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Reviewed 11 July 2016 via mobile

Where to start! We stayed here from the 17/05/2016 for a two week holiday. This place really does look like a grand palace suited for a king. First thoughts from the outside driving up to the hotel is you'll soon realise just how big the hotel actually is. By far the biggest hotel we have ever stayed in. On entering the hotel we was greeted with smiling faces and champagne. It was a very warm welcoming to start the holiday. Our suitcases were taken to our room as we picked up our room keys and made our way down.

The Room. 10/10
Entering the room the anticipation stops because as you all probably know your trying to picture the room on your way down (or up) and hoping its to the standard Riu Palace says it is. In our opinion the room was absolutely faultless. The bed was situated at the far side of the room up a few steps so the bed was the highest point in the room which felt nice. Flat screen TV not that we watched any at all. A two seater sofa with a table which was nice to rest my weary legs from time to time. A fully stocked minibar with the usual Balashi beer being the most important obviously. Above the minibar you have a worktop area with glasses, ice bucket (ice machines are always close by), tea and coffee making facilities and in my honest opinion the best thing about the whole room... Four full size spirit bottles from Johnnie Walker whiskey, Smirnoff vodka, Bacardi Rum and Brandy. Me and Johnnie Walker became very good friends on this holiday and I'm sure a few of you did too. The bathroom was immaculate as expected with his and her sinks and a large shower. Getting clean towels and bedsheets were never a problem. Housekeeping cleaned our room everyday without fault. A big sliding wardrobe which was perfect for my partner as she packed enough clothes to have stayed for at least a few months with shoes for every outfit. The safe was located inside the bottom of the wardrobe and I would suggest everyone uses it not that I ever felt that my belonging were in danger of being taken however stops the chance of the upset and aggravation. Please don't take this in the wrong way because every single member of staff were absolutely amazing and I'm sure theft is zero and just doesn't happen in Riu Palace. To say the balcony was of a generous size is an understatement. We didn't have a balcony with a sea view as we was at the back side of the hotel (facing the Antillas) however the balcony size was enormous. As you would expect chairs and table situated on the balcony with a pull out clothes line to hang and dry your clothes. Air con and ceiling fan was spot on for the entire holiday. We couldn't fault the room at all and I'm sure you wont either.

Food. 10/10
5* resort with food to match. A la carte dining includes Krystal fusion restaurant, Sayuri Japanese restaurant, Milano Italian restaurant and the grill and steakhouse. All faultless. From personal experience food to service you won't leave unsatisfied at least we didn't. Just a quick tip if your wanting to dine in these restaurants long trousers and shirt will need to be worn. We see a gentleman who was politely turned away for wearing shorts. I'm not a big fan of wearing trousers on holiday and I'm sure some of you aren't either however the restaurants are all air conditioned so it's just the case of making that long hard hot journey before hand. To make a reservation for any of these a la carte restaurants as you walk in from the front of the Riu Palace directly to your right you'll see desks and a few smiling faces this is where you can make your reservations. The buffet has so much choice you couldn't try everything even if you was there for a month. There has a vast choice of selection and no one will be left hungry I assure you. There even is a gluten free selection if that helps anyone :). For a buffet themed restaurant the quality of food is out of this world. You can wear shorts and t shirts at any time in this restaurant for those trousers and shirt haters. We didn't eat anything that was under exceptional. I heard people moaning about how the toaster took an age and I'll agree it takes longer than the average toaster but to complain about it? So petty in my opinion. If it's that bad don't get toast. Your on holiday put that smile on your face and chill out! There's people in the world who don't even have the privilege to eat. Think yourself lucky. Overall the food is sensational and the service is brilliant. Very friendly, polite, helpful and just generally lovely staff.

The Hotel. 10/10
The hotel really is something else. No matter where you wander around the hotel it is absolutely spotless. The groundsman keep the grass pristine along with the flora. Swimming pools well kept and clean. Palm trees lined either side as you walk down towards the great swimming and infinity pools. Heard very good things about the Renova spa from others however didn't actually attend ourselves. Sun beds go quickly at this resort with people waking up at the crack of dawn to lay there towels on sun beds which is against the hotel rules. Don't walk around disheartened because you can't find a sun bed just pop over to the towel hut and ask if a sun lounger can be brought out which was never any problem at all. Local bus and taxi services are easy and efficient if you wish to go in to the capital or anywhere else for that matter. Nightly entertainment at Riu Palace is something more than worth mentioning. It was brilliant every night. From acrobatic shows, Latin American dancing, fun and games to live singers. The entertainment is nothing shorter than outstanding. You won't be disappointed. Overall ladies and gentleman this is one grand hotel.

