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“Thorough Review with an incredible ending” 1 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 - Eagle Beach, Aruba (Formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort)   |  
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Ranked #19 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Thorough Review with an incredible ending”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013 via mobile

Let me start by saying that this is my 3rd stay in a Riu Hotel and despite my previous 2 stays at the Riu Cancun and Riu Tikida Palmeraie being very enjoyable, this will likely be my last.
We chose the Riu Palace Aruba to celebrate our 5 year anniversary due previous experience at other Riu's and Aruba has always appealed due to the idyllic white sandy beaches and turquoise water.
Aruba is a wonderful (if a little windy most of the time) island. Plenty of sunshine, nice people, glorious beaches(some of the best I've ever experienced but not THE best). Also to my surprise, there is plenty to do off resort too, unlike Dominican Republic for example where you pretty much stay on resort unless you're booked on an organised trip. I think you could quite easily stay at a bed and breakfast resort on this island and eat out of an evening.
So, why such a negative review?

Rooms- our first room (502, Jr Suite) was terrible. There were stains on the wall below one of the air con vents which looked disgusting. The furniture is dated and TV old, but that's not a major issue. What is an issue is broken draws on the dresser units, the plug sockets that don't work properly, the balcony furniture is not standard in every room. We had 2 chairs which looked like they were taken from a 1980's working mans club. We asked for these to be changed as most other balconies had recliners. 2 days later, nothing had been done. We and our rep asked on multiple occasions until finally someone came up with a single, cheap white plastic chair (still no recliner) and took both the "Phoenix club" chairs away, so we were left with 1. Fortunately on this day, our rep Jaz had arranged a room swap anyway. She along with my partner viewed another room (619) which was better but had a restricted sea view (we paid for a full sea view), before finally being offered room 1004. We decided to take this room as it was a massive improvement on 502. At first we were delighted but then when my girlfriend wanted a bath we noticed that the taps weren't connected properly meaning only the shower was working. Considering one of the main features of a Jr Suite as advertised was a whirlpool bath, to not have this working was a bit ridiculous. This was reported straight away and to the hotels credit was repaired immediately, however I suspect that this sudden upturn in efficiency may have been down to the hotel General Manager arriving on site (he didn't look happy most of the time) and seemed to improve the aesthetic standards of the hotel whilst on site. What he did not do however was address the more underlying problems within the hotel. A few staff have bad attitudes. Most are very good, Luis in the main buffet hall particularly so. Main reception staff are the worst though. Also having been offered a free spa treatment for my girlfriend and myself 4 days into the holiday as a goodwill gesture for our inconveniences we thought things would improve. Unfortunately a week later we were still chasing this up as nobody would give us a straight answer on what we were allowed. Finally we went to the Spa to book something (a stress relieving massage each and my girlfriend wanted reflexology on her foot, a grand total of $370) we were told by the girl that Richard would not allow this and would only authorise up to $190. Fair enough. We decided to cancel it along with our booking to the Riu Palace Peninsula next year where we had a booking for 4 people in a VIP Villa. For the sake of $190 he is obviously happy for the Riu Hotel group to lose a $15,000 booking. Some manager.

General state of hotel- At first glance, the hotel seems of good standard (once you look past the dated furniture, which is not an issue). However, once you start looking a bit closer, all is not well. Bare wires were a fire alarm switch should be mounted, covered by a bit of cardboard. Not only is this a serious breach of Health and Safety due to possible electrocution of a guest but also how are you meant to raise the alarm in the event of a fire on that floor? Despite the staff working endlessly to keep the place clean and tidy, you do find a lot of empty cups around the place, especially in the pool. I think the wind has a lot to do with this though. My suggestion for that would be to give out proper cups and glasses instead of plastic and polystyrene cups which I don't think should have a place in a 4/5 Star hotel anyway. I hate drinking coffee out of polystyrene cups and won't even do this at a greasy spoon in England let alone a holiday resort which costs around £5000 per couple.
Upon arrival the pool looked very dark/dirty and had lights hanging out under water. This was improved once the GM did his walk around though. The worrying thing though was that he looked very angry (again) when looking at a water sample and within minutes the filter system was working away and the pool boys were scrubbing away also.
The reception area at first looked very grand. However after a couple of days you realise that this only applies to the appearance and not the manners of the staff. 3 words to best describe the reception staff are unorganised, abrupt, forgetful. We were made to feel like pests to get our Spa vouchers which were meant to be a hotel good will gesture.

