10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
No problems, a relaxing time
"We were originally booked in the Surf Club in the lock-off studio room. We looked for an upgrade and I guess being an owner, and since they had a last minute cancellation, they gave us an ocean-view one bedroom suite in the Ocean Club that was awesome. Both properties are similar, with the Surf Club a little nicer b/c its newer. However you have to use the beach at the Ocean Club since the Surf Club's beach isn't ready, so it was actually more convenient being at the Ocean Club. The pool at the Surf Club is real nice and the lazy river is a lot of fun. The problem is that it was packed all the time. People come from the Ocean Club to use that pool, and with only one building of the Surf Club in operation, it was still overcrowded. The island was pretty dead being offseason, and it was still crowded by the pool. I can't imagine where all the people will go once the other 2 towers are complete.
There are a ton of water-sports places right there on the beach to choose from. We did the wave-runners and tube rides.
You can read some of the other reviews for restaurant recommendations. Its hard to get a bad meal on the island, but most are quite pricey. I would avoid El Gaucho. They're steaks are still great, but the service was awful and all of the steaks came out cold, even after sending them back to be re-heated. I liked Le Dome and Chez Mathilde, but they were easily $60 pp.
Overall I highly recommend the Surf/Ocean club to stay. You get huge rooms w/ full kitchens and a nice living room. Much better than your standard hotel room."
- Travel date: Sun 13th of August 2006
Marriott Aruba Ocean Club; July 1-8, 2006
"This was my first trip to Aruba and my boyfriend and I like to have some space to spread out, so we rented a two-bedroom timeshare at the Marriott Aruba Ocean Club. We arrived at the Ocean Club on Saturday, July 1 at about 2:30 p.m. We waited in a fairly slow line to check into our room (I already knew all about "island time" so I knew what to expect and wasn't frustrated!) and when we got to the front desk we were told our room wasn't ready, but that it would be ready at 4 p.m. We immediately went over to the Mandera Spa, figuring we could while away our time with massages.
We asked Mandera if they could take us for a couples massage. They said they couldn't do a couples massage because they didn't have a two-person room, but they could do individual massages. We said that was fine (it was definitely more expensive to get the individual massages, but since we were walk-ins, we couldn't complain). We filled out a VERY long, two-page questionnaire about what we wanted from a massage, were taken to a changing room, and then taken to our massage rooms.
My massage was very disappointing. I like a lot of pressure when getting a massage and I told the therapist that. She had the strength necessary, but didn't seem to have a good technique. Many times she pushed into my bone rather than my muscle (ouch!) and she also had a technique where she essentially grabbed my back flesh and pulled it, hard, as far away from my body as possible (double ouch!). My boyfriend wasn't happy with his massage either, as he asked the masseuse to concentrate on his back and she ignored him, spending most of her time on his arms and legs. When she asked him how the massage was and he said "well, I wanted you to rub my back but you haven't started that yet" she told him to "wait a few minutes" and continued to do his arms. I know other people have had good experiences at this spa, so perhaps we were an anomoly, but we decided not to use that spa again.
When we were done with our massage we went back to the front desk, as it was now after 4 p.m. We waited in line for awhile again and when we got to the front were told our room still wasn't ready. They offered to take our bags so we could use the pool, but since everything was packed away we opted to hold onto the bags and wait to be buzzed. We were buzzed about 15 minutes later and our room was ready.
The room was excellent. We were in room 5547 and 5548, which was basically in the center of the hotel, facing the pool and the ocean. We had a beautiful view. The maids did a great job cleaning, everything was immaculate, the beds were very comfortable, we had absolutely no complaints. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that internet access in the rooms was free. We put on our swimsuits and went to the beach.
By this time, the beach wasn't that crowded, so we just grabbed a palapa and laid in the sun (I didn't realize how the palapa system worked until the next morning). After sitting in the sun we decided to go to dinner at Rumba, which was very good. I am a vegetarian and their vegetarian dish was a nice surprise--veggies and a cream sauce in filo dough. We also really liked our waitress, and the restaurant was very inexpensive. Great meal--the only critique was that the mozzerella in the caprese salad tasted a little sour. After dinner we went over to the Renaissance's casino, which was pretty quiet and very smoky. We left after a few minutes and went back to the hotel.
