The beach and pools at RIU Palace are spectacular. As you walk from the main building toward the beach - the tiled walkway lined with tall palms and manicured lawns leads you past five fountain pools - the sound from the splashing water is calming and the occasional mist that falls on you if caught by a breeze is refreshing.
The first circular pool is elevated and overlooks the main pool and swim up bar - everyone seems to hang over the infinity edge to watch the action. The pools are 3 feet deep throughout. In addition to the usual bar stools and in-water loungers, there are about 10 semi-circles with seats along the edge of the pool. Some have strong Jacuzzi jets for your back and feet others are designed with a cocktail table to set down your drinks - jets in these are softer and more soothing.
Lounge chairs and umbrellas are plentiful and palm trees also provide shade. Planned activities by the pool – piped in music, dance lessons, ceramic painting, hair braiding, water aerobics and friendly bartenders make it exciting – no quiet pool here. Wear flip-flops or beach shoes, the tiles get really hot and burn your feet. The water is very clear and clean, no slime or gritty sand in the bottom.
The pool bar does not have all the top shelf liquors – the lobby bar does. The pool bar closes at 6pm and the pool is off limits after 7pm.
If you prefer a quiet spot with more breeze, head on down a few hundred feet to the beach. This is what Punta Cana is all about, beach, beach, beach! Talcum powder sand and warm blue-green water!!! No thatched huts here. I love this beach, it’s unstructured – by that I mean that chairs are not lined up row upon row. Hundreds of palm trees of all sizes provide your shade, and so a few chairs here and more there and they keep moving to chase the shade. In some spots you can hear the music from the pool area and if you move closer to the spa building, you’ll hear the quiet calming music from there.
The rolling waves make this beach fun, good rides on boogie boards or beyond the breakers you can use a floaty or bounce around on a noodle (bring these from home, there are none at the hotel, they easily fit around the edge of your suitcase before you fill it with clothes).
An interesting looking half-sunken ship wreck off shore attracts everyone on hobbies, kayaks or pedal boats. All these are complimentary. Watch for special pricing on a daily basis for snorkeling tour, parasailing and 2-for-1 Banana Boat rides. A constant parade of walkers of all ages and sizes and in all modes of dress or undress make for interesting conversations.
The sand along the water’s edge is firmer making for easy walking. As with all resorts in Punta Cana – topless sunbathing at the beach is common – much less so by the pool.