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“Riu all-inclusive is a great change from a cruise”

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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Ranked #17 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 11, 2013

Our family of 4 adults just arrived back from a fabulous week in Aruba at the Riu resort. We loved the hotel and the food. This was our first stay at an all-inclusive resort but we've been on over 17 cruises so it was our only point of reference as an all-inclusive vacation. I'll try to cover a few things while it's fresh in my mind.

Hotel: beautiful 10-story hotel that is composed of 3 buildings in a U-shape which face beautiful Palm beach. The architecture looks similar to a white Arabian palace. Definitely the nicest appearing resort along the beach. The 15-20 minute taxi ride from the airport is $28. As an all-inclusive resort, all the food and drinks are included. We wore a blue bracelet for the whole week (if we lost it we would have had to pay $100 to replace it) and were never in need of anything. The main rooms are immaculate and we routinely saw people cleaning. The building is well-maintained and quite lavish compared to other resorts we've seen in the Caribbean.

Room: We had two rooms on the 3rd floor (315, 316) in the main building. Fabulous views of the beach with a balcony. The room is huge with the biggest bed I've ever seen (probably two full size beds pushed together). Although they were very hard (as we previously read on TA) we requested foam toppers and they were promptly put on the beds by the maid. The room is entirely tiled so the floor is quite cold with the air conditioning running constantly. We found it to be very humid and everything felt moist. Not sure if the AC wasn't pulling the humidity out of the air. The bathroom is very large with a jacuzzi tube. Plush towels were plentiful. Maid service twice per day. We tipped between $5-$6 each day and were very happy with the service. The room had a large closet, iron, safe, king+ bed, couch, 2 chairs, table, coffee table, dresser, side tables, mini bar, coffee maker, etc. Quite spacious and very clean.

Pool: very large and there are LOTS of activities always going on: water aerobics, dance lessons, crazy games, zumba, etc. The activities staff were very friendly, full of energy and quite engaging. If you want to just lay and sleep, good. If you want to join in, good. Anything goes. Drinks were plentiful with wait staff wandering around the pool constantly asking for your order. We noticed that during peak hours we received faster service when we tipped about $1 per drink. Getting a lounge chair around the pool was no trouble, but we never were able to get a beach cabana. Guests go out to the beach at 05:00-06:00 to put their beach gear at the cabana to "reserve" it and they are all taken by 07:30. Even a tip to the beach staff won't get you one. We tried.

Food: The main dining room has a fabulous buffet. The food was delicious and had a huge variety at every meal. I've never seen a buffet this good even at the best hotels on Mother's Day! We were never without a tasty meal and always satisfied. The staff was very attentive and occasionally we left a tip ($2-$5) when it was exceptional. We reserved dinner at a few of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed the Japanese meal the best. The Italian restaurant was quite good too. The steak house was good but not worth a repeat visit.

Entertainment: we were not impressed with the evening entertainment. The shows were conducted in Spanish and definitely catered to the Latin clientele. The casino is small and only a few of the slot machines actually paid out. It was very smoky in there and because it is subcontracted, drinks are not free.

We did a several fun things while in Aruba which I will post separate reviews for: Safari jeep tour to the natural pool, spa massages, sunset catamaran cruise, and shopping in Oranjestad.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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11  Thank MeetaP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 11, 2013

