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Reviewed 10 September 2016

We were stayed at this hotel as part of a large group celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary.
Overall, the property was nice. It is very large with lots of guest rooms.

Room: The junior suite was large, clean, comfortable, had a stocked fridge and open bar.

Food: The overall food was fair. There are four restaurants & two buffets which give the resort variety. Some meals were fine, not great,& some meals were not good at all. Normally I don't judge food at all inclusive too harshly but we had been on a cruise earlier in the summer and their food could not hold a candle to the food on the cruise.

Pool/Beach: The pool is nice, large with in water seating. Bar and bar servers walking around the pool. It is very difficult to get a chair as others have said because people would "reserve' their seat very early in the morning. After a day of watching the "reserved" seats I found that most of the time people don't even use them.
The beach is pristine, but is public so there is no bar service and again it's hard to get a seat.

Activities: Ok. If I were with adults only I really wouldn't care about activities and entertainment, but since we were with a variety of ages including preteens and teenagers this was a big deal. Other than the little bit of pool side entertainment and kayaks there was really nothing for the kids to do. We initiated several volleyball games (not the entertainment staff) which many of the guests joined in. In fact the games got so large other guest took over the game we started. Finally at 5oclock the entertainers took the ball because it was time to quit.
There are two pool tables inside the sports bar and a small casino.
The casino had lots of slot machines two blackjack tables, two roulette tables, and another game that I did not recognize. There was a craps table but it was not open at any time when we were there. It was hard to get a seat at any of the open tables.

Service: The overall vibe at the hotel is "I'm just here to do my job and go home."

In conclusion: The hotel is large, lots of people and not enough chairs, nice room, okay food, no entertainment for children and a beautiful beach.

On a side not to the hotel - the tile around the pool and around the hotel property is very slippery when wet. I find it extremely dangerous given the number of older or over served guests. Even though yellow cones are placed warning the tile is slippery I found myself having to catch myself several times even when I was walking gingerly trying to avoid a fall.

Date of stay: September 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank jules28804
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RiuHotelsandResorts, Online Reputation Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, responded to this reviewResponded 14 September 2016

Dear guest,

We would like to thank you for choosing RIU Hotels and Resorts for your holidays and for taking the time to give us your constructive and valued feedback.

We always welcome feedback from our customers, since it gives us the opportunity to make appropriate improvements and changes where necessary. We will share your suggestions with the corresponding departments in order to improve our services and facilities.

We hope to see you again in RIU so that you can enjoy the quality, service and attention that define our hotels.

With our best we remain,
Riu Palace Aruba
Online Reputation Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2016 via mobile

Really enjoyed hotel. Not as child friendly as I was hoping. Premises was well maintained. Original room was horrible so they upgraded us at no cost which was really nice. Pool pleasant. Got a bit too rowdy at times with drunk guests. Pool surrounding bar was closed down for s but due to problem with filtration. Beach gorgeous. Jolly Roger pirate ship excursion was really fun. Also the Atlantis Adventure Semi-Submarine excursion was enjoyed by my entire family. Overall a great hotel and enjoyable trip.

Date of stay: May 2016
Trip type: Travelled with family
4  Thank PinaB20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2016 via mobile

Overall fantastic but 2 areas will hold me back from returning.

I'll start with the fantastic. Upon landing in Aruba I was welcomed by a clean, well air conditioned airport. They have "Happy Flow" customs that was almost completely automated. It took a total of 15 minutes to get our luggage and pass through customs. Our De Palm transportation was waiting outside and was cool and clean. If you have traveled to any other Caribbean countries and waited in hot dirty conditions for up to an hour to then again wait outside for 30 minutes for a hot dirty bus, you will understand why Aruba has got it right.

Upon arriving to the beautiful Riu we were greeted with champagne. The lobby as well as the entire hotel was spotless and the air conditioners throughout were very cool.

1) Reason I will not return: The front desk informed us the resort had overbooked and we would not get our suite. The trip was booked four months in advance and confirmed two weeks prior. They down graded and adjusted the price to a junior suite. Honestly it was perfect for my fiancé and me. However, if we had the kids with us or other guests it would have been a major issue. For this reason we can't depend on the Riu to book rooms accurately. The front desk staff was less than helpful in many areas.

