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Reviews Views Date of last review
9 14591 Wed December 23, 2009
Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
89% of reviewers $1,100.00 8.1


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Description: Hotel Riu Palace Macao
Playa Arena Gorda
Punta Cana
Higüey Dominican Republic
Tel. +18092217171 Fax. +1 809 682 1645

Location/General information

The alluring Riu Palace Macao is situated on a 16-mile-long white sandy beach surrounded by lush gardens and tropical vegetation. With 356 deluxe guestrooms, including the sought-after Jacuzzi suites, this hotel boasts a unique atmosphere of romantic yet non-pretentious elegance.
Outstanding luxury and comfort can be found in every corner of this hotel. Indulge yourself with superior dining and entertainment options or simply explore the vast array of services, activities and pleasures all throughout the Riu Resort.
Riu Palace Macao is the crown jewel among Punta Cana's exclusive resorts.

* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana
* Complimentary sun loungers on the beach
* Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Taino, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu
* 3-storey building
* Colonial style architecture
* Surrounded by 30,000 m2 / 36,000 sq. yards of palm groves alongside the beach

* 50 km / 31 miles from Higüey
* 200 m / 660 ft. from Caribbean Street
* 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int’l. Airport
* Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners

More Riu Palace Macao Information


Registered: May 2006
Posts: 18
Review Date: Mon July 17, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: The hotel is beautiful
Cons: Lobby area is not air conditioned

My husband and I were looking for a nice hotel that we could relax and have some fun. That is what we received at the Macao. I loved the feel of the resort. Laid back, easy going. The room was beautiful and the maid service kept the room spotless. I also like the turn down service at night.

People you have to remember this is a third world country, they consider this a five star hotel. It really is, (for this island) but you can not go there thinking this is the Ritz in the USA. This ain't the Ritz but it's not a Motel 6 either. For the money you spend it's a great vacation.

The food was okay. You will never go hungry. We always found something good on the menu. The staff treated us like royals, if you do not want to get involved in the activities the do not push you. You have the run of all the hotels, so every day you can visit a new pool. The new Palace has the best pool. The liquor was top shelf, they were okay with filling my very large insulated jug.

Overall it was a very nice and relaxing holiday and I plan to do it again. Just remember in the summer time it's very HOT!!! take lots of sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Don't over do the food and drink. Have a wonderful vacation.


Registered: January 2007
Posts: 66
Review Date: Wed January 17, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beach, Staff, Rooms, ALL OF IT!
Cons: I've got none.

Two of my friends, my parents, and my grandfather went to Punta Cana last year for us girls' Spring Break (March). We had originally booked the Riu Taino thru Travelocity, but upon arrival we were told we had been upgraded (of course we didnt argue!). The Riu Palace Macao was fabulous. Us three girls were college freshmen at the time, and were always entertained. The beach was absolutely gorgeous. I've been to Puerto Plata, Cabo, Puerta Vallarta, Cancun, & Playa Del Carmen and this is by far the prettiest beach. The entertaiment staff was great, and super friendly (Hi to Wilkin, DJ John, Algeny, Alexis, Ali & all the others! We were quite sad to leave them! The workers were also great. Henry at the front desk! and Virginio the waiter. I could go on and on, but unfortunately I've got work to get done, so I can pay for this years spring break trip (to Riu Merengue in Puerto Plata!!) I HIGHLY recommend it, you'll have a great time! And if you need an extra travel partner, feel free to invite me along Wink

Riu Bambuer Benefactor

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 145
Review Date: Thu April 12, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? No | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 3 


Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:21 pm Post subject: $4765 Disappointment

We just returned from the Palace Macao and must say we were quite disappointed. (downright angry at times!)
Our entire experience from the Skyservice flight to the overbooking of our jacuzzi suite left us frustrated and struggling to enjoy our vacation. We paid top price ($4765 from Toronto for a week + airfare from Alaska) for a top of the line room in a top of the line resort and were let down miserably. There were positives (ie serving staff and sunshine) but they were far outweighed by the negative.
I could rant ad nauseum but I will spare all readers the details. Enough said, when we receive our "downgrade reimbursement", that has to come from S pain, we will not likely ever again deal with RIU.

