Through the recommendation of our travel agent, we booked the Riu for our honeymoon in Aruba. We told our agent we want a pampered, relaxed honeymoon on the beach. She recommended the Riu because it was new and had great reviews. We disagree.
We were anything but pampered. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice hotel but I wouldn't consider it a 4 star hotel by any means. It's very large and ornate. Not really my taste in decor but that's neither here nor there. We stayed in the the Jr. suite. We were in the C building, which is the old Aruba Grand building. Our room was renovated; marble bathroom, tiled floors..but a rock hard king bed. I actually prefer a firm mattress, but this was HARD. Apparently there were some 'dial-a-number' beds in the other buildings but only on the double beds, so we heard. There was a tube TV, no big deal, but again we heard other rooms had LCD's but those rooms didn't have the updated baths. So it seemed you had to choose which upgraded amenity you preferred. Nonsense to me. We also had to wait 2 days before getting our 'honeymoon' champagne. The wait kind of took that specialness away. Also we had the last room on the 2nd floor, oceanside view. At first we were going to ask to be switched to a higher floor room, but we realized the 2nd flr still gave us a decent view and was such easy access to the beach, pool and spa. We actually preferred our location. And since during our stay we were hit with torrential thunderstorms, everyday there was power and satellite tv outages, if we were on a high floor we'd be depending on the long flights of stairs too often. (Our trip was 10/5-10/14. It POURED 2 entire days, 3 mornings and one evening. The day we were leaving, Aruba felt the hit of Hurricane Omar. Awful storm. I don't know how our plane took off!)
On to the food.. as previously mentioned there is a buffet and 4 restaurants. The buffet was ok. After a while you realize the food is same pretty much day in and day out, but it's decent for buffet food. We only ate at 2 restaurants; Nautilus steakhouse and the Krystal gourmet. Both were pretty good. The Krystal is decorated with blown glass sculptures and is pretty attractive, while the Nautilus is pretty much deck seating. Biggest drawback, no background music. Very awkward. We heard to stay clear of the Italian and Japanese restaurants. On those nights we ventured into town and ate at La Trattoria by the lighthouse and Flying Fishbone. Look them both up; HIGHLY recommended for excellent food, service and scenery.
The drinks..they flow all day and night. The bars were ok. There's a 24 hour sports bar, an outdoor bar and nightclub bar which close at 2am. The nightly entertainment wasn't my style, but we expected that.
The pool and beach.. There are two pools, one sort of flows on-top of the other larger pool. The large pool has several loungers, a fountain, a jacuzzi and the swim up bar with tables and seating. They look nice but come noontime they are gross! All along the edges was floating buildup of spilled drinks, hair, suntan lotion and bugs. It was so gross that we soon decided we would just be beach bums. We would check each day thinking maybe it was abnormal, but everyday the same floating globs of grossness. If you stayed in the center it was fine, but if you wanted to rest along the edges or near the bar, beware. But after enough drinks I suppose people don't mind as much (?!) Also, it closes at 6:00pm...for cleaning!! We checked all the nearby hotels and all except for the Occidental were 24 hour, swim at your own risk. Step it up Riu!!
The mention of the waking up early to reserve your poolside loungers is correct, but every time we would head out to the beach the were plenty of chairs and a few palapas available. We loved the beach. It wasn't too big, but it was clean and quiet. Just could really use some drink service.
The staff.. is pretty friendly and eager to assist. The only time they were very unaccomodating is when we asked how much we paid per night and for our reservation details. We asked 2 separate front desk people, both times we were, rather rudely, given the run around. Also we asked about our room, the Jr. suite. On their website it shows a room with steps leading up to the bed and a large terrace. Our travel agent was told by the Riu that was what our room would look like. When we asked the staff member, she rudely said "None of rooms have steps. I don't know what you are even talking about!" I just explained the room wasn't what we expected, to which all she could do was shrug her shoulders.
All-in-all Riu is ok. Just not our idea of the perfect honeymoon. Based on our experience, it is unlikely we'd ever book at a Riu resort in the future. Next time around in Aruba, we'll be at the Hyatt.
- 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