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“Great friendly staff, smelly room, ok food, won't be back.”

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Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Ranked #18 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Great friendly staff, smelly room, ok food, won't be back.”
Reviewed 26 December 2010

Just got back from staying at the Riu in Aruba. Here are my thoughts...

Rooms - Junior suite was huge, old TV, well stocked mini bar. Like others have said, the bed is hard but I prefer a firmer bed so this wasn't a big deal. The room smelled mildewy so you had to keep the A/C and fan on all the time. If you're a light sleeper and they put you in one of the rooms on the Westin side of the building, ask to be moved. What you'll see out your window is Westin's loading dock, which they use at all ours of the night. No WiFi in the room! Who doesn't have wifi in the rooms anymore? You'll see lots of people on laptops/smartphones hanging out in the lobby - seemingly the only place you can get free wifi.

Food - Buffet was usually pretty good but had pretty much the same food every day. The specialty restaurants were hit or miss - which is weird since they all use the same kitchen/chefs. We thought the Italian restaurant had the best food overall - all 4 courses were tasty. The Steak House had great steak but the starters and dessert were poorly prepared and bland. The Japanese restaurant was a disaster. The 'sushi' rice was undercooked and over-seasoned and they didn't serve any raw fish - smoked salmon - yuck. The appetizers all had under-seasoned broths, veggies. The main dishes were either overcooked seafood/chicken or bland beef. We ended up going to the buffet after eating here because we ate so little of our food at the restaurant - and we weren't the only ones that did this.

Pool/Beach - We were there during a really busy week but even so with just a little searching we were always able to find a recliner either by the beach or the pool. People 'save' recliners with a towel which was really annoying, especially when they had no intention of actually using them - we sat next to unused 'saved' recliners almost every day. They really need to enforce their 'no saving' policy. Pool was huge though, never crowded. The beach was pretty crowded but we were always able to find a place to lay out.

We went on one of the Jeep Tours - lots of fun and you pretty much get to see the entire island, which is beautiful. We also did a deep sea fishing tour which was kind of a mess - really rough seas and stormy weather led to a shortened trip and no fish. :(

Overall we had a great time in Aruba despite the hotel downsides. The people were amazing, the island is beautiful, the weather was perfect. I'd love to go back to Aruba but won't stay at the Riu again.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
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Thank yoojintravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Hamilton, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 December 2010

1. Don't fly Thomas Cook travel.
2. Charter vacations bus everyone around together. Quicker to take a cab from and to airport.
3. Check in was smooth
4. Food is very good.
5. Pain in the butt that you have to stand in line for 30 mins to book restaurants. all before 9am. People were in line at 8am for booking restaurants. Dumb...
6. Need to reserve pool and beach chairs with towels before 7am.
7. Spa staff - lack customer service training. We booked a deep tissue massage, left with bruises even after telling her to reduce pressure.
8. Great location on the beach.
9. If you want all inclusive, this is the best hotel option. Holiday Inn..is no comparison.
10. Free WIFI in the main lobby only.
11. Stay in the main tower or the south tower. All rooms in north tower are old.
12. Careful with water activity vendors on the beach, they don't work together.

We stayed in the best room at the hotel. Jacuzzi inside and outside of the room on the 11th floor. Light in shower didn't work, hair dryer on the wall was 20years old and shower drain, did not drain. We called down two days in a row, then they showed up on the third day. Fixed all the problems, but the light. 2/3 not bad.

When we return to Aruba, we will be staying at the Hyatt, Westin or Marriott. There are many great restuarants in Aruba. Going non all inclusive is a much better choice on this island. If you are on a budget, RIU is the best place to stay. Just be prepared..its not perfect but it will work.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Coolchick1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2010

I don't understand why people are giving the Riu bad reviews! I took my mom here as a birthday/Christmas present and we both had an amazing time! The hotel is by far the nicest looking and largest there. The check in/out process was smooth and seamless. The room itself was beautiful, had a great view, well stocked with good liquor (not that no name stuff you see at other all inclusives) and the room was cleaned twice a day. The staff itself wasn't the friendliest, with the exception of the activities staff, especially David. He really made an effort to talk to the guests and get them involved in the pool or nightly shows! Super nice guy! The food was good, not great, but definitely good...and coming from someone who has been to many all inclusive resorts, there is no such thing as a great buffet in an all inclusive. The specialty restaurants were good, nothing special but good to break the monotony of buffets. We even left the hotel one night to eat at el Gaucho, you must eat there!!!!! The steaks are delicious!!!  We went snorkeling on the palm pleasure and loved, loved, loved it!! The crew was fantastic, the snorkeling better than most places I've been too...an all around good time and not expensive either! Definitely recommend it. Oh, also, in regards to the beds, yes they are very firm, but not unbearably so...we didn't even need mattress pads. The pool, always found a lounge chair, no cups floating in the water, swim up bar..easy to get drink & friendly bartenders. The beach, yeah, unless you get there at the cracknof dawn, you won't get a hut, but you can still get a lounger and there is plently of shade. Don't let these bad reviews scare you away!! I read these and was dreading it but it all turned out better than I initially imagined! It's a beautiful hotel on a beautiful island with the best weather!!! Don't miss out on it!!