My wife and another couple stayed at the Riu Palace from 2/10/13 to 2/17/13. First let me say that until the accident, we were having a wonderful time. The Buffet food was delicious. We couldn't wait to see what the main entree was for the evening. The room does need updating. There was mold in the shower because the ceiling fans did not work in either room. But our maid kept the rooms immaculate. The Beach was the widest of any resort around us, and was beautiful.
Now the near fatal accident. On Saturday Feb 16th, I was laying on a lounge chair, on the beach, when it felt like a sledge hammer hit my chest. A palapa (round thatched palm roof) that was rotten at the base, blew over and hit me in the chest. It broke two of my ribs. Had it hit higher, it would have broken my neck or given me a possible fatal blow to the head. I would like to thank the young Canadian men that were sitting behind us. Three of them got the structure off of me. It was too heavy to lift so they had to roll it off of my chest!!! Many thanks to a fellow guest at the Riu that was a MD from Buffalo NY. He examined me and said he did not feel I had any internal injuries. Dr. Dave asked when we were leaving and it was the next day. He advised me not to go to the Hospital in Aruba and to wait till we got back to the States. The Hotel General Manager showed up with his entourage & the Dr spoke to him in Spanish. He said that they had called for an ambulance. While we were waiting (took them 30 minutes to get there) the manager told me he would pay any medical bills & also got into an argument with the Aloe Man, who just stopped to see if he could help. The ambulance finally arrived & all they did was take my Blood Pressure and tell me I had to go to the Hospital. Following Dr. Dave's advice I refused. They looked at my wife & said: "That will be $250!" I looked at the GM and reminded him that he said the Riu would take care of the bills, which he agreed to.
The pain was horrible. I couldn't lay flat because I couldn't breathe. I also needed assistance walking and could not get out of a chair without help. For dinner that evening, I didn't want to ruin everyone's time, so my best friend helped me down to the Buffet. To get ready my wife had to dry me off after showering and dress me. The GM of the Riu sat 2 tables away from us & never got up to see how I was doing. I also encountered him at the check out desk, & he did not speak. In the 24 hours after the accident, no one from the resort called to check on me. I could have been dead for all they knew.
As soon as we got back to the States I went to the ER. They confirmed that I had 2 broken ribs. I missed two days of work and had to have my wife dress me for a week. Since our return my Travel Agent and I have been contacting the Riu Corporation and have yet to hear from anyone. I am shocked, saddened, and angry over the Riu's TOTAL lack of concern over my accident. I thought they were a First Class Resort, but my treatment while there and afterwards is appalling!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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13  Thank gskline
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 reviewResponded May 27, 2013

Dear Greg,

Firstly we regret the described inconveniences. Please rest assured that RIU Hotels & Resorts greatly cares about the safety and well being of our clients. We understand your concerns and we hope that you have completely recovered.

We apologize that you did not feel adequately attended by our hotel management. They tried to do their best under the described circumstances. We are deeply disappointed to find that our team did not turn around this situation to your complete satisfaction during your stay.

We are informed that you are already in contact with our Customer Service Team who is doing a proper follow up regarding your case.

We really hope you will give us a second chance to redeem ourselves 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.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Went to Aruba to get married a few weeks ago and thought the first room was nice and the staff was exceptionally nice and the food was good. Things changed when we decided to switch rooms to a jaccuzzi suite. The entire area is smoking in Bldg B(despite their insistance that there is no smoking in the building) and there are ashtrays EVERYWHERE. When we checked another room to switch to, it was the exact same smell, even the staff member could not argue that fact. The air conditioning did not work in the second room and the ceiling in the shower fell in one night. Nice! We went to get out the wedding rings on the day of the wedding and realized the bellboy we had left unattended in a seperate elevator when we switched rooms had stolen it. Watch your belongings because all of guests were experiencing missing items as well!! When I brought this to the manager's attention I was told that noone on his staff would ever steal...period. Not even an apology or anything else for that matter-he does not care about his guests that is for sure. We did not let it ruin our wedding day and proceeded. The spa...DO NOT for any reason goto the spa to get your hair done!!!! The makeup was enjoyable but they doubled the price when we went to pay. They have a pricelist they share with you and it ends up being twice as much in the end. Please, if you're getting married there, do not let them touch your hair unless you want to look like you walked out of 1982 - I was charged $95 for this 10 min fiasco! Horrible!! Ended up doing it myself with my maids help. Loved Aruba but I'd stay at the Hyatt or the Radisson if I go again. Terrible management at the Riu

Room Tip: BEWARE couples getting married of the SPA! Also Bldg B ok if you are going to stay here but watch al...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Corinne C
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 reviewResponded May 27, 2013

Dear guest,

Many thanks for sharing your experience with us. We are extremely concerned to learn of your disappointing experience during your stay and would like to apologize for any inconveniences that you may have experienced.