This was definately not what I wanted to post here on my return!

edit: 12April06, from a post in the main forum after discussing our experience:

"Well guys, bottom line, the Macao is by no strectch of the imagination a 51/2 star facility. We travel at least once a year and have never experienced a let down like it. Yes, some services were quite good but the way we were treated and the condition of the facility were a disgrace. (ie the bump, dirty pealing jacuzzi tub, not enough water pressure to fill the tub in under 2 1/2hrs since it is at the roof level, dirty flaking plaster on the balcony, grout falling out of the tile in both of our rooms as well as both of the rooms our friends had, Mold, Oh my god I nearly gouged my eyes out from the black mold in the corners and the musty bedding..... blah blah blah)
The whole story takes a couple of hours to tell verbally but for the moment I have sent a letter to the Canadian president of the tour company.... if no satisfaction there he has a North American boss and a Head office in the UK to talk to.
The management at the macao didn't even try to find me when I had asked for them at the front desk. On the last day, the tour rep (on site rep, not the manager) tryed to talk to them and the only result was her giving me a riu class application so I would have the address to contact S pain. Great job
Of course evryone on this trip pointed fingers at everyone else..... Tour rep blamed hotel, FLight attendant blamed Tour operator for crammed in seats etc.... But as far as I am concerned the tour company sold me everything and took my money 6 months in advance. They are responsible!"

The tour operator was SUNQUEST (a My Travel Company) and they did not come through with anything for us except useless coupons toward future Sunquest air travel and the reimbursement for 2 night's downgrade. (as if we would even remotely consider using Sunquest/My Travel ever again after being hung out to dry with RIU on our own) After the inconveniences, frustration and at least one full day wasted, waiting around to be moved, the compensation should have been significant!

Anyway, Sunquest, and as originally posted, Riu will NEVER see another penny from us!

I'll have to chalk up our '05 vacation as RIUned!
Last edited by alaskalad on Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:37 pm; edited 1 time in total


Registered: October 2006
Posts: 9
Review Date: Sun October 7, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything
Cons: None

This is a very late review - we were at RPM in Nov '06, and I haven't gotten around writing about it due to factors not worth mentioning on a vacation board :-)

Anyhow, since this was our first AI and we've read reviews pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum, we didn't really know what to expect. But it was a very good, indeed excellent surprise!

We were upgraded to a superior room right away (they knew we were celebrating a very late honeymoon...). Staff was friendly, but cautious in promising anything. We didn't run into anyone rude, inconsiderate or obnoxious from staff, although at times you had to remind them about your various requests. Service was very decent, courteous and fast - whether it was about drinks (on the beach or by the pool), waiting at the table, or beach towels. Leave $1 tips, they do appreciate it although sometimes some of them won't appear "impressed". These guys work very hard to please all guests, and take pride in being employees at Riu.

Hotel and resort layout is fabulous - you really need to take a stroll in the evening to the nearby Riu Palace Punta Cana. As someone mentioned elsewhere, the promenade by the beach is a romantic walk amongst palm trees and little gazebos - choose a starry night and you can't ask for more!

Food was simply awesome and we're both picky eaters, believe me. Buffet was excellent every day (breakfasts were delicious, you don't even need a lunch most of the times, and I usually don't eat breakfast at all) - you could choose from a wide variety of things, and never get bored. "A la carte" restaurants were good too - nothing very special, but the food was enjoyable and so was the atmosphere and the service.

