn't worry, and headed to our tour desk. We eventually found our way to the bus, tipped the luggage guys, but had to wait about an hour for the other tourists to clear customs and load up the bus. We stopped at 4 other resorts before getting to the Macao. The ride from the airport reveals the poverty of the country.

The only other "real" vacation we've taken was to Riviera Maya 3 years ago, to another all-inclusive. We had only that experience for comparison, so much of this review is based on our expectations from a previous 5-star resort. Upon arrival at about 3:30 PM, we felt kind of "dumped" in the lobby. I was unimpressed with the front desk staff who seemed to just want to attach our bracelets (which identify which Riu you're staying at), give us our key and towel card and send us off. My husband and I had been up since 4:00 AM, we were hungry and thirsty, and after asking several times of the desk staff where we could get some drinks or food, I still couldn't understand him. I do not speak Spanish, but expected the desk clerk to speak better English. He kept referring to making reservations with the maitre d' for our dinners. We just needed a snack right then. We decided to go to our room and take advantage of the room service. Communication problems again. We got half of what we ordered, and specifics were off. For example, I ordered TWO sandwiches, asked for no mayo on my sandwich. Only ONE sandwich came WITH mayo.

One of my favorite things at any hotel or resort is room service breakfast. No communication issues here because of a card to hang on the door at night. While the food that arrived tasted just fine, I was disappointed in the plastic forks and styrofoam cups. The orange juice was not juice - more like Tang powdered drink, and the decaf coffee came as a styrofoam cup of hot water and instant coffee crystals. I expected a carafe of coffee and real juice. One of my great pleasures is sitting on the balcony in the morning, having a few cups of coffee and reading. I had only one cup of instant coffee instead. For future mornings, I ordered 3 cups of decaf.

Back to the room: it was nice enough - clean, mini bar, balcony with 2 rocking chairs and a small table, small bath. One odd thing - our supposed king-size bed was smaller than our queen size at home. Fuzzy TV reception, but we weren't there to watch TV, would only turn it on when getting dressed for dinner, or for a bit before bed. Only occasional programs in English.

Once we figured out how to get food in the restaurants (from our tour rep. who had an orientation kind of thing the first morning), we found it plentiful and delicious - great variety. The maitre d' also did not speak English well, so that made it a bit awkward. He frequently seemed irritated. You have to go the maitre d' each morning by 10:00 if you want dinner reservations at a sit-down restaurant for that evening. There are two seatings each night. We took the early seating the second night, but opted for the later seating (around 8:30-9:00) for the rest of the time. We found that we wanted to stay on the beach as long as we could. My husband and I both liked the Steakhouse the best.

The beach is postcard beautiful - my husband and I walked for a good hour in one direction with no shoes/sandals and we spent most of everyday there. We also went in the ocean everyday in the marked-off swimming area. Not much trouble getting chairs, although we did have to drag some to the location we liked. The beach was VERY WINDY every day - not a breeze - wind. Again, comparing to Riviera Maya, I enjoyed the light breeze off the ocean there. I did not enjoy the wind on the Punta Cana beach. To try to avoid the wind, we tried sitting by the pool one day, but it was oppressively hot there with NO breeze, so we switched back to the windy beach.

The entertainment was bad or absent. We tried the nightclub off the main lobby one night, but the show consisted of embarrassing the guests who had played games by the pool that day. One other night, we tried the piano bar in the lobby, but it seemed like senior citizen night. Hmmm - not for us either - we're mid-forties - not young, but not that old either. The ampitheater had no events the whole time we were there.

Had this been our first all-inclusive, we may have thought it was wonderful. But in comparison, it should not be rated 5-star. We tipped generously and often - brought $100 in singles with us. It seemed that most guests there did not tip at all, and our tipping didn't seem to change the level of service we received. My advice - don't tip unless there's exceptional service.

Concluding: my advice is that the Riu Palace Macao is nice enough if it's your first vacation and you won't be comparing to other locations. If you speak Spanish, it'll be better than our experience. The beach is beautiful if you don't mind the wind.
But if a friend asked me where to vacation, I would recommend Mexico over the Dominican Republic. Probably because Mexico has had tourist areas for a longer time, they're just better at accommodating Americans.

It was great to get away from winter in February, but we'll pick Mexico next time.
Riu Palace Macao
Debbie 
N.H., USA
March 2008
my husband and I traveled to the Macao with 5 other friends for 10 days. We thought the macao was very nice .It was very clean ,the people there are always cleaning. The food was excellent at the buffet so many choices to choose from. We were not crazy about the caribe or the mediterranean but it was nice just having lunch at the caribe. The beach and the water were wonderful but there were alot more people than we were use to as we usually go to antigua.We took a trip to altos chavon which also included some caves and a river raft lunch. There was not enough time at any of these places especially alto .You had about an hour or a little more most of your time was on the bus plus they make stops for shopping which we were not aware of . Chavon is beautiful you could spend at least ahalf day there. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR SAFE KEY we had 700.00 stollen out of our safe. We didnt want to carry the key to the beach so we hid it in a shirt pocket in the closet. We reported it to the front desk and felt they were hoping if they made has wait long enough while they ignored us we go away. We filed a formal written report and they said the manager would be in touch that night,never heard anything. They also said it was our responsiblity because we left the key in the room,I told them I felt it was not all ours as we felt staying in a upscale resort we shouldnt have to worry about someone going through our personal belongings. Finally the day before we left my husband went back to the desk and got an appointment with the manager and found out they went into our room without telling us or leaving us a note to check the locks . He said they interviewed the people that came into our room and sort insinuated that maybe we had spent the money. Well needless to say we got nowhere and we hadnt spent any money since we had been there . Other than that we had a geat time and the people are wonderful.
Riu Palace Macao
Katie & Pat 
Ontario, Canada
February 2008
HOTEL
We stayed at the RIU Palace Macao (January 26 - February 2, 2008) and it was a beautiful resort. It is 1/5 RIU hotels in Punta Cana. It is located between the Iberostar and Gran Bahia. The staff was more than helpful and friendly. I could not say enough good things about the service we received. The resort is split into 2 sides we were all in the same corridor except for a friend of mine who came later. She was upgraded to the RIU Palace Punta Cana as the Macao was overbooked. It did suck, as she was a ways away from the rest of us, the pool was quite small as was the kiddie wading pool but the beach was amazing. It was never too crowded and the odd palm tree provided shade when needed. The rooms were kept really clean but were a bit dated. The bed was actually not that uncomfortable I did not have any problems. The food was great; we all enjoyed the buffet and had a great wedding dinner at the “Caribe Grill”. Most “party” people spent there time at the Lobby bar. Great drinks. I watched almost every show, though they are super cheesy and cheap they are entertaining. Johnny Bravo, Super John, Puff Daddy and Angie are great members of the hardworking Animacion team. Though my guests participated in a few events they were always busy. The resort guests were an older crowd. The Bambu and Taino seemed much rowdier. The RIU Palace Punta Cana, seemed way to posh for me but it was a nice place to visit.

WEDDING
I did use the resort hairdresser. She was a super nice girl whom works outside the resort. She did my hair, the flower girls and one bridesmaid in about 2.5 hours. She did a good job. I was not overly picky nor was anyone else so it made her job easier. We had our wedding at the gazebo at the RIU Bambu. It is the most private setting you can get at the RIU. That being said they are still a few spectators. It was very nice. The Renewal of Vows we had was very short - maybe 20 minutes from the start of us walking down the aisle to the end of the ceremony. The minister read something in Spanish and Magnolia translated it for us. All we had to say was “I DO” My FH thought this was the greatest thing ever. Me, wanted something more, but gave into FH’s wishes. You are more than welcome to include your own vows if you’d like. You just had to let Magnolia know before hand. Magnolia is a very nice person who was very accommodating. WE had the pianist perform at the ceremony. He played some slow music for the bridal party and literally the wedding march as I cam down. But not the start of the wedding march but the part that most people hear when you are leaving the ceremony. Oh, well. What can you do? I wanted the trio, but was once again out voted by FH. As for decorations and flowers you basically choose from a generic RIU wedding book. The flowers were not as tropical as I would have like but the bouquet’s turned out fine. It does cost extra for centre pieces and any other table decorations. The centre pieces for tables were about $60 a piece. The chair covers are included in the package. We had our dinner at the Caribe Grill on the beach for an extra $600; they had the chairs covered as well as a vase with a fresh flower on each table and the table settings had a pattern to it. It was cute. I did not hire a DJ, but kind of wish I did. My FH did not want a first dance, bouquet/garter toss or speeches so a DJ was out of the question for him. If you pay by credit card they do convert it into Pesos.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Magnolia arranged for Michael Weiler to come and photograph my wedding. I was still in shock a bit of a daze and forgot to ask him to come to my room ahead of time to take photos. I as well forgot him to take a few shots just of me and my bridesmaids and with family, but I do not attribute it to his skill but myself. It was just a whirlwind of a day. The quality of his photos was great and he was very personable. He was also accommodating and I am sure if I remembered at the time to ask him for certain shots he would definitely do them. If you choose not to bring your own photographer down I would recommend Michael he works out of the RIU but I can get you his contact information if you’d like. For $650 I got 24 5x7 prints and beautiful album (the ones with thick pages – coffee table style) and the CD with all the photos he took.

Feel free to email me at katieandpat@shaw.ca if you have any other questions!
Riu Palace Macao
Fred and Coreen 
Grand Bend, Ontario
January 2008
Arrival - We took the Sunquest provided transportation. Everything went smoothly. Checkin is at 3 p.m. but they let us get our room at about 2:15 p.m.

Rooms - Room and room service was great. No complaints here and no musty smell. Beds are firm.

Restaurants - The food at the main buffet was so good, we didn't go to the specialty restaurants. Any food you get at the specialty restaurant could be found in the main buffet. My only "complaint" would be that there is no pop machine where one could re-fill their drink. You had to rely on the waiter to bring you your drinks.

Bars - We have stayed at the Riu Taino twice before. We definitely noticed the upgrade in drinks and service. Drinks are delivered to you at the poolside and on the beach. This is not the case at the Riu Taino/Bambu/Naiboa. Also the choice of beverage is quite good..Canadian Club and other name brands available.

Beach and Pools - Beach is great as usual. It was a little choppy which brought in some red weeds. Just swim past them and all is well. The pool is kept cool but we really liked it. No swim up bar, however the waiters serve you right at poolside.

Grounds - Very well kept.

Activities - Lots of activities available. If you don't like what they have, just go next door to the other Riu's. In my case, the volleyball was better at the Riu Taino, so thats were I went.

Conclusion - We have stayed at the Riu Taino on two other occasions but felt the food was going downhill. We were very happy with the food at the Riu Palace Macao. For a couple hundred extra dollars, it was well worth it.
Riu Palace Macao
Bruce 
Kitchener
January 2008
WArrival - We have been to dominican many times so we took a cab to the resort. this allows you to get there before the bus and check out rooms. we got a nice room half way to the beach on the ground floor which is raised.

Rooms - compare favourably to other places we have been. lots of tile and marble,good air conditioning, good mini bar . asked for extra towels and they were delivered promptly. had to call maid service at 9pm one night and they were there quickly as well.

Restaurants - We ate at the gourmet , brazil steakhouse and the italian twice. they were all quite good.we also ate at the buffet twice. i don't know what all the people who complain would like to see ,that isn't at the buffet.

