Arrival: Dec 22 - 29th
My husband and I flew with skyservice, his first time and my 6th. I have to say the plane itself has improved since my last flight with them 3 years ago and the staff were fabulous! The food is fine for airplane food, you really can't complain. The flight itself was very good as usual.
I was at this hotel 3 years ago and we thought it was a scant 4-star. The rooms were in pretty good shape and very clean. Your bar fridge was stocked regularly. Up until last February I only stayed at a Riu because of their consistancy. This year, the room we stayed in was in desparate need of repairs. This was also the room we paid extra for when we saw our original room and got moved. I took pictures to show our travel rep. The air conditioner was badly broken and caved in, the lamp was broken off the base, so it flopped over. The lamp shade on the wall was sliced down the centre. Our wicker dresser drawers had no sliders, so all the drawers just sat on one another so we couldn't it. We used the mats from the loungers to sleep on because the beds are very hard and the pillows are like wafers. Our bathroom had broken tiles....just really needs renovations. They only stocked our bar once during our stay. And by the way, we do alot of tipping. The thing is, we are not fussy people and came back because it was good that last time.
Restaurants and Bars:
The bars were great as well as the service, very polite and friendly. The restaurant food has down down by about 30%. I thought it was only me so I talked to other people that have been there before as well and they said the same thing. Prices went up and quality went down.
This is why you go back!!!! The Beach is second to none. The staff are up first thing in the morning cleaning the beach and they do a great job keeping up with some of the touists.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There is lots to do if that is what you want. The marinarium is a good half day tour....swim with the sharks and rays. They take you to a bay where you swim in chest high waters for about half an hour and of course then there is the partying.
All in all the trip was good. The weather could have been better. It was rainng off and on every day except for one day.
I have to say they should change the star rating to a 3 star. They shouldn't fool people into thinking they are going to a 4 or 5 star. Really I have been to the other 4 to 5 star resorts and this resort is definetly NOT that caliber.
Vrej Montreal, Quebec
Arrival and Flight Flew with Air Transat and landed on time. Plane (Airbus 330) and flight crew were awesome, the food served was bad ... but free. I would rather have a choice to buy better food. Return flight was delayed by 2 hours due to weather. The flight crew again was wonderful ... cheerful and helpful.
Way overdue for renovation ! We've stayed at this location 2 other times (once at Riu Bamboo and once at Taino). This time, the furniture was tired and the beds were uncomfortable. Plumbing was less than perfect plus our air conditioner broke down. Maintenance fixed the air conditioning ASAP but you don't expect this caliber of room at a 5-star hotel. The in room mini-bar is an amazing idea , it comes with scotch, rum, vodka, and brandy + mixers. You wouldn't expect this at an all inclusive where drinks are readily available everywhere so this is a nice bonus. The refrigerator was getting old though, and would leak water .... again, you don't expect this from a 5 Star hotel.
Restaurants Bars Our waiter was extremely polite, professional, and genuinely aiming to please his guests. It didn't take him long to figure out that we liked white wine with dinner and liked to close off the meals with a cappuccino. He always had these drinks waiting for us , without being asked. All this with no tips expected. When we did tip him (150 pesos twice) ... he was genuinely grateful to see that we appreciated having him as part of our vacation. The food was good but somewhat repetitive over the week .... same theme everyday with one or two items changing every day. We had a better impression of food quality on our trip 4 years ago. The Bar attendants were also very likeable. Drinks were good, but pretty much at par with all decent resorts in the Caribbean.
Beach and Pools
Beautiful beach ... which is why we returned to Punta Cana for the 4th time. Clean and well groomed by the hotel staff. As is typical in Caribbean resorts, you will not have a nice spot in the shade if you don't get up before 7AM.
People reserve chairs and yes its frustrating to be baking in the sun while a spot in the shade remains unused for most of the day. Its not good but that's the lay of the land almost everywhere. Expect to be solicited by locals who sell jewelry, souvenirs and other knick knacks. While it can be annoying, they do offer better prices than hotel boutiques and some of them make the experience amusing.
Beautiful, well maintained by the hotel staff. There are 5 Riu hotels as part of this complex so you get to enjoy a variety of environments. Lots of palm trees, floral hedges. The layout is very well planned ... especially at the neighboring Riu Bamboo.
Activities and Entertainment
There was an entertainment crew who kept visitors busy during the day. We preferred to keep to ourselves on the beach but lots of good things to do if you prefer to mingle and get involved. The hotel ran nightly shows with a different theme each night. The shows were hit or miss for success .... sometimes amazing caliber of entertainment but other times sub standard and somewhat cheesy. My heart went out to the performers though .... they put a lot of passion into their work day in and day out.
We purchased a half day Dune buggy tour .... it was great. We had a boat ride to a transport bus and then drove through the country side for almost an hour. Once at the launch point, we dune buggied through villages; visited an unexploited beach; and then rounded the tour off by visiting a cave site. It was worth the money spent.
There should be rule somewhere which says that a hotel loses stars if they don't update themselves. 4 years ago this hotel was top notch and deserved its 5 star rating. On our return, it was clear that the hotel has spent minimal $$'s to maintain the 5 star standard. I would rate the room with 3 stars, restaurant 4 stars, beach and pool 4+ stars ... hotel over all at 4 stars .... The only thing that helped was that we purchased a last minute special. I would have been livid if we had paid full price at this hotel.
Jackie Toronto, Ont. Canada
Firstly, thanks to everyone who took the time to record their impressions and opinions on the RIU Taino. I found it very helpful when I was searching for a destination.
Secondly, although the DR is ll0V, (the same as Canada), I could not plug in and recharge my phone. I needed some type of adapter, which I was not aware of and did not have.
I wanted to walk on the beach in my bare feet and the beach is perfect - all sand and no stones.
I took an umbrella and used it, a few times.
I also had my own pillow. Again, I'm glad I had packed it.
The RIU changed management May 1. Whether this will have any influence on any changes - who can say.
I found the majority of people, maybe 90%, were from Europe and of this probably 75% were from Germany. So, I heard very little English being spoken.
Women, young and old, all shapes and sizes, at the pool and on the beach sunbathing topless. If you are inclined, you would want to have a two-piece suit with you.
I expected to be staying at a 5-star resort. This is NOT! I was comfortable, it is clean, but not a 5 Star resort.
The buffet, breakfast and dinner (I didn't go at lunch) offered a wide selection to choose from. I have a sweet tooth, however the dessert table did not tempt me. At dinner, the carving station featured one of the following: turkey, chicken, pork roast. One night there were spare ribs, which I enjoy, however, I took my plate back twice as they were so TOUGH I could not eat them and nothing could have improved them. In the two weeks, beef was not on the menu.
I tipped the maid for the room every day and she made a different, attractive arrangement with the towels. Beautiful and lovely touch.
I also tipped at the bar. At 6 PM, I had a cocktail before going for dinner. By the 3rd night, he asked me if I wanted the the same drink. They were paying attention.
I also tipped the waiter at my table. The first night I picked a table out on the terrace and went to it each evening. My glass of wine was waiting for me. Yes, the service was excellent.
The staff put in LONG hours. The same people who work breakfast shift are the same people at dinner.
When I was checking out, one of the gardening people saw me struggling with my suitcase and took it to reception for me. Again, I tipped him.
Perhaps my comments will be useful to others.
Just a quick summary of our recent trip to Riu Taino
We traveled to Dominican the first week of June 2008. Flight was very good for a Skyservice charter.
HINT - If you do go to this resort as it fits your budget - Utilize the access to sister resort and take the 4 minute walk along the beach to the Riu Bambu and eat, drink and play at the Riu Bambu or stay there it is more typical of a Riu.
This resort is definitely not a 5 star resort, a good 3. If you are English speaking only and wish to travel and spend time on your own the Taino then this is the place to go. Less then 2% of those staying at the resort speak English. German, French, and Central and South American languages are 90% spoken, and very little effort on resorts part to make the rest feel at home.
Food and drinks - Food what you get for breakfast is basically the same thing you get for lunch and dinner. We went to 1 a la carte - Italian - Brutal is all I will say. The drinks were for the most part OK - nothing special.
Rooms - clean and everything worked fine although showing there age.
Beach - BEAUTIFUL - although any resort in Punta Cana - Bavaro is Beautiful. Only issue with the beach is the Helicopter tours, banana boats, Parasail outings are constant and a little noisy for our liking.
My guess is that Riu are not putting much money into this resort and they look as if they are going to redevelop into another Riu Palace. We will not be returning to this resort and would suggest other consider spending just a few hundred more and try another resort. We have stayed at numerous Riu resorts and have always found them well maintained and enjoyable
Darlene Oshawa, ON
Arrival and Flight: Arrived around 9:30 p.m. We had to be at the airport 3 hours before our flight. Skyservice was nice enough to give us a awful dry sandwich and a cup of water. I guess this was the meal. We arrived in Punta Cana and got through the airport swiftly enough. However, I was not impressed that we had to be dropped off at one hotel and walk through two other hotels to get to the Taino because the street was closed off. When we did get to the hotel they did nothing to make us feel welcome. They said the dining room was open if we wanted to eat, but really all that was there was leftovers. Not impressed to say the least.
Rooms: Yes the rooms. Well I booked and paid for a room near the beach with a double bed. What I got was a room near the beach with two single beds, one was about 3 inches higher than the other and the same difference in length. They were gracious enough to leave me 4 hangers. I had to call the front desk to request more hangers and it only took 3 phone calls to get my luggage. They were very nice about getting it to me by midnight. The mini bar had two bottles of pop and the second day I asked to have it refilled and was told they only filled the minibar every two days. So much for unlimited food and drink. Then there is the fact that we had to call them for toilet paper. But the best part of the room service was when they put old sheets on the bed that had old dried blood stains. Classy eh. The attitude of the people working at this resort was awful. They really did not care if you were happy or not.
Restaurants: The food was nothing to write home about for sure. What you had for breakfast was a variation of what you were going to get for lunch and dinner. The desserts looked like they were created by kids, and I guess the flies stuck in the icing was for added visualization effects. Table clothes were not clean and you could wait up to 20 minutes before someone asked if you wanted a drink. The smoking was awful and you and your clothes reeked of smoke after having dinner, Bars. The drinks were seriously watered down
Beach and Pools: Pool was way too crowded and glasses were left everywhere. Towels were musty smelling and damp. They were no shade huts on the beach, so you scrambled for a large palm tree.
Grounds were not kept up well, paint peeling on much of the stone work, dirty dishes left all over the place.
Activities and Entertainment Did not get to see much of this. Played bingo one night in the entertainment room, but the huge roach that fell out of the ceiling vent kind of put a damper on wanting to go there in the evening when the lights were down, and they were free to crawl wherever.. One of the young guys who must have been responsible for the entertainment was walking around the beach saying that, that night at dinner we would be getting a card to give our opinion on the entertainment and we MUST say it was EXCELLENT or they would not have a job the next day. I suggested he update his resume.
Tours. Didn't take any. Not sure you want to trust the same people to take you skydiving who serves you chocolate covered fly dessert. At least I didn't.
Departure and Check Out, I started packing the night before, just wanted to get home. Passed the key in and never even got a smile or hope you enjoyed your visit. Which was just as well because I'm sure I would have felt compelled to tell him exactly how I did enjoy my hard earned vacation. I especially like it when the skyservice rep on the bus to the airport told us we must tip the driver. Yeah, like that was going to happen!!
Conclusion. If a crappy vacation is what you want then by all means off you go to the Taino. You can tell them Darlene sent you. I'm sure it will improve your trip. Good Luck! You're gonna need it!
My wife and I travelled with another couple to the Riu Taino from Winnipeg for a week, back in Jan 2007, so this review is kind of late but still informative I hope. This was our first trip EVER, so it was and always will remain very special to us.
Flight & Check-in:
Flight was delayed out of Winnipeg by two hours but after leaving a mounting blizzard behind everthing went nicely. We whisked through the Punta Cana airport in minutes and were at the resort in just over thirty minutes.