Rooms are kept very clean, again they have nothing fancy, but they have everything you need in them, a safe, iron and ironing board, a very large bathroom with bathtub and shower and lots of mirrors and good lights. Maids will do an excellent job every day, and leave the customary towel arts and flower petals, and impeccable floors (sometimes we would hurry from the beach and forget to wash the sand off our feet - and the sand would just fill the hallway but not to worry next day it was gone and the floor mopped up!). Mini-fridge restocked, again make sure you leave a daily tip and your preference of beverages - I've never drank so much beer in my life since I'm not a beer drinker, but I enjoyed every bottle of it! Liquor dispensers work like magic, make your own Cubatas and rums in the room, light a tea-light on the balcony and enjoy the views...

The beach.... oh... my.... gosh.... We couldn't have enough of it. We walked up and down, and around for miles. It is simply amazing, all the palm trees, white sand, turquoise waters... Make sure you bargain with the people on the Caribbean St and especially those at the makeshift thrift "stores" up the coast - a 3-4 miles pleasant walk. We bought a nice unframed oil painting for about $35 - down from $80! It cost us another $15 to make a frame at home, and how nicely it hangs now in our bedroom! Beach bar is simply irresistible in the afternoons, after the long strolls up and down the beach, a well-deserved pina colada or what have you... Make friends with the bartenders, they'll pour you anything you like, an extra punch to your drink, or their personal creations!

We're not much for nightlife, but we appreciated the entertainers and we went to one of the nightly shows - it was funny! (not the Michael Jackson thing) It's too bad they don't promote more the local artists - we've heard a singer one night for about 15-20 min singing some local/Spanish songs and it was simply beautiful albeit most of the people were ignoring her, too busy to order their mojitos and picking up the neighbour...

I simply cannot understand the bad reviews previous people have posted here. We were so sad to leave, until we hit the airport. Now, this has nothing to do with Riu, or the resorts, but it left a bitter taste to an otherwise fantastic holiday in paradise. There were about 4-5 different planes leaving about the same time. The airport in Punta Cana simply cannot cope with that, let alone their immigration/tourist government people. It's too bad...

Please don't listen to the bad rap. It was really a good experience and I highly recommend it to anyone. Unless you are a well-seasoned traveler used to stay at the Ritzes, Hiltons and Intercontinentals of the world, and have paid in excess of $3000 per person for most of your vacations, you will appreciate the beauty of the Riu Palace Macao (and the Riu resort), the abundance, variety and awesome taste of the food and drinks, and the hard-working Dominicans which will strive to make your stay a memorable one...

Best of wishes to anyone visiting RPM now or in the near future! Enjoy!

Riu Ambassador

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 2236
Review Date: Thu March 13, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beach
Cons: Nothing

Riu Palace Macao September 02 – 09, 2007

Three couples from Detroit using Apple Vacations and USA3000:

Flights: On time with no problems. I knew beforehand that USA3000 had changed their meal policy and now charged $5.00 for a snack box.

Customs & Immigrations: No problems, with our bags coming within minutes of us arriving at the carousel.

Transportation: When we arrived at our bus we were told we would be stopping first at one of the Barcelo’s and then the Palace Macao and the Riu Bambu. The driver, fortunately for us, missed the turnoff for the Barcelo, so the Palace Macao was first. Our return bus showed up on time and we were some of the first people for our flight dropped off at the airport.

Check-in: There were only the six of us checking in at the Macao. We were given our bracelets and then told to come back in a couple of hours to get our room keys. They did give us our room #s though, so after a drink at the lobby bar we went to check out our rooms. We found they had given us three rooms on the main floor overlooking the back of Caribbean Street. I had emailed the hotel ahead of time and got very nice responses back from the asst. hotel director. This was our 3rd trip to the Macao and had requested rooms in the center of the building overlooking the pool.

We went back to the front desk and told them the problem and then the reception manager gave us three rooms exactly where we requested. Before dinner this first day the asst. hotel director found us in the bar and asked how the rooms were. He seemed surprised when I told him my story and he then said of course you are in a suite, no (I am a Gold Card member). I said no, but we were happy with our room and didn’t want to change.