I assure you this normally does not happen; however, I have used your feedback as a reminder for all of our team members of our procedure. It is important to us that our guests feel safe and comfortable at our hotel. We are deeply disappointed to find that our team did not turn around this situation to your complete satisfaction during your stay.

We are committed to provide excellent quality of our products and services to our guests. We regret to read that you have left our hotel with an opposite idea in your mind. I have sent your comments to the respective heads of departments involved and actions would be taken to address all your concerns.

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.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Recent 1 week stay was above average. Our first time to the island. Room was nice but please ask for a pillow-top pad upon check-in; it helped a lot. Pool was awesome! Food & drinks were above average. If you want a quality drink made you must visit the bar near the lobby; very well made.
Also, if you decide to take a Jeep Safari Tour, DO NOT book with "Fun Tours 4 U!" Instead, book with the concierge in the lobby with De Palm Tours. That's what we get for trying to save a coiple bucks. Also, if you're looking for a great photographer to take pictures, call Robert Arenz! You can google his name for further info. What amazing photos he took and he gave us all the digital pics the very next day.

Room Tip: Choose a room in the main center building above the 6th floor.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank David D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

This was our third time in 2 years coming to Aruba and the first time staying at the Riu. We came with another couple for 7 days and after reading some reviews we thought we had settled with the perfect spot to spend our vacation...boy were we wrong! The food was sub-par the rooms were a bit dated and felt "dirty" and a few of the staff members need to be fired on the spot. Maybe my standards are a bit high having stayed at the Hyatt in previous trips but I was really disgusted to see industrial grade carpet lining the walls of the elevators, trash piled up and over flowing what should be cigarette stations, and having the stench of raw sewage lingering around the outside dining area. A lot of times I felt like the maid service just didn't care about anyone wanting to sleep in until 9 a.m. as they were frequently yelling back and forth to each other in the echoing hallways. The few times we had to go to the front desk we felt as though we were burdening the staff. The woman at the "customer service" desk lacked personality as well as the desire to service the customers and was gone for hours at a time. The wait staff at the buffet refused to seat you and when you seat yourself you get scolded. They never had enough towels at the pool, the first two days we had to wait 30-45 mins for towels to be washed before we just ended up taking the towels back to the room with us and reuse them the next day.
They had some entertainment at the pool but at times the "entertainment crew" got a little too crude while yelling at some "women" to "Shake it baby... Oh yeah shake it" while there were children all around. I really could go on and on but really the only saving grace for this dump was a waitress at the pool named Valentina. She was amazing in every way and really optimized what great customer service should be.
I guess if you're fine with fending for yourself and just looking for the convenience of an "all inclusive" then this place will due. But if customer service means anything to to you then I would highly recommend you to look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank lilpapaya22
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 reviewResponded May 27, 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to give us such honest and detailed feedback.

It is important to us that our guests feel welcome and comfortable at our hotel. We are deeply disappointed to find that our team did not turn around this situation to your complete satisfaction during your stay.

We are committed to provide excellent quality of our products and services to our guests. We regret to read that you have left our hotel with an opposite idea in your mind. I have sent your comments to the respective heads of departments involved and actions would be taken to address all your concerns.

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.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

First off, I must say that my wife and I were very disappointed in the LIARS that write bad posts about the RIU. Either they have nothing else better to do or were extremely spoiled growing up and fed with a silver spoon.

We stayed at the RIU Palace Aruba from April 17-28th and had such a wonderful time. The temps were consistently in the 90's and we only have a total of about 2 mins worth of sprinkles on us. Sunny most of the time, but overcast a couple days (misleading because sun was making it through the clouds). The breezes were probably a constant 15-20MPH, but let me tell you, you get use to it very quickly and thank god for the wind. If there was no wind, people would start frying like bacon.

