Trip Report: Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana, adults only, all inclusive resort

Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana beach view  Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana  Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana main building
Just back from six nights at the Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana.

Pros:

  • Absolutely beautiful resort, well maintained, spotlessly clean, with excellent food and service
  • Room: our room, a second floor suite, was very large, clean and insect free, a mini bar + liquor, coffee maker, Jacuzzi tub, robes, large walk in shower, safe, two balconies, two flat screen TVs, bidet, great air conditioning. I did miss having Fox News; had to settle for CNN.
  • Beach: one of the best I’ve ever been to. Very clean, with no rocks, no seaweed, no sharp seashells, plenty of chairs, palm trees everywhere. Great walking beach if you like that.
  • Pool temperature; cool enough to be refreshing, yet not so cold that it shocks you going in
  • Pool chairs: plenty to go around, including many in the shade; so many chairs in fact, they are pretty close together in spots, but as per usual, there are those guests who insist on getting out there at 6am, claiming their perfect spot, only to never be seen again for the rest of the day. One of these days, I hope to find a resort that doesn’t allow guests to put a towel down and leave for the day. Having said that, we always found chairs available when we got to the pool after breakfast about 10:30 am.
  • Massage on the beach, including champagne, was amazing, best massage we’ve had in our travels
  • Food: RIU resorts have great buffets, and this one was no exception. We tried the steakhouse, the Japanese restaurant, the Italian restaurant, and the Krystal fusion restaurant, and while they were all fine, we liked the buffet the best. It had different themes each night. The meals in the ala carte restaurants were carefully prepared and beautifully presented.
  • Service/tipping: the service was prompt, efficient, and friendly, and while I believe the bartenders and servers very much appreciated tips, I did not at all get the impression that the level of service depended on tipping. Special shout-out to pool bartender Juan and server Yasdenys! Regardless, do not go to any tropical all inclusive resort without taking at least $50 US in one dollar bills and another $50 in five dollar bills; you will thank me for this “tip”.
  • Vacation Express: this point is not related to the resort, but Vacation Express was a great tour company to work with. Everything went smoothly, including the check in, the flight, and the transfers. We were not expecting the free alcoholic beverages on the flight, e.g. Presidente beer, mixed drinks!

Cons:

  • Having to wear wristbands, make restaurant reservations (also see below), and worry about towel cards: once you have been to a Secrets resort, you will appreciate what I’m saying about these three items
  • Poor Wi-Fi: yes, it is free, but you have to be in certain spots in the lobby to get good service. Do not go here specifically for the offer of free Wi-Fi, you will be disappointed; it rarely worked for us anywhere except the main lobby
  • Loud drunks at the pool with the swim up bar: contrary to other trip reports, these were not just Americans. We saw many loud groups of drunks from all over, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and USA. It’s almost as if they’ve never had a few drinks before. Especially annoying was when they pull out their own Bluetooth-connected speakers and blare their iTunes music, assuming that everyone at the pool that day wants to hear their choice of music. We were never sure which pool was supposed to be the “quiet” pool. The larger pool is where all the dancing and animation activities occur, while the smaller pool with the swim-up bar has too many loud, obnoxious drunks and personal stereo speakers. Forget trying to read a book. This is why I always listen to audio books with my earbuds.
  • Restaurant (ala carte) reservations must be made in person (at the Japanese restaurant) from 7:30 am until 10:00 am, and you can make them only for that evening and the next three evenings. We were offered only two seating choices: 6:30 pm or 9:00 pm.
  • Poor shopping options: the free shopping trip takes you to one store (one owner) divided into three rooms: a jewelry store, cigar store, and very small disappointing souvenir shop. In summary, this is a beautiful, spotless resort, with excellent food and service, but after having been to a Secrets Resort, an Excellence Resort, the Jewel Dunn’s River, one Sandals resort, and three of the four Couples Resorts in Jamaica, I think we’ve now been “spoiled” as far as adults only all-inclusive resorts. The Riu Palace Macao is a great choice for those on a budget but still wanting an adults-only property.

Feel free to email me with any questions.