The guys at the check-in desk were really nice and friendly. My wife dropped her complimentary drink in front of them and the glass shattered everywhere. The fellow in charge just laughed and said we could do as we pleased in the Dominican!
Our room was a long walk away and the baggage guy was surly, but the evening was beautiful and we didn't really care. The grounds are well kept and beautiful.
Our bungalow style room was located on the second floor and only a minute stroll to the beach. The mini bar was fully stocked at all times and the fridge was always filled with cold pop and beer
The room itself was nice with a beautiful garden view off the balcony. The bed was firm and comfy and sleep came easily each and every night. The water was always hot and we never had any trouble with the air conditioning.
Maid service was excellent. The rooms were always cleaned before noon and they always left the pretty towel art on our bed.
Pool & Beach:
The pool was okay with a small but entertaining swim-up bar. Lots of palm trees so it was always easy to find a good shadey spot.
The beach was fantastic! Beautiful white, powdery sand and fun surging waves to play in. You could walk for miles along both sides without heading into any seaweed or rocks. Wonderful!!
Food & Drinks:
The main buffet restaurant was our favorite. There was more bacon, pork chops and steaks than you could shake a drumstick at! Even though there were always a lot of people getting food, the lineups were very short. They had a plenty of dishes for people to choose from and the blended fruit drinks were great! Easy access to the beer taps and wine. The waiters and waitresses were very friendly all the time.
Another great spot was the smaller bar near the beach (Coco's?). It was always quieter here. They served buffet food two or three times a day and again the service was always friendly. This was a nice relaxing spot to go later in the evening if you wanted to enjoy an espresso or cafe latte from one of the EXCELLENT self-serve coffee machines.
We only tried one a la carte restaurant. It was the steakhouse, and it was so bad we actually found it funny. This was the only place where the service and food were bad. We had to seat ourselves and they made us wait a half hour before taking our order. When the steaks came we realized it was just warmed over minute steaks from the buffet. The dessert was an odd looking mess of sliced bananas and some kind of mystery sauce. Thanks but no thanks!
The main bar was nice and roomy with a great open view of the beach. It always seemed a bit busier here and it was tough getting a drink sometimes. Make sure you ask for booze in your pretty drinks or the only buzz you'll get is from all the cigarette smoke around you.
We went for a catamaran ride on Jan.14 (my birthday!) along the coast. Great view looking in back at the other resorts. My wife and friends went diving and looked at the fishies while I stayed on board and chatted up the captain. (I'm not much of a swimmer) He gave me a bottle of rum as a birthday gift and for the rest of the day they fed us litre-sized beers. We didn't remember much after that, but it was a really fun day.
The next day we went on a monster truck tour into the spectacular countryside. Very informative and educational. I would definitely do this again. Meeting the friendly people in the small villages and farms was memorable.
I'll make this short and sweet. With very few exceptions the staff was wonderful. They always greeted you with a friendly hola and sincere happy smiles.
The best thing about staying at the Taino was the accessibility to the other RIU resorts. There was a nice bar at the Naiboa we frequented a couple of times, but the Bambu was our regular nightly hangout. The bar and pool were fantastic and the nightly shows were first rate! I miss strolling along the brick walkway on the beach that led from one resort to the next. The shops along Caribbean Street were neat and the workers were friendly.
I'm glad the Taino was our first trip. The wonderful memories we brought back from there will always be a benchmark to compare other resorts to. Highly recommended...
Gary and Karen
Arrival.. quick and smooth.. Sunquest reps helpful getting you to your
bus. About a 40 min ride to resort.
Checkin.. Cant check in till, they say, 3 pm,, We were there at 11:30..Who cares.. ? change and enjoy the drinks and sun.. We checked at 2 pm.. room
ready, quick and smooth
Checkout ? even smoother.. Just give them your key./ towel
Rooms.. Everything you need.. Fridge works great.. ( even the freezer )
Nice balconies. very clean, no bugs... lots of VERY hot water. Tip.. if
you want ice.. they're is an ice bin in the two pool bars..
Food.. excellent.. Lots of variety.. chicken was the best.. Beef, veal,
fresh fish. INCREDIBLE smoked salmon.
Brekfast had everything from eggs to french toast to salads. The hot
dogs are great !!!
White wine was pretty good.. red ? hmmm.. not so good.. Tip. if your
coming from Canada.. buy some at Duty Free wine.
Beachs are incredible. !!!!. TONS to do.. but a little pricey for
parasailing, banana boats etc.
Grounds are immaculate. Washrooms were kept quite clean..
Staff.. The friendliest, nicest people in the Caribbean.
Conclusion.. As far as medium priced all-inclusives .. its well worth
it.. No complaints.. well.. the clock radio would gain
20 min every hour.. we asked 3 times to have it fixed.. they attempted..
but never did work .. but really.. who cares
They could use a beach bar.. and from what I hear they are planning to
build one. but .. if you like the beach, and who wouldnt at this place..
hang on the beach near the CocoBar.. not much of a walk.
Paul and Donna Ontario, Canada
Arrival and Flight : Getting up at 2:30 in the morning is ruff, but arriving at the resort early in the morning is the best.
We flew Skyservice. It was ok but a little cramped.
Rooms : This is our third time at the Riu Taino and the rooms are getting a little "tired". Our biggest complaint would also have to be the beds. I didn't "sleep" with my husband for 2 weeks. 2-3/4 beds shoved together just doesn't work for most of us. My husband is 6'1 230 lbs. so needless to say he slept down there and I slept up here. He would try to visit but just fell down the crack. We would just laugh and say..see you in the morning.
The maids are awesome and do a great job every day. I leave a tip and a little gift of lipstick or something small for her.
The showers have lots of hot water and great pressure. The water must be really soft because you can't get any "suds" while showering. (just different)
Just remember to bring lots of soap. We were there 2 weeks and used 4 large bars of soap.
I got 1 bug bite on my calf and the Biactine came in handy for itching. My hubby never got any bites.
Didn't see 1 bug in our room.
Restaurants : The trick that I have finally figured out about a buffet every night is this:
DON'T take a little of something every night. You will really get tired of the food...fast.
I know when you first get there you tend to do this but try to decide on eg. steak with pasta and veggie.
This way you won't get bored with the same food.
When you stand back and look at the buffet, they really do have a big variety of choices.
I mean just the meat as an example: beef, chicken, stews, fish, seafood, pork. What else can you serve??
Come on people....don't be so fussy.
The chicken at this resort is GREAT!! Lunch or Dinner.. yummy
The veal is awesome. Make sure you take a thin piece if you like it cooked well. The thicker pieces are a bit pink/red.
The veggies are all served with butter and garlic it seems. So no dieting here.
There were some veggies I didn't know what the heck they were but I would just try it and was usually pleasantly suprised. Be a little adventurous and you might be suprised too.
The desserts are awesome (according to my hubby). I usually head to the fruit table, which is also awesome.
AND the hotdogs at lunch are really good. I didn't try them till our 2nd last day and they were not bad. And yes the European folks do like them for brekkie cut up...go figure.
Breakfast: Well the variety is mind blowing. The European folks like buns, rolls cheese and lunchmeat...ok..well they have every kind of egg, from jiggly to very crispy ones, scrambled, boiled.
They have sausage, bacon, beans, pancakes, crushed croissants with sugar that I think are sort of french toast, fruit drinks, fruit. oh my...the choices...
Toast: Now here is the fun part.....the TRACTOR TOASTER!! Whoo Hoo!! Now here is the trick.
There are 2...the slow one and the fast one....3 times thru the slow one usually gives you decently toasted toast. The slow one is just for warming I think. And be patient here, some people try to "take over" the toaster, but let us all put our bread in and then let the next guy, then go back get yours, put it back in then let him back in...it is kind of like a find dance and you meet some really nice people at the tractor toaster.
p.s. look for Juan, Santa and Ramon. They are the "best"
Bars: The staff are all great. We don't dring or hang out that much at the bars so really can't comment alot.
Beach and Pools : The beach is breathtaking. It goes on for ever and the sand is like brown sugar.
We have noticed in the past years that the beach is getting really crowded. But we like to people watch and find a little spot each day. The only complaint is the smokers. Get downwind from one of them and you will be "inhaling" all day.
I am asmatic and I inhaled enough smoke to last a lifetime on the beach.
Grounds Grounds are always being maintained and are lovely
Activities and Entertainment I agree with other people in that the smoking keeps us away from the entertainment.
Tours Don't do them.
Departure and Check Out : Fine, no complaints
Conclusion : Well we have already decided that we will go back next February with our good friends. This hotel has real character. Yes the rooms need a little lift, but you are only in there to sleep and get your bathing suit on. The staff are great and really care about you. The food is always plentiful and tasty. The beach is the best
My hubby and I have come here 3 times and have never felt ill.
You will not be sorry for booking this resort.
any questions? feel free to drop an e-mail email@example.com
Just got back from a week at the Riu Taino and had a great time with a group of 11.
The negatives first.
1. This is not a 5 start hotel as advertised. Probably a 4.
2. Lots of Europeans here which is not the problem. Their inconsiderate non stop smoking is intolerable. These people need to realize that smoking is in the minority in the west and people do not smoke at dinner in a crowded restaurant.
Now for the positives.
Not sure waht eveyone was complaing about as this resort offered excellent service. Rooms were cleaned everyday, and lots of hot water and pressure for showers.
We vtravelled in a group of 11 and they accomodated us with rooms on the same floor next to each other.
Any problems or requests were promptly fixed with one call to the front desk.
Breakfast and lunch was great, dinner seemed a bit repetitive but there was always something to eat. With our group of 11, Oscar our great waiter, always had a table for us to sit together and the service was fantastic.
We have travelled a lot in the Carribbean and this resort offered the best night life as far as beach parties, pool parties, carribbean Street Parade and the disco.
We did not catch much of the entertining shows due to the non stop smoking of the europeans where the shows were being held.
The other great thing was being able to use the other Riu facilities in the complex, so we went over to the Bambu quite a bit.
I would definitely recommend this resort to others as it was great value and entertainment for the money but probably would not return as there are lots of other places to see.
One bit of advice. Your all inclusive trip includes meals, and rooms. It does not include service, so take a lot of dollar bills and tip, tip, tip. You'll get great service from these super friendly people.
My husband and I have just returned from the RIU Taino. We are Canadians, both in our early 50’s, and this is our third trip to the Taino. We were there from January 27th to February 10th.
Our flight from Detroit was more eventful than usual, as a very smooth flight experienced a sudden altitude drop about 40 minutes from landing. This very unexpected turbulence was fairly severe, literally lifting us out of our seats, even though we had our seatbelts on. (I guess that’s why they suggest you keep them on!) One of the flight service people ended up covered in a pot of coffee. Otherwise, the flight was great, we collected our luggage quickly and after a short wait we were on the way. There were only 12 of us on the bus, and my husband and I were the only people getting off at the Taino. Check in was friendly and very quick. I had sent an email about two weeks ahead of time, with a very primitive attempt at a Spanish translation of our request for a second floor room somewhere in buildings 20-35. It may well have been because of my lame attempt at Spanish, but the nice lady at reception did remember having read my email, and our room was exactly where we requested. And, we were happily surprised on the second day with a nice fruit plate and a card from the hotel. Nice touch!
The room was fine – again, we’ve been here before, and know what to expect. It’s not new, and it’s a bit worn, but for us, that’s a great part of the charm of this resort. We are looking for a clean, quiet spot with a great beach and cold beer – and that’s exactly what the Taino delivers! Our room was #363, and the housekeeping was PERFECT! Every day the room was spotlessly clean, and beautifully decorated with towel art and flowers. The shower is the best we have ever had anywhere, removes every trace of sand and gunky sunscreen. We always had lots of hot water, and the air conditioner worked great. We actually had to turn it down a couple of times at night, as it was too cold.
