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“What do people expect?” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Aruba

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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   79 JE Irausquin Blvd, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba (Formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort)   |  
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Newmarket Ontario
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“What do people expect?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

We stayed at this Riu 4 years ago and were truly pleased with the accommodations so much so that we have recommended it to several friends. We decided to go again and were there from January 11-18. Unlike in the past it rained for a day. We stayed in C block, room 654 which was a great corner room with both views of the pool and Caribbean. The hotel staff we found to be very good whether it be the room, restaurants, bar or pool. Very good service that did not require any tipping whatsoever. After reading the previous reviews about people lined up at the desk for specialty restaurant reservations at 9.00AM, I walked up, usually around 10 AM, and booked my restaurants with no line ups and no problems getting a reservation. Same for a car rental. Getting a spot on the beach or around the pool was never a problem for us. We stopped on the way to breakfast around 9.00AM and placed our towels on lounges for our use. There was no problem getting towels. People did reserve the cabanas early and often not use them but that did not affect our getting lounges. The lounges are getting old and several should have been replaced but there was no problem in our getting them. Several previous reports complained of having to tip staff for chairs and unbrellas. We did not encounter this at all BUT local entrepreneurs did set up umbrellas on the public beach and charge for the useage. I would give this location a 4 star rating because there are needed upgrades required for lounges etc and also service within the building. In C Block one of the elevators was out of service every day. There were service personnel there daily from Otis but they still broke down daily leaving one elevator for the whole building. There does not appear to be regular servicing of the premises as in our room the following defects were found. The bed had a corner pineapple decoration screwed back on with 4 drywall screws. The bottom of the bedpost was broken off and the bed rested on the broken piece. The drapery track had the end wall fixture missing so the drapes would hang askew when pulled open. The hair dryer shut down after 5 seconds from overheating (caused by clogged intake screen.) The thermostat did not work so the room was very cool all the time. One of the two bolts holding the toilet in place was missing. This all points to a poor maintenace crew or no regular maintenance. We did not see any hotel service personnel in the week we were there. A sign of the poor maintenance was a beach lounge badly broken and somebody placed it on the grassed area near the beach walkway used by everyone walking between hotels. It was unsightly and in full view of everyone but was there for our last 4 days and still there when we left. For those that complain it is not a five star hotel, I would invite you to stay at the Hyatt Regency or Radisson but be prepared to pay more for the room alone without any food or alcohol that you would at the Riu with excellent food. We enjoyed our stay and taking all into consideration it was a great place to stay at a reasonable price.
HOWEVER, those that travel with Sunwing from Canada, be aware their posted times are guesses at best We were two hours late leaving from Toronto which meant our arrival was at 10.30 PM meaning the flight home for those waiting left about 11.30 PM getting home later in the morning. Sure enough a week later our flight was similarly late for our return meaning we landed in Toronto at 4.30AM and into bed at home by 6.00AM. All the four Sunwing flights on the day we left were late and all the Sunwing flights on our return appeared late as we all landed after 4.00AM. Compounding our problem with Sunwing, we waited for 45 minutes for our baggage to arrive at the carousal. Passengers from another late Sunwing flight arrived at the next carousel 30 minutes after our arrival and their baggage came out and they were leaving the airport and our baggage still not out. I located a worker from Sunwing and when I queried about our baggage was told that the crew unloading our baggage found the area icy and were being careful with our bags. When I pointed out the other flight passengers were leaving with their bags I was told that the crew doing that unloading did not have any problems with ice!!! It was plus 3C outside. Labour problems? On our return day, we attempted to get flight status but all attempts failed using the Sunwing website. We will stay at the Riu again but if Sunwing is the flight carrier we will have second thoughts.

Room Tip: The king size beds appear to be in corner units in block C
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Ontario
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

We stayed at the Riu for one week for our honeymoon. If we had just planned just to stay on the grounds of the resort, we would have been bored out of our minds. Thank goodness for the outside strip and for its restaurants / entertainment and shopping. Entertainment is really bad at this resort and needs major improvement for it's "Riu" reputation. The beach is well kept but the shaded areas are taken very very early. I can't complain about the food as there are plenty of variates and options. Breakfast is always the best! The A La Carte restaurants are pretty nice too! If we were to ever return to Aruba (which I doubt we will) we would probably stay in a non all-inclusive resort as there are better restaurants and entertainment elsewhere. Please note, if you are an obsessed coffee / espresso drinker like I am...THE COFFEE IS HORRIBLE!!!!! Worst I have ever had on any resort in my years of travels. We would walk 15 minutes to Starbucks. Just to sum it all up, the resort is beautiful but quite boring. If you're looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway with delicious food and horrible coffee, this is the place to be!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoboken, New Jersey
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

Visited Aruba and stayed at the Riu Palace from January 11-17 2013. We had a great time, the service was excellent, the food was great and we would definitely go back. The location is perfect, you can walk to all the nearby bars, restaurants and shops. Although the place is all inclusive we went out to dinner a few nights and the restaurants in Aruba are great. We loved El Guacho, (not in walking distance) expensive, but worth it.