Entertainment- if you want a nice quiet relax by the pool, this is not the place to be. If you want Gangam Style and the Vengaboys blaring at full volume during aqua Zumba then you'll love it here. That's not for me though. Also, I think a lot can be said of having separate pool bars now as when the people in the swim up bar spill the drinks in the water, it tends to find its way to you whilst having a dip and looks like a slick of vomit in the pool. Also, the pool can look like a rubbish tip with the amount of cups, straws and cigarette ends in there.

The Beach- this is the highlight of the whole resort. It has soft white sand, warm turquoise blue water, palm trees blowing in the breeze. It's so relaxing. You do however need to get up at about 6am if you want a beach hut and about 5:30am if you want a good one. Good selection of activities on the beach from banana boats to para sailing.

If you're going here in the next couple of months with Thomson, Jaz, your rep, is excellent. She doesn't just accept whatever the hotel says and really pushes the case of the customer more than any rep I've ever known before. Very friendly and approachable and I can't speak highly enough of her. She helped sort out our room change as well as get us a few free spa treatments for our troubles. Unfortunately the hotel manager even managed to mess this up as it took over a week to sort out after constant harassment from ourselves and when we were told to just go and book our treatments it was refused by the manager. In the end we just went to a different Spa and payed for it ourselves. Time which could have been better spent relaxing which is what the holiday was meant to be about. Jaz really is a credit to Thomson.

Now for the grand finale which many may find it hard to believe, it was that extraordinary. Upon checking out of the hotel I was sitting in the lobby when I noticed a guest trying to get the attention of the manager as he walked across the lobby. The manager (Richard), then answered his phone and totally ignored the guest. The gentleman then went to the reception and asked if he could speak to the manager. One of the girls on reception told him to knock on the managers door. The gentleman knocked, nothing. Then the girl walked over and knocked a little louder. Within seconds, Richard came charging out of his office shouting at the poor gentleman who stood there shell shocked. The whole lobby (which was packed) turned to see what was happening. The girl who had knocked then told Richard it was her and Richard went berserk. He told her to get of his reception and within minutes she was walking away in tears. Most people including myself were under the impression she had been fired on the spot. I had a quick word with Richard regarding the whole scene and said that that kind of scene had no place in front of guests at a 5 Star resort. I also tried to bring to his attention some of the problems listed in my review. Things suddenly went sour and before I knew it he was trying to provoke me into hitting him, threatening to get me arrested if I did. When I told him I'm really not that stupid he had the audacity to say that "I didn't have the balls". I had to just bite my tongue and walk away. The staff were really sympathetic and said that that kind of scenario happened all of the time and the staff live in fear of Richard. I can't see how a successful business can flourish in this kind of environment. It was like something from faulty towers.

Overall, our stay wasn't terrible, it was average at best and I would have given it 3 Stars up until the Check Out debacle. The Staff in general are really friendly and work tirelessly if you tip them or not. The food is excellent, the best of any Riu Resort I've been to and the hotel location is perfect. Like I say it's just the little things that bring it down and make it more like a 2/3 Star hotel than a 4/5 Star. Also after speaking with around a dozen other couples, all of which English or American, they all say that they will not be back to a Riu Hotel due to poor experiences here.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiuHotelsandResorts, Social and Community Relations Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Dear guest,

Many thanks for sharing your experience with us. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As a service minded hotel chain, it is disappointing to hear that you encountered inconveniences in our property as mentioned in your review an that it caused your holiday to be less enjoyable.

We are deeply disappointed to find that our team did not turn around this situation to your complete satisfaction during your stay.

We assure you this normally does not happen; however, we kindly ask you to contact our Customer Service Department via crm@riu.com for us to do a proper follow up.

We hope you will choose to visit us again, and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of Guest Service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,801 reviews from our community

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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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Yonkers
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

The island sells itself. 5 star island but def would never go to the riu again.
Food at resort was great. Rooms were dated and very moldy. Very rude front desk management!
When checking in def request a pillow top be added to your bed beak they are STIFF.
Very hard to get a umbrella at pool unless you go early to pool. Beach is beautiful but very hard to find shady.

Overall I would look into other resorts on strip before choosing the RIU.