  • Stayed December 2010
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ninja830
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
north chicago
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2010

We just returned from a 7 day stay at the Rui. The hotel is a perfect size and the best all inclusive in aruba. We visited the other hotels and they looked pretty beat up but the Rui was clean and well kept . The food was well above good and the restaurants were wonderful. Our junior suite held two adults and two children fine with a cot and was very large. People compalined that the beds were hard but we prefer this and knoew ahead after reading reviews at Tripadvisor. The pool is fantastic- the best on the beach .The weather was beautiful every day which is very hard in December. The liquor is top shelf and the staff were kind and friendly to our children. We left just as the influx of Northeastern was coming for Christmas which I coudl imagine would destroy any relaxation. We can't wait to go back next year even after enduring a 6 hour plane ride from Chicago.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank rebecca1515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2010

Walk into the a lobby that resembles Liberace's bathroom, coupled with the mildew fragrance that greets you upon your arrival, this property is simply attrocious. Right now im sitting in the lobby and a mop is leaning against a main wall..unattended as is the feel of the rest of the property. The elevators are filthy, and the accommodation, while spartan and acceptable has hallways that look like a medium security prison. The pool is without adequate shade, and the beach is so crowded, that its hard to have any opinion. Skip this property, skip this place....

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank markmilo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warsaw, Indiana
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 December 2010

Me, my husband and another couple went the week of Dec 11-dec 18. It was the best vacation I could have asked for. Aruba is beautiful and truly is " one happy island" we could go any where and not worry about a thing. Our room was always clean, fridge was stocked daily, food was great..lots of variety. We tried all the a al carte restaurants as well and were very good! We never felt "the need" to go off the resort to eat!
The only downside to the a la carte's is that you do have to make your reservations between 9-12. You can not go to these restaurants without a reservation.
The bed in our room was very hard as well as the other couple's too. But over all a wonderful resort!! A+
The pool was fantastic as was the beach. The staff was amazing very helpful and everyone has a smile all the time.
I would definatley go back!!!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank DeeHyde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Brunswick, New Jersey
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 December 2010

Stayed for 4 nights with my wife in December 2010. It was our first time in Aruba and all we were looking for was a nice place to relax. It was a tough choice to decide to go all inclusive or not but once we did, RIU was our choice. The hotel grounds and location were very nice. I jogged along all of Eagle / Palm beach and RIU's was in the top three. I enjoyed the buffet lunch and dinner greatly. There was a good selection of food. The breakfast was OK, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it was good, plus it was hard to get a cup of coffee. We ate at the specialty restaurants three of the nights (Natulius, the Japanese one, and Krystal). We did not care for Krsytal but the other two were good. The employees who work there were great. They were friendly and very competent. We spent most of the time on the beach and, like stated in other reviews, if you want guaranteed shade you need to reserve a hut (with a towel or bag) before 7 AM. For those who love the sun, there is plenty of beach space and chairs. The pool was also nice and was the opposite of the beach. Chairs in the shade were in low demand, but if you wanted a chair in the sun and by the bar you would have to reserve those early as well. I like to drink and was why I convinced the wife to go all inclusive. The island beer, Balashi, if OK and all they serve at RIU. I drank it there but would never buy it away from the resort or home in the States for that matter. If your a wine enthusiasts you should probably avoid an all inclusive place, your gonna get house wine. As far liquor, they had a decent selection of vodkas, whiskey, and scotches. I didn't notice any tequila brands I was familiar with and the rums were mostly local brands. The bartenders were excellent at every bar. And there were plenty of bars to choose from. I stated a lot of pros above and just for equality I'll go over some of the CONS, whether minor or not. The poolside activities were pretty much non-existent. (which we didn't mind but is something to think about), we had an odor coming from our toilet (like sewage) a good portion of the time. It was not a strong odor but was obvious enough. We kept the bathroom door closed and it was contained. Our room was in the building closest to the Westin Hotel and that side of the Westin was used for deliveries. When those trucks backed down the alley every day in the am you heard them. Enough to wake you up momentarily. All in all we had a good experience and would recommend the hotel. My wife is pickier than me and she enjoyed the RIU as well. You'll have sun, good food, good drink and the opportunity (if you choose) to hang around with people from all around the States, Canada, Netherlands, Russia, Portugal, and Venezuela. ON A SIDE NOTE: We tipped every day but notice most didn't at all. I dont know if the employees get paid well or not but it made sense for us to tip and all were thankful for it. I would give a couple dollars every 4 drinks, 2 for breakfast and lunch, and 5 for dinner. AND, after talking with families who had kids between the ages of 8 and 16 with them, there really isn't anythings for the kids to do but enjoy the beach and pool. If you think your children might get bored of the sun and water you might want to look for a more family orientated place.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NJSteve79
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

Property: 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:
Region: Caribbean > Aruba > Palm - Eagle Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre 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
#12 Spa Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#12 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#16 Romantic Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#18 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Riu Palace Aruba 4.5*
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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