Sunday we woke up and got a palapa. Every morning we ended up with a palapa in the second row, regardless of what time we got up. One day I was outside waiting at 7:35--second row palapa. Another day I got there at noon and still--second row palapa. We were very happy with our palapas the entire stay. I was a little surprised at how small the actual ocean swimming area in front of the Marriott is (roped off) but it was never a problem for us. We basically just sat at the beach the entire day.
That night we decided to try one of the Marriott restaurants for dinner. First we went to Simply Fish, but I quickly realized that it's name was apt and there would be nothing for a vegetarian to eat there, so we went over to Tuscany. It was about 8 p.m. and Tuscany was booked, so we couldn't get a seat. We went over to their other, more casual restaurant, La Vista. The meal there was fine, nothing special. We charged it to our room and left, but the waitress quickly ran after us, saying that the charge was rejected. Turned out that the front desk messed up and didn't enter in the proper information for us to be able to charge to the room, so we had to straighten all of that out.
Monday we took a trip to the butterfly farm, which we really enjoyed. From there we took the bus to Orangestad--the bus was really easy, up until that point we had been taking cabs. We shopped around, although all I bought was a plain chain I needed for a pendant. We ended up venturing out of the more commercial area, eventually coming across a house that had a hen and a little baby chick just hanging out in front of it. We walked around that part of town for a bit, which seemed much more residential--it was an interesting view of Aruba that we really enjoyed. We took a cab back to the Marriott. Dinner that night at Tuscany. I really enjoyed my risotto, but my boyfriend was disappointed in his meal (octopus appetizer and some sort of a fish entree--I can't remember!). My caprese salad was also mediocre--the mozzerella didn't taste very fresh, but it didn't taste bad either.
Tuesday we relaxed on the beach for most of the day. That night we went to Gasparito and LOVED it. It was definitely our favorite meal the entire trip. I had the ravioli for an appetizer, WITHOUT the meat Kerry Kerry--they made the entire ravioli from scratch, vegetarian especially for me. I also had the corn crepe for my entree, which I enjoyed. My boyfriend had the sand and sea combo, which was basically almost everything on their menu in one entree, and he thought it was great. We sat outside and the ambiance was so nice, with the lights they had strung around the place. The waiter even took a photo of us and called us a cab. We thought the food and service were both excellent.
Wednesday we decided to go snorkeling, so we reserved a private trip through Roberto's, one of those watersports places on the beach. Danielle reserved everything for us and was very nice (she makes the arrangements but a third party takes you on the trip). It didn't cost that much more than going on one of the big boats, and we really wanted to see some sea turtles, so we thought we would try it out. We stopped at three different places for snorkeling. At the first stop I got a bit discombobulated, swallowed some sea water and felt nauseous, so I decided to sit the second stop out. My boyfriend went on the second stop alone, while I waited in the boat with our guide. This is where it got a little strange--the guide asked me about 30 or 40 times if I would take my top off for him! I felt like I was in a Girls Gone Wild video or something. I kept saying no, but that didn't stop him from asking. Oddly enough I never felt threatened--he seemed like a nice guy otherwise, he didn't make any move to touch me or anything of the sort--but it was a little disconcerting when I thought more about it later. Again, my safety wasn't in question so it wasn't a big deal, but still a little strange. I felt well enough to go back into the water at the third stop. We didn't see any sea turtles, but we had a good time regardless, as we saw a lot of cool fish.
When we got back to the Marriott there was something going on at the pool, with a guy at a microphone and a big crowd around him. It was the most like Spring Break that anything looked our trip (we are in our late 20s and generally were the youngest people around, except for kids traveling with their parents, but when we walked up to the Marriott everyone looked college-aged). It turns out there was a beer-chugging contest going on, and the men's contest had just finished. They asked for volunteers for the women's contest, and I don't know what came over me, but I joined. I was up against four other people--two college girls and two older women--and I won! (I told the college girls that they should have beaten me--they are in much better practice, after all.) Very surprising, and I got a free Balashi hat and tee-shirt to remind me of my victory!
