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Aruba - hotel and restaurant report

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We just returned from a 6-night stay at the Raddison Resort in Aruba. I would highly recommend this resort, as it was very much as advertised. Our room was an oceanview with a veranda, well worth the extra $250 (total) that we paid. One note about the oceanview: music was played at the outdoor bar every evening until 10-10:30, and the noise was pretty audible in our room. It didn't bother us, but if you go to bed early, it might be a problem. The room also contained a nice little refrigerator which we originally thought was a minibar. We were able to walk about 1/4 mile to a grocery store and buy milk, etc., which enabled us to snack a bit instead of eating out three meals a day.

The hotel's two pools are spectacular and the beachfront itself is probably the best of all the high rise hotels. As you exit the back of the hotel to go to the beach, you walk through a lovely area of palm trees, etc., then pass by the two pools. It feels really luxurious. Although the resort was probably not at its highest occupancy in early January, there were plenty of people there and we never had trouble getting a palapa.

We ate at several restaurants, mostly based on recommendations we found on this site. Pizza Bob's was just a few miles away, near the low-rise hotels, and we took the bus there for dinner. Excellent and casual. Iguana Joe's is in town; again we took the bus and had a fun dinner there after doing some shopping. The best part about that was watching the cruise ships leave port. We ate at Salt & Pepper our first night. It was fine - nothing to write home about, but a good choice for tired travellers. Gianni's is a nice Italian restaurant just across from the Raddison - very good and it was fun to people-watch. Smokey Joe's is in the same general area - the ribs were great - very casual, but service was great as well. For our last night, we ate at the Sunset Grille at the Raddisson - a special dinner and a great way to end our wonderful vacation.

A fnal note: we booked the entire trip through Costco.com. DH is a finance guy and he enjoyed comparing prices for the package (air fare, hotel and airport transportation) versus purchasing each individually, as we usually do. He figured the Costco package saved us a couple of hundred dollars, and they also threw in a $150 beverage credit at the hotel, which was a nice treat. Dealing with their customer service prior to the trip was very easy and pleasant and the trip was exactly as they represented, so we would definitely book through them again if the price is right.

I'm happy to give more details if any of you have questions. We loved Aruba!

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