I was weary at first to book at a Holiday Inn for an all inclusive, however, my doubts were proven wrong! I can see why they have so many repeat customers at this particular resort.
THE BEACH! WOW! You never had to fight for a beach chair (like you do at other resorts along this beach). If you want a Tiki Hut you do have to line up to reserve on the day before - we never did that there is lots of shade without having one. The beach water was so clean, so refreshing - one of the best beaches I have been to.
The food at the buffet was below average, you were lucky if your food was warm - don't waste your time here. The Iguana Bar and the two restaurants (the names have slipped me) have awesome food. Ate at the iguana bar everyday for lunch, they have great salads, burgers, wraps, pizza etc. Also, you are able to grab a light breakfast at the lobby bar (danishes, assorted fruits, toasted bagels with cream cheese) along with great cappuccinos.
There were a few select staff that really stood out to me - Erwin (Lobby bar in the morning - fabulous, wonderful, all round great man greeted me with a big smile every morning), Michael (Iguana bar and Lobby bar - awesome person, really down to earth and makes you feel extremely welcome, and also taught me a lot about Aruba and its history!), Celia (lobby bar, really nice lady, very shy at first but she really warmed up to me, thanks a lot!), Victor (lobby bar, buffet - super nice man, also taught me a lot about the island, very professional!), Kingston (lobby and Iguana bar), and of course my main man Hugo (Iguana bar - wow is all I can say, super hospitable, very friendly, quick service, always cheerful - I will be back to see you soon!!)
Right across the street is a mini plaza sort of thing that you can grab your Starbucks, dunkin donuts and snacks if you want, also a lot of jewellery shopping! Their jewellery is absolutely stunning! You can also take a 10-11 dollar taxi into downtown where there are lots of local vendors and shops (ATTENTION - this is closed on Sunday). If you want to do more shopping there is also a flea market, which is also a 10 dollar taxi, with local vendors as well.
We went on the Pelican tour which was snorkelling along a coral reef and at the German ship wreck, that was super cool. Also, did the island tour, if you want to see the whole island, I would suggest this tour.
Also the water out of the taps is completely safe to drink, pretty awesome I thought!
Housekeeping was well below average. I was surprised at how bad they were actually - coffee maker was left dirty for two days, blood on the comforter that was NOT mine, which I asked them to replace and they never did.
Service at times could be slow - but your on vacation so don't let it bother you.
The Holiday Inn adds a service charge/gratuity, so it becomes very confusing if you are all inclusive - are our tips included or not?? Also, you will be asked to sign off on EVERYTHING that you get (beer, pop, food etc). Please, I cannot stress enough, tipping is not a country, it is a gratuity towards bartenders and servers who provide you with good service - tip people!!!!!
Sadly, there is no swim up bar.
The beach is not cleaned daily, if at all. Other resorts I have stayed at groom the beach or pick up the garbage at least. Also, there are NO cigarette disposals that I saw - and there are LOTS of cigarette butts on the beach. The hotel really needs to address this problem.
All in all, I had a fabulous time, and I would definitely stay here again, it absolutely is the biggest bang for your buck.
Unless you book an ocean view, you will get whatever room is available
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
March 7, 2013
Dear Valued Guest,
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Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear that you experienced a few issues during your stay. However, as you can see from the many previous reviews that service is something that we take with great pride and ensure that every guest leaves with having had a terrific time while staying in our resort. Our focus is 100% on guest satisfaction, so we really appreciate your feedback as this helps us to do better. Thank you for the great comments and will surely pass these along to Erwin, Michael, Kingston, Celia, Victor & Hugo. We hope these issues do not deter you from choosing resort for the future. Until then safe travels!
Holiday Inn Resort Aruba Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.