Weather: It rained one evening while at dinner and then one morning for about 15 minutes, which drove us from the beach to the pool bar to wait it out. The temperature was very warm, with high humidity, but there was always a nice breeze off the ocean. Around the pool it was very warm though.

Food & Drinks: This trip we ate all our dinners at the buffet. They still keep to the two seatings rule with men required to wear long pants. This was not much of a problem as the dining room has a/c. We found the food to be good as in past trips. We ate most of our lunches at the Caribe Grill, which is directly on the beach. We also ate once at the Pizzeria, but for some reason that day they had no pizza.

We always spent our days on the beach directly next to the beach bar, under one of the umbrellas. Very good location for drinks and there are restrooms in the Caribe Grill close by. The water was very warm and very mild – no undertow and no waves. The water was very clear.

Other: We walked over to the Punta Cana Palace a couple of times after dinner. They allow Riu guests to walk around, but will not serve them if you’re not a guest of the PCP. The lobby is very nice (and cool).

That’s about it. We all enjoyed our stay and are looking forward to a return visit.

Official Riu Bambuer

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 363
Review Date: Tue June 17, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: intimate atmosphere ,service food
Cons: nothing

after a near faultless flight and transfer we arrived at the Macao our small group of lucky holidaymakers were greeted with huge smiles and fruit cocktail.

the hotel is quite spectacular form the outside a colonial style flanked with well established palm trees inside is a little dated but this all added to the charm of the palace.

the service at the Macao is the real plus point simply amazing and the main difference from the club hotels , from the first day breakfast our waiter (sorry everyone I'm terrible with names) he grabbed my wheelchair and pushed me in the general direction of the food .
bar as soon as a we sat down in the piano bar a waitress came a took our order 3,4 Min's later never much longer your drinks were in your hand , the same could be said of the pool and beach bars and not forgetting the towel service by far the best we have experienced in any riu.
food and drink

again amazing on all fronts main buffet always something delicious

e.g fillet steak, prawns ,seafood caviar fresh oven baked pizza and thats just for starters
Ala carts we tried the steakhouse and the Japanese

the steak i had was delicious fillet in pepper sauce, the rest was just OK

the Japanese was fabulous cool great food we went twice recommend.


the Macao is great place those wish to unwind relax in beautiful surrounding great food , service a place to make good friends then choose the Macao with confidence


Riu Ambassador

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 525
Review Date: Sun March 15, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Service, Friendly Staff
Cons: Some areas in need of updates

Riu Palace Macao – March 7 – 14, 2009
Jane & Len , Kathleen & John

Direct Westjet flight from Thunder Bay – 4 hours & 36 minutes..
Landed in Punta Cana at approx. 6:30 and at the resort just before 8:00 p.m.
Widny at the reception desk was great. We had requested rooms facing the ocean/pool prior to arrival….He told us that we had only paid for a gardenview room..I asked him if he could do better than that since I was a loyal Riu client…Widny went into the back room and about 5 minutes later came back with 2 rooms on the 3rd floor facing the pool with King Size beds .…While we were waiting for Widny , the doorman offered us a glass of champagne. We told him we’d prefer a beer…About 2 minutes later a waiter came with 4 cold cervezas for us….Excellent service from the front desk staff..Our rooms were very spacious with lot’s of closet space and drawers..King Size beds were the most comfortable I’ve slept in at a Riu. Cleaning staff did an excellent job ensuring the room was spotless & all our essentials were replenished each day. The balconies have a small table, 2 rocking chairs and a clothes hanger. 3rd floor balconies are smaller than the other floors but that didn’t bother us. Our room overlooked the pool area but there was a huge palm tree blocking the view…Again, that didn’t matter to us…We were able to watch the humming birds in the tree every morning….
Each morning we would call room service for a pot of coffee..Within 5 minutes the coffee was there..

Bars – Theatre Bar, Lobby, Pool area & Beach bar…No swim up bar...Waiter service at all including the pool area and beach.
Live music at the lobby bar before dinner and after the nightly show…The animation team comes around to dance with the guests…I am now a professional Bachata dancer..