The beach was beautiful, and the weather was fabulous. It did rain for a short time about 8 of the 14 days, but never enough to chase us off the beach. The beach is our favourite feature of Punta Cana, and we spend all of our time there. In the 6 weeks we’ve stayed at this resort, we have never set foot in the pool; it’s all about the beach! There are always activities at the pool, and some things on the beach, but again, we're here for down time, so can't comment as we didn't participate in many of the organized activities.
I did go parasailing, that was great, and was well organized, and felt very safe. Thank you to Jean-Dominic from Scuba Caribe for being my para-sailing partner!
The food was amazing. I don’t know where those people stayed who couldn’t find anything to eat. We were more than happy with the selection and quality of the food, and never even went to the specialty restaurants. If there is something we don’t recognize or care for, there is just so much to choose from, we always had a great meal. Several pasta selections, a carving station each night, and a Mexican food station with fresh guacamole every night in addition to a full buffet. We loved the shrimp and the fish is just awesome! Great cheeses, and lots of fresh fruit as well as many, many desserts. In the morning, they offer an interesting selection that accommodates the diversity of the North American and European breakfast tastes. We had fun every day as could just about guess where everyone was from based on their choice of breakfast foods!
We would like to make special mention of Wendy, our lovely lady at breakfast. She always had a smile and friendly greeting for us, and made sure we had everything we needed. We remember Wendy from our trip in 2006, and she’s just a delight! Also, thank you to Ramon, who took care of us at dinner. He made a special effort to set up the same table for us every night, and it was so nice to come in and find our glasses“vino tinto” and “vino blanco” waiting for us.
The service at the RIU Taino is second to none. We had great service at the restaurants, bars, front desk and even on the beach. The staff are friendly, and genuinely seem to enjoy their jobs. It’s great to see so many of the same faces, and that’s a testament to the management. We were surprised that the management didn’t seem to spend as much time wandering around and chatting with the guests, but it was very busy at the resort, so they may not have had time.
There are two things we would suggest need changing at the Taino. It’s well past time for new beds. The practice of offering a “king” bed, which in actuality is just a ¾ bed and a twin pushed together, is just not acceptable at a resort of this calibre. The beds do not stay together and the alternative is two adults sleeping in a ¾ bed!
Our only other complaint is probably only going to come from us, but we MISS the set dinner seatings. We really enjoyed having the same table every night, and while Ramon was kind enough to arrange that for us, we did see many people wandering around with nowhere to sit at dinner, or having to compromise and sit in the smoking area. We were particularly distressed to see the dismal manner in which some people dressed for dinner. We are far from snobs, and enjoy a comfortable dinner style, but seriously, some people seemed to have just thrown a t-shirt on over their bathing shorts! This again is largely a North American problem, as most of our European fellow guests did dress for dinner. We very much enjoy the international crowd at the Taino, and despite the different languages, we did manage to communicate with most everyone with a smile and “hola!”
Thank you RIU Taino, you did it again, and we will be back!
Linda and Murray Oakville Ontario
We stayed 2 weeks selecting this resort over others for many other reasons other people were complaining about. We wanted the bungalow type accommodation that wasn’t all glitz and we had to walk a mile to find the beach. We didn’t just want a Holiday Inn experience with sand.
The Taino was developed to take advantage of its beach location. The room was adequate the maid service was great. The in room bar was stocked regularly. There were no bugs in the room however I accidentally brought a geko into the room who was hiding out in my towel. The food was good with lots of variety. The Buffets were better that the a la carte restaurants and the hotel staff had to chase people around to fill the seats in the a la cartes. Those people who complained about the food should surely avoid going to Cuba. There was something for every taste. When ordering drinks however you have to ask for the name brand or you get the local bathtub quality stuff called “Normandy”…ewwwy.
The restaurant staff were great the bar staff were even better. Their language is Spanish and they know a bits of others. Get over it….Learn some Spanish and you will do just fine. If you are so proud of your ignorance you cannot say 10 words in another language… stay home. There wasn’t much tipping and the people who tipped and didn’t tip seemed to be treated equally. Our last day there was full of hugs and handshakes from the staff who were genuinely pleased you came. It was one of the best vacation experiences we have had. However we would not likely go back to this area again for reasons other that the resort.
There are some things which I would like to point out that I had not seen previously in any of these reviews that might influence your decision (not that they made a huge difference to us but)…
This resort cater to Europeans. About 80% were from Europe and 20% elsewhere. Europeans all seem to smoke. So if you don’t smoke you are not going to be able to escape the stink that comes off these people. Good thing they go in the water a lot. This mean that the Entertainment Centre was intolerable. We could not breath in there. So we saw none of it. The barmen put on an equally good show in a more open venue.
The beach was great but profile of the actual shore made being in the water for non-swimmers nearly impossible. There was a short shallow area and then a drop off to chest depth that quickly went over my head. I didn’t bother me but for weaker swimmers or people with kids it was a big problem. This maybe related to the season we were there because the onshore breeze was at least 30 knots most days. Made for good body surfing but crappy snorkeling. The high winds limited the aquatic sports
Crowds….the beach was crowded. It made people watching fun but there were way too many people in too small a space. This may be more reflective my sense of personal space but….it creeped me out.
Hotel sponsored souvenir sales….On certain evenings resort allows local merchants to hawk their wares. I assume it helps support the local economy but we found these guy to be overly aggressive and were always trying to run a scam by presenting you with a gift and when you didn’t buy they would get snotty and say that they had done you a favour so return it. It became more annoying the more times they held these events which was frequent. We had seen these events before in Cuban resorts but the hawkers were much less in your face.
Tips of Purchasing stuff…don’t buy anything from the resort hawkers. There are beach front markets where you can get the same crap for much less. You have to barter for everything. And most of the name brand stuff they sell is bootleg. Even the rum. I bought 25 Cohibas for $30 US that started at $275 US. Those Cohibas never saw Cuba. One guy got a box in town for $20 US. Bought 2 pieces of local jewelry for $35 US that started at over $200 US. The trick is to walk away or better yet have your wife walk away like she has lost all interest. The price falls right away. Buy your rum at the airport duty free at least it is the real stuff.
Liz London, Ontario
We stayed at this resort last week and just arrived home on Sunday evening.
When you first enter the lobby of the Riu Taino, their front desk staff lead you to believe this hotel is the most friendliest hotel in Punta Cana, and you get a warm, fuzzy feeling. Well, let me tell you that this feeling doesn't last very long!
The rooms are old, but ample for what one requires on a vacation to the south. There were ants crawling on our counter top in the bathroom. The fridge was not stocked regularly and we were always running out of pop. The maid did not clean the floors everyday and there was always sand on the floors from being at the beach.
The restaurants were ample for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was a different story though. One night the waiter slopped the water he was pouring into my purse and on my camera--not even an apology! Come to find out, we witnessed with our own eyes, the waiters were drinking patrons' left over wine from dinner! I did report this to the maitre de, but I think it was sloughed off. We did not find the service particularly good nor were the wait staff attentive enough to their patrons to warrant a tip. We did try the Steak House and my steak was a 'minute' steak filled with fat, and my son's chicken was dry and tough. Dinner at the buffet was almost the same every evening.
The bars were pretty good, although in the beginning, if they didn't want to make the drink, the bar staff would say they didn't have that particular brand of alcohol to make that drink.
The pool was particularly cold, but the beach was the best, although the first couple of days the seaweed was particularly bad in front of our hotel--the only hotel within miles that had this problem, I have to say.
The grounds were kept particularly clean and the staff was always working to keep them up.
In conclusion, I have been on vacation in Punta Cana 8 times, and I would never return to this hotel! I approached the Sunquest representative and did speak to the Manager of the hotel with my concerns, and not too much was done about the situation. According to the Riu Hotel Chain, this is a 5 Star hotel and according to Sunquest, this is a 4.5 Star hotel. Unfortunately, the only thing 5* about this hotel is the beach and the toilet paper.
Just a comment about the cash machine situation. There was none on the hotel property. I just couldn’t believe it. We had to leave the property to find a machine. I thought RIU wanted me to spend my money while I was there. That was very disappointing. We brought very few travelers cheques.
Three out of the 4 of my family got sick after eating in one of the specialty restaurants the night before. The three of us ate the fruit dish and my daughter who didn’t get sick ate the cake for desert. Otherwise we all ate the same entre.
We loved the beaches and the service was very good. They were very friendly and polite and helpful. The property was very well maintained and beautiful.
Patrick Chicago Area, USA
Resort: RIU Taino (room was in the high 800’s)
Visited: 3/24/07 -04/1/07
We just returned from the RIU Taino, and wanted to give our opinion on this board, as is only fair since we read so many postings prior to making our trip.
Here is the setup and the disclaimers: There were three of us on this trip, a (gay) 30’s couple and a female (40’s) friend. This was our first trip to the DR, though our friend had summered there 20 years ago (she lived as a child in Peurto Rico), and the first experience at an all-inclusive resort for all three of us. So this review might also only be helpful to those who have not done an all-inclusive in the DR before.
We booked a package through USA 3000. There were nightmare delays on the way down which caused us to get to the USA 3000 desk less than 30 minutes prior to departure. We might have been allowed on the plane even then, except for the fact that our names weren’t on the manifest sheet. The USA 3000 representative literally said to us “I don’t know what I can do” and then walked away back to her desk. Luckily, the Apple Vacation people overheard and jumped in to help. It took a very helpful Apple Vacations rep in Detroit,
(Donna) an hour to figure out that USA 3000 had booked us as a broker on an Apple Vacation, but had only sent us USA 3000 paperwork. In any case, Donna got us on the following mornings flight and the delay only cost us a night (which I doubt USA 3000 will refund, even with their screw ups).
Our flight down was further delayed due to a passenger having an apparent minor stroke, so we had a stop in Raleigh for that emergency. The passenger walked off the plane himself, so I hope and assume he’s going to be ok. Though, here’s a helpful tip to all travelers:
If you’ve had 3 strokes in the past 6 months and have had surgery to implant stents into your skull, check with your doctor before you fly.
Arrival and traveling to the resort was uneventful, though let me just say here that the DR government needs to finish the new highway between the airport and the resort areas! It’s been largely cut in, but unpaved, so you end up taking some twisty, small local roads to get there. It makes the ride much longer than necessary. Maybe some portion of the $20.00 “Visitor’s Card” fee they collect at the airport can be tossed toward that project…
Check in went well and the service at the desk was very nice.
The rooms were, well, acceptable. All of the things you’d expect from a lesser resort were here: hard beds, paper-thin pillows, tired sheets and linens. I will say that the rooms were very clean, so the staff was doing the best they could with what they had.
There was a musty odor, not unusual in the Caribbean, but not expected in air conditioned space. As we were to discover, the air conditioning is really evaporative cooling, so it’s cold air but not dry.
This becomes important later in the week when you discover that wet clothes hung to dry take forever, if
they ever do dry at all. Our room was so far from
the beach, there was no breeze to dry things on the lanai, so YMMV. Don’t forget to tip the room steward, and (counter to what so many others have suggested in other reviews here) do it in cash, not candy. They are probably supporting a family and can’t do it on tic-tacs.
The beaches: the most beautiful we’ve seen, and we’ve seen many. When you first stand on them, you will know that this is why you came.
Excursions: Not so much going on here. Snorkeling was boring (again, done a lot of this elsewhere and can say that this was probably the most disappointing.
Save your money). The lack of excursions or outside activities makes this a very good vacation spot for those who intend to do a lot of laying around on the beach, or those who can adapt to a lot of laying around on the beach. If you cannot turn off your type-A personality, and don’t play volleyball, go on a cruise instead.
The Food: Buffet, Buffet, Buffet. You WILL be tired of the same food by the end of the week. You WILL yearn for fresh brewed coffee. You WILL buy dental floss if you didn’t bring it. You WILL return home with a new understanding of the word “Beef”. Do not travel to this locale for the food. If you are the sort who thinks of food as fuel for the body, you’ll be fine. If you are the sort who knows the difference between red and black caviar and has eaten enough to have a preference, you will be disappointed.