The room was just fine, in fact it was clean and beautiful. We had room 1016 which is high in the center. The view from the room was priceless. The towels were thick and fluffy, the shower was awesome, and the frig was fully stocked. Down side was a rock hard bed and a toilet that could barely flush more than a couple sheets of paper.

The food was better than any other all inclusive. Breakfast was my favorite meal. Lunch was good, and dinner was adequate. Generally speaking the buffets they offered for all three meals were better than the individual restaurants. The exception was the Japanese restaurant which had great sushi.

The pool was beautiful and had different things going on throughout the day. It was quiet in the morning, loud music and a Zumba class late morning, a busy bar mid-day, and activities with pool games in the afternoon. The pool bar closes at 6 o'clock in the evening which allowed things to quiet down again. I would advise getting to the pool before 7:00 to get a chair. Also be aware there is limited shade at the pool.
The pool was very slippery from sunscreen and sometimes cloudy. The staff worked hard at night cleaning.

The beaches are beautiful and there were plenty of lounge chairs. If they ever filled up it was a nice option to have vendors that rented chairs as well as floats and paddle boards.

Separate but next to the resort is the De Palm pier which had great food and reasonable prices. The band at night was great. I highly recommend visiting for a sunset drink.

2) Second reason I will not return. My fiancé and I separately realized that we were about $150 short on cash each. We both kept our cash in the locked safe at all times. We each had a side of the safe and kept our cash neatly on each side. We both counted our cash before placing our money in the safe. Mine was neatly to the right and his was neatly to the left. I arrived with three $100 bills and several 20's. I only took out 20's and planned to return home with all three $100 bills as I only brought them in the event of an emergency. Ultimately I was missing a $100 bill and about three $20 bills. Because the resort is all inclusive, it is fairly easy to keep track of how much you spend. My fiancé was missing almost the exact amount from his cash.

It is actually a shame because the two reasons I would not return are quite fixable. The upper management can definitely control over booking and if there has been a problem in the past with money missing out of the safe, that as well can be addressed.

I do want to reiterate that my overall experience at the Riu was fantastic. Other than the front desk, the staff was friendly, the rooms were clean, the beaches were beautiful, and the food was better than any other all-inclusive.

The only other point that I can make about Aruba is that it is extremely windy. That of course cannot be changed, and some may say it keeps the heat from becoming too intense. I found it to be a bit much. But would return again to another resort.

Date of stay: September 2016
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
6  Thank Julatl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RiuHotelsandResorts, Online Reputation Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2016

Dear guest,

Thank you very much for visiting our resort with your fiancé and for taking the time to write a detailed comment. We welcome all constructive criticism, as it helps us to improve in the future.

As part of our service, the security of our guests is our main priority and we make a huge effort to ensure a safe and secure stay for our customers. Please let us assure you that when the quality of our resort experience comes into question, we take notice and action. We understand and share your concerns as we greatly care about the safety and wellbeing of our guests. We assure you this normally does not happen; however, we kindly ask you to contact our Customer Service Department via crm@riu.com for us to do a proper follow up.

However, we are glad that you enjoyed your overall stay at our resort and highlighted our staff and service. The ethos of our staff training requires a friendly, helpful and very obliging service at any time. We are glad that this had a positive impression on you.

We hope to get the chance to welcome you again at one of our RIU hotels.

With our best wishes we remain,

Riu Palace Aruba
Online Reputation Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2016 via mobile

The Riu was definitely a unique experience. The lobby decor (hot pink, black and zebra print) loud and totally unexepected. The hotel can be noisy, the rooms are damp and the air conditioning rattled throughout the night. We called maintenance twice during our stay. Also we requested a ocean view and ended up in a room right above the stage which meant listening to karaoke or salsa music until 1am. Furthermore, kids are up as late as their parents and tend to get involved in late night entertainment. The front desk night staff can be rude it's as if they did not want to be bothered. The pool and beach area is beautiful. EXCEPT hotel guest reserve seats with towels early in the morning making it diffiicult to find seating. If you want to experience Aruba leave the resort, mingle with locals and/or book a tour. The hotel serves mainly American food some not so fresh. Everyone speaks Spanish, Dutch and ok English. The entertainment was lively and colorful but plays mostly salsa music. There is absolutely NO DIVERSITY!! We will not stay here again.

