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“Had a Great Time”

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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Ranked #17 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Montgomery, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Had a Great Time”
Reviewed May 20, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Riu Palace for a week and we had a great time. Yes, the beds are a bit hard but I slept like a baby on them. They are so big. I loved it. We had a room on the 10th floor of the Main Building, right in the middle. The views were incredible. The food was very good. If you can't find anything to eat, then you are too picky. We ate at the 3 of the 4 speciality restaurants and found them all delicious. If you don't get out before 7:00 a.m., you will not find a chair to sit in at the pool and the beach. Really a nice hotel.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ihall12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Burlington, VT
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed May 18, 2012

We had a wonderful vacation at the Riu. We love travelling to different islands and resorts, and this was our first time staying at a Riu – we’ll definitely do it again. For this particular trip, we researched several resorts, and certainly did our research with this particular resort, as well. While there are some very negative reviews on this site, which did cause me to worry a bit – I will tell you - the worry was for not – we had a great time.

The lobby is lovely, and we were helped by a very nice receptionist upon arrival…we were also greeted – almost instantly – with a welcome cocktail, which was a very nice touch. I will tell you; however, that the welcome drink does not have alcohol – so you don’t need to bother chugging 5 of them while checking in to get the vacation started early! We were a bit early in our arrival, and while our room was not yet ready, our bags were taken and we were allowed to eat and drink at our leisure while we waited (which was only about 20 minutes – so not that bad).

The wait was worth it – the rooms are as pictured on the internet. They were very clean – even the corners and behind the toilet, which are often neglected at other resorts or hotels. One let down was that there were not robes offered as is indicated on the internet. We called to request one and told that there were none available that day – we also called the next day and were told that there were none available at all. Not a big deal – just don’t advertise something that is not available. There are also a ton of negative reviews regarding the bed and how ‘hard’ the mattress is. My husband simply loved the bed and would have taken it home if he could have. I am more of a lover of overly fluffy, soft beds, and even so, I found it perfectly comfortable. Our view was lovely, as well. My one recommendation would be to try for a room in the A building. This building offers the best views of both the pool and the ocean, and the rooms have a full balcony. Buildings B and C would also have nice views – as long as you have one on the pool side of the building. While I did not see guests in the sides facing away from the pool, I would imagine guests would be disappointed with the views offered on those sides. Building C on the back side faces directly to the Westin and overlooks and alley way. Building B on the off side is not quite as bad, but overlooks another hotel, as well. Also, the non-suite rooms in B and C have French balconies – some with furniture, and some without – as opposed to the full balconies offered in building A. Buildings B and C do; however, house some of the other hotel amenities such as the spa, hot tub, and fitness center. Make sure you look at a map and request what will best fit your needs and desires.

The one major let down was the restaurant reservation policy, which I’m sure you’ve already read about in other reviews. In order to eat at one of the non-buffet restaurants, you must go to the lobby, in person, between 9am and 12pm to make a reservation for that evening. You cannot do it over the phone, and you cannot book for future nights. The line generally started forming around 8:20, and if you wanted a 6:30pm seating (as opposed to the 9pm), you needed to be in the line early. In my opinion, the process wasn’t even worth it – we found the food in the reservation restaurants to be good, but not great – and not worth the reservation policy experience. The menus were tattered, it was more of a cattle herding process than a special dinner, and the parts of the meal that were standard – such as the seafood appetizer, or the lobster, were prepared far in advance and had sat for a while. Overall, not bad, but not great. We ended up sticking to the buffet for most meals, and it was wonderful. A great variety for every meal, tons of choices, made to order stations, and enough rotation of dishes that you were not bored with the selection. The staff in the buffet room is also wonderful! Look for Samy in the back section – great service with a great personality and a great smile!
I can’t say enough about the bar staff! They were wonderful. In our experience, all-inclusive resorts generally don’t really cater to the guest in terms of alcohol. There are generally few selections, and the bar tenders are cold and don’t appear to really even want to serve you. Not the case at the Riu! All of the bar staff – bar tenders, cocktail waiters/waitresses, pool side servers – were all fantastic! The selection was great – the drink specialties were wonderful – and there was always someone wanting and willing to help you – quickly, efficiently, and with a great personality. Look for Felix at the pool bar – he’s extraordinary! Try a Dirty Monkey – you won’t be disappointed. Also – a quick all inclusive tip – bring a to-go cup (one you’d generally use for coffee) – they are happy to fill it for you – it holds more – it won’t blow away in the Aruba wind – and it will keep your cocktail cold!

