My husband and I previously stayed at the Tamarijn in 2005 for our honeymoon. Loved it then for the 'beach' location. We returned beginning of November 2012 for the hotels location on the beach and length of the low rise property along the beach, all rooms being oceanfront which cannot be beaten.
Our room this time was at the far end of the property (Oranjestad/Bushiri beach end) in room block 25xx. Though a lengthy walk to the main resort area it was actually appreciated as we always walked along the beach or boardwalk, a beautiful walk in itself.
Rooms are average but the views of the beach/ocean/sunset are amazing. Most rooms have been refurbished...complete overhaul in bathrooms, new paint in bedrooms, new air conditioners. Bathrooms have large dispensers of Aruba Aloe soap, shampoo and body wash. Shower design is not great as the water pools onto the bathroom floor. Like others have said the supply of towels is good so always a spare towel for mopping up! New air conditioners are effective though quite loud, they have low, medium and high settings. After several nights trying to sleep with the AC on we turned it off and slept with the ceiling fan on. The fan was all that we needed as we had cranked up the AC before turning it off to sleep.
We didn't notice any mosquitoes the first 5 days, but we sure noticed them on days 6 and 7 just after sunset but were only out for an hour or so.
You do have to be up early to get your choice of Palapa! By 9am there are usually only a few available. Crazy as it may be I did count up all the Palapas along the beach at the Tamarijn, there were about 100. With so many for a 236 room property you are never on top of others and to be honest often feel like you have the entire beach to yourselves.
We recommend the Red Parrot and Italian a la carte restaurants. Both had fantastic service and very good food. Upon request of some meal modifications the staff were only too happy to help and my request was attended to without trouble. The buffet restaurant choices for lunch and dinner were limited.
Ocean is a little rougher on Druif beach (by the Tamarijn) when compared to Eagle and Palm beach and it gets deep pretty quickly. Ocean is warm. Hotel provides floats and noodles for guest use, you just have to check them out/in with your room number.
Sunsets by the hotel are stunning. The boat sunset trips view the sunset from the Tam/Divi area which is a better viewing location than anywhere else on the island.
My husband and I went off property a few times. Cab fares are set, minimum fare is $7 and this will get you anywhere in the low rise hotel area. To get to the lighthouse the fare is $16.
Food and drinks on the island are not cheap. Had dinner at 'Carambola' (seafood) restaurant. Food was cooked to perfection, though pricey. At 'Waves' bar by the Sheraton drinks range from $8.50 (beer) to $11 (frozen cocktails). Lunch food ranged up to $20.
Do not attempt to walk to the lighthouse from the end of the high rise area. The locals thought it would be 20 minutes, it turned out to be 1.5 hours! We were rewarded however with fantastic views of the island and a wonderful restaurant, 'La Trattoria El Faro Blanco'. The restaurant is very popular for sunset and we could see why. We were there late lunch/mid afternoon and were the only ones eating. A few tourists were wondering the property taking pictures. Food here was on the higher end of average but certainly worth it for the ambience and views.
Parasailing is available from the water sports center between the Tam and Divi. It is $60 cash per person (+5% if paying by cc). They take you by minibus to the main low rise hotel area. From there you get on a small boat which collects people from other hotels and then transfers you onto the parasail boat. Tip: if you want to be dropped off anywhere along the Palm/Eagle beach they can accommodate this. We asked to be dropped off by the Marriott (currently the northern most high rise hotel).
There is a go-kart track located very close to the Tamarijn, a 12 minute walk from the end of the hotel. Bushiri Karting Speedway. Outdoor track about a mile long. Adult karts go up to 50mph. Nice track. $18 for about 10 minutes. If you go out again the price is $15. Great group of guys that run the track.
There is a large supermarket (Ling & Sons, IGA supercenter) just round the corner from the Tamarijn.
Took the De Palm Island trip. Originally booked to go by catamaran but the boat was cancelled the night before. Went via bus instead. Island very busy with cruise ship passengers (there were 2 ships in port), it was a Wednesday. Snorkeling was fantastic. I was a first time snorkeler and appreciated the initial waist deep water to get comfortable. My husband snorkeled here on our previous trip 7 years ago and commented that the reef is certainly not as live as it was. It has certainly degraded with the constant influx of tourists. I saw several people stepping on the coral. Though you are not supposed to feed the fish, we saw one guy who had filled his pocket with french fries. The fish went crazy for them and it was an amazing view of so many fish in one area.
There is a snorkeling spot which some of the boat trips visit at the northern end of Palm beach (on the way to the lighthouse). You could take a local bus or cab to this area and snorkel right from the beach. No cost other than getting there.
Our trip was booked with tour operator Sunquest. Rosita our rep is a very happy, bubbly and charming lady who totally takes care of you right from your arrival at the airport to your departure lining up at the airport check-in desks. Though we didn't require Rosita's services during our stay she made our vacation even more memorable just from the brief encounter we had with her during our arrival and departure.
Would recommend this hotel to others. It is well worth it for its location and closeness to the beach.