After six prior trips to the Dominican Republic in the past, it isn't till now that I felt compelled to write a review. I have been to Puerta Plata, Bavaro, Boca Chica, and Punta Cana before this trip, besides traveling to Mexico and Puerto Rico also. The Riu Palace Macao is by far the best all inclusive property I have enjoyed. I loved the size of this resort. It's not huge but not a tiny boutique sized resort. The adults only feature is a wonderful idea that works very well for most people looking for a relaxing vacation but still want a little fun. The staff is exceptional for the way they try to accommodate everyone's need's. They are very friendly and helpful and go out of their way to speak the language of the guests (more proficient in english than most resorts visited in past). The rooms are very nice since they have been recently renovated well appointed and have a unique bathroom set up with double sinks and walk in shower that has a glass block wall between bathroom and bedroom. The entire property is SPOTLESS! the staff is constantly cleaning and it shows. You will always see employees cleaning and scrubbing everything throughout the day and night. The best feature of this resort is the food.I'm very picky about the food wherever I travel. I'll start with the most common complaint given to all inclusive resorts and that is the buffet.The buffet is the weakest link in the food chain, but this property outdoes itself in this regard. I loved the assortment and quality of food served in the dinner lunch and breakfast buffets. Other guests I spoke to also remarked at the quality of the buffet food, even looking forward to lunch and remarking about the food served each day looking for the fried calamari to BBQed ribs served for lunch. The appetizers and desserts showed a high level of attention and effort to details that usually are reserved for al acart restaurants.I also loved the fact that you were not restricted to a certain number of nights you could dine in the al acart restaurants. You can make a reservation every night to whichever you chose, you can even repeat your favorite if you chose. These restaurants were exceptional, from the steak house (I had filet and lobster twice while there) to the Japanese retsaurant I was amazed at the quality and portions. Lastly the bars were great, offering more top shelf liquors than I ever saw at an all inclusive, from Stoly and Smirnoff vodka to Johnny Walker and Ballantine scotch and of course the Rums of the carribean. The bartenders are proficient in all types of drinks and were equipped with ingredients to make mostly everything one could want. They even have expresso machines at most bars. It gets even better. If you want to have a drink in your room no problem, each room was equipped with a four bottle dispenser for you to enjoy at your leisure and restocked daily along with beer water and soda in your room fridge. This is an exceptional resort and the best dollar for dollar value I have ever seen, and will return to it on my next vacation.
Our trip could not have been easier or more affordable! This was our first all-inclusive, "touristy" trip (we usually do adventure/hostel/crazy travel trips) and it was fantastic. Cheap Caribbean made everything so smooth and easy, we kept waiting for the other shoe to drop...which it did not. We chose the Riu Palace Macao because of its food options, positive reviews, but mostly, the fact that it was only for adults. We just didnt see the benefit of having kids knocking our drinks over into the sand and not being able to be loud and fun. From the moment that we arrived, the staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating. Our Spanish is certainly "in progress", and we were able to learn so much from the staff. The food in the buffets ended up being our favorite, as you could customize a bit more, and make a really delicious salad and fruit plate...and maybe throw a piece of chicken on the side. Our meals at the other restaurants (besides the Steakhouse, Panchos) were mediocre at best. The Steakhouse was a great meal, totally worth it. Make sure to go relatively early in the morning to make your reservations for that day, and the two following if you can. We had a group of 6, and it was easy to get in most places, if we went downstairs to make the reservations by 9:30am or so. The cappuccino place was fantastic for a coffee and a quick little sandwich...as well as all day and night nachos, (which we may have indulged in a bit). The rooms were pretty bare bones, and "clean" - but served their purpose. There was a programmable safe that was very convenient, and the bar/fridge is stocked as much as you would like. GREAT shower with dual heads, and a great porch for relaxing and drying clothes. We ran on the beach two of the days that we were there, and used the gym at the neighboring hotel twice, both of which were really amazing. The beach was beautiful, shaded by palm trees and quiet. The water was just amazing, both during the day, and even for a little midnight swim after dinner and drinks! There were great shows put on by the staff, (albeit a bit hammy and funny) and we saw The Michael Jackson Show - AWESOME. Seriously. We had a great time. The amount we spent ($1150/person, all inclusive, with the flight, for 7 days) was crazy cheap and SO worth it. We tipped about $1-2 per drink and $3-5 for dinner, and brought about $150 cash with us (mostly in $1's), which worked out perfectly. We would certainly recommend this resort and will always use Cheap Caribbean in the future.
