We stayed at the Bucuti & Tara (B&T) in the second week of March, and we agree with the posters who state that this resort does not quite match the quality of the reviews. It is baffling and somewhat fishy, to be honest. Three to perhaps 3 ½ stars covers this place adequately. The strong points of the B&T are diluted by a few weak elements.
Our overall experience was pleasant; this was a long-awaited getaway and our first visit to Aruba (lots of powerful sun with a wind that we weren’t quite prepared for).
We rolled up to a pillbox-looking entrance and were greeted cheerfully and with good grace by a number of staff upon our arrival, complete with a complimentary glass of champagne. We were then led to our room, which was in the “Bucuti” section of the resort. It was adequate to our needs and suited us just fine; the room/resort décor features dark woods that reflect a modern, lounge-y sensibility (which we like).
The beach is beautiful and quiet, as the B&T is an “adults-only” environment that hits our spot quite nicely. If any of you wants to make a beer commercial featuring people lounging on a lovely Caribbean beach, don’t overlook Palm/Eagle beach at the B&T.
We had breakfast twice at the indoor Tara lounge, which is nicely presented with quality fittings and the modern, dark-woods look. Breakfast here was a good experience; the hostess and waiter were excellent and accommodating.
The staff on the whole are friendly and capable; I would say about 80% are gold. You do get the occasional blank-expression hostility that we have found at times in other Caribbean countries (Turks & Caicos and St. Thomas, for instance)… that “we don’t much care for, you but we will help ourselves to those American dollars in you pocket” act. Unfortunate, but it does not take away from the many people at the B&T who take pride in doing their jobs professionally and with good cheer.
The grounds were being carefully manicured every day of our stay. Free Wi-fi is the touch that should be standard in every quality hotel/resort, and it’s appreciated here. Special mention of the friendly concierge girls must be made; they were aces & went so far as to put together a nice dining agenda for us.
The resort appears to be transitioning by degrees from an early-to-mid-80s condo style arrangement. There are top-notch fittings (elevators, Tara lounge/restaurant, pool/beach furniture, for example) mixed in with in-need-of-upgrade materials (the worn-out decking at the outdoor restaurant, the outdoor restaurant itself, the blah pool & concierge area).
Ah, breakfast at the outdoor restaurant! A glance at the breakfast offerings caused a word to leap to mind: “insulting!”. The cold cuts can only have been peeled straight out of an Oscar Mayer container, and they truly appeared to have been recycled from one day to the next. Same thing for the oatmeal, which appeared to have been standing around so long that it had separated into its vital components, with water floating at the bottom of the serving bowl… mangos you could go bowling with.
Individual-serving boxes of cereal (Special K and so on) stacked up at the buffet – much nicer to place the cereal in serving canisters I think. Lox that was crusty at the edges from age. The nickel-and-dime appearance of the outdoor breakfast food really did startle after all the glowing reviews I pored through.
I am not at all picky about breakfast; some cereal with fruit and coffee and it’s Johnny-bar-the-door. To top it all off, the breakfast staff stood at attention over this gristle like proud and attentive soldiers… and I have to tell you, it tickled. I suspect that they were having a bit of a laugh themselves as good-natured guests oohed and ahhed over their gruel. Here’s one overheard breakfast exchange: [Waiter]: “How was your breakfast, sir? [Guest]: “Unbelievable!”. Then they both laughed amiably.
But seriously, when you’re paying hard cash for a very well reviewed vacation spot (# 1 in Eagle/Palm beach!), this is not what you should be getting.
The outdoor restaurant (“The Pirate’s Nest”, is it?) is a concrete shell in the shape of a listing boat. Poured, unpainted concrete. This is where the breakfast buffet is set up before you tote it outside. One of the staff mentioned that this thing is going to be completely overhauled in the summer. They can’t do it soon enough: Mr. Pirate has a lot to answer for.
My wife found the lunch offerings to be inedible, especially on the day that she found a long hair in her food… the dish was removed from our bill of course, but it would have been good form to comp out drinks as well I think (1 beer and 2 mixed drinks). For my part, once I hit on the chicken satay/lettuce dish, I was happy as a deer with night vision goggles!
Lastly, our bathroom was functional, but the tub and tile work in particular could certainly be less shall we say “basic”… the pool is small and unadorned (the poolside furnishings are nice enough, though), but it appears that hardly anyone goes in it. Understandable, because…
The beach the beach the beach. Yes, I loved it, and it’s what we came for really! Beautiful to the eye and quiet. Drama-free setting with adults soaking in the powerful sun (prepare for it!). The staff were on the ball with all of our drink and food orders.
The occasional shortcomings we list did not ruin our time here by any stretch (SEE: “The beach”), but I felt compelled to pass our impressions along because the overwhelmingly positive reviews do not quite square with our actual experience. We spent more money on these lodgings than we typically do when we travel, so it’s no small thing.
We agree in part with recent reviewers who wonder about the avalanche of glowing reviews. There are a few holes that need to be filled here (and to their credit, the B&T seems to attending to them steadily), so temper your expectations somewhat.
- Also Known As:
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
- Bucuti And Tara Beach Resorts Aruba
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba Hotel
- Bucuti Beach Hotel
- Golden Tulip Palm Eagle Beach
- Golden Tulip Oranjestad
- Aruba Bucuti Resort
- Bucuti Beach Resort
- Bucuti Beach Resort Aruba
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This adults-only, romantic resort is award-winning and owner-operated. Recognitions include Top 3 Beach Destinations in the World, Conde Nast Gold List, Top 10 Romantic Retreats in the Caribbean, Green Globe High Achievement Award, and TripAdvisor's 2013 Certificate of Excellence. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts is eco-friendly and offers a tranquil boutique experience with friendly service. ... more less
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