Riu Palace Aruba Reviews

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Riu Palace Aruba  

79 Je Irausquin Blvd | (formerly Aruba Grand Beach Resort), Palm/Eagle Beach, Aruba

"Vaction in aruba"
Posted by: Rosina on Mar 21, 2014
see all reviews

Riu Palace Aruba Reviews
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#2
of 37 Hotels in Aruba

User rating 3.9

Based on 15 reviews

Riu Palace Aruba Information


In Aruba, the Riu Palace is beautifully designed and located right on Palm Beach, offering a most spectacular view of the Caribbean.

Share your experiences with others. Don't forget to send your review to Debbie by using an easy form.


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Riu Palace Aruba Reviews

Riu Palace Aruba Review: 3.9 of 5 15 reviews
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1 - 10 of 15

"Both meals were outstanding"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Paul07  on Dec 1, 2007  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2007
261 people found this review helpful

Entertainment every night, not your normal local kids dancing & singing to canned music. Acts were semi-professional, with great shows and something differend almost every night.

Arrival:
-5 hours flight from Toronto, Skyservice.
-Pleasant flight, seats on Skyservice are normally very tight, this was a new Jet, with a little more leg room
-Airport in Oranjestad very small, however very efficient.
-Hotel check-in was outstanding, we were a group of 16 golfers in Aruba for 7 days of golf.
-We here herded into the lobby bar, given cold drinks and a seat, 2/3 front dest reps, had us fill in a check-in form, these were collected your name called, you got your ID bracelet, room keys, check-in package etc.
-By then our luggage was lined up in the lobby, with bell-hops at the ready, you gave them your room number and a tip and your luggage was taken to your room. Have another drink in the bar and 10 min's later go to your room and everything will be there.
-Staff were very friendly, all spoke english (this is a Dutch island)and they could not be more helpful for anything you wanted.
-More than 5 star service.

Rooms:
-Rooms are all Jr. Suites, two queen size beds, large sitting area, Chesterfield, 2 chairs, coffee table, lamps, etc., in-room safe, well stocked in-room bar (4 bottles rum, whiskey, sherry, vodka, you can reqeust your preference) plus a stocked frig (beer, water, soda pop)replaced with what you take out every day. (give the room maid a small tip first day, and your room will be well stocked all week)
-A/C works well, beds are comfortable, clean linen & towels etc every day. TV has CNN, North American programs, and some local.
-All room have a balcony with two lawn chairs, and a full view of the ocean, beach, and pools. (spectacular view's)
-Again more than 5 star rating.

Restaurants:
-Excellent food, a-la-carte resturants, you must book your reservation between 9:00 & noon each day (this is a pain) we did not use as we were on the golf course everyday during the window of time, however did get into the Italian & Steakhouse on an exception basis from the hotel manager (Richard) very helpful and accomodating. Both meals were outstanding, the evening buffets offer very fresh, and a wide selection of foods, cooked at stations, with GREAT service.
-All Inclusive features, all meals and snacks:

Breakfast:
-Full American breakfast buffet, on the spot cooking stations, fruits, juices and Java
-Continental breakfast/snack

Lunch:
-Hot and cold buffet and on the spot cooking stations
-Pizzas, pasta, salads and assorted desserts

Dinner:
-Buffets and on the spot cooking stations
-Special evenings: theme buffets (twice a week)

Optional dining (reservations required):
-"Krystal" Fusion Restaurant
-"Sayuri" Japanese restaurant
-"Milano" Italian restaurant
-Grill and steakhouse
Snacks 24 hours a day

Beverages:
-Unlimited local and imported beverages 24 hours a day
-Mini-bar and regularly restocked liquor dispenser
-Room service from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
-I know your sick of me saying this.....again 5 star ++ food & service.

Bars:
-Lobby Bar was a good meeting place.
-Excellent selection of drinks.
-Great service.
-Entertainment every night, not your normal local kids dancing & singing to canned music. Acts were semi-professional, with great shows and something differend almost every night.
-There is also a sports bar, hidden behind the main desk in the lobby, best kept seacret in the hotel. Seems to be open 24 hours a day, has all types of video machines, pool table, game table, well stocked bar, and if Victoria is there, she is "top-notch".
-Also located in this bar are several well stocked frig units with made up sandwitches, furit, drinks, etc. with take out packs for your use when going on island tours, golfing, etc.
-Pool bar is equally first class, with great service, good selection, friendly staff. There is no beach service, I think its because its a public beach with a board walk through it where guests from other hotels pass by.