Related: Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana 2015
Related: Hotel guests Rate Free Wi-Fi at Top of Amenity List

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Renovations to Couples Sans Souci, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Couples Sans Souci

Shared from Couples Resorts:

Couples Resorts, Jamaica will be undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation at Couples Sans Souci. This renovation will focus on our One Bedroom Beachfront Suites along with the Palazzina restaurant, and is the latest in a string of improvements, updates and investments in Jamaica’s leading luxury all-inclusive resorts.

Couples Sans Souci will close from July 9th through August 14th and the resort will reopen on August 15th, with the Palazzina restaurant and One Bedroom Beachfront Suites re-opening October 31st.

We also are pleased to announce a 7th night free promotion for new bookings for arrivals August 15th through October 30th.

This is a very exciting time for Couples Sans Souci and we look forward to working with you through this transition. As always, thank you for your continued support.

Related: All Four Couples Resorts Awarded TripAdvisor 2013 Certificate of Excellence
Related: Photos from Couples Resorts
Related: Couples Resorts to Buy 2nd Largest Hotel in Barbados

Cabo – Where the Land Ends

Cabo – Where the Land Ends

At the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula are the two small towns of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. Between these two towns is Mexico’s most interesting corridor of world-class resort properties. Cabo San Lucas, famous for its oceans teaming with sport fish and whales features a large marina. This is the center too of the region’s famous nightlife. Further east is San Jose del Cabo, with quiet, picturesque streets and buildings, small restaurants and cantinas, lovely folk-art boutiques and a laid back atmosphere. Just off-shore, the green blue waters of the Sea of Cortés with the famous stone formation of El Arco that so distinctly graces the shoreline. Here, where the Pacifc Ocean meets the Gulf of California, the rich and famous have come to play.

The 20 mile road between the two towns is known as the Tourist Corridor, forming a extended recreation playground. Here, the desert comes to an abrupt halt and disappears into the sea. The four-lane highway strung between the communities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo is dotted with championship golf courses and luxury resorts that stretch in every direction along the sandy beach. The area is also home to a well-developed arts community. Cultural and modern art boutiques and galleries are plentiful and well appointed. The arts available range from ancient cave drawings to modern figurative and abstract paintings and sculptures.

The surf here is heavy. The convergence of the waters create giant swells and the currents are colder than one might expect at this southerly latitude. The desert landscape is a startling and stark contrast to the azure blue water. The cacti, yuccas and creosote bush in this mountainous setting is home to deer, bighorn sheep and antelope as well as big cats like mountain lions. Truly this area forms one of the most magnificent ecological regions of the world. Although the resorts and million dollar mansions leave no doubt that the financial resources of the world have found a home here, there is also much for those interested in ecotourism to see and do. Tour operators offer jeep safaris into the mountains and deserts, through the canyons and riverbeds of the mostly dry, arid landscape. However, here and there you will see freshwater flowing down the mountainsides from underwater aquifers that provide cool waters to local wildlife. Kayaking and ATV tours, ziplines and educational eco-tours will give every member of the family an activity to enjoy.

The Baja calls the visitor to spend time out-of-doors. The waters here are known worldwide for trophy deep sea fishing and several professional tournaments are hosted here each year. Charters are readily available at very reasonable day rates. Surfing is also a popular passtime with the crowd that follows the endless summer, and lessons are available here in an atmosphere more friendly to the novice than that found in Southern California or Hawaii. No fewer than ten spectacular beaches awaits the visitor to Cabo San Lucas, ideal for romantic walks,kayaking, picnics and photography. Not all are ideal for swimming because of the infamous undertow that results from the strong currents, but swim spots are plentiful and well marked. If golf is your game, Cabo offers up a selection of world-class courses. Indeed, the area is known as one of the world’s premier golf destinations. Set against the Sea of Cortés, many of the courses have few equals for spectacular locale.

As one might imagine in such a setting, the nightlife, dining and spa facilities in Cabo are first rate. The dining is excellent not only at the resorts, but in the village taverns and restaurants. Local cuisine is authentically Mexican and wonderfully prepared. The numerous venues for late night dancing and party cater to an upscale crowd as well as to a more relaxed clientele, so take your pick. It’s all here in Cabo, so leave the world behind and join us there.

Contact Island Time Travel and enjoy your Cabo vacation.

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