Bars - used the main lobby bar after golf or before dinner every day. lots of people in the main courtyard early evening as well.

Beach and Pools - both good. adequate loungers at both places

Grounds - very well kept and attractive. nice and compact so you don't need a trolly to get to and from beach

Activities - we did our own thing , golf , cards, reading ,walking beach so passed. but others took advantage and seemed to enjoy .

Conclusion - I really can't fathom what people are complaining about? We have been to 7 resorts. 5 in punta cana 1 in puerto plata and 1 on south coast. each one has strenths and weaknesses. food was fine . for fussy eaters they had fries , pizza, hamburgers, at least two meats and fish. lots of salads, omelet station , pasta station. only rag was the sports bar food which had to be microwaved.
Riu Palace Macao
MaryAnn 
Ontario, Canada
December 2007
Just returned from a weeks stay at the Rui Macoa. Wonderful holiday. Great place.

Rooms are nice...ours was a bit musty smelling. We advised them at reception but we were never moved. They sprayed the room which did not solve the problem. Next time we will be sure to insist to be moved since no one else complained. Food was great. The buffet was impressive. They certainly catered to everyone. We were there for a wedding and the dinner was served at the steak house. The steak was very good. I normally have a tendancy to eliminate meat when I go away but had no problems here. The chicken, pork, lamb, steak was all good .

Drinks were plentiful and if they didn't know how to make a drink you wanted you just told them and they made it. We had hummers every day at the poolside bar made with the soft icecream they had available at all times. Great anemity! Just told the bartender what was in them and when he seen us coming started making them!

Very friendly and clean hotel.

You could use the other Rui facilities (except the Punta Cana Palace) but we had everything so we never used. Check out the Punta Cana Palace though, it certainly has a WOW factor. Beautiful place. The only thing we noticed is that the Macoa was the only one without a swimup bar.

If you like those just walk over to the next hotel. The beaches were sooo nice.

The activities were fun if you knew the participants or were a participant. The shows were ameturish but they tried very hard.

We took the outback tour..wasn't impressed but our guide was very imformative and interesting.

Seven days was not enough to experience everything to offer.

Would defeniately go back.
Riu Palace Macao
B G 

June 2007
If you want to book an all inclusive Riu hotel in Punta Cana, this is the one to pick. The resort is first class. Even though the Palace Punta Cana is newer, its also twice as big and doesn't have a "personal feel" to it. I was constantly amazed at the hotel staff who's job it was to make sure you're having a good time. They seem to know everyone's name! I swear they make posters for them to study each night with the names of the guests.

Food was good, but after 7 days you'll be ready to go home. I'm convinced that one day of stomach problems will be inevitable. Whether its too much alcohol, or the way they prepare they're food, every time I've been to Punta Cana, I'll get a brief bout with "montazuma's revenge."

The Palace Macau has 2 seatings for their buffet, 7pm and 9pm. You tell them whether you want 7 or 9 the first time you go to the buffet. For some reason, we told them 9 and I think we wished we had told them 7. They also have 3 ala carte restaurants. You tell them if you want to eat at one of the ala carte places after breakfast. The seating times if you do these restaurants is 6:30. We did the Carribe restaurant and the Mediterranian restuarant. Both were good, but Carribe was better simply because its located right on the beach and the view at dinner time is amazing.

The pool is great and the hotel has staff to take drink orders. After the second day, we figured out that its way better to relax by the ocean than at the pool due to the ocean breeze. Even though the pool is only 50 yards from the beach, it doesn't get the breeze and you just pour sweat at the pool.

We did the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventureand the Marinarium excursions. I recommend both. the Bavaro runners is very similiar to the outback runners excursion. They drive you all around the island and take you to a dominican home, school. Bavaro runners costs slightly more because they also add a brief horseback ride on the beach. The horses are very docile and aren't doing anything but following the horse in front.

The Marinarium is a snorkling tour. It was good, they take you to a pen in the ocean that has rays and nurse sharks, coral and fish. After you go to a sand bar where the water is waist high and bring out drinks while you're in the water.

Overall I highly recommend the Macau. The only thing I didn't like was that the hotel allows vendors in a few nights a week to sell trinkets and cigars. The vendors push their merchandise in the typical dominican style ... aggressive.
Riu Palace Macao
Angie, Ken and Renee 
San Antonio Texas
June 2007
Hi from Angie Ken and Renee of San Antonio Texas. We stayed at the Riu Maceo ,Punta Cana. The staff are very kind and helpful. The food was so good. The staff and Manager made us feel welcome. I want to go back! I could have stayed longer! the palm trees are so pretty.
Riu Palace Macao
 
Cambridge, Ontario
June 2007
We stayed at the Riu Palace Macao in May 2007 - 2 Moms & 2 Daughters for 1 week. All I can say is this resort was a 5+++ for us. Great food, people, weather, nice clean rooms. The entertainment was always fun. Can't wait to do it again. A must do - the monster truck - loved it.
Riu Palace Macao
Crystal & Curtis (29 & 31 years old) 
Manitoba, Canada
April 2007
Me and my (now) husband spent 2 weeks (Feb 28-Mar 13) at the Riu Hotel Palace Macao in Punta Cana. We had our wedding on the beach at our hotel (see wedding review). I can't say enough good things about it. The staff at the reception desk were very friendly and helpful. We had a million stupid questions and they answered every one of them with a smile (not a sarcastic one either). Our first suite was very nice and clean. We were completely satisfied with it. The second night they were kind enough to upgrade our room since we were getting married. The second room blew our minds. We had his/hers sinks and closests - very convenient! Our balcony off our bedroom had sun loungers. The balcony off our living room area had rocking chairs and a drying rack. The second floor of that balcony (yes, 2nd floor) had a jacuzzi tub for two. Our liquor dispenser/fridge was always full and we had almost every possible "mix" for the liquor. Personally I'm a beer drinker and have to say the room beer wasn't that great. You can however get a good beer anywhere else on the premises and bring it up to your room. I'm pretty sure that if you requested it, they'd bring different beer to your room. We didn't spend a lot of time in our room so it wasn't a big deal. Everything was very clean. Had more than enough clean towels each day. Also fresh flowers each day on the "towel art". The maid had even incorporated the petals from my bouquet that I had thrown out, into the towel art (nice touch). Our only issue stems from laziness. Our room was on the fourth floor and the elevator was on the opposite side of the building. When you come back from a long day in the sun, you either have to walk up those stairs or walk to the other side of the building to take the elevator. So if you have leg/feet problems, make sure you ask for a room on the main floor. We had a slight problem with a water leak in our room. They had a maintenance person there within 5 minutes & issue resolved/cleaned up within the hour. They even called around 2 hours later to confirm everything was okay & called again the next day to check up. The staff cater to your every need to the point where it's almost embarrassing.

The activities/entertainment staff were great - they made it difficult to not participate. At first I wasn't so interested in things like horseshoes, ping pong etc. By the end of the trip we were constantly checking the schedule to see when activities would start because the staff made it so much fun. There were also prizes if you won the competitions. The nightly shows weren't great but they did put effort into them (and they're included so if you don't like them-leave). I'm not an M.J fan but the impersonator was really good.

I was delighfully surprised by the buffett. I've never had mass-produced food that was so good. We went with quite a few picky eaters but never heard anybody complain. There's something for everybody there - huge selection. Was a little disappointed with the steak house. The sirloin was very fatty & thin. Others in our group had ordered other things which apparently weren't bad. I'd really advise against that sirloin though. The Caribe Grill was good. We had our wedding supper there & it was a great venue. Technically there isn't a dance floor there but they didn't stop us when we danced anyway (even encouraged us by playing a particular song again). The Kabuki (Japanese) restaurant by far was our favorite. The Teppanyaki beef was amazing (went back for more). You are also able to visit the other hotels' (except Palace Punta Cana) restaurants. You have to make arrangements at your reception desk the morning of which day you want to go. The only restaurant we didn't go to was the Mediterranean because it was mostly seafood. Every restaurant has a menu posted by the entrance so it's easy to decide which ones you'll go to. Also note that there are 24 hour snacks. Somebody in our party said you had to check that the hamburger meat was cooked thoroughly. There was also snack & coconut parties on the beach and by the pool. You definitely never go hungry at this place.

The beach was amazing. You do have to get there by around 9:30am if you want a lounger. If we didn't get one we would just hang out by the pool until around 2:30pm when the people who did get to the beach early, started clearing out. The staff will even find a table or a cushion for you. There are some free rental items at the beach like flippers/snorkels and boogie boards. We took our own snorkels as I'm not sure how they clean them. We saw some fish while snorkeling right at the beach. Other items were "free" but you had to take a $25 lesson on how to use them first (catamaran etc). Just make sure you check the price listings carefully before you sign up for anything. Our pool wasn't spectacular but was still nice & was quieter than the others. The "lower end" hotels had better pools I thought. It was easy enough to walk 5 minutes to those other pools. Definetly check out the swim up bars!!! Some of the other hotels also had board games available by the pools.

Overall, we were very impressed with our hotel. I'd say it caters to ages 30-50 (we are 29 & 31). It wasn't "party central" but it wasn't dull either. Always had lively music playing but was never deafening. Had more of a lounge around drinking feel rather than a keg party. The great thing about staying at the Macao is that you have access to the other hotels so if you wanted to go party at one of the "younger" hotels you could - then come back and have a good, quiet sleep. I'd say if you have kids, don't stay here though. Not too many kid friendly activities. The hotels on both sides of us seemed to have more for families. Be prepared to eat & drink a lot!!

Tours/Excursions
The one thing about our trip that was very disappointing was some of our day trips. When we got there, our Sunquest (will never travel with them again - I can't even begin to list all of our problems we had with them) rep basically scared us into booking trips with them. Gave us some terrible scenarios about booking with unreliable tour groups etc. One of the excursions we booked with him was the CoCo Tours (Sunquest affiliate) "Bavaro Shopping Tour". This was a total scam. We were told they would take us to a rum factory, cigar factory then into a town to do some shopping (promises of cheaper prices than on the resort). The ride was fun at first. They played some dance music & passed around rum (which our tour guide ended up getting on a lot of our clothes). We first went to the cigar factory where they gave us a sales pitch for their products for about 10 minutes then gave us around 5 minutes to actually see where they made them. Then rushed us out. When we got to the "rum factory" the tour guide flat out said "This is not a rum factory. This is where they paint bottles for rum". They proceeded to try selling us the painted bottles & other items. We then went on to the shopping portion which ended up being at another resort which was exactly like shopping on my resort (why did I pay for this??). We had to pay 1/2 up front to the Sunquest rep then were supposed to pay the other 1/2 when we were coming back from the trip. The tour guides forgot to charge us coming back. All but 2 (they handed the driver cash) of our group walked off the bus (honestly forgetting) without paying. Once we realized our mistake, we were all glad because everybody felt we had been ripped off since we didn't really get what we were promised/paid for. Everybody in our wedding group left a few days later. 5 days after the "shopping trip", me & my husband were presented a bill for 14 people. I'm not sure why they waited until everybody but me and my husband left. We now had a different Sunquest rep at our hotel & he didn't know anything about the situation (as I tried to explain 2 had already paid fully). This was extremely annoying because he didn't want to deal with it either. He just kept giving me his cell phone to talk to the original rep (not sure where he went to). I explained our complaint to the original rep who then gave us a whopping $2 off per person. We talked to several other people on our trips who had been ripped off by this same excursion/company. We had also booked another trip through Sunquest/Coco Tours which was the Contiki Snorkeling trip. While it was somewhat fun, it wasn't what was explained to us either.

