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Loika Jan 21st, 2005 06:12 AM

help with island choice
Hi all,

Need some help on choosing an island for a late April/early May trip. We have been to a couple of Bahamian Islands and to Mexico on the Gulf side. My husband would prefer an island where he can do a bit of gambling. Cost is not too much of an issue, but we would like to keep hotel and air around the 3-3,500 range. I have been looking at Aruba, St. Thomas, St. John, and some others, but thought I would pick the brains of some of the experts here. I want beach front hotel. Good food is a factor, but it doesn't have to be fine cuisine. Another issue for me is the temperature at that time of year. I would prefer an island a bit breezier than too hot. Not a hot hot weather person being from the north east, so if it's an island in the 80s range with trade winds that would be great. We are not divers or boaters, so don't worry too much about those types of interests. We are both very adaptable to whatever the island has to offer culturally. Any and all help is deeply appreciated.


Kristen1206 Jan 21st, 2005 06:21 AM

Sounds like Aruba would be a perfect fit. fun island with gambling, great beaches, great food, and a constant breeze!

I recommend the Radisson on Palm Beach

ksunshine91 Jan 21st, 2005 06:51 AM

I agree with the above. Aruba sounds perfect for you and I second the Radisson. It's a great hotel with a casino and there are other hotels within walking distance that also have casinos.

mhcatl Jan 21st, 2005 07:21 AM

I also recommend Aruba... but also consider the Bucuti. It's smaller and on an awesome beach.

girlonthego Jan 21st, 2005 08:13 AM

Aruba! Since your husband likes gambling, stay on Palm beach. This is where all the action is. We stayed at the Marriott (which has a casino) and we liked it very much. I am assuming the other high rise hotels have casinos. I saw the Hyatt grounds and it was gorgeous. I would make this my first pick for very nice and luxurious hotel on Aruba. Have heard good things about Radisson. There are many great restaurants in Aruba. So dining is there for you. I would not recommend fall, because I hear the breezes die down at that time of year. We went in end of March/early April and the weather was hot, sunny and a constant breeze which means you get cooked on the beach because you can't feel it. The sand is white and the water is that aqua/green color. I didn't shop much here, but it was a family trip for us.

Loika Jan 21st, 2005 08:42 AM

Thank you all so much for your quick replies. It sounds like Aruba may be it. The hotels you all mentioned sound very nice. Did a little research and wonder if anyone else has feedback on the Bucuti? Also can you all give some feedback on restaurants, and the pros and cons of renting a car.

Thanks again,

girlonthego Jan 21st, 2005 08:54 AM

Bucuti is on Eagle beach which is quieter. I am not sure if there is a casino there. It has nice new rooms called the Tara Suites. Go to and ask questions. It is a bulletin board with aruba travelers. Many of these people have stayed in all of these hotels and resorts. There are also many restaurant reviews there. My favorites were El Gaucho (steak) and Chalet suisse(everything). I have heard wonderful things about Madame Janettes and Marandi and flying Fishbone.

mhcatl Jan 21st, 2005 09:20 AM

The alahmbra (sp) is accross the street.. There also a few restaurants within walking distance. I stayed there last year (in a Tara suite) and will also be staying there again in April (this time in a Tara penthouse)... it's a very quiet resort which caters to adults.. the beach is the best on the island.

I've travelled to many of the caribbean islands and aruba is my favorite.

shirleyk Jan 21st, 2005 09:22 AM

Renting a car in Aruba is cheap and very convenient. Pick up at the Ariport, use during your stay, and drop of at the airport. Aruba is easy to navigate. There are many fine restaurants to try. There are also many Casinos, some in town and some in the high rise hotels and two free standing. Your husband could go to a different Casino every night if he wanted to. The Alhambra Casino is near the Bucuti, the Marriott, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Wyndom and Radison have their own Casinos. LaCabana has a Casino on the highway, and then there are two in town. There are no Casinos on St. Thomas or St. John.

Loika Jan 21st, 2005 09:29 AM

You guys are great! Thanks so much for your prompt and extremely insightful responses.

It is definitely going to be Aruba, and either the Radisson or Bucuti. They both sound great. The Bucuti sounds good for us because it is quieter and staying at the Tara gives us a beach view at a reasonable rate, and if we rent a car my husband can make a casino a night if he wants. On the other hand, the Radisson sounds really convenient and very nice as well. Ain't life grand when your biggest problem of the day is to figure out which hotel to stay at on a paradise holiday? Thank you all again.


Traveler863 Jan 21st, 2005 09:38 PM

Based on you criteria I recommend Aruba....thats a hard one spilling off my fingertips but yes for gambling and WIND, and beachfront resorts I think that is your best best.

Just need to clarify above comments regarding Aruba, it is not MY favorite place, though me is not you and you might have a thoroughly wonderful time as most people do. My only issues with Aruba is its a high volume tourist destination that is very Americanized....neither of which are my cup of tea, but not to say it isn't a full pot for someone else! Do what you enjoy! Happy travels.

Traveler863 Jan 21st, 2005 09:45 PM

Further comment. If hubby really likes to gamble I'd choose a hotel that has a casino....its a pain in the butt to go off site unless its walking distance. You may not see him too much in the evenings but he'll be happy, his vacation too!

Maureen Jan 22nd, 2005 09:44 AM

We stayed at a Penthouse suite at the Bucuti this last December and it was very nice. The suites have full kitchens and are spacious. The resort is very quiet with a beautiful beach and we found that renting a car was the way to go. In addition to the happy hour at 4-6 every day at the Bucuti there is also a happy hour at 9-10 at night with a fellow playing the steel drum.
At the high rise area there is more action and you can walk between hotels and to some restaurants. Recommend the Aruba Grand or Radisson.
For very good dining try El Gaucho, Marandi, Rumba and Chalet Suisse. Sunday Brunch at Le Dome is very good. Laguna at the Radisson serves very good fish.
Mango's Restaurant at the Amsterdam Manor is one of our favorites (BBQ on Friday nights is fun--reserve in advance).
Reasonably priced drinks at happy hour and skewered meats at Pincho's in back of the Surfside Hotel on the marina. Great view from the Marina--located close to Marandi just past downtown.
Local cuisine at Gasparito--sit in the patio and gaze at the stars. Guitarist some nights.
I have also read very good reviews on the Marriott in St. Kitts which has a casino and is a beautiful property.

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