We went to the "town square" type area near the Holiday Inn that night for dinner--we weren't very hungry, so we stuck with eating ice cream, first at Amici's, which we enjoyed. After strolling around and going into the shops for awhile we were hungry again and decided to get MORE ice cream, this time at Aromi d'Italia. I strongly recommend Aromi's ice cream! Truly excellent--we prefered it to Amici's. The people who worked there were incredibly friendly as well. I also ordered a sandwich from there which was okay, but not as good as their ice cream!
Thursday was a quiet day for us, more time sitting at the beach. We decided we wanted another massage so we went to the Manchebo. We definitely had a better experience there--it could have been better, but I think we just need to find therapists we click with and stick to those people. The ambiance was very nice, laying outside while being massaged. We also sat out at the beach in the low-rise area to see the difference between it and the high rise. It was SO much quieter! I also noticed that the water was totally open--no buoys cordoning off the swimmers as in the high-rise area. We went to El Gaucho's for dinner that night. Unlike a lot of other reviews I had read we did not have to wait for our table--we were taken right to it. We both enjoyed our meal--nothing phenomenal, nothing to complain about!
Friday was our last day on the beach and we really wanted to go windsurfing, so we did that, again reserving through Danielle at Roberto's. Neither of us had ever windsurfed before and it was fun, although my boyfriend enjoyed himself a bit more than I did (I sat on the back screaming "slow down!!!" the entire time). We felt like pizza, so we went to Pizza Bob's. Our thought was to get two large pizzas so we could have a lot of leftovers for the plane ride the next day. When we ordered the two larges the waitress looked at us like we were insane and told us it would be a lot of food. We explained we wanted a lot of leftovers for the plane, so she took the order. When she brought it out, it WAS a lot of pizza! One of the waiters walked by and did a double take. We ate about a quarter from each pie and had them pack up the rest (the cook (or maybe owner?) came out and repacked everything when he saw how large the package was, and he did a really good job, all without us asking--it was very nice of him). We went back into the little town square area and bought some souveniers at the kiosk that sells glass jewelry, then back to the hotel.
Saturday was our last day in Aruba so we packed up and went to the airport very early (I had heard there were a lot of lines). We went through airport security without a problem and then sat in the waiting area and watched a movie. Flight back was uneventful--we actually got in an hour early!
We really loved our time in Aruba. I have gone to Greece for most of the summers of my life and I was worried Aruba would pale in comparison. The two places are definitely different, but Aruba was wonderful. All of the people were so incredibly nice and helpful (and it was nice not to have to translate for my boyfriend the entire trip)! We definitely plan on returning."
- Travel date: Wed 19th of July 2006
white sand and blue water - ARUBA OR BUST!
"i visited aruba staying at the marriott ocean club from 6/10-6/17.
leaving from bwi (baltimore, md) the total travel time was 4 1\2 plus hours with a layover in san juan. the flight was long and well worth it.
the sand is white and the water is blue - just what the doctor ordered! :)
once in aruba, the 1st taxi ride from the airport to marriott was 25 dollars. my understanding is that the taxi should have been for 20 dollars and even less. if they think you don't know the average price some (not all) will take advantage.
from the renaissance to the club was 12 dollars and from benihana's to the club was 10 dollars.
we arrived at the ocean club. check in was quick however i was disappointed with the room. we went to aruba on a timeshare preview pkg. i was told by sale associate that if i pay the villa cost of an additional 150 dollars (which is actually a one bedroom and not a studio) we would get a ocean view. before we signed in and took the key i let them know what was said to me and they said yes and still sent us to a room with a pool view. instantly after checking out the view, i contacted the front desk. an associate wanted us to check out another room. that room was worst. it was a view of i guess a garden and if you turn your neck all the way around you can get a small (very small) glimps of the ocean. we said no and returned back to the room.
