Spanish hotel chain Riu Hotels & Resorts purchased a prime piece of property on the Palm Beach strip on Aruba in 2006. The last resort that operated that property was Aruba Grand Hotel and way before that, Sheraton. Riu have since rebuild the existing tower and added two additional towers. Construction is on-going (day and night) and according to a recently posted press-release its inaugural date is July 20, 2007.
The company state that they invested US$ 120 million to make this first 5-star all-inclusive resort on Aruba happen. The resort will consist of 450 rooms and several restaurants and casino among the amenities.
In the media has been suggested that Riu wants to focus its attention towards the European visitors, predominantly from Spain, specially when Aruba tourism figures shows that more than 70% of current visitors arrive from the United States.
Many times when a new project arrive to Aruba, locals welcome it. This project is no different. There are some voices of concern within certain sectors however. The main concern is that this property offers so much and it is all-inclusive that visitors at this resort might not be as inclined to leave the resort premises as opposed to visitors at other resorts. Taxi’s, restaurants and in lesser scale local tour operators might not get additional business. Aruba already has experience with all-inclusive resorts like Occidental Resort, Holiday Inn and Divi Resorts amongst many, and it worked out. At this point people I talk to give it the benefit of the doubt and hope it becomes as successful as other all-inclusive resorts on Aruba.
I cruise daily the Palm Beach area and many times tourists tell me that it doesn’t look like its going to be opening soon, there is still a lot of construction that needs to be finished. Maybe the resort is going to open partially?