Room Tip: Choose building A
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  • Stayed June 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
    • 3 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.
Luton
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

Having read reviews about the hotel after booking (not my usual practice) I was a bit concerned. Other reviews mention negative comments about Block C and about some of the staff the entertainment etc. so we arrived not sure what to expect. Travelling as a party of 4 adults, from the UK we booked 2 rooms and our friends emailed the Hotel requesting we be housed in a block other than C.

We arrived and were told we were in Block C. We were also told there was nowhere else. Not a promising start.

Arriving in our room, we were disappointed by a number of things, but the biggest disappointment was it was nowhere as good as other 5 Star hotels we had stayed at. It is not a 5 Star room, although the view from the tiny balcony is stunning This is an issue for the operator not the hotel. Everything functions in the room, sometimes not always to plan but it is Aruba and the longer we were there the more we adapted to the way things work there.

The quality of food, drink friendly staff and general atmosphere was excellent. The pool was being cleaned when we were there and it did need it. There seemed to be a lot of effort to ensure the water was clear. Entertainment was poor both during the day and evening, but this did not concern us.

Going off site, there are organised trips, we went to Palm Island. It is worth a visit. You can also walk for some distance along the paths and/ or beach. Lots of shops around selling the usual holiday stuff and so many designer clothes and jewellery shops too. The capital is a bus ride away and is worth a visit. The bus ride is fun, depending on the state of the bus and Driver, as there are many different busses and various stops. Great fun.

Aruba is what it is. It is hot. It is windy. It is not always governed by time. It has wonderful friendly people. It is difficult not to fall in love with it. Don't be put off with the negatives, enjoy the positives

Room Tip: Go for the upper floors for the best views
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

Just returned from two weeks at this hotel. The food and staff 5 star but room and pool area was not. Hotel in urgent need of refurb. Unless you are prepared to get up in the morning before 6.30 you will never have an umbrella on the beach. First time in a Riu Hotel but speaking to other guests who have stayed at several this was the poorest they have stayed in. The staff however were fantastic. The wind when we were there was relentless and spoilt the holiday. It appears this is a problem all year round.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

I went to the Riu around christmas and newyears eve in 2011/12. I loved the hotel. The rooms are perfect. The staff is very friendly. The food is very good, they have multiple restaurants where you can eat, but the main restaurant is also very good. There's alot of choice in foods and several stations where they for example prepare a salad that you want or pasta of whatever. In the sportsroom is a fridge with sandwiches to go and fruits, nacho's etc. Also there is a restaurant outside at the poolside, where you can sit and eat what you like, lovely at daytime. Also included is roomservice for sandwiches etc. It is a pretty big hotel, if you don't like that, don't go. I personally didn't think that it was crowded or anything like that. At the poolbar you can get your drinks (good brands of alcohol, no local stuff) and they make lovely cocktails. There's good entertainment, the only thing was at new years eve I hoped for a big party, but that was not the case. But on the other hand, at the top floor you can oversee the whole island when fireworks goes into the air, that was amazing!
Aruba is a lovely island with the best beaches ( go to baby beach with a rental car if you go!) and Riu is a great hotel!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterbury, Connecticut
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

If you want to go here for honeymoon and want special treatment this is not the place for you..

We arrive early and had to wait about 3 hours for the room.We finally get to our room which was on the 4th floor , as soon as we walked in it was dirty , there was rusts and stains on the wall , the bedspread looked dingy, bathroom wasn't cleaned well. The wet bar had beverage rings left from a cup. It was not what I had expected. So I went back to the front desk and told them and they let us change rooms . So here we go again up to the 8th floor now , room was a little better but the bleach they used to clean prior was so strong you couldn't even stay in the room . We didn't have a working phone the whole 6 days or being there, so we couldn't even order room service. Not like it mattered only 5 things on the menu. Kept giving us the runaround about the phone for the 6 days we were there.
Service was HORRIBLE you couldn't get a straight answer out of them for anything , they don't speak English my @%# . They do but they play dumb. Very frustrating we you needed something or even at the buffet , i ask what's on or in this and they speak Spanish back to you , so I was limited to food options because I didn't understand .
One night at there outside lounge me and my husband watched as two waitress would sit and chitchat for like 20 minutes while we and others would sit and wait to be served , my husband had to go up himself and serve us..5stars I don't think so .this happened quite a bit.