after unpackaging we received a call to see if everything was okay and how was check in. needless to say we shared with them our experience. so as a courtesy, they gave us the 150 dollars back in marriott bucks. i didn't want that but we settled to not ruin the vacation. (marriott bucks are only used as certain locations) so if you are going on a package deal as we did keep in mind, you can not pay for the view. if it is available and that is only if the owners have not requested it, you can have. fyi
we did several activities. one was jet skiing. not sure of the company name but they did say that if the jetski tip over and water gets in the machine and damage it we would have to buy. also, when i fell into the ocean they didn't seem to be watching to make sure if the machine and of the individuals safety. i wouldn't do that again.
we did the watapana jeep tour for 4 hours. that was great. hot and wonderful i say. be certain to apply your sunblock. i saw some many people with sun burn. being out in the open all day from one tip of the island to the other was very exhausting but exciting. the atv tour goes to less places fyi. you see the lighthouse, the chapel, the wishing rocks, baby beach and the caves with the jeep tour.
on the 3rd day we attented the spa for the couple 570 package with the foot bath, scrub, wrap, lavender bath (very romantic with tea) and massage. the complete treatment was 3 hours. it was wonderful. i would recommend. oh, be certain to show your room key, you will receive special gift. :)
dominos pizza - nasty - the cheese taste strange and the wings had a sauce that made me break out bad - i would not do that again
conceirge service is great but you will pay for it. they charge that on the bill and don't tell you during checkin. beware.
also, local calls and calls international once the phone ring six times whether they answer or don't answer beware you will be charged the minute rate. read the information regarding calls when you arrive to your room.
billing to the room. beware! if you bill to your room it actually means that you are billing to your credit card. we billed the spa to the room. when we arrived, we told them that everything would be paid for upon checkout in cash. that was the time to advise regarding billing to the room but they did not. they did unauthorized billing to the credit card twice. one for the spa and one for the resturant. that is illegal and i did advise them of that.
the store in the ocean club quite pricey. remember, it's on a resort and you will pay for convienence.
timeshare presentation. you can own gold membership in the surf club preconstruction price for $35,000.00. Jaime (pronounced Hime) he was nice. if i was to buy, it would be from him. noticed i said if i were to buy. with all of the issues, my husband and i decided not to buy due to the reasons above. the marriott fixed or attempted to fix the issues but it was disappointing to expect one thing and get another. i am sure you understand.
resturants to recommend - driftwood - seafood - alittle pricey, the atmosphere is okay but the food is fresh - i had the garlic shrimp and my husband had the wahu (i guess that is how to pronounce it) arubian style. that was GREAT!
benihana's japenese steak house - okay
l.g. smith steak and chop house - excellent, excellent, excellent and pricey with a limited menu
champion's on the resort, just okay or less than okay for a quick bite.
la vista - breakfast was great. a large selection. we had that on the last day.
BEWARE - the drinks (sodas, teas) are not all you can drink fyi - not like in the states
iguanas were everywhere. large and small
lots of activities for the kids. check the marriott channel when you relax and they will go over adult and children activites for the week.
hairbraiding. i didn't do braiding however braiding is 2.00 per braid. bargain, bargain! that was what a couple of families did with there daughters to get a good deal.
when you arrive a the airport, little italy (a jewelry store) pass out a bag full of coupons for activity's ont he island. when we went to the driftwood, one of the coupons was a free glass of wine. it was great.
we caught the bus. it was a caravan with a bus sign on it. the fee was 2.00. not sure if they have a bus system and a home base bus system also. we took the bus there but we took the cab back.
the lazy river at the surf club is great. get you a tube before you go. tubbing cost us 16.00. you can buy one cheaper before arrival i am sure.
the staff at all three marriotts (by the way they are side by side) were friendly the resorts were clean.
i know this report is alot. i just want everyone to read and have this knowledge before making a decision regarding the activities, resort and etc. as i told the staff rep. at the marriott, a great decision can be made with all the information be taken in consideration. knowledge is power.next island - u.s. virgin island !"
- Travel date: Mon 19th of June 2006
Not just another beach...
"We just returned from a five day jaunt at the Ocean Club. Very nice accomodations and friendly staff. The villas are comfortable and with the resort being located away from the "other" strip, coming "home" in the evening got us away from the hustle of downtown!
