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Thanks for the tips - I will now share mine that I am back

Thanks for the tips - I will now share mine that I am back

Dec 10th, 2003, 07:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1
Thanks for the tips - I will now share mine that I am back

I can't thank this forum enough for the many tips that helped make our Aruba vacation one of the best I have had in my 58 years. Taking the time to read all the tips helped us enormously. So now that we just returned I would like to offer people the same help you have all showed me.

We left for our trip with a friend whose leg almost had to be amputated a few months earlier, my husband with a heart condition, and sewer damage to our home just a week before leaving. So to say we needed a vacation would be an understatement.

We went with U.S. Airways and both the departure and arrival was fantastic. We left early both ways and arrived early both ways. It was great flights and from Philadelphia to Aruba was just about 4 and 1/2 hours.

One of the great tips we got was to use Econo Rental Car. We only wanted the car for a few days and boy are we glad we got it. When we arrived in Aruba with our transfers in hand and got on that De Palm bus, we were so sorry we didn't rent directly from the airport on the day we arrived. The bus took forever and being we were staying at the Marriott, we were the last stop. After a long plane trip and coming from the cold to such fabulous weather, the last place you want to be is on a bus for a long time. However the next day Econo picked us up and took us to their office not far from the Marriott and we got a great car and they were very nice to deal with. So nice that we decided no more De Palm bus for us. Going home we drove the car and dropped it off at the airport.

When we arrived at the Marriott, again we thank all of you that told us to go there. Oh my God. What a beautiful, magnificent hotel. It is definitely the only hotel I would go to again in Aruba. The people are friendly, the rooms are absolutely gorgeous and we were lucky enough to get connecting rooms with our friends on the 7th floor in the middle of U as we heard so much on this forum. Boy were you all right. The view from our room was not to be believed. The ocean, the pool, the trees, the sunset all from our balcony. Absolutely gorgeous!!!! Definitely rent a float for $5.00 a day. You can use it in the ocean and in the pool and it is definitely worth it. This is paradise and laying on the float you realize how much of a paradise it is. You must have the gelato in the lobby cafe. The chocolate chip and the hazelnut are to die for. The only inconvenient part was something we learned about on this forum which is waiting at 7:00 in the morning for a hut on the beach. There has to be another way they can do this, but for the life of me I really can't think of any. So one of us would always be down there, except the days we went to the pool area, and wait on line hoping to get a first or second row hut. Sitting there at sunset time is like being in paradise.

We ate the first night, as we were so tired, at Simply Fish in the hotel. It was phenomenal. We had a table on the beach, right by the water. The food was fantastic. I had Chilean Sea Bass, the likes of which I have never tasted before. Between the atmosphere and the food, it was a great way to start this wonderful vacation.

We love buffet breakfasts, so we made the rounds of the different hotels. While it was the most expensive, we liked the Wyndhams the best. That lox on a bagel was delicious, along with the omelets, bacon, sausage, etc. etc. You can tell we love to eat. We went twice to the Marriott as it was convenient (our friend had a cast and a cane) and we went to the Wyndham, the Hyatt and the Raddison. They were all about the same except for the Wyndham which had a little more. But they were all good.

We had the greatest dinners I think I have ever had with the most beautiful atmospheres I have ever been in. The best, (thanks to this forum) was the new restaurant called Marandis. This was by far, the best experience and the best part of our vacation. First of all the restaurant is secluded on a small beach. You kind of feel like you are on Gilligan's Island. You sit under big, big hut and part of the table we were in, closest to the beach, you just looked up at the stars. There were couches in the sand and the atmosphere was to die for. But what was definitely the best, besides the food which was extraordinary, was the service and the people that work there. They are all from Holland and they treated us like family. I have never been to a place where the people there made us feel like VIP's. If you go there, and you must, please ask for Ester (a beautiful person, both inside and out) and you must tell her Fran Finkelstein sent you. Trust me, you will not be sorry. We sent so many couples from our hotel there after that night, and received thank you cards under our door telling us how awesome their evening at Marandi's restaurant way. I am not kidding. There are not enough words to describe how fabulous the steak with baked garlic and onion sauce was. How unbelievable the creme brulee and the chocolate mousse was. And how Ester and I cried when she walked us to our car and said goodbye because we felt like we knew each other forever. All the people that work there (even the chefs) were both beautiful inside and outside and made this the best night ever. We told the concierge at the Marriott to recommend it to everyone as it was only open two or three months and not alot of people knew about it.