Beach and Pools:
-Beach is very nice, sand, expansive, normal beach lounges, and shade huts.
-Water is fairly calm, however does drop off quickly. (small children would need to be closely supervised)
-Very large expanse of pools, with plenty of lounges for your use.
-The hotel consists of 3 towers in the shape of a horseshoe, pools are in the centre, natural shade from some to the towers if you want it, and plenty of sun on the other side's.
-With approx 600 rooms the pool and beach did not seem that crowded when we were there.
-Incidently, I should of talked about the WIND earlier. It never stop's blowing (about 40/60 kms per hr) day & night. This may seen bad and annoying, wrong, without it the heat (85/90 all the time) would be somewhat un-bearable. Believe me after your first day, you get use to it and its almost like its not there as it is so constant.
-It is a bit of an adjustment on the Golf Course. (see below)

Grounds:
-Grounds are vey good, this is a fairly new hotel, (opened July/2007) and the local grass, bushes, flowers, etc., are still growing and need some help. However lots of evidence of hotel maintance staff working on the grounds everyday.
-There is a board-walk along the beach that is easy to walk and runs the length of the hotel area. (2/3 kms)

Activities:
-Our group (16 guys) golfed everyday. Did not see much of the hotel activities, however did see salsa lessons both at the pool and in the lobby bar. Given this is a Riu, and 5 Star ++ I am sure there are plenty of activities for everyone.

GOLF:
-Our group take an Island golf trip every year.
-We played everyday at the Terra De Sole Golf & Country Club.
-It is not included in the hotel package, not sure of the cost per round, we paid $700.00 CDN$ for 7 rounds for the week. Club rentals and a very well stocked pro-shop on site. (See Oliver (local pro) he was very helpful) -While the club is busy, 4-somes appear to be all good golfer's and you can play 18 in about 4 to 4 & 1/2 hours. (normal)
-It is an 18 hole Pete Dye Course. Par 71, Slope 124. Play the white tees, over 6,000 yards good for the mid handicaper. There are blue and championship tees if you are a scratch golfer. Due to the wind holes play much longer and white tees provide a good challange. Most of us are 12 to 18 handicap and found it excellent to play. -Check out the par-5 14th hole.......it is awsome, took a 10 the first day brided it the next 5 days). This is followed by a par-3 all carry over water into the 40km per hour trade winds........use one or two extra clubs. -3 holes on the back nine run along the ocean, with the wind always constant right to left. Hit all you have down the right side and let the wind bring it back, you do get use to the wind. We had some rain the first day, you can see it coming in advance off the ocean. If you see it take cover, it comes in hard and strong, head for a stand of Divi Bushes to break the wind and rain...........however if you get wet, it will be gone in 5 min's and the sun comes out and you are dry within 15 min's.
-Take beer & water from the hotel (free bar) cost is very expensive at the golf course, especially if you play every day. Our gourp even started to pack fruit and sandwitches from the sports bar (see above) for the day. Carts have coolers with ice supplied. Pack a small folding cooler in your golf bag to carry drinks and food from the hotel daily. -We played the Moon Palace in Cancun last year and this course is almost as good as the 27 holes there. We rate it #1 in the Caribbian for golf. Tera De Sole is #2. (in our humble opinion)

Tours:
-We had a bus to take us to and from the golf course.
-We saw some of the local areas daily from the bus, we were offered a tour of the island, however did not take it, other than a couple of local excurssions to Oranjestad (capital city) to a flee market (lot's of deals) and the Rennisaunce Hotel on main street to the Steakhouse next to the Casino. (Excellent service and food and quite reasonable in cost)
-It is a very pretty small island, with very friendly people everywhere you go.
-Along the hotel strip there are several local resturants and a shopping court with some high-end stores that were just starting to open (new) while we were there. There is a fountain/music show each night in the courtyard of the plaza well worth seeing.
-We also tried several of the resturants (even though we were on an all inclusive package) the food and service was very good, no worries about local water and food problems with any of our 16 guys all week.

Conclusion:
-The rating for this Hotel is 5 Star.........
-We would rate it 5 Star +++
-Hotel staff were very helpful and friendly.
-Everyone spoke English, there is a local dilect, (spanish/dutch) I think, that most local's speak. Spanish seemes to be a first or second language for all staff.
-Would I recommend this hotel to friends........YES.
-Would I return again............YES.
-Remember I warned you about the WIND>>>>>>>>>>>>
-Enjoy.

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"We had a great time and would recommend this resort."