The good news is that not all tour companies are bad. We took our chances (figured it couldn't get any worse) on a trip to Santo Domingo with Prieto Tours. They were absolutely great. The trip was $62 per person. They had us out from 6:30am until almost 9pm. The ride was long but our guide kept it interesting. They took us to a rest stop that had a store at which you didn't have to barter - just set prices which were low. Got some rum & coffee at really good prices. We then went to the Three Eyes Caves, The Santo Domingo Aquarium, the home of Diego Columbus (Christopher's son), the oldest Cathedral in the Americas (can't remember the name), another Cathedral which holds tombs of Dominican heros, a colonial market and went to several monuments. The $62 included admission to all of the above & a very nice lunch at a restaurant by the river. The tour guide also impressed me when he took care of an elderly woman who was sick from the beginning. He got her a taxi (made sure the driver spoke English) to take her to the hospital & made several calls to the hospital to follow up. I would recommend this tour company to anybody.
Riu Palace Macao
Owen and Sharon 
Ontario
April 2007
The Riu Palace Macao in February is a wonderful way to spend a week. We had a great time; the weather was great with the exception of the last day which was windy and overcast. The food, drinks, and overall service was typically and consistently “Riu good”. There were however a few things that could have easily been better.

The room service food described in the menu was very different from what you received and at times, it was downright inedible. Maybe the Riu chain should investigate a little deeper into North American cuisine. The elevators had graffiti that could easily have been removed, and the pool badly needs repair. I guess this is why the Punta Cana palace was built as the Macao is a little run down.

Upon departure at the Punta Cana airport we were charged $10.00 per kilo ($90.00) for overweight luggage. This has never happened before in the many times that we have traveled to various destinations of the Caribbean. We purchased very few souvenirs and we also left many items behind. Our luggage noticeably weighed less than they did upon arrival. They had asked for American dollars at the Skyservice check in desk and I did pay but when I asked for a receipt, they tried to change the subject. I insisted and another rep from Skyservice came and informed me that is was to be paid in Canadian dollars. Only then did they reluctantly give a receipt. I clearly smelled a rat!

Fortunately I had money left after our vacation. I feel bad for people that would not have the funds and would have to empty their luggage over such a scam by the staff at Skyservice. The crazy thing about this is that we ended up buying big bottles of rum, and a few other heavy items when we arrived at the departure lounge. How does that make sense? When I arrived back home, I contacted Skyservice and complained but I never received a response. So….. I am giving those who read this a travel advisory to always ask for a receipt, buy any souvenirs at the airport, wear a couple of layers of clothes with the pockets stuffed with cameras, phones, keys, shells and anything else heavy.

I also feel bad for the resorts in Punta Cana and the friendly staff that work there. They are no doubt suffering from these bad airport experiences that is (after many discussions with friends and acquaintances) quite common. We will be contacting The Riu chain as well in hope that they will convince Sunquest and Skyservice to clean up their acts. We will no doubt return to Punta Cana as the beaches are the best in the world and the people are friendly but if I can save ten people from going through the “Skyservice airport scam”, I will be happy.
Riu Palace Macao
Crystal & Curtis 

March 2007
Me and my (now) husband spent 2 weeks (Feb 28-Mar 13) at the Riu Hotel Palace Macao in Punta Cana. We had our wedding on the beach at our hotel (see wedding review). I can't say enough good things about it. The staff at the reception desk were very friendly and helpful. We had a million stupid questions and they answered every one of them with a smile (not a sarcastic one either). Our first suite was very nice and clean. We were completely satisfied with it. The second night they were kind enough to upgrade our room since we were getting married. The second room blew our minds. We had his/hers sinks and closests - very convenient! Our balcony off our bedroom had sun loungers. The balcony off our living room area had rocking chairs and a drying rack. The second floor of that balcony (yes, 2nd floor) had a jacuzzi tub for two. Our liquor dispenser/fridge was always full and we had almost every possible "mix" for the liquor. Personally I'm a beer drinker and have to say the room beer wasn't that great. You can however get a good beer anywhere else on the premises and bring it up to your room. I'm pretty sure that if you requested it, they'd bring different beer to your room. We didn't spend a lot of time in our room so it wasn't a big deal. Everything was very clean. Had more than enough clean towels each day. Also fresh flowers each day on the "towel art". The maid had even incorporated the petals from my bouquet that I had thrown out, into the towel art (nice touch). Our only issue stems from laziness. Our room was on the fourth floor and the elevator was on the opposite side of the building. When you come back from a long day in the sun, you either have to walk up those stairs or walk to the other side of the building to take the elevator. So if you have leg/feet problems, make sure you ask for a room on the main floor. We had a slight problem with a water leak in our room. They had a maintenance person there within 5 minutes & issue resolved/cleaned up within the hour. They even called around 2 hours later to confirm everything was okay & called again the next day to check up. The staff cater to your every need to the point where it's almost embarrassing.

The activities/entertainment staff were great - they made it difficult to not participate. At first I wasn't so interested in things like horseshoes, ping pong etc. By the end of the trip we were constantly checking the schedule to see when activities would start because the staff made it so much fun. There were also prizes if you won the competitions. The nightly shows weren't great but they did put effort into them (and they're included so if you don't like them-leave). I'm not an M.J fan but the impersonator was really good.

I was delighfully surprised by the buffett. I've never had mass-produced food that was so good. We went with quite a few picky eaters but never heard anybody complain. There's something for everybody there - huge selection. Was a little disappointed with the steak house. The sirloin was very fatty & thin. Others in our group had ordered other things which apparently weren't bad. I'd really advise against that sirloin though. The Caribe Grill was good. We had our wedding supper there & it was a great venue. Technically there isn't a dance floor there but they didn't stop us when we danced anyway (even encouraged us by playing a particular song again). The Kabuki (Japanese) restaurant by far was our favorite. The Teppanyaki beef was amazing (went back for more). You are also able to visit the other hotels' (except Palace Punta Cana) restaurants. You have to make arrangements at your reception desk the morning of which day you want to go. The only restaurant we didn't go to was the Mediterranean because it was mostly seafood. Every restaurant has a menu posted by the entrance so it's easy to decide which ones you'll go to. Also note that there are 24 hour snacks. Somebody in our party said you had to check that the hamburger meat was cooked thoroughly. There was also snack & coconut parties on the beach and by the pool. You definitely never go hungry at this place.

The beach was amazing. You do have to get there by around 9:30am if you want a lounger. If we didn't get one we would just hang out by the pool until around 2:30pm when the people who did get to the beach early, started clearing out. The staff will even find a table or a cushion for you. There are some free rental items at the beach like flippers/snorkels and boogie boards. We took our own snorkels as I'm not sure how they clean them. We saw some fish while snorkeling right at the beach. Other items were "free" but you had to take a $25 lesson on how to use them first (catamaran etc). Just make sure you check the price listings carefully before you sign up for anything. Our pool wasn't spectacular but was still nice & was quieter than the others. The "lower end" hotels had better pools I thought. It was easy enough to walk 5 minutes to those other pools. Definetly check out the swim up bars!!! Some of the other hotels also had board games available by the pools.

Overall, we were very impressed with our hotel. I'd say it caters to ages 30-50 (we are 29 & 31). It wasn't "party central" but it wasn't dull either. Always had lively music playing but was never deafening. Had more of a lounge around drinking feel rather than a keg party. The great thing about staying at the Macao is that you have access to the other hotels so if you wanted to go party at one of the "younger" hotels you could - then come back and have a good, quiet sleep. I'd say if you have kids, don't stay here though. Not too many kid friendly activities. The hotels on both sides of us seemed to have more for families. Be prepared to eat & drink a lot!!

Tours/Excursions
The one thing about our trip that was very disappointing was some of our day trips. When we got there, our Sunquest (will never travel with them again - I can't even begin to list all of our problems we had with them) rep basically scared us into booking trips with them. Gave us some terrible scenarios about booking with unreliable tour groups etc. One of the excursions we booked with him was the CoCo Tours (Sunquest affiliate) "Bavaro Shopping Tour". This was a total scam. We were told they would take us to a rum factory, cigar factory then into a town to do some shopping (promises of cheaper prices than on the resort). The ride was fun at first. They played some dance music & passed around rum (which our tour guide ended up getting on a lot of our clothes). We first went to the cigar factory where they gave us a sales pitch for their products for about 10 minutes then gave us around 5 minutes to actually see where they made them. Then rushed us out. When we got to the "rum factory" the tour guide flat out said "This is not a rum factory. This is where they paint bottles for rum". They proceeded to try selling us the painted bottles & other items. We then went on to the shopping portion which ended up being at another resort which was exactly like shopping on my resort (why did I pay for this??). We had to pay 1/2 up front to the Sunquest rep then were supposed to pay the other 1/2 when we were coming back from the trip. The tour guides forgot to charge us coming back. All but 2 (they handed the driver cash) of our group walked off the bus (honestly forgetting) without paying. Once we realized our mistake, we were all glad because everybody felt we had been ripped off since we didn't really get what we were promised/paid for. Everybody in our wedding group left a few days later. 5 days after the "shopping trip", me & my husband were presented a bill for 14 people. I'm not sure why they waited until everybody but me and my husband left. We now had a different Sunquest rep at our hotel & he didn't know anything about the situation (as I tried to explain 2 had already paid fully). This was extremely annoying because he didn't want to deal with it either. He just kept giving me his cell phone to talk to the original rep (not sure where he went to). I explained our complaint to the original rep who then gave us a whopping $2 off per person. We talked to several other people on our trips who had been ripped off by this same excursion/company. We had also booked another trip through Sunquest/Coco Tours which was the Contiki Snorkeling trip. While it was somewhat fun, it wasn't what was explained to us either.

The good news is that not all tour companies are bad. We took our chances (figured it couldn't get any worse) on a trip to Santo Domingo with Prieto Tours. They were absolutely great. The trip was $62 per person. They had us out from 6:30am until almost 9pm. The ride was long but our guide kept it interesting. They took us to a rest stop that had a store at which you didn't have to barter - just set prices which were low. Got some rum & coffee at really good prices. We then went to the Three Eyes Caves, The Santo Domingo Aquarium, the home of Diego Columbus (Christopher's son), the oldest Cathedral in the Americas (can't remember the name), another Cathedral which holds tombs of Dominican heros, a colonial market and went to several monuments. The $62 included admission to all of the above & a very nice lunch at a restaurant by the river. The tour guide also impressed me when he took care of an elderly woman who was sick from the beginning. He got her a taxi (made sure the driver spoke English) to take her to the hospital & made several calls to the hospital to follow up. I would recommend this tour company to anybody.
Riu Palace Macao
Todd and Shelley 
Saskatchewan
February 2007
We spent 7 wonderful days at the Riu Palace Macao in mid January and had a great time. Upon reading the reviews on that resort, it seems like the more recent ones are not all that satisfied. We really had no problems though. We went for my neices wedding and there was 24 of us all together. The reception when we first got there was very friendly. If anything, Alexandra at the front desk rattled through everything a little too quickly. There was some spots in our room that was starting to show its age, but you have to think of the traffic that goes through that resort in a years time.