Afternoon activities –around the pool or beach area
- Manager’s cocktail party with a live band serving appetizers, sangria’s & fresh coconuts & rum
- Paella Party
- Cocktail making contest
- Salsa, Merengue & Bachata dancing on the beach with appetizers, sangrias & mamajuana
- The usual - volleyball, beach & water aerobics, horseshoes, bocce ball, archery, Spanish lessons..

Nightly activities – We only watched 2 shows – Michael Jackson in the main theatre – definitely could use a new sound system.
Circus at the Copacabana (outdoor theatre)…We enjoyed it……
Thursday nite – Caribbean Party on the street…..Dance groups, fire dancing ,street vendors….Open for all 5 Riu’s..

Restaurants – Buffet & 4 ala cartes – caribe grill, steakhouse, kabuki (Japanese) & Krystals. You have to book the ala cartes daily between 7:00 – 10:00…..We never had a problem getting a reservation..Krystals was our favourite..The caribe grill was also excellent as was the buffet. Steakhouse was just okay..Didn’t try the Japanese. Service was excellent in all of them. If you’re a red wine lover you may be a bit disappointed. We found the wine at Krystals to be the best. There you had a choice between Italian or Spanish.
Lunch was our favourite meal. We ate at the open air restaurant by the pool everyday. We got to know 2 waiters quite well – Nelson & Lopez treated us like family. They were awesome..

Pool area – a bit on the small side but we are beach people so that didn’t matter to us….It was too hot by the pool for our liking….

Beach – What can I say – Absolutely AMAZING….Crystal clear water and miles of beach to walk along….My favourite part of Punta Cana…..

Weather – most mornings a bit cloudy till approx. 10:00 a.m and then the sun hit with full force. Had about 10 minutes of rain one afternoon….There was always a nice breeze on the beach. Some evenings got very windy…..When we called home our son’s were shoveling 25 cm. of snow….The grounds crew at the resort were shoveling sand off the walkways between the resorts…..

Overall Resort – Showing it’s age but well kept…You won’t find the same opulence and grandeur as the Palace Punta Cana, but in my opinion the service was much better and the staff friendlier than the PPC….
Ages of guests ranged from 20 – 80 years of age…We met wonderful Brits, Americans & Canadians... Not many young ones….We watched 4 weddings on the beach..

Impression – We had an awesome vacation at the Macao…If you want great service, food, cleanliness, friendly staff and a wonderful beach at a reasonable price this resort will more than fill your needs…..If you want elegance, plush surroundings and formality then you may want to consider the Palace Punta Cana…..I would certainly recommend the Macao…


Registered: February 2009
Posts: 59
Review Date: Mon June 29, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: beach
Cons: nothing really

Returned from a week at the Riu Palace Macao. Our first time at a Riu and Punta Cana. Check in was a breeze, we had booked a jacuzzi suite and were given a room on the 3rd floor. the room was big, spotless (thank you Ramona P) and the a/c worked, the refrigerator was stocked. We enjoyed our morning coffee and end of the day drink on the wonderful balcony.

We enjoyed Krystal, the Caribe Grill, the Steakhouse and El Patio (the buffet restaurant). We were impressed with the selection at the buffet and that the food was constantly replenished, even within 1/2 hr to closing. No complaints about the food at any of the restaurants.

The mornings we started at the magnificent beach and ended the day by the pool. Never felt crowded at the beach nor the pool. Hubby played beach volley ball, horseshoes, darts etc, the Anamacion (entertainment staff) were energetic and happy, never pushy to participate.

We did experience a few glitches, but nothing to prevent us from having a wonderful time.

The resort may not be brand new like the Palace, however it is immaculately clean, the grounds are beautiful, most of the staff are great, it has a great tropical feel to it.

A big thank you to all, this site helped us a lot.

Bob E
Riu Ambassador

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 617
Review Date: Wed December 23, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Nice grounds and beach. Other hotels to visit and the hotel has a certain “charm”.
Cons: Management and some staff have an attitude thing. Not much air-con.