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Vickie08  on Dec 1, 2008  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Dec, 2008
305 people found this review helpful

The night life was pretty calm. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun, this resort is perfect. We had a great time and would recommend this resort.

Arrival:
Went very smoothly. We decided to take a cap instead of the bus. It was well worth the extra $25.00. We were already checked in and drinking at the bar when the bus arrived. We did not receive our luggage in a timely manner. This was solved by sending my spouse to retrieve the luggage.

Rooms:
The room was extremely large and the bed is huge. The mattress was hard but sleep-able. We did not spend much time in the room but it was lovely. One issue we did experience, one beach towel per guest. I would have preferred two towels per guest.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was better here than other RIU resorts we have visited. The Steak house was great but the Japanese restaurant could have been better. The buffet was good, not great, but good. The bars were a great place to hang out and relax. We learned that all house wines were not the same at the bars. If you are a wine drinker, make sure you visit each bar to find the one that suits you best. Anna was great at the pool bar. She gave us excellent service and we did not tip until the end.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach, pool and grounds were beautiful to say the least. You need to be on the beach by 7:00 am if you want an umbrella. You did not have to stay on the beach but secure your chairs and leave a few personal items (sun screen, bucket, book). It worked for us and we never had any items taken that we had left. The hallways in our hotel seemed to smell musty but our room was fine.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The shows were the same as most all inclusive resorts - nothing to write home about but still worth watching for an hour. The other activities seemed to be fun, but we did not participate. Our vacation goal was to do nothing and we succeeded.

Other Comments:
The night life was pretty calm. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun, this resort is perfect. We had a great time and would recommend this resort.

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"I took over 100 pictures"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Emily09  on Mar 1, 2009  >  6 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
307 people found this review helpful

The beach was great not to crowed. Although it was dificult to find shade due to everyone getting up a 6:00am to place towels on the chairs, but thats ok, I enjoyed the sun and when we needed shade we packed up and sat at the pool bar. But other then that the beach was great, no waves, soft sand. The wind was a little strong, but it would be way to hot without it, so it was nice to have.

Arrival:
From the airpot we took the bus to the resort, we were the very last stop. But the bus was great, the driver gave us a breif tour and history on the island and what was good to do and what to see, which was great. Upon arrival to the Riu, it was so beautiful, the outside and inside was very very nice, not what I was expecting, Checkin was a breeze, cold drinks upon arrival. No complaints. The staff at the front desk was awesome and very friendly. We stopped at the bar from checkin and had a few more drinks, by the time we arrived to our room, the luggage was there waiting for us.

Rooms:
Out room was in building B on the 9th floor. We had a jr suite with jacuzzi on the balcony. The balcony was huge and a great view of the ocean and pool. The bed was a little hard, but I slept very well. Stocked fridge everyday, sometimes more then once a day. We called for extra pillows and covers and with in the hour they were delivered. Oreder room service again this was quick and had it in about 30 minutes. The shower was nice and the tub was very nice also. Although the shower didn't have hot water just luke warm, but the tub did, so that was nice. The TV had limited channels that changed everyday, which was ok, we were there to enjoy our vacation, not watch tv. The room was verp big and clean, there was a little musty smell, but after running the AC the smell went away. Didn't bother either of us.

Restaurants and Bars:
We tried the itilian and the steakhouse, which I would prefer the steakhouse, which was so good. The rest of the time we ate breakfast and dinner at the buffet, which was my favorite, dinner was the best. We ordered room service a few times for lunch and late night snack which was good. The buffet had theme night a few times a week which was fun. The pool bar was great and on top of it, drinks made before the next one was completely empty. The lobby bar was great also. They made some different drinks then the pool bar who didn't know how to make it. So different drinks everyday. We really enjoyed Barry's Bar (outside). If you tip there they will remember you and your drinks are ready every single time and you are the first one to order even if you are last in line. They are great to talk to also, they will give you advice on anything from sightseeing to shopping or anything. I have never met so many out going people.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was great not to crowed. Although it was dificult to find shade due to everyone getting up a 6:00am to place towels on the chairs, but thats ok, I enjoyed the sun and when we needed shade we packed up and sat at the pool bar. But other then that the beach was great, no waves, soft sand. The wind was a little strong, but it would be way to hot without it, so it was nice to have. The sand blew a little with the wind. but if you sit closer to the water and post you chair faceing the pier it was fine, the wind didn't hit you as much. The pool was a little on the cool side, but it was easy to get used to. Pool chairs were a little easier to get, but we didn't stay in it very long any way. I laid out more on the balcony then any where-guranteed a spot and chair! The grounds were kept very nice. They were out there every morning cleaning and taking care of the plants but watering them or trimming them, it was nice. The plants, the grass and the fountains were a good touch to the resort, it was very nice to look at. We did get stuck in the rain one afternoon, but it was gone within minutes. It did rain a few mornings before the sun came up, but it didn't rain anyother time while we were there, which was great!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn't do much activities at the resort. But we did do a snorkling trip with DePalm tours which included 3 stops, lunch and drinks, which was very nice. The snorkling was fun, my husband enjoyed it more then I did. But the crew was great entertaining staff and the food was good. I would highly recommmend them.

