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“Large group vacation”

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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Ranked #17 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 12, 2013

We were a group of 19 people- 10 rooms. Our rooms were spread out all over the resort, but this was no problem. We found the food to be excellent, but had trouble making reservations in the ala carte restaurants. We had to split up into smaller groups at all except the steak restaurant. The seating times were not convenient- 6:30 is too early and 9 is too late. The spa at the resort was excellent. Massages were awesome. The resort is beautiful and spacious. Rooms are good not excellent, but that is not where you spend your time. Reserving chairs on the beach and by the pool was a problem. Someone needs to work out a better system.
Overall this was a very good experience for the whole group. IF you remember that you are not in a 5* resort in America you will have a great experience.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank seasonedtraveler041
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 11, 2013

My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon. Our dream was always to go to Aruba, and we chose Riu because it was all-inclusive and because it looked beautiful in the pictures online. We expected a week of luxury , relaxation, and happiness and this awful place truly ruined what was supposed to be the most important week of our marriage. To start off , when we arrived, at 4pm, the room WAS NOT ready so we had to mull about the property in our travel clothes (jeans in 95 degree heat) for two hours with all the other guests who were also waiting two hours post check in for some reason. (Check in was supposed to be at 3pm) Then we were finally allowed to go to our room ( A jr. ocean view suite) and we were disgusted immediately. The room was dirty and smelled of smoke and mold. (despite the fact that I requested a non smoking room). I am not high maintenance and not a high end type of person .....trust me, I am not a 'travel snob' at all...This room this room was nasty, like one in a $20 per night econo -hotel. The bathroom was filthy with peeling paint and a toilet that kept overflowing the entire time. The couch had brown stains and smelled horrible. The AC barely worked, and the ceiling had big brown stains as if it leaked all the time. And to boot.....Instead of the king bed we requested for our honeymoon, we were given a room with two full size beds. I immediately complained, and they sent a man up to TIE THE TWO BEDS TOGETHER WITH AN OLD ROPE !!! I am not kidding, they tied an old frayed rope around the two beds and put a mattress topper over it Througout our entire honeymoon, the beds kept seperating and I kept falling in between them. It made sleeping difficult, and intimacy even harder. I requested a room change and they rudely refused , they said the hotel was full. I actually cried the first night , and my husband was in a bad mood too, because we just wanted to sit down and enjoy a bottle of wine and romance in our room and the dirty couch, sagging tied together bed, and moldy smelling room made it impossible. We paid A LOT OF MONEY for this fine trip, and we felt terribly deceived and overwhelmed with disappointment. The hotel itself was not too nice either. The elevator was slow , and there weren't enough of them so there was always a five to ten minute line to use one. And there was no ventilation or air conditioning in the elevator so it was stagnant and hot and SMELLED REALLY BAD !!! The restuarants and food were a huge disappointment. The food was bland, the choices were very limited, and the portions were extremely small. (My husband was starving an hour after eating at the sit down restuarants). The restuarants were very tiny and they rushed you out of there, plus you have to get up early and stand in a ridiculous line to book them. The dinner and lunch buffets were lackluster.... it was the same food every day and there were flies and birds helping themselves to all the food with no staff doing anything about it. I actually witnessed a bird flapping around in the mashed potatoes, pecking away while staff just stood there. The drinks were pathetic - tiny little 5 ounce plastic cups of whatever drink you request, and they are watered down, weak, and they use cheap bottom shelf alcohol for everything. No alcohol service on the beach, and you had to wait in line for 15 minutes for each drink you wanted. My husband would go order four drinks at a time, which was equal to one normal sized drink. I am serious, not exaggerating !!! There are very few wine options, if you are a "wine person". They 'unlimited room service menu' is a joke....the room service breakfasts consist of a hard boiled egg and stale pasteries. The snacks on the room service menu consist of cheap tortilla chips with cheeze whiz on them, a tuna salad, or a bagel. That is all......I am serious. I kept calling the nachoes "Nachoes a la 7-11" because that is what they were like. They were good, but not the romantic honeymoon room service food we were anticipating. We were misled by our travel agent that this place was perfect for a honeymoon and that we would be treated like royalty and spending a week in the lap of luxury. RIU didn't even acknowledge that it was our honeymoon, and our Travel Agent requested the HONEYMOON PACKAGE !! When I asked about it, they said the tied together king bed and the candle they left in the room was the honeymoon package. The worst part is that the service was AWFUL. When I spoke to the manager about changing our room she acted annoyed and like she didn't even care. Apparently a lot of people were complaining because there was a waiting list to get an appointment to discuss my complaints with her. There is also no entertainment at night. All the other nearby resorts had bands playing, dancing, shows, things going on at the pool or beach at night. This place was dead. By the 4th night, my husband and I were so incredibly disgusted with the poor quality food, watered down tiny drinks, nasty smelly room, and awful service that we began going other places within Aruba to eat and drink in the evenings. We then began to enjoy ourselves. Aruba is beautiful, and the pool and beach at Riu is beautiful, but the hotel itself is vile and the service is appaling. Do NOT COME HERE FOR A HONEYMOON......you will be led to expect a luxurious romantic experience and will be greatly disapointed. The all inclusive concept is not worth it if you come here......spare yourself the disappointment and stay at the Hyatt , Westin, or Marriott and just buy your food and drinks. Our plan is to go back for our 5th anniversary and to stay at one of those places so that we can get back the romantic honeymoon that RIU PALACE RUINED !!!!

