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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
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Reviews (6,617)
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2,075 - 2,080 of 6,617 reviews
Reviewed 6 June 2014

Where do we start! We took a private taxi transfer from the airport upon arrival in Aruba, and our holiday had already started. The driver was very friendly and provided us with a guided tour en route to the hotel. He already demonstrated that this is 'One Happy Island'.

We arrived at the Hotel which definitely stood out from the other surrounding hotels. It was exuding so much character and charm. We were instantly greeted by the bell-boy outside to assist with our luggage. When entering the lobby we were stunned by the majesty of the place. It was very large but most importantly it was very clean. The staff were very friendly and attentive, and the welcome drink and speedy check-in process took the strain out of the long journey we had from the UK.

We made our way to our room which was detailed as being a double room with garden view. We got to the room on the eighth floor (0853 - in Block B (I think)) and found that we were overlooking the beach end of the pool. The views were breath-taking. Amazing sunset views from there too! There wasn't a balcony you could sit out on - rather just a small area you could stand on, which suited us fine so we could just stand there and watch the sunset. Would definitely recommend.

The room was itself very large for just the two of us but I wasn't complaining - it was grand. More importantly, it was immaculately clean. The cleaners were very friendly and very thorough, and remained that way for the whole of the two weeks we stayed. Towels were changed very regularly, sometimes two or three times a day, and an evening bed turn-down service added that extra special bit of charm. The mini-bar and fridge were stocked every day which was very refreshing when returning to the room to have cold drinks available in the room - named brands, as well as local lager/beer which was very nice. A good range overall.

We slept well every night - no noise at all could be heard when the sliding patio doors were closed. The beds were a little firm, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they were too hard to sleep on - horses for courses I believe from some of the reviews I have read - and clearly if you needed that extra softness it was willingly and readily provided.

We had no problems getting loungers by the pool, and we didn't rush down in the wee hours to stake a claim on them. The same with the beach area as well.

We have to make a special mention about Freddy in the Bon Bini Bar. What a character! He was charming, funny and constantly happy which in turn made you feel happy. I would rate his customer service as 1000/100, and would go so far as to say that the bar was not the same when he wasn't there. Suffice to say I think they should rename it 'Freddy's Bar'!!
We both felt that the food at the buffet, with regards to variety, quality, and quantity was superb. Consequently, we ate there almost all the time sitting either inside or outside depending upon how hot it was on the day. I especially enjoyed the cooking stations where you could pick what you wanted and they cooked it for you fresh there and then. We took advantage of eating at the steakhouse Nautilus on two occasions during our stay which was also superb - choose the 6.30 sitting and you get seated on the perimeter where you can watch the sunset.
The AI certainly was, down to 24hr snacks in the Sports Bar - fresh sandwiches, fruit, hot dogs, etc were readily available.
The waiters, bar staff, cleaners, etc are very friendly and will go out of their way to assist you. It is clear they are exceptional people who work extremely hard. Although not necessary, we felt the occasional tip here and there can go a long way and was very gratefully received.

The Thomson rep at the Hotel (Myer) was extremely polite, knowledgeable and most importantly available if and when you needed her assistance.

There were bars, restaurants and shops nearby the Hotel which we also visited on occasion which were very good.

All I can say now is that we felt really sad to leave this wonderful place, but we would definitely return, hopefully sometime in the near future.

Well done Riu Palace Aruba Resort, you are an asset to Aruba and its people.

Room Tip: We would definitely recommend a room on a higher floor to take advantage of the sunsets/sunrise and of course the views of the beach and sea.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

We are currently here at the RIU in Aruba, I thought I would share some of our experiences both good and bad.

Firstly our flight was delayed by 6.5 hours last week, (not much that can be done), arrived at the RIU late at night with a welcomed sandwich and drink, got to the room and unloaded the cases. Within 2 hours my wife was awoken by the sound of gushing water as the hot water pipe had burst whilst we were a sleep, it leaked so fast that the room was under 3 inches of water and flowing over the balcony. The staff reacted really quick and cleaned the room,they said they couldn't relocate us. The maintenance guy didn't need to investigate the problem he said that this happens frequently!! Hence why people complain of a damp smelly room.

