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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
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Reviews (6,619)
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Reviewed 10 December 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, travelled 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 10 December 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 overlooking the pool area with a view of the ocean although not directly on the ocean.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled 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 10 December 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, travelled 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
Reviewed 9 December 2013

The hotel was very beautiful & a great location. It was walking distance to alot of things. I went Nov 15-24th and we had no problems checking in and our room was very nice. We had a junior suite with ocean view. The bed was a little hard but we did get a matress topper and it was much better. The only down side was you have to make reservations for the specialty restaraunts every morning and they fill up fast. My great friend Sherri Hall from Trip Guy Travel Agency made all of the arrangements for me and was everything I was expecting!! Highly recomend my travel agent as well as the Riu Palace :)

Room Tip: get a junior suite in the main building & ask for matress topper
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank 767tammy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Riu Palace Aruba from 23/11/2013 to 01/12/2013. We chose this resort because we stayed at a Riu before and had a very positive experience so we were hoping for the same here. We were disappointed and I do not feel it was worth the money we spent.

Our room was a little bit less than average seeing how it did not have a safe. We had to go to the front desk and ask for a safe 3 times before they sent someone to install one (2 days into our vacation). We had a table in our room, but no chairs. The bed was really comfortable and I had a great sleep every night. Our balcony was large and spacious (I think all second floor rooms have large balconies). Other reviews mention the dampness in rooms which I was concerned about, but our room was fine (could have also been because my husband keeps the air conditioning at 19 degrees!) We were in Building C. A couple we met in Building B had dampness in their room.

The food in the buffet was good. They had a variety of dishes and some theme nights as well. You cannot get alcoholic drinks in the buffet for whatever reason, only soft drinks, juice etc. We ate at the Nautilus one night (steak house) and the food was good. As for 24 hour food, the sports bar has cold sandwiches in a fridge, some fruit, hot dogs that are always cold and nachos and cheese...that's it! This was a huge dissapointment for us. The only saving grace was the room service, but even that did not have a great selection. Alcoholic drinks were definitely watered down by the amout of ice the bartenders use.

The service from staff was the other huge disappointment. They were not friendly and were always stone-faced like they weren't allowed to smile. You would expect the bartenders to be a little more friendly, but no. There was only one server in the buffet who was nice to us in the mornings.

My husband and I like to spend most of our time on the beach by the ocean so I can't speak about the pool. The entertainment crew mainly stayed by the pool but from what I saw, it was nothing special. We also never went to the nightly entertainment. We usually spent our evenings either walking the boardwalk or the strip outside the resort.

The ocean and beach were the highlight of the trip for me. No complaints there. Just be sure to pack a lot of sunscreen because the sun is HOT and FIERCE. If you're willing to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning, you can reserve yourself a hut so you have shade. Also, it may have just been poor timing on our part, but they seemed to run out of towels a lot.

Overall, when we came back and people would ask if he had a good trip, we would respond "yes" because it was good, just not great. If I were to come back to Aruba, I would not stay here though.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank beachgyal K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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