The Beach. 10/10
Truly amazing. The sea was crystal clear like bottled mineral water with pure sand bottoms with no weeds or coral until a fair way out. The sea was like a pond with virtually no waves to very little which made it great for families with younger children to paddle about. The sand pure white with tiny bits of dead coral which sometimes could be felt underfoot but is nothing to be worried about. Plenty of sun beds with young hard working men bringing sun loungers to your desired spot on the beach. If you want to get a palm umbrella then you best be up early to beat the early birds however we wandered up and down and always seemed to catch someone leaving or one that hadn't been claimed. Maybe we was just lucky? There was always a constant breeze not only on the beach but in general. Please don't be fooled as the wind it very misleading as you feel nice and cool. Don't be the person walking around looking like a tomato or even worse in bed unwell. Taking a walk up or down the beach is lovely at sunset and more than safe enough to do so and highly recommended. Any avid scuba divers out there I would highly highly recommended that as you head down to the beach take a right along the path about 100 meters you'll come across a 5* padi dive centre called Unique Sports Of Aruba. The staff here are better than amazing and the diving is excellent. SS Antilla, SS Perdernales and malmok reef are all worth a visit for any diver enthusiast.

The Staff. 10/10
The staff are incredible. Always polite and willing to go out of there way for you. Very laid back people with big smiles. There's a lot of staff as its such a big hotel and I hope they get the credit they deserve because the hotel wouldn't be what it is without them. I hope that there hard work in making people's holidays as amazing as ours is seen and respected. Thank you all!

Trips
You have two options here. Firstly you can book your excursions as we done through Thomson prior to going. The alternative is to use public transport or hire a vehicle and make your own way to your desired interests. It all depends on how busy you want to be and wether or not you'll save money doing one or the other. I would highly suggest you get out and about to see the island. There's some really good things to go see and do so don't miss out. The excursions we booked through Thomson were...
- Aruba sightseeing half day tour
You get to see some of the main interests of Aruba on this trip from Alto Vista chapel, California lighthouse, Bushiribana Goldmine, Baby Bridge and the butterfly farm. Highly recommended
- SS Antilla
If your an avid scuba diver or never dived before I would suggest everyone should seriously think about giving it a go just to see this wreck. I'm fully qualified however my partner has never dived before until I persuaded her to give it a try. If you asked her now she would tell you it was one of the best things she had ever done.
- Sunset cruise
Nice and romantic. Food and beverages including. Please try an Aruba ariba cocktail. Be warned they are strong we don't want you falling overboard! Good music and very good atmosphere. Sunset was fantastic along with the lively staff.
- De Palm Island
Action packed with loads of stuff to do. I would say half day trip is fine if your going as a couple or adults only but that's just my opinion. If you have a family with young children full day would be great as there's more to do for youngsters. Zip line, nice beach, snorkelling, trampolining, food and drink included, banana boat rides and a water park for kids. Loads to do and great fun.
- Palm Pleasure Catamaran
Very good day. Staff overall from De Palm Tours were better than excellent. Good music, good food and drinks (Aruba ariba) and a great trip overall. Plenty of snorkel stops including SS Antilla, Catalina bay and Arashi reef. All included great marine life. Very chilled out no one pushed you over board if you didn't want to snorkel. Was a great day trip.
- Natural Pool 4x4
A bit of an adrenaline rush speeding about Arikok national park. Hitting the sand dunes and drifting around bends made a great experience to see Aruba. The national park is very different to the lush palm beach trust me. You'll get to see the famous divvi trees of Aruba and rock formations where Indians stacked to make wishes many moons ago. Natural Pool can be difficulty to walk down to because it is very slippery so please take care.

Overall. Riu Palace Aruba take a bow.

Date of stay: May 2016
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
32  Thank Jamie-Rebecca_1992
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2016

We have been to Aruba five times in the last 10 years as a family and this is our first stop at the Riu Palace Aruba and certainly the last as we were disgusted.

1. Room- It was recently renovated but they cut a lot of corners. Our bathroom was an open concept bathroom which means only the toilet has a door (ours was missing a door knob and although we asked it was never replaced, photo attached). Having a wife and two daughters an open concept shower was not something we were comfortable with but in fairness they said this is their new standard. Many little things in the room did not work and they fixed all but the door knob and a light switch. As a Riu I would have expected greater detail.

