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“You can do so much better.”
Review of Hotel Riu Naiboa

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Hotel Riu Naiboa
Ranked #80 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed 16 June 2011

My father and I just got back from our trip at Riu Naiboa. Besides being tricked by the travel agency, Celimar in Hialeah, Fl claiming that the RIU was part of the Melia hotel chain and overcharging us at least 200 dollars, what made the trip worthwhile were the two half-day excursions that we took on our last days. We stayed a week. Thursday-Thursday.

Side Note: When I compare the Riu Naiboa to "other hotels", it's based on the experiences that my friends have had in Punta Cana. It's a very famous destination for Cubans living in Miami.

First off, this is NOT a four-star hotel. This is the lesser Riu. We visited the other three Rius, I believe, and they did not look as nasty as the Naiboa. The bathroom tub had all the paint peeling off it. The furniture in the rooms and the lobby is outdated and old and not very nice looking. Overall, not very nice to look at or luxurious at all. So, if that's what you're expecting or looking for, stay away. You won't find it here.

I feel very bad for the tourists that go and do not speak a drop of Spanish. My dad and I are Cuban so we where able to get out of making a phone call to a taxi cab for 24 Dominican pesos **per minute*** That being said, the front desk staff are very rude and do not care about you, but about your money. Trust me, I heard all their smack talking in Spanish. Furthermore, I asked to print my boarding pass the day before the flight, they claimed to have "no printer" and just walked away. Great service, huh?

The lobby has free wifi but only use it if you like being devoured by mosquitoes.


The service in the dining hall, bar and snack bar was great and the cleaning ladies were sweet and did their job as well they could. It wasn't a cleaning issue as to why the hotel room was falling apart. The towels always smelled humid, though. Like I said, I have no idea how this is a four star hotel.

Beautiful beach but you can find that anywhere you go in Punta Cana!

They have one pool. it's cute. One giant dining hall which serves the leftovers from the 24 hour snack bar that closes at 5:30ish p.m. The food got my dad and I very sick. We were in the bathroom after every meal. It went right through us so just be careful to not get things that are too weird. Even though, it's mostly pasta, some meats and veggies. Nothing spectacular.

Many hotels in Punta Cana have various restaurants inside them with different themes. This one, however, had the ones I mentioned above. And an additional two that are in the neighboring RIU hotels (Steakhouse and some Kabuki thing that the waiter advised us not to go to.) The day we made reservations to go to the Steakhouse at the RIU Palace Macao, they had changed it to an Italian restaurant at the RIU Palace Macao, However, the only reason we knew this was because we fortunately visited the spot of the Steakhouse during the day, where an attendant from the Palace Macao informed us that they had changed the location and menu and that we should have been informed of the changed. FYI, WE WEREN'T.
In addition, the ONLY way to get a reservation is to wake up at 7 A.M. and put your name on a list. My poor dad would wake up a little bit past seven and they would NOT let him put his name on the list. Ugh. The front desk people were a bunch of "descarados." (Look it up.)


The Entertainment group-Animacion, were charming at first but their nightly games of BIngo and dance got really tiring after the first two nights. There wasn't much to do. Other hotels had a variety of shows plus malls with movie theaters and just a lot more hip and happening. This just had a little street called "La Calle Carribeña" (Caribbean Street) where the workers just sat outside and checked you out while the others were inside selling overly-priced souvenirs to the Europeans (mostly Russian tourists). The second they find out you're of some HIspanic ethnicity, they don't even care to charm you anymore.

On your way to the beach from the hotel, you will pass Caribbean Street to your left and wonderful, scenic, dusty construction to your right. It's a new Riu hotel they are building in front of Naiboa. The other half of the hotel is being worked on as well. Not very relaxing to hear all that construction noise from the beach.

Overall, we found It very unprofessional, The other Rius and other hotels in Punta Cana demanded that their patrons wear wristbands to enter dining halls and be at the hotel. However, this hotel had no control whatsoever. We would see strangers park their cars in the corner and come in to eat and leave in their cars again. It's a joke, really.

You won't have a horrible time. Again, it's what you make of it but you can do so much better for that amount of money especially in the 50+ hotels that Punta Cana has to offer.

Plainly put, I was not sad about leaving.

Free time!
Like I mentioned we did two excursions--The first company was "Adventure Boogies" : go carting to the beach and a cave with a spring inside. $50.00 x person. The second, "Bucaneros"; drive your own mini boat to the middle of the ocean and then snorkeling in the ocean with very amusing and kind tour guides. They showed us star fishes and sea urchins. They take lots of picture of you with you're own waterproof camera under the water. Super great time! $65.00 x person

If staying at any Riu make sure your travel package comes with transportation included because it is a 30-35 minute drive from the airport so the charge for a cab is pretty hefty. From $38+

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank haidee92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 June 2011

My friends and I went here as a college grad trip. None of us saw the reviews before we went, so we went with no expectations. That makes it easier for me to give you the nitty gritty as is, not because I read about it first!

