My boyfriend and I went to the Riu Palace, Aruba, from November 12-19, 2012. It was also my first experience in an all-inclusive resort/vacation.
The first impression in the hotel lobby was a great one. Very expansive, always clean, very welcoming. Our room wasn't ready upon arrival, but we were happy to go have lunch in the interim.
Because it was my first all-inclusive experience, I wasn't expecting/didn't know about wearing a bracelet for the duration of our trip. I understand why it's necessary, but it did take a bit of getting used to.
Our room, an ocean view suite, was perfect. The bed was gigantic. I actually have NO idea what size it was. It was much larger than a King. We had a little sitting area, a nice balcony with a view of the pool and ocean, and spacious bathroom.
Housekeeping was very attentive and brought towels twice daily (seems it was a necessity with the pool visits and the Aruba weather). The only thing we had to do ourselves one day was strip our bed in order to tip off housekeeping that we wanted our sheets changed. That did the trick.
Staff was friendly from the housekeeping staff, to the bartenders.
We ate primarily at the buffet restaurant because we're both vegan, and it was really the only restaurant on the property where we could be reasonably assured our nutritional preferences were being met. Still, we did eat one night at the Italian restaurant on site, and it was also lovely.
In advance of the trip, I had read stories of vacationers having to make dinner reservations first thing in the morning, and reserve lounge chairs by the pool, etc. We did not experience this at all. It was not that busy. If we showed up at the pool at 10:30, we were easily able to find two lounge chairs together in either the sun or shade. Similarly, the restaurants were not booked to capacity during this time at all. It was the week prior to US Thanksgiving, so perhaps that was part of the lull.
We were interested in a property that had very little 'family' fun, because we were on a romantic week away. There were very few youngsters around, but when we saw them, they were all well behaved.
More families showed up near the end of our trip.
The service at and around the pool for cocktails was always steady and very polite. There were daily activities in and around the pool for those who wanted to participate in them. (aqua-aerobics, ball games, dance lessons, bocce ball, etc)
We enjoyed the finer bar on the main level of the lobby as well, which had a higher quality cocktail, and perhaps more traditional offerings if you're on the hunt.
They promoted their "Sports Bar" which really wasn't what I'd consider as such. It was more like a cafe/cafeteria. Here, you could find draft beer, some snacks (nachos, hot dogs, sandwiches, fruit). You can also use complimentary internet terminals there, if you wish. It wasn't the kind of place you'd want to hang around in, but more drop in, pick up a snack and go.
The bar in the room was (almost) fully stocked. A bottle of wine might have been a nice extra touch. (There was beer, vodka, rye, rum and scotch).
I did make use of the on-site fitness facility one day. The only downside of this was there are no washroom facilities (marked) in the fitness centre. They're across the pool near the seafood restaurant. A bit of an inconvenience.
Overall, we were treated quite well by hotel staff. The wifi was nice.
It was nice to be within walking distance of a little retail enclave and other dining/souvenir options. It was also nice to be away from the busier/retail concentrated Oranjestad. An inexpensive bus ride gets you there for a visit if you're interested.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- > * Opened: summer 2007> * Situated in Palm Beach on the island of Aruba> * Two 10-story buildings, one 8-story building> * Located on the beach> * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach> * 4 km / 2.48 miles from Oranjestad> * 700 m / 2296.7 ft. from various shops> * 10 km / 6.21 miles from the airport> * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Palace Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
- Riu Aruba
- Riu Palace Aruba Resort
- Hotel Riu Palace Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach