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“Great vacation but not a 5 star hotel” 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)   |   J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 79 | Palm Beach - Palm Beach, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba (Formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort)   |  
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Ranked #19 of 23 hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Montreal, Quebec
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Great vacation but not a 5 star hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

We have visited Aruba during April 2013. Compared to other Caribbean islands Aruba is at the top. Stable weather, lots of things to do outside the hotel and very safe.

The hotel itself was ok. We have enjoyed our stay, however there were a number of things that would have been perfectly ok in 3 star resort, not in one that claims to be a 5 star.

When we have arrived we were given a room in the old wing on the 7th floor. The room was just renovated and there was a very strong smell of paint in the room. We went immediately downstairs to ask for a different room. They were sufficiently nice about it and offered us a room on the second floor in the same wing. The smell there was fine and we were very happy for the first 2 days. During the night of the second day we started hearing a very loud mechanical noise from below the room. As it was keeping us up I've called the front desk and after a few hours of back and forth we were told that what we are hearing is the pool pump and they can't switch it off. In the morning we had to speak to the manager and they have moved us once more, in the afternoon. This time around, still in the same wing, we got a room that was not renovated, no paint smell but a pretty bad moldy one. We have decided to ignore it, we don't spend that much time in the room any way, sleep was more important.

The food was great, a lot of variety.

Some of the people on the hotel staff were very helpful and polite, some were not so much. In general it felt like not everyone there were all that exited about their jobs.

It is true that a shade on the beach is not always easy to find, however we managed even when getting there relatively late in the day. The beach itself is great.

Overall we have enjoyed our trip a lot, however would likely not stay again in Riu Palace.

Room Tip: Avoid the old wing
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (742)
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English first
St. Catharines, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Can't say enough about this resort. Spent last week there and was amazed at the surroundings, rooms, food, beach and staff. Buffet restaurant was excellent. Food for any type of palate was available. Would go there again in a heartbeat. It will be our resort of choice in Aruba.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo, New York
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Had a wonderful time at Riu. While the hotel could use some updates (new bedding, couch, tv), there's nothing to prevent me from going back. The cleaning staff cleaned our room twice per day and always made sure we had plenty of towels. The buffet food was the best we've had at an all-inclusive, and they had name brand liquor at the lobby bar, which was great for us! No raging hangovers. It's true that the poolside bar isn't that great - tiny cups, watered down drinks - but if you brought your own tumblers like we did, it really wasn't an issue. And if you tip the bartenders and you're polite, they're much more likely to give you stronger drinks. Freddy at the lobby bar was the nicest employee on the resort. So friendly, and he made so many good recommendations for the trips we took off the resort. We had dinner in town a few times because the a la carte restaurants at the resort were subpar. Seriously, don't waste your time at those restaurants. Food was bland. The buffet is so much better, or you could visit one of the local restaurants that were DELICIOUS - Smokey Joe's, Le Petit Cafe, Texas de Brazil. We walked around pretty much every night. Lots of good shopping and restaurants/bars to visit. I would recommend Riu for the location, cleanliness, delicious buffet food, and friendly staff.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brampton, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

When we initially started looking for this resort, it was around the Christmas break and we were reading some really poor reviews on TA. we got in touch with our travel agent and asked her to take care of the reservation and room etc.

We stayed in the main tower and the room and the view were great-- both the ocean as well all the pools and bar etc for people watching. Room and the balcony were spacious, clean, well stocked (mostly liquor, beer for takeout to the beach etc) and not smelly. The room service needed a gentle reminder but they did a good job. The room on the main tower are not suited for sunset views if that's what u might be looking for.

The beach is gorgeous without question. The sunsets are imprinted in ur memory for a long time. If u don't have traits of restless leg or ADHD, u are bound NOT to find a beach chair/hut by the time u take ur sweet time getting out of bed, get loaded with hearty breakfast and Mimosas. Only during the last two days of our 7 day stay did we find out that u could rent an umbrella for $25 and chairs for $5 for the whole day. Not bad if u r in a take-it-easy-during-the-vacation-at-least mode.

And if u r like me, not only do u want free Internet in the room but also at the beach. Yes, they have it. All the way until ur feet are in the ocean!!


The buffers are quite impressive. Plenty of food of all sorts of varieties at all times. Weight watchers beware! The booze is free flowing but not ones did we see someone behaving inappropriately. (Maybe we got lucky). The restaurants are so so. Making reservation was not that big a deal. The lady sat by the elevators and we made reservations close to 11 am a couple of the times. Overall, food (and friendly staff) are the strengths of this resort.

Staff, of all sorts, was courteous, polite, considerate and helpful. Again, did we get lucky?? In the room they do not stock wine but only beer and hard liquor. For our anniversary, I approached the bar man and he was happy to give me a bottle for the room.

The resort is close to Aruba's dining/resorts district. The malls are not too far but we didn't believe malls deserved the time and energy. Water activities, island tour companies, car rental etc are available at the resort itself.

The shortcomings--nothing that is obnoxious but at the same time, u know that this doesn't reach the level of a five-star hospitality. The restaurants could be better, room service with better options, a bit more mindful of people's special occasions, a better beach chair system, more towels, some kid friendly stations etc. Although, I must say that we saw a lot of families with young kids and they were having a non stressful time.

Our next visit to Aruba will be with kids. Aruba, in general, gives u the peace of mind that let's u enjoy ur stay wherever u might choose to stay.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

Check in was a breeze and we were met at the desk with a welcome drink..
The room was clean and the view was incredible (room 312) direct view of the pools and the ocean. The buffet was excellent and the other restaurants were a nice change of pace. I have nothing bad to say about our stay and will definitely be returning!!

Room Tip: Definitely spring for the ocean view Jr suite, you will not regret it!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carroll County, MD
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Riu for 5 days in April 2013 and had a great time...
Plus
Beach - Amazing, white sand, clear water and pier next to the hotel
Food - I'm a very picky eater and I was full everyday we ate at the buffet
Safety - We felt safe on this island, we were able to walk around in the evening, there were plenty of places to go right outside the resort
View - We stayed in a Junior Suite, Building B, 9th Floor..Amazing view and huge deck...ask for it!
Minus
Beds - Hard as a rock, but we were so tired from the sun it didn't keep us from sleeping
Towels - We arrived the 1st day around 3pm and tried to get towels at the towel hut. They told us we could not have towels and that they were only available early in the morning. Rediculous!
Management - I saw the hotel manager walking around each day, he needs to learn some customer relationship skills...looked miserable and mean and i saw him scold a woman for sitting down at the buffet without waiting to be seated.
Wind - Yes, it's windy but it's Aruba...if you can't take the wind, don't go to Aruba!
Overall, there was more good than bad...I would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: We stayed in a Junior Suite, Building B, 9th Floor..Amazing view and huge deck...ask for it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quincy, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

I was not a guest of the RUI but we LOVE the casino there. Nicest casino staff on the island. My mom has a degenerative spine. Very hard time doing stairs/hills. So we have always entered through the back beach entrance to use the elevator. This time we were stopped by the rudest security guard EVER! He wouldn't even listen to try and help us. We had to walk all the ways around the property and up the hill. Now I had asked to see mgr on duty was told he was at an event and to call tomorrow to speak to GM. When we left, we left through the back. I dont get it. You can leave from there but not enter? That or Carlos was napping. Its an ALL INCLUSIVE property with I believe a blue band. So if you dont have that band on, you arent going to get served at a bar or restaurant. So what is the property so afraid of? Occidental is a ALL INCLUSIVE only property too and you can enter through the beach back part. So the next day when I called from the GM I was on hold for 45mins, told to call back 3 times then told to email him cause he was busy. So I did email him and yeah, I was upset and a bit flip BUT funny thing is he emailed me right back...how busy was he that he could reply but not talk on the phone? All I wanted to do was to bring to his attention that when you have guests who have a lil differfent situation, guests that do not look like riff raff (which he told me I was a guest of Holiday Inn which I was NOT) that maybe the security guard should call to a manager to see if perhaps a accomadtion could be made to get the guests escorted to the casino. Especially when the Casino Mgr & hosts know who we are and we do spend alot of revenue to the casino (which Richard Velasquez GM of RIU was so eager to tell me was seperate from his property) None the less, its on his property, its under his propertys name. We spent the next 13 nights at the Stelaris Casino which was almost as nice and we grew to like it. I have read other reviews on here that people booked SPA and were taken off the property...my message to RUI : from what I read about your watered down drinks and not so good buffet food, we wouldnt try to sneak into your property. BONBINI

FYI looking for a great all inclusive try Occidental or Divi Divi!

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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

Address: J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 79 | Palm Beach - Palm Beach, 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:
#6 Casino Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#9 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#15 Romantic Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#18 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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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
Riu Aruba
Riu Palace Aruba Resort
Hotel Riu Palace Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach

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