2. Daily activities- considering it was a family resort my 11 year old and 8 year old and us as parents were not impressed with the “dirty dancing” routines considering there were so many young kids in the pool area as well. We are all on vacation but we took the kids to the beach on a few of the days because they crossed the line. One of the days they had a beer chugging competition and the guy drank himself silly that he was throwing up in the public bathroom and on the way there (very disgusting site to see). I let the security guard know that the bathroom was a disaster and so was the guy but several hours later we went to dinner and I went to use the bathroom and it had still not been clean (it must have been 3-4 hours later, see photo)

3. Day 2 at the resort my 8 year old was playing a game with the entertainment staff where you run on a mat in the water and one of the employees pushes the mat intentionally and she slips off and falls into the pool and bumps her head. She gets out crying and with a bump on her head and the entertainment supervisor “Daniel” comes over to my wife laughing? When we both got very upset he changed his tone but wow? The bar staff were helpful in getting her ice but the entertainment staff were very bad. In a letter to our travel agent the Riu claims my daughter did not hurt herself on the mat fall but fell on the deck? They completely lied to cover themselves.

First I asked for our travel rep as it was after her hours and the front desk informed me I would need to speak with her tomorrow and I asked they leave a message for her which they did not. When I asked to speak to the Hotel Manager of the Riu Palace Aruba Vanessa [--] they informed me that there is no manager from 4pm-6pm and I asked her to call me when she gets in and she never called me back. Later that evening I had to go looking again for something before Juan [--] the Assistant manager came to talk to my wife and I. All in all he was not empathetic and when he saw how angry we were with why they would do this to an 8 year old I didn’t get the sense he really cared too much. He said he would follow up the following day to see how she was feeling but did not call us until 3 days later.
When I informed the manager I was disgusted at what the entertainment staff member did and how they laughed and I would have trouble facing them during the course of the week his response was “Lucy in our kids club does a great job looking after kids and you can bring them there if you like” Really? I came to vacation with my family and now I will dump them off to the kids club because of your entertainment staff’s lack of professionalism. In my conversation with Juan [--] I actually said if I could get my money back and go to a different hotel right now I would, he did not respond but shook our hands and thanks us for our comments.

All things considered I do not think I would ever go back due to the way they handled the situation with my daughter. Mistakes happen but the management really seemed like they couldn’t care less and due to this I think I would rather go back to one of the previous hotels we stayed at and were treated better. It’s a shame that a hotel company spends so much in making a hotel better but the element of customer service is more with the staff than with the management of the hotel. The Front desk team, wait staff, bar staff and housekeeping were very good but the disrespect the entertainment supervisor Daniel showed and the managements lack of care shown is unforgivable.

In my opinion I was disgusted with the Riu Palace Aruba and would never go back to this hotel again. There are many choices in Aruba and we will continue to visit but to a different resort that has management that respects and cares for their guests.

Last comment is I would be surprised if the Riu responded to my review but if they do please keep in mind I am a senior reviewer and someone who travels a great deal with many reviews.

Date of stay: June 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank AVKleinburg
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 25 July 2016

Dear guest,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a comment about your stay. We regret the described incident any would like to apologise for any inconveniences you had to encounter because of this.

We can assure you that this was an isolated case; all our staff is trained well and their priority is to make our customers feel safe. We regret that you left our resort with an opposite idea in your mind. If you would like to fail a complaint please feel free to contact our Customers Relationship Department via crm@riu.com.

We really hope you will give us a second chance to redeem ourselves and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of Guest Service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,

Riu Palace Aruba
Online Reputation Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2016

Without any shadow of doubt best allinclusive holiday to date if your thinking of a visit do it it,s a brilliant hotel with great staff throughout ,can't single out any one they where all first class.

Room tip: Would of liked a room in the main building to watch the sunset awsome
Date of stay: June 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank abc50_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2016 via mobile

Stayed here recently for two weeks. Eight adults - we had an amazing holiday - the hotel is faultless (apart from the sunbed situation but I blame the other holiday makers not the hotel for the ongoing problem). Excellent varied choice of food, lovely surroundings with a stunning beach and helpful, friendly staff (shout out to Randy and Geraldine). The island itself is gorgeous and to be honest I can't think of anything really negative to say. Hope to come back one day soon.

Date of stay: July 2016
Trip type: Travelled with friends
5  Thank Ryano9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2016 via mobile

What a holiday this was.
Visited end of June / early July. WOW WOW WOW !
Food excellent.
Staff excellent.
Cleanliness excellent.
Facilities excellent.
We couldn't fault it at all, if you want a good holiday look no further, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE.
Well done to all the staff at the hotel, thank you. We will definitely go back here again.

Date of stay: July 2016
Trip type: Travelled with family
13  Thank barbelman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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