As for the hotel...we were in building B and we had no issues at all. I recommend this building if you want to be close to the casino, restaurants, entertainment and bars. The beds were not great, but we slept fine.

We didn't have any issues getting beach chairs around 9am each day but I can see why people get annoyed and leave negative comments. People would save beach chairs and stay at the pool all day. Pool chairs were tougher to get, people getting up at 5am to reserve them is a little ridiculous but it did not bother us.

I work in the hospitality industry and before leaving for Aruba, I read a good amount of reviews and was a little nervous, but I soon realized that this place was not as bad as the reviews make it out to be. I am glad we chose this place. My girlfriend and I had a very memorable and relaxing vacation.

Room Tip: Building B...3rd floor
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bal Harbour, Florida
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

Definitely its not a 5 stars
The service is terrible
Begin in the front desk , its like an hostel
We need ask the house keeping 6 times for towel ,coverts or what you like
In the beach there are not chair for everyone , some peope goes at 5 am to reserve the chair
There are 20 palapas for 1000 persons
There are pnly 1 buffet restaurant acceptable the other 4 must be close
The animation not exist , there are 4 very young and unexpert guys thats made 1 salsa lesson of 5 minutes at 5 pm and nothing else

Room Tip: There are oyjer options in aruba better than this
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
1 review
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

I am writing this review to hopefully provide the general public with an accurate review on the Riu Palace. I travel extensively for work and leisure and have stayed in various rated hotels. My Girlfriend and I stayed at the RIU Palace from December 14th-21st 2012. Of all the hotels in Aruba, The Riu Palace appears to be a “Jem” from the outside. However, once you are past the beautiful décor, there really is not much to provide this hotel with a 5 star rating.

Check in: Check in was a breeze. Small line up but it is expected when there are 20 plus people trying to get a room at the same time. The front desk staff was courteous and promptly checked us in and we were off to our room. We purchased the upgraded ocean view room. We were placed on the 10th floor, room 1008. This room has a gorgeous view of the ocean and remarkable sunsets.

Room: First look, the room appeared to be perfect. However, after turning on the tap water in the bathroom for 5 seconds it was evident that the sink was clogged. Tried the second sink. Same thing. How can you have two clogged sinks? This makes you wonder if the cleaning staff actually care about the up keep of their hotel. We called down to the front desk staff and informed them of the problem. They advised that someone will be up to fix the sink. So off to the beach we went.
Come back to clean up for dinner. Both sinks are still clogged. Makes you wonder if their service staff knows what they are doing. Called down again and informed them that the sinks are still clogged. This time they sent the right individual who was able to fix the problem. Water pressure issues. Now keep in mind, the higher you go in a hotel the better chances you will have low water pressure. Well this was clear in this room. Water pressure was average at best.

No slippers or Wardrobe provided. This is not a necessity for us but it would have been nice to receive this as other 5 star hotels do provide this for all levels of rooms purchased.


A la cart restaurants: They have 4 a la cart restaurants. Steak, Italian, Japanese and International gourmet. There are ONLY two sittings, 6:30pm and 9pm for the a la cart restaurants. If you are more than 15 minutes late your reservation is cancelled.
When you are on vacation, your primary purpose is to relax not to monitor your watch and make sure you make it to your reservation. Needless to say we had the buffet dinner all week.

Buffet restaurant: The buffet restaurant has an amazing assortments of food, well equipped to feed the most pickiest of eaters.

The bars on the resort do not carry the top shelf alcohol. This is pretty sad as many other 3+ star hotels that I have stayed at carried the top shelf alcohol. For you fellow Canadians who love Crown Royal you will need to bring your own as they do not carry this on the resort but several of the bars in town have ample amount of stock. The resort does carry Canadian Club, Jonny walker (red), Absolute and Smirnoff Vodka.