Out of the five hotels in the RIU Punta Cana complex, the Macao is the oldest. At first I had hotel envy, because the Palace and the Bavarro are so much more spectacular. They are both bigger with more restaurant choices, cooler pools and since they are newer, I assume have more luxurious rooms. After a few days, though, I started to like my choice better. The Macao is centered between the hotels, so you can visit the other hotels easily. The bigger hotels, however, were much more crowded. We went on Easter week and the big hotel beaches and pools were crammed, whereas, our pool and beach had just scattered people. It was much more quiet at our hotel, which we enjoyed. The Naiboa hotel wasn't that crowded either, but it isn't right on the beach. The Bambu hotel was swarming with kids. After visiting the other hotel buffets, I determined the food was about the same everywhere, so for less money, I think we made a good choice. My only negative...and it was a big negative...was that the bed was extremely hard. Like sleeping on a table with sheets. We complained and received an extra blanket. Still didn't help. After a week, both my boyfriend and I had super stiff necks. I think if you have more body fat than I do, it might not matter, but for anyone as bony as I am, it was really uncomfortable. Also, I had a wonderful massage on the beach, but the snorkeling wasn't worth it. And, if you do stay at the Macao, get a room on the top floor....better views and the ceilings are vaulted.
This trip was AMAZING! The hotel was beautiful, the food was great (was hoping for lobster more often) the staff was incredibly helpful. Do yourself a favor, learn a few words of Spanish. My boyfriend speaks French fluently, I speak Spanish and so we had no problem communicating with anyone. Againt his hotel is amazing, its beautiful, clean, everyone is friendly. I never ever once felt uncomfortable, never felt like I was being bothered by the guys selling things on the beach. One thing I will say. This is very important! Do Not agree to do a free boat trip. We wanted to go on a boat the whole time, so we took a free ride! Its funny looking back on it now but the free ride took us to a time share presentation. My boyfriend left it up to me to get angry and we immediately got a ride back with a little New York Attitude anything is possible!! BEST VACATION EVER!! Going back April 2012!!
I will start this by saying i NEVER write reviews however, the reviews on Cheap Caribbean really helped my husband and I make our decision to stay at the Riu Palace Macao as our first ever all inclusive vacation. We have traveled throughout Europe and the Caribbean through various different methods including cruises and were extremely hesitant to try an all inclusive. After 6 months of research we finally decided to book the Riu in Punta Cana, DR and we were more than satisfied. I have never seen a resort that was more well maintained than this one. They had so many employees cleaning the resort in and out from the grounds to the pools, lobby, individual rooms multiple times a day. All the staff were beyond welcoming and helpful. They went out of their way to get to know you whether you were there a couple of days or a week like we were. The pool waiters came around every 15 minutes and never let your drink get empty without any expectation of tipping. The same goes for the restaurant staff. The resort had 4 specialty restaurants that required reservations but it was a very easy process as well as a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner open should you choose not to get dressed up and make reservations. What my husband and I most liked about Riu was that we were allowed to visit 2 of the other 4 hotels on the campus to utilize their pools and buffets as well for a change of scenery. We also booked the airport transportation through Amstar which Cheap Caribbean offers when you checkout and I will say it is SO WORTH IT! For $25 round trip per person we were picked up at the airport driven to our hotel and then picked up at our hotel and driven right back to the airport. No hassle of taxis and people trying to scam you for money, it was safe, easy and extremely organized. An Amstar rep was at our hotel everyday to allow customers to book excursions where again they would provide you with the transportation and activity. If I had to comment on anything it would be that if you chose to eat dinner at the 6:30 reservation time there really wasn't much to do once you were finished at 7:30 or so because the night shows did not start until 10pm and the casino did not open until 10:30pm. Night shows were decent nothing to really go crazy over but it is nice that they offer it. In terms of entertainment the Riu Fit Team were amazing at the pool everyday. They were a group of about 6 people who would come around coordinating various activities like volleyball, ping pong, archery, bingo, darts etc. It was very nice if you wanted to spend your day doing some activities in between jumping in the pool. Overall a wonderful experience and I would most definitely book with Cheap Caribbean, Amstar and the Riu again without a doubt!