Arrival date 2nd December 2009 for 14 nights.

Apologies for a late response to keith5919, peterhr and any others waiting for a review on the Macao and the new Krystal restaurant but time is short at this moment. Our stay in DR was from December 2 for 14 nights flying Thomson from London Gatwick. Nothing unusual here with the standard poor service, films and already seen TV shows. You need something to entertain you for the long flight. The most upsetting part of the flight was the fact that you pay more as this holiday was a “Thomson Platinum” which includes “Sitting Together” and in-flight meals as standard. We were a party of four, two couples and upon checking in we noticed that we had three seats in the middle section and one seat behind the other three. On complaining at check-in, the clerk advised us to go to the Thompson desk and ask to see the manager. After much deliberation about the words “sitting together” he stated that in the A-Z conditions it states that “sitting together” may include what I personally call “sitting behind one another”. We were getting nowhere with this argument apart from me nearly bursting with rage so as usual we submitted and went about our journey.

(Why do we accept the fact that we pay the full amount usually up to two months in advance and have to accept this crappy service and attitude? Answers please?)

We have stayed at this hotel twice before in 2007 and 2006 and the hotel was its usual self still with “charm and character”, which means a bit jaded and knocked about a bit. But we knew the place. On arrival, and after advising prior to our arrival 3 weeks before, the desk had allocated us a room on the front side. Completely opposite to what I had requested. The room was like an oven as the air conditioning was not working. Again after nearly busting with rage for the second time that day, I demanded a new room at least cooler. This was supplied but it was on the first floor right above where the band plays in the main bar. I was advised however that we would be moved the next day to a much better room. Late in the next day we were advised that we now had a permanent home on the top floor in a quite area. I was relieved this was a suite and things were looking favourable for us apart from the very poor air conditioning. Our friends had complained about the lack of air conditioning and along with other guests complaining, it was found to be a cost cutting exercise by the hotel or Riu HQ. By the end of our two week stay the rooms, were just comfortable. In no way does this hotel compare to the Palaces in Playa del Carmen and I think should be downgraded. If a potential guest expects Palace standards, surroundings, rooms, restaurants and service, they will be disappointed. The staff attitude is wrong and I think the management needs urgent training. We did not see the Director or his two deputies interact with any guests whatsoever. They scurried about their business with heads lowered not wanting to make eye contact. The reception staff are not particularly helpful and some find English a problem as German seems to be the second language at this hotel. Saying that, I must say we had great service from one at reception, a couple of wait staff around the bar and the pool guys are fantastic.

The brand new Krystal restaurant is not open for lunch whatsoever. I must say that when we ate in this restaurant, it was first class. It’s the best Krystal I’ve been to so let’s hope they keep standards up and not slip like others. The building itself is funky with light columns that change colour, the overhead lighting is fairly bright and the building has drop down screens to hold back the wind. The building is on piles about 3 feet off the ground and with a slatted floor allowing plenty of air flow and consequently not needing air conditioning. (See pictures) As with all the “open-air” restaurants, gentlemen are not required to wear trousers (long pants) with dress shorts being acceptable. (This is contrary to the hotel’s written information sheet.)
The main restaurant, in our opinion, is very good but the Krystal must come first in our rating. The Japanese is hardly used and should be change to another cuisine. The Caribe Grill and Steak House, sharing the same old stuffy wooden and creosote smelling building, should suffer the same fate as the old restaurant now replaced by the Krystal. Burn it down! They are well past their sell by date and are dingy, dim, smelly with worn out furniture. We did ask if it were possible to have a lobster meal for two with the other two taking the buffet. When the meal arrived it was enough for 8 persons as we could only eat 2 1/2 tails each and in total 21 lobsters were used. (See picture.)

The hotel building in general needs urgent repair and upgrading if it should remain as a Palace. I have taken some pictures of around our room and one of the lifts. (Elevators.)



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