The rep did a good job and complained on our behalf we got a free spa...great!

Next problem we opened the fridge got out a bottle of water when a Pepsi can exploded covering the room and us with ice pellets of coke not only that , a piece of metal had sheered off narrowly missing my wife, this was caused by someone putting a can near the freezer part and us opening the fridge door long enough for warm air to ignite the pressure, free laundry this time.

Third incident, toilet didn't work needed new parts again this is a frequent issue.

Though these incidents have been annoying to say the least the staff have been marvellous and also the rep she has been really good too.

On a separate note, the rooms are all really tired not brilliantly cleaned as you would expect, the dinner hall is bland same old same old every night.

The views and pool are stunning the beach is just a step away from the pool.

I personally travel to many destinations using a variety of top hotels,the value for money with the RIU is not commensurable to expectations. I would seek out an alternative at least until the new RIU is finished next year.

Room Tip: Try getting a room in the main building, complain if you have an issue. Good entertainment down the road at the Radisson hotel
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Darren J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

Just came back a couple of days ago from a 5 day trip and we stayed here. I went along with 2 other couples, it was our first trip here. We chose this place since it was all inclusive and looked beautiful from the pictures. The place is lovely, but for someone in her late 20's it was pretty boring to me. I've been to different hotel/resorts in other countries where they had activities all throughout the day to keep your attention. This one had a list of activities and whether or not they happened was another thing. There was some water aerobics and silly pool games, along with a show in the evening, but nothing just too entertaining.

The beds are pretty hard so I would request a pillow top as soon as you can, trust me! It smelled like baby powder when we walked in, that was so nice! :) Also, it's freezing when you get in your room. I turned the temperature up some and learned this can make the floor kind of slippery if it's not cool enough.

The food is average. We ate at the Japanese restaurant, Steakhouse and Italian place. The stuffed chicken at the Italian place was my favorite. The drinks here are basically 7 Up or Pepsi, or a red or white wine with dinner. I also think that A LOT of food is wasted here. Some restaurants had a set appetizer that gets brought out regardless if you want it. I don't think I seen many people finishing these and it was just sad to see so much waste...The huts outside are nice to lay under, very relaxing with the constant breeze. I did not know it was so windy here, all the time!

The staff here is really nice, we left a tip here and there for great service. Some may or may not speak English, but they'll find a way to get you what you want. We tried ordering drinks from one and she couldn't completely understand what we wanted so she had us write it down on a slip of paper :) The drinks here are pretty sweet, nothing to really get you buzzed (bummer) unless you're drinking it straight.

Overall I don't know if I were to come back if I'd stay here. We asked a Taxi driver what hotel he recommended and he suggested the Hyatt or the Ritz, don't really know much about either but hey. It was a nice trip and went by way too fast. Awaiting my next vacation!~

Room Tip: Higher numbered rooms that end in like 15-20 (ex. room 718) in the Main building may be on the side closer to construction going on at the Westin.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TripTakingTiff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

We were originally booked at the Westin Aruba but, when Riu bought the Westin and took it out of service for renovation, our reservation was transferred to the Riu Palace. As a Starwood Lifetime Platinum member, I was very disappointed to lose the upgrades and special treatment that I knew we could expect at the Westin, however, nothing was wanting in the way Riu handled our reservation and subsequent care during our stay. They treated us beautifully, starting with Jacquelina, Front Desk Asst Manager. She untangled a problem with our reservation with no hassle to us and placed us in a Jr Suite with a full ocean and pool view on a high floor just as I had requested of Westin. The suite on the 9th floor had one of the largest balconies on the property with breath-taking views of the pool, ocean and sunsets.

The hotel is a lovely old-world style with nice woodwork in pristine condition. Granite, marble and other natural stone floors add a nice elegance to both lobby and rooms. The staff is awesome - among the best in any hotel or resort in which I have stayed and given the amount of international business travel that I do, staying in 4 & 5-star hotels, that is saying a lot! The servers were very attentive and friendly in the restaurants. Seeing the Maitre'D in the main restaurant - Watty - was the highlight of our 11-year-old son's day. He greeted us with a broad grin and eager welcome each meal. In the restaurants, Gomez, Ana Lucia, Suzanne, and Jacqueline, were especially friendly and efficient.