1. Bring your own water bottles. They aren't readily available and you're going to get sick & dehydrated if you don't drink up as you soak up the sun.

2. The rooms are not nearly as pretty as the pictures. The hotel smells old. But considering you won't be in it all day, it's not a huge deal. Open your windows (expect some mosquitoes--it is the tropics) and let it air out and you'll be fine. I'm warning you though, the beds were really uncomfortable for me. Some reviewers seem fine with them, but I have a few back issues and they didn't help at all.

3. The entertainment and shows are all loud.. but if you're out and about all day, you'll be too tired at the end of the night to care. I know we were--and we didn't do much all day but lay out and swim. Bring earplugs if it bothers you.

4. The staff doesn't know English very well, so if you're going to a SPANISH speaking country, it helps to read up a little. Don't go expecting them to cater to you as Americans, because we were the only Americans at the resort. Everyone else was Russian, North African, European, French, Spanish (from Spain), etc. During shows and games they would often repeat the sentence several times in all of these different languages.

5. People of all ages were there, but I recommend it for those between the ages of 18-50ish. There's a lot of exposed skin. I'll leave it at that.

6. Bring bug spray. For some reason I was the only one getting eaten to death around sunset. If you're prone to get bitten, you'll need it because of the mosquitoes hanging around.

7. The food doesn't vary much, but it is good. The fish and meats are delicious, the fruit was always fresh and they did technically have a variety (just the same variety). I tend to eat the same things all the time anyway, so I wasn't expecting to be wowed by the buffet. They have the option for you to eat elsewhere, but you have to be up early.

8. There is no 24 hour snack. I'd sneak what I wanted in a napkin and my friend brought her own. There are two bars that are open most of the day. They're good and heavy on the liquor if you ask.

9. The staff is friendly. Especially if you're friendly back. Try to spark conversation or something in your bad Spanish.. they certainly amused by mine.

10. Go with a great attitude and actually try to have a great time. There's so much to take advantage of. The long beautiful beach, the large pool, the games (which if you win, you get a little gift), and the extra amenities.

I'd go back, especially with my budget. Happy traveling!

Room Tip: At least 5 water bottles on your own.
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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8  Thank loveoften
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2011

A copy of the Letter I sent to Sunwing upon our return to Canada (not sure why our review is missing but I already posted the letter in Feb 2011. )

I returned home yesterday with my wife from a Sunwing vacation to the RIU Naiboa in Punta Cana, DR. The entire experience was a disaster from the misinformation provided to us before booking, to the 3 days spent in hospital due to poisoning from the room.

Misrepresentation leading to our purchase of the package:

Our Travel agent at The Travel Store guided us as best she could in making a decision on a destination based on bad information provided to her by RIU Hotels/Sunwing Vacations. The misrepresentation of the vacation was not her fault. My wife and I could easily see Teresa’s logic:
1. It is a RIU Hotel – We have not seen a RIU that was not excellent quality. (until now)
2. Listed as a 4 star resort by RIU and Sunwing, as such, we were expecting a standard of quality. (THIS IS NOT A 4 STAR RESORT by the standards of ANY destination.)
3. The Naiboa being included in a Sunwing package really sold us on the vacation as the ability to book with a Canadian company who ALSO has their own concierge services/staff on location were 2 items that would appear to indicate quality assurance.
4. List of amenities on the Sunwing vacations website and in the Sunwing Travel destinations information book all of which contribute to the 4 star rating. THESE AMENITIES DO NOT EXIST at the Naiboa.
• 24 hour snacks do not exist – period
• Alcohol on tap did not exist – period
• Junior suites do not exist – period
• Hairdryer in room did not exist – had to be requested from main desk and was only allowed to have for 60 minutes.
• Standard rooms are quaint, to be polite. Tiny, poorly maintained rooms. Nowhere near 4 stars.
5. The RIU hotel right next door to the Naiboa is under 24 hour construction INCLUDING open sewer work. Sunwing has a representative who is onsite twice a day, seven days a week – there is no way they are not aware of the state of this hotel. We were conveniently NOT made aware the noises, open sewer smells or that our resort grounds would be overrun with construction workers. And it was definitely not reflected in the pricing.

Sunwing employees on the planes and buses were very friendly and helpful, and all travel experiences were very positive.
The Resort in general:
Although this appeared to be an older hotel, the grounds were well maintained and the main public areas were very nice. However, of the 4 elevators only 2 functioned and my wife and I were trapped in one of them for a few minutes (the inside doors opened, the outside doors would not) we were lucky that an employee was walking by and he was able to hear us yelling.