If I had to find one negative – this place had, what I like to call, the worst “great towel race” that I have ever seen. Now, in most places, there are some early birds that like to reserve pool chairs or beach huts…but here…it seemed like everyone was doing it…and I mean early…like 6:30am! If you were out past 7:30, you aren’t getting a pool chair with an umbrella, and won’t be even close to getting a beach hut. So…fair warning…the early bird wins the great towel race at the Riu.

Also ladies, I’d skip the large brimmed hats in Aruba…the wind is very strong and they won’t stay put.

Overall – a great vacation – up to expectation, clean accommodations and grounds, beautiful beach and pool, and wonderful service. We’ll be back.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank melis2121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2012 via mobile

The hotel is excellent but you have to knows few things,wi-fi has only in the lobby or another options is to pay $5 for one hour or to get some plan.You have to print your conformation e-mails for the transfer " airport-hotel" and conformation for your room.The food and the restaurants are fine,for some restaurants you have to do it reservation in the morning.Most of the time is Wendy but that is something normal for Aruba,the streets are very smal and after rain they are flooded,the temperatures are 75F to 90F.

Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Bobiy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2012

My fiancé and I stayed at the Riu Palace Aruba from May 6-May 13, 2012. I had spent time reading the tripadvisor reviews of this hotel prior to our departure. Our flight to Aruba from Toronto went smoothly and when we arrived to our hotel after being shuttled over (15-20min ride) we were told our rooms were not ready and should be ready at about 3pm. We went down to the main buffet restaurant and had a nice lunch and then went back to the lobby to find out that our room was ready early and that we were getting upgraded to a Junior Suite.

ROOM
Our room was in building B on the 6th floor. We faced the Westin hotel and had a partial view of the Ocean. It wasn’t a great view and we didn’t have chairs on the balcony, but we didn’t mind so much as we were glad to get the extra space in our room (couch and sitting area). The room was clean and a little outdated, but it didn’t bother us. After all we weren’t there to spend time in the room. The maids did a great job and always came in the evening for turndown service and to bring us extra towels and refill our minifridge as necessary. I would say that the service we received at this resort was really good and I’ve been to many resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico.

BEACH & POOL
Because Aruba is a more expensive destination then some islands in the Caribbean (Such as Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic) I always figure the beach would be the nicest – however that was not just so. While the beach was pretty and the sand was white and soft – the water was cloudy and after walking in about waist deep, the nice sand turned to a muddy sulphur-smelling substance that felt really gross on my feet. I was not a big fan of it at all! Other than that as I’m sure you have read already, wake up at 5:30am if you want a hut, or just find a palm tree to hide under if you don’t feel like waking up. We played beach volleyball everyday and had a great time. Pool was nice, we didn’t spend too much time there, but did go into the infinity pool for a little bit every day.

WEATHER
Aruba is known for having good weather and no much rain (especially in the month of May). However we had rain everyday. Sometimes it would rain for 1 ½ hours and the clear up and other times it would rain longer(but usually at night or in the morning). The wind was pretty tame when we first got there and pick up quite a bit just as we were leaving, but you need the wind, otherwise the heat is too much!

FOOD & DRINKS
We were happy with the food. We ate at two of the speciality restaurants, Japanese and Italian. The Japanese was so-so and the Italian was good. The buffet (Don Nicholas) was good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lots of variety, could always find something – did end up eating the same things over again. The drinks were good – the bartender could make whatever you wanted. I feel as though the drinks are watered down or something, because I didn’t even get a buzz at anytime.

EXCURSIONS
We rented a car for a day (about $50 for a car or double that if you want a Jeep). We drove around the island and went to Baby Beach which was my favourite place on the whole island. So beautiful and nice if you like to snorkel. We also went to see the Natural Bridge – it was ok, and the California lighthouse. It was nice t just drive around and see how people in Aruba live.
We also did a snorkelling trip from 9am until noon. It was on a catamaran called Sunshine and it was booked through the watersports guy right on our beach. We had only one other couple on the catamaran so it was nice and peaceful. We were taken to two locations and given equipment, light food and drinks. The cost was $45/person. Totally worth it – I even saw a sea turtle!!

ENTERTAINMENT
The so-called entertainment was horrible!! I have stayed at Riu’s on three other islands and this was the worst entertainment by far! Shows were half an hour long and not well rehearsed. After 10:30pm there is nothing happening on the resort. You may want to walk down the strip where all the bars, restaurants and shops are for some entertainment in the evening.