Bar Service: Good. Some of the servers are surly, but as I watched person after person make huge orders and not ever leave a tip, I certainly understand the
sentiment. Ask for the good liquor and they’ll give
it to you. Tip, Tip, Tip.
Entertainment: Well, they do the best they can with what they’ve got, though you do sort of suspect that the entertainers are selected because they are related to someone, and not because of any particular skill set. And what was with the lip-synced gay anthem show??? We wondered to ourselves if the dancers had any idea… Speaking of entertainment, this is a good point to mention language: If you are American and only speak English, you will soon find that communication is a little harder for you than anyone else. Probably 75% of the guests during our week were European, and the balance were mostly Canadian, with only a few U.S. residents (that we met, anyway).
Maybe this changes based on the time of year or the week. At any rate, if you are uncomfortable being in a place where nearly everyone is speaking a different language, then this might not be the place for you.
MAJOR PEEVE: Where the he** is the ATM? Located up near the gate, in the middle of the worker’s housing, off the beaten path. I’m a big guy who can take care of himself (and has, on many occasions), and still the hair on my neck was standing straight out the entire trip to that machine. I can just imagine what it’s like for others. Bring lots of money in small bills and avoid going to this cash station. I’m not saying any worker would mug you, but I can’t discount my good senses either about that place.
All in all, it can be a relaxing trip if you can take it in sway, though the resort hardly lives up to the image portrayed on their website (this is just the way some Caribbean places are). Don’t go expecting too much, and you will be OK. If you are expecting Shangri-la, you are in for trouble.
Fred and Coreen Grand Bend, Ontario
We stayed at the Riu Taino from 26Jan-02Feb. We went to this resort in 2004. I'll keep this short and sweet.
Flight: Skyservice out of Toronto. - it was a little cramped, but who cares..we were heading south!
Rooms: Beds were firm..but I slept fine. Rooms were clean and well maintained. Lots to drink.
Food: The main Buffet was good and had everything you could possibly want. The steak was fairly tough, but the pork and chicken were great. Just wish they had Kraft salad dressings instead of "guess what dressing this is"!! The only negative was the specialty restaurant - the "Steakhouse". It was poor, and we went back to the main dining room and had a second dinner that night.
Beach - Beach was great. A few fun waves, but we could go snorkeling every day. Take a banana for the fish to eat at the reef which is a short swim from shore. After your breakfast, take a towel and put it on a beach chair to reserve it.
Weather - AWESOME...sunny every day.
Sports - played beach volley ball every day for hours. Some pool activities, exercise classes, etc.
Great place to stay for the money. This was our second time there, and no one got sick!! We would go back again.
If you want to go really "upper class" then check out the Riu Punta Cana Palace.
Eddie and Celine Ages 53 and 55 Northern Ontario, Canada
Flight - Skyservice -tight fit but - on time and well organized at airport in Punta Cana.
Reception - Quick check in but directions to room not very clear, but we did find our room - we realize we had a late flight thus smaller staff to deliver luggage to
your room .
Room - not the most modern but very clean and plenty of hot water all the time . We found it suitable to amount of time spent in your room. mini bar and
liquor dispensor all filled every second day, plenty of bottled water .
Service - Freindly people and more than willing to give you the best service they could. Never any line-ups. The washrooms everywhere were very
clean and kept clean at all times.
Food - I dont think anyone could complain about the food at all buffets and restaurants..
There was a variety of food for everyone no matter what your preferences were
Grounds - very well maintained, lots of shrubs and palm trees, nice buidings with different colours. I would have to give them a A.
Pools - There are two pools, the main pool near the lobby is very nice with swim-up bar but a little more busy than we liked but the other pool near the
room buidings is a little quieter but has a nice snack area and barBoth these pools are very close to the beach .
Animation Team - All excellent people with lots of energy . The two who stand out where Charly the team leader and host for the shows, he does the introductions in
four languages so almost everyone knows what is going on. The second person Pedro in our view was the best, he made us all laugh all the time
he was working, which seemed to be all the time .
We applaud this group, they work really really hard to entertain guests.- These group also deseves a A.
Beach - We had one Red Flag day, you can still swim but lots of waves. The three yellow flag days where ok to swim but some places lots of seaweed washes in.
The other 3 days where Green flag days perfect to swim and no seaweed. This is a beautifull beach with white sand and you can walk for miles. The best
of all no rain.
Conclusion - We found very few negatives, but went expecting not everthing to be perfect. We were more than pleased with our vacation.
Bravo Riu Taino Staff.
Family Vacation at Riu Taino December 06
My wife and I visited Ocean Blue in Punta Cana last January for our first sun vacation and loved it. We decided that we would take our two children ages 16 and 14 the very next winter. We decided to go in the off season so that we could take advantage of lower rates since there would be 4 of us travelling. We watched the internet and found a great deal on Riu Taino. Our stay was between Dec. 2 to 9.
Flight: We flew with Sky Service. The Jet was small and cramped but the service was great. The food on the plane was not so good but who cares anyway, we knew we would be stuffing ourselves for 7 straight days in Punta Cana. The flight attendents were very nice and always had a smile for everyone. They were also quick to answer any questions or to lend a hand. The flight was smooth all the way down. Punta Cana Airport was extremely busy but we were through customs and had our luggage within 20 minutes (This was a pleasant surprise). Our transportation to the resort was ready as soon as we had our luggage. We were at the resort within an hour of landing.
Check in: There were only 6 families checking in at this time so it went very quickly. No welcome drink and no hot towel. BIG DEAL. I don't let these little things ruin my vacation. The men at the desk spoke perfect English and were very nice.
Room: This is where I got a bit concerned....okay, a lot concerned. The bellboy took us to our room with our luggage. After tipping him I walked into the room and my heart sank. The room was very old and dated. It was very old looking. The a/c barely worked and the lights in the bathroom flickered for 20 minutes or so after you turned them on. I turned to my wife and said, " I want to go back to Ocean Blue". Please keep in mind that we didn't sleep very well the night before due to excitement and it was a long day of travelling and we arrived at the resort well after dark.
Grounds: After a good nights sleep I awoke to the beginning of a beautiful Caribbean sunrise. I had a quick shower (the resort supplies soap, shampoo, bath gel and a hair dryer) and briskly walked to the beach. This is when I saw how beautiful this resort really is. The rooms may be dated and the walkways not perfectly even but the grounds are beautiful. I got down to the beach and walked into the warm salt water and suddenly forgot about the room. We don't use the room anyway. This is only a place to rest your head at night and to have a shower. We were there for the beach. The kids hung around the pool for the first part of the week for fear of sharks. After they saw us in the ocean they grabbed a couple of boogie boards and started to really have some fun. The more we walked around the resort the more we fell in love with it. Everywhere you turned there were people cleaning. This resort employs a lot of people.
Food: Just like eating at a restaurant at home. very nice buffet. There was a great selection and it was all very good. There is definitely something for everyone. We all felt great all week but we had to tell our son to ease up on the fruit smooties because he was spending a fair bit of time on the toilet for the firtst couple of days. Our bodies just aren't used to consuming that much fruit. Other restaurants were very good, we ate at all of them. Steak at the Grill House was great. Beach lunch buffet was also good. Much of the same food every day for lunch but there was a good selection.
Animation Team: I can't say enough about these people. They make the resort. They all work very hard to make sure you are having a good time. They all knew our family by name by half way through our vacation. We got involved in all the shows and games. Thanks so much to Charley and Pedro. Everyone was having a great time with these two guys especially.
My daughter's birthday was on our last full day. I mentioned this in the morning at the buffet. When we went for dinner they had a table set up for her which was decorated with flowers. After we finished our dinner we could hear loud singing from the back of the restaurant. All of the waiters circled the dining room with a special birthday cake and they were singing happy birthday in spanish. All eyes were on my daughter and she was very excited.
The weather was great. 95 and sunny every day. We did get rain at night and it did rain two days for about 2 minutes each day.
I can't say enough about the service at this resort. It is much better service than you would find anywhere in Canada.
No resort is perfect. This resort is very old and it does show in some areas but the food and the Animation Team make up for it.
The party on Carribean Street and the Beach Party are also a must do. All in all we won 8 bottles of rum a couple of Tshirts and a few bandanas.
We all had a blast and the kids can't wait to go back.
P.S.- We are planning our 3rd trip to Punta Cana and I have been using the reviews on this web site. There are some very helpful ones and I thank you. However, there are also some people that have to pick on every little thing that might go wrong in their little world. Please be constructive when writing your reviews. If you have a fly in your room it doesn't really matter. You will probably at some point in time end up with a spider or a fly in your own home.
My boyfriend and I went to the RIU Taino on Nov 25th-Dec 2nd 2006. My mom and her boyfriend were leaving the same resort as we were arriving so they had already reserved our room for us. Upon arriving to the resort we were offered some fruity drink and.... that was about it. We checked in first and it was about 11:30pm. They gave us our keys and said "go that way". No one took our bags or really directed us to our rooms. Thank god we have gone away before and kind of new what to look for because the staff was not helpful at all!
Actaully I first should say that my boyfriend and I are 22 and 26 from Hamilton, Ontario Canada and we definately are NOT picky people. A clean room with good food and sun.... thats all we need. Oh wait, good drinks are important too!
To continue, our room was outdated but who cares!!!! There is always hot water and lighting which was great (we never had hot water in Puerto Plata) The only thing that bothered me was the bed sheets and comforter! I am not kidding when I say that we were covered up by curtains. They were discustingly old and felt like sand paper. We always left our cleaning lady some goods and money and we were always treated well even though we never saw her.
Food: Meh, I've definately had better. I liked the food in Puerto Plata alot more but thats just me. To the guy who had wrote a review about re-frying the hotdog weiners for breakfast... I am so sorry I called you an idiot! I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY DO THIS!!! But now I know why they do it.. it was explained to me that the Germans LOVE them! Ewwww yuck, not my thing in the morning. AND BOY WERE THERE A LOT OF GERMANS!
Canadians were DEFINATELY the minority down there and we only met about 2 handfuls of people who actaully were from Canada. Be careful when playing volleyball with them because they will try and literally stomp all over you... they are very serious when it comes to winning and I almost lost my head from a spike...
Newhoo back to the food. Breakfast was BY FAR the best meal and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GO TO THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT! And DO NOT go to the steak-house unless you get the pork because our cow should have been saying moo and the chicken was so raw it was slimey (also watch the small pieces of chicken at the buffet because that was raw too.) My mom and b/f never had a problem and they were there for 2 weeks (Nov 11- 25). Buffet for lunch was the same every day but there is lots to choose from.... Please try their chocolate covered bananas... mmmm sooooo tasty!
My b/f got sick as usual so he missed out on the incredible, breath taking shark incounter! Sense a small bit of sarcasm???? Yeah well its true. What a rip-off this thing was. My friends Anne and Paul and I went on this excursion and yeah the boat and the people are entertaining... thats not why I paid 72 bucks. We got to spend about 1/2 hour looking at coral and fish which my 21 US water camera could not filter out all of the fish crap and murkiness of the water and then you get back out, watch some more dancing and then go into this little pen with about 70 other people and try to swim around and look for the nurse sharks and rays without getting hit in the head by someone elses flippers. You were only with the sharks MAX 8 minutes! And then more dancing and then the whole thing was over. A bunch of crap and a waste of my money. Never again. Oh yeah and the bus driver almost ran over a cat that he knew was there.... if you do go on this excursion and you love animals, please bring extra scraps for the stray dogs and cats... One couple fed one of the stray cats pringles and the cat ate them like she hadn't ate in weeks!
