Travel package via SunWing Vacations.
Room#: 130; Ground Floor. Facing pool and swim up bar.
Travel period: February 1-8
Our first time at the RIU Palace Aruba. Overall a decent stay for what we paid.
If you book online (E.g. selloff vacations.com) vacations to Aruba frequently variate in price. From purchase to departure the price of the vacation dropped 3 times. Caution: quite a bit of haggling done to get 250-300$ back from booking site (read the fine print as you need to jump through multiple hoops to get refund). Refund is processed after trip is completed - up to 21 business days.
Details on the Resort, Accommodations, Food, etc.
Room & Resort:
- Room on ground floor facing main swimming pool (incl pool bar). Front door opened to Nautilus buffet restaurant. Convenient for snacks during the day. Inconvenient if you're a later riser. The action starts around 8AM so set your expectations and you'll be fine
- Bathtub / Shower drained slowly
- Towels changed, room freshened daily
- Room was located within newer part of the resort and thus, decor and features better than older locations
- Frequently heard complaints of extremely firm mattress. You can request a foam cover to soften what seems like a concrete slab
- Bars were frequently stocked, never waited long for a drink - even during peak periods
Beach & Chairs, Loungers:
- Beach is first-rate. Shade is not an issue if you want to keep out of the sun
- You need SPF 30 minimum in Aruba if vacationing from a Canadian / US domain. We went through 4 bottles easily. In future I'd recommend SPF 45 if you'd like to go longer between re-application
- Chairs are easily procured if you're out the door and on the beach by 8:30AM. You won't get first choice by 9:30 so again, set your expectations
- Occasionally locals occupy chairs and staff try to mitigate this. Though the beach is open to all
amenities (like beach chairs) are for hotel guests. During peak periods this can be problematic but hotel staff monitor the beach frequently
- I've read on tripadvisor for RIU Palace repeated complaints the bars are too far from the beach. Ridiculous. Some of those complainers desperately need the exercise
Food & Restaurants:
- Set your expectation the food experience will not be first-rate. Though this is a vacation experience it is not a dining experience. If you set your mind to experience American-style food with little local influence, you won't be disappointed
- Restaurants can be booked on the main floor lobby from 9-12 daily. Though the food came timely and it was loosely prepared embracing cultural themes, the end result was sub-par. French and Japanese restaurants lacked flavour and inspiration
- Buffet restaurant (though it pains me to eat there) were decent should you arrive near opening
- Don't expect decent coffee, tea, etc. If you simply cannot go without caffeine there are off-resort options
- outside the resort there is a strip of countless restaurants, local cafes and other hotel's to check out (E.g. HYATT, Westin, Holiday Inn, etc)
- Wretched. Dated.
- If you're into cards, slots or table games - go to the Hyatt
Getting around the strip:
- Great boardwalk connects you from the beach to all the hotels
- Security at back entrance from boardwalk to hotel usually present. You can walk into any hotel or casino with little trouble. Few hotels carry identification bands (unless you're all-inclusive) and won't give you trouble. Worth the walk in the evenings
- If you happen to be leaving in the evening you'll still need to vacate your room at 12:00
- Staff at checkout will try to remove your all-inclusive bracelet. Do not let them do this - the hassles to see your paper 'day pass' until your chartered bus arrives are countless. From the point your bracelet is removed you turn into a second-class citizen and it's sad as something has transpired before to see this reaction
- Expensive but worth it if you're picky and do your research
- Evening Catamaran and All-Day Jeep excursion were fantastic. Jeep excursion went through some sand dunes and natural bridges with a final stop at Baby Beach. A must see. Jeep excursion for 2 ppl was approximately 180$ USD
Your vacation is what you make of it. Set your expectations for food and sleeping mattress low and focus on the sun, sand and exploring. You don't need an all-inclusive package in Aruba. If you have a little more to invest I'd recommend the HYATT and set a daily food budget prior to leaving for your vacation. We plan on returning to Aruba and we thank the staff at RIU for a great stay.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.