Beach was nice only draw back was getting up early like 5,6 am to go claim your spot on the beach and same with the pool chairs.. This is not a vacation or honeymoon to get up every morning early.i noticed chairs claimed and no one even showing up the entire day , which is not fair.
Pool was okay but could have been cleaned better. Towards the end of the day there was floating cups in the water. Not cool , they should keep up with cleaning it.

Did a couples massage , could her the noise from the outside or the room the whole time, music kept cutting in and out..all I can remember was is the overpriced week 50 min massage over.

On our third day they stopped stocking our fridge . Ohh no phone to call down.

Last day my husband noticed one of the liquors at our wet bar was almost gone ..we never drink that particular liquor so I'm pretty sure the help went to town cleaning our room, half a%# having a good time ..

Would we go back , I don't think so.
Very dated and 6 days on honeymoon getting the run around about little things so not worth it.
Like I said need a do over for my honeymoon :(

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

My boyfriend and I travelled to the Riu Palace in October 2012. I had been to Aruba on several occasions but never at this hotel. It was my boyfriend's first time in Aruba. We had an amazing time at the Riu Palace! The weather the first day was cloudy at first but then the sun I remember came out (we got there after Hurricane Sandy had messed up the weather in the Caribbean on its way north, but it did not hit the island or come close mind you). The hotel did a good job of keeping people updated on the situation back home and flight details (postings always at the front desk with news updates). At the time Wifi was only free in the main lobby but supposedly that was going to change after we left.

We arrived at the hotel at 11:00 a.m. and they had a check-in table with names stations based on the alphabet. We still had to go to the front desk to get our keys and the room was not ready yet. We went to eat at the Buffet and signed up for an a la carte restaurant while we waited. Our room was not ready on time (4:00 p.m.) and when they finally it was, we went up to discover they had just begun to clean it. Did not spoil the vacation and was just a minor inconvenience. I'd personally rather have a clean room and wait then come up to a dirty room! Cleaning staff was super friendly.

We had booked a Junior Suite. It was in the main building on the 6th floor (almost in the middle, just a little more to the left). The view from our balcony was amazing (see my pictures). The room was clean and always tidy. We had two double beds that they had put together which did not bother us. No complaints with the mattresses, not like home but much better than other places I have stayed. We had a little issue of humidity in the room where everything got soaked all the time, whether the a/c was on or not. We asked the staff if there was anything they could do but nothing seemed to make too much of a difference. Did not impact our vacation at all, just didn't keep clothes out as they would become wet. Our tv remote didn't work so they replaced the whole tv for us! Very prompt and helpful service from all the staff.

We spent the entire time at the beach and I think the only time we went to the pool was to get a drink from the pool bar. The beach in Aruba is amazing and the Riu had the best part of the beach when we were there. Other parts of the beach had a lot of crap on it from the effects of the hurricane but the Riu had the largest and cleanest part of the beach while we were there. The water was clean and beautiful, with just enough waves to make it fun. Never had to fight for chair at the beach and there were always spots at the pool.

The food at the Riu Palace was great. Our favourite night was at the buffet for Mexican night (it fell on Halloween, hence the balloons in my pictures). We ate at the buffet most of the time but did try a few of the restaurants. Never had a problem getting a reservation but we had no problem eating at the later sitting. The italian restaurant was good as was Nautlius, the surf and turf restaurant.

We did a few excursions and would definitely recommend the Jeep tour (all day one takes you to Baby Beach which is something not to miss! Beautiful turquoise water and the fish will come right to you if you give them some bread!). The Jeep tour shows you a lot of the island that you wouldn't normally see. We also did the pirate ship with snorkeling afternoon tour. One day we took the bus to into Oranjestad and did some shopping. We also went parasailing and rented a Sea-Doo, where my sunglasses decided they didn't want to leave Aruba either and so they made a semi-permanent home at the bottom of the ocean lol.

We had a great time and look forward to going again. We would definitely upgrade to the Junior Suite and recommend that for anyone wanting a little nicer room. The island is very safe to walk around and we had no issues anywhere with anyone asking us to buy anything on the beach or anywhere else. Everyone we met was very friendly and made our trip that much better! We will be coming back :)

Room Tip: Junior Suite in the main building, towards the middle. The higher the floor the better the view!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 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 - 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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#9 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#12 Spa Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#16 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*
Number of rooms: 450
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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