Date of stay: September 2016
Trip type: Travelled with family
3  Thank Bklynbrn34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RiuHotelsandResorts, Online Reputation Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, responded to this reviewResponded 12 September 2016

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share your impressions with us. We are disappointed to find that overall your stay was not what you expected.

We apologize for the inconveniences you experienced in your room. We will be sure to share your comments with the corresponding departments in order to make adjustments, where necessary.

We would like to clarify that upgrades and room requests are always subject to availability. However, our Front Desk team does its bests to satisfy and accommodate all requests from our valued guests. Our managers are working constantly to prevent this kind of incident in the future.

On the other hand, we appreciate your positive comments regarding the pool and the hotel’s beach location. Aruba truly is a beautiful destination.

We hope to see you again in RIU so that you can enjoy the quality, service and attention that define our hotels.

With our best we remain,
Riu Palace Aruba
Online Reputation Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2016

My fiancé and I just returned from a 5 day, 4 night stay at the Riu Palace Aruba and had a great time, but there were some issues with our reservation upon arrival that I'll get to shortly. First, it was really nice how smoothly the airport in Aruba handles immigration and customs upon arrival. We've been to the Caribbean several times and always dread standing in long, hot lines waiting to get through customs and immigration. In Aruba it was almost all automated and went very quickly. It was a really good example of how it should be done.
After exiting the airport we quickly met with our ground transportation, De Palm Tours. The shuttle was very nice, new, clean, and well air conditioned. After stopping at a few other resorts to drop off guests, we arrived at the Riu in about 25 minutes.
Upon checking in, we were informed that the room we had reserved, a suite, was not available because the hotel over booked, but that they would put us in a junior suite and adjust the price. They also mentioned that, because they over booked the hotel, some guests were being relocated to the Riu property next door. This wasn't a big deal for us because the junior suite was still at the Riu Palace Aruba, and was a very nice room, but if we had been traveling with the kids it would have been a problem. It also concerned me that, after reserving a type of room months in advance, and confirming the reservation and room two weeks in advance, and after traveling for hours we could arrive and end up not only not getting the room we reserved, but even possibly getting sent to another property. While we had a great time and the resort is very nice and clean, because we can't depend on them to provide the type of room we reserved, we will not use Riu properties on our future vacations. That's unfortunate, because if we were happy with the Aruba resort, we planned on trying the Riu in St. Martin. Now, that will definitely not happen.
As for the rest of the trip, it was fantastic. The resort is very well-kept, and looks just like the pictures. The beach and sea are amazing and the pool area is very nice. As with most beach resorts, if you want prime seating at the beach or pool you need to get up early to claim it or they will be taken by the time you get there. There is plenty of seating, but you may not get an umbrella unless you get down there early. The drinks at the pool bar are very good and the service is pretty fast, but there is a bit of an odor in the immediate area of the bar that I suspect is from the left over fruit for the drinks decaying.
The food at the Riu was better than most all-inclusive resorts. The breakfast and lunch buffets were very good, and for dinner there are several options. The steakhouse was highly recommended, but if you're used to quality steakhouses in the U.S. you will likely be unimpressed. We preferred the Japanese restaurant for dinner.
While we usually don't eat or drink much off of the resort when we stay at an all inclusive, there was a great bar on the De Palm Pier right near the Riu beach. It's called the Bugaloe Beach Bar. They had great food for lunch, cheap beer for happy hour, and good live music at night.
As for excursions, we did the De Palm Tours Land Rover Tour of the island. It was fantastic, but I'll review that under the De Palm Tours page on trip advisor. Leaving Aruba was also nice due to the smooth immigration and customs process, and because if your returning to the U.S., you go through U.S. Immigration and customs at the Aruba airport and get to avoid the much busier and slower process upon landing in the U.S.

Room tip: Be careful if it is important to get the type of room you reserved. You might not.
Date of stay: September 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Brian L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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