Being that this was my first all inclusive, I don't have another to compare, but in my opinion it was FANTASTIC!! The RIU Palace Macao was a wonderful resort. The staff was very friendly and willing to assist you at any time. Juan, our bartender at the Tiki Bar was great. He was very entertaining! Our room was good with everything you needed. The refrigerators are not the coldest but it was good enough to keep your water/soda cold enough to drink when needed. Sometimes the cleaning women were overly anxious to help as they would attempt to enter your room again in the evening (not knowing you may be in there) to bring more towels for the day) We learned to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door while in the room. We found the food to be average. If there was something you couldn't find to eat, shame on you. If you are looking for extravagant meals, this is not the place. You always had a wide variety of items at the buffet......all kinds of meats, vege, always a great salad bar, fresh fruit - which is awesome on the island and always can make a sandwich at any time. We found the dinners to be good also - again, always had beef, chicken, pork.....variety of vegetables...one night we had filet migon wrapped in bacon....another had prime rib....I'm a big beef eater so I was well pleased. The beaches were absolutely beautiful. Sitting on the beach with a great book and have a cocktail delivered to you.....can't ask for anything more. We went on two excursions while there....the Segway Tour and the Dune Buggys......would highly recommend them both for the money you pay. Again, excellent service by the tour people, very friendly and most of all - Lots of Fun! On both trips you get to experience beautiful areas of the island.....and also seeing the poor areas also which is sad. On the Segway Tour we went to the most beautiful lagoon which we were able to swim - water was the clearest I've ever seen.....and the dune buggy tour.....we got to explore a cave which you were able to swim in also. We were able to visit and use the facilities at 2-3 of the other RIU Resorts that were close by - other than having dinner there. We went to a few of the shows and used the pools during the day. Overall, the experience was wonderful......no cell phone, no exact time to be anywhere....did what you wanted/when you wanted - didn't bring a computer but they do give you access to one in the lobby for a small fee if needed. If you are looking for a trip just to relax, rest, enjoy long walks on the beach and to be able to eat/drink when you want.....this is the place! I can't wait to start planning my next vacation!
Just got back !! Any-one who was not happy here is nuts, Spotless,food,drinks very good,the people are truely wonderful all of them, the ocean & SUN is what I went for HEAVEN!!! Entertainment was so fun had a GREAT TIME!! ( the beds were alittle hard for me) but having coffee on the balcony every morning was worth it..we thought the steak house was very good..being from buffalo fancy food at krystals was not our cup of tea..the only thing i didn't like was i thought there wouldn't be little kids, I don't like parents bringing kids around drinking & smoking in the lounge & they don't watch them,they run off & the help is bringing them back,they don't even look for them..crazy..over all alot of freedom to walk safely for miles on the beach and try out the other rui hotels & I did win alittle money at the casino, alot of shopping close by, but if u go down to the market make sure ur ready to bargain!!
