by Courtney Elko
Note: The Hotel RIU Palace St. Martin has suffered extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma and is closed until further notice.
Located on the French side (St. Martin), this all-inclusive resort is one of just two all-inclusive resorts on St. Martin/St. Maarten. It’s also the type of place you come to for the entire duration of your vacation. Everything you could need or want is on the property so there is no need to leave. It’s quiet, but not too quiet for children since there are several activities available to the whole family.
Spend days at the beach or the pool and nights enjoying the live entertainment and dancing. Kids will love spending time at the kids’ club, playground and sports courts, while parents will love the spa.
And don’t miss the resident resort iguanas! They mosey around the property and if you’re lucky, they may take a bite of food from your hand if you offer a cherry.
Adirondack chairs are also placed in the garden area and scream, “take a seat and relax here.” For a quiet, all-inclusive, elegant, yet comfortable resort, RIU Palace is the place to stay on St. Maarten.
Our Editor Loves
- All-inclusive resort
- Wi-Fi for 3 devices
- Location on French side
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The guestrooms with a balcony or patio overlook the large garden area. King or double beds and a mini-fridge are provided. The bathrooms offer both a shower and a tub and chairs and a small table can be found on the balcony or patio.
The Marina Suites overlook the inlet, marina and the mountains. The spacious one-bedroom suites offer a separate living room area with a sleeper sofa, mini-fridge and cabinet/closet combo for clothes. The mini-fridge is filled with water, soda and beer and a liquor dispenser hangs in the living room, as well. These are all included in the all-inclusive rate.
The bathroom offers both a shower and a tub, and a clothesline hangs across the bathtub for those wet bathing suits. There are two televisions and three 220 V (U.S.) outlets are located by the desk area in the living room. Note: These outlets can be used for devices, but not hairdryers or hair straighteners. (A hairdryer is provided.) Two balconies or terraces are found off the living room and the bedroom, offering views of the marina and the garden. Chairs and a small table are on each balcony, as well.
Located behind the beach, the large pool is not a long walk from any of the guestrooms. Steps to enter the pool can be found surrounding the entire pool. Lounge chairs and umbrellas also surround the pool. Pool and beach towels are provided and many guests make sure to snag a lounge chair early in the morning -- although it's not difficult to find a place to relax. A small library of books can be found poolside, too, and pool noodles or toys (some provided) are welcome.
The beach can be found in front of the pool area and more lounge chairs and umbrellas can also be found here. There are a few stones hiding under the sand as you enter the ocean so be careful walking out into the water with little ones. Once you venture out deeper, a sandy bottom is welcoming. The beach area can be narrow at high tide, but it expands through the length of the property. There are no lifeguards at the beach or pool.
A variety of activities will keep kids ages 4 to 12 happy at the supervised kids' club. Pool basketball, arts and crafts, face painting, limbo contests and kickball are only a few of the activities offered. Plus, a playground with a slide and climbing area can be found right outside the kids' club doors. The kids' club is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Non-motorized water sports like kayaking and paddleboards are included in the all-inclusive rate and can be found at the beach.
Tennis courts, a beach volleyball court, Ping-Pong table and an outdoor basketball/sport court are all available for guests to use.
A show, band or DJ performs nearly each night at the Calypso Restaurant/Bar. The staff often perform and get the guests up and dancing. Children are welcome at the family-friendly shows.
Dinner reservations are required. If you don't want to eat dinner at the buffet, be sure to book a dinner reservation first thing in the morning. Each of the three dinner restaurants offer two seating periods and there are a limited number of reservations available each night. If you don't plan ahead, it's very likely you will not get the dinner reservation you prefer. However, food and drinks are being served somewhere at the resort at nearly any time of the day or night and it is all included in the all-inclusive rate.
Formal dress is requested at dinner, with no sleeveless shirts for men.
The buffet restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner. For breakfast (7 to 10:30 a.m.), eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, cereal, fruit and pastries are available. Kids will love the variety of delicious smoothies each morning and parents will love starting the morning with a mimosa.
The dinner buffet (6 to 10 p.m. in the winter and 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the summer) usually offers themed nights like Mexican or Asian night, along with staples of salads, rice, chicken and fish. The dessert section is not to be missed either!
Open for dinner, this French cuisine restaurant offers seafood, beef and great French desserts. La Mar has two seating periods at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
L'lle offers a continental breakfast from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., then moves to lunch and snacks from noon to 3:30 p.m. But if you miss lunch, don't worry because it's then open for Afternoon Tea from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., where light snacks are provided. The Steakhouse opens for dinner at 7 and 9 p.m.
Krystal is the fusion gourmet restaurant and is considered the finer dining establishment on property, although it's still in a casual setting. Shorts and tank tops are not permitted at Krystal and the two seating times are 6:30 and 9 p.m.
Coco's Bar, the pool/beach bar, is situated conveniently between both areas and serves any cocktail a guest may desire. The Calypso Bar offers cocktails and snacks and live entertainment at night. And the lobby bar also serves cocktails.
In-room dining is available 24/7.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Excellent, uninterrupted Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort as part of the all-inclusive rate. Guests are provided with an individual username and password at check-in and it is good for up to three devices.
Along with all food and drink, all taxes and tips are included in the all-inclusive rate and guests are required to wear a wristband throughout the stay.
Cardio machines, treadmills and weights are available at the fitness center.
The concierge would be happy to set up any babysitting services that may be needed.
Three 220 V outlets are available in guestrooms in order to charge devices or other electronics. A European outlet convertor is not needed. However, if you bring a personal hairdryer or hair straightener, packing a convertor may be ideal.
The Art of Smart Timing
Any time is a good time to visit the Caribbean, but St. Martin's high season runs from January through April. The island has not seen a significant hurricane in several years, but hurricane season runs from June through November.
The Princess Juliana International Airport located on the Dutch side is about a 30-minute drive to RIU Palace. The small L'Esperance Airport or Grand Case Airport located on the French side is about a 10-minute drive. But the Grand Case Airport is mostly used for private jets and regional flights from surrounding islands. A taxi from the airport is easy to find or there are numerous rental car options on the island.
If you plan to rent a car, beware that the roadway into the resort, while paved, is mountainous. There are several sharp turns and large downhill and uphill portions along the lengthy roadway. There are several hotel road signs pointing visitors in the direction of the RIU, but once you arrive at the resort, signage is lacking. It can be a bit confusing which building is the actual hotel when you first arrive, as there is no hotel sign on the building itself. The giant white building with the large columns is the RIU.
Because this all-inclusive resort offers everything, there is no real need to leave the resort. Walking around the resort is easy and nothing is "too" far away, but young children may prefer to be in a stroller. At check-in, a golf cart takes guests and luggage directly to rooms.
For Mom and Dad
While the kids spend time at the kids' club, sneak away to the spa and enjoy any of the numerous treatments, including massages and facials.