Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Busy adults-only all-inclusive resort
The Riu used to be a noisy, busy resort full of families and partiers, but after the late 2012 renovations, the hotel now features a more modern look, with bright, airy rooms and streamlined design. In November 2012, the hotel also officially became an adults-only property, so guests with children under 18 should check out some of the other Riu properties nearby.
The Macao is one of five Riu resorts in a single complex with a total of 2,500 rooms. There's little privacy to be had here. Given the size and scale of the property, plan to spend a lot of time hoofing from room to beach to to beach to room to pool. The complex is like a self-contained city, and there's lots to do, whether it's kayaking, swimming, shopping, or playing tennis.
Located in the Riu hotel complex with four other Riu hotels, on the northern end of Punta Cana. It's about a 30-minute taxi from Punta Cana International Airport.
Punta Cana is located in the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. There are no towns or action near the Riu resorts that would draw most guests off of the property -- and certainly nothing worth walking to. Guests looking for mild adventure will likely stroll the beach, where guests can view ... other all-inclusives.
This big beach is good for swimming -- but it's pretty crowded.
The Riu complex is located along a choice stretch of Bavaro Beach, and guests can walk uninterrupted -- seemingly for miles -- past four Riu resorts. (The fifth, the Hotel Riu Naiboa, is set back from the water.) The sand is sugary soft, and the big turquoise waves are clear and warm.
While the spots directly in front of each hotel get pretty packed, it's easy enough to walk a little way and find less crowded spots. Nice little groves of palm trees scattered down the beach also provide shelter from the beating sun.
All of the resorts in the complex share a nice-size. As is the norm, , , snorkeling, sailing, and boogie boarding are all available free of charge. There is also a shipwreck visible from the beach that's now popular for scuba diving. The Russian freighter known as the Astron ran aground on the way to Cuba.
Airy rooms with modern amenities
The Riu Palace Macao offers several room types, including standard rooms, suites, and Jacuzzi suites. They all feature slightly different amenities, but all have balconies, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. While suites have stylish black and brown decor -- with printed bed throws, pillows and curtains that add a somewhat sexy touch -- standard rooms feature somewhat plainer all-white decor with a couple of bright pops of color.
The hard-working activities staff seem to be constantly organizing games.
Staff members put on various shows that change each week. The shows, like all D.R. all-inclusive evening entertainment shows, usually include some dancing, some lip-synching, and some audience participation.
During the day, an activity staff hosts various activities like archery and water polo. There's no dance club on-site, but the Pacha nightclub is a short walk away on Caribbean Street. Access to the Pacha is included in the all-inclusive package, but drinks are not.
Tons of dining options, but all fairly average
The food at the Riu is pretty typical of most in the Dominican Republic, which is to say, not great. For lunch, in addition to the buffet and snack bars, guests can wander off to the neighboring Riu properties, which also serve buffet. For dinner, guests can choose from a wide array of different cuisines, including Japanese, Italian and a steakhouse. 24-hour room service is also available.
Name-brand booze at this all-inclusive, including in the rooms.
The Riu Palace Macao is an adults-only, all-inclusive property on the northern end of Punta Cana. Rooms have white color palettes and pops of bright colors, plus up-to-date amenities -- such as free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs -- and balconies or small patios. The hotel features a great beach and a ton of all-inclusive features, including a free scuba diving lesson in the pool. The Riu has a group of loyal followers who come to drink the brand-name booze and party by the pool, but there are other similar options nearby worth checking out, including the Majestic Elegance and Barcelo Bavaro Palace.