The Staff:
RIU staff persons were great, except for the desk staff being either incapable or unwilling to help us – a different room from 7pm to 7am on our last day to avoid further sickness is not an outlandish request in my mind. Sunwing staff, both the concierge at the resort, and the staff at the office have been great so far.
Our Room:
We had booked a standard room which consisted of a small room with 2 small beds and a patio door that did not lock. Other people we arrived with found a local resident had slipped in their patio door and was sleeping in their bed when they first opened their room - The Sunwing concierge, Nicole, can confirm this. We asked our Sunwing concierge to upgrade from our room to a junior suite at OUR expense as this is a concierge service listed on the back of our Sunwing registration card. Our concierge informed us this is something she could not do. (Nicole was very genuinely interested in helping us out at all times and had she been aware this was part of her duties and of how to execute them, I am sure she would have. I would consider this to be a failure in her training from her superiors). Once we showed her this was on the registration card, she informed us there was no such thing as a junior suite at the Naiboa – this was confirmed by the front desk staff. We found this to be very odd - since it is offered as an option on both the RIU.com and sunwingvacations.ca websites. Nicole spoke to the front desk persons who offered us an even tinier room but with a bigger (double size) bed and a locking (after several minutes of fighting with it) patio door – which we had no choice but to take. This is the room we ended up with – Room# 2387. You could smell moisture in this room as the bathroom floor was wet from no apparent source each morning, but since we could not upgrade to another room or hotel we decided to make the best of it – we would only be in the room to sleep and shower anyway.
Sunday evening the back of my throat had a bit of a “tickle”, by Monday at supper time I was admitted to hospital with full blown lung infection and bronchitis. My wife was admitted Tuesday with the same – she felt 100% HEALTHY Monday. Our doctor at the hospital in Punta Cana was baffled as to how quickly we had gotten sick as a regular viral infection would take days or even weeks to develop to this severity AND both of us having it the same time was very baffling. He suspected we were both exposed to something - at that time we though perhaps the wafting smell of the open sewer.
We were released (3 days after I was admitted) at around 5:30pm on the night before our 7:30am checkout. (We were given four medications including needles we had to administer each other within 2 hours of our flight/departure while trying to pass through customs at the airport.) Great fun.
We went straight to our room to get everything in order for the next morning. Upon opening the door we realized what had caused us to be sick. Because my wife had put up the “Do not disturb” sign due to us being away, the room had not been open for a day or two. The smell of MOLD and mildew hit us right in the face. It was so bad in fact, that persons in the lobby in the hotel, at the airport, and even after our arrival home could smell the moldy odor on our clothing.
I went downstairs to the desk immediately to request a change of rooms (even with all of the issues and our ordeal I was polite) but I was informed this was not possible as the hotel was full. I explained why, and that we had just gotten out of the hospital. Seeing as this was one of three RIU hotels on the same property I asked if we could be moved to another resort, and was informed this was not possible either. We had no choice but to open our patio and room doors and just air our or room as best we could until bed time.
Post Vacation:
Upon our return we were instructed to see our family physician – which we did today. That turned into another $250.00 in prescriptions for inhalers and steroids.
In Conclusion:
We feel that The Travel Store has no fault in this fiasco and that they represented the package to us honestly based on the misinformation provided them, but we have copied them into this communication along with RIU Hotels and Sunwing Vacations so that everyone involved is aware.
This vacation was a misrepresentation of what we purchased from Sunwing via the Travel Store. Whether or not this is based on Information provided by RIU to Sunwing, or Sunwing itself is unclear to me, but we did not get what we paid for.
Above and beyond the misrepresentation, the construction made this a destination disaster. Clearly both RIU and Sunwing would be aware of this, and this inconvenience should have been reflected in the pricing AND divulged to travelers before booking.
The worst part of course was getting sick – not only the horribleness of the sickness but the time lost, vacation (although already going bad) ruined completely and the costs incurred. We see this as a direct responsibility of RIU Hotels as it is their facility to maintain and they refused to move us that last night as well. These hotel rooms are nowhere near what we have come to expect from RIU. However it is less directly, but also the responsibility of, Sunwing Vacations for peddling a package with such grossly misrepresented rooms along with construction inconveniences and the hazards of open sewers. Not properly rating this hotel, not properly informing potential guests and not properly arming their concierge with the knowledge or tools to allow us to book a better room even at our own expense.