For you coffee and espresso lovers out there.. Be prepared for a very long week and depravation of your favorite caffeine kick. The coffee is extremely weak and the espresso and cappuccino they serve is downright embarrassing. However, there is hope for you. If you should decide, you can walk down to the Hyatt as they have Starbucks on site.

Beach chairs.. Most of these chairs are in such poor condition that they should have been replaced years ago. You must dig through the pile of chairs early in the morning to find a decent chair. Again, this hotel has a 5 star rating and a quick walk along the beach pathway that takes you to various other hotels only confirms that the Riu Palace has the poorest looking chairs on the beach.

Beach bar: Does not exist!! Beach service does not exist. If you want a drink, be prepared to walk from the beach to the pool bar to grab your drink of choice. Now, most hotels even 3 stars have a Beach bar or at least a water station.

Offsite Restaurants.
There are Two restaurants (Barefoot and Flying Fishbone) that are very unique and perfect for a special occasions. Both of these restaurants offer sea side dinning and with the option to have your dinner on the beach. We decided to check out Barefoot as it is closer to the hotel about a 15 minute drive by taxi at a cost of 16 dollars US. The menu was very appealing and the ambiance was very nice. There is the possibility of seeing a cruise ship either port or depart from the docks as well the occasional airplane will either take off or land. IF you do not like either of these distractions then I would recommend that you head over to the Flying fishbone as it is on the quieter side of the island.

I may be a little harsh on my review but keep in mind that when a Hotel has a 5 star rating, you expect that level of service be presented to you and exceeded during your stay. This was not the case for our visit. The lack of decent beach chairs, two a la cart sittings and staff members who lack customer service, I would offer this hotel a 4 star rating at best.

Room Tip: If you want true 5 star service, check out the ME Cancun, Mexico.. You will not be disappointed.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We recently stayed at this hotel, over New Years. We decided to stay at this Riu because last year we stayed at the Riu in Los Cabos and it was amazing - absolutely no complaints. However, that was not the case in Aruba. This hotel is definitely not a 5 star. We found the staff to be very unaccommodating. If you asked for something and it required any effort, they quickly said "it wasn't their job" and would tell you where to seek out the next staff person. The biggest problem was trying to find a lounge chair either by the pool or the beach. We found it unbelievable that while vacationing, we are expected to get up by 6:30 am and fight for a chair. Guests pay off the pool and beach staff - to secure chairs. We witnessed several heated discussions between guests about chairs. Totally unacceptable. Also, we couldn't exchange our beach towels for the entire week due to the lack of supply at the towel hut. If you were lucky, you could stand in line at 8:00 a.m. and hope they had enough. Guests were very frustrated and if you complained about this, you were just told to go and see the hotel manager, who was pretty much nonexistant. That was pretty much the answer for anything. The staff don't say "hello" or "good morning" to guests - only if you greet them first. The food at the resort was repetitive and average at best. The staff don't seem to get the tables cleared and reset so you end up wandering around with your food looking for a table with cutlery. This was the case in both buffet locations (breakfast and lunch). We ate out for most of the week and also visited the tikki huts on the beach for lunch. The security is minimal - only one guard at the entrance from the beach to the pool. At first, given that this is a very safe island, we didn't think it was an issue but one day a person just ran up to a family, snatched their bags and ran off. This was done on the over crowded beach during the day. Also, during our stay, some rooms located on the second level were robbed. Apparently a thief was climbing up the balconies and entering through unlocked sliding doors. As expected, the only friendly staff are at the pool bar where tips secure your service. As for our room, although we requested a room facing the beach in either Building A or B, we ended up in Building C, facing a gravel area where air conditioning units for the resort are located. We had emailed the resort several times with our room request long before our arrival and never received a response. Given the lack of general guest attentiveness , we decided to keep the room as it was definitely going to be a issue. We would definitely return to Aruba but stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

This was the perfect place for my fiance and I to go to celebrate our brand new engagement!! We loved the food... the weather.. the water :) We went everywhere there was to go and felt completely safe. Definitely a place to go for a romantic time!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Aruba

Also Known As:
Riu Palace Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
Riu Palace Aruba
Riu Palace Aruba Hotel
Riu Aruba
Riu Palace Aruba Resort
Hotel Riu Palace Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach
Address: 79 JE Irausquin Blvd, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba (Formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort)
Location: Caribbean > Aruba > Palm - Eagle Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Casino Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#6 Romantic Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#8 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#17 Business Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#17 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Aruba 4*
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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