Another wonderful place was El Gaucho, another tip we got from this forum. Rosa, the lady in the front also treated us like VIP's. One thing I did, and I think is a great idea, is I took the time to email a letter to each one of the restaurants we were going to to make reservations. I needed to tell them that we had a handicapped person with us and I really wanted to make sure we got the times we wanted and asked for their nicest tables. And in all the restaurants that is exactly what we got. The steak - El Gaucho - is phenomenal. I love garlic as you can probably tell and the garlic sauce on their steak was to die for. We listened to your tips and sat downstairs in a side room.

We also ate in Madame Janettes. The atmosphere again is just beautiful. Twinkling lights, not under the hut in the garden area. There is a guitarist playing and it is so enjoyable. We had the rack of lamb which everyone on this forum said is their masterpiece. And right they were. It was delicious. Their potato gratin is wonderful. Then we had this oversized martini glass made for a giant filled with chocolate mouse, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and glazed almonds. Save room. It is worth it.

Another night we ate at Papiementos. The atmosphere was beautiful. The food was okay, but the service was horrible that evening. I don't know that we would go back. But I am glad we tried it as we heard so many things about it on this forum.

Some miscellanous things we learned are the calling card. We had gone to a little plaza behind Certified supermarkets and Hong King supermarkets at a place called Connexions. It was a charge card for $10 for 100 minutes. We used it as soon as we left the store in a phone outside their store and it worked terrific. However we don't know if it is something we did wrong, but the forum had said we could use it from our room and only pay a local call charge with the card. At the Marriott we could not and we could not find a phone anywhere else that we could use it. Next time I think we have to say at the Marriott that we are making a local call and then maybe it will work.

We brought the right kind of clothes, again thanks to this forum. Our husbands just wore nice shirts and shorts for dinner and we were nice t shirts and capris and we were dressed fine and very comfortable.

All the information about tipping was very helpful. 10-15% is usually included in your bill and you can use your own discretion if you want to add more.

Again, DO NOT MISS MARANDIS and please tell Ester, Fran Finkelstein sent you. She and all the other people there are wonderful, friendly, warm, caring people and the food is the best.

Thanks again for all your tips and for making our vacation so fabulous. I hope in some way, my tips help someone else.


fran128 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 534
Wow Fran, you sound so happy. Made me smile to read your account.

mm is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 35
Excellent report Fran! What a great referal for Aruba and the Marriott.
Peter is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,494
Hi, Fran! Great trip report! Makes me want to get back to Aruba!
I am wondering if the Marriott has undergone a major refurbishment and hired all new staff b/c when we were there the rooms were badly in need of a complete makeover. Also, everyone from the front desk to bar and restaurant servers fell into the category of the surliest, crankiest people we had ever encountered anywhere! They had a "don't bother me" attitude. The exception was the fellow who rented the floats on the beach but he was w/ a concession not Marriott staff!! So I am just curious. You stayed @ the hotel, right? Not the timesharse to the south of the hotel. You said you had connecting rooms in the "U" so I figure that is the Hotel.
Anyway, glad you had such a great and well-deserved vacation & thanks for your feedback.
wow is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 79
Loved your report. Just to let you know the phone cards you need to use are the Setar cards. And they do work at the Marriott. The only thing we found is that the charge that hit our account was for a local call by the minute. So on top of the 10.00 for 60 minutes for the card there was a minute charge. This is not how wer thought it was supposed to work but didnt notice the charges until we got to the airport or I would have asked. But check with the hotel and see if it is a per call charge or per minute charge for a local call. Otherwise the card worked great. We gave it to a gentleman at the front desk who was asking about renting a cell phone when we left. I hope he got some good use out of it. We also loved the Marriott and would go back again. Last year we stayed at the Radisson and we liked the Marriott better.
francot is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 21
We just returned from a week at the Marriott Hotel and couldn't have been any happier with the service, accomodations or the staff. We were so pleased that we ended up buying a two-week time share at their new development Marriott Surf Club that opens next July. Other than the early morning cattle call to reserve the "palapa" we had no complaints. It is nicely located at the far end of the beach so there is less "foot traffic" passing thru that makes you not worry about leaving valuables when you're in the water.
UG_THE_TD is offline  

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