The white-domed Riu Palace is a seriously elegant hotel. The wood-panelled piano bar is reminiscent of a private gentlemen’s club while the neutral bedrooms are the epitome of good taste. They’re spacious too, and the Junior suites come with lounge areas.
Outside, the terrace features sunbeds submerged in the water and a pagoda-like swim-up bar. Just beyond the pool lie the sands of Palm Beach.
On the food front, all inclusive buffets come courtesy of the chandelier-adorned main restaurant. For a taste of the Far East head to the minimalist Japanese eatery, Sayuri. Or make a reservation at Picasso-esque Krystal restaurant to try fusion-cuisine. Rounding off the à la carte line-up you’ve got a steakhouse and an Italian trattoria.
As for relaxation and entertainment, you can have a massage in the Vita Novus Spa, sign up for a game of beach volleyball or enjoy a beer in the American-style sports bar. There’s even a casino here.
The Sayuri à la carte restaurant offers a variety of Japanese delicacies. Gentlemen please note long trousers are required to dine here. Two sittings are available - please reserve at the customer service desk.
From reading the reviews on TripAdvisor, we were prepared for the worst, but tried to be open-minded. We had planned to stay at the Westin but, sadly, it was sold to Riu and was now closed so we were placed at the Riu. When we arrived, we were told that our reservation had been cancelled even though we had a confirmation number and other correspondence with the front desk indicating our arrival; however, after spending an hour at the front desk, we were given an "upgraded" room and we did in fact have an ocean view, which was very nice. All of the reports about mold/mildew in the rooms are correct....you could smell the mustiness as soon as you opened the door to the room. The room was very spacious with a bed that was super king size, but could have been made of concrete. After no sleep the first night, we did get "pillow toppers" the next day and that did improve the sleeping conditions somewhat, though the pillow toppers didn't fit the bed properly. Basically, the hotel appears not to have been updated in a good many years and, since we are used to Westin Hotels which upgrade on a regular basis, this hotel was a great disappointment to us. The food, which was all inclusive, was adequate. In all fairness, we only ate breakfast and lunch at the hotel, but it was not nearly as good as the food we had had at the Riu in Playa del Carmen several years ago. The staff was, for the most part, very nice and tried to make our stay as pleasant as possible. We did enjoy the beach even though we had to be out there by 6:30 am at the latest in order to get a palapa (surely there must be some better system for reserving them). The parking for guests is "do it yourself", but the lots are several levels lower than the hotel entrance and involved a hike up a long hilly driveway or climbing four flights of stairs. The "turn down" service at night was hit or miss.More
marcia39, Annapolis, Maryland
Very nice relaxing vacation at RIU Palace!
We visited on the 3rd week of April. It was our first trip to RIU Palace, although we've stayed at the Occidental several times, as well as Marriot Stellaris.
What we liked:
1. It's a compact resort so within just a few minutes you can walk from your room to your palapa on the beach, which is very convenient.
2. The food at the buffets (indoor/outdoor) is good, but can get repetitive (just like any all inclusive) after some time.
3. The service was better than I expected – on several times they would send repair people when requested in a timely manner. There was maid service two times a day – in the evening for more towels. The waiters/waitresses seemed nice, as well.
4. The beach/water is nice. It is more spacious and less crowded than at the neighboring hotels (Radisson, Occidental). Lots of space and the sea is calm.
5. There wasn't any noise from Westin construction or anything as I had read before.
6. There were plenty of palapas if you got to the beach before 7am, and lots of space – they were not stacked closely like at other places.
7. We had an oversized 9th floor balcony in the main building. These were huge compared to the other balconies.
8. The main building's junior suite was not small and had a pull out couch that we used as an extra bed.
9. There was a sports bar/room with pool and fuss ball tables with some extra food.
What was ok:
1. Getting the palapas was not as big of an issue as I thought it would be. I'm not exactly sure why some people want to grab the 1st row palapas. If you want some extra room, the palapas in the middle or towards back were just as nice and in my opinion better. Generally they were available to be reserved by 7am by wrapping a towel or hanging a bag. Some people would reserve them very early, leave and come back later. Others would wait till 7am until the beach workers would unchain the lounge chairs and bring them by. There were extra palapas infront of the Westin that could be used, since they now belonged to RIU. They seemed to be unclaimed until later in the day. Also I noticed some people had the beach workers reserve some palapas on for a tip (given on the next day).
2. The casino seemed decent – it wasn't small, but could be a little smokey.
3. The nightly shows were not of the caliber of other resorts (Occidental). There was a small stage.
4. Pool - We didn't use the pool because of the great beach/water, but it was very open/windy and plain. It didn't have much shade, waterfalls like some other resorts.
