I booked this hotel for my honeymoon in August 10-18th. Everyone we know highly recommended Aruba. We didn't see why- we felt it lacked a "culture" it was very Americanized- Dunkin Donuts on beach. etc. We liked Bermuda beter
We just returned and I will tell you the RIU Palace Aruba is impressive. Its beautiful and has a great pool, beach, service inside, and ambiance.I will say its probably the nicest hotel in Aruba appearance-wise. I went with all inclusive because I didnt want the hassle of locating restaurants. However, I will warn you that you have to reserve the hotel restaurants every morning at 9 AM which meant waiting in the lobby by 8:30! I hated this! But the alternative was the Don Nicholas buffet, and after 2 days of eating there 3 times a day you get so sick of the greasy fried food. Everything is FRIED- its awful! We liked the Nautilus Restaurant the best, the seafood/steak was good as was the Baked Alaskan. The other thing that really bothered me was that I had to get up by 7 AM everyday to reserve a cabana on the beach and chairs. The same with the pools. People take their towels and reserve seats, and if you need shade you need to be out there early or forget it. Its very annoying if you just want to sleep in. So you are getting up early to get a chair with shade and a restaurant ticket... So it was very annoying to deal with the management of these things of the hotel. The Westin next door had a reservation board- no need to get up early! And the restaurants should be booked with a slip of paper under the door, not getting up early to book one!
We had a suite which was gorgeous in the new building, it was worth the extra money. It was big and luxuious and cleaned nicely. The bed was so comfortable! The spa tub was wonderful! People we met complained about being in the main building (the older one) hearing the casino. We came home to nightly towel art- it was a nice touch!
The casino is small and full of cigarette smoke. The entertainment is mediocre but amusing and Im glad they had shows nightly, as other hotels didnt have them. What I didnt like was that no one served us drinks outside on the beach or pool, because they dont work for tips you can feel the difference. The drinks were very strong, so if you love alcohol this is your paradise. Beer was delivered daily to the room, as was water. There were 3 bottles of liquor in the room to make your own drinks.
Warning- We also had our camera and room key stolen our 1st night on the beach when we swam in the water, so beware- Aruba's beaches are not safe, but the are beautiful, great water and pretty sunsets. The tradewinds are great!
We would never return to this hotel, as its very crowded, lots of people staying there, and not very romantic. All day they blast this music at the pool that pounds in your ears, even on the beach. We like a quieter setting like Bermuda. I will say if you are looking for a lot of pool action, games, music, this is your scene. We like it quieter and more intimate. We found families there who let their young children roam through bars and not really watch them.
It was nice that in the lobby there was a car rental place and an excursions booking agent (De Palm). We loved the Jeep excursion, but the snorkeling was way too crowded to the WW2 ship. Felt like the Titanic sinking when they let us out, I was kicked and the water was rough! The Kukoo Kunukoo trip was too much also, the driver was crazy and brought us to dives where prostitutes and thieves were looking for drunken tourists.
Room service was awful! There are like 4 items on the menu and they were not appealing. One was "An American Classic- Bagel with Salmon" -yuck and Nachos. Their answer to food was nachos with cheese whiz, its available 24-7 and it gets sickening to look at.
Hope this was helpful.