RESORT FACILITIES - Second to none on the island!!! From the external physical appearance to the interior facilities, the Riu Palace stands alone. Spoke to numerous individuals who had vacationed on previous occasions at other resorts while in Aruba, and all said the same thing. The Riu Palace is the place to be!!! The Riu is kept spotless. The lobby floor is so clean you could eat off of it. That goes for the entire facility. Elevators can be rather warm and muggy as there is no AC in the elevators. AIRPORT TRANSFERS - The way to go. Depalm Tours has numerous buses waiting at the airport to get you the short 6 mile drive to the resort and back. Just remember to book your return transfer at the Depalms desk in the lobby at least the day prior to your return flight. RESORT CHECK IN/OUT - Upon arrival you will be 'banded' with a wrist band for you entire stay. This notifies staff that you are a guest and entitled to the all inclusive amenities. Have your voucher for checkin!!! You will be given your room assignment and room key card as well as beach towel cards. Do not plan for your room to be available until after 3:00pm. on checkin day. Chechout time is 12:00 noon. At chechout you will turn in key cards and towel cards and the wrist band will be removed by staff. It is as simple as that. STAFF - All very polite and friendly. Always there to be of assistance. SUITES - Very clean and beautiful. Yes the beds are FIRM, but after the first night didn't even give it a thought. Building A and B (new buildings) have nice size balconies. Building C (older building) has only small balcony large enough to only stand out on. You MUST keep AC running at all times to avoid moisture forming on surfaces. This is the tropics with constant high humidity, but if you simply do this there is no problem. Be aware that if the sliding door onto the balcony is not closed the entire way the AC is inactivated. Each suite has a safe in the closet which you program with whatever 4 digit pin number you like to keep items secure. Satellite TV in rooms with ~34 channels with most being American programs. MINI BAR - Filled with bottled water, soda, beer. Shot dispenser with gin, vodka, rum, scotch for your pleasure. Never had to request restocking. HOUSEKEEPING - Kept the suite spotless daily. Never ran out of towels. One note: For some reason housekeeping would bring some of the towels around after 9-10pm. So if you do not want to be disturbed, put your sign on the door knob. RESTAURANTS - Five restaurants on site as part of all inclusive. Buffet needs no reservations and can go casual in shorts, and T shirt with sleeves. Four remaining restaurants require a 'same day' reservation between 9 - noon in the lobby. They also require male patrons to wear long slacks, shirt with collar and sleeves, and no sandles. HINT: from our experience the Italian, Japanese, and Krystal Restaurants only seat ~60 patrons. There are two seating times, 6:30pm and 9:00pm. We always ate at the early seating and found there were always seatings remaining. So our assumption is that the 9:00pm seating time is in high demand. So if you want the later seating time, you should be in the lobby waiting at 9:00am to make reservations. Not really any great inconvience. POOL / BEACH - On arrival, each guest is given a 'towel card' that is traded for a beach towel poolside. When done using the towel simply turn the towel back in and given back a towel card for your next use. You can repeat this procedure as many times as necessary throughout the day. POOL / BEACH CHAIRS - The beach is gorgeous white sand. No rocks or rough shells. Water is crystal clear. But the beach is only probably 50-70 yards wide from pool to shore. Having said this there are only so many 'shade trees' to sit under and only so many chairs that can fit around the pool. If you want a prime spot you will need to go down early (6:30am or so) to claim your chair or tree. I say if you are spending good money for this trip and don't want the hassle, simply plan to pay $20 at your choosing to have one of the staff place a large beach umbrellla for you to use for the day. Once again, not such a big deal as people seem to make. Note: If you are of light skin and do not have a good base built up, don't waste time with SPF sunscreen less than FACTOR 50. RESORT CASINO - One of the few on site locations where drinks are NOT inclusive. A fun place to visit, but having spoken with guests who have gambled in casinos around the world, do not expect to make a huge killing in Aruba. From what I was told the casino does not set their machines to pay out as frequently as others. They are well aware that most of their visitors will not be of the 'regular' variety, so there is not quite the need to keep luring patrons back with more frequent payouts. SPORTS BAR / ROOM SERVICE - No need to go hungry or thirsty at any time. Sports Bar is always open for sandwich, hot dog, snacks and beverages. Room service is 24 hrs also with a limitted selection. Hopefully, these few comments, tips, suggestions will be a benifit to those planning an Aruba vacation. Book with Cheap Caribbean and stay at the RIU PALACE. You will have the vacation of a lifetime!!!!
