Aruba Help Needed

Old Nov 30th, 2003, 03:43 PM
  #1  
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Aruba Help Needed

Ok this is a new one for me...My fiance mentioned this weekend how nice it would be to take a stress free weekend away.Somewhere easy to get to,hassle free,guaranteed good weather,great beach etc.Since we have done the Cancun area so many times he suggests Aruba. This is great except for I know NOTHING about Aruba. I have done a lot of Caribbean research but NONE on Aruba.I would appreciate any input on the best place to stay etc. I know this trip wont be a Cap experience,but I'd still like first-rate accomodations and a awesome trip. Please help!!
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 04:23 PM
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Aruba's a great place, you'll love it. It of course depends on your price range, but the 2 nicest (imo and most widely recognized ast the nicest) are the Hyatt and the Radisson. I've stayed at the Radisson and it is very nice, but I think the Hyatt is a bit nicer. The beach is the same, as they are one hotel away from each other on the strip on Palm Beach. The common areas of the Hyatt are a bit nicer and upscale. Hyatt also has better restaurant selections==we actually went there for lunch every day, as the lunch place at the Radisson had a very limited menu and mediocre food. Pool is also a bit nicer at the Hyatt, as are the pool chairs. The one thing we liked about Radisson was the beach chairs==wood frame with nice cushions, as opposed to the standard metal frame chairs with the vinyl strips as the Hyatt has. Radisson also I believe has a larger beach areas with more palapas (huts). The third choice would probably be the Marriott Stellaris, at the far end of Palm Beach.
If you have more specific questions, you can re=post or email me at [email protected].
Have fun!
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 04:34 PM
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Aruba is one of my favorites but for a WE thing it may be too far to go to. It is 18 mi. from the coast of Venezuela! Where are you flying from?
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 07:11 PM
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We would be flying out of Atlanta..probably like a Thursday-Mon. or Tues.I have been doing a little hotel research and Im having a hard time getting a feel for them.I guess it would help to know more about what the island is like.Thanks
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 08:02 PM
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The island (geographically speaking)itself is not a tourism draw. It's the beaches and weather that are the main attractions. Plus the safety factor is high, the food is good overall, and people are very friendly.

Aruba is what I call "Caribbean Lite". It's kind of like staying in Kaanaplai on Maui in that it feels a lot like a vacation destination on the mainland (USA). Kind of a mindless destination to just relax.