Although it is a timeshare property, Marriott did not pressure us while we were enjoying our vacation!"
- Travel date: Sun 4th of June 2006
What a wonderful Honeymoon in Aruba
"Close your eyes and picture white sandy beaches, small waves lapping the shore and water five shades of blue. Feel the wind caressing your skin and listen to the Caribbean band playing steel drums softly. Youâre not dreaming...youâre in Aruba!! My husband and I stayed at the Marriott Ocean Club for our honeymoon a few weeks ago. We got bumped there from the Renaissance because they were overbooked. Let me just say that I am glad we did. Friendly people at the door greeted us when we got there. Check-in was a breeze. The Arubian people go so out of their way to be nice. The lobby was clean and smelled fresh. The elevators always seemed to be waiting just for us. Beware of the prices though. $5.00 for a 2 liter Pepsi?? Eating out costs a little more than it does in the US. This may be the norm for island travel but this is the first time we've been out of the country and we were a little shocked at the prices. The rooms were like large apartments or suites. The Jacuzzi tub was made for two and the shower was very clean. They stock the room with Bath and Body shampoos and soaps. We had an entire living room area and dining room. We hardly ever left the room early but the cleaning service came back 3 times a day. No matter what time we ventured out we always came back to a clean room. The kitchen was stocked with everything you could ever need (blenders, microwave etc.) to prepare anything because it is a timeshare. Our view was so beautiful. Early in the morning the hotel staff can be seen cleaning and freshening up the grounds. They are constantly working and it's so quiet whether the balcony doors are open or not. The pool was nice and we loved the waterfalls. The hot tub was so relaxing with a view of the ocean over the rocks. Iguanas were everywhere but they don't crawl all over you for those that are fearful of lizards. For those interested in them...check out the large flower bush near the volleyball court. It's crawling with them! They have daily Iguana feedings as well. The food downstairs in Champions is very good. Be sure to try the turnovers in the bakery also. They were sooo good. Don't worry about currency conversion. The Arubian people take both their money and US Dollars. They speak 5 different languages, including English, which they speak very well. All of the outlets are the same as in the US. We highly recommend taking the all day guided tour by ABC tours. You get a flyer in your welcome packet from the hotel. It was well worth it, just bring sunscreen! Costs about $69.00 a person for all day including lunch and you get to snorkel etc. The concierge at the hotel set it up for us, which was nice. Just remember that anything you have billed to your room carries a hotel tax of about 16%. The weather is so beautiful. It stays 80-90 degrees and the trade winds blow constantly. We never once got hot. Just be careful because you will get sunburned and won't feel it. We saw plenty of lobster people. The hotel staff waits outside the front door to wave down taxis in case you want to go into town. It costs US $10. We also rented a car in the hotel lobby from Hertz. The agent was very nice and gave us a book explaining the different road signs. Be sure you look them over before attempting to drive. We saw more than one tourist wreck. Ouch!! Check out the duty free shops in town. You might also want to make a stop in the Aruba airport for duty free alcohol. It's a lot cheaper there then it is on the island. The beautiful beaches in front of the resort look exactly like what you see in the advertisements. White sand and Caribbean water five different shades of blue. The beaches are clean and free of seaweed. They have Tiki huts to shade you from the sun that you can reserve on the front row of the beach for $15 a day. We never reserved one and never had a problem finding one either front row or the row just behind it. Happy hour on the beach is everyday around 4-5:00. They also have a beach band playing Caribbean tunes on steel drums. Talk about relaxing!! The water is so clear and warm. There is so much to do for those who can't sit still but if your looking for somewhere to go and just relax this is the place. There were not but a handful of children at this resort. Which was nice since we were on our Honeymoon. There are not people coming up to you on the beach trying to sell you anything or anyone bothering you. They were not pushy about the timeshares either. We spoke to a lady maybe 3 minutes and she gave us a large bottle of Aloe lotion that is bottled in Aruba. I recommend getting some of it. They also sell it in the spa downstairs for under $10. It makes sunburn disappear. I can't think of anything negative about our stay at the Marriott and I am very picky. Cell phones will not work in Aruba unless you have an international phone. They are on a totally different system so forget about taking it. Calling home was about $5 a minute. Then again, who wants to call home when youâre on a vacation? Everyone made it a point to make our honeymoon one of the best weeks of our lives. The island is completely safe and people are so wonderful. We were heartbroken when we had to come home. We definitely recommend staying here if possible. Have a great trip!"
