Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana

Playa Arena Gorda, Bávaro, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic

By night this mega-resort decorated with Arabian-style domes looks like a fairy-tale palace, and its generally older clientele is a departure from the other Riu resorts. It is favored by German, English, and Canadians. In need of updating, particularly the bedding, the long-and-wide junior suites are simple but attractive; with dark wood against sunny yellow walls, it's shades of Old Havana. Each has a jetted bath and a terrace (but not necessarily a sea view), flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and full liquor bottles in dispensers. The buffet options are wide-ranging but still best when you arrive early. There are several à la carte restaurants but no real standout, and food in general is not a high point. In the pool, a lively swim-up bar, four Jacuzzis, and semi-submerged lounge chairs add panache. The long stretch of beach and the pool complex are breathtaking, but by day's end the pool is often too dirty.


  • gilded, grand hotel elements in lobby
  • nightly music entertainment in the Spanish-style gazebo/plaza
  • moderately priced


  • food is middle-of-the-road
  • initial glance is far better than actuality
  • some maintenance issues, particularly with A/C units


Phones: 809-687–4242


612 rooms
Rate Includes: All-inclusive