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“Had a great time at the RIU” 5 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
zumbagirl09
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Had a great time at the RIU”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2009

We had a wonderful time at the RIU. We traveled with a 5 year old, 9 month old and grandparents. We all had a great time and would definitely go back to this hotel. The food was delicious, the rooms were always clean, the fridge full of beverages, etc. I was a little hesitant about going especially after reading such negative reviews. I am quite picky and especially now since we vacation with two small children. My only complaint about this resort would be that the children's program could be better. They have a children's activity coordinator but my 5 year old was bored with the planned events. I would highly recommend this hotel for couples and families. We were treated really well by the staff and management. Bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, and a smile and you'll have a great time on this beautiful island.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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
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london
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2009

We stayed at this resort in November 2007. We did a lot of internet research prior to choosing the Riu. The hotel exceeded all of our expectations.
It was about 15 minutes from the airport by taxi and about 10 minutes from Oranjestad. (We walked there one day, it took us about 1 hour). A hospital is about 5 minutes by cab.
(A foot injury led to a small trip there)
Our room was very clean and elegant. We had a fantastic view of the beach and ocean. There had been a lot of reviews referring to hard beds. The mattresses were a bit harder than typical north american hotel standards, but they were quite comfortable and we slept really well.
The food was terrific! We are foodies and enjoy good food. We never had any difficulty signing up for the restaurants. The buffet was really excellent. We were very impressed by the wine.
The beach was lovely and we never had trouble finding a spot under the cabanas.
The staff was very friendly and helpful.
At the time of our trip, the guests were predominantly wealthy south americans, as well as europeans.
In terms of activities, we took long walks on the beach, explored the local neighbourhoods, shopped in oranjestad and did some scuba diving. We rented a jeep one day and drove around the island, including san nicolas and the isolated beach areas, including the pools. The latter is definitely worth the rocky ride.

In terms of critiques, there are very few, if any: my spouse wished there was a more lively bar/dance scene at the hotel. This wasn't something I felt was a drawback, as there are a ton of dance bars in neighbouring hotels and oranjestad. They could have put in another elevator. Also, in our room the shower water tended to accumulate along the sides of the bath tub.

This is a hotel I would go back to in a heartbeat if I was a returning type traveller. (We like to try new places). I would also consider bringing our child with us.

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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KC, KS
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2009

Just returned from 8 days in Aruba at the Riu. Never having stayed at a Riu anywhere and having had a terrible experience at a big-name all-inclusive in Jamaica a few years back, I was somewhat concerned about what kind of experience we would have here. I had nothing at all to worry about--I would stay here again in a heartbeat.

Rooms were great--very clean and well attended to by the staff. Resort and whole island were very safe--never felt uncomfortable, even downtown.

I checked out the other hotels on the strip near the Riu while we were there--I am glad I didn't book at any of them. The Riu by far has the best pool. It is HUGE and so the water is never crowded. The beach boys were accessible every day, so we had no trouble getting a palapa and chairs.

I was expecting average buffet food, but was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the quality of the buffet here. It wasn't cooked in a back room, then set out and left for hours to get soggy/burnt/unrecognizable. And, the selection/quantity of food was amazing--everything from 4 kinds of eggs at breakfast, fresh doughnuts made on-site every day, the smoothie bar, stir fry, pasta, and the list goes on and on--way more stuff than you normally see on a buffet. It was an amazing selection at all 3 meals.

We tried the Italian specialty restaurant, and it was OK, but just OK. We decided after that we would rather eat at the buffet except for the 2 times we walked down the street to eat at restaurants on the strip just for a change of scenery.

Only 2 criticisms, both involve drinks--first, the wine they serve with dinner at the buffet is terrible (you can only get beer or wine if you want alcohol with dinner). The other is that if you go in one of the bars and there is no server you cannot just go order a drink at the bar--you have to go sit and wait on a server. OK if it isn't busy, but seems kind of silly when the servers are swamped.