There is definitely room for improvement at the Riu, but it was nice and we had a good time.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Luv2Trvl1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2012

Just returned from Rui had great time are rooms were on 10th floor and view was great.No problems with ac in room and maid service was fantastic.Yes paint is peeling along edge of pool.Yes if you want a hut you must get up early just like every other resort .Food was very good .Great snorkling on beach.Dont agree with all the negitive reviews.Dont miss the Kukoo Kunku Tour if you are a party person we had a great time .Also Steak House is the best .We had no problems with any of workers at hotel including beach workers.Night entertainment at hotel is not .great .Nice to be able to drink water in your room out of faucet.Take bus into town much cheaper than cab..Also nice that you can walk outside of hotel and feel safe.

Room Tip: .The higher the better tenth floor if you can get it.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank russell a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Riu Palace in september of 2011 and had amazing weather and such a great time! (we are 27/28yrs old and from nj) This review is now our 2nd time May 8-13, 2012-we couldn't wait to come back!!
Everything is spotless and the service is amazing, they really make you feel like royalty and are by far the most attentive and nicest hotel staff I've come across. Actually, the entire island of Aruba truly is "one happy island!".
I definitely recommend asking for a pillow top for your mattress when you check in since the mattresses are pretty firm. Also, request a room in bldg B or A high up, jr suite facing the pool/partial ocean view!
For restaurants we loved Milano and Nautilus! The buffet was amazing whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner-take advantage of the all inclusive!!!!
We also ate at Madame Janettes and El Gaucho on the island, both are about a 5min cab ride away and are great experiences with even better food!
Wear your sunscreen and reapply throughout the day!!!!!! The sun is very strong but the winds are great to cool you off!
We are more of beach people but if you do like the pool-get there early. Even though its against the rules people do hold chairs early.
The nightly entertainment at the Bon Bini Bar was always very good and something different every night!
Being at the Riu you are very close to EVERYTHING!! Bus stop out front goes downtown (or a $12 cab ride), and you have a ton of shops and restaurants to the left of the entrance. I recommend stopping by Raymond Jamies booth, he's an oil painter right near Giannis restaurant. He does beautiful work, is reasonably priced and can beautifully personalize it for you within minutes.
As far as excursions go...the following below are absolute musts and are not the same ol commercial tours everyone else signs up for!!!:
Madi's Magical Tours (look her up online!) for $50 you get a very personal and crazy tour of the island! See all of the attractions and go to hidden local beaches!
Mi Dushi Snorkeling for the day (leaves right in front of the Riu). A great day of snorkeling with a small group compares to the 70 people you may be with on the jOlly pirates tour! You even eat the fish they catch on the boat!
George's ATV rentals: rent an ATV for a few hrs and explore on your own!!!
If possible get to baby beach for the day, it's a ride but it's beautiful!!!!
All in all....we cannot wait to get back to this amazing palace!!!!

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Kristi13085
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Haven, Connecticut
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2012

The hotel itself it nice....the pool setup and access to the beach is great! The service here is average. For a nice hotel, staff should be more helpful. One of the biggest problems was dining...there are 5 restaurants here but only two are available for lunch. You must make a reservation to eat each night at the customer service desk between 9a-12p. One night we were over 15 minutes late and even though the restaurant was half empty, the supervisor said it was too late to serve us.
On our last night here, I went to make a reservation at 11:30am and was told that all of the 4 restaurants were full for both seatings and we could only eat at the buffet restaurant, Don Nicholas. And yes, there are two seatings to eat every night and the menus are limited....definitely poor for all inclusive.
As far as alcohol is concerned, we had some beer stocked in the frig but it wasn't always re-stocked. The water bottles were unsealed meaning that they are refilling them each day. Alcohol is available 24 hrs a day but top shelf items were not available. The pool was limited in beer and hard liquor if you don't mind.
The room had a private balcony and ocean view...awesome. The bed was two queens put together and alittle hard but okay
We ventured out for three dinners and one lunch. The next time I would really have to compare all inclusive vs. non all inclusive.
The best part of your trip is definitely the company, and he was the best!

Room Tip: junior suite with an ocean view and private balcony (you can see the ocean but your neighbors can...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank hwaz911
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

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Address: J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 79 | Palm Beach - Oranjestad - Aruba, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba (Formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#11 Spa Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#12 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#15 On the Beach 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, 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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