I booked the Radisson after reading glowing reviews in both guidebooks and websites and while it was a nice hotel, it was a lot more expensive than the midrange hotels and I wished I had saved the extra money and booked a different property as it wasn't a good value for us.
Nothing besides the room was included, we did get a $100 food and beverage credit but otherwise you had to pay extra for all food and drink, no watersports were included, some people were even paying extra for the better located palapas.
The Radisson is in the high rise hotel area in Palm Beach, I liked the beach here although Eagle Beach is a nicer beach, Palm Beaches hotels all have palapas which is a must for me and my fair skin. We were always able to get a palapa but I imagine in high season you have to go stand in line at 4 pm every day to reserve one.
Check in was a little rough, they first tried to give us double beds, then they were going to put us on the ground floor, finally we ended up in Room 3310 in the Curacao Tower with a king bed and our view was the Westin and Riu next door (we paid for a garden view, not sure what view we actually got.) The room was large and well decorated, the bed was a sleep number bed which I didn't care for at all. The refrigerator was broken in our room and others, I think this might be intentional so you don't store things in your room. Minibar was removed, one of the lamps didn't work. Room had an ironing board, cheap hair dryer, in room safe.
Bathroom-toiletries included soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion plus bathrobes. Towels were OK but not fluffy. Water pressure pretty low but plenty of hot water. Bathroom door wasn't solid, had slats, so you didn't really have privacy in the bathroom.
The grounds and pool were probably among the nicest in Aruba, lush grounds and a zero entry pool that went on forever. Very few people hung out at the pool so it was very quiet.
There were many restaurants in the Palm Beach area, restaurants in Eagle Beach or Oranjestad are a short cab or bus ride away. The best restaurant we ate at on this trip was at our hotel, The Sunset Grill, and so was the worst, Gilligan's.
In this Hotel tip, I will outline the FACILITIES available at the Holiday Inn.
The Holiday Inn introduced a new "Beach Hut" system.
Rules and policies for beach hut assignments:
Guests can sign in at the towel hut starting at 7:30 ( some came as early as 6:00 a.m. )
Assignments of the huts are based on a first come first serve basis.
Guests can choose their preferred hut based upon availability.
Guests are kindly advised to let the beach attendants know when the huts are not in use any more.
Guests can choose an available hut and the attendant will write the room number, hut number and the time of reservation on the sign-in board.
Upon check-in you will be given your towel card. You are allowed one towel per person, per day. Make sure when you are checking out that you turn in your towel card, as they might charge you for the towels.
Every All-Inclusive Guest is given a wristband when the check in which entitles them to use the
food and Beverage facilities.
New pools complete with waterfalls and lounging circle.
Also a huge hot tub is near the swimming pools.
Monday was BBQ night served outdoors
Wednesday they had a Carnaval Show with wonderful costumes
Thursday was Mexico night along with Mexican food in the buffet
Friday was Folklore night
Saturday was Karaoke and a movie
Sunday was Prime Rib in the Corals Restaurant
Twice a week they showed a movie under the stars.
I chose Bucuti for our vacation because it appeared to have everything we wanted - fantastic beach, low rise accomodation, restaurant on site, and swimming pool. The beach was for my Mum, the pool for me (as I don't like sand!). I was therefore most disappointed to discover that the pool was under reconstruction when we arrived! I cannot describe my disappointment and it did colour my opinion of the holiday throughout.
Apart from that, the Hotel is indeed lovely.
The rooms are spacious and twin rooms contain two generous queen beds. There was plenty of storage space in wardrobes and drawers and the balcony was furnished with a table and chairs. All ground floor rooms also had two sun loungers, which was fantastic (especially if, like us, you had one of the four sea facing ground floor rooms). Initially we had a room on the top floor, which commanded terrific sea views, but we asked to move downstairs as the four flights of stairs were too much for my Mother. There is a lift, but it was at the other end of a long corridor and the stairs were more convenient to the beach access.
The hotel has some nice little touches - offering a glass of champagne to each guest on arrival, showing a romantic movie on the beach (free of charge) twice a week, and offering great welcomes to return guests.
There's a complimentary continental breakfast and though many people thought this was great, I thought the selection was poor. Eggs are available in the Pirates Nest restaurant at an additional charge of about $5. We preferred to eat breakfast at the Tara lounge as there were no flies there!
Dinner in the Pirate's Nest was a good experience, and I will write a seperate tip on that.