A big caveat: I'm not a fan of all inclusive resorts. I prefer to find local restaurants and bars, where the food and drink are almost always better than what you can find in the resort. We chose an all inclusive for the DR because it seems safer and easier. But with that caveat, the food and drink at the Riu Macao were above average for an all inclusive. There are 4 a la carte restaurants, where the food is solid. In fact, one night I had sea bass at the "fusion" restaurant, and it was as good as I've had any place ever. The others were ok, and the buffet place was, well, a buffet. Nothing special, but a solid OK. bars included a handful of imported liquors The bars served typical sweet caribbean style drinks made with with rum and tequila, both of which are locally sourced. There were also a handful of imported liquors, including Gordon's Gin, Johnny Walker Red scotch, and Ballantines' scotch. Maybe a few others, but I only drank the scotch and gin. Beer lovers are out of luck as there's only one choice, the local El Presidente, which is a decent Pilsner. But no stouts, porters, ales, or heffe to chose from. The beach is absolutely gorgeous. There is a swath of Palm trees between the resort and the beach, which create nice shade. The water was beautiful and cool. The resort claims snorkeling is included, but there are no wreaths or fish within swimming distance. We did check out a kayak on one day, and there is also wind surf boards and some catamaran's you can check out, but only if you already know how to wind surf or sail. Scuba diving was readily available for an additional fee. We didn't take advantage, so don't know how good it is. The adult only atmosphere was great. As a 50 year old, I appreciated the lack of children running amok. But this is not a place for singles to pick up other singles. About 1/2 of the guests were honeymoon types; the other 1/2 were 40 to 60 year old adults looking to have a good time without kids under foot. The facilities are very nice; a solid 4 star effort. Lots of marble in the common areas, and more than enough patio chairs, pool side seating, and beach lounges. Never felt like we had to rush out the door in the morning to claim a spot. Big draw back for us, however, was the poor AC in the room itself. We didn't spend a lot of time in the room, mostly just there to sleep, but it was too hot. We complained, but were assured the AC was working just fine. AC in other parts of the resort was just fine, but the room was too warm for comfort. We didn't sleep well because of the uncomfortable room temps. Too bad, because otherwise, this would definitely be worth returning to.
We had a great time at the resort! The beach was beautiful - fine sand, warm water and small waves. Thought we might be able to snorkel off the shore, but there wasn't anything to see. Lounge chairs at the beach and pool were easy to come by. The pool was lovely, though did at times get too warm, probably because of the hot weather. The food was great. The buffets for lunch and breakfast were huge - tons of options, many of them vegetarian. The restaurants were great too - we tried each one. Making reservations in the morning was really easy. Service was good - we were never waiting for a table, water, drinks, etc. We generally tipped for dinner, and for every other drink. We also left a few bucks for the maid service and mini bar service. Loved the liquor dispenser in the room and the stocked sodas. My boyfriend and I are in our mid-twenties, and we were wondering if we'd be the youngest there, but the age range was pretty wide. The entertainment team got kind of annoying - they were pretty noisy by the pool. Besides that, really no criticism. We had a great stay.
If you want to eat, do NOT choose any of the Riu properties in Punta Cana. My wife and I travel somewhat frequently and have had far superior service, food and treatment elsewhere and for less. Our first night at the property we actually went to two dinner locations (one al-a-carte, "Specialty" restaurant that we ended up walking out of and one buffet). The food presentation was beautiful but the options, preparation and options were truly awful. Suffice to say, one of the meals had an appetizer that included what was supposed to be bread and cheese and we were served raw dough and melted cheese. Once this was pointed out to the less than attentive captain, it was promptly removed and a replacement followed after the main course arrived. My wife and I arrived and had booked an upgraded room which was acceptable but literally chilling to the point where the marble floor was nearly impossible to traverse as it was so wet with the contrasting humidity. The initial contact with the staff upon arrival was polite and the bellman was actually more helpful then the front desk staff. Prior to the trip, we had attempted to book a spa treatment. We requested an email confirmation and never received any. I called internationally and was able to speak to a spa staff member who was able to confirm the appointment. Upon arrival to the spa, both the steam room and sauna were inoperable and no disclosure was provided prior to or at the time of booking. When making contact with the spa manager, there was no concession offered, only the option to cancel the treatment or book for a lesser package. The property at the Riu Macau is easily walkable and well laid out which is about the best I can say about the Riu. The stay at one, with privileges at all five Riu facilities is a joke. You can enter and use the facilities but no drinks or meals at any unless it is during the day and none of the properties have true "top shelf" drinks. The most significant drawback to the beach (which once there, is wonderful) was the oasis-like walk from the adults only area of the Macau property to get onto the beach. The beach is well groomed but service for even a drink of water while on the coast was nearly absent. The property itself is a great location and well maintained but the staff, food/drinks and service were something I would never recommend to anyone, especially when there are other options in the area with stunning facilities.