Room Tip: My advice is that the rooms here are all vile. They are are smelly, old, and if you want a king bed...
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Rainbow4059
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2013

We went here on a quick last minute 5 day vacation and my wife and me had a great time. I found the service great from everyone that worked at the Riu. The food was very good at buffet and the steak and seafood A La Carte was also very good. The location of the Riu is perfect and you can walk to some shopping or a short bus ride to city. We had no trouble getting beach towels and the service at swim up bar was quick. Loungers at pool and beach were plentiful and we never were without one. You must get up early if you want a beach cabana but that is the same at any resort we have stayed at and my wife is always up early so we always had one when we wanted one. Our first room had a strong cleaning smell when we arrived but we were given another right away. We had a quick check in and did not wait for anything in our five days so it really was a great vacation and I have nothing negative to say about this Hotel, we will be going back in the future.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Gerry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

We just came back from Aruba yesterday. We stayed at RIU palace and were very happy about the room and the food. The only problem was that we could not book dinner at their best A la carte restaurant, the steakhouse Nautilus because there was a long line up at 8 am every morning. I don't know whether or not they have a system to identify the ones that double dipped ie: booking several times the same stay. The buffet is good.

They don't have a lot of umbrella or those straw hut shelters. People would go there and "reserve" them all day. I have seen people leaving the shelters but hanging their bags there to discourage others from using it. I find that practice very selfish. My sister and I found one and we did not see anyone sitting in it. As we were dragging the chairs in there, a female came over and used it. She told us that we should have asked because she was using it. We did not see anyone sitting in there to ask. She pointed to a male who was sitting way outside of it. I am wondering why these people who want to stay in the sun would like to "reserve" a hut. Any way, I think that the hotel should do something to discourage this practice.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms that have ocean view and higher floor.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Picky-traveler35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

We stayed here for the week starting Dec 2-2013 and enjoyed our week.

Rooms:
We stayed in building C room 644 and did not have any trouble with damp as reported by other people. The only comment would be that the A/C could have been better.
Maid service was inconsistent some days 2 hand towels some days none and the same with face cloths.
The bath and basin drains need some maintenance, as they were very slow to drain.

Food/Drink:
The food in all the restaurants was very good with plenty of variety at the buffet for all meals. We ate at three of the a la carte restaurants the Krystal, Milano and Nautilus and enjoyed them all.
Premium drinks were served if you requested them and the red wine served in the restaurants was good.

Beach/Pool:
The beach is great for swimming. We never had a problem getting a lounger or finding some form of shade on the beach or round the pool.
There does not appear to be a way of controlling people booking palapas at
6.00am.

General:
If you wish to rent a car walk up the road to the Budget booth as they are a lot cheaper than the in house rental company.
If going into town the local bus stops outside the Westin next door and cost $2.30 US. And they run about every 20min.

The staff in all areas were very friendly and helpful.

I would recommend this hotel and would stay here again if we return to Aruba

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank t2311ps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