Took my 20-year old son and his best friend with us, and they never got bored, loved the hotel, loved the food too.

All in all, a great vacation.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Sicklerville, NJ
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2009

My husband (50), myself (48) and daughter (20) stayed at the RIU Palace Aruba from July 18th thru 25th. Let me begin by saying we have stayed at many all-inclusives throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. The RIU Aruba is not perfect but it is by no means as bad as some reviewers have made it out to be. I think that you have to read each review and look for common remarks (good or bad). If a reviewer had a particular problem, it does not make the RIU experience for everyone bad. That being said here’s what we thought:

Checkin/Room – We checked in around 2 p.m. and our room was ready. The front desk clerks were all very friendly and helpful. I emailed the public relations manager about a week before we left and requested a room in buildings A or B, non-smoking and 2 double beds. Our requests were met – we were given a room in Building A – 7th floor. When we got to the room it was clean, cool and beautiful (NO musty smell). The floors, as well as the bathroom, were marble and granite tile and spotless. We had only 2 problems the entire week. The first was the safe. We had a little trouble getting it to lock when we first arrived but it finally did. However, when we got back to the room that night, it would not open. We called the front desk and someone from maintenance was there within 10 minutes. He ended up having to drill the door off and replace the door with a new one. After that, the safe worked perfectly all week. The other problem was that the hair dryer wouldn’t work. Maintenance took quite a bit longer to come up this time. He went in the bathroom and did something and the dryer worked fine the rest of the week. Keep in mind these were isolated incidents and we did not hear of anyone else having trouble w/their safes or hair dryers. Also, we did not hear of any security/theft issues while we were there. We felt perfectly safe.

Housekeeping – The maid service was o.k. – not bad but not great. The room was always kept spotlessly clean which was very important to me. However, they were very inconsistent with regard to towels. Although they always left us some towels we never got washcloths (extremely frustrating when you get back to the room after a long day at the beach/pool and want to get a shower and then have to wait 30-45 minutes for washcloths). We had to call every day for them. Also, they advertise that they have turn-down service. Fortunately this is not particularly important to me because the turn-down service only happened twice – 2 nights before we left they turned down both beds and the last night they only turned down one of the beds??? Weird but as I said this wasn’t a big issue for me but if it is to you this is an FYI.

Beach – Absolutely gorgeous!!! Beautiful white sand and clear blue water. No waves whatsoever. The water was somewhere between 80-85 degrees. There were always plenty of chairs although if you did not get there early, there were no shade palapas/trees to sit under. My daughter and I love the sun so this wasn’t an issue for us. We didn’t go to the beach until about 3 p.m. each day and by then my husband was always able to find a chair in the shade. On really windy days the beach could be annoying because when a gust blew up you got pelted with sand (and it hurts!). More on the wind later…

Pool/Pool Bar – The pool is gorgeous as well. Seemed to be clean – the tile looks a little worn in spots. Temperature also seemed to be about 80-85 degrees. What I loved most about the pool is all of the social areas in the pool. There were always plenty of tables to sit in the pool and have a drink or chat. They have about 15 sunbeds built into the pool that were great if you like to lay in the sun. The sun is scorching there so laying out in the water was great. As many other reviewers have said, everyone plays the “reserve a chair early game” so don’t bother getting yourself annoyed over it. Just go with the flow – everyone does it. We would go down and reserve our chairs between 7:30 and 8:30 and were usually able to get a spot we liked as well as an umbrella for my husband who doesn’t like to sit in the sun all day.

Food – We found the food to be very good. The buffet was excellent. The food was always fresh and hot and there was tons of variety. We’ve been to many all-inclusives and this was one of the best. Yes, there are some things that are there every day but there is always a huge variety to choose from. I can’t imagine not finding something that you like at the buffet – there really is something for every taste.