As I am sure you can imagine, to say we are displeased is a massive understatement. This experience will not only affect our bookings for the next 40 years, but I am certain that my respectable opinion will influence all of our friends, acquaintances, professional contacts and any travellers who read the reviews we will inevitably post on the internet, in their future bookings.
I assertively request a response from both RIU and Sunwing to explain what will be done to repair our trust and also as to what actions will be taken to assure that others do not befall similar circumstances.
We sent this letter to our travel agency, the RIU and to Sunwing.
The RIU people responded with a voucher for a 2 night stay at one of their other (or the Naiboa again) resorts. I was hoping for at least the 3 days we list in the hospital, but at least they responded and did SOMETHING.
Sunwing just respnded today (MAY 16, 2011 - 3 months later) And accused us of lying. Said we told their Sunwing Rep that I was in the hospital for pneumonia prior to our trip so I knew what was wrong with me. UNBELIEVEABLE!.
1.) I offered to sign a release of my medical records
2.) Our insurance company already has a release and would not have covered a preexisting condition.
3.) Peopel who fly with pneumonia DIE.

Absolutely shocked at this response. Cannot call, or email the Rep ewho sent us this letter as they do not exist in the phone directory of any of the Sunwing offices AND there is no return contact info in the letter. Of course not.

If you deal with sunwing, your only contact with them in regards to customer service si via a form you can fill out on their website. We got an email address ('customerservice@sunwing.ca') by searching the internet for others who had tried to contact them but this is not published on their website. Also not much use since the response time is over 3 months....

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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24  Thank Jay_in_NS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2011

We just returned from the Naiboa few weeks ago. .
Please always check for the bad reviews. My family and I just got back from there and we had the most fabulous time. After reading the reviews I was really worried about going; but I took for my trip my bad clothing, bad shoes yet in case something got stole.(nothing got lost) But, what a pleasant surprise. The staff was all friendly and the entertainment team were brilliant. The room was cleaned very well every day and the maid left us different towel. , the bathroom need to be fix . Food and Dining was ok. I was expecting better food but it was ok.
The Disco need renovation “modern disco design" It look like a bad bar....My nephew and Nice did not like the Disco at all.
Phone call out the hotel and internet service was expense, If you go out the hotel to the center of the town the phone call low cost. taxing will charge around $10
Also be careful with the small trip that they have to see the dolphin it is a rip-off. May sure you get what you pay for. Try to enjoy the activities that the hotel offer.(you pay for all inclusive)
I when on Business and Leisure and I was not too happy I was expecting better things(the can do better).The Macao it look better but we did not have too much time to explore the Macao hotel.
The hotel is like 20 min from the airport and town $35 if you do not have transfer include on your package.
Breakfast in the morning by 9am
get going Game,Pool,Beach

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank zucaribe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2011

We took our children for the March Break holiday to this resort. After travelling to many all inclusive resort, this has definitely made the short list. Our 18 and 19 year old's enjoyed the "Caribbean Street" as they could go to several bars, restaurants, disco, etc. at night. Casino at Palace Macau is just a short walk away. They were several spring breakers at all of the Rius and that made it a lot of fun for my teenagers.

The rooms were very clean and nice, however, they were getting a little dated.. HOWEVER, plans were on display in the Lobby for the renovations (to be completed fall 2011) and they are gorgeous. We cannot wait to come back after this renovation.

It is on a very nice part of the beach, and all in all, we loved this family vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank fun_in_the_sun685
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2011

When reading reviews and looking to book a resort, my husband and I said we just wanted great beaches and we knew this is what we'd be getting with Naiboa, but after staying there we know now that a beautiful location isn't enough. The room lacked style and comfort but was clean. We'd read about the noise so we brought earplugs and slept well. The pool was actually nice and we enjoyed it when we got back from the beach. Though the pool aerobics music was the same everyday and was very loud and I found myself wishing it would just go away. The food was unappetizing, we were REALLY unimpressed. Hope you like pizza and french fries! Obviously we didn't starve, but the lack of variety and flavor was disappointing. The staff wasn't friendly to us, we suspect they didn't like Americans. The construction was easy to tune out but the calls of "Psst! Psssst!" and "I'm hungry!" from over the fence on the beach weren't! Our room wasn't that close to the construction but there have to be lots of rooms that are and that would've been unacceptable for us. The hammering starts at about 8am and ended well after dark. We loved the beaches and the water was beautiful, and we had an amazing trip, but will we stay again?...No

Room Tip: We negotiated a room upgrade at the desk for 200$
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank TropicalEarls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2011

We arrived at the RIU Naiboa at 3:30pm, and spent the next two hours making arrangements to find a way out! The room was so filthy I didn't want to put the luggage down. The toilet didn't flush, the carpet was ragged and stained. One minute in this place would have been too long.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank mallen0072
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Naiboa

Address: Playa Arena Gorda | Dominican Republic, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#68 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#72 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#73 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $168 - $343 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Naiboa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 362
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Palace Bavaro and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * Separated from the beach by just the Riu Palace Bavaro * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 4-story building * Surrounded by 20,000 m2 / 24,000 sq. yards of tropical gardens * 50 km / 31 miles from Hig'ey * 150 m / 495 ft. from Caribbean Street * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int'l. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Naiboa Punta Cana

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