I submit this reveiw from a UK perspective, without wishing to insult the Arubans or Americans, but we differ in our ways and this did affect our perception of the Island and the 2 weeks we stayed there.
I hope many of our remarks are read and actioned by the management of the Tam and the Divi to make Europeans a little more welcome considering the cost, travel time and 2 week vacation spent at their Hotels.
Our Family, with another 2 Families from Wales, travelled to stay at the Tamarijn from 11th to 25th July 2005.
The Flight for was approx 9 Hrs 30 mins with First Choice and this was excellent given the time and distance.
Arrival & Customs at Aruba no problem, out onto the Coach efficiently, cases were collected by us and then passed on at the airport for delivery to our room at the Hotel. We were concerned but this was well organised.
Frantic arrival at the Hotel but our rooms were allocated in advance so we only had to obtain our wristbands and we were off by buggy to our rooms.
Thanks to the Scottish Family for swapping rooms with one of our Families as we hadn`t been located together on arrival, hope all is well with the Mum who slipped some discs and spent most of the time in the hopsital.
The Hotel is situated alongside the Docks, no real issue or affect on us.
To see the Cruise Ships & Containers Ships arriving at the Docks, together with the planes on their flight path into the airport was excellent, and all seemed within touching distance from the shoreline.
The view of the beach and sea from each room at the Tam is BY FAR the BEST ASSET.
You walk from the rooms right onto the powdery white sand and straight into the ocean.
Ignore any remarks regarding the rocks & stones, there are a few in places, but they add to the view and are only really located in front of the bunker bar and main buildings, the rest of the beach in front of the rooms right up to the Divi is more or less clear and it is as good as it gets.
The pool at the Tam is small and despite having good quality loungers, it is an uninviting area with litter from the Pizza Bar flying in the wind. (Some people didn`t use the bins provided either !!)
You do not need the pool with such a beautiful beach but it is nice to have the option, so when we did want to use a pool we went up to the Divi which offered much better surroundings albeit the pool is more or less the same size as the pool at the Tam.
The rooms are too small, especially for a Family of 4 staying for 2 weeks.
They only provide a small area for hanging clothes and 4 drawers, so from a family point of view, really plan the clothes you take or like us you will keep many in your suitcase and return with them unused.
The Tam is relaxed so you can wear things twice !!
The Cleaning Service is excellent and we had a smile from our Cleaner every morning. They do their work with the right attitude.
The Food at the Buffet Service is excellent, in the main you will find something to eat and all in all we find the quality very good.
The Red parrot was excellent, so was the Palm Grill, if only the staff showed any enthusiasm instead of wheeling you in, providing you with the raw food without any guidance apart from "don`t touch the center of the table", then wheeling you out ready for the next lot.
The Paparazzi was the worst of the specialist restaurants but you need to book early with the concierge as all 3 get busy.
Unfortunately there were some other negatives in our opinion :
Organisation at Conuku Buffet Service
The organisation at the evening meals was very poor, the eating area also serves at the entertainment area and many nights we could not sit down to eat as others, having eaten, stayed at the tables waiting for the entertainment.
One night we managed to get a table and finished eating as the entertainment started, however I had strong words with an American who with his friends and family had come from the bar area and stood RIGHT IN FRONT OF US to watch the show, without ANY courtesy to those who sat behind him.
I won`t write the language he used when I requested that he move, but it was the organisation of the area that created the problem in the first place.
Who wants to fall out on vacation !?
TAM MANAGEMENT TAKE NOTE.
Ironically it was not as though the Entertainment was good, it was the worst we have experienced in all the holidays we have taken in Spain, Mexico or Florida, but you have to do something in the evenings.
The Staff at both the Tam and the Divi were pretty slow and unless you provided them with a tip in advance you didn`t get the service.
We British tip on receipt of good service, these guys were bribed by the Americans and it really showed.
The service and attitude from the barman Charles at the Divi in particular was unbelievable.
Look out for his unhelpful manner and say Hi from his British Fanclub.
At least when we had a drink it was branded product and the Miller tasted a lot better than the local Balashi beer. (Something positive about American beer, please note!)
The "Fun Makers" were almost non existent, they did not add to the atmosphere in any way.
Oranjestad is a nice place with a bus or taxi ride, we walked it but trust me it is not the 500 yards I told my kids and friends.
We bought jewellery at Touch of Gold who provided good and informative service.
We did take up some of the excursions and enjoyed them, and in the main they offered value for money.
De Palm Safari Tour- Dusty but a good day out. Coco Beach is good apart from the Oil Refinery, Natural Bridge was almost a pit stop.
De Palm Island- Sea Trek was excellent, so was the snorkelling, don`t expect luxury, quite grubby in fact.
Helicopter- $99 for a 30 minute Tour, excellent view of many of the key aspects of the island.
Screamer- Good Tour up to the Lighthouse but we wanted more action !!!
Finally, the myth about "One Happy Island", all I can say is they need it on their car number plates to remind them to be Happy, for many at the Tam it was too much trouble. NOT ALL though.
We did tip when we felt the service derserved it, but we did it on merit and this did not go down so well with some of the people who expected it.
We went to the Island with an optimistic view having had a fantastic holiday in Mexico last year, but it did not compare.
We will not return..............
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.