I'm a little late in posting this review but my husband and I had our Honeymoon in Aruba at the Riu Palace this past October 10/21/13-10/27/13. Reading some current bad reviews I'm wondering if we stayed in a different place or if were were in a Honeymoon haze and didn't notice these things. The Riu is in a great location in the high rise section of Aruba. We first walked in on a Sunday afternoon and we were greeted very warmly with tropical drinks and a bell hop asking if he could take our luggage. We booked one of the largest suites in the hotel through our travel agency which included our own semi-private jacuzzi on the outside balcony. We had no problem with the check in as I feared based on previous reviewers and we were taken up to the room we paid for. The room was amazing. Tile floors with a separate sitting area, then a step up to a king size bed and a jacuzzi bathtub separating the bedroom from the open bathroom. The bathroom was huge with his and her sinks, a separate toilet and a very large tiled shower. Outside we had the biggest balcony of any room that I could see and it overlooked the pool with a view of the gorgeous beach. Our room was on the 3rd floor and was directly across from the sports bar. We enjoyed sitting outside on our balcony each night and listening to the music and the tranquil trade winds. We also used our outside private jacuzzi almost every night to unwind. The water could be made scorching hot or cool depending on what we felt like. We found the hotel to be super clean and each day the maid would come into our room, make sure it was cleaned and fill up the fridge with anything we used the day before. She would also come in the evening to turn down the bed. There always seemed to be staff walking around keeping the hotel looking beautiful. I can see that it could possibly use a facelift in the next few years but they keep it looking as best as they can. The pools are fantasic. They have an endless pool that spills into a larger pool and they even have built in lounge chairs (although they are quite hard). They also have a great swim up bar where you can order drinks while enjoying the pool. My husband and I never had a problem finding a place to lounge around the pool. The left side is mostly in the shade because of the building and so we always were able to find shade. People do go out early and put their towels on chairs and thanks to Trip Advisor I was prepared for this especially with the beach. The Riu has one of the most beautiful beaches of all the high rise hotels. We took a walk along the cement path to view the other hotels in the vacinity and the Riu probably has the most beach of any of them. They have a lot of beach huts but it is very important that if you want one to get up early and "reserve" it by putting your towel or personal belongings down. I would wake up around 6:30am each morning and go down to save a hut, then go back to the room get my husband, have breakfast and be at the beach by 8:00am. If you aren't an early riser, there is still plenty of shade between the huts or under a lot of palm trees. The beach is just gorgeous. The night we arrived was just before the sun was setting and I could not believe how breathtaking the sunsets are there. Just sit on the beach and enjoy. There are a lot of vendors selling rafts or water sports all over the beach. Although Aruba is all public beaches, not once did anyone bother us to buy something. It's very important to use a lot of sunblock because the tradewinds really do fool you into thinking it's not that hot. We thought the breakfast buffet was the best thing about the Riu. They had so much variety and everything was being made right in front of you. It was all so fresh. We also enjoyed the dinner buffet as well for the same reasons. We went to the Steak and Lobster ala carte restaurant one night but I wasn't crazy about it. The steak was overcooked and the lobster was rubbery and small. We did go out to two fantastic restaurants, The Flying Fishbone was a bit of a drive but well worth it. We had our feet in the water while we watched the sunset and this time, the lobster was cooked just right. The other restaurant we went to was El Faro Blanco which is an Italian place right next to the light house. Unbelievable views of the ocean and the hotels in the distance. Book this right as the sunsets and there is nothing more romantic! One night I thought I left my cell phone at one of the restaurants and the staff at the Riu couldn't have been more helpful. They called the place for me and made sure to leave a note for the other staff. My only complaints of the Riu would be that the conceirge is not available as often as it says they should be. Also, the entertainment is sorely lacking. There were some lackluster activities by the pool in he afternoon but you barely knew anything was going on. At night by the sports bar, there was a singer here or there with a keyboard but that was the extent of it. We were exhausted each night from all the sun so it didn't bother us too much but if there was a show or better enterainment, we certainly would have enjoyed that. The casino is decent and they have quite a bit of slots but be warned, it's very smokey. Drinks are included in the all inclusive but they give you tiny glasses. I saw people with their own cups getting drinks filled and I would recommend that too. Luckily there is a lot to do at night by just walking down the main strip in front of the high rise hotels. There are so many places to eat, get a drink or shop for local goods. Each night locals set up tables selling jewelry and other types of wares. The Riu is in such a great location. The DePalm pier is right next to the hotel and it was a very short walk to board to take any excursions. We went on the semi-submarine The Sea World Explorer which takes you to a WWII shipwreck. It was awesome! We also did a sunset sail on a DePalm catamaran. They have a lot of drinks, snacks and great music to dance to while the sun is setting. My husband and I had a perfect honeymoon in Aruba and I would highly recommend the RIU. We plan on going back in the next few years. Simply Beautiful!

Room Tip: Room 321 is the large suite with an oversized balcony and private jacuzzi. Great location overlooki...
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Barbara S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

Having just checking in the first week of December on the way there I was reading new reviews that were really bad. Mostly do to room issues. I was really hoping we did not have the same horror stories. When we checked in I had mentioned the the clerk people were complaining about the rooms. It was a huge relief to see our room was really nice with a center view over the pool and beach. The other nice surprise was the food at the buffets. Was for sure they best ones I have been to. Better then some of the restaurants on the island. There was always a great selection with some themed nights. Always fresh and high grade. Only ate at two actual restaurants and they were good for an all inclusive. As others have mentioned it you want a beach hut for shade you better get down there at 7:30 or 7PM. I was not into that so we rented an umbrella for $25 a day from the stand at the pier. A bit odd that the steak house doubled as the lunch buffet and the room service menu could have had more items.

The only dark spot was Maria the concierge. And I mean a dark spot. I can't remember the last time a person with a position that deals with the public was as rude and unfriendly as her. One word abrupt answers and she was looking at us like she wanted to kill us even before we said a word. She is clearly in the wrong job. But when the fedex driver showed up she was all smiles and personality. It left a negative vibe with us because it was the first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel was to ask her a couple of questions and you know what they say about first impressions.

Room Tip: Stay away from the older right wing.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Zlimits
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 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: $422 - $861 (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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