Overall weather: 3 days of rain rain rain. I even have one picture of the water funnel that had formed about a mile from the beach front... so we all got drunk those days. The other days? Good weather but the ocean was really dirty from the storms. Reserve a seat early because by 10 they were all gone. We were always at the beach by 8am so we didnt have a problem. And yes there are countless topless women... who cares! If you have a son or husband thats a perv than don't go here because they will drool.... excessively! Hahaha.
So that's my review in a nutshell.... would I ever go back here again? Never. The pool was grosse and we just like to try different places. NOT A 5 STAR RESORT AT ALL! I have stayed at the RIU Caribe in Cancun, Superclubs Breezes in Puerto Plata and the Oasis in Cancun and all were better than this hotel. I could go on for days but theres just way too much info for it. Definately think twice about staying here if you are planning a 5 star resort stay. We are by no means high class and we even thought that this was a dirty place... Good luck.
Linda Toronto, Canada
My husband and I stayed at the Riu Taino from July l5 - July 22,2006 We flew Canjet from Toronto.It was fine, An older airplane,737, with leather seats which gave us more leg room than Skyservice or Air Transat.
There is no inflight entertainment system. Instead they will rent you a personal video player for $l0. You can choose from several movies, music videos, or music.
We were served a very meagre meal consisting of a small bun with a bit of roast beef on it, a cookie and a tiny fruit salad.
That is no problem as I always take my own food anyway.
The flight was excellent and on time.
It took about 1/2 hour from the airport to the resort.
There are 6 Riu hotels in the complex. We did not have to wear wrist bands
(yeah) but the guests of the 2 palace hotels had to wear bands.
We had access to 4 resorts (excluding the palace hotels) but we had to take dinner at our hotel.
We frequently travelled the grounds of each hotel(including palaces) and got to know each hotel quite well.
The food was excellent. The best we have ever had in the Dominican. and I have been to that island l8 times.There was a large choice in the buffet and it was very tasty.The restaurant is air conditioned but there is an outdoor terrace which we chose to eat our dinners from.You choose your table the first night and that is your table for the remainder of your stay.
We could have breakfasts and lunches at 3 other hotels- The Melao, The Bamboo and the Niaboa. They were all excellent.
The Melao is mostly a French club hotel with clients from France. It is quite small with a small pool.
The Taino has wonderful landscaping since it is quite an old property, but it is beautifully maintained. The rooms are not large but very adequate.
There is a single and a double bed. There is a mini fridge and a liqueur dispenser. The room was spotless and we even had kleenex. There was always lots of toilet paper, shampoo and body gel.
The pool area of the Taino Hotel is smaller than I had imagined but it has a swim up bar with lots of noisey guests at.
The entertainment area in the Taino Hotel is awful. It is indoors and musty smelling with no airconditioning. There are large sliding doors at the rear of the complex that are open, but if you sit at the front, there is no air, and it smells of cigarette smoke.
All the Riu beaches are connected to each other and they are all beautiful.The Riu hotels have a lot of palm trees to sit under and no palapas, which is great. I do not like palapas under which guests cram together to get shade.At the Riu beaches, you put your chair under a palm tree and you have your shade.
We never had to get up early to reserve a chair, we always found a chair somewhere.
The Bamboo hotel is newer and fresher looking than the Taino, but it is very noisey.
Always people hanging around everywhere. The shows were outside with a lot of tables and the bar was very big so there were a lot of noisey people around the bar and show.
The Niaboa is not on the beach but very close to it. It has a nice pool .
The Palace Macao is a quiet hotel. Very lovely pool but no pool bar and no nightly entertainment that we could see.
The Palace Punta Cana is the newest hotel. Hardly any vegetation, mostly a concrete building which was about 5 stories high.It has a huge lobby, many upscale restaurants and a beautiful pool but the pool chairs are all in rows around the pool, touching one another.There are 5 levels of chairs going back from the pool.
There were no guards at any of the hotels. I walked along the beach in both directions and visited many hotels. They are all beautiful.
The Riu complex has the caribbean street with stores on it.
There is a flea market to the right of the Riu, next to the Iberostar Hotel and the vendors display their wares in the hotel lobbies a few times a week.
We had fabulous weather. The staff is very friendly.
One thing we really liked was the self service coffee machines and beer and soft drinks. That way you did not have to wait at the bar for those drinks.
I dont know about water sports as we didnt do any.
There were excursions but we didnt do any, as we have been all around the Dominican before, but I do have information on excursions offered.
If you would like to ask me questions, I will try to answer them. My name is Linda and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Travelling the week of May 5th-12th to the Riu Taino from Toronto via American Airlines. We are a couple in our late 30's. We booked our trip through Expedia.ca and flew out of Toronto to Miami and then onto Punta Cana. The flight was very roomy unlike most tour operator sized planes.
Upon arrival at the Punta Cana airport we were greated with hot tropical breezes. As soon as you enter the airport your photo is taken with 2 young Dominican girls and on your return you can purchase the photo for $10 Canadian. We opted to leave our less tanned photo behind!
We had a bit of a problem with our transfer that we had arranged through Expedia.ca. We had prepayed $50 Canadian for our transfer to and from the airport. Upon presenting our voucher as per Expedia's directions we were told that the voucher was no good. It stated at the top of the page Return trip but the attendant told us that we needed to have a voucher that reads ROUNDTRIP....so here we are now having to pay an additional $25.00 then having to go see a girl by the name of Maya in the front lobby to get a refund. We do not unerstand the reason other than perhaps a way to get us to talk to Maya who would then in turn try and sell us some excursions? We will call Expedia and see why this happened.
Upon arrival at the Riu Taino we were not greated with a welcome drink...in fact we were the only couple at the time of checking in. We were greated by Enrique who's name we were familiar with from a previous travel forum. He spoke English very well and quickly gave us our key, resort cards and signaled the bell boy to deliver our luggages to our room.
ROOM: Not up to par...definetly not 5 star...rooms are very dated and bathrooms are tired...the toilet ran all night long with a very loud draining type sound and the tub had large drips and drops of paint from the ceiling which had abviously been painted. They should have cleaned up the paint that had dripped in my opinion. Also the area directly above the shower head and near the window...also in the tub/shower area had large visible traces of BLACK MOLD. This is not acceptable at all...especially for a resort that says it's 5 star!
BEACH: This is by far the best stretch of beach along the strip. Because the resort if so mature that palm trees are plentiful and offer lots of shaded areas. Also the rock formations near the Melao offer some different elevation areas...very nice.
GROUNDS: The resort is nestled amongs very mature palm trees, hibiscus, olive trees,etc. We did feel that all gardens needed attention though as many of the hedges and such were obviously over grown and in need of shaping.
FOOD: Always a large selection to choose from. Some mystery items every day and other standard items. We never left hungry. Typical buffet of the tropics in my opinion.
We did not take in any of the entertainement. We are early riser and after dinner a short stroll and we were ready for bed. We did go to the Casino one evening but since we are not avid gamblers our visit was very short.
The service at the hotel was acceptable. We had a server by the name of Santa serve us in the Dinning Room...she always greated us with a smile and a Hola. She quickly remembered that we liked to start off dinner with a Cervesa each and she would quicly bring them to the table for us. We did tip a bit here and there but it did not seem to be a big thing.
Pros: Great beach area. Large resort if you like to walk or stroll. Use of other facilities excluding the Palace Macao and the Palace Punta Cana. Resort does not make you wear wrist bands. Lots of loungers pool side and beach front. Never needed to get up too early to reserve loungers.
Cons: This resort is the eldest of all 6 resorts. It's said to be around 18 years old and it shows. Many areas are in need of face lifts. Cleanliness could be stepped up in all areas. Pool bar and other areas wreak of SEWAGE. Pool needs to be painted and could use a set of stairs to gain entrance since it only has ladders.
Conclusion: Although we had a good relaxing time I'm not sure if I would return to the Riu Taino unless major renovations and repairs are completed. I feel that if this was done this resort could once again stand as a 5 star but as for now I would rate it a 3.5 to 4.
I would like to submit my thoughts on my recent trip to the Riu Taino.
Beach: Exceptional. Spent many a day and night there.
Reception: Not the Dominican welcome I have been accustomed to at other resorts. I noticed that some guests received a welcome drink and others did not. Nor were there any members of the management team on hand to greet incoming guests with DR smiles. For an island that is known for being wonderful to visitors, the Riu made me feel like they could of cared less if I was there or if I returned to visit their resort again. Which is a shame because the DR is known for it's hospitality.
Grounds: Construction occurring in some areas with materials and tools left out at night, often obstructing walkways. Cleanliness - often seen dirty tables sit for sometime in La Bamba and often seen glasses etc just sitting on walls etc. even found plates laying around - sometimes in the same place when I got up early to watch the sunrise. As for slow paced, sorry but by the fifth day of my visit, I had started not moving on the walkways for those who acted like they were running to a fire.
Service: In reference to the language barrier, I would have to agree with the one reviewer. Even when you used Spanish you often did not receive the item you were requesting. My wife speaks Spanish therefore your reference to "try a little Spanish" was a bit off the mark. Other resorts also have staff take language classes to offer the best service possible. I would also watch as staff always appeared to be hurrying somewhere but not accomplishing anything. And tipping is not an issue with me, I do tip, but actually went home with more ones than I am used to. In further reference to tipping, I have been to DR before and even though tipping is not required, I do even if I feel the service was not entirely adequate. Often the case at the Riu. It was out of respect and not always based on service.
Dining Room: Breakfast, I disagree with the eggs to order. The eggs were made and put in a holding pan. That is not made to order, sorry. One morning I actually accidentally picked up one sunny side up egg with the blood still evident from the chicken. From reading the other review, I suppose that this is the first time you have visited the DR and have not had the luxury of visiting other resorts to compare the Riu to. Food is better at some and worse at some.
Room: Ok, nothing fantastic, but clean and respectable and it was for sleeping purposes only. Tips were left for mini bar service and after speaking with some other guests we believed this service to be a bit off. We too received wonderful towel art and left tips and presents for our maid service.
Management Front Desk.. When we were ready to check out, three of the front desk staff were measuring each other's ankle diameters while we stood there waiting to check out and pay the phone bill. Another interesting note. Not that I DEMAND service but after spending the week at the Riu we did not call for our suitcases to be brought to the lobby, we did it ourselves based on knowing the service level in this resort. Not that it is beneath us to drag our own luggage to the lobby, but at other resorts it is customary for bell hops to do this and that gives the resort goer another opportunity to provide a tip to a hard working staff member.
Clientele: When I visited Riu I too experienced the 400+ Spring Breakers and they did manage to place a damper on the resort as a whole. During a show one night they were also jumping in the pool even after they were asked not to due to the cleaning process after 7 pm. Management did not respond to this either.
Food: Sorry, horrible. I have been in the food industry business for over 20 years and would like to provide the one recent reviewer with a real steak. The buffet did not offer shrimp, it was crayfish. Sorry to burst your bubble. I would also like to mention that at every meal there appeared to be turkey offered (which never disappeared) due to the fact that it was so "shinny" that anyone with any type of "Don't Eat" alarm in their brain would not have touched. The cheeses were good though. Salads and fruits plentiful, but when I am on vacation I believe that trying new foods and eating a bit more than you do at home is all part of the fun. Sorry I too also believe that "left over" hot dogs really should not be on the menu day after day in any shape or form.
Pools: What if you were not a beach person? Pool should not be classified as secondary just based on a person's personal preference. The Jacuzzi provided was so cold that it was unbearable. Once again, I believe that if you have nothing else to compare it to then I guess you would have thought it was just fine. I also believe that children should not be allowed to hang out near the pool bar. That area is for adults. So I guess that may be another issue that it was the child misbehaving, but more parental focus. I also noticed that there was no organized "Kid's Club" which was a shame since this would of given the kids and their parents a great opportunity to enjoy their vacation on a different level, i.e. give the kids things to do and to provide the parents which a break.
Parenting: Sorry, as the previous reviewer (and I spoke with another couple that same evening) also saw the same wondering little girl. She was a cutie. I don't think the previous reviewer noted problems with any of the children's behavior, but more so with the parents. And if you are a parent as I am this is a true and honest reaction when noticing this type of situation specially around water.