The Tara suites, situated in a seperate building, are aimed at couples only which, I think, is a pity. Mum and I would have been happy to pay the upgrade to the more spacious room (and indeed would have preferred the comfort of a couch to sit on) but as these rooms have only one king bed it was unsuitable.
The staff at this hotel are beyond reproach. As we left we went from place to place hugging the staff like old friends. In particular I would recognise Nakarid and Lulu in Pirates Nest, Margeurita in Tara Lounge, prince at reception, and Alexe at the Concierge desk. In all my travels I have never experienced such friendly and helpful staff.
Hans and I checked out the HOLIDAY INN SUNSPREE RESORT ARUBA by reading reviews and comments by other VT'ers who stayed here. Overall the reviews were good so we went ahead and booked our one-week, all-inclusive vacation with Sunquest Tours.
Located in Aruba's Palm Beach area, ( on the best beach in my opinion ), 20 minutes from the airport and a 10 minute drive to Oranjestaad, The Holiday Inn offers 600 rooms, in three Towers - Bonaire - Curacao & Aruba. We were in Curacao Tower, Room 7232.
Our room was spacious, clean and comfortable with mini-fridge, balcony, cable TV, King-size bed ( rooms with 2 double beds also offered ), three-piece bath, in room safe ( no charge ), iron & ironing board, coffee maker ( but no supplies ). We had a nice partial view of the beach from our balcony.
We will be staying at the Amsterdam Manor Hotel on Eagle beach this coming Easter. (See website link below)
The hotel pitches itself as "A small hideaway with all the luxuries of a large resort, located on a premier beach, Eagle Beach. Warm, friendly personalized service, fine facilities and amenities create an unforgettable vacation".
The hotel was designed by a famous Dutch Architect named Jan Hubert. Several of his designs can still be viewed around the island.
We have booked a one-bed suite, for myself, BB, the Small Person and the Sister. (2 Beds in bedroom, and a double sofa bed in lounge). The rooms come with kitchenette and dining table.
In high season (Dec-end March) - this hotel is not that cheap, but looks perfectly located for our needs. (Clean, not too 'full on' in the way of cheesy entertainment and on Eagle beach).
I will let you know our experiences as soon as we're back!
Smaller, more European Hotel.
Sunset Upperdeck Bar
Tropical Beach Bar
Mango's International Restaurant
Free High-speed Internet Access
Kid's playground & kiddy pool
Fresh water pool with waterfall
Extensive non-motorized watersports
Free beach pool lounges
Courtesy bathing towels
Mini-market & Gift shop
Guest laundry § Dry-cleaning service
Car rental desk
I stayed at the Playa Linda Resort for a week in March 2004. The one-bedroom suite was small but nice. It had not been redone lately, but it was very clean and neat. The furniture was nice also. The kitchenette and bathroom were the only areas that showed some wear and need of updating, but again, it was clean and adequate.
The restaurants were nice, food was good to very good.
The beach area was narrow, but there were lots of chick-a-dees and tall palm trees to keep the sun off of pale bods!
I would recommend this resort....great staff, clean, good restaurants and fun activities!
The pool was gorgeous, with lots of fun activities going on all day. You could participate in water aerobics, a sing-along, cards, massages, bingo and many other activities while sipping your favorite mixed drink :)
The pool area was large, with plenty of room to spread out. Many chairs and loungers to please the lazy sleepy-heads.
Well, we've been here 4 days now. The hotel is clean, on the very beautiful Eagle beach & you can admire pelicans diving while lazing on a sunbed sipping a cocktail. The beach is couple of mins at most from the furthest rooms (across a small rd but no problem). Staff definitely seem more naturally friendly than some other resorts along the coast. A more eclectic mix of guests who were up for a chat at at Filos bar in the evening.
Restaurants in Aruba are pretty pricey & average (reminds me of USA food, OK if you want to eat steak or weirdly cooked shrimp for you entire stay) but Mangos restaurant was reasonable in comparison. KB ate a good steak & the 'catch of the day' was fresh.
Reception were friendly. They ordered cabs for us to restaurants & airport and were efficient & helpful.
Breakfast to the room - Don't go there, it is only a short stroll to the restaurant. Room service breakfast is a total waste of money & Sund. morning was terrible. It served us right for being too lazy to walk a few yards to Mangos.
First general impressions of hotel :
Generally very clean, but room not made up for 4 people (they knew we had 4 in our party) had to order extra sheets .
Excellent position for a quiet time & out of the high rise (High Rise, don't go there!)
