spot on the beach can be challenging during peak times
Evening entertainment is lackluster
Drinks in the casino cost extra
Hotel Riu Palace Aruba is a three-and-half pearl hotel located on crowded Palm Beach. The resort’s 450 guest rooms are attractive and many include balconies or terraces. The Riu checks all the boxes you would expect from an all-inclusive resort: large pools, a swim-up bar, a wide selection of mediocre dining venues, and a lovely spa and fitness center -- it also has a high-energy atmosphere. There's also a large casino with slots and table games. It’s worth comparing rates with the nearby Occidental Grand Aruba Resort, which has nicer rooms and usually comparable rates.
Lively resort caters to couples of all ages looking for good times and unlimited drinks
The Riu Palace dominates the skyline of the High-Rise District, its distinctive domes and turrets providing a marked contrast to the neighboring buildings, which are universally massive resorts. The bold design continues in the hotel’s lobby, which features crystal chandeliers and stained-glass ceilings, as well as pops of fuchsia and zebra prints. A prominent, tree-lined path leads to the pool, evoking a grand entranceway to some extravagant palace. It’s all undeniably eye-catching, though it can border on tacky depending on your tastes. Guest room decor is noticeably more restrained and classic.
With a casino, liquor dispensers in each room, and unlimited drinks 24/7 provided by numerous on-site bars, the Riu is set-up with partying in mind. We spotted a few families during our visit, most of whom took advantage of the hotel’s kids’ club; but overall, most guests are revel-ready couples, ranging in age from young honeymooners to older retirees.
In the island’s High-Rise Hotel District, surrounded by dining and entertainment
Palace is set along one of Aruba’s main beachfront roads in Palm Beach’s
bustling High-Rise Hotel District. The hotel is surrounded by other resorts, with
endless restaurants, shops, and bars accessible in less than five minutes on
foot. There are lots of
people around and the atmosphere is usually buzzing. The hotel
backs onto picturesque Palm Beach, with Malmok and Eagle Beaches within a
10-minute drive. Downtown Oranjestad and Queen Beatrix International
Airport are 20 minutes away by car. Self-parking at the hotel is free.
Modern rooms include large bathrooms and free liquor dispensers
Rooms at the Riu Palace are attractive enough, with tile floors and dark wood
furniture lending a classically modern look to the spaces. However, dated elements detract from the atmosphere, including curtains and dusty rose linens on the beds that aren't the most contemporary design choice we've seen. Large closets hold safes and irons, while flat-screen TVs are set on glossy dressers. All
rooms include coffeemakers, free minibars, and free liquor dispensers.
Beige-colored bathrooms feature pretty border tiles and crown
molding. Long counters include double sinks and are stocked with Lavarino Cosso bath products. Showers with rainfall heads include shampoo dispensers.
Junior Suites offer balconies or terraces, as well as
sunken lounge areas with sofas and comfy chairs. Suites feature bathrooms with hydromassage
bathtubs and bidets, with some also including jetted tubs on the balcony. Smoking is allowed in the rooms.
Palm Beach access, a casino, and a large fitness center and spa
The hotel backs onto a beautiful stretch of Palm Beach. Palapas are interspersed between palm trees. Palapas and loungers are first-come-first-serve, and generally fill up early in the morning. During peak season, the beach can get downright crowded.
The hotel's casino offers 211 gaming machines and eleven table games. Keep in mind that drinks in the casino are not included in the hotel's all-inclusive rates.
There’s a large fitness center with a good range of cardio equipment and free weights. The hotel’s Vita Novus Spa includes an appealing whirlpool set in a quiet, low-lit room. The spa offers a variety of beauty and therapeutic treatments. There’s also a modest kids’ club, Riuland, which provides supervised activities. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout, and there are two conference rooms on-site. The hotel also provides wedding planning services.
massive main pool features an adjoining whirlpool bath set on an elevated
platform, as well as submerged seating areas. Underwater seating includes loungers
in addition to high-top seats, which are found near swim-up Palm Beach Pool Bar. The
bar also features a breezy seating area facing the beach. The pool is
surrounded by row after row of beige loungers and beach umbrellas. Aside from a
few palm trees running along its periphery, the courtyard is wide and open, with
A second rectangular pool is
found to the side of the pool bar. It’s significantly smaller than the main
pool, which is the clear favorite among guests. There’s also a tiny, round kids’
Mediocre all-inclusive dining venues feature buffet and a la carte options
The Riu Palace’s all-inclusive package includes meals, drinks, snacks, and room service 24 hours a day. The hotel’s main restaurant, Don Nicolas, is a sprawling buffet. It’s quite attractive, with kiwi wall art and matching lime green chairs. The a la carte restaurants go heavy on themes: Pictures of wine bottles decorate the brick walls of Milano Italian restaurant, while portraits of Asian women and rising sun artwork dominate Sayuri Japanese restaurant. Reservations are required for the a la carte restaurants, and most guests report that the food is uninspiring overall.
For drinks, open-air Barry’s Bar offers great views over the pool. Lobby Bar picks up the lobby’s eclectic decor with its bright red cushions and zebra stripe patterns. It includes a counter serving ice cream and pastries. Sports Bar also hits guests over the head with its theme, as it's decorated with photos of various athletes. It offers light sandwiches, hot dogs, and nachos. Oddly, the business center is located within this bar, with a row of PCs found along one wall. The all-inclusive package includes entry to the hotel’s busy casino, but drinks come at an additional cost there.
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