Other Comments:
I took over 100 pictures, if you would like to see them email me and I can email them to you. You all will love Aruba and the RIU!!! We are going again this July with our 7 year old

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"Wonderful....Once again. "

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Emily09  on Jul 21, 2010  >  6 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jul, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
328 people found this review helpful

This was our second time ot this resort. We had such a good time the first time, we decided to take our 8 year old this time. He really liked it and had a blast. We had no issues or complaints. The staff is wonderful. We received 3 phone calls through-out the week from the director of the resort to make sure our stay was good and we had everything we needed, Very nice!!

Arrival:
Upon arrival we were welcomed by the staff with a welcom drink. Quick check in, but the room was not ready, she told us to go eat and then come back and the room should be ready, which it was. The lobby was clean and smoking in NOT allowed, outside only, which was great. The front staff was very friendly and effecient.

Rooms:
Our room was in building A, right in the center of the resort, great view of the pool and beach, wonderful sun sets from the balcony. Of course our room had the double beds pushed together, which did not bother us, it was ok for a vacation, they are not that hard and we slept fine every night. The bathroom was big with a stand up shower and tub combo, 2 double sinks. The balcony was average size, enough for 2 chairs and a small table, very private. Yes, the TV is outdated, but who comes to a place like this to watch TV???? No musty smell or smoke smell in the rooms. AC was good, kept the room nice and cold. Never heard our neighbors next door or loud noise in the hallway.

Restaurants and Bars:
We tried 3 out of the 4 reservation restaurants, The Italian, The steakhouse and The Gourmet. The steakhouse and the gourmet were excellent, very very good. The Italian was good also, I just liked the other 2 a little better. Reservationa are required at the 4 Ala carte restaurants, you need to make these between 9-12 every day for that night's seating, 6:30 or 9:00. Its not hard to make reservations, we always got our first choice, one morning we forgot to make reservations and went to the lobby at 1145 and we were given a reservation for the gourmet. The buffet was very good for breakfast every day, we ate dinner a few times also, which was once again very good, something for everyone!! Miss the food already. The pool bar was quick and entertaining, staff wonderful. We went to the outside bar everynight, very nice and laid back, perfect way to end the day. The lobby bar has nightly shows, which were either good or comical, but still stayed to watch.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is pefect, white sand, clear water and hardly any waves, what more would you want. Shade is hard to come by, as people do wake up at 5am to grab a spot under the shadey area, but grab a spot under a palm tree its nice, provides protection from the sun and plus you didn't have to get up at 5 to get it. Pool chairs are the same, but you wait till 1:30 the chairs are easier to come by. Pool area very clean, and nice.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We booked all of our excursions with DePalm tours, they have a rep in the lobby. We went on the baby beach tour, which I would highly recommend especially if you have young kids, our 8 yr old loved it. We went on a 4 hour snorkle trip which was great, food, drink and fun! We also went to DePalm Island which was a blast, we went on the half day, which was perfect, pay the admission and everything is included: drinks, food, water park, snorkle, basketball, volley ball. Very very nice for the price and everything that comes with it.

Other Comments:
We went to dinner one night off the resort, We ate at Moby Dick. Which was very very good. The atmosphere was very nice and elegant. Pricey but worth it. The staff was excellent!!!

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"Beautiful Island, Great Food, Clean Resort, Service Excellent"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Gwen  on Apr 5, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
363 people found this review helpful

Highly recommend the Riu Palace. Stayed at the Riu Palace for one week. The food was great and alot of variety. Every morning there was an omlette bar and eggs are made to order. We ate at the Japanese restaurant, sushi if you like it. First time for sushi. Surf and turf was served at the steak restaurant. The place was very clean. The staff are friendly and helpful. The pool and pool bar were clean. I would recommend taking a drinking cooler to put your drinks in from the pool bar, keeps them colder longer. Service at the pool bar was quick. The weather was great, it did not rain at all. It was safe to walk on and off the resort. Many shops just off of the resort and a town square within walking distance with dinner shows and a bar. Open air bar to sit out at nights. Very few bugs, we didn't see many. There were no vendors on the beach bugging you to buy there wares.