Beach very good, uncrowded etc plenty of sunbeds (without matresses) beach bar & just a few boat trips. There is also a fresh water water cooler (free) so no need to carry any.
Cocktails at beach bar are weak and ready mix a la USA, you'd have to drink at least 3 to notice them. Suggest ordering your usual mix there.
Water in rooms was bad but drinking water in Aruba is the best in the world & is provided at the bars etc.
Internet access to two computers - free.
This is a very relaxed hotel & much nicer than others we looked at in the High Rise area.
All in all, we think we made the right choice.
Small pool (but who needs a pool when you have a beach like that on your doorstep).
Friendly and helpful staff.
(A special mention to the lovely Venezuelan restaurant manager).
The hotel is much more European than most.
Don't stay there if you're looking for Bingo, Dunkin' Doughnuts and Cheesy entertainment.
Do stay there if you want a chilled out vibe right by a beautiful beach.
Tip ; Get up early, take a stroll and watch the birds at dawn when it's not too hot. Little yellow birds nest in the trees at the Amsterdam Manor & Pelicans dive on the shore - Lovely.
The Marriott is one of top resorts on the island situated on the beautiful Palm Beach. Palm Beach offers no waves, but is perfect for swimming, laying out, windsurfing, kite boarding, water skiing etc - which are all available at the activity kiosk on the premises. The island's top dive operators (Red Sail) have a desk at the hotel as well.
The rooms are not luxurious, but they are clean and spacious.
The staff is attentive and their is a good variety of food alternatives.
The casino is small, but nice, with live entertainment going late into the night.
Sea-breeze is a appartment compex, veruysmall, only 9 appartments. It is based in a rural area, in Pos Chiquito. It is very close to the sea, and Mangel Halto Beach.
The powner is very nice, and helpfull, the rooms are clean and there are facciliteis so you can cook too in the appartment, and a coffie maker.
In the area are shops and some restaurants. Plus is that the prices are for the locals, so much cheaper than in the tourist area. It would be a good idea to rent a car, but the bus stop is near enough and takes you to the city.
They have a pool much very small, there is a barbeque areaa you can use too, and the teraces have chairs. Lots of cactussen and flowers, that gives you the idea you are in a tropical place The rooms are sufficient, and have all kind of faccitilies, t.v., radio. cofee maker, fridge, and arco
All room have a terrace with chairs so you can sit out side. if you like the quit this is the place to go.
This hotel was just minutes away from the airport and located in downtown Oranjestad. Some people are bothered by the planes taking off and landing because it was so close to the airport, but we didn't really notice it very much. It's overall a very elegant hotel, with the front lobby in the open (no enclosed walls). Our room was clean, and had a partial ocean view. But we didn't have a balcony =(.
A private island to the guests. You can take a boat, which is available every half an hour or so, from the main hotel building to the little island in about 15 minutes. It's very beautiful, not too crowded, there are hammocks, lounge chairs, towel service, even a resturant serving food and drinks. This is a great place to tan topless =), as I have done so, it's not so overwhelming like a public beach.
We only stayed one night at La Cabana, at the end of our trip. We wished we had been there the whole time, instead of at another resort away from the beach. There was so much more to do - or room on the beach to "not do." The few hours we had listening to the surf before heading to the airport the next morning were heaven. We stayed as a guest in someone's timeshare - you don't have to own a timeshare to stay here, as I've seen ads since our return, at reasonable (for Aruba) rates.
There are a few restaurants on-site. Two pools - one very crowded, one in the smaller area (with a slide no less) not as crowded. Parasailing and other beach activities are steps away. No casino, though.
We got this hotel on Priceline.com for about half the rack rate, and that was fine. I wouldn't want to pay rack rate, which is over $200/night. The hotel was comfortable and clean, but just about due for a renovation. For example, our bathtub was old and had been painted and fixtures a little bit worn. Though not dirty by any means, it's not what I'd expect from a $200+/night hotel. This is the only major hotel in downtown Oranjestad and is located at the marina, which we found convenient for scuba diving. The Renaissance resort includes The Renaissance Suites down the street a bit and guests at the Marina hotel are welcome at the bigger pool and pool bar at the Suites. There is no real beach right at the resort, but the resort owns a private island with a couple of very nice beaches with a restaurant, bar and Red Sail Sports shop. There are regular ferries about every 15 minutes to the island from both the Marina Hotel and the Suites. At the Marina, the boat comes right into the lobby through a channel, which is a nice touch.
