Riu Palace in Aruba

We (Cathy & Andria) spent a week in Aruba in the beginning of December of 2009. We both stayed at the Riu Palace Aruba for 7 nights. We had a great time and wanted to share our thoughts and experiences with everyone about the destination and resort.


All transfers are with DePalm Tours. There is an Apple Vacations Rep at the airport and they will direct you to DePalm Tours to load the busses to the resorts. All tours and excursions will be booked with DePalm tours at the hotels. You are given a return transfer ticket and that ticket must be presented when you return to the airport – make sure it is something you hold on to and keep in your safe. Transfers are easy and smooth.


The RIU Palace is a typical RIU Palace. Looks very similar to the other RIU Palace’s in Mexico and Punta Cana. It has the Standard “U” shape, which is made up of THREE buildings. The “old” section is used for overflow rooms and timeshares. We were never asked or hassled to buy into the timeshares. We both stayed on the 10th floor with a partial ocean view and full balcony. The room is large with a King Bed, separate sitting area and marble floors. In the bathroom there is a tub/shower, so be sure to know that they are separate.


There are two large pools at the RIU. One is an infinity pool that overflows into the main pool area. There is a large swim-up pool bar complete with bar stools, tables and benches in the front of the main pool area which allowed people to have more room when hanging around the pool bar area.


There are five restaurants at the RIU. One is the Main Buffet and then they have four a la’ carte restaurants as well. They are Italian, Japanese (not hibachi style), Gourmet, and Steak/Seafood. There is also a Seaside Buffet during the day that turns over to the Steak and Seafood at night for dining. You have to make reservations daily at 9am in the morning each day for the a la’ carte dining options. Neither of us ever had a problem getting a reservation and enjoyed the food. The buffet(s) had many options and had different themes for the dinner hour. Our favorite dinners were the Italian and Seafood/Steakhouse. Our least favorite was the Japanese. Cathy ordered room service and she was happy with that. It arrived in a timely manner and was good.


Entertainment at the hotel is limited. There is a VERY small area for the nighttime shows. The stage is set in the lobby bar and can only hold up to four people, so the shows are somewhat below average, but still entertaining if you are looking to get out of your room. There is a LARGE casino in the RIU lobby which seems very busy at night.


The island of Aruba felt very safe, clean and friendly. We felt the island was “higher end” in terms of quality and shopping. The shopping downtown was similar to shopping in a “beach resort” shopping area with high end stores in addition to the craft market shopping. To get downtown was safe, easy and cheap. Roundtrip bus fare for 2 was $4.00 total. There are not any beach vendors to hassle you and it was very laid back.


Andria went on a snorkel excursion and it was reasonable in price. $50.00 per person for 4 hours on a catamaran with food and drinks. We snorkeled in 2 spots and it was very fun and worth the money. The ocean is refreshing in temperature and the sand on the beach is grainy. The island is VERY windy – hold onto your drinks, tie your hair back and you will be just fine. The beach breeze is nice because the temperature did get hot and you want the wind that Aruba offers.


Even though the RIU is an All Inclusive, non-motorized watersports are NOT included with the package. You can rent rafts/paddle boats/etc. from a vendor right next door for an additional charge.


Overall, Aruba is a GREAT place to travel. It is a SAFE place for travelers who are wary of safety concerns, want something a little more exotic or are looking to have a relaxed time.

Andria Platko and Cathy Bancino
Breton Travel (formerly Rainbow Travel)
Please call 616 957-5055 for more information
or to reserve your Aruba vacation