Room Number:
723

Room Block:
Seventh floor

Arrival:
Quick to go through customs. Showed your passports and filled out a declaration for customs. Make sure you have a pen on the plane for the paperwork. Keep the customs declaration paperwork for when you return home, they collect it at the airport.

Rooms:
Very clean, tip the staff a dollar everyday and they will make towel animals for you. Very friendly.

Restaurants and Bars:
Many food choices, tried many new foods I had never tried before. Buffet was different every night. Four a la cartes, very good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Loved the beach. Sat under the palapas every day. Ocean was nice to swim in.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
All water activities available. Many shops close by. Many restaurants close by.

Other Comments:
Highly recommend staying at the Riu Palace. We want to go back next year.

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"Great time and great weather!!"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Mary  on Apr 10, 2011  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
383 people found this review helpful

Our first 2 week trip to the RIU Palace Aruba was everything we had expected. We had read many mixed reviews on TripAdvisor and Debbie’s Caribbean Resort Reviews but felt confident that we had made a good choice.

Room Number:
930

Room Block:
Bld. B

Arrival:
October 2-16
Upon arrival we were greeted with a welcoming drink. The check-in process was effortless and we were in our room in under ½ hour.

Rooms:
We had booked a junior partial oceanview suite and the first room (822) that we were assigned was in Bldg. B, even though we had sent an email to the hotel requesting a 9th or 10th floor room in either Bldg. A or B. Upon entry to Room 822, the first thing that hit us was the musty smell in the room and the fact that the previous “tenants” of the room were smokers. We requested a room change that night but were advised that the hotel was at 100% capacity and it wasn’t possible for at least 3-5 days. This delay did not sit well with us as we observed the next day that new arrivals were being given vacated rooms on the 9th and 10th floor. With email in hand, we approached the front desk and asked for a room change to the 9th floor in Bldg. B citing what we had observed the day before and was quickly advised that Room 930 would be available by 10:00 am and we could make the change then. What a difference – no musty or smoky smell. Overall great view. The bed was firmer than we are accustomed to but the requested foam topper was provided and we had no problem sleeping. AC was good and kept the room a comfortable temperature.

Restaurants and Bars:
Booking at the 4 specialty restaurants was not a problem and reservations are required. You make your reservations between 9 –12 every day for that nights seating, 6:30 or 9:00, at the desk beside the elevators in the main lobby in Bldg. A. We ate at the Nautilus (buffet at lunch and Steakhouse in the evening), Milano (Italian) and Krystal (gourmet) and enjoyed the meals. We did not eat at the Fusion and therefore cannot comment on the restaurant. Don Nicholas buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is very similar to other Riu hotels – lots of selection and the items changed every day – look over the selection and then get what appeals to you the most. This is the first Riu buffet restaurant that we’ve encountered a caesar salad bar – a nice and welcome touch!!!!

The service at the restaurants and bars is outstanding. We did not see an unfriendly waiter or bartender. The lobby bar was our main hangout between sunset and dinner and then again after dinner for our coffee and baileys. Freddie took very good car of us and after the second day, knew what we liked before dinner and then the after dinner coffee, generally without asking.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
If you want shade at the beach, you will have to join the ranks and wake up in the wee hours of the morning to grab a cabana on the beach – the beach chairs are locked up until around 7:00 a.m. but wrapping a towel around the cabana just above the table seems to work well. Depending on where you sit around the pool … a large area in front of Bldg. B is in the shade for most of the afternoon and the area in front of Bldg. C has sun for the most of the day … and if you want shade, in particular around Bldg. C, you will have join the ranks to get an umbrella or find a lounger under the palm trees. This also holds true for getting pool chairs.