My girlfriend and I took a trip to the Riu in early April (off-season) and it was a pretty fun trip for the short time that we stayed. We took AirTran and our flight started out as being delayed and then it was eventually canceled. We spent 8 hour at the airport and lost one day which was non-refundable for the hotel. DO NOT take AirTran! We experienced more delays on our way back. The traveling part was awful. I will break this review down into categories and I hope this will help clarify some of the unfair reviews that we read prior to our trip and some points that were not covered. Shuttle Bus - We booked a round-trip shuttle to and from the airport through DePalm Tour and it was a total of $21/person. The shuttle stopped at multiple hotels before reaching ours and it took about 30-45 minutes. On the way to the hotel the tour guide (who has a really thick accent) gave a brief history of the island and specific must-see sites off the resort should you decide to venture off the resort. MAKE sure you check that the luggage that the bus driver hands you is actually yours. We were so caught up with the scenery and understanding the bus driver that we totally missed that we were given the wrong luggage. We spent the whole day going back and forth with the air line and DePalm Tour to track down the luggage. Fortunately, they found it at 10pm and it was delivered to the hotel. Check In- You are given a wrist band to wear the entire stay. Make sure you dont lose it or you will be charged $100 for a new one. Check-in was easy. You are given your room key, 2 towel cards (if you lose your towels they will charge you $20), and a map of the resort. You pretty much have to venture the resort on your own and figure out where everything is. A resort staff took our luggage to our room. He was very friendly. Some staff members at the front desk are rude and not helpful and this is in line with other reviews that we read. The Room – We stayed in building C, room # 180 (ocean front). It was a perfect location because it was near the beach huts (literally 30 feet) which are in high demand, close to the water sport tents, and walking distance to the pool/bar. The room was clean, it seemed like it was recently renovated. It did not smell like mold or mildew that we read in other reviews. The room has 4 different types of liquors along with water, mixers (Pepsi, 7-up, etc.). The bathroom was clean. They only issue was that the shower did not have a light in it so it was a little dark. It was hard figuring out how to turn on the hot water in the shower so it took us a little bit to figure it out that you have to turn the knob to the right where the blue cold dial is in order to get the hot water. So it was opposite of what you would expect it to be. The housekeeping came everyday to leave towels, make the bed and mop the floors. The “king” size bed is actually 2 double beds pushed together and its pretty hard. We didnt mind it because by the time we went to sleep we were exhausted so it did not disrupt our sleep. There is also a safe in the room to lock up your valuable. We highly recommend using it. Food – There is a main buffet restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also 4 specialty restaurants only available for dinner and by reservation. The seating time is at 6:30pm and at 9pm and you have to make reservations on the same day, in the lobby between 9-12am. The breakfast buffet was good. Its the same selection of food everyday but there are so many options to choose from. The dinner buffet was also good. You have a lot of options. We didn’t try the lunch buffet. There are bars everywhere so its very easily and painless to get drinks during all hours of the day. The swim up pool bar was the best and rarely crowded. We tried the Italian restaurant and it was ok, nothing special. The drinks are bottom shelf and a little watered down so you need a few to feel any type of buzz. There is also a snack bar between lunch and dinner. They didn't have much of a selection. The one thing that was a bit of a nuisance were the birds! They fly around during breakfast and snack time but not during dinner. They didnt bother us. If you are bothered by the birds you can always sit inside and eat but you will miss the beautiful scenery. The Huts – In order to occupy a hut, you must wake up at 5am to put down your beach towel or beach bag on the chairs under the hut so it looks “occupied.” The huts are in high demand and there are only a few. You can pay $25/day for a beach umbrella. We were forced to do this on the first day until we learned how it all worked. There are plenty of beach chairs available on the beach or by the pool. Water Activities – We reserved snorkeling which was $45/person for 3 hours. They took us to 2 locations to snorkel. It was open bar, they gave lunch (sandwiches) and music! You have to stay close to the boat otherwise they may leave you as they do not take a headcount. We didn’t have a problem but we have heard that its happened before. You just have to be SMART! Activities/Nightlife – The hotel staff that handle the daily activities are very friendly. They try to keep the guests entertained through water aerobics, zumba, etc. The music is the same everyday, Spanish music but its expected. If you are not a fan and want peace and quiet, you can always grab your drinks and go lay on the beach. At night, there are dance shows and live music in the main building. There is also a casino with tables ($15-$100 min depending on the table) and they also have slot machines. Overall, we thought the hotel was a bit pricey but clean despite the reviews that the read we would stay again if the price was right. Peak season is from October – April. If you want a more relaxing stay you should probably go outside of these months. Our only regret is wishing that we would have ventured outside of the resort but we did not have enough time. Also, not a bad idea to rent a car as the taxi can become a bit too pricey. Last thing, DO NOT take Air Tran!! Final note - The hotel is huge so knowing WHERE to stay puts the other reviews in perspective. We read reviews from some previous guests that did not mention what part of the hotel they stayed so we did not know what to expect. We are letting you know that building C, Room 180 is totally legit and probably the best room to be in for the reasons mentioned above. Good luck and enjoy your time in paradise!
