Tamarijn Aruba

The other day I was walking around Tamarijn and saw a resort that was in need of minor reparations. The reparations are mostly cosmetic. The storms we’ve had in September and this month showed a lot of weak spots in terms of leakage. I didn’t walk in the rooms but I’m sure they suffer the same problem.

Tamarijn is located at Druif Beach and is a popular destination for repeat costumers and the growing British market. Tamarijn is an old resort, one of the pioneers in the all-inclusive business model in Aruba.

Tamarijn Aruba
Pool area Tamarijn All Inclusive

They offer many specials throughout the year. For example, a family package allows kids stay for free. There’s also a special package for Honeymooners. Currently there is an offer of up to 35% discount, before high-season kicks off. Check them out.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

Bucuti Renovating Lobby

This is the time of year when hotels renovate or make – minor – structural changes to the resorts. Bucuti is currently making changes to the front of the resort, specifically the lobby.

It seems that now Bucuti is closing the front section where the concierge used to sit. It seems they want to connect to whole area with the front desk and make it a larger, air conditioned, area.

Bucuti new lobby
New Bucuti lobby

To avoid any inconvenience you should always be aware of any construction efforts ongoing at the resort you are planning to visit. This way you can avoid problems later. This construction at Bucuti is relatively minor, I don’t expect many issues with it.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

The Aruban Resort Status Quo

It’s been a few months since investor Icahn Partners acquired default business and properties of The Aruban Resort. Apart from opening the resort the new owners hasn’t done much else.

Former Key Largo Casino is still closed and former Royal Cabana Casino is an unfinished construction. Cleaning crews have worked at Key Largo and it was supposed to open soon thereafter but never did.

The Aruban Resort (Ex-La Cabana Villas)
The Aruban Resort in better times

The other day I saw some people in business attire driving around there in a golf cart doing what looked like be a site inspection. As of today nothing changed. The Aruban is open for business and that’s it. From what I understand former employees are still waiting for their indemnification from the defunct business so legal issues need to be resolved as well.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

Aruba Shopping In Style

Renaissance Mall owner Meta Corp. has done a terrific job with their recent renovations. I’m referring to the attention to details, specifically seen all over Renaissance Mall.

This mall is very clean. That’s refreshing. Another appealing fact is that in all hallways they’ve put designer chairs. I’m sure I’ll use those when my wife is in one of those stores.

Renaissance Shopping
High-end Cartier store in Renaissance Mall

By the south (main) entrance they tried to open up the space by painting the ceiling completely white, including white spotlights. This effect is supposed the give the feeling of high ceiling. To offset all that white they installed blue neon accent lights. It’s done very tastefully. Kudos Renaissance.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

A Gem: Aruba Renaissance Hotel

Renaissance is one of the brands of Marriott International, Inc. In Aruba it’s operated by local company Meta Corp. They also operate other non-tourism related ventures on the island.

The Renaissance brand properties recently received major renovations. This includes both resort properties and both commercial centers. Especially Renaissance Marina Hotel and Renaissance Mall have received a shift in focus. Renaissance Marina Hotel is an adults-only resort, while Renaissance Mall hosts mostly high-end brand stores.

Renaissance Hotel
New exterior of Renaissance Marina Hotel

Renaissance Marina Hotel received mostly a cosmetic redo, with new decoration and exterior (off white) color. Also new Starbucks Coffee Shop has opened as well. Additionally a modern blue spotlight highlights the brand of the resort.

On the other hand, Renaissance Mall was finished a few months ago and shifted its focus from “regular” shoppers to “high-end” shoppers and fancy brand stores. Renaissance Market Place is still “regular” shoppers, people seeking entertainment and food.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

Construction Update Ritz-Carlton

Construction efforts of Ritz-Carlton is underway. Right now the Venezuelan developer is concentrating with the surrounding infrastructure and the foundation of the resort.

The development is bigger than I thought as it takes more than a block. It’s so big that they have to rebuild the road to make room for parking space and other secondary space they might need.

Construction Ritz Carlton
Construction efforts Ritz-Carlton Aruba, with Marriott in the backdrop

As I’ve written in the past this construction isn’t without controversy. Not everybody is happy to see it come . I won’t address this here, as I’ve written about it in the past. Most opposition seem to have died down, except for a couple of environmental groups.

Construction Ritz Carlton
Road is being detoured for Ritz-Carlton

Construction Ritz Carlton
Detour of main road to lighthouse due to Ritz-Carlton construction

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.

Look Beyond Resorts When Coming To Aruba

Aruba = beach = beach-hotel. Right? Wrong! Don’t limit yourself with hotels alone, no matter how good they are (seem). Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of situations I can think which that merits a hotel stay, however, there are equally compelling arguments otherwise.

Almost all hotels in Aruba will win the argument of being near a beach, but in modern tourism that’s not enough. My pet peeve especially is that most hotel don’t include internet (wifi) access universally. Internet is as common as telephone and television in my opinion.

Tierra del Sol Villa
Tierra del Sol condo
A few reasons for choosing a smaller/low profile venue according to me are the following:

  1. Price
  2. Privacy
  3. Amenities
  4. Personalized service
  5. Non-commercial
  6. Local environment

To view a few such properties you head to my famous list of 50+ Place To Stay In Aruba. In the bottom of the list you’ll find the smaller places.

Former Aruba tour guide, trying to provide value to Aruba travelers.