For those of you who enjoy that sort of thing, there is a casino at the hotel. We just walked through once and yup, it looked like a casino all right.
There is a small pool at the Marina hotel on the street side one story up, with a bar nearby. But use the pool at the Suites across the street. Much nicer!
Prior to going we had heard both good and bad about the Holiday Inn. We found it to be fine. Nothing fancy but it was clean and staff was friendly. Its not the Hyatt or Mariott but you're also not paying as much. We did the all inclusive plan. Im still not sure if that was the cheapest way to go. We really dont drink so we probably broke even.
The resort had an exercise room that my daughter used daily.
They only let you sign out 1 beach towel and if you wanted a float you had to pay to use it for the day. I think it was $3 a day. Honestly, the float should have been free.
Like most of the resorts in the area, people went out at 6am to save a shade hut. We didnt save one but really didnt need it as we like the sun and there was always a nice breeze.
There really isnt much at the resort as far as entertainment. They did have some activities during the day for adults and children. Twice a week they showed a movie under the stars.
there are 3 main resturants to eat at. One was the buffet for all three meals. The food was ok but usually not hot. There was also The Seabreeze, an outdoor resturant with a menu. I liked this resturant. The third resturant required reservations. To make the reservation you had to stand on line about 3pm on the day you plannned to eat there. They started taking reservatons about 3:30pm. The service here was slow. Since my daughter doesnt eat most that is on the menu we only ate here once.
The pool was small. They had 2 sections: one side for kids, one side for adults. Of course there are always kids who end up in the adult pool and hot tubs.
The beach was nice. I really think our beach was nicer than some of the other beaches. No water sports. If you walked about 10 mins towards the Mariott the Fishermans Hut is there and you can rent wind surfers, kite surfers etc as well as take lessons. There are also stands all along the beach for jet skis, banana rides and other motorized sports.
I dont recall the price. The resort has both inclusive and non inclusive packages.
We had a great ocean view from our room. I think we got a better view as we are Holiday Inn priority members.
The Marriott resort complex is a sprawling are consisting of the Marriott hotel, the Ocean Club, and the Surf Club. Each resort area has it's own pool and supposedly only Ocean Club members can use the Ocean Club pool, the Marriott hotel guests use only the Marriott pool, etc, though this rule seems to be broken. The Ocean Club and Surf Club are part of Marriott's Vacation Club properties, namely Time-shares. The Surf Club pool is the largest and includes two pools, a lazy river, and a swim up bar. The Surf Club is also closest too the action. It's a quick walk to J.E. Irausquin Blvd on which the other high-rise hotels lie and is also the home to many of the areas restaurants. The beach area the hotel sits on is very nice, like the rest of Palm Beach. Currently, the Surf Club sits directly behind the fisherman's piers but plans are to move these piers futher down the beach. There is a casino on property and is one of the nicest I saw in Aruba. It is off the lobby of the Marriott hotel and includes numerous slot machines and several table games including Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, and more.
The pool area at the Surf Club is very nice, although poor planning on Marriott's part seems to be creating a wind tunnel effect at one end of the pool. The Surf Club currently has one 14 story tower and a second is being created in an L-shape off the first to create an almost U-shape around the pool. The problem is they've left a gap between the two buildings and seems to greatly intensify the wind in this one area of the pool complex. Rafts can be rented by the day at a stand on the beach or you can bring your own. They are very useful in the lazy river although the current isn't strong enough to keep you moving without some help from you. Pool-side chairs can be reserved by securing your towel on a chair. There are rules about how long you can reserve a chair without using it, but they aren't enforced leading to some unhappy guests and occasional arguments.
Stayed here for two nights. Mr. Angel Rojer is the manager of the place and a very nice guy. This is probably the cheapest place on the island for a short stay. While it is not on the beach it is close enough and away from all the other tourists so you can enjoy some quiet nights here. Room was 74.70 less tax of 17.5% but that is still a deal. Our room had A/C, small frig, hot plate..the usual stuff in a small kitchenette. Only thing I did not like was the beds were a bit on the hard side but I have slept on much worse and for the price I think this place is a deal. Please note if you want to reserve a room it is probably better to call or fax a request in as Angel is a little slow at replying to email requests.
It is Cheap for a Aruba..close enough yet far away enough to make it a very pleasent place to stay. There is a Chinese place with affordable meals across the street also if you are too tired to walk into town after a day at the beach. If I had to go back I would stay here again.
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