Where do I even start??!! Aruba was by far the BEST vacation we have been on!!! We have also been to Punta Cana and the Bahamas and I would go back to Aruba. It truly is "One Happy Island". The Rui was amazing!! Great food options, beautiful rooms, clean and a great location. I also recommend doing the UTV tour Cheap Carribean offers. There is so much more to that island and that tour shows you the beauty and brilliance of it. I myself am a review reader and I am very honest. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about any part of our trip (beside the airport). Just an FYI there...arrive about 4 hours before your flight because you go through 2 customs. We thought we had time and found out we had to go through another customs area and we were almost late for our flight. If you are reading through reviews trying to find your next vacation....your search stops here!!!! You will not be disappointed with your choice of destination or resort. Have a wonderful vacation!!!!!!!
We stayed at the Riu Palace Aruba for our honeymoon September 7-14. We looked around at the other hotels in the area and the Riu Antillas and here is why we thought this hotel was the best. We'll give you the pros and cons too! Its one of the largest hotels on Palm Beach, in the high rise hotel location. You can walk down the beach and see all of the other high rise hotels. You can also walk across the street to Senor Frogs as well as tons of other shops and restuarants. The location couldn't be any better! Riu Antillas is right next door, it is a lot smaller. Adults only and more modern. Personally, we prefered the style of the Palace better. The pool at the palace was much larger and more open. Although, when you stay at one of the Riu's, you can travel in between both of them. So either way, you can use both of the hotels! Our room was a junior suite in the main buliding (building A) The room was very nice. Huge bathroom. Beautiful views. The food was average. We have stayed at Riu hotels before and compared to our previous stays, we thought the buffet was much better at the Riu Palace Aruba. Many options, it was clean. The restaurants were just okay. We knew not to expect a 5 star fine dining experience. For example, I noticed many people complain that their steaks were not cooked as they ordered. Krystal and Sayuri were our favorites. Again, the food was good but not excellent. Its one of the only hotels in Aruba that does all inclusive, so with that being said, you can't go wrong! The staff was great. The staff at the pool were very attentive and were always there to take your drink orders. Our maid was also great. She only spoke Spanish, but it wasn't really a problem. The front desk answered all of our questions quickly and appropriately. Our favorite bartender was at Barry's bar by the stage- he makes cricket noises! (Go- you'll see what we mean!) The shows were okay. Nothing spectacular, but they were entertaining. The beach was amazing. The water was crystal clear. Seaweed free. Best part is that there were no people begging or selling you things! You could relax with no one bothering you. Many watersports and activities right there. De Palm peir is right next to the hotel and the Palm Pleasure catarmaran/snorkel adventure was great! We also rented a Jeep from Top Drive right in the hotel lobby. We drove the whole island and went to the Wildlife park- Arikok. It was quite a drive but it was very pretty and showed a whole different side of the island. No problems renting the car, they were great and the driving was not bad at all! Just take a map and you will be fine! Sorry so long, hope it helps! Happy traveling :)
I stayed at the Riu Palace Aruba for 10 nights for Christmas and New Years. Overall I had a great time and really enjoyed the resort. I would go back and I'd recommend it to others to try. The buffet was AWESOME. They had great food every night. The pool and beach were always clean. And the staff was extremely friendly. My room was nice although I thought the bathroom needed a little fixing up but nothing major. But the beds were TERRIBLE. They were so hard. If you like an extra firm bed you won't mind. I had read a review that you can ask for a mattress topper but I asked 3 times and nothing. So I was a little annoyed about that. The other thing I disliked was people waking up at 6 a.m. to reserve pool and beach chairs for the entire day when they're not even using them. It was like finding parking in NYC. But I guess that's at every resort. I was also a little disappointed they didn't throw a party on New Years Eve. They had a dinner and gave out party favors but that was it. We watched fire works on the beach which was nice. I also did 3 excursions. Jet Skiing, which I purchased from this guy on the beach. I did a Jeep tour which was AWESOME. We went through ABC Tours. It was $25 cheaper than the one the resort was offering and you get to drive your own jeep. We did the 4 hour tour that took us to the Natural Pool, Donkey Sanctuary and a Gold Mill ruin. The scenery was spectacular. Our guide Hugo was great. Def bring water shoes for the Natural Pool, the rocks were a little rough. We also did ATV riding which we purchased from a guy on the beach. We took them out ourselves and drove out to Baby Beach. Loved it! Overall I thought the hotel was pretty good. I really enjoyed my stay.