Of the 4 specialty restaurants (Japanese, Steakhouse, Italian and Fusion) we ate at 2 of them. Yes, you do have to get in line at 9 a.m. on the day you want to eat at a particular restaurant. However, I got there at 9:10 one morning and although the line had about 10 people in it, I waited only about 3 minutes before it was my turn. You literally go up to the desk tell them which restaurant you want and which seating. They give you a slip of paper and it’s done. Really not worth complaining about. The only complaint I have is about the seating times – 6:30 and 9 p.m., In my opinion 6:30 is way too early and 9 p.m. is way too late. We like to hang out at the beach until 6 -6:30 so the 6:30 seating doesn’t work for us. We took the 9 p.m. seating and by the time you’re done eating, it’s way after 10 p.m. I just don’t like eating that late. These are personal preferences and maybe these times work for other people – it just wasn’t good for us. We did treat ourselves to a dinner off the resort on the last night. There are tons of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. We chose Blossoms next door at the Westin. It’s a Japanese Teppanyaki (sp??) style restaurant and it was excellent :)

Milano (italian) – Although the menu isn’t very Italian, we thought the food was very good. The appetizer bar was great – they have everything from antipasti to fried calamari to pizza and soup. The desert was also very good.

Nautilus (steakhouse) – We thought this was so-so. We all got the Land and Sea which was a very small lobster tail and filet mignon. Both were good. This is the only restaurant that is not air-conditioned so it was very hot and humid the night we went and service was a little slow.

Entertainment/Bars – Entertainment is mediocre at best. We really didn’t go to the shows – they started really late (10 p.m.) and just didn’t seem that appealing. The Bon Bini bar (off the lobby) where the shows are held was great. Top notch bartenders – try a Blue Coral – great drink. The pool bar was also good. I did notice a lot of top shelf liquor at both bars and the bartenders were more than willing to make and drink you wanted and way you wanted it made with whatever you wanted it made with! The only beer I noticed was Aruba local beer – Balashi. My daughter tried it and said it was good. The Sports Bar was also very good and seemed to be a great place for older kids to hang out at night. They had pool tables, foosball, video games, etc. (all cost extra).

Wind – Yes it is very windy on Palm Beach where the Riu is located. I absolutely hate wind (and very apprehensive about going to Aruba because of this) and it did not bother me here. It is VERY hot and humid on Aruba and the wind is a welcome relief from the hot sun. You would absolutely melt if it weren’t for the wind. As I mentioned earlier, the only time the wind was annoying was when a gust kicked up on the beach and pelted you with sand. I would say that the wind blows at about 20-25 mph with gusts up to 30-40 mph. Some days are windier than others but always welcome! I saw a tip from another trip advisor reviewer that mentioned bringing bungee cords to put on your chairs to keep you towels from blowing away when a strong gust blows up and you’re not sitting on them. We did this and it worked out great – we never had to worry about our towels blowing away!

Casino – We did not spend much time in there as we are not big gamblers. We did go in with my daughter one night after dinner and she played the slots for a little bit. The casino is very, very small and the amount/smell of smoke in there was disgusting.

Tips for the RIU:

-Train the housekeeping staff to be consistent with the replenishment of towels. They should know how many guests are staying each room and leave the appropriate amount of bath towels, hand towels and washcloths every day. It’s very frustrating to have to wait for towels/washcloths every time you want to take a shower.

- If you advertise turn-down service, your housekeeping staff should be providing this service every night. This could be one of the reasons some guests choose the RIU which bills itself as a 5 star hotel. This could make or break someone’s vacation and how they portray your hotel to others. I recently stayed at a 5 star Ritz Carlton in Florida and they also advertise turn-down service. Even though I didn’t care, It was provided EVERY night as advertised.

- Change your indoor smoking policy. The smell of smoke in the lobby and bar area is awful and a huge turnoff for non-smokers – maybe smokers too (and I am an ex-smoker!). The second hand smoke in these areas is not only gross, it’s unhealthy for everyone including your staff. The smell/amount of smoke in the casino is off the hook. It made us want to gag. I know I don’t speak for everyone, but I’m sure I am speaking for many, many of your hotel guests.