- Travel date: Fri 19th of May 2006
"I stayed at the Ocean Club 4/28-5/5. It is a timeshare, however Marriott does not constantly attack you trying to get you to go on the tour.
The rooms were very nicely decorated, and come with a whirlpool tub. They are quite large, with nice touches such as Granite Countertops, and Fiesta Ware dishes. I had a room about as close to the Surf Club construction as you can get, and I never heard anything, not even when I was out on the balcony. The whirlpool tub was nice, but it could use a few more jets. There was also a separate shower room. The beds are extremely comfortable, and make you not want to leave the room.
The hotel area was nice, and you have all of the services of the main Marriott property next door, and also the Surf Club on the other side. There is not a lot to eat at the Ocean Club, only Champions sports bar, and a little stand that sells snacks and such. The main Marriott property is only a 2 minute walk away, however. Everything in this hotel closes very early (9'ish) and doesn't open until 8 or 9. If you want breakfast before then, you either have to go to La Vista at the Marriott main property, order room service, or eat by the pool. The casino next door is very small by U.S. standards. Room service menu is very limited, we ate lunch several times and got 2 hamburgers, cokes, and pie for about $55. We only swam and went to the beach after 5:00 p.m. or before 10:00, so I can't speak to how difficult it is to get an umbrella, but I did see people waiting in line at 7:00 to get them.
First thing to remember is you are on an island, where things move at a slower pace. Being a person who is used to receiving instant service, this took me some getting used to. The staff is very friendly as are most of the people on the island. They are truly happy to have you there (spending money), and it shows. When you are eating at restaraunts however, don't expect quick service. You may have to wait a couple of minutes before getting menus and receiving and paying your bill, but it is this way on the entire island (except Texas De Brazil, they had very good service). I didn't experience any of the delays checking in the other people reported, took about 5 minutes, and I was in my room ready to go.
Rent a jeep, at least for a day or two. Very nice sites to see, and very easy island to drive on. I rented a jeep from Economy car rental, because they were the company in the lobby of the Marriott, I wouldn't recommend them. These were the only rude people I ran into on the entire trip, and I kept having jeep envy for the people who rented their jeeps from Avis. They are a lot nicer and actually have doors and windows, unlike the ones from Economy.
I beleive Avis has free pickup, so you can call them or rent online.
Take the $59 snorkel tour from Red Sail Sports. Great crew, free drinks, and very snorkel sites.
The $89 Atlantis adventures submarine tour you can reserve downtown is really cook and you go 150 feet down into the water. Not sure if it was worth the money as you are only in the submarine for 40 minutes, and you can only see sites out of your side of the ship for about 1/2 that time, while they are showing the sites to the people sitting on the other side. Cool, just a little overpriced for the amount of entertainment you get from it.
We also took the $89 Sunset Dinner cruise by De Palm tours. It was very nice, and again, great crew who was very friendly. The food wasn't excellent, although it was about as good as you can get via a buffet style dinner."
- Travel date: Sat 6th of May 2006
Ocean & Surf cClub is an Awesome Place
"We stayed in the Ocean club from 3/13/06-3/20/06. It was great. The rooms were awsome. These are timeshares but you can rent them from Marriott if they're available. If you don't want the kitchen, just a hotel room try the Marriott Stellaris Hotel or the Hyatt is super nice. We visited a bunch of places while we we're there and the Marriott is the best. I would highly recommend it. Any particular questions just send us an email."
- Travel date: Sun 2nd of April 2006
Had a great week at the Marriott Ocean Club!
"We just returned from a 6 night stay at the Marriott Aruba Ocean Club and had a great time. My parents are Marriott timeshare owners and traded up to go to Aruba.
