We spent 8 nights at the RIU in April; a result of the Westin being sold and closed for renovations. (The Westin was purchased by RIU and will be an all inclusive couples only resort).
I must say I had read many, many comments on Trip Advisor as well as a dozen personal conversations with folks who had and were staying at RIU who had nothing but negative comments.
Between Westin contacts and Shari at RIU,I made it clear that I was concerned about staying at the RIU due to Moisture issues and my allergies. I heard the bedding was horrid and there was no place to sit at beach and or pool. Enough of the negative information I had before our arrival.
I was pleasantly surprised when we opened the door of our room, Building A, Room 1006. It was next to the elevator and I was concerned about that; no worries. As you entered our room you walked into an entry room, probably 10'x8' with a huge closet, and a sitting bench and bar with refrigerator, all included. Then I walked into a LR area with a sliding glass door and ceiling fan ,that lead to a huge balcony (probably 18'-20' long and 6' deep) From the LR area you stepped up to steps to the bedroom area with another ceiling fan. This area had a 2nd picture window.WE HAD A REAL KING BED, not two beds roped together. Our room in Bldg A is ocean front view. In my mind the best bldg. and best straight on ocean front option. If I was to return on a special pricing deal, I would request Bldg A floor 9, Rm 906. Floor 9 has some shade as it has a lot of shade from the floor above it.
All of the Rm's 1006 in Bldg A has the configuration our room had and has twice the size balcony and has a REAL king bed with two windows and not just one slider. FYI: Bldg A is the only bldg. that only has rooms on one side of bldg., so don't worry if they book you for Bldg A you may have island view, NO SUCH THING, all rooms in Bldg A are ocean front....Also there are rooms you can upgrade to with Jacuzzi inside and outside on balcony.
Bldg C is the old building, which used to be the Aruba Grand 30years ago. Additionally, some time shares were sold there, but also used as standard rooms. One side faces the pool and the other side faces the Radisson. Balconies so small you can not sit on them.
Bldg B is directly across from Bldg C and has ocean view with larger balconies which does hold a couple chairs. Keep in mind one side of Bldg B faces the pool and one side faces what was the WESTIN and soon to be couples only RIU. If you have a room closest to the ocean, BLDG B would be acceptable to me. Remember the rooms closer to the ocean in Bldg B is where the music is loudest!
Most of the room at RIU in BLDG A you walk in and the room is straight forward to the deck, our room was into an entry and the room ran from left to right....MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN OTHER ROOMS> I think this configuration Is due to the elevator, which we pretty much never heard except a couple time while in the bathroom.
The bathroom was big, double sink and more than enough towels. It had a jetted tub/all tile-attractive...NO MOLD as we had read. We also had towels delivered during dinner hour and sometimes bed turned down. The bathroom had a hair dryer and a makeup mirror....Important to note; not enough outlets anywhere in room. We had to unplug a lamp to charge our laptop/phones. Bring an electrical strip if you have anything you need plugged in.
Our room also had a 32"-40" flat screen TV that swiveled from LR area to Bed. Nice! Although not many channels, it was clear and worked well.
OUR BEDDING: our bedding was quite satisfactory; not the Westin bedding but nice. Our sheets were changed every day. (Doesn't hurt to tip these room cleaners daily, we left $3 per day.)
The bar served up all the drinks you could want, big TIP; bring a thermos type cup or something with a cover on it at about 16oz, as they will fill anything you have. This keeps the sand out and gives you a larger drink and not a flimsy 6oz plastic cup.
We didn't sit at pool except two afternoon for a couple hours, who needs to when you have the ocean, but sufficient seating anytime of day. The pool was clean every day. Yes some folks went out early to save their seats. No one has any system for usage of pool chairs or palapas on beach either. Since the palapas on the beach at RIU are so far from beach and taken so early, like 6am; we elected to walk over to the front of the Westin, right next door (RIU OWNS IT ANYWAY) They still have all their palapas up and there is a great couple of folks renting chairs at $5 per day. Well worth the money, If they know you are coming back each day they save your chair, every day we had ocean front seating. Only 3 min walk from in front of RIU to front of old Westin. The new hotel will probably be open by Jan 2015; so this TIP will end at that point.
FOOD: Well, we didn't pay for our upgrade to all inclusive so this was totally a bonus. Our stay at Westin was inclusive of breakfast only. When SPG relocated us to RIU we were given all inclusive which included all drinks and all meals and snacks. Breakfast was my favorite meal at RIU.
Lunches: Two choices for buffet lunch. There was everything there to choose from from sandwiches/pizza to salad and many meat choices, etc; huge dessert area.
Dinner: I would stick to buffets' although we left the property a few nights and frequented area restaurants. Love Casa Tua just down the street for a fun sit on the sidewalk dinner......
The specialty restaurants all need reservations at 8am-11am in front lobby. Not an issue, just must do it each day. We went to the steak house and it was not good at all. There is also a Japanese restaurant, French restaurant & Italian.
The staff at all restaurants /bar were very friendly and inviting.
There is also a snack area off lobby and serves up popcorn, soda, hot dogs, etc. Never went to it. Let's face it an All Inclusive just has more food than a human needs.
Again, we did not book this hotel. We were told our room for our 8 nights would cost $5500. We would not pay that much as we really don't need that much food or drink enough to justify that cost. (I have been told many people paid significantly less by buying from travel deal, etc) Also there were folks there who had a room looking at the construction of Westin.....
We had used SPG points for the Westin. RIU did give us the room we requested; our bedding was acceptable, we requested and got the bed topper. Their was humidity in the room, but not nearly as bad as we had heard. Having said all this, we got a deal......
Remember, it is all inclusive but giving the servers at buffet $1 per person per meal goes a long way. We also tipped the bar folks $1 per drink. I didn't see many tips being given, but it surely was appreciated and we were served VERY quickly.
The evening show was not really worth your time. WE did go to their Casino, but very smoky. Each hotel on the beach has a casino, just walk down the street and check them out.
RIU should consider opening a gift store, they could probably make some money selling cups and t-shirts, etc; maybe some beach toys for kids. They are the only resort on the beach without a gift/souvenier store. Yes, they have a little 12' by 10' store that really has a few shoes, bathing suits and overpriced necessities, maybe aspirin. NO RIU t-shirts or toys.
Yes I would stay again if the price was right and I was guaranteed same room 1006 in building A; or really any floor above 5 ( in "06" room) if you want a view. I was told the "06" rooms were an upgrade. I think more square feet and with the REAL king bed; Nice! Lot's of light in room from the two windows. *Good room darkening drapes.
Feel free to send me questions relative to the RIU; I also have email addresses to those who can make your vacation at RIU as you wish. I think our vacation was all that it was is due to my emails to Shari and letting them know our concerns.
- 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