The food was good all the way around. Someone from our group made it to all the a'la cartes. I think we are all a little spoiled from good old Canadian beef as their steaks were a little thin and fatty but the taste was awesome. I think after 7 days stay at any resort, all the food starts to taste the same after awhile anyway. Our group tried room service a couple times. The first time, nothing came as ordered, but still tasted good, the second time, everything right down to the cheese cake came as we ordered.

I think our only complaint would be the nite life. If you are looking for some happening nite life, the Riu Macao probably won't fit into your liking. We hit all the bars within the RIU resorts and the night life was average at all of them. We just had to be creative and make our own fun, which we did, and the staff were fairly receptive to our midnight cannon balls into the pool! We hit the Michael Jackson show.....it was good. Unfortunately we missed Grease and Carribean night. The best show in the house was our last night there. They brought people up on stage from the audience after their little awards ceremony for the daily activity winners. These people have to act out skits and what not. This show was hilarious!! I may be biased though as two girls from our group was up there, but the whole crowd was in stitches. It was 2 hours of hold your gut laughing fun.

We don't travel lots..we have only been to one all inclusive in Mexico and to Hawaii. This was by far the best we have seen yet. The beach was truly unbelievable and the ocean was the same. If you are looking for a great place to relax and soak up the sun, this beach is for you. Its busy, but we would head down to the beach between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning and never seemed to have any problems finding loungers for all of us. The staff running the activities grew to know us by name after awhile. Some of our group was always trying their hand at whatever the activity of the hour happened to be. Special thanks to Danny, Puff Daddy (awesome arm), Clarice (?), and Super John and the rest of the crew running the activities. You knew you were in for a laugh.

Our Sunquest rep, Jose, recommended for our size of group the Tahiki Tour. It lasts about 5 hours from the time you leave the resort until you return. You go snorkeling for a bit and then party on on the boat. That was a blast! Those guys know how to show a good time. Kudos to them......

I bought some lava stone souveniers at the beach shops to bring home and thought by bringing them home in my carry on, they should manage ok. Thanks to the roomy and comfy accomodations (ha, ha) on the SkyService flight home, 2 out of the 4 were broken. Probably would have made out better if I checked them in my luggage. I am only 5'2" and was so rediculously uncomfortable by the end of the 6 hour flight back to Winnipeg. I can't imagine how tall inidividuals fair on a flight that long. Also the stewardesses need to find a different job. Its quite obviously, they aren't enjoying that one!!!

All in all it was truly an awesome trip. Thanks Chris and Billi!!!! The Riu Palace Punta Cana is something to see. Unfortunately, being at the Macao you don't have access to any of its grandeur, but you gotta go for a walk through. It is georgous! As for the wedding, it was truly beautiful and romantic. They chose the little gazebo that was described in a couple reviews down. The wedding was 6ish with some beautiful pictures on the beach and the sun at a soft glow.

We would highly recommend the Riu Palace Macao.
Riu Palace Macao
Dave and Caron 

January 2007
We just got back home from two weeks at the Riu Palace Macao - and it’s time to do the review! Bad news and good news - the bad first - the Riu Palace Macao (pronounced Macaw) is NOT a palace, it might be a junior palace but it’s NOT a palace in the same league as the Punta Cana Palace or the Palace at Playacar Mexico. We were really disappointed to discover this when we first arrived and even asked for a transfer to the Punta Cana Palace however--and here is the good news--we eventually decided to stay at the Macao and we are glad we did!

The Riu Palace Macau, in spite of not really being a palace, is a great upscale 5 star resort which we really enjoyed. It is definitely better than the Naboi, Tanio or Bambu. As others have stated the only true downside of the Macao is the pool, which is in some need of repair and only really looks great when the fountains are on or when it’s night time and you can’t see what the bottom looks like. The pool is surprisingly small and yet it was never crowded--as opposed to the pools at the other resorts which were always overrun with people. Being a bit upscale the meals were better, there were less children, there wasn’t the same mad rush to sign up for the various restaurants, and the atmosphere was very nice. The people on animation (volleyball, ring toss, bocce, darts, archery) were terrific, and the guys serving drinks around the pool were great. In the end we decided the Riu Macao was more our style than the other big palace and we decided to stay were we where.

One other downside--and this is about Punta Cana and not just the Macao--there’s really very little to do beyond the resort, that’s why not one writes about the excursions they took!! There’s NO shopping, other than a few local stands here and there. The trip to Sonoma Island is a 2+ hour bus trip either way before you even get on the boat. Others we knew took the bus trip to Santa Domingo, again 2+ hours each way, 13 hours in total, they all came back disappointed. I did however take a 3 hour guided tour on ATV’s and it was very good. It was $100 for two on the same ATV or $75 for one. I went by myself and really enjoyed it, felt I had the back country tour and the ATV trip all in one. The downside was, every time you stop there’s stuff they want you to buy.

The beach is amazing, it just goes on and on and on. I am a runner, and each morning I would take a direction and run for a half hour or so, and I never did find the end of the beach. The beach volleyball was also great, every day at 11 and 3:30 people got together and played on the beach court.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Riu Macao (let’s take the word Palace out because it gives the wrong impression) and would recommend it to others. I would also suggest that 10 days might be perfect, 14 days with little else to do was a tad too long.

A few last things, we took Skyservice down and sat in the emergency exit row over the wing and had enough room. Coming back we were in a regular row and felt like sardines! We vowed NOT to take Skyservice again, and not to take an evening flight home, they never leave on time and we always get home late, late, late and feel very tired the next day or so.

Also, when you arrive make sure you fill out the application for the free Riu Members Card, they will give you a temporary card that gives you 25% off of the massages, and double your time on the internet (for those two things alone it is well worth it). When we got our card the lady at the internet place it was only good for less than an hour - but don’t believe it, go to the front desk and you will get what you want. Oh and did I forget to mention, EVERYONE who works there will tell you something different. Keep on asking different people until someone gives you the answer you want, and then work with them. Enjoy!
Riu Palace Macao
Ken 
Canada
January 2007
About us: We are a couple that has traveled extensively over the past 14 years in the Caribbean 2 or 3 times each year. Without a doubt we are true sun and ocean worshippers who seek out incredible beaches with powder white sand and clear Caribbean blue waters. Furthermore we enjoy personalized service, comfortable and well appointed accommodations. My partner being a private retreat chef here in Ontario, we also seek, good quality food that is presented with elegance and artful mastery. After visits to numerous islands and tropical locals we discovered Punta Cana 6 years ago and now view it as our home in paradise. In Punta Cana we have traveled numerous times to the RIU Palace Macao, once to the RIU Bambu and to the Bahia Principe Club Diamond.

Planning and Booking: Our trip was planned using the very knowledgeable and professional guidance of Robyn at Itravel2000.com. Through her guidance and efforts we were able to find the best pricing and leaving at a date and time that were accommodating to our pocketbook and schedule. She answered our numerous emails promptly and with concise and accurate information. Who ever said that you did not get personalized treatment with an online travel company has never dealt with Robyn, who we will continue to book our trips with.

Departure and Flight with Skyservice: We arrived at the airport within the three hour recommended timeframe and we were able to secure exit seats. I highly recommend attempting to secure these seats when you arrive at the airport (you can not pre-book these seats) as all others are completely unbearable. Our luggage was weighed and we were under weight, so no charge. Be warned baggage over is charged $10 per kilo.

The flight was rather uneventful but made entertaining by the bumbling dialogue made by the head Skyservice flight attendant who stumbled through every announcement that she read. The flight was made further entertaining by the in-flight movie, not because the movie was entertaining, but rather by the further bumbling errors of the same flight attendant who first started the film then 1/5 of the way through after making an error with the sound system for one side the plane, restarted the film, then made an announcement 1/5 of the way through the movie and could not get the movie restarted so she went back to the beginning. Well if we missed anything in the beginning of the movie, we definitely caught it by the third time we saw it! The in-flight snack was a chicken quesadilla and other little packages of snacks such as cheese and crackers. All of this passes the time and tries to take your mind off the fact that you are cramped and uncomfortable and that most of the way you have someone’s elbow shoved into your side —-and that is in an exit seat where you have the luxury of a little more room.

Arrival at the Dominican Airport: As you walk off the airplane the warmth of the Caribbean night air kisses your face and you know that all of the discomfort on the airplane was definitely worth it. You exit the aircraft and walk towards the airport that is an open air thatched roof building. Get ready to smile as you enter the terminal there are two young ladies there to greet you in traditional Dominican garb who you will have your picture taken with as you pass through the entrance. These photos will be available for sale for $5 US when you leave the island a week or two later. The process to enter the island is smooth, have your passport, and blue Dominican tourist ready and wait in line to have them processed. As you wait you will be soothed by the mariachi musicians playing and the warmth of the Caribbean air. The line moves quickly. Once you have completed this process you collect your luggage and head out into the main lobby of the airport, where you will find a Sunquest rep who will point you towards the Sunquest bus which will take you to your resort. At the bus you will sign in and be given an orientation meeting invitation. At this point sit back on the air-conditioned bus and enjoy the scenery out the window and listen to the Caribbean music played.

Arrival at The RIU Palace Macao: Arriving at night the week prior to Christmas we found that the palm trees that line the entranceway to the Macao a glow in hundreds of Christmas lights. The bus arrives and the luggage is taken off (make sure that your bag is taken off as the bus will likely stop at one or more other RIU properties). At reception you are given your tan wristbands, room key, safe key, towel card, and restaurant card along with luggage tags. Reception is warm, welcoming and informative and fluently delivered in English. A attentive bellhop quickly loads your luggage onto a brass luggage cart and shortly delivers your luggage to your room.

The Room: We were very impressed with our third floor garden view room. We were pleasantly surprised to find we were given a corner room with three sliding balcony doors and wrap around balcony that forms into a large hexagon appointed with plantation style wooden rockers, cocktail table and drying rack. The room is appointed with two overstuffed comfortable wing chairs, small bistro table, two night stands, a large credenza that houses the mini bar, large closet that comes with approximately 10 hangers, iron and ironing board. The bathroom comes with tub/shower combination, bidet, well lit mirror, single sink and shaving mirror. The room and bathroom are outfitted with some limited toiletries (bottle of RIU shampoo/body wash, bar of RIU soap and shower cap.) You will also find a bar wall unit that houses several bottles of liquors including gin, rum gin and tequila I believe. The bar fridge has pop (Pepsi, diet Pepsi, 7Up orange soda, tonic and a large jug of water. You will also find two bottles of Bohemian Beer.

Room Service: There is also a room service option for breakfast to 11:00 am and then a snack service including such items as a vegetarian sandwich, a BLT sandwich, Caesar with chicken, nachos and cheese to highlight a few.

Orientation: Depending on whether you arrive in the morning or evening the orientation meeting will be held either on the day of arrival or the next morning. We always attend, but this time we wish we had not, the meeting started 20 minutes late and then all that we were told is where to find the Sunquest book that would list our departure time. Other than that the presenter struggled to explain the tours available.

That was it! There was no information about the resort or the services provided.

Late Night Snacks As we arrived at the resort at 11:00pm the late night snack bar was the only food option. It is located beside the pool. Here you will find a small salad bar and a small buffet serving fried chicken, fries, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and beans with rice. Once you are seated a waiter will come along taking drink orders. After two glasses of red wine were informed that they hand run out. Strange, we thought but decided it was because it was late at night and the waiter was on by himself he was unable to go to the main bar to get more. More on this later….