Entertainment: Sorry, as mentioned before I guess if you have nothing to compare it to then I guess you are appropriate in stating that you enjoyed the entertainment. Of course entertainment is just that and what ever floats your boat. One of the resorts I have visited, offered a weekly beach party (with real steak), a romantic poolside dinner, a manager's cocktail party with each of its restaurants decked out. Can't stress enough, if perhaps you don't have anything to compare it to then...I am aware the animation staff works hard and they work with what they have available to them. One show that we were at they begin asking for us to put our personal affects into a box. At this point many people exited. Just something about throwing your watch or jewelry into a box. Perhaps the Riu would think perhaps of movies on the wonderful beach or something to that affect. Perhaps different levels of entertainment available to provide a broader spectrum than just the audience participation portion of entertainment. We went to the Bambu and it was so crowded and hot that it was uncomfortable to stay and watch the show. I found myself not fond of the complex resort.
I believe the previous reviewer was just making a point referencing Miami as to feeling that the Riu did not represent the DR hospitality to it's fullest potential. Sorry, but I too felt that the Riu somehow diminished the DR atmosphere by proving they are a resort chain, same type of commercialization found in the states. Most all of us utilizing this website are not persons who go to the DR expecting someone to be on hand to our every beckon call but while you are on vacation you may expect just a bit of escaping the daily grind of work.
And actually I never write reviews, but found myself compelled after I read the most recent review. What was provided fell under the guidelines of this website service, the good, the bad and the ugly - out there for all of us to take what we wanted from it. These reviews are all posted as our opinions and therefore we should not feel intimated by another participant if we post a negative review. If opinions are offered honestly then this website would prove useless. And how a specific person may express their thoughts on their trip is not of your concern. You loved the Riu, then write your review in that manner. Your attack and repeated references to the previous reviewer was in my opinion childish and inappropriate.
As for accepting the DR for what it is, I can honestly say that since I am in the process of scheduling my fifth trip (and I was married in DR) that I have done just that. Many of us out here do appreciate the DR more than you can imagine, that is why we keep on returning, become involved in charitable contributions and help the DR economy by choosing to spend our travel dollars in this country. In the past six years I have seen growth in this country and hope that the DR hospitality and uniqueness remains at the standard that it was when I began visiting. Even the airport in its expansion efforts has lost a bit of that "primitive" feel, but that comes with an increasing tourism base.
Conclusion: Yes the Riu may be the resort for you, but not for everyone. I know that we were looking only for a week of peace and quiet on the island we have come to love. No pie in the sky expectations, but this resort with its size and fast paced clientele and "non-personal" feeling really did not provide me with all I was hoping for. I have stayed at other resorts and sorry the Riu just wasn't what we expected, but I sincerely believe that the next time you post a review that you do not attack any of the previous reviewers. I am a bit surprised that this was allowed to happen on this site. This site is for everyone to assist them with making a clear decision of what they require of a vacation and to take with them pieces of information provided. If you had a great time at the Riu then great go back, but I believe this to be your first trip therefore not having any comparison data on any other resort. And for you to say that anyone positing a negative review has issues with their individual trips or just fail to appreciate the DR that takes more than just nerve and perhaps a copy of your psychologist degree.
As many of us who are return visitors, we do appreciate the DR and certainly wouldn't return year after year if we "missed" the overall experience. Quite honestly, I am a bit concerned about the posting of your "attack" review on this site.
Cal & Carm Canada
I am not accustomed to writing reviews on resorts but after reading the negative reviews on the Riu Taino, I had to submit my personal review on this resort.
Beach: The Beach is incredible and is fabulous for swimming, snorkeling , walking, or just sunning all day.
Reception: Nothing “shoved” in our face except smiles and great service. Smooth transaction even late at night when we arrived. From front desk to our room in less than 10 minutes. Multiple keys were available upon request.
Grounds: One of the most well kept resorts I have seen. Such a variety of plants and the gardening was impeccable. If you could not look around and appreciate the beauty of this place you were surely missing something.
Cleanliness: Anytime I saw a glass or a piece of paper left around , a staff member immediately disposed of same. The entire resort was very clean and well maintained. Always cleaning staff around and active.
Service: Where to begin. “Language Barrier ?” Well you are in a “Spanish Speaking” country. Try a little Spanish yourself and make an effort to communicate. Do you think that people in France, Germany and Italy all speak “American English ?” We found the service to be exceptional at this resort and the staff very friendly. We tipped accordingly and were rewarded with extended service from staff members in recognition of our generosity.
Dining Room: Breakfast and dinner were both very pleasant. Staff members always there to serve. Coffee served in the morning and my wine glass was always full at dinner. Our server, Virginia was so pleasant and accommodating. Any requests at breakfast and dinner were immediately addressed.
Room: Our room was a single unit in a four unit building. As I previously stated, the surrounding gardens were amazing. The rooms are not ultra-modern but are exceptionally clean and very comfortable. Beds are a little hard and the sheets could be a little larger along with bigger pillows but I know I am not at the Hilton in NewYork ! Our Maid Elicia was so pleasant and she placed different “Towel Art” in the room almost every day. The Room Bar attendant was very good. Our mini-bar was always full. A little tip money in the fridge each day kept the unit well stocked. When I arrived, I left a note for Brugal Rum in the bar and was accommodated the following day. Diet drinks and lots of water provided upon request.
Management: Enrique and the other front desk personnel were there to help you each day. Any requests, within reason, were immediately taken care of. Check in and Check Out were very smooth and hassle free.
Clientele: There were no large numbers of young persons at the resort. In fact, the resort seemed to cater to very moderate age persons. Although the clientele were mostly European in content, the overall ambiance at the resort was very relaxed and quiet.
Food: Where to begin ? How anyone can complain about the food at this resort is beyond my comprehension. Every morning, there were great selections for the morning meal. Would you like a custom made omelet, eggs over easy, sunny side up, pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon , fruit and on and on and on ! More selection at dinner. Dominican Night. Mexican Night. Barbeque Night (with the best chicken and steaks I have tasted by the way !) The buffet offered shrimp, pork, fish, fresh salad , breads, desserts and almost anything else that you could imagine. Lunch could be obtained at the dining room (with proper dress), the pool side restaurant or the Pizza Restaurant on Caribbean Street. With three choices (and the choice of dining at the Maleo, Naiboa or the Bambu) there is no need to eat left over hot dogs for lunch. Lots of food and lots of choices.
Pools: With such a fabulous beach the pool is really secondary. Although I did use the pool, it was quite large enough to accommodate all the activities and still allow for lots of room for a leisurely swim. A whirlpool is also available adjacent to the Taino pool.
Parenting: I did see a few children at this resort but did not experience any problems with their behaviour.
Entertainment: The Animation Team were the best. They worked about 16 hours a day to entertain the guests. The shows are not Hollywood productions but provide a good quality of entertainment while at the resort. The entertainers work hard and interact with the guests in a very positive way to enhance your visit to the resort.
If you want Miami Beach then go to Miami Beach, otherwise, accept the Dominican Republic for what it is. An Island of friendly people, great beaches, fabulous weather, good value for the dollar, excellent service without the fast pace ,commercialization and artificial atmosphere of Miami Beach.
Conclusion: The Riu Resorts in Punta Cana offer good value for the travel dollar with the multi- resort option. The destination is well appointed from the resort facilities to the fabulous beach. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. The rooms are well maintained and the guest services are very good. This is a resort that I would not hesitate to return to in the future. Those that post negative reviews about this resort either have personal issues with their individual trips or just fail to appreciate the overall experience of a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Gretchen Pittsburgh, PA
As a four time repeat visitor to the Dominican Republic, but new to the Riu, I can honestly say that we were not impressed. I truly wanted to be, but sorry...
PROs The Beach - Exceptional (this resort's saving grace) Maid Service - Exceptional (with incentives, but I enjoy bring goodies from home - check out Beyond the Beach - The Dream Project as well-easy to accomodate and every little bit helps)
CONs Reception - Upon arrival, had a small drink shoved toward me without a word and then the staff member just walked away. Also did not see consistency in this "welcome" with other arrivals. Check In was relatively quick and easy. Only one key provided per room though.
Grounds: Not enough flowers. Tons of palms (great) and shubbery, but not good use of exceptional flowers found in the DR. The Taino used artifical flowers alot and we were not privy to the beautiful floral arrangements in the lobby as we have enjoyed in the past at other resorts. The Palace and the Bambu had these types of arrangements.
We also found a lot of inconsiderate people who often left dinner ware and glasses anywhere they pleased, but then we also found that the resort was less than quick to clean this type of litter. We often found garbage still remaining in the same spot the next morning.
Service - Low to Moderate. Language Barrier. Not enough staff or training. Inconsistency of service across the board. Being repeat visitors we believe in tipping when appropriate, although it is not required, but receiving a tip means you provided appropriate or exceptional service. We are not hard to please and don't except the Taj Mahal, but this was pretty bad.
Example: Spent the week dining next to older couple who have visited the Riu over 8 times. The last night of our stay, our regular server must have been off, I had asked for coffee with milk in Spanish and the server did not understand nor ever brought me the beverage and when the gentleman next to us had asked the Dining Room Manager for coffee for him and his wife he never did receive it as well. Needless to say we understood his expressed aggravation even in German. They left and I went up and brought back the coffee for my husband and I.
Example: Requested wake-up call from front desk for one morning. Never received it and with the power going off several times during our stay, luckily that morning was not one of them because the Soana Island excursion is just beautiful.
Example: Before leaving for our trip, I had emailed to inquire about irons. I was told they held them at the front desk. Luckily I had lightly ironed our items before packing, because when I went to request one, I was told I was allowed to keep it for one and only one hour. I found that to be childish and somewhat insulting. I know this one sounds a bit petty, but the pace of this resort was not relaxing at all. Run, run, run down those walk ways and I guess I was to touch up every piece of clothing within an hour. I was on vacation, not an ironing marathon.
Management - Disappointing overall.
Example: When researching the Riu I was happy to hear that they do not accept "Spring Breakers", but during our first night I found this to be true for only US and Canadian Spring Breakers - 400 Spanish Spring Breakers were accommodated for one week at the Riu. I am not against Spring Breakers (I have two college age children myself, just didn't really want to spend my "mom's week away" with them, let alone 400 of them). Luckily this group provided our entertainment for only one night of our vacation. It was quite fascinating to watch this congregation of highly intoxicated party goers take over the resort's bar area, (the rest of us were deprived of any type of music because the bartender turned it off because you were unable to hear over the kids). I did feel a bit compelled to express my opinion to management over the discrimination factor of it all. Management did tell me that US and Canadian Spring Breakers are not permitted and he was not sure how 400 spring breakers became booked at the Riu. And since they were leaving the next day his primary comment to us was that he was upset on how much food they wasted. I found this to be a weak managerial response to a complaint. It is also pretty bad when the manager of the bar area that these youths over took every evening was so aggravated that he dropped the "f" word when speaking about it and the fact that his bartenders did not receive any tip compensation for the entire week off this group, but clearly were working harder than ever. Sorry, bad management. And when we later booked an excursion we mentioned this scenario to our tour rep and all she came back with was "maybe you should try Secrets". That was also not the response I was looking for. We had once booked during spring break and the resort we were at that time chose to send home a few kids no questions asked. I am thankful that the group of 400 were leaving the next day or I probably would have been requesting another resort somehow right there and then!