Though vacations are not cheap by any means these days & my husband & I have traveled to many caribbean islands & Europe we thought the Riu was top notch! From the moment we arrived at check-in to our goodbye, the service was excellent, food was great as well as everything inbetween. Aruba itself did not impress me as there are many more islands I feel are much more beautiful without the cost or hype.
The Riu was everything that we had hoped for. The location, room, dining options, entertainment---all were fabulous. We were very pleased with all of the daily choices in the restaurants and enjoyed several of the reservation only places for dinner. The location allowed for a lot of walking to nearby shopping and entertainment. We are already planning our 2014 trip back to the resort. Thanks for making our much needed vacation so much fun! Helpful Tips: Bring your own cup for the bar, Bring clips for your beach chair/pool chair to hold your towels in place, Consider that the areas are tile and marble so rubber flip flops/flats are most practical when packing your shoes, Thanks to the Aruba wind, long dresses are easier to handle in the evening vs. keeping shorter ones from flying up!!
My wife and I absolutely loved the RIU palace in Aruba. We stayed for a week and really didnt have to leave the resort if we didnt want to. The excursions were made so easy. Jeep tour picked us up at the hotel and all boating excursions were on the pier right next to the hotel. The service of the staff was fantastic and the room was cleaned 100% every day with little extras from the staff. Most restaurants on the resort were fantastic with awesome food. I will absolutely recommend the resort to others and will go back in the future
I am a single father of 3 boys (24, 22 & 16). We typically take an all-inclusive vacation every other year - we've been to Cancun, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Vallarta and the Dominican Republic (twice), and now Aruba. I would classify us as experienced all-inclusive travelers. The Riu Palace Aruba was, without question, the finest resort we have ever stayed stayed in. - The rooms were spacious and clean. - The pool area was phenomenal - clean, energetic and well-covered by multiple pool-side servers (not the case everywhere we've been). - The beach was also beautiful. Every morning we would head out to the beach first and were greeted by a beach attendant asking us if we'd like him to move lounge chairs for us (say yes - the chairs are taken off the beach every night and stacked in high piles that are difficult to reach on your own, and then you'd have to drag each chair 40-50 yards to be close to the water. And bring $2 every day to tip them - it's hard work in soft sand and they will notice you the next day). - Beach sand was white as a cloud, and the water was deep aqua. An amazing setting. FYI, unlike other resorts, no on-beach servers for drinks, which we didn't mind. - Food was outstanding. Most all-inclusives tend to leave you a little bored with the daily fare by day 3 or 4. Not at the Riu Palace Aruba - every meal was terrific, including the main buffet dining room where they had theme nights 6 of 7 nights of the week. - I drink Chardonnay. While I wouldn't consider myself a wine snob, I can tell the difference between a good glass vs. a bad glass of chardonnay. At EVERY all-inclusive we've been to so far the chardonnay has been very below average. At the Riu Palace Aruba, it was the very first time I thoroughly enjoyed the chardonnay - at the pool bar, the buffet restaurants, and all the other bars. - Service, from the front desk to the pool side servers to the maids, was top shelf. Every time we passed a staff member on the resort we were greeted with 'good morning/afternoon/evening" in a very sincere and friendly manner. Again, not the case at all resorts. -Finally, I would simply add that this resort is beyond perfect. I'm not paid to write this, and I'm a fairly critical traveler. You will not regret staying at the Riu Palace Aruba.
The grounds for the hotel are beautiful but for being one of the newer resorts I thought it was lacking in a lot of areas. Our room seemed outdated. We stayed in Room 624 and the shower leaked from the ceiling over the tub. Not just a drizzle but sheets of water. The shower handle was falling apart and there was a mildew / musty smell in our room. We were at the resort with two other couples and their rooms had similar issues. I felt like the hotel was too big for their maintenance crew and they couldn’t keep up. Dinner reservations had to be made from 9am to 12 pm. Our flight landed at 4pm, so we were forced to go to the buffet. I guess in retrospect that wasn’t so bad since the restaurants had only three choices that were usually fish (grouper), chicken and beef just prepared different ways. I did stay at another all inclusive report in Aruba in 2009 and they had extensive menus at their restaurants that offer an average of 10 entrée selections. I expected more from the Riu. Also by the pool bar it smelt like garbage. I thought the staff was nice. I dont think i would recommend this hotel to anyone it just wasnt that great.