Piano Bar: Located next to the lobby across from the main buffet restaurant is the 24hour bar. This room definitely has a plantation feel to it, with dark, wide seated wicker chairs arranged in groupings of four around low cocktail tables. Here you can have drinks into the wee hours of the morning along with wonderful cappuccinos. Each evening you will find a variety of wonderful singers and piano players to entertain you. The last session ends around the time that the Pacha Disco opens (I believe that is 11:30). This is usually a wonderful room to sit back in and relax after spending many hours lounging in the sun.

The Showroom: You enter the show room via the piano bar through huge heavy velvet drapes. The art deco décor continues and gives the illusion of entering the showroom of a vintage cruise ship. Most shows are entertaining to watch as you sip an evening cocktail that has been delivered to your table by one of the waiters. The Michael Jackson show (even if you are not a huge fan) should not be missed as well the Cabaret show was extremely well done.

The Main Buffet Dining room: The décor here is definitely elegant and continues that art deco feel. During the evening you will find waiters and waitresses dressed in tuxedo shirts, vests, bowties and pants. At lunch the waiters are now dressed in colorful Caribbean flowered shirts and dark pants.

Kabuki: The Japanese Restaurant is one of four a la carte restaurants for Macao guest to use. You are presented with a lovely plate of sushi and a menu. Next you are given a choice of several starters, entrees and dessert. We thoroughly enjoyed the Dominican version of sushi, then tempura, a wonderful shrimp stir-fry and then we were brought a tempura ice-cream and fruit to share. The food we found here to be very enjoyable but better than the food was the attentive waiter—-he made the evening very relaxing and enjoyable.

The food: There is a wide variety of food served at several buffet stations. During the evening there is always a carving station that always has something delectable. The roast duck and pork were quite memorable. At the main buffet area you will find a fish, beef and chicken entrée at all three sittings as well as a variety of pastas and other vegetables and starches. There is always an abundance of cheeses and crackers at the cheese buffet, decadent desserts and a wide variety of fresh fruits Even the fussiest eater should be able to find something they find enjoyable. For those that are worried there is always French fries, rice, plain pasta and pizza!

Pool and Pool Service: The pool is beautiful with elegant statues and fountains and is wonderful for cooling off in after basking in the sun. While floating in the pool or lounging in the sun, drink service is provided. The service of Jose was very notably attentive and professional. There is an abundance of loungers and a ready supply of fresh towels.

The Beach: Breathtaking and endless. The sand is snow white and soft that extends into the ocean. The ocean bottom is clear and soft without being so soft that it feels muddy. There are lots of sun loungers available. People scope out there spots and do place there towels on the loungers and belongings but this is not a problem. As I have stated there are more than enough loungers and the resort was filled to capacity. Furthermore, your belongs are safe on chairs, though I don’t recommend tempting individuals by leaving cameras on your chair while you go to lunch for an hour but while swimming this would not be an issue. We also left our books and shoes along with our towels beach bag and a couple of $US for tipping wait staff all day and had no problems. I guess the rule of thumb is don’t leave anything on your chair that if it was taken your trip would ruined by.

Departure: The bus picks you up at the resort about three hours earlier than departure and it escorts to the airport and gets you into the correct line. Be sure that your luggage is placed on the bus at the resort before you get on the bus. On our trip home one individual failed to ensure their bag was on the bus and had to leave the country without their belongs which would be sent to them at a later date.

Skyservice: The scale mystery. As mentioned earlier, on the way down our bags weighed under the limit. They were loaded with sunscreen, health care products and gifts. All of these things were left on the island. We did not purchase anything and presto our bags were over weight???? First we were 7 kilos over then we were 5 kilos and finally we were 4 kilos over when weighed by the supervisor. First how did the weight keep changing??? The reason explained that our weight went up on our return was that our bathing suits were wet and maybe sand???? 4 kilos added due to 2 wet suits and sand? Something is not right. We are presently in contact with Skyservice.

The flight home was miserable. We were not able to get aisle seats and we were crammed into the regular seats. We are average build men, one being 5’8 and myself 5’11. My knees were shoved into the back of the airplane seat in front of me so badly that I had to remove the aircraft magazines for a little extra room.

Impressions of the Macao from someone who has been numerous times before: Seeing the Macao is like visiting a great movie starlet from an era gone by who’s makeup is starting to crack. If this is your first visit you will be very happy however, if you are a returning visitor you can’t ignore that nagging feeling that things are not as grand as they use to be.

Management has changed since we were there last and we are not sure if that is a reflection of changing standards.

This was another birthday trip and there was not any recognition made by the staff what so ever —-even at the Bambu my partner was presented with a cake and the room was decorated with balloons and a small painting and bottle of room were left as a present. This was disappointing and totally out of character, especially after numerous emails were sent to R Miller in customer service. Furthermore, when checking in the date was left with the front desk.

The selection of food was good but not as extensive nor varied. The Gala Night fizzled in comparison to other Gala’s.

Previously, in the evening you were given one waiter who you became familiar with and who know your likes and dislikes, red dry wine not chilled for example. It was all part of that small intimate resort service that made the Macao stand out. This was not the case on this trip we had a parade of evening waiters and at times you were not even sure who your waiter was. Breakfast service was lacking as well, quite often your dirty dishes were left sitting on your table. These are all areas that the Macao use to pride themselves with —outstanding Palace service.

The wine, one of the reasons we did not like the Bambu is the terrible wine that they served. The Palace always recieved a better quality wine than the other RIUs. Well the standard at the Macao has dropped to the same standard if not lower. They have also started to chill the wine to try and mask that it is starting to turn to vinegar. It seems on our first night we received the last two glasses of good red wine. Furthermore, at lunch sometimes your drink order was taken and never was filled.

The shows while entertaining are not of the same quality as in previous years.

The toiletries are not of the same standard and not replenished. Furthermore, sometimes you were given fresh towels in the evening and sometimes you were not.

When we arrived at the Macao we were told that we had exchange privileges with all RIUs but the new palace. We were assured that the Macao and the Palace Punta Cana were of the same status but the palaces remained exclusive. So we thought that made sense both Palaces had no exchange privileges with each other. This was not the case, the new RIU Palace Punta Cana have privileges at all resorts including the Macao. Here is the problem with that during our visit. The Palace Punta Cana had been invaded by a group of about 20 drunken mid twenty year olds who were heavy partiers and neither palace was set up for that BUT the Macao’s piano bar and casino were right beside their intimate piano bar. This group invaded the piano bar to get their buzz and every time they wanted a drink because the Macao would give them plastic drinking cups filled with alcohol that could be taken to the disco with them this became their evening hangout. It really did destroy the atmosphere. Management was completely aware of the issue of these individuals who even had the gall to go behind the bar to try and pour their own drinks if the bartender was serving someone else. The final straw was as they announced on their last evening that they were going to make themselves our (Macao guests) worst nightmare. I have to say that this did not happen in the previous years at the Macao not because out of hand partiers did not arrive at the Macao but because the management boldly put a stop to it.

The last straw, cockroaches, never had we encountered them at the Macao but we encountered one in our room and one in the dining room. This is just not acceptable for a RIU Palace. Yeas we only saw two but for us that was two too many.

It is unfortunate that the Macao is allowing itself to fall this way. We loved the Macao and recommended it to many of our friends and family. My teaching partner was prepared to get married there but is now opting for the Palace Punta Cana instead. We loved the Macao’s art deco décor, the small intimate setting and the service that could not be surpassed at any other Punta Cana resort. We had planned to return to the Macao in July with family and then for 2 weeks the following March but have decided against that. Instead we are planning to return to the RIU but this time we intend to stay at the new RIU Palace Punta Cana in our opinion it is worth the few hundred dollars more. We are wondering when they will drop the Palace name from the Macao.

If you are booked at the Macao you will have a lovely time and be quite happy with the service and the quality of the food, as long as you have not attended another RIU Palace because this is no longer be presented by management as the Palace it use to be.
Riu Palace Macao
Mark and Candie 

July 2006
My husband and I just spent a wonderful week (June 25-July 2--2006) at the Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana. It was wonderful! We relaxed and were pampered the whole week. The hotel is beautiful and the food was delicious. The staff was always friendly and willing to help. I wish resorts in the USA would take a few lessons from the people in the Dominican Republic. We have also stayed at the Riu Yucatan in Mexico and the service was the same...WONDERFUL. When possible, we will always stay at a Riu Resort.

The beach was magnificent! You could be in the shade or sun and still be on the beach. The beach is so clean and comfortable chairs were available at all times.

You must remember that you are in another country and the culture is different. I suggest that you always read about the culture before traveling so there will not be any shockers and you can make sure you show the proper respect.

If planning a trip to Punta Cana, stay at a Riu Resort. The new Riu Palace Punta Cana looked wonderful as well!
Riu Palace Macao
Craig 

May 2006
I will attempt to write this review in an all-encompassing manner! A little side note…my wife and I visited Punta Cana with two other couples, so keep that in mind as you read this review. For those that complained that the Palace was boring, we made our own fun, so I’m not sure what they were talking about!

We stayed at the Riu Palace from April 17th to April 24th. All-in-all, I would rate this a 4 star on a scale of 1-5. (Let it be known that I have never given out a five star except for a hotel in Rome and Venice).

GROUNDS/HOTEL ACCOMODATIONS
The grounds are well kept from the moment you arrive at the compound all the way to the ocean’s edge. There is no trash lying about and the public bathrooms that dot the property are extremely clean…and that is one thing I check!

Our room was well kept, although we did tip a dollar or two a night, I don’t think the service would have been lesser if we chose not to tip. The bed was always turned down…and we always had ample towels or face cloths for bathing.

The free-pour alcohol and stocked mini-bar was very nice. I wrote a note in Spanish one day (with a $2 tip) telling the maid to keep the refrigerator full of cervezas and she definitely accommodated!

To further explain how good the service is…I even broke a glass on the floor one evening and the cleaning lady graciously helped to clean up my mistake.

The only minor problem in our room was the lack of cable TV. Quite honestly, I didn’t even bother to call the front desk about it because I did not have the urge to even flip the tube on!

We did not have A/C problems like others providing reviews on this page, nor did I hear of anyone speaking of A/C or other room problems.

One should remember to bring a power outlet converter because the hotel desk will charge a $5 deposit if you should require one.

POOL AREA
I suppose the Riu Palace pool area is small compared to other hotels that we have stayed at…but having said that, it still is a decent size.

Several other reviews mentioned the lack of kids at the Riu Palace pool. I think we hit the spring break week because their happened to be kids everywhere. We didn’t have a problem with this although some may not like the little tykes running here and there. I don’t think this was status quo because the hotel staff indicated that the Palace was running at full occupancy during our stay largely due to families taking spring break.

Of all the hotels on the Riu property, I would definitely say that the older crowd frequents the Riu Palace but I don’t view that as a negative. Contrary to other reports, music was playing at the Palace pool during periodic times throughout the day. We did frequent the Riu Bambu swim-up bar on several days where there was a livelier atmosphere largely due to the waterside watering hole! Again, there were plenty of kids at this pool, but from what people tell me this is not the norm for the Riu properties.

OCEAN/BEACH
Quite honestly, this facet of the resort is what makes the trip worthwhile. We always had access to plenty of lounge chairs and the views are fantastic. I have yet to visit a beach of this caliber anywhere in the world. We had some well-traveled people in our entourage and everyone agreed that the entire stretch of beach was the best anyone has seen.