The hotel room: We didn't spend much time there so didn't pay too close of attention. Bed was nice and stiff, but requested a pad for the bed and then bed was very soft and comfortable. Room was spacious enough and maid service was excellent.

Food: My wife HATES buffets and actually enjoyed the breakfast buffet and any of the dinners. We made it down early enough on the days we wanted to make reservations for the specialty restaurants without any issues. All restaurants provided more than enough quantity and quality in food, never left disappointed. The Sports Bar was an added bonus for anytime snacking.

Beverages: While there wasn't much top shelf selection, the bar tenders did their absolute best at making quality drinks. Any drink requested, they had a variation of it. ALL bar tenders were super friendly and enjoyed engaging in conversation. Carlos and Martha were excellent for our evening bar needs. Felix and the ladies were awesome when at the pool bar during the day. For any babies that complain about not getting enough alcohol in their drinks, all you need to do is be polite and ask. Felix absolutely LOVED trying to make my drinks stronger than I could handle, and succeeded a few times.

There probably is not enough time or words to explain how much I really did enjoy the RIU and Aruba in general. I will likely go back for visits in the future and would not hesitate to suggest that others also go check it out. All in all, the island is friendly and the climate is excellent.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank bntrabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Just came back yesterday from Aruba.

This hotels is rated in some places as a 5*, id say more of a 4 or 4 1/2*, just because there seems like a bit of updating that is a needed. Arriving you will have your rep there, they take your luggage in a separate truck then you so don't be alarmed. The information meeting is a must because things are different, meaning, your luggage must be in the lobby before your departure time or you will have to take your own taxi to the airport which is 25usd.

The lobby is very grand and the casino decent but there is one tiny store for essentials. Good part is that just outside to the left of the hotel is a strip where you can shop and dine. The Westin which has an updated first and lower floor are updated and have shops for jewelry and souvenirs.

The Westin is right beside the hotel and there is some traffic from there but not intrusive.

Beach
The beach is waving so not great for snorkelling. The beach towels are worn, some stained. You have to be up by 6am if you want a hut bc people reserve them with towels, annoying part is that some don't show up until after breakfast and the hotel doesn't enforce the no reserving. The sand is soft. There is beach volleyball and fun!

There are no beach washrooms and you will need to go to the restaurant by the beach to use the facilities, slightly inconvenient depending where on the beach you are located.

Rooms
The rooms are clean and the maids are nice. They make animals with towels but use fake flowers, kind of cheesy. They do not clean the patio. We spilt some soda and had ants, so be careful. Our outside rack was broken so drying stuff was challenging especially on windy days. They fill up the mini fridge with plenty of stuff, water, soda and beer. There is a bottle dispenser with rum and the like which they refill if you go empty. There was an ice machine on one floor, first floor so the rooms above have a journey.

The rooms are not sound proof and the doors slam shut so sleeping in is not always possible and you can here people walking and talking when they pass by. I do not suggest a room on the first floor where there is a lot of traffic.

They also have tiny pillows and old bed covers. So no pillow selection options. There was a couch/sofa in our room which was stinky and a but rancid.

I also suggest building A or B as some rooms at building C overlook the Westin's back area where they store garbage and can be loud and the view sucks.

A la Cartes
The a la Cartes were very tasty. There are only two booking times, 6:30 and 9 pm, and you have to go the day of to reserve. Visits are unlimited to these but reservations start at 8am day off and can sometimes get busy.

Buffet
The buffets are good and have a variety. Coffee is very strong. The Nautilis for lunch is good too but updating is needed since the doors to the middle area do not close properly and did see birds having lunch at times! So be wary.

There is also a sports bar which has snacks, sandwiches and nachos all day.

Bars
There is a bar by the lobby, inside and outside, times vary. Here is a beach bar also.

Pool
There is a large pool which is always busy. Water was warm when we went in.

The weather is hot and humid so if you burn, apply and reapply.

Overall, our trip was great and fun. The hotel was clean and decent but not luxury level so I'd pay accordingly.

Happy travels!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Yollm123
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 - 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 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#12 Top resorts 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: $423 - $857 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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