The beach is one of the best we’ve been to in years …. clear, bath warm water, white sand and hardly any waves (great for snorkelling right off the beach). The pool area is clean – for Aruba standards. Before you start to complain about the sand around the pool etc. bear in mind that water and electricity in Aruba is very expensive.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We booked an island excursion through DePalm Tours which has a rep in the lobby – you learned about the history of the island which took you to the north, south, east and west coasts – all in under 5 hours. The next time we are in Aruba we will rent a 4x4 and see the island where the coach trips can’t go. The hotel had live bands and shows in the lobby bar area. We heard a lot of people complain about the size of the stage and the fact that the shows were similarly small. You must bear in mind that this is an island/resort where the majority of vacationers are from the British Isles and Europe and who are not necessarily used to the excessive temperatures. The Riu took over this resort from the Aruba Grand and did a remarkable job at transforming it to “Riu style”. Where most Riu’s have an outdoor entertainment area, the Riu Aruba is located indoors for comfort.

Your nighlife is what you make of it …. from leaving the resort to do some clubbing, to enjoying the casinos at the other resorts on the “highrise” strip or going to the plaza area where there are a lot of bars.

As this is an island where the cruise ships dock, there is shopping in the downtown area of Oranjestad as well as duty-free shops. A taxi ride into town is fairly inexpensive and travelling by bus to the downtown core is safe and very cheap for a round trip. There is also a couple of small plazas of shopping across and down the street.

Other Comments:
The island’s motto is “One Happy Island”.

Photos: http://travel.webshots.com/album/578920603ntspWv?vhost=travel

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"First time - hopefully not last time !"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Barry Ingram  on May 31, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: May, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
370 people found this review helpful

Although not the first time to the Caribbean this was our first time to Aruba. Our previous holiday was to the Dominican Republic in the Riu Naiboa and we particularly chose the Riu again based on our experience.

We could not have been more happy with all the aspects of our holiday, the hotel and the staff.

in our party was myself, my wife and our cousin (same age range - circa 50's) and we all stayed in the one room (more to follow on that below).

Room Number:
710

Room Block:
Main building

Arrival:
After a long flight ( for us from the United Kingdom this was 10 hours !) the last thing you want is a tedious and time consuming check in process.

We were in our room within 20 mins from walking into the lobby and the luggage arrived no more than 10 minutes after that - EXCELLENT SERVICE !

All the information about the bars, restaurants, pool towels etc etc was made clear quick and easy and we were made to feel very welcomed.

Rooms:
Room 710 was in the middle of the block and being only 4 floors down from the top we had a FANTASTIC view.

The room is badged as a "Junior Suite" and as this was our first time in a Riu Palace we were not sure exactly what this meant but were not disappointed with the room size or its layout. The air con worked fine and with a large ceiling fan to move the cool air around we were never uncomfortable.

As I mentioned above there were 3 adults in the room and were shared the 2 double beds with myself and my wife in one and our cousin in the other.

If I have any adverse comment it can only be about the size of the beds. If there had been only 2 of us and we had a bed each there would have been no problems but the beds are slightly too small to have 2 people in (neither of us are large people but it may be because we have a particularly large bed at home). However after 3 days we had got used to it and it did not spoil the holiday at all.

Restaurants and Bars:
Again, as this was our first Palace we did not appreciate there would be such excellent extra restaurants, they were UNBELIEVABLE.

We used all 4 of the restaurants during our stay. The queue for reservations started each morning about 8:45 with the desk supposed to open at 9:00. Each morning it opened as soon as the members of staff got there ( none of this "we don't open until 9 am" attitude ! which was most refreshing).

The restaurants are;

Nautilus - a great steakhouse - we had the "surf and turf" - no short measures there, a decent size steak and half a lobster tail - cooked to perfection.

Milano - a very nice Italian - good food and nice surroundings

Sayuri - A Japanese restaurant to rival anything I have experienced in London (or anywhere else for that matter).

Krystal - for my personal view this is the best of all 4 and the mix of flavours and styles was a joy (makes perfect sense why it is called a "Fusion" restaurant).

From a purely personal view I also got a great kick from the bar on the patio as it was called "Barry's" which just happens to be my name - good excuse to go there each night and work through the Martini menu !

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was just 30 seconds from the pool and was always clean and with space to sit and relax.

The pools were cleaned every morning and despite there being a few of the small tiles missing was in good condition with plenty of room and the benefit of a swim up bar.

The grounds of the hotel were a nice mix of the poolside patio and superbly kept green areas (every day I saw the gardeners going round tidying up and looking after the plants etc.)

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We had always planned this to be a relaxing holiday and therefore did not join in many of the poolside activities or excursions.

We did go on the "Discover Aruba" coach trip (cost of $69 each), this took us around the island and included a stop off for lunch which was good food and nice surroundings, the highlight of the trip is the final stop at Baby Beach with fantastic snorkelling and it is from here you can see Venezuela and realise just how close you are while on such a tiny island.