The beach is well taken care of and unlike other places such as Jamaica or St. Lucia, there was no loitering on the beach or those trying to force cheap jewelry on a visitor.

Yes, there are topless women on the beach but one should be used to that since well over half of the occupants are European or South American. Speedo’s are the norm for the gents even though most shouldn’t be wearing one. If you’re taking your kids, you’ll need to explain that they just live a little different from those in the States and Canada. No big deal really…

DINING/BAR SERVICE
Let me start off by saying the bar service around the Riu Palace pool is excellent. With a little tipping I found the service to be more than satisfactory. I don’t think tipping is necessary…I just like to be taken care of and I definitely came away with that feeling.

Every bar that I visited on the premises sported the same level of service. Even when we decided to try different drinks and they didn’t meet our liking, they were quick to set us up with something more palatable.

As for the food…it’s very good with plenty of variety no matter where you eat. If one has never been there and is expecting top of the line meats, then expect disappointment. This is not a steak house in Chicago or New York…this is meat from the islands or of lesser quality. So, before you go, have your expectations set at the right level and you won’t be disappointed.

Whatever was lacking in food…the service more than made up for it. These people always greeted our party with a smile, which made the vacation very enjoyable.

The ala carte restaurants were very good, although the Mediterranean establishment left a little to be desired.

ACTIVITIES
We didn’t partake in any of the activities although there is constantly something going on during all hours of the day.
Riu Palace Macao
Nikki 
Canada
March 2006
In early February we left cold Grande Prairie, Canada for a sunnier location. We were told the Riu Palace was the cream of the crop from our travel agent, and magazines it is rated a 5+ resort. Upon arrival we were greeted with smiles and people ready to help us to out room. English is definitely not the first language and German and Dutch were far more popular. The foyer is grand and spotless. We arrived at out room and it looked okay it was clean nothing fancy. The air conditioning didn't work in fact it poured out hot air. We eventually got a different room that was actually a down grade from what we had paid for. They conveniently overlooked this fact. The new room had air conditioning but now it had 2 double beds pushed together instead of a king. The beds were rock hard and the furniture in the room and on the balcony were falling apart. The maids always did a good job cleaning and turned down our beds though we did leave a 3 US dollar tip each morning.

The phone system for receiving a call was horrible as we had 2 people try and call us from Canada. They were unsuccessful leaving a message at front desk or getting through to our room.

The food was great. We ate at the buffet every night and had no problems with anything. We were amazed at the variety and size. The waiters were good if you left a tip. Each night was some new feature but we found the Mexican and Lobster the best.

The entertainment in the evenings passed the time but was nothing to brag about for size of this resort. The Michael Jackson show was the best and Caribbean Night was nice walk an a few laughs as people erotically danced to someone in a chair. The crowd voted the best dancer.

The beach was amazing. Sand as soft as flour, water clear and blue, palm trees swaying and the sunny always shined. We welcomed the breeze of the water to cool down the air. The one irritating aspect was there were never enough loungers.

Pool disappointing again for a resort with this rating. But who wants the pool when the beach was so excellent.

Now for the kicker. This was booked through CoCo Tours. When we got to the Riu the agent didn't have any record of us and I had to search her down at another neighboring resort. The day before we left I reconfirmed someone would pick us up at the Palace. We waited for 45 minuted before getting a taxi to the airport. The CoCo tour shuttle blew us off and told another passenger on the shuttle "I hope they get a cab" because they were running behind. We found this out from the passenger on the plane ride home.
Riu Palace Macao
Karen 

March 2006
My partner and I just got back from a 6 night stay at the Hotel Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana. Upon arrival the hotel is beautiful and the staff was very friendly. We had a beautiful room – Room 3340 on the top floor. The first three nights we had no air conditioning, this was eventually fixed. The next day in a half there was no hot water or water pressure. I asked what the problem was at the desk. The receptionist explained that they are building a new Riu hotel and are transferring the water to that hotel. I asked what about the people here and he said it will only be for a little while. This lasted a day and a half. We made the best of our trip. The food was good and the beach is beautiful. Every morning we were out of our room by 8:30 and got a spot on the beach. On our last full day there, we decided to relax and get up a little later. I got up while my friend slept and went down to get beach towels at about 8:45. By the time I got back in a 15 -20 minute time frame, someone with a key went into our room while my friend was sleeping and took the jewelry which was left on the dresser. When I left, the door was locked and the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign was on the door knob. We immediately told the hotel manager who then came to the room with security and searched the room. Our safe was locked, the person who came into the room used a key and only took the jewelry on the dresser. The management questioned the hotel staff on our floor and they said they know nothing, how surprising is that! The management told us we have to go to the police station and make a report. After waiting two hours, the police said they could not make a report, because “a key” was used to get into the room and it was the hotel’s responsibility to take action. We got nowhere with the hotel, when we requested a report of what happened, the management kept wanted to give us a free 7-night stay at any of the Carribean Riu’s in a years time frame. It was like wheeling and dealing with a salesman to get the report. Everytime we asked for it, they want to give the trip, this paper also states that you are satisfied with how the hotel handled your inconvenience and that they are not held responsible for what happened if you take the 7-night stay. Finally after much hesitation from the manager he supplied us with a report of what happened. We have traveled to Punta Cana twice before and stayed at Iberostar Bavaro had a wonderful relaxing vacation. This trip started off good and wound up to be a nightmare. I would have never thought that by leaving the room with the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign and the door locked for such a short amount of time how your life changes.
Riu Palace Macao
Dublin 
OH
February 2006
We stayed at the Riu Palace, and had a lovely time. The weather was AMAZING, not a cloud in the sky, sunny, 85+ degrees, and refreshing ocean and pool. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was difficult to come home.

The staff at the hotel were very friendly and accommodating. We initially had a problem with the safe (no key, another patron took it home to New York). It was corrected within 24 hours. Which wasn't a problem, as we arrived late on the first day.

Dinner arrangements on the first day were rather confusing. There are two dinner seatings (6:30 and 8:30). You are assigned a table, and you eat at that time for your entire stay unless you opt to go to one of the ala carte restaurants. The men have to wear long pants, and it is a free for all for the women. It was explained to us that women are instructed how to dress properly from when they are young, and do not need as much guidance. Though, after some of the attire we saw, I would beg to differ!! The buffet was alright, as far as buffets go. We only ate dinner there 2 nights, and breakfast everyday, otherwise we went to the other restaurants. You need to make you reservations for the other restaurants between 7-8:30 in the morning, otherwise they are booked. We enjoyed the view from the Caribe Grille, and saw a beautiful moonrise that lite up the whole ocean. The steakhouse was okay at best. We went to the Japanese restaurant the last night and found it by far to be the best! We wished we had gone there sooner. If you want a cocktail with dinner, take it to the restaurant with you, as wine and beer are served with dinner. We went for a cocktail before dinner, and took it with us to the restaurant. We are big wine drinkers, and though the wine with dinner wasn't a GREAT wine, it was light and thin! Not too bad for the hot weather. Girls, for breakfast and lunch take a long pool wrap and tie it over you bathing suit. Apparently this is proper attire for these times. It keeps you from running around changing cloths.

We tipped the maid every day. A little bit goes a long way. Be careful though, someone had money and a camera stolen from there room while they were there. Lock up when you leave. We didn't have any trouble, and could not have wanted for anything. Plenty of drinks in the mini bar. We took $100.00 in ones, and could have used $50.00 more at least. They worked very hard for the money. Come to think of it, we tipped everyone all of the time, the service was so good! Especially the drinks at the beach!

The beach was absolutely beautiful. It is hard to believe that paradise was only a 4-5 hour plane ride from our cold US home! We did not need any long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts or coats! That was until we went home!!! We did not go on any excursions, for no better reason than being lazy. We quickly got into a routine of eating, sleeping, drinking, reading, and napping on the beach!!

There were a lot of people from other countries, and English was definitely not the primary language of the patrons. Spanish is spoke by the staff, and we heard German, Italian, & Arabic being spoke. We got along fine with the little bit of conversation spanish that we can speak. As long as you can point, and order drinks, you will do just fine!

Allow for extra time when leaving the country. It took us about 2-3 hours to get through the lines at the airport. They hand checked all of the bags before they checked them into the plane. You forget they do not have all of the modern conveniences!!

Have a great time. We had a ball, and look forward to returning again.
Riu Palace Macao
Robin 
Canada
January 2006
We stayed at the riu palace in the dominican from Jan3-10th
the buffet was the best bet. The ala carte restaurants were not very good. The pool is small. The rooms are rather dated and abit tired. The beds were very uncomfortable and the sheets didnt fit properly. The beech was amazing and definately the resorts best asset. The grounds were lush. This is a nice resort and is far nicer than the other riu's close by but it is certainly not a 5 or 5+ resort. A rating of 4.5 would be far more realistic.The casino was good and they even had texas holdem. Overall not bad but dosent compare to secrets excellence.
Riu Palace Macao
Norma 

December 2005
It was the most relaxing vacation I've ever been on!!

We spent the week of 12/5-12/12 at the RIU Palace Macao. I was a little leary after reading some of the reviews because we were originally scheduled to go to Playa Del Carmen and stay at the Iberostar Paraiso (where I've stayed at before and loved it) but we were pleasantly surprised with the RIU resort. I have heard many good things about the RIUS and now I can vow for all of them.

There are a total of 5 RIU resorts in the Punta Cana area and we were able to walk to any of them but others were only allowed to come onto our beaches not enter the resort from what the sign read. Our room was the most beautiful I've stayed in and I've been vacationing to the caribbean for the last 5 years to different islands and AI resorts. We went with another couple and had a wonderful time.

There were many europeans here and definitely a language barrier with the Spanish but we really had fun with it. I don't expect other countries to learn my language so that I can visit there…it bothers me when people get angry about that. I overheard a woman from Ohio speaking to the girl that ran the ceramics stand asking why they do not require the children to learn English in school because it would make it easier for us and it embarassed me that she was saying that.

Anyway, the atmosphere was very relaxing, there were as many acitivities as you were interested in including, aerobics, aqua aerobics, bocce ball, volleyball, horseshoes, darts and bingo almost every night but the animacion team was not pushy trying to get you to particpate. Once you showed interest in participating though, they would come and ask you as the events went on.

I thought I was going to be disappointed with the pool area because it was so small compared to the Iberostar resorts where I have stayed at also but it was not bad at all. Our resort had very few children or even teenagers for that matter (not a partying place) so the pool was not full at all….we usually only saw between 5-7 people in the pool so having the pool any larger would have been an overkill. If we got in the mood to go party, we would go over to the RIU bamboo and there was definitely a younger age there but for the most part, we stayed at the Palace and really enjoyed ourselves.

I only caught one of the shows which was the Michael Jackson show and it was very good. I really wanted to go see Grease based on other reviews I had seen but unfortunately it was playing the same night we got there and the shows did not start until 9:45 and that's a little late for us because we would get up at 6 am to walk.

The service was excellent and we had no complaints about the food. We loved not only the buffet but also the specialty restaurants we went to which included the Caribe Grill (but they had the windows covered so we didn't get to enjoy the scenery of the ocean like we had hoped)…we also did the steak house and that was very good.

The only thing we lacked packing were wash cloths. For some reason this is not a standard room stocking item and I even wrote a note in spanish asking for a wash cloth and we ran into the maid in the hall and she said that she did not have any. We did get one during the week which she hung back by the bidet so we hid it so she wouldn't take it again. If you are interested in having a wash cloth in your room, you may want to pack one.

