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“Even with some mishaps, it was still awesome” 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 - Eagle Beach, Aruba (Formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort)   |  
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Ranked #19 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Stafford, Virginia, United States
Level Contributor
33 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Even with some mishaps, it was still awesome”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2014

This was our first time to Aruba. When we arrived to the resort, we were surprised that you could come and go without issues. We have stayed at other resorts and they tend to want you to stay onsite for safety reasons. So my first impression was that it was very nice and the front desk staff was pleasant. I have read reviews that they were the worst but I must say they were wonderful to us.

Check in was 3PM and we arrived at 2:30 so we had to wait a few minutes so we went to lunch at Don Nicholas, the buffet and it was good. They had an assortment of food so everyone in our party was able to enjoy something they had to offer.

Our room...there were good and bad points to our room. First the bad, the bed was horrible. It was the equivalent to sleeping on the concrete floor and the pillows were too soft. The bathroom was dimly lit and the shower had soft spots in it. I also saw some water spots on the shower ceiling which didn't alarm me until....well, I'll get to that. The good....the A/C worked wonderfully and our view was spectacular. We were in rom 407 and could see the pool and the ocean. Because of our location we could turn off the air, open the patio and room doors and feel the trade winds blow through our room. That was very nice! The worst part of our hotel room experience was when we came back from dinner and our friends who were in room 408 had a pipe burst in their room. Water was everywhere. Their entire room was flooded. The water was in our room, the hallway and even leaked onto the floor below us. According to maintenance, this happens often. Fortunately, none of our belongings were damaged and it was fixed within an hour.

The restaurants onsite: well, we ate at the Japanese Restaurant. It was ok! I wasn't overly impressed but I can say I tried sushi for the first time. In order to eat at the restaurants, you must make a reservation between 8 & 11AM and believe me there will be a line forming at 7:30AM. In my opinion, I preferred the buffet at Don Nicolas. Also, during the day when you are hanging out at the pool or on the beach, it's easy and convenient to go to the Nautilaus. The downfall of that buffet is that there are birds in the restaurant. Beware because they like to eat from the buffet too so you have to be careful.

We were able to ride jetskis while there thanks to Johnny B Good who was hanging out by De Palm Restaurant. He gave us a great deal! We enjoyed that and we also enjoyed the bus tour that took us to some local spots where we were able to take some photos. It was well worth the $39/pp for the tour. If you are looking for some adventure then check out the vendors on the beach who will have excursions available.

The casino: we won a few dollars but if you have problems with cigarette smoke....steer clear! It will choke you to death. It was fun for a few minutes but not for long stints.

The sports bar was very nice. It was peaceful too! We went there a few times but just know that the pool table and few video games are on the pricey side.

The gym: I used the gym daily and it worked well for me. I managed to get a workout in everyday without crowding or interruption.

Overall, our stay was relaxing, peaceful and we would return!

Room Tip: We were upgraded to the main building which had a great view.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • 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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English first
New Hampton, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
38 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2014

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.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Galt, California
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2014

I have to say that I was a little wary after reading some of the reviews about this resort, but in my experience it is the nit-picky people that write the bad reviews. This was one of those times.

Our trip is an annual one with my husband and 2 friends. This year's pick was Aruba, 5/1/14 - 5/6/14. We arrived just before 3 and had no issues at all. There was no line, we sipped our rum punches as we checked in. Our rooms were next to each other and were ocean facing jr suites. Bldg A (I think -- it was the main bldg), rooms 1017 & 1018. I had requested the bed toppers well in advance (thanks other reviewers!) and the rooms were great.

Food was good at all restaurants and buffet. We ate at all of them. If the waitstaff were a little more attentive with the water and wine refills, that would be awesome -- but it was not really a big issue.

Beach was AWESOME and entertainment was great.

Shout out to Alberto, Ronald, and George -- you made our trip wonderful!

My nitpicks: they don't replace the washcloths and conditioner enough, but a phone call took care of that.

My tips: bring big cups with you (I brought 32 oz insulated mugs w/ straws and had no problems) and make sure you bring towel clips!