Food - did you know that you can deep fry hot dogs and if the clientele do not finish them up for breakfast, lunch or dinner you can then chop them up and apply them to pizza? Or if you tire of the hot dog fare (in more than one of the many combinations offered at the Riu) you can also rely on white rice and beans or continue to graze throughout the week on the yellow rice mixture that will also include left over bits and pieces of the hot dog population while becoming drier and drier with each passing day? As a mother of three boys, I completely understand the concept of providing the most for the money, but I did not expect to come home vowing to not even look at a hot dog for a very long time. Thank goodness for salad and fruit. The deserts were also limited and not replenished. I was not also a great fan of the "pick a dining time" concept. Understand it, but also heard horror stories of the resorts other "wait in line to make a reservation" restuarant. We also looked forward to barbecue night, but once again found hot dogs, hamburgers(???), tough steak and chicken (a close runner up to the hot dog). Enough on this subject...
Pools - The Bambu has the best looking pool. Pools were ok, nothing spectacular.
Parenting Tip: Although I do not mind spending my vacation with children of all ages (even though our annual trip does not include our own offspring), please do not fall asleep at poolside and leave your children (under the age of 5) wandering around the pool area with a blank expression wondering where Mommy and Daddy are. This scares all nationalities of parents, even those who have been lucky enough to steal a week away from their own, half to death and then feel compelled to relinquish their own relaxation to visually follow your child's every move until they locate you or to contemplate becoming involved with the child as a parent locater which rarely ever has a favorable outcome.
Entertainment: Nothing to write home about and the big party in Caribbean street was staged to encourage shopping, not to sincerely entertain the guests.
In-Room Beverage Service (had to take my gallon milk jug over to bar area to "fetch" our drinking water and even with tip only stocked two times per the entire week). There is no individual bottled water available unless at cost at the lobby market. Or is there a reasonably close "station" to get water or a drink strategically located near the beach area. You have to walk back up into the resort area.
In closing, I apologize that I have not become a staunch supporter of the "I want to go to Riu" crowd. After doing my research on the resort, I left the states with an open mind, but came home crossing this resort off my repeat visit list. I did accomplish spending quality time with my husband on a beautiful beach, but then again we could have done the same in Miami. I love the DR but quite frankly if this would have been our first visit instead of our fourth, I would not be planning on returning in March.
Brian and Barb Canada
My wife and I just returned from our second trip to Punta Cana. The first time we stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Beach and Garden. This time we stayed at the Riu Taino. The Riu is a definite upgrade. The weather was fantastic we were on the beach every day.
We liked this hotel better than the first one. Some of the reviews we read saying it was dated had us a little skeptical along with the advertisement showing a double or single bed. We were delighted to open the door to our room and find a king size bed. The staff at the hotel were very friendly and all worked very hard. We had the 8:30 PM diner sitting. Virginia and Juan Pablo were fantastic in the dinning room. We got a kick out of watching Juan work the girls.
The food was very good and we certainly had our fill. The bartenders were very generous with the amount of alcohol in the drinks. We liked the fact that there was a larger selection of drinks included in the all inclusive. We did tip the waiter/waitress bartenders and cleaning staff and they really appreciated this and it showed in the extra service you received.
The evening entertainment was okay Charlie worked very hard to keep everyone entertained. We even participated in one of the shows and had a real laugh. On Thursday night there was a festival on Caribbean street that was pretty neat.
Our Sunquest rep Valerie was very helpful and had lots of good suggestions for shopping and other activities. Although we did arrange to go to a restaurant called the Lagostina by water taxi and the taxi never showed. Herbert in the dive shop was very helpful doing his best to help my wife overcome her fear over water. We will definitely come back to this resort hopefully as soon as next February.
Tobi Nova Scotia ~ Canada
I just returned from my second vacation at the Riu Taino. I was married their last year, actually at the neighbouring resort (the Bambo). I returned their for a long over-do honeymoon. My husband and I are both 38 years old and the first year we went we took our 4 children 12, 11, 10 and a very active 7 year old. My retired parents (65ish) travelled with us as well.
Needless to say I was very worried that I would not enjoy my vacation as I would be too worried about the where abouts of my youngest child.
This was absolutly a wonderful place to take children!! I highly recommend it!! I NEVER worried the entire week, the animation staff would hunt our children down to play games with them and remembered all their names.
Two of our children are VERY fussy eaters ... and never had a problem finding anything to eat. The entertainment was excellent.
My parents have travelled all over the world and said this was truely a slice of heaven. Two years ago they stayed at LTI and loved the RIU much more.
You stay at one and play at 4. the first year , because we had 4 children with us we generally stayed close to the RIU, however this year, we spent our time equally at all 4 ....... the are all excellent.
BAMBU- Has the most pool action! lots of stuff to do, the animation staff will keep you hopping all day!! This is the only resort with soft ice-cream on a cone .... yum!
TAINO- Pool is right next to the beach .... great because our children spent 95% of the time in the pool. Buffet lunch is also right next to the pool. Everything is right there. Animation team WAS better last year as this year they had lost 2 GREAT animation team members, however I guess this happens at all resorts.
MELAO-Very active for young children .... lots of shows geared for the young. shallow pool .... breakfast area we found was a bit musty smelling .... and although it seemed great for small kids ... the evening entertainment is outside and VERY loud!!
NAIBOA-My sister and friend stayed here (40&65) Absolutly loved it!
animation team was by far the best out of all 4. Food was great. only down side is they had to walk to the beach ... which is why I prefer the Taino.
Overall it says play at all four ....... DO IT! All 4 resorts are super clean and ever-so-friendly!!
I highly recommend it for any age and especially if you are travelling with children.
Broc and Dennice Michigan USA
We want to start off by saying we picked our vacation almost solely on this website and one other. We stayed at the RIU Tropical Bay in Jamaica on our honeymoon in November of 04. For anyone that has stayed or is thinking about staying at a RIU property, there is a website i would like to mention that is also incredibly informative. It is called Rustys RIU and can be found at www.riubambu.com. Tons of info on all riu properties.
This was our first time to DR so all we can compare it to is our trip to Jamaica. Other than those two trips there was nothing past the normal Florida. We had a total of 14 people on our trip to the DR with 10 of us staying at the Taino and 4 staying at the Palace.Our group ranged from early 30s to low 50s. As i was the one entrusted to set up the vacation for everyone, i easily had over 100 hrs online trying to find the best spot for all involved. Not an easy task.
We all had a couple of guidlines for what the vacation needed to offer. Great beach, swim-up bar, all-inclusive and under 1300$ US flying out of Detroit.Nothing to write about the flight, charter flight,jam packed, bland food etc(we got there you know!!)
Most of what i will mention has been said in previous reviews so i will try not to ramble. About a 30 min. trip from the airport to the resort. Our trip was thru Appple Vacations which i would hightly recommend to anyone. Check in was very smooth with smiling people and some kind of fufu drink. One couples room was not ready but they were in within an hour or so. They were not content with the location so they moved rooms after a night. No Problem. We sent many requests in via fax and email in regards to the rooms we wanted. Keep in mind that there are no real ocean view rooms at the taino or any of the other riu resorts for that matter. But a the rooms at the Taino are much closer to the beach than any of the other resorts. The taino is located basically in the center of the complex and does have the most action thruout the day. Yes, the rooms are bit dated and the beds leave a bit to be desired we all were fine with that as in lent itself ! to the "we are in the caribbean" atmosphere. I was and still am astounded at the remarks people make in regards to the property. This i not the Ritz and is not marketed as such. We found the Taino to be the perfect choice of what we were looking for. We were in the closest rooms to the beach, pool and bars. The rooms are two story buildings, the grounds are great and well kept and the fresh coconut in the morning from the gentlemen cleaning them up was great.The Palace is a beautiful resort but is still a kind of high rise and you have to go thru corridors to get out of your room and such. We walked right out of our room and were outside, about 50 yards from the water!!
If you are any kind of beer drinker then the insulated mugs are must! Thx to the people that put that on this site!! The beer is not bad and the bottled beer in the room was a welcome break from the tap El Presidente. All in our group were very impressed with the in room liquor dispenser. All riu properties have this. For 3$us a day, the minibar guys came everyday with a smile. The guy in the earlier review must not know how to hand a couple a bucks out. Rooms were always spotless and we always needed more towels due to a couple of showers a day. Two dollars a day to the maid and we got whatever we needed. We tipped everyone all the time.No, you do not have to tip anyone at all. Not once did anyone look at us like we needed to tip to get what we wanted or needed. We felt the tips were earned and appreciated and it felt good to do it. We laughed at the fact how much a couple of bucks meant to these people while the servers back in the states would! be offended! I liked to beer and rum in Jamaica better but as my friends tell me, i did just fine!! The food at all meals was good, i would not bother with the steak house. I felt the same way in Jamaica when we stood in line for 30 min. to get a reservation. Stick with the buffet food, just as good and served quicker.I felt sick one morning after drinking for about 14 hrs, the food was fine!! We went to dinner the first night at the 630 seating but could not all get seated together but we knew this could happen. That night i got with Felix, who was running the dining room, slipped him a 10 and asked for a table outside for 10 of us for the remainder of our trip. The next night we had our table for 10 outside with 2 servers there to wait on us. Awesome. We all believe you can get almost anything you want if you just ask.
We were there on the 18th thru the 25th of January. The week was very windy. Red flags out the whole time until the last day so we were not able to do any water sports which was kind of a bummer. We did one excursion to snorkel over at bavaro at the snorkel park. You can go in a netted off area and swim with sharks at rays. Very cool. It was really too windy to snorkel but the boat ride afterwards was a riot. They take you to a shallow bay (about 4ft of water) and bring you drinks on a life ring. Tons of fun.
In our opinion, the palace or the bambu are not worth the extra money but if you are more interested in nicer rooms, then ante up for the palace. The rooms at the bambu are the same style bungalows as the taino. The swim up bar at the bambu is bigger and you can smoke at the bar.
We had nothing to complain about DR or our stay at the Taino. We would recommend to anyone doing this trip. Having said that i think we will do Jamaica again before we try a different island.
To all those looking at a vacation, use these two websites for invaluble info.
Rob & Nancy Ontario, Canada
My husband and I just returned from our second trip to the RIU Taino, and I wanted to post another review of this resort. There haven't been a lot of reviews of the Taino recently, and I am just as baffled as to where "Leslie" stayed - we didn't find any of the problems she encountered. My only response is - thanks for your comments, please feel free to STAY AWAY from our favourite resort. Okay, enough editorializing - on to the fun part - OUR TRIP!
This is our second stay at the Taino, we were there for two weeks in 2004 as well. We flew USA 3000 from Detroit, flight was uneventful, food was as awful as expected. We arrived at the airport in PC, there was MUCH confusion on the plane regarding the new tourist forms, flight attendants "have not been trained" in the completion of the forms. But, as best we could tell - NO ONE LOOKED AT THEM - we handed them in along with our $10.00 to some women at a booth who then handed us a plastic tourist card. We boarded the bus, and were on our way. Check-in was an absolute delight, we had all of our paperwork completed, keys and cold drink in hand within minutes and we were escorted to our room. We had a first floor room in building #34, just steps from the restaurants and the lobby (thank you VERY much to Janet at Sears Travel who e-mailed a request for us!).
The weather was a bit odd this year - the first 3-4 days were beautiful - straight out of the brochure. Then we had 4-5 days of very high winds and surf - most days the red flag was out - some days the flags weren't even posted - I think they were afraid they would blow away. It was still quite warm, and although it rained several times - for very short periods of time - it quickly blew out and the sun returned. The last days of our stay were back to the beautiful calm weather.
My only criticism - the rooms are looking a bit dated. They do need a little modernizing - brightening up, but were spotlessly clean every day (thank you Ruth!). If I may make a request - please, please I hope they soon put in queen size beds. We're a little industrial in size, so a 3/4 and a single just won't do the job. Besides, pushing the beds together never works - guess who's always falling through the crack! ;-) Oh well, we made do. Lots of storage space - and we were on the beach before 2 p.m.
I would like to make a special point to mention the staff at the RIU - this is our fourth stay at a RIU property (twice in Puerto Plata), and without exception, the staff at the RIU are the highlight of our trip. I must thank the wonderful manager at the Taino- he actually remembered us from our trip two years ago. And also the great people at the La Bamba - especially Luis Miguel, Yolanda and Octavio - and also Elpidio at the bar in the theatre - who sent someone running for a bottle of Anisette for my after-dinner drink!