- Install air conditioning in the elevators. They are stifling! You have a beautiful hotel/lobby and the lack of air conditioning in the elevators brings the hotel down. You bill yourself as a 5 star resort. No air conditioning in the elevators in a hotel that’s on an island very close to the equator and it consistently 90 degrees every day does not make sense and is certainly not 5 star!!

Tips for guests:

- There is a great new strip behind the hotels with lots of great restaurants (from casual to high-end) and shopping. Just go out of the hotel and walk left. Within minutes you’ll be walking along a very nice area full of tourists. It’s great to just get out of the resort and walk off your dinner! There was even a movie theater on the plaza.

- There is also a path that runs along the beach that goes from the Westin (the first hotel in the high-rise area) to the Marriott (the last hotel in the high-rise area). It’s a great after-dinner walk – very breezy and tranquil. You can stop at some of the other hotels and check out their pools and restaurants.

- Bring a lot of sunscreen – 30 or better. The sun is very strong and you WILL burn quickly if you don’t reapply sunscreen several times during the day.

- Bring something to hold your towels down.

- Go with an open mind – it’s a wonderful resort. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a great vacation!

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me. Have a wonderful time!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2009

OK, here goes. I read most of the reviews on tripadvisor prior to leaving, and had some concerns, fortunately most were unfounded, so i felt obligated to write a review.

- Security
The hotel and area surrounding were very safe, we had no problems with anything security related. In fact, they must have instituted new security regulations regarding the thefts from safes. The only way you can open the safes is with the 4 digit code you create, so unless you leave your safe open (which we accidentally did once) your things are fine. The last night we were there, we accidentally left the safe open. While returning to our room after dinner, we found the maid and PR director in our room going through our safe. This startled us, and i was understandably upset. After I gathered myself, i spoke to the PR director, and she said it is now policy that if a maid finds a safe open, they call the PR director, she goes to the room and takes inventory prior to cleaning so nothing is stolen. I found this to be a nice security measure and was glad they did that. (our dumb faults though)

-Hotel / Hotel Room
Our room and the hotel itself was very clean and was kept so every day. The bathrooms were clean, and fresh sheets were put on every couple days, but the room was made up every day. They also restock your mini bar in the room every day.

-Pool / Beach
The pool was fantastic, and the beach was even better. We did have to get to the pool around 8-830 to get seats by the pool, but we would then just go eat breakfast, so no big deal. The swim up bar is quick and they have a few waiters walking around. The beach was amazing. If comparing to something, Mexico's beaches are very similar, with the exception of waves, here there are none, so you can swim and float around all day if you want. There is also a water sports area right next to the hotel, we did the banana boat with 6 of us, and it was 30 minutes for 20 dollars a person, well worth it. The boat takes you all the way up to the lighthouse and back, so no land tour is really needed.

-Service
The service was good for the most part, however it is not like some other places we have been. It wasn’t bad, but there didn’t seem to be the "urgency" like some other places.

-Food
The food was OK, not great, not horrible. The buffet was pretty much the same thing for lunch and dinner, and with the exception of a few differences, it was the same all week. The Nautilus steakhouse was good for dinner, with Filet and Rock Lobster. The Japanese restaurant was excellent, and the Italian restaurant was subpar for the entree's but had a great appetizer buffet prior to dinner (which was enough).

All in all, we had a good trip, overall thoughts are if comparing 1:1 to other AI's we have been to, it may be a little pricey for what you get, but you should have a great time.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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chicago
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2009

Excellent food, service, accomodations.........
grounds are beautiful. ppol is spectatcular!!!! Friendliest people I've ever met.
Fun poolside entertainment. Pool latin band was KILLER!
Bartenders superb. BUFFET OUTSTANDING! Crystal was my favorite!