Other Comments:
Unlike the hotels in the Dominican Republic the Riu Palace is not in a gated compound and you are able to walk out onto the street and visit the local shops etc.

We did this several times and had a drink at the Hard Rock Cafe which is only a few minutes away - at no time did we feel unsafe or unsure about walking about.

We also got the bus into Orangestad a couple of times ( $2:60 return each ) and again felt totally safe using the normal local buses and walking around the town.

It was while on one of the visits we went past the marina and found the helicopter tours. All 3 of us went in the helicopter on the shorter trip which took us up to the top of the island, past the Riu and back down to the marina -we chose the shorter trip to make sure we all enjoyed the helicopter and wished afterwards we had gone for the longer "round island" trip. The pilot was great and made sure we saw all the sights on the flight even looking carefully for the sea turtles during the flight.

Would we go back ? YES - but we do have many more places to see first so it may take some time !

Photos: http://gallery.me.com/barry.ingram#100017

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"Wedding package nightmare!"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Raluca  on May 25, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2011 | Wedding | With Group
351 people found this review helpful

Wedding services are a nightmare!

If you are looking for a good all inclusive hotel in Aruba, Riu is the top choice. While not a 5 star by North American standards, its definitely the best choice on the island in terms of all-inclusive resorts. If you are going there for a wedding or looking to plan your wedding there, steer clear of the Riu and look into other options or resorts. Their wedding coordinator is a nightmare and will cause you undue stress leading up to your wedding day as well as a total lack of regard or care to any details or arrangements made on your wedding day. Prior to the wedding the coordinator did not make one single phone appointment at the set time nor did she ever respond to email communications, which are the only way to communicate since she does not have voice mail or answer her phone. Upon arrival at the resort there is supposed to be a face to face appointment as stated in the purchased wedding package, that appointment was also missed by the coordinator and booked for later in the day, the day prior the wedding, leaving only a few hours before end of business day to cover any details. When the meeting with the coordinator finally did happen, what should have been a simple overview of the wedding day, become a discussion of all items that should have been booked and confirmed for the wedding day, which was the next day. The day of the wedding the coordinator was nowhere to be found and did not make herself available to the wedding party until 1 hour before the wedding, and at that time it was to let us know that some items had not yet been done, booked or confirmed. There was never any apology or explanation as to her constant absence and failure to provide the package that we had paid for. Quite the opposite the coordinator was at all times rude, snarky and mentioned at every moment how she was just too busy with other items to respond to calls, emails, etc. This left us overall with a sense of insecurity and anxiety prior to the wedding and during our wedding day.

To say this person has a complete lack of care for her job is an understatement. Her indifference to the role was very obvious at all time. We also ran into 2 other brides that had gotten married a few days before us, who also experienced the same treatment from the wedding coordinator and were in tears on their wedding day. We would have been better off sourcing out our own wedding venue and other details somewhere else in Aruba, then to have purchased a wedding package with the Riu.

Room Block:
Tower B

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"Fabulous!"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Patricia  on Apr 29, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | With Group
220 people found this review helpful

We just returned from RIU Palace, Aruba and had a blast. There were 21 in total in our group.

Room Number:
838/839

Room Block:
Building B

Arrival:
We were greeted at the airport by a great guy holding a sign welcoming our specific group! Very cool! Upon arrival to the hotel, we were greeted with a drink and shown to our room within 10 minutes (as was our luggage!)

Rooms:
We had a jr. suite with an ocean view on the 8th floor facing the neighboring Westin hotel. The ocean view was fabulous - just don't look down to the access service road below. Our first room, 838, had a crack in the bathtub. We contacted the front desk and they immediately relocated us to Rm. 839 which was closer to the beach and had a better view. We really weren't too concerned with the view or location of our room since we were only ever in it to sleep or change. Left a few dollars each morning for the cleaning staff and they did a great job ... fresh towels daily and wash cloths were replaced in the evening when they came in to turn down the bed! Incidentally, a friend of ours came in later in the week; had booked their trip on-line and was given a 10th floor - pool view room with spectacular views of pool and ocean!!! If you do book a trip with RIU - request a pool view and you'll get the best of both worlds!