One note: I think if you're visiting a sold out resort during high season then you won't get the individual service. We always try to go during a shoulder or low season.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2014

My husband and I enjoy vacationing in the Caribbean (Mexico, Belize, Virgin Islands, now Aruba). I have never been so insulted at a resort. Am I wrong or is the draw to this place the beach and giant pool? We arrived today eager to catch a couple of hours in the sun before grabbing dinner at this supposed "all-inclusive". The only restaurant available without reservations at this time (6:30pm) is the buffet which would be great, but unfortunately, my attire was not appropriate. I had thrown on a shirt and modest shorts over my dry swimsuit but was turned away because my halter swimsuit straps were visible (barely), since my hair covered them. In my opinion, they should blast in bold print on their website that guests aren't welcome to dine with any visible swim attire except for room service. What do they think we are visiting this resort for? I could understand if the "reservation-required" restaurants insisted on more formal attire, but there should at least be an option for those that choose to partake in the outdoor activities besides being shunned to your room. Room service has 9 options, 3 of which are desserts. This place is awful and not what I was hoping for at all. The bed is like concrete also. This is my second trip advisor review and the first was positive (Coco beach Resort in Belize). I hope that gives you a little taste of the experience so far. Really wish we were at the Renaissance Beach Resort which was in the heart of the area in walking distance to awesome shops and tons of restaurants.

Room Tip: Our room overlooks the pools and still gets an ocean view which is good.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2014

The food and drinks were amazing!!! I really enjoyed my stay in Aruba but there's only one thing they didn't offer was the personal photo shoots on the beach! Every resort I've ever been to has always offered that but this one! Other then that everything was perfect( staff, food, drinks and weather).... Aruba will be seeing me again

Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2014

This hotel was essentially perfect.
When we checked in we were greeted with cocktails, fitted with our bracelets and shown to our room. Our room was a Junior suite with a view overlooking the pool (and the exhibitionist across the courtyard, but that wasn't the hotels fault.) The room was gorgeous, outfitted with a stunning bathroom, sitting area, a fridge with soda, water and beer, and liquor dispensers on the wall. Seriously, liquor dispensers in the room. The only issue whatsoever was the humidity made the floors in the hallways very slippery. There was always someone wiping them down, but be careful.
The hotel lobby is beautiful. There is free wifi in the lobby. You can get it immediately outside as well. If you want it in your room there is an up charge.The bar and entertainment lounge is lovely with dark wood and burgundy appointments. One of the bartenders, Freddy, in the bar was a fantastic bartender and a gentleman. He accommodated all of our cocktail requests and even found limes for our gin and tonics despite a lime shortage. The stage shows were entertaining, they are not blow your mind, but have no added cost, the entertainers are friendly and you can have cocktails throughout.
The main restaurant is a large buffet with probably the best buffet food I have come across anywhere. In the them there are bottles of champagne for you to make you mimosas, an egg station, and plenty of other choices. For lunch the variety changed every day. For dinner there is a theme each night and the theme is well executed. To be fair, we mostly snacked on the large selection of imported cheese, smoked salmon with capers and cocktails here.
The specialty restaurants were impeccable. The Italian was fairly casual but still very good. There is a salad bar, but the rest of your meal is ordered and serves. The Asian restaurant has fresh sushi and all of our dishes were prepared to perfection. Kristal was elegantly appointed and the menu was diverse. Wine was served by the glass or you could order a beverage. The Nautilus is a causal restaurants at lunch but turns to a steakhouse for dinner. We didn't try it for dinner, but it was great for an afternoon salad. If you want reservations you can only make them in person the day of. They book up quickly, so be prepared to go to the lobby bar first thing int he am to get your choice.
The fitness center was ok. We opted to walk/jog the beach instead.
The pool area is gorgeous. The bar is a swim up bar, so you can sit in the pool sipping your cocktails. If you want a good seat, go out early and put your stuff down.
The beach is beyond perfection. It is pristine with plenty of palapas and things to do. If you want a palapa, get out very early and get your spot. They fill up early, but after 2 in the afternoon people seem to start leaving. We walked to Moomba beach and sat at the beach bar there. The drinks are reasonable (not free like the hotel) but nice and there is free wifi there. People will try and sell you parasailing, boat cruises, etc up and down the beach. They don't harass you. Just be pleasant. They are super friendly.
It is a pricey hotel, but it is all-inclusive, the quality of the food is exceptional, the cocktails are quite good (the margaritas at the pool aren't the best but still good), the rooms are lovely, clean and well-appointed, all of the staff are helpful, you couldn't ask for a better beach and i is a short walk to shopping, Senor Frogs, Smokey Joe's and all of the other things you might want to do. I VERY highly recommend staying here.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2014

We are here now - staying through May 10. I can't think of one negative thing to say. We are on the 7th floor facing the ocean. The room, the food, the staff, the views.... all exceeding our expectations.
We will be back!

Room Tip: Building A - higher floors. We requested a King bed and received it.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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
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:
#6 Business Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#9 Spa Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#10 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#16 Romantic 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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