We took one exursion, the Jeep Safari which was very good. We were gone all day and saw "much" of the country side. I had read about giving the children candy and we took some along. We did not like the beginning of the ride close to the sugar cane fields where the children would beg and literally run beside your jeep and even jump on it and reach in your vehicle for your bags or whatever you had asking for money. There were several children doing this and made us very uncomfortable. After that section we did not run into this as much anymore. Children would still stand out on the streets but would not beg or run up to you like the first area we went.

I would definitely recommend this place to couples, is great to go with at least one other couple and is very relaxing. Wonderful resort!!
Riu Palace Macao
Carmela 

August 2005
This was my best vacation ever. We went to Punta Cana from 8/5 thru 8/12 and stayed at Riu Palace Macao. There isn't one bad thing I can think of.

The place was immaculate, the staff very attentive and the food was tasty and varied. There was something for every taste. One night we Mexican night, another night was Gala night with caviar and vodka at the buffet. Another day they had paella for lunch by the pool.

We could use all non motorized equipment for free every day and we did (paddle boat and catamaran). Towels were brought to the room twice a day with cleaning and late at night. The bar was replenished daily. There was always lounge chairs by the pool and at the beach. We did not need to wake up early for them. If anybody needs more info or wants to see some pictures feel free to contact me.
carmelam@outerstuff.com

Also if you want to go to Saona Island as a side trip I recommend VIP Tour. They made our excursion very enjoyable
Riu Palace Macao
Leanne & Brian 
Toronto
July 2005
HOLA!

We have just returned from our two week wedding-honeymoon at the RIU Palace, and wanted to share our great experience with anyone else who is planning a wedding, or just thinking of visiting this fantastic resort!

We began researching a resort to host our wedding about 10 months in advance, as we wanted to send out our invitations and give our guests plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements to be able to attend our celebration. After pouring over many travel brochures and reading LOTS of reviews off of this great website, we settled on the RIU Palace. The Palace seemed to offer just what we were looking for for our guests – a variety of restaurants, bars and activities, all with an extra touch of class – and it certainly lived up to our expectations! We had 14 guests join us for 7 days at the RIU Palace, and we all had a great experience.

After our uneventful Skyservice flight from Toronto, we were transported to the hotel by the Sunquest bus – about a 30 minute ride. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law to-be’s bags were accidentally dropped off at the Naiboa (the RIU resort next door), but this was corrected within the hour, and thankfully that was the only “incident” of our two week visit!

When we first arrived at the hotel (10:00pm), we were greeted by a variety of hotel staff, and were immediately offered a refreshing glass of juice to enjoy during check-in. The lobby is lovely – open-air, with lots of rich, dark wood and huge flower arrangements. All went smoothly, and as promised in the wedding package, there was a suite available, and my fiancé and I were upgraded free of charge. The room was lovely and very large, with two balconies, his and hers closets, dual sinks, and plenty of room for storage etc. It was a great place to prepare for the wedding, and provided us with a good backdrop for some good pre-ceremony photos with my dad and MOH. We were on the second floor, and although the view was not picture perfect, we didn’t plan to spend much time in the room anyways, so it did not matter to us. (For those of you that are interested in a great view – we were in #3122 – I think that the rooms that are between #3125-3155 have better views) the mini bar in the room is stocked with beer, soft-drinks and bottled water, and is re-stocked daily. A liquor dispenser on the wall contains vodka (Stoli), gin (Beefeater), Rum and Brandy, and is also re-stocked as needed. All of our guests were happy with their rooms, and all of us got settled quickly and headed down to the bar for a drink!

The lobby bar (Café Cubano), immediately struck us as being quite different from the typical Caribbean resort bar. The atmosphere and design are reminiscent of a sugarcane plantation, with all of the dark wood and ceiling fans, and the service is terrific too. All waiters/waitresses are in black tie, and are quick to make sure your drink glass is not empty for long! The bar has lots of “indoor” tables, but also spills outside the walls to allow you to choose a table with views of the gardens and pool. The drinks are great – be sure to ask for premium brands if you prefer – unlike some resorts, here they are offered as part of the all-inclusive package - you just have to ask.

The buffet restaurant, El Patio, was the perfect place for breakfast every morning, with choices of tables inside (A/C) or outdoors on the patio. The buffet itself offered more choices than you can imagine, including a fresh juice bar, bread bar, cereal bar and omelet station. The coffee is great, and the service is even better! If you prefer to sleep late, you can grab continental breakfast by the pool until 12:00, although we never did.

On your first night, you choose a seating time for the buffet – 6:30-8:00 or 8:30-10:00. You are assigned a table, and this is your table and time every night of your stay. If you choose to eat at one of the other 3 a la carte restaurants, your table at El Patio is empty. In order to eat at one of the other 3 locations (Mediterranean, Steak House or Caribe Grill) you need to make reservations with the maitre’d in the morning between 7:00-10:00am.

Lunch and dinner at El Patio are great, and the service is second to none! There are a number of “special” nights at the buffet, including Mexican night and the Gala buffet on Thursdays. The food variety is fantastic, and with the exception of a few staples, changes every night. Two types of soup, bread bar, salad bar, grill, pasta bar, pizza, ice cream bar…..too much! Rather than being the typical “steam table” style, this buffet is all open cooking stations with the chefs right there, so the food is always hot and fresh. We ate in El Patio 8 out of 13 nights, and never got tired of the food!

We ate at all three of the a la carte restaurants several times during our stay (some reviews mentioned only being allowed to eat at each one once during your visit, but this wasn’t the case for us).

The Steak House is beside the pool, and is open air. It was REALLY hot the night before the wedding when we ate there, but again, the food was great, and the service was fantastic! We were a big table of 16 people for the whole first week of our stay, and we never had to wait to be served, and someone was always there to make sure you had everything you needed, and that your drink was never empty!

This is also the location of the International restaurant which is open for lunch during the day. Wood fired pizza (awesome!), French fries, burgers, chicken, beef, pasta, salad bar, NATCHOS!, and dessert bar. We had lunch here everyday, also served by black tie wearing waiters bringing you fresh drinks every few minutes!

The Mediterranean restaurant was also great (located in the same building as the Steak House, and International, beside the pool area), and offered a number of choices of starters, main courses and dessert – I had a seafood linguini that was really good! I hate to keep repeating myself, but again, the service was great!

All of the people working at the RIU Palace were very friendly and very hardworking. They are very intent on making sure that you enjoy your vacation, and never feel like you have to lift a finger. Although it is an all-inclusive resort, we left tips everyday for our maid, our dinner waiter, and often the bartender. Just a couple of bucks a day, but they certainly deserve it! (Pedro, our waiter at El Patio every night was great!)

The Wedding:
We were married on Wednesday afternoon, 4 days after we arrived. I had had some e-mail correspondence with Magnolia, the wedding co-coordinator, in the months leading up to the wedding, and had booked the judge for 4:00 pm on the 15th. I also e-mailed Magnolia several questions about flowers, food, music etc. before we left, but I now realize it was totally unnecessary!! Magnolia was GREAT (I know she visits this site sometimes, so if you read this Magnolia – THANK YOU AGAIN!! You made our day both special & perfect!)

Prior to leaving Toronto, we had set a day and time to meet with Magnolia to plan out the details of our wedding, so all we had to do when we arrived was determine where we wanted to have our ceremony, and which restaurant to have our “gala dinner” in.

I had spent many hours looking at pictures on the internet before we left, and had seen some nice ones of the gazebo located at the RIU Bambu (next door), and we were thinking that it was the location we were going to go with for our ceremony. We spent some time walking around the resort(s) on Sunday (our meeting with Magnolia was at 3:00pm on Monday), and instead settled on a sandy spot at the Palace in the middle of some palm trees between the pool and the beach. Although the Bambu gazebo itself was very cute, there is a new hotel being constructed next door, and you could see the construction going on. Also, although it was right next door to the Palace, we were a little concerned about making our guests walk over there in the heat. It was VERY hot & humid when we were there, and even a 5 minute walk in “street clothes” could leave you looking like a wet rag! We were all staying at the Palace, and decided that we preferred to stay at “our” resort! We chose the Caribe Grill on the beach for our reception, and that was it!!

My maid of honor had created some table decorations and “message in a bottle” place cards for our reception (great job Lis!), and she brought those with her, so we spent a couple of hours in our room “assembling” them (arts and crafts in the DR!), and determined where we wanted everyone to sit at dinner.

On Monday afternoon, we saw another wedding being set up on the grass outside the hotel, and after seeing the flowers, canopy, “aisle” of palms, we decided that it was a better location for our ceremony than what we had chosen. It also provided a little more privacy than the location we had selected, since the garden is surrounded by shrubs/plants, so although bystanders did crowd around, they couldn’t get within 50 feet of our wedding site.

My fiancé, maid of honor, mom & myself, met Magnolia at the front desk at 4 o’clock, and found a table in the bar to sit down and finalize our plans! Again, Magnolia was GREAT! Very organized, and very interested in making sure you get the day that you always wanted. We told her our location choices for the ceremony and for dinner, and she took care of the reservations etc. We chose our flowers, and cake, and opted to purchase some extras that were not included in the wedding package (extra corsages, extra buttonholes, bouquet for MOH). They did a fantastic job on all of these – the hand tied bouquets were beautiful!

We decided to take the pianist that is included in the package for the ceremony, and hired the trio to play for an hour and a half at dinner ($150USD), and we were really glad we did!!! We told Magnolia that we had some stuff for the dinner table etc, and she told us to make sure we brought them to her on the morning of the wedding, along with any special instructions, and she would take care of everything.

The wedding package included the photographer and 24 prints, and Magnolia told us that if we wanted any extras, we should negotiate that directly with Michael, the photographer. We told her we did, so she set up an appointment for us to go and see him that night to discuss the details. We ended up paying $400USD to purchase an additional 10 prints, a poster, and the disk containing all 200+ pictures he took. This was a great way to go, since we can now print whatever we want, create thank you cards etc. We were able to view the pictures the night after the wedding, and picked up the prints and disk a couple of days later.

All of this took 45 minutes, and we were done!! Magnolia told us to have the guests at the site at 3:30, and she would call us up in my room when the judge arrived. She also offered us a second suite for the afternoon of the wedding for the groom to get ready in, which was a really nice touch! (one of the benefits of going in the off season – hotel’s not quite full!)

The day of the wedding, we all had breakfast together, and then my MOH and I went off to the spa for a couple of massages. They offer massage on the beach, however we opted for the more private, AIR CONDITIONED spa instead. The spa is located on Caribbean street (the shopping street in the RIU complex), and was quite nice (did I mention air conditioned!?). My mom dropped off the table seating plan that we had created, along with our table decorations to Magnolia, and we were ready to go!

My MOH and I each went to our rooms to get ready, and then she came over to my room to hang out and wait for “the call”. The flowers were delivered, and my dad came to join us at about 3:15 to wait for Michael to show up. He arrived at 3:30 and took a few shots of us in the room before heading down to the site to get some pre-wedding pics. Magnolia called at about 4:00 to tell us the judge was on the way, and told us to be ready to go in about 10 minutes. She called back right on schedule, and off we went.