The Hyatt and Radisson are good hotels overall. They aren't going to win any awards for being among the best in the Caribbean, but they're predictable and deliver what you'd expect (if you've stayed at most mainland Hyatts...the Radisson is better than most US Radissons).
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 08:11 PM
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The south shore of the island is where the beaches are==Palm Beach (where most of the hotels are) is truly a great beach. The north side of the island has very rough terrain==rocky, no beaches but very interesting to look at (the natural bridge is pretty cool to look at), and they have horseback rides that you can take through the area, or you can drive. There is nothing really spectacular about the island geographically, however, as Ted said. It is great for relaxing at the beach, good restaurants, nightlife (they have gambling).
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 08:28 PM
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Hi, Blair9535! Go w/ The Radisson ( Aruba Tower). Hyatt is also fine but its balcony are so small you cannot sit out there. This may or may not be impt to you. I wld nix Marriott Hotel. We were very disappointed in Aruba Marriott Hotel property. But, Marriott Ocean Club (south of the Hotel) may be another option for you. It's much nicer than the Marriott Hotel property.
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 08:30 PM
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Thanks for all your input...Is it safe to infer that the 2 best are the Hyatt and the Radisson..???Ted,are there any hotels on the island that might win any award??Im starting to feel that Aruba is a fun little retreat for fun and sun but is not really a luxe destination.Given a choice,would you pick the Hyatt or the Radisson?? Thanks a bunch
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 11:44 PM
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One of the best hotels in Aruba is the Bucuti Beach Hotel. It is in the so-called 'lowrise hotel section' of Aruba, on an enormous beach called Eagle Beach. The rooms are large but rather basic. But the beach is fantastic. This is a hotel geared to couples rather than families - few or no children. The beach is so huge that you always feel alone even if the hotel is fully booked! Service is very attentive. It all depends on what you want: if you want lots of activity and action, great pools, waterfalls etc etc, stay in the 'highrise section' where the Hyatt and Radisson are located - indeed, the 2 best hotels in this section. If you want peace and quiet and a fantastic beach, you can't go wrong with Bucuti.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 04:49 AM
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The island is arid, though the beach area is very nice. There are some very nice sights such as the natural bridge and the Kasibari rock formation. The main thing about Aruba is how laid back it is, the safety issue, and the wide vaiety of activities. You can just relax or club it as you wish. Plenty to do. There is a travel mag. called Carib. Travel and Life and Aruba was voted most friendly island per a readers poll. I have been there twice and would go again in a heartbeat.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 06:27 AM
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Part of the reason for my comments about 'top hotels in the Caribbean' is that you mentioned you didn't expect a 'Cap weekend'. So I'm assuming you've been to Cap Juluca and/or other top destinations in the Caribbean.
Aruba offers nothing in that league.
It offers a mainstream experience and offers good value as a relaxation destination. But thus far there has been no interest from the luxury hotel groups to build on Aruba.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 04:54 PM
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Thanks, Ted.Thats just the answer I was looking for without knowing excatly how to ask the question.Why do you think the lux groups have no interest in Aruba ..i.e. perfect weather, safety, friendly people.It seems to have a lot going for it.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 05:48 PM
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Purely speculation, of course, but I'd say the following reasons are key:
first off, it's relatively expensive and risky to build and operate a luxury resort in the Caribbean. Everything costs more in remote settings and the risk for hurricane damage (in most areas, less so in Aruba) is always a concern--can stunt or eliminate revenues for extended periods of time, and insurance must be a heavy burden.

I'm most familiar with the Four Seasons chain, and lately Four Seasons has been in expansion mode. FS just opened its Eleuthera resort, which will be a hurricane target. But the draws there (for the company) are exclusivity and pricing power. People who go there will be willing to pay top dollar, and the resort will probably be able to make big $$ on food and resort charges because the 'audience' will be captive.

In Aruba, a Four Seasons would not offer much exclusivity (since Aruba's a heavily touristy island), guests would likely leave the resort frequently for food and activities, and FS does not run any gambling operations I'm aware of (which would otherwise be a possible revenue generator).

Every new FS seems to have an angle which should allow it to succeed financially, either as a business hotel or resort. I would bet against Aruba being a predictably successful financial venture for FS.

Rosewood Resorts (Jumby Bay, Caneel, LDB) didn't bear the financial burden or risk of developing any of their Caribbean resorts. Rockefeller built LDB in the 1960's, bought CB plantation in the 1950's, and Rosewood only recently took over management of JB as an intact resort.
So Rosewood has no history of developing luxe Caribbean resorts (though they did build Las Venatanas in Cabo, one of my favorite resorts, at a hefty cost, but they are doing very well there with high occupancy rates and very high room tariffs).

It's extremely risky for a small investment group or individual to build and profitably operate a Caribbean luxury resort. Much riskier than opening a new restaurant in the USA (where 60-90% of new ventures fail within 3 years).
If I were going to design a scenario for developing a successful luxury resort, I'd either choose an island with affluent visitors (St. Barth's, Grand Cayman, etc), or a very untouristy island which could be marketed for its exclusivity (the approach at Jumby Bay).
IMO Aruba is just too mainstream to support a very expensive resort.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 07:14 PM
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Ted,Thanks for your reply..you make valid points and have hepled me to get an idea of the atmosphere of Aruba.On the topic of the FS ...have you visited their location on Nevis??I have heard wonderful things about this resort but have read mixed reviews on this site.Also, not related to the Caribbean , but do you know if they have opened their new resort in Jackson Hole??We inquired about a reservation there over the holidays and was told they may be facing a delayed opening.Again, thanks for your insight.
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