This was my fifth Aruba vacation and second stay at the Radisson, the first being almost eight years ago. My, how things have changed! In 2004 the Radisson was the clear winner among the high rises. The competition has become fierce, however, and one would think everyone would step up their games. Not so. It's clear that the once-impeccible grounds and beach have taken a hit. Here are some of the shortcomings of my most recent stay:
The grounds are not unkempt, however it is not the perfectly manicured and groomed property it once was. I observed several minor maintenance issues, though they did not detract from our stay.
We reserved a room with a king bed, yet were given twins. We switched to a room two doors down the next day. No big deal.
The remote for the king size AeroBed was malfunctioning and difficult to use. I did not report the issue.
A dead bird appeared right next to the walk at the outdoor elevator lobby and remained there for two days until we reported it. We reserved a beach umbrella one day and found the area littered with lipstick-stained cigarette butts. There was also an empty beer bucket stuffed up in the umbrella. Though still a beautiful resort, the goundskeeping was definitely not up to par.
The pool cabana rental ($25) on another day was a complete bust, as it turns out the cabanas are favored by both cigar smokers and families with young, screaming children. Also, one of the zippers for the side closures was broken and would not allow us to block out the cigar smoke from our neighbor. The coup de grace was the fact that the cabanas surround the pool that seems to attract the kids. Heads up.
Some of the same things that personalize this resort can also become annoyances. Take the pool area; the beautiful and entertaining parrots are quite loud in and can be heard over headphones and inside the rooms with doors/windows closed. Poolside Bingo and music-driven exercise classes disrupt the otherwise tranquil afternoons. Happy Hour at Gilligans runs daily from 4 to 6 and features live music. While far from a Spring Break blowout, I was surprised by the amount of activity at the lagoon-like pools.
The concierge staff refused to book our prepaid airport return transfer for anything that would not allow for at least three hours at the airport. This forced us to leave the hotel at 1:30 for a 5:40 flight, then sit around for more than two hours at the gate. There was some traffic, and customs is slow, but you need no more than two hours to get through it all. Do yourself a favor and forgo the prepaid transfers - a taxi ride to the airport is ~$25 with tip and well worth it.
The breakfast buffet was excellent in 2004. Unfortunately, the new casino took about 2/3 of the space previously alotted for the restaurant. The new buffet area is not unlike the free breakfast you might encounter at a Quality Inn. For $25+ a head you will be disappointed and quickly figure out that the walk across the beach to Dunkin' Donuts or across the street to Five Burgers is well worth it.
We called down at 8am on departure day and requested a 1pm checkout. It was granted. The room phone rang at 12:15. The employee asked if we had a late checkout, and if so, for what time.
The itemized food/beverage bill was incomprehensible. The staff explained that they "break up" the charges to better suit the allowance credited on our account. With no receipts from the bars/restaurants we were left to accept this explanation. Beware.
Despite all these negatives, I give the overall experience an average rating based on the friendly staff, clean rooms, excellent beach, and convenient location. I'll be back to Aruba but may try another place next time.
Ask for the Aruba tower if possible.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.