The wedding site looked perfect, and everything went off without a hitch. The judge spoke in Spanish, and the translator repeated in English so that we would know when to say “I do”. The ceremony lasted only a few minutes, but it was really warm, so we didn’t care! We all had some champagne, cut our cake, and then we all headed down to the beach for more pictures. Michael, the photographer, was really good, and would take any shots you wanted. Try to give some thought to the shots you want before hand, we didn’t, and with so much going on, we forgot to get a couple that we would have liked. The beach shots are really great, with the sand, and the amazing blue water in the background. We was glad that we chose the more private, garden locale for the ceremony, but love that we took some pictures down by the ocean.

All of this was over by about 5:15, and we all headed back up to the bar for a couple glasses of champagne before our dinner, which was at 6:30. Michael left us at this time, but we continued to take pictures, pictures and more pictures!

The Caribe Grill was a great place for our dinner. They offer a 5 course meal, with several choices of starters, soup course, pasta course, main entrée and dessert (a couple of choices are offered for each). Our table looked great – Magnolia had placed all of our decorations as we had requested, and the flowers from the wedding site had been brought in and placed on the table as well. One of the reasons we had chosen this location was the nice breeze that blew through during the day, but we didn’t realize that the minute the sun went down the breeze went with it! It was hot, but that seemed to be the theme of the week, so we didn’t care! The food was great, and again the service was terrific. The trio was supposed to arrive at about 7:00, and at about 7:15 we realized that they had not arrived. We waited a few more minutes, but when they still weren’t there, we mentioned it to the hostess, and she said she would look into it. A few minutes later she came back to the table with a cell phone – she had called Magnolia at home, when I got on the phone and she assured me that they were on their way! They had made a mistake with the time, but Magnolia told us they would play for an hour & a half as promised, and that we could stay in the restaurant as long as we wanted!

The trio showed up and started to play, and they were great!! It was so nice to have the music during dinner, and later we all got up to dance around the restaurant! They served our cake for dessert (it was great – chocolate mocha with fresh lilies on top!) and we all danced a little longer until we headed back up to the bar.

We hung out and had a few drinks in La Boheme (the “show bar” off the lobby) since it is also air conditioned, and continued to celebrate. The day had been perfect, and we were all very happy with the way everything had gone.

For anyone considering this resort for your wedding – I highly recommend it! The place is beautiful, the beach is second to none and Magnolia made everything SO easy. It was great to have a relaxed, stress free day, and to have your closest family & friends share it with you!

My husband & I stayed on for a second week after all of our guests had gone back home, which I would also recommend. The first week was all about the wedding and visiting each other, while the second week was all about relaxing!!

Tours:
We only went on one excursion – the SAONA ISLAND DISCOVERY. The cost was $80USD, and included everything for a 1 day tour. We were picked up by bus at 7:30am, and taken to La Romana (this is the only drawback – although the ride is interesting, we didn’t realize that it was going to be 2+ hours!!). From here you got on a huge catamaran, and took a slow 90 minute cruise to Saona Island which is a protected, national park. The catamaran has large nets to lie on while you cruise, and there is also a bar & music the whole ride.

Saona Island is beautiful, and is located in the Caribbean Sea. Once you arrive, there is a big BBQ, bar etc., and you spend a couple of hours here just swimming and soaking up the sun. The water is about 85 degrees, and is more like a bathtub than anything else!
When it is time to go, you are picked up in speedboats, and head out on an exciting, high speed ride. Half way back to la Romana, the boats stop in the middle of the Caribbean sea, and you all get out to explore. They call it a “natural swimming pool” since the water is only about 3-4’ deep! They again open the bar, and you spend 30 minutes floating around with a drink while looking at the huge starfish in the water etc.

This was a great tour, however the 5 hours you have to spend on the bus (round trip) is a bit of a drag. I would definitely do it again though – just for the catamaran ride alone!!

All in all, our visit to the RIU Palace Macao was terrific, and I will definitely return one day. Our wedding was perfect, and everything turned out exactly the way we wanted it to!
Riu Palace Macao
Anna 
Canada
June 2005
My partner and I have just returned from our second stay at Hotel Riu Palace Macao. We stayed at the Riu Taino for Christmas two years ago; it was decent, but when we saw the Macao, we immediately decided we would stay there the following year, and loved it so much that we came back a second time from June 12-19, 2005.

We are a young couple (24 and 26) and unlike many around our age, we prefer quiet, luxurious destinations over the drunken party atmosphere found in Cancun and the like. We find the Macao to be ideal for young people who are more reserved and low-key, and perhaps interested in meeting people from different countries. Most of the guests are European (particularly German, British and Spanish) and from our experience, are very friendly--most speak English rather fluently.

The hotel staff is off the charts---both visits we've bought no souvenirs as we couldn't help but give all of our money away in tips! These people deserve every cent---they are truly unbelievable at what they do. Though we seemed to tip pretty much everyone, I would suggest that sufficient amounts be given to your maid, coffee server at breakfast, water & wine server at dinner (it will likely be the same person on most days), and anyone else who appears to serve you repeatedly.

The food is great---especially breakfast! Lots of selection for all meals---if you like seafood, you'll love it. Though they have tons of other stuff also.

Long story short: We love this place, recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation with a touch of class. We're already planning to go back in December!
Riu Palace Macao
Mary 
Canada
May 2005
My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful two week holiday (May 7 to 21) spent at the Riu Palace Macao. This was our fourth yearly visit and it's become our home away from home. We've been to many other resorts in the Caribbean, but find the Punta Cana beach area to be the best - palm tree lined all along the coast, soft white sand and lovely warm, aqua ocean; miles and miles of beaches to walk along. The setting of the Riu hotels amongst the lush vegetation of Punta Cana is unbelievably beautiful, and the air is so fresh and fragrant with the proliferation of plants, trees and flowers.

Vacationing at the Riu complex is never boring since you have the three other Riu hotels to explore and utilize if you wish. We prefer the Palace since it is more luxurious and quiet, but we do use the pool at the Taino early in the morning and enjoy spending some time during the day at the Bambo as well.

The rooms at the Palace are lovely and the staff extremely friendly and helpful; always with a ready and happy smile. The hotel management team is always anxious to answer any questions and really make you feel at home. We can find absolutely nothing negative about the hotel and the stresses of life just melt away the moment we check into our room and begin to enjoy our vacation.

The food at the resort is simply outstanding in variety, taste and presentation. Innumerable delicious items abound and there's just not enough room or time to try all the tempting delicacies available. The chefs are truly culinary artists and the presentation and display of the various dishes is breathtaking. The three a-la-carte restaurants are very enjoyable as well and provide a quiet and romantic setting in the evening.

We can hardly wait until next year to return to paradise!
Riu Palace Macao
Carole 
Canada
May 2005
Love this website Debbie - it really helps us pick our vacation spot - Thank you!

We stayed at the RIU Palace April 1st for 2 weeks - We really enjoyed our stay

Arrival was very smooth - got our rooms very quickly

Rooms are nicely decorated and fair size - very clean, maid service was so timely - our room was cleaned everyday by 10:00 if not before then.

This is our 6th time to Punta Cana - The beach is a big draw for us and that's what keeps us coming back and still will - we feel that its the BEST beach in the Carribean - beats Mexico, Cuba, & even Florida...

The pool was small but it was a nice spot to cool down at the end of your day. They had waiters that served you around the pool - nice feature - no swim up bar - but didn't miss that!!!

We found the ala cart restaurants to be just okay - the buffet was outstanding. Just to compare with last year we stayed at the Iberostar and found the buffet was okay but the ala carts were outstanding. It would have been nice to have had that luxury at the RIU - but we were told that the RIU's spend the extra in buffet's. There was so much to choose from - you could never go hungry - even had cavier, smoke salmon, lobster, shrimp just to name a few - the steak at the buffet was AWSOME just like home actually and cooked to perfection...The reason we would like the ala carts is to be served - it got very confusing and busy trying to line up for food - people do butt in without excusing themselves but what the heck - your on vacation right!!! That was pretty much the only complaint but really its just an observation for us. The service is stellar - wine glass was never empty - I'm a red wine drinker and it was pretty good too...Okay now the desserts - my suggestion is walk the beach for 2 hours everyday and then you can indulge with the desserts - they are ALL to die for so enjoy!!!

We toured the other RIU's but never ate at any of them - we were happy with our hotel.

Grounds were lovely and clean - they work so hard to maintain it beauty and it shows...

Entertainment - they had a great area in the bar to relax with a before or after dinner drink with piano player - we just loved it.

All in all we loved our holiday - service was top of the line - I don't think we would go back to this resort but not because we didn't love it - we really did but we like to try other places - but one thing is for sure - it will be somewhere in Punta Cana for next year's holiday...we love the Dominican people - always serve you "with pleasure"...Thank you
Riu Palace Macao
Stephanie 
New York
April 2005
I just returned from Punta Cana, where I stayed at the Riu Palace Macao. I thought I would pass along:

1. Be sure to have cash available to get your visitor documents at the airport upon arrival ($10 per person)
2. Be sure to bring at least number 30 in suntan lotion
3. Go down early (between 7 and 8 AM) to get towels and place on chairs under the palm trees, as they are taken quickly
4. Bring a small bag/wristlet to carry key, etc. when going down for dinner
5. The are often power outages which also cause the water to shut off
6. Dinner dress is casual, but a lot of people were really dressed up. Men must wear long pants
7. Bring a raft from home to use in the ocean and pool
8. Try not to forget anything, as things are very expensive to purchase
9. There are many topless bathers
10. When returning you must leave at least 3 hours prior to flight
11. Hotels are approximately 40 minutes to an hour away from airport
12. Food was very good, lots of variety
13. Try to find out more about what is being offered at the other restaurants in your hotel as well as the surrounding resorts, so that you can make appropriate choices for dinner
14. Difficult to get room service when they are preparing for meals

Hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did!
Riu Palace Macao
Jim and Nancy 
USA
April 2005
just got back this week and i have to say what a wonderfull and fun place the riu palace is ,every thing went wonderful the food, drinks,and the staff were great. they went above and out of there way to make every one feel special. my wife and i are looking foward to the next time we could spend time at the rui palace
Riu Palace Macao
Debi 
USA
April 2005
Just got back yesterday! I have never felt more relaxed after a vacation than I do now! Read so many reviews about getting sick on here that I packed boxes of stuff to plug us up in the event "it hit". Not even a sniffle! No sickness at all I'm happy to say. Alot of walking due to our room being up on the second floor closer to the Caribe St. We were impressed with the size of the room. 4 of us- 2 adults, 1 16 y/o, & 1 12y/o slept comfortably. We asked for a cot, & were brought an actual twin bed- boxed spring & all. We only went for 4 nights, & wished we had more time. At least 2 more nights. It is a beautiful beach. We were supposed to stay at the Bambu, but were called a couple of days before our trip & asked if we would like an upgrade & stay at the Palace instead due to overbooking. That was the best thing to happen to us. We walked over to the Bambu one night & it was just like a high school hangout. It was very loud, & kids were running around everywhere. Strollers & highchairs scattered. Not that there's anything wrong with that- I have 2 kids of my own. Thank God they are not that age anymore! The Palace was more subdued & we were grateful for that.

The food was not the best, however we did not expect to have American cuisine- We were after all traveling to a foreign country. I appreciate our food more so now. I have a new appreciation for everything the U.S. has to offer. Alot of building is going on there-we probably will not see Punta Cana the way we did the next time we visit. And we WILL go back.