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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Ranked #17 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 25, 2013

The hotel was nothing special, very generic. We didn't feel welcomed from the very beginning: the front desk people are not friendly at all, you get a feeling the whole affair is such a routine for them, they don't even bother to smile. The same in the restaurants, the staff is never there when you need them. We tried to concentrate on our vacation and enjoy despite everything, yet unpleasant emotions kept popping up. There was a strong chemical smell in the corridor that led to our room. That corridor being pretty long, one spends like 3 minutes at least walking through it and then you wait for ever for the elevator (by the way, be careful with that elevator button, it gives an electric shock when you press it - might be dangerous when your hands are wet from the beach), and all that time we were suffocating with some strong chemicals. We called the front desk of course, and asked to investigate. No result. We called several times, and on our fourth attempt we were told that there was no smell. As if we were just some dumb idiots. Guess what, the next day we saw huge dead cockroaches on the floor, so we understood what the smell was from - they were terminating roaches. Apparently, Riu Aruba doesn't know ways of terminating cockroaches without gassing your customers as well, or those no-smell treatments are too expensive for them, anyway, the strong chemical smell was there for four days of our vacation. We had to run from our room outside holding our breaths all the time.
The pillows smelled terribly with something disgusting, like vomit. Even though they were changing the pillow cases, the smell was on all of them. I couldn't fall asleep because of that.
The food: don't even bother going to their restaurants, it's not worth it - you wait 40 min for a pre-made salad or a pre-made seafood plater that was made a few days ago and tastes plain spoiled. Restaurant desserts are inedible as well. After being disappointed with the restaurants we went to the buffet only, where you also had to choose carefully to make sure you're not eating something spoiled. Overall, we weren't hungry of course, but definitely not exited about what we ate, weren't looking forward to our breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We couldn't wait for the week to be over and to get out of this place somehow. It wasn't fun, wasn't anything special. Feet washers at the pool or at the beach were always clogged and we had some irritation on our feet, probably also because they don't wash the floor in your room with clean water, it's whatever's there after several rooms before it was your room's turn.
I would definitely not recommend this hotel to anybody. Dull feeling.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Anna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,291 - 2,297 of 6,495 reviews

Reviewed October 25, 2013

If you need WIFI to conduct a small amount of business and you love walking around searching for a signal or enjoy sitting in the lobby (on the days wifi is available in the lobby) with 75 other people in your same predicament. Then this is the place for you. And you Facebook fiends, good luck! Food is great, sun and sand plenty, most of the staff is friendly, dress codes are forgiven for some but not all!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank BigUncleRon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2013

We stayed at the RIU during 0ctober and it was perfect from beginning to end there was no complaints, Everyone we meet was really helpful. It is called the Happy Island and so are the people. The Staff are there to serve and help and not waiting for a tip! so much so they you want to tip them. We went on an Island Tour and our driver Rocky could not have been more informative and helpful, he was always available. The same goes for Jaz our Rep. at the hotel. We would have no hesitation to return.

Room Tip: Our suite on the 2nd floor was perfect.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Wonderers244
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2013

August 2013 - We chose the Riu Palace Aruba for our Ruby wedding celebrations. We found the hotel more than adequate for our needs and were not disappointed much at all apart from the trip organised By Thomson – which is not a first for us – should have not booked any excursions with Thomson as we said last time we had a lousy Thompson excursion. We did not suffer all of the issues that others had reported in previous TripAdvisor reviews. We did stay in the less popular wing on the right facing the beach. We recommend the food the resort & hotel. It was sometimes difficult to get a sunbed at the beach & poolside especially when like others you have reserved a bed with a towel only to find some inconsiderate cretin has moved the towel who knows where and taken the bed for themselves – but I guess there are cretins everywhere. Been good to have a full rather than just a Juliet balcony. The rooms were fine if a little dated in decor. Service was good, staff friendly & helpful as was the Thomson/First Choice rep. We had a thoroughly great time beach is great island is great will go back as soon as. Pity we had to go with Thomson and not another tour operator.
Ray n Linda

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RaymondJohnSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2013

The RIU is conveniently located a 5 minute walk across from shops and restaurants. The pool is gorgeous and warm with a swim up bar. Beach is located directly in front of the pool bar, so if you're like me and like hopping between the 2, it's easy! Food selection at the buffet is awesome! I like my bacon and sausage in the mornings and none of it is greasy-they actually bake their bacon and sausage but it is just as crispy as I like it. Japanese a la carte was my fave, so I definitely recommend you try it. You have to reserve the a la carte Restos daily between 8 and 11am for that day, you cannot book in advance, so get in line cause sittings are at 6:30 and 9 pm and 6:30 fills up quick. We were located in building C but stayed in the main building when we visited 5 years ago. Main building is furthest from the beach, but is more convenient if you're spending time in the lobby to access wifi. They advertise free wifi, but the signal is only consistent in the main lobby. If you're like me and enjoy using your iPad to watch shows movies etc when you're hanging out in your room, this is not the place. Each day they said it would be up and running at 10 (am or pm it didn't matter cause it never worked in the room) and it is day 4 here and still nothing. So all you workaholics are in for relax time! Otherwise pretty good place, staff are excellent!

