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Monday, 12 March 2012 22:33

Riu Palace Punta Cana

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The lobby, guest registration, and bar area is spacious and beautiful. Fresh flowers everywhere. They spent some bucks here.

There are three large connected buildings on either side of an impressive reflecting pool promenade that house 612 junior suite guest rooms. Unless you are close to the beach, your view is one of the interior grounds and pool, and that's not all bad given how much time you will spend in your room. The interior landscaping and pool area is beautiful and spacious so you really don't get the feeling of missing all that much having a room in this area. If you are fortunate enough to get one of the end units closer to the pool and ocean, that's the ticket. It's also an upgrade, so it will cost you more. If you really want to live it up in style, the corner suite rooms have an outdoor hot tub one level higher than the room. We took a look at one of these rooms. Very opulent!

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The restaurants are on the lower level. Twenty four hour room service. As all inclusives go, the food is good. Just good. I wasn't blown away, and most folks will be happy, but the special restaurants were not as stand out from the buffet dining available as I would have liked. I expect the theme restaurants to be a step above in quality from what I can get by going to the buffet. I didn't like having to sign up each morning for reservations for the restaurants. I'd like to see them change this. I don't mind showing up and putting my name in similar to an outside restaurant, getting a buzzer, and having a cocktail at the bar for twenty minutes or so until a table comes up. Standing in line early in the morning in the hopes of securing a table to an all inclusive just doesn't make sense to me. If you are used to going to fine restaurants, you may be disappointed. With such a beautifully designed property, it's a shame they can't step it up a bit in food quality. There are better food choices in the Caribbean.

I think my favorite spot is the pool. If pools are important to you, this one won't let you down. Has to be hands down one of the best pools I've seen. First and foremost is an impressive pool bar. If you don't have a pool bar you are automatically disqualified. This one is slick. I think I counted 20 fixed seat stools. Hidden in pockets around the pool are small alcove jetted areas. These are neat due to the fact you don't need to exit the pool. Just walk right in. Very cool. Fixed concrete shaped lounges in the water let you lounge and keep refreshed. There's a private circular infinity pool in front of the larger pool.

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The beach area was decent and you can walk in either direction for exercise. We were here to kick back and enjoy the weather, so we didn't stray too far from the property. I did manage to get picked up compliments of the local cigar factory and got a nice tour of their retail outlet. Other than that we stayed on property.

Okay, so bottom line for an all inclusive, this wouldn't be my first choice mainly due to the food. I expected better. If you can get by on buffet quality food, the swim up bar and outstanding pool may make it worth it.