I definitely recommend renting a car for at least a portion of the time. We did for three days and used it to explore other beaches as well as to get to some fantastic restaurants. You can rent right at the hotel--take a cab from the airport--it's only $20.
The beaches at the Ocean Club (as well as the rest of the hotels on the high rise strip) are adequate but not as nice as some of the others. We went to Eagle Beach and Manchebo Beach and they were both beautiful and much less crowded. You can rent a palapas hut at Manchebo for $10. Don't bother with Arashi Beach. There are only a few huts and no facilities and the beach isn't quite as nice.
There is definitely a lot of construction at the Surf Club. You cannot hear or see it at all from the Ocean Club but when we went to check out the Surf Club's pools (which are better than the Ocean Club but more crowded) the noise was pretty bad.
We had no problem at all getting towels or a hut for every day of our trip. The hotel advises you to get to the hut rental area by 7am (it opens at 7:30am to insure getting a hut) to rent your hut for one day. You can also rent one for three full days for $15 total after 10am and we never had any issues with that. In fact I saw many empty huts during the week and was able to get a second hut for the rest of our group very late in the day.
I did see people holding lots of chairs at the pool but didn't have trouble getting a chair later in the day after we came off the beach (the pool bars have happy hour 2 for 1 drink specials from 4pm to 5pm)
Aruba truly has fantastic restaurants. Definitely make reservations.
Papiamento (the tables are set around a beautiful pool and there are white lights hanging in the trees)
Madame Janette (the lamb is amazing)
Flying Fishbone (you sit right on the beach and if you are lucky, right near the surf)
Tuscany (in the Marriott hotel)
We did a kayak/snorkeling excursion to DePalm Island. It is an odd location (right off of the water salination treatment plant) but the snorkeling was good.
Also try windsurfing lessons right off the beach at the hotel. $55 gets you an hour instruction and an hour to surf.
All in all, it isn't the prettiest island (very dry, desert-like, some sketchy looking broke down buildings and houses) but the water is beautiful and clear, the people are extremely friendly and helpful and the food is the best I have had in the islands."
- Travel date: Sat 1st of April 2006
beware the time share
"I stayed at the marriott ocean club for spring break with my sister and 2 of my sons aged 13 and 16. The list of problems with this resort began at the front door. We stood in line for over 20 minutes in an attempt to check in. I began to get nervous as I watched the line of angry people in front of us. The ocean club is a time share facility; as such, owners are given every priority, from room requests to dinner reservations to beach hut reservations. The units were very nice but with virtually no ocean front and very limited ocean views. After complaining to 4 different staff members going up the chain of command I was left with a lovely view of the parking lot. And even though we weren't staying at the surf club, the construction noise began at 8 AM each day. The 24 hour fitness club shuts off all tv and music at 7 PM each day even if you are using equipment at the time. It was also so hot that many people requested opening the doors to allow the much cooler 86 degree outside temp to come in. Beyond the lenghty reservation list for beach palapas, beach towels were doled out as if they were made of gold. There was virtually no beach or poolside service. Though the swim up bars were fine. The pools were nice but the construction noise at the sister surf club was constant. The overall sense of the resort is of a nice facility that is not being managed with any sense of service. If you are not really interested in 4 star service then the marriott ocean club is the place for you, otherwise try the ritz in st. thomas."
- Travel date: Sat 25th of March 2006
Pretty Good Resort
"We enjoyed this resort. We stayed here with our three kids (15, 12, and 6) The room was nice, and the pool was also very nice. The swim up bar has good drinks and non alcaholic beverages for the kids. We liked Champion's Sports bar, it had good food, plus you get free shot glasses, hockey and basketball stirrers, and if you order a large drink, it comes in a football shaped, and sized, cup that you can keep. We also tried the Simply Fish, which was also good, except that it is outdoors, so you have to dine with the rotten ocean smell. The resort also had many shops, like Red Sail Sports. The beach had palapas that you can rent, but theres a long waiting list. Also, there is a lack of a washer/dryer in each room, so you have to go to the middle of the building to do your laundry. So, overall the resort is fine, but there are a few tweaks that need to be adjusted."
- Travel date: Sun 5th of March 2006