What we didn't like:
1. The Japanese restaurant food was disappointing. That was the only one we tried.
2. The wind at the RIU/Westin location was stronger than at the other hotels like Occidental/Hyatt/etc. The sports rental guy told me that it was due to beach being more open with the hotel being further from the beach and not blocking the wind. While some wind helps cool you down, the continuous bursts of wind resulted in sand being whipped against your back on occasion, but more regularly our towels and stuff had to be re-adjusted constantly. I also took a walk down toward the Occidental to check and did confirm that there was less wind at the beach of those hotels.
In summary it was a pretty good stay. The daily sunny weather with the beach and hotel made for a wonderful vacation. I just wish it wasn't as windy at this particular hotel because it made it feel a bit colder when you were around the water. This is something the RIU people cannot control, though. We must realize that every hotel has its advantages and disadvantages. When comparing all aspects I am sure you will not find one single resort that completely wins on every category. You just have to make sure the advantages work for you and are not impacted by the disadvantages.More
Simply Beautiful Vacation!
This resort was fantastic! I vacationed with my husband and some family members, and I would go back to the Riu anytime! The resort was beautiful and the wonderful staff made our vacation amazing! Drinks were flowing non-stop and every restaurant we went to at this resort was honestly delicious. I wouldn't have one that I wouldn't recomend or go back to. The rooms were nice, and anyone who writes a review complaining about rooms when you are on vacation in paradise spends MUCH too much time not enjoying the lovely beach/pools etc! There was a nice walkway along the beach where you can walk for a long time and pass many other resorts, restarants and bars. That made for a nice exercise path between numerous drinks at the swim up bar! Overall, I would highly recommend this resort for a very fun vacation! Aruba is simply gorgeous in general, but the Riu made our trip perfect!More
Cheers1234, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Hotel sucks, beach makes it worth it
I stayed at the Riu in Jamaica and didn't think it was all that great, and same for here in Aruba. The rooms are so out dated. If anyone in bed rolls over the whole floor can hear it. The food isn't anything special in fact the lunch is terrible. The good thing about aruba is there's amazing places to eat-- if you are here try Madam Jeannette's and aqua grill-- both amazing!! The beach outside of the hotel is amazing. If you aren't planning on spending much time at the hotel you are fine. The pool is ok but this week lots of kids. All and all the inside of the hotel sucks but the outside is good. Don't expect comfy beds or good food if you are planning on spending your time at the hotel since it is an all inclusive. Side note-- for the best ALL INCLUSIVE, I HIGHLY recommend the now resorts all in Mexico. More
Db1086, Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Manage your Time Share Exchange expectations
We exchanged a time share week in Florida for a week in December of 2013 at the Riu Palace in Aruba.
We saw some of the negative reviews about the staff and the condition of the time share units and were apprehensive.
From the first moment of our arrival, throughout our very successful week, the staff was extremely helpful and the facilities were just fine.
We discovered that the ownership of the original hotel building (there are three buildings) that houses the time share units had recently been taken over by the owners of the Riu Palace Hotel. That seems to have fixed many of the problems that created the complaints related to the older building and the time share units.
Our spacious unit with a large separate bedroom and a large living room with a fold out bed and separate bathroom was definitely larger than the newer hotel units and easy for four people to enjoy their vacation. Even though it was a little dated, and had a few rust spots on the shower partition, the beautiful view of the pool and the ocean, plus access to all the amenities offered to everyone else, provided a great value and one of our best vacations.
We arrived on Friday and opted for the all inclusive food and drink to start on Saturday morning. We (2 of us) went out to dinner our first night at one of the better restaurants off-site and spent $150 for a meal that was no better than most of the meals provided by the Riu Palace in the all inclusive package. If you have just two drinks a day, the all inclusive food and drink package will probably save you money over the relatively expensive restaurant scene in Aruba.
We did reserve dinner in all of the Riu specialty private dining rooms (at no additional cost) and the need to register early in the morning was a small inconvenience for the rewards.
You have to get up early to reserve pool chairs and beach umbrella spots anyhow.
With your expectations managed, the use of the Riu Palace with a time share exchange can provide a great vacation experience.More
Items marked with * incur extra charges which are payable locally
Prices displayed in the 'top places to stay' section are the lowest prices available departing within the next 365 days. All offers are subject to very limited availability.
All prices shown are updated once every morning and therefore could change at any time during the day. All prices shown are per person and are based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. When selecting an offer you will be asked to enter in the number of adults and children travelling, the applicable price will then be displayed based on your chosen party size.
All offers are subject to availability. Thomson reserves the right to withdraw these offers at any time and without notice. For full booking terms and conditions please click here