Just back from six nights at the Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana.
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!
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.
Itinerary (Diamant): Grenada and Windward Islands (Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Bequia, Union Island, Carriacou)
Itinerary (Sagitta): St. Maarten and the Leeward Islands (St. Barts, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, Anguilla)
This week marks an important anniversary for Funjet Vacations–for 39 years, they have worked with travel agents to provide unforgettable vacation experiences to millions of customers.
Since they opened their doors, a lot has changed in the travel industry. Other competitors are now owned by an airline, online travel agency, competing retail travel agencies, and invested in by a venture capitalist firm. Funjet Vacations remains the only large scale tour operator that is still owned and operated by the family that founded the business. Click the logo to price and book a complete vacation online!
AMResorts Continues Award-Winning Tradition with More Industry Recognition for its Luxury Brands–58 awards won year to-date in 16 categories
AMResorts (Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, and Secrets, Dreams, Now and Sunscape Resorts & Spas) continues to receive the travel industry’s most important distinctions by demonstrating high levels of performance and exceptional guest services. In 2012, AMResorts’ five brands have received 58 awards in 16 categories, with the most recent awards including the prestigious Travel + Leisure 2012 World’s Best Awards and the Expedia Insiders’ Select 2012. Other award highlights include four Conde Nast Traveler: 2012 Gold List designations and seven 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. Below is a list of the most recent accolades received by the resort collection this year:
Travel + Leisure 2012 World’s Best Awards
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos, Top Resorts in Mexico
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Top Resorts in Mexico
Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Top Resorts in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas
Expedia Insiders’ Select 2012
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay
Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
TravelAge West 2012 Wave Awards
Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana, Best New Property or Major Renovation Caribbean
Distinctive “H” Award 2012
Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa, Food Hygiene
TripAdvisor 2012 Certificate of Excellence
Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya, Zoëtry Casa Del Mar Los Cabos, Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana, Secrets Marquis Los Cabos, Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Secrets St. James Montego Bay, Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort& Spa, Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa, Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa, Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta, Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa, Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa, Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, Now Jade Riviera Cancun, Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa
2012 MDC Magazine: The Meeting Planners Magazine
Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya, Top 20 Small Luxury Hotels in Mexico for Meetings for 2012
Conde Nast Traveler: 2012 Reader’s Choice: Top Spas
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Top 20 Spas in Mexico & Central America (#6)
Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Top 20 Spas in Mexico & Central America (#16)
2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Top 25 All Inclusive Resorts in the World (#14) and Top 25 All Inclusive Resorts in Mexico (#5)
Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in Mexico (#8) and Top 25 Best Relaxation/Spa Hotels in Mexico (#14)
Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Top 25 All Inclusive Resorts in Mexico (#17)
Zoëtry Casa Del Mar Los Cabos, Top 25 Best Relaxation/Spa Hotels in Mexico (#20)
Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, Top 25 Hotels for Families in the Caribbean
Conde Nast Traveler: 2012 Gold List
Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya
Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
Secrets Capri Rivera Cancun
Travelocity Excellence Award Winners 2011
Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana, Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Secrets St. James Montego Bay, Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Adults Only All-Inclusive
Funjet Vacations has just announced their Value Flight service from Dallas/Ft. Worth via Sun Country Airlines.
They will offer new non-stop service for 2013 for the following destinations:
Funjet Vacations offers Charter & Value Flight service to top destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean from other select departure cities as well (Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, San Antonio, St. Louis). These flights provide many great benefits such as convenient non-stop service, low $50 deposit policy, and auto price protection with their industry-leading All-In-One Travel Protection. Plus, you will enjoy special airline inclusions like free checked baggage and in-flight bar service.
Good news! Apple Vacations has announced some new non-stop vacation flights for next Spring from Detroit to Jamaica on AirTran Airways. They will also continue their non-stop charters to Cancun and Punta Cana. See below chart for exact dates and days of week. Contact Island Time Travel for more information.