Thanks so much to the lovely young man at the front desk who actually took off his "I want to go to RIU" pin and gave it to me when I asked where I could buy one - what a sweet thing to do!
In the restaurants - Francesca, Wendy and Virginia took wonderful care of us - and they were always smiling despite unbelievably long days. And Juan, who made wonderful omelettes every morning, and was so tolerant of my very limited Spanish.
The food was just excellent, there was always something interesting and fun being served - from Mexican night and the awesome fajitas - incredible guacamole, Dominican night - LOVE that Cafe Diablo; roast suckling pig, shrimp, paella - so many things to choose from - and very clean and fresh.
The beach is so beautiful - we just never get tired of spending our days out there. We love the wonderful international crowd, we met people from many countries, and as always are embarrassed at how much more English they have than we have of their languages. Somehow we manage to communicate - a smile goes a long way.
We took some bread down to the shore every morning and fed the fish - that was great fun - they will actually come up and nibble on your finger tips (gently!). There is one VERY large fish that lurks in the shallows in front of the resort - he quite startled me the first time I saw him - he's easily 24" long - but fortunately very docile, and also loves bread! We also went snorkeling out near the swim barriers (which seem to have been moved inwards - we were able to swim over the reef last time - this year it wasn't accessible). We took a banana out with us (it doesn't dissolve in the water while you swim), and fed the larger fish out in the deeper water - that was also fun - they were quite bold and would swim close enough to touch. They are quite discriminating - they will eat the banana, but spit out any piece of peel.
We bring 30 oz. insulated mugs, we're not big drinkers, but really hate warm beer - and a small scoop of ice in the mug topped up with draft beer will stay cold for hours.
Neither of us had a moment of any kind of illness, nor did we hear of anyone sick at the resort. It was constantly being cleaned, which is not an easy task - the resort was very full.
Finally, I would also like to thank Iria (I'm sorry if that is misspelled) - who was so kind as to offer to deliver the school supplies we brought to a school on her way to visit her boyfriend's family in Santo Domingo. We appreciate your help - and the generosity with your free time - thank you.
One other disjointed comment about the room - the showers are MARVELOUS! There was always an abundance of hot water, and the water pressure was very strong - enough to remove the last trace of sand, sunscreen and salt - and then some!
Our trip was wonderful, and we would not hesitate to return to this beautiful, friendly resort - they say "welcome home" as you arrive, and it's the feeling we have the whole time - that we're at home, and very welcome.
I just read a review from some who was at the Riu Taino January 2006……
She must have been at a different resort, We flew out with Sky Service..a bit tight but got us there safe and sound. We paid a little extra and got free head sets and drinks through Sunquest tours. We arrive mid afternoon to wonderful weather, lots of people willing to carry our bags to the Sunquest counter and to the air conditioned vans for a small tip….about a dollar per bag. Many people carried their own without a hassle.
The only confusing part arriving in Punta Cana was filling out the customs forms, but we handled that as well. You need to save $20US dollars to get out, so don't spend all your cash. (cash only)
The resort was clean, the front desk friendly and helpful with checkin, explaining how some of the amenities worked.
Stalin our Sunquest Rep met us the next morning and gave us the run down on everything, don't miss these educational sessions, they will save you cash.
Our room was missing a comforter when we arrived, a quick call to the front desk and it was there in a jiffy. The tap water is not for drinking so the rooms are supplied with a couple jugs of water, pop, beer, and soda water, refilled every two days. If you needed it sooner, that same call to the front desk had it taken care of. We tipped our housekeeping staff, in room bar service, and lounge staff daily. Tipping is not expected, we had such great service that tipping them felt right. Each day we came back to a very clean room and some wonderful creation made out of our towel, birds, flowers, hearts, you name it.
The pool bar and outdoor lounge at the Taino were great, lots of fun activities going on, I met some wonderful people and the staff treated us fantastic. Octavio, Yolanda, Junior, and Luis Migel to name a few recognized us everytime we came up. We had some great meals in the buffet, enjoyed the Mediterranean resturaunt and the Steak House for the chicken of course. We're from Alberta, so eating steak in the Carribean is like ordering a seafood dinner in Manitoba……The teak House and Mediterranean are the same place, three days a week one menu, four days a week the other. Oh ya, if you like red wne a lot, bring some, the Dominican is not know for its fine vineyards.
We travelled with 19 people and always had a nice table and super friendly staff helping us out. Breakfast at the buffet were very good, lots of choices eggs anyway you want, omelets, bacon, cold meats, cheese, and the best crossiants. The cappicino was from a machine but still tasty.
Staying at the Riu Taino we could eat at about 16 different locations, lunch at the Bambu would be my favorite because they served nice hot Brussel Sprouts…mmmm, and they had soft Ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, and swirl. The pool bar and bar at the Bambu were fun as well, if you are a rum drinker ask for the barcelo rum with your cola or you will get the Normandy cocktail rum which is not as tasty.
The weekly Carribean Street festivals were fun, you got to barter for prices (one should learn the fine art of bartering) We also went down the beach to the vendors and picked up some very good rum at a low price. We got a couple of bottles of Siglo de Oro, at $55US each, a far cry from the $325 us we started bartering at. Know what you want to pay and stay firm, don't be rude though, these people are making a living just like you and I. I watched one person call the vendor Loco because of his original price, if you don't want to play simply say "no gracias". There are some bargins to be had, we did real well on cigars too.
Last but not least you could get almost anything by booking it with your hotel ID card, windsurfer, kayak, boogie board, peddle boat, snorkle gear, board games, catamaran free, and make sure to see Bruno for all the other stuff. You can go Deep sea fishing, parasailing, scuba diving, 4x4 safari's, inland trips, rum and cigar factory tours, all for a little bit of cash.
All in All, we had a fantastic time, and I'll be back.
We traveled with Vacation Express and the flight there was very uneventful. The transportation to the resort was quick and clean.
The hotel was attractive but overall cleanliness was very poor compared to other resorts I have visited in the past. The restaurants did not have non-smoking sections and 80% of the guests smoked constantly, even while they ate. Not to mention all the coughing and wheezing in the morning hours. REPULSIVE!
Our room was seriously outdated and the bathroom was tiny. They only stocked the fridge every other day....so we constantly pleaded for water, beer and sodas. Also, they do not supply your room with washcloths (which contributed to the smell of some other smoking guests). AC worked really well and our room's proximity to the beach was awesome.
The beach was the only highlight of the place...absolutely stunning! You need to get out early for a chair and watch your belongings as we witnessed some suspicious characters lurking about. The pool was small and nasty by late afternoon.
The food was disgusting and redundant. All of the Riu resorts had the EXACT same menu, do not be sold on the fact that you can visit other restaurants. The Mediterranean restaurant was the absolute best. Otherwise, we survived on Cheese Pizza and French Fries. Guests of the Tiano are not allowed to eat at the Palace which by the way had far better food quality.
The service was non-existent. We tipped, we smiled, we gave out candy and even complained...these people have no idea what service is actually about. After a day or two, I began to believe that they pretended not to speak English in an effort to ignore your repeated requests. With the exception of those who maintained the grounds who would cut a fresh coconut for your morning drink on your balcony...GREAT!
Overall, I have paid a fraction as much for twice the resort in Virgin Islands and Mexico but SSSHHH! don't tell the others.
L & A Belgium
We've just got back from our 2 weeks vacation in Punta Cana - hotel Riu Taino and I would like to share our impressions.
The airport is really nice, cute and new and they "process" you really fast. The hotel was excellent, the room nice and clean, everybody very friendly and willing to help. I strongly recommend to ask for the first floor instead of the main level. The little "houses" are set in a very nice landscape, a beautiful garden which is very well kept.
The main restaurant (in the lobby of the hotel) is nice and the food was excellent! We stayed for 2 weeks and never got bored, it is a lot of variation and very good quality food and every evening something very special. The waiters are extremely friendly and smiley and totally at your service. We were VERY content with the food and the service, 10/10!
The second restaurant at the pool is another story - first of all the furniture and cushions are old and look always dirty, and it is dark and overall it does not give a good feeling to be there. We really think they should do something about it, I mean to change it.
Drinks are excellent and you can drink as much as you are able to....the local cocktails are very yummy and refreshing!
The shops and the market. Don't buy on the street near the hotel - it I very expensive and you cant deal. Go one day to "Plaza Bavaro" with a taxi (around 8-10km) and you have a lot of stores in one place and you can deal a lot and get everything for a very good price. Be aware - don't pay for the taxi more than $8 and make sure you make this clear from the beginning with the driver.
Trips - we wanted to go, but it was cancelled 3 times because of the rain. By the way, I think is not the best idea to travel to Dominican Republic in May....it rained 8 days in a row, I mean we did not see the sun for 8 days! And that's really terrible.
The beach is amazing, the most beautiful beach I've ever seen until now - just gorgeous!
The Animation. We were not content at all. If you don't speak Spanish you are in trouble, their "other" languages are really poor and they try to do things, but is not really working. I've been in many resorts and have seen many "animation groups". The one from Riu Taino is the worst! The day activities are ok, they do the volley-aerobics-darts things. But the general impression is that they are like immature and childish, week in jokes and they do not really know how to entertain people. During the Bingo we really felt embarrassed many times by the animators comments and behavior, sometimes was really pathetic! Overall the evenings were boring. The only really good things were the ballet-dancing shows where the girls and the boys danced fantastic and was a pleasure to look at. We strongly believe it should be made a major improvement regarding the animation and animators. The only one from the animators who we believe was the best behavior like is Kathy. She was the only one! I think the "animation" and "animators" are a very important issue when you stay in a resort and you don't have between what to chose to have some fun and a nice time during the evenings.
Mosquitoes : we have not seen any mosquito's!! We had all kind of stuff to protect us - for inside and outside and we've never used them.
We wont go back to Riu Taino, but will go for sure back to the Dominican Republic - probably to the Barcelo Bavaro complex.
We wish a great vacation for everyone and all the best!!
Michelle Ontario, Canada
KidsClub: For kids age 4-12. This is the one area we were disappointed in. The “brochure” states kids club is 2hrs in the morning and 2hrs in the aft. During our week, we were lucky if she had the kids for 45 min per session. The lady was always very friendly and pleasant with the kids. But kidsclub was only one of her jobs at the resort. They’d gather around 10:15 or 10:30 by the pool hut as there is no designated kidsclub area. They would make a craft or do an activity. Then our kids would be wandering back to us. Activities included: play ping-pong, build a sandcastle, decorate a crown with glitter and paint face, practice for a fashion show, color, paint a large white sheet, make a picture gluing pasta onto paper, swim with water balloons in the pool shallow end, tried beach volleyball. The kids were not always excited to go to kidsclub. There appeared to be little responsibility for the kids: for example we were told we could pick our kids up at 11:30 (dropped off at 10:15), so some parents went to the beach. I stayed by the pool. After a brief activity she put the kids in the shallow end of the pool with some water balloons, and then poof she was gone well before it was time to pick up the kids. Yes it is the shallow end and the kids were fine but the kids would be wandering around if the parents weren’t there. We were lucky to have met 3 other families and got to know them, we helped watch out for each others kids. Also, tipping didn’t seem to help with kidsclub. There were some 10 yo boys at the resort and they were not at all interested in kidsclub.
We walked by the Bambu kidsclub where they actually have a fenced area for the young ones, a kiddy pool larger than ours, a small basketball and volley ball court just for kids, some playground equipment. It looked nice. It was a ways from the Bambu pool though.
In the evening is the minidisco at 730pm. The same kidsclub lady ran this and the kids loved it. It is a 20 minute tape of music they dance to on the stage, such as the hokey pokey, etc. Then she took the kids to the back of the room and brought out some toys like hula hoops, etc, and the kids could run around back there.