Didn't like the cold water jacuzzi.......even the inside spa jacuzzi was only warm at best. Beds a little firm, but my back loved 'em. Careful the floors get slippery if you open your balcony door....The room service is very creative with your romantically designed towels everyday........Loved the 24 hr. sport bar and the popcorn and refrigerated sandwiches which were helpful late night. Casino is just ok.
I would definitely go back again.
Nightly entertainment was ok, some nights were great, but there's so much to do on the strip at night you wanna get out of the The Palace and check it all out.

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Illinois City, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2009

This was our second visit to the Riu...the first in October of '08 and I did not take the time to write a review. After we returned in October I began reading about the thefts.....some that supposedly occurred while we were there.....we were not a victim of that and actually heard no reports of thefts while we were there.
I've read many good and bad reviews about the Riu over the past months.....some that made me quite concerned after I booked it a second time.
This was our 4th trip to Aruba......first time at the Tamarijn in '04, second at the Holiday Inn in '06 and the last two at the Riu. I have to say, even though I have no major complaints about the first two resorts, nothing compares to the Riu in our minds.
I would only say my biggest disappointment was that May is normally a quiet month on the island.....due to swine flu, many people were diverted to Aruba and other islands and the fact at least 11 Riu properties were closed in Mexico, there were a lot of people at the Riu.....much to our dismay. We were hoping for a less crowded hotel.
When we arrived I could not believe the check in line....it was very long but actually everything went quite smoothly and from all the confusion trying to divert some of the guests to the Westin (which, by the way, were given free vouchers for returning visits) everything turned out well and I think we were in our room about 40 minutes after we arrived.....not bad for an extremely long line. Best part was....we were given the room of our choice through an E-mail......building A on the 9th floor......ahhhhhh....wonderful views. Guess it pays to be a returning guest.
As for Aruba, May is a very windy month....we did have a few days when the sun pelted us on the beach...not the fault of the Riu....just Mother Nature....it happens.
The room was always cleaned and services were provided without any hesitation. We did use room service on days we wanted to sit on the balcony and just relax before breakfast....nice to have orange jucie and coffee delivered to your room. We did not order anything other than that.
We did do some Ala Carte restaurants again...our favorites were the Nautilus for the steak and lobster...6:30 reservations are perfect here since you can watch the sunset and the food was very good.
The Italian was wonderful....it's not true Italian but the appetizer bar was great and the entree's were excellent.
We were not that impressed with the Gourmet restaurant and only went because of the pumpkin soup...it was not what I'd hoped it would be. We did not try the Japanese either time. Maybe in the future.
I know they have reservation times and you have to line up in the lobby to reserve the ala carte restaurants...to us it was not a problem. One night we went to the Nautilus and they did have empty seating and let us in....we were lucky. That also happened in October...sometimes people don't keep their reservations. Take a chance.
All of the staff we dealth with were truly very nice and accommodating...I've read negative things on here....we were treated very nice the first time and treated like family the second time. So many of them remembered us. I cannot faul the staff in any way.
There is something for everyone to eat....we are a little fussy about our food....I cannot find fault with any food and the buffet has such an unlimited variety of food for everyone's tastes. I've read about people not being happy with the food and I sometimes wonder if they stayed at the same resort.
The pool, the grounds and the beach....ahhhhhhhh......what more could anyone possibly want?
I did have my nails repainted once at the spa.....an Arubian girl.....Orianna...she was a sweetheart. The spa has many services but I did not use them but they are there is someone wants to indulge.
Would love to go back to the Riu....give it a try. Put a smile on your face and go with a positive attitude. Don't listen to the negatives....some of the reviews I've read are pretty cruel.
The only complaint I had was not the fault of the Riu....it was guests dropping drinks in the pool and doushing cigarettes in the pool water and being just plain obnoxious. Guess this happens everywhere......cannot fault the Riu for that.
Evening entertainment was good......not great but it had something. We enjoyed it. Many nights we were tired from the days activities.....driving around the island.....enjoying the sun, wind and sea.
I would love to post all the names of the staff but don't want to leave anyone out.

If the price is right, we would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.

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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
#15 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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