When we learned of the hotel switch, I immediately got on Trip Advisor and was concerned about several of the reviews I read about the Riu, namely the mildew and hard beds so let me say a few words about the concerns.

1) Renovation: We were in the wing immediately adjacent to the Westin but on the opposite side of the building. There was essentially no disturbance from the renovation.

2) Hard Beds: We did request the topper for the bed which made the bed fairly comfortable. I saw in another review that the guest had a memory foam bed (they were in a different wing) so perhaps there is an upgrade in progress. With a topper, I would say this is a non-issue.

3) Mildew and Humidity Control: There was no hint of mildew in our room when we arrived, however, the humidity did build during our stay. As an engineer, I am always trying to solve things. Based on our experience, I believe that the high humidity problem is caused by lack of adequate bathroom ventilation. Showers increase the humid in the rooms to a point that the A/C alone cannot handle. We discovered toward the end of our stay that if we simply opened the sliding glass for for about 5-10 minutes after showers, that the humidity fell dramatically. The A/C caught up quickly so the room was never at an uncomfortable temperature and the humidity level was comfortable. This is a problem that the hotel needs to address for the long term.

4) Availability of Chairs: We had no trouble getting chairs at the pool no matter when we got to the pool. I suspect that those with negative comments may have not been able to get chairs immediately adjacent to the pool.

5) Reservations at Specialty Restaurants: Again, we had no trouble getting our first choice of restaurants and meal times. Only on one morning did we set an alarm to be in line for reservations when they opened - and then it wasn't necessary.

We had a couple of minor issues for which Maintenance had to be called. They were extremely fast and efficient at fixing the issues.

The Housekeeping was excellent. The room was kept immaculately clean everyday and tidied each evening. The housekeeper left towels shaped as swans which was a lovely touch at the end of the day.

The restaurants offered a wide variety of good-quality food. The buffet restaurant had a huge variety and the quality was moderate to good. The quality of the food in the specialty restaurants was very good although not gourmet. In all, the dining experience was 4 on a scale from 1-5. The one low note was the easy access of birds to the lunchtime buffet food at Nautilus. There was very little attempt other than rapidly clearing plates from the tables to inhibit birds from getting into the food. This is very unhygienic to the point where I wouldn't eat there unless the food had just been put out. We saw several instances of birds actually eating from the buffet. We did learn that the hotel recognizes the enormity of the problem and will be enclosing that dinning room. Once that happens, it will be a delightful place to eat. The food selection there at the lunchtime buffet was quite nice and the location adjacent to the pool awesome.

The resort overall is geared for couples and adults. I hope that once the Westin reopens as a Riu adults-only resort that the Riu Palace will focus a bit more on families with kids. Those of us with children felt out of place as none of the activities were for children. It would be a nice addition to have some of the pool-side activities aimed at children ages 8-14. RiuLand seems to cover the younger guests.

A staggering array of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) were delicious and plenty, and served up by very pleasant and efficient bartenders.

The Riu was a lovely place to stay - one to which I would return and, as a result of our positive experience in Aruba will seek out other Riu hotels in the future. Thank you, Jacquelina and the marvelous Riu staff!

Room Tip: Request a room in the wing adjacent to the Westin on the pool side of the building. Nonth floor has wonderfully large balconies.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank petersse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2014

The Riu Palace is a spectacular looking Hotel in old colonial style. It has 3 blocks, we stayed in a junior suite on the 7th floor in the main building, the views were lovely. The bed was very hard but you can request a topper. The towels were changed and the fridge was restocked daily. There is a flat screen TV and wifi in your room. The Palace is well positioned for shopping and eating out, we ate in an Indian Restaurant called The tandoor 3 times and every time was excellent. There is a good bus service to take you to Orangestad $2.30, the shops seem to close at 6 and not open on Sunday.
Ronald B has written a very comprehensive review which makes very good reading.

Room Tip: We upgraded to a Junior Suite 7th floor main building, the view is wonderful!
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank GIFFYT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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