Room Tip: 6th floor and higher have great ocean views.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank allaroundtheworld12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2013

I just wanted to start by saying that we came to Aruba for my sister's wedding and were part of a large group of 21. First impressions of the hotel were mixed, sure, it looked amazing and wow it is a fantastic building but as another reviewer on here as stated, front desk staff are a mixed bag. Our holiday was booked 18 months in advance and from the word go we asked for a crib in the room as we were travelling with an infant. We checked several times that the hotel had this information and Thomson assured us that a crib would be allocated to our room. The guy from reception who checked us in was a little dismissive and frankly rude when i asked again at check in. Not what you need after a ten hour flight but anyway, long story short - the crib wasn't there and we were extremely disappointed with the first room given to us. Rang reception and after 30 minutes the crib still wasn't there. Someone else has pointed out that they are not great with dealing with a lot of people at once. You must go to reception and not move until they deal with it. My top tip, speak to the manager. Don't be put off.

The rooms - you get essentially what you pay for, if you are from the UK - Thomson have a contract for these rooms so you'll probably be in one, unless you pay extra for a balcony room/suite. Be advised that the standard rooms are in Block C - this is a mixed bag of rooms (some have been updated and some are old and tired). Our first room was right at the end of floor 7 - I think 742? It hadn't been updated, it smelt of damp (it's a tropical country, you have to expect some of this with the a/c and humidity) and the bathroom was dirty etc. Not what we were expecting after spending almost 4 thousand pounds on a holiday. BUT, the manager did give us a new room and by the time we had moved our luggage there, the crib was also there - finally 2 hours later. The new room 652 if you're interested was freshly decorated - we could smell paint - clean and much better bathroom. The rooms were pool facing and had juliette balconies which suited us as we didn't really want to use it as we were travelling with a toddler. TVs were very old but had a selection of channels. The views were amazing, mini bar stocked - housekeeping and room service were fab - they would bring you tea making stuff and even milk for our toddler, all you had to do was call and ask. All in all, I would say based solely on the rooms, this is more like a 4 star hotel - the premier inn at Gatwick had better standard rooms! Though they have all inclusive or this location so pros and cons :)

Food and drink were also stunning, the buffet restaurant had a wide range of foods to suit the wide variety of tastes coming through the door, it would be hard to go hungry here. Staff are so good and work hard. I'd say the hotel staff are on the large part friendly, accommodating and genuinely seem happy to chat/assist you. It is a shame that the reception staff haven't had the same customer service training as the hotel's workforce. The other bookable restaurants were well worth a visit, my favourites being the Italian and the Japanese restaurants, yummy and great service. The bar staff and waiters were also friendly and quick! Felix at the swim up bar is awesome - "Hey Baby" ask him for an Island Temptation - yum!

Staff work hard to make the place beautiful, gardeners tend the grounds and the pool guys clean up every night morning - plus in the middle of the day. It is windy and drinks do get spilt but they do try to keep the place clean. You can help too buy putting empty drink cups in the bins provided. The pools are amazing, best of all the hotels of palm beach in my humble opinion. My little boy adored the infant pool. The sun beds are unreserved but people do reserve them, really, this happens everywhere you go. Just get up early and go reserve on if you want a particular spot. To be honest if you go down for breakfast and take your towel, walk by the pool and nab a spot. Most people do this and then come straight out. There are always free beds but the ones in certain areas tend to book up fast. The sunshades around the pool are a bit redundant anyway because they let a lot of the light in. The beach in front of the hotel is lovely, the sea is amazing but beware it is a public beach so don't just leave your bag etc there if it has you valuables in it. Saying that Aruba does feel incredibly safe and the guys from the RIU are normally around anyway.

Someone has said that there was not entertainment but I beg to differ, there was a good entertainment team that work very hard, music, zumba and games round the pool in the day. To live music and dancing, plus occasional shows in the Bini Bar at night. Okay it's more holiday camp than anything but the dancers work so hard and actually it is fairly entertaining, not perhaps for the entire two weeks!

Jaz the rep from Thomson is very good, we booked three trips with her - the horse riding which was amazing, the Island tour - baby beach was lovely and the Caribbean Festival which was also good fun. She is so friendly and did her best to sort us out when our flight home was delayed.

The hotel is lacking in a few extra amenities that would really benefit it's guests - more toilets especially closer to the beach/pool and they don't have one baby change table. Even just putting one of these in their disabled toilets would be nice as we were not the only family with infants there. Just something to consider if anyone at the Riu is reading this.

Aruba is a gorgeous place with friendly people, it definitely feels like one happy island. I would totally recommend this destination to anyone who wanted a sun holiday where they weren't restricted to their resort. We travelled around the small island, from walking through the resort at night, to finding nappies at the chinese supermarket, walking to Eagle beach, busing into Oranjestad (definitely do this 2 - 2.5 dollars - each way = cheap!) for shopping and cocktails at Iguana Joes - yum! You feel comfortable walking around exploring, awesome island.