Restaurants and Bars:
We loved the restaurants and we loved the bars! The buffet for breakfast and dinner was excellent ... something for everyone! The Nautilus was AMAZING! We were there twice. The Italian was great and the sushi at the japanese restaurant was incredible!!! I honestly don't think that any one of us - at any point - walked away from a meal disappointed!!! However, making reservations every morning was tedious and their reservation process seemed to change every morning. Since there was 21 of us, it was impossible to make reservations for that many by just one person so we'd have to take 4 or 5 people up each morning to reserve tables with 4 - 6 people per table. They give you a ticket which you have to present at the restaurant which has room numbers for that table reservation. If you loose the ticket, they might give you a hard time at the restaurant (even though they have a list with your room number on it and all you have to do is confirm your room number!). It can get confusing. The bartenders at the pool bar were friendly and pleasant and if you asked for something and they weren't sure about your request (which was rare), they'd try their best to make it exactly as you described!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was great! Rafts available for rent right at the beach for a nominal fee. The pool was huge and clean - a little worn! Water aerobics every morning and zumba every evening! It's true what you've read about getting up at the crack of dawn to save chairs or huts on the beach and it is what it is! The sun is insanely strong and at some point during the day you need to hit some shade.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
A myriad of tours and excursions were available from DePalm Tours in the main lobby and the employees were so friendly and knowledgeable. We traveled with a huge group and there was something for everyone! Some booked ATV's, some snorkeled (amazing sail with an open bar, lunch and 3 locations for snorkeling), parasailing. Off the resort, some played golf at a nearby course. Walk down the beach from the hotel and you can rent a hobie cat and sail up and down the coast. We traveled during the Flyers playoff and caught games 4 and 5 at Busters Sports Bar down the street while some of us shopped!!! (Caught the winning game 6 at the Sports Bar at the RUI!) The spa was very nice and the jacuzzi was spacious and very clean. The massage I received was the best ever!!!!

Other Comments:
Was amused that a Dunkin' Donuts was located at the end of the RIU beach area!We'd go back again in a minute! Loved the constant breezes!!! Iguanas hang out at the towel shack near the pool every afternoon - they're amazing! Saw turquoise lizards along the beach!

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"First time to aruba"

Riu Palace Aruba
User Rating:  Riu Palace Aruba Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Terry  on Apr 6, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
255 people found this review helpful

Currently laying on the beach overlooking the white sand and blue water. Traveled to many Islands and each have pros and cons Aruba however has few if any cons. Very hospitable and safe for all age groups. Best way to see the Island is to rent a car and avoid Bus Tours. One day rental with gas was $75 and very relaxing drive, you stop when you choose and best of all you can't get lost.
The Riu Palace by North American stds.would be a four star, great food with many choices every day. Our favorite Al La Carte was the Steakhouse but really the Buffet was close to the old Milia Rio de Oro in Cuba rated Excellant Five Star
Room prep and care was very good but room bar refill for water and pop was non existant.
Very little evening entertainment but if you like slow and quite you will love the evenings here.
Beach area is very small and be prepared to get up early ( 6:00 am ) at latest to get a shaded location. Aruba is hot and humid daily and some shade is important if you hug the beach each day.
This was my only negative with the trip. We found this to some degree at most resorts througout the Carribean but this one needs definate improvement. Most people we came in contact with this week felt the same. For us the beach is very important in our choice and if you can't enjoy it we would not come again. I staked ours out daily by 6:00 but I confess I dislike having to "hunter/gather" beach chairs!
Overall the Riu is very good, the Beach is Excellant and Aruba is One Very Happy Island............Enjoy!!!

Arrival:
Very quick to assign our room and our bags were there on our arrival.

Rooms:
We have a Jr. Suite and this is one resort that provides as offered........water view is endeed water view..actually I think to some
degree upgrading may not be required.

Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants as I have mentioned are very good........not great. The Buffet is Great.
The Bars are okay, only one Pool bar but great service this week. Consider however we have been told that they are currently only 60% booked this week and often get overbooked. I hate to see the Bar and Beach activity at this loading. Today there are new arrivals and we can see the differece in service already.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach is safe and great for swimming,little surf and lots of fine sand. Great for kids. Only setback is the Riu area is small for resort size. Beaches in Aruba are public and only one resort of the 37 have exclusive use. Thus this could be a bigger problem when Cruise ships come. We have been spoiled this week.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Almost non existant except for Zumba classes at the pool.....again I think they may have cut back on staff due to vacancy rate. There is a beach volleyball court that appears to be shared with the neighboring Westin and has had very little use this week.

Other Comments:
Overall four star in our comparisons to those we have gone too. This is always difficult since much depends on the week, the weather,one's frame of mind or issues that arose during the stay. We haven't had any issues so I think we are still very objective.
Overall 8 out of 10

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