My son, DIL and myself spent 7 days (Dec. 3 - 10, 2013) at the Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive. We traditionally take the first week of December as a "family" vacation to an AI resort to celebrate my son's BD and as a break between Thanksgiving and the Christmas rush. In the past, we have taken several cruses, spent a week in Mexico at Grand Palladium Royal Suites, Dreams in Punta Cana. Son and DIL wanted to return to Aruba where they had spent their honeymoon 5 years previously. I was a little dubious about this resort - though they had loved it.
I booked this holiday thru Apple Vacations and as usual, everything ran like clockwork.
I was concerned upon arriving at th Tam as the reception area wasn't grand and imposing like the other resorts we had visited. I was even more concerned when we were checked into the room. While this resort is right smack dab on the beach, we opted for a second floor room rather than the more popular ground floor rooms. This was one of the smallest rooms I've experienced at any AI resort. There was no exhaust in the bathroom - and no door on the shower - was impossible to take a shower and keep the water in the shower stall. To exhaust the air in the bathroom, there was a small window that could be opened - but doing so just about sucked out all of the cool air in the room.
The weather the entire week could Not have been better: hot and humid - and sunny beyond belief! Rained a couple of nights - never during the day.
The view from our second floor veranda was absolutely beautiful! The only problem with the veranda was that there wasn't a partition separating the veranda from those on either side of us.....so, if someone was smoking on any of the verandas in our string of units - we all "smoked along side the smoker". The verandas faced west so there was always a spectacular view of the amazing sunsets.
The beach was right down the stairs from us. The sand was beautiful, the water spectacular shades of blue and green. As the cruise ships went by, they were so close we felt we could almost reach out and touch them! The beach is very clean.
Food: Breakfast was served in the buffet - a semi-open air facility right on the beach with breath-taking views. This area is not air conditioned and could be very warm if there wasn't a breeze blowing from the Caribbean. The food options were not quite as plentiful as other resorts I've visited - but overall it was adequate - but repetitious after awhile. There was an omelet station and pretty good pancakes. The juices were not so good. The cheese selection was good. The worst part was the bacon - it was served in a huge chaffing dish - and it didn't appear that it had come close to being fried - limp and greasy.
Reservations can be made at the ala cartes a the "gathering area" near reception. We dined twice at the Red Parrot and it was absolutely great food (we had fish and steak). The Red Parrot is located at the Divi down the beach from the Tam - there are golf carts to transport guests between the resorts. We dined once at the Palm Grill - located in the Tam's buffet area. Guests sat at tables that had heating elements located beneath the center second of the table. A try a sauces was presented along with raw shrip, beef and chicken, a huge bowl of vegetables is dumped on to the heated center surface and each guest is presented with a spatchla. As the veggies are finised, guests proceed to cook their own entrees. Rice and FF's are also served. This was a fun evening - though it was soooo hot until the sun set and and there was a cooling breeze thru the area. We dined twice at the Italian restaurant, Papparazzi (sorry - poor spelling!) This restaurant was absolutely beautiful - - and was air conditioned - so we really were able to enjoy the meals. The wine flowed at all three of these restaurants and we would highly recommend planning to make reservations for you visit to the Tam.
The swimming pool was small compared to other resorts - but very, very adequate. There was a bar at each end of the pool. One of the bars served food in an open air area a few steps from the beach. This was Pizza per Tutti. Served lots of pretty good food/snacks and some really good drinks. The other bar was a great place to hand out in the evening with tables just above the boardwalk - very, very relaxing.
The Bunker bar was a nice place right on the beach with seating overlooking the Caribbean.
This resort provides bicycles for the guests' use (no charge). Son and DIL joined a group from the resort on a long bike ride with a host/guide and a chase vehicle with water, etc. They are bike riders but were really tuckered out when they finally returned to the Tam. They also used the bikes one day to ride into Oranjestad to shop.
There were vendors who set up tables in the central area at Tam several evenings - as well as at the Divi down the beach - so it was fun to shop after dinner. The items they were selling differed from what I had experienced in Mexico and the DR - the vendors were NOT aggressive in any way.
We rented a Jeep one day and covered the island - saw the wild goats and borrows - beautiful church in the middle of no where - the natural bridges, etc. We advised NOT to drive the Jeep to the Natural Pool as we'd be responsible for any damage to the vehicle - guess it was a pretty nasty drive to get to the Natural Pool - I can only say that I do not believe that the path to the Pool could have been much worse than some of the off roading we did!
Before dropping off the Jeep - we spent several hours at the open air shops near the High Rise area. That was some pretty good shopping and some interesting shops and restaurants.
My suggestions as to rooms: If you want to be directly ON the beach, request a unit on the lower level of the resort. If you want a room with a view - request a room on the second floor (it doesn't take that long to get down the stairs and onto the beach - and the view is mostly unobstructed).
The water from the tap is drinkable which is a big plus. The Tam/Divi is a walkable (or bike rideable)distance from Oranjestad and, while I didn't visit it, I've heard that there is a grocery close by the Tam.
One evening after dinner at the Divi, we were taken to the Alhambra Casino by golf cart (the resort runs them up and down the strip to several of their resorts in the area) and gambled a little - very little. There is some shopping at the Alhambra.
If I go again, I'd absolutely stay at the Tam - no question! Not much time was spent in the room and breakfast is breakfast. The location is absolute the best. The food in the ala cartes was the best I've experienced at any AI. You have access to some of the facilities at the Divi down the beach and the location close to town is absolutely perfect. This resort is in the "Low Rise" area. Not too far from the airport. This is a great family resort - though we did not notice many children. Prices are high - I believe this is a wealthy country.....a perfect paradise. We will be back.