Just a quick note about the wedding, the civil ceremony in the morning was stunning, the promises and the ceremony were beautiful. The hall were it is held was gorgeous. My sister and her husband were thrilled. Then come to the beach ceremony where all the guests attended at 6, and we were blown away, the service was so emotional and personal plus what a location (even the presence of extra guests - those watching from their distanced sun loungers was actually not as weird as one might think - cue lots of clapping and cheers). Just would recommend - best wedding I've ever been to. The wedding co-ordinator was fabulous and the photographer brilliant!

Also gosh, this is an essay! Sorry! But I just had to put a quick word in for the ladies in the Spa who got a bad review from one bride on here. They were friendly, good at what they do and not an 80s make-up job in sight. Be clear what you want, take some pictures, talk them through it and if it isn't going well, stop them! My sister's eye makeup was a little dark at first but you have to be brave enough to say sorry no that isn't for me. They were super and just removed the offending liner and redid it in a lighter shade, it was a beautiful job by the end, very modern and fresh, using top products. If you don't stop them or tell them you're not only leaving upset but you're taking away their chance to make it right.

Another top tip - go to Senors Frogs at least for one or two drinks, very entertaining! Two if you like makeup, wait until you're here to buy MAC - it is cheaper here in their official shop in Oranjestad than in duty free!

Room Tip: Join Riu club to specify room choice and go for higher rooms for great views.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank rahgoddess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2013

We stayed at the RP for two weeks. On arrival we were checked in very quick, having booked a taxi transfer from the airport, we were in front of the mass check-in of three coaches. The lobby and reception area is large and grand. The first room we were allocated was on the 4th floor, block b, a jnr suite. Immediately, we noticed the room felt damp and it smelt of cigarettes, we put the dampness down to the AC. We tried to settle in this room but the dampness and smell was too much. (our request was for a non-smoking room on a high floor). On our third day we asked to move rooms. The new jnr suite was on 9th floor, block b, immediately it felt so much better. It was spacious, clean, lots of wardrobe and drawer space, stocked fridge, ceiling fan, sitting area, large balcony and very good bathroom. Our room was always cleaned to a very high standard. The buffet restaurant was excellent, it had an amazing selection of food, it was presented well and the service was very good. The steakhouse was very good, the service was a bit hit or miss and it did lack atmosphere. (this restaurant was used each day for buffet/snack beachside dining). We were not overly impressed with the other three a-la-carte restaurants. Maybe if they changed their menu's on a weekly basis, just a suggestion.
Booking for the restaurants was not a problem. The sports bar/snack bar was ok, nothing special, they did not seem to show much sport from the UK. Barry's bar was very good, it is outside with lovely wrought iron furniture, waiter service or seats around the bar. The drinks, presentation and service was excellent. Each evening there was a singer/keyboards/guitar on the terrace which was usually very good, this finished around 9-9:30. The Bon-Bini bar inside was very comfortable with AC, it did look dark and dated but the service was very good. Unfortunately, the entertainment in Bon Bini was awful. (ok if you like holiday camp type games). Dire!
The pool was excellent, it was divided into three sections, the infinity pool, mid area with fountain and waterbeds, the swim-up bar with seats and tables. The pools were very clean. The swim-up bar service was very good as was the bar service around the pool. One thing I didn't like was that people think it is ok to smoke around the swim-up bar. There are plenty of sun loungers around the pool. The beach is amazing, soft, clean white sand leading to the calm, clear turquoise sea. There are about twenty cabanas on the beach, these get reserved very early, sun loungers are plentiful on the beach. A lot of the pool/beach towels need replacing, they were stained/worn. Take a walk into town where you will find Senor Frogs, Hard Rock Café and a whole host of bars, restaurants, shops and market stalls. You can walk for miles along the beach both ways, it is really lovely, you will notice that RP has the best beachfront.
Aruba is a safe and friendly island. We hired a car for one day, went from end to end and managed to see everything. Overall, we had a wonderful holiday, met some great people, the location is excellent, service in bars and buffet excellent. Although we really enjoyed our holiday, we would not return. Seen it and done it!

Room Tip: Jnr Suites in block B have a balcony. Higher floor gets a better view.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank soozienewshoesyeah
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:
#5 Casino 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
#16 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range: $437 - $827 (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):
The 24-hour All Inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Aruba opens all year round and is located directly on the beautiful Palm Beach. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Aruba Airport (10 km) and Oranjestad (11 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 450 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa, or get in shape at the fitness center. 2 outdoor pools, 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment, as well as our discotheque in the neighboring Hotel Riu Palace Antillas. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main buffet restaurant, Japanese and Italian, Fusion restaurants and Steakhouse, as well as 5 bars and our Capuchino patisserie & ice cream parlor. ... 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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