Our timeshare week is in May but our last 4 trips I've been swapping for October. I was a bit nervous about swapping our 1 bedroom for a studio but was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the studio was. I was also a little disappointed to see I was assigned a room on the ground floor and would miss our beautiful view but I ended up loving the convenience of the ground floor and being able to exit and enter the unit from the pool side without having to walk through the lobby all the time. The view wasn't missed all that much because we were on the beach within minutes of exiting the studio from the patio and had the view at our toes.
I haven't been there since 2008 and the I love the new look of the outside of the building, really makes a huge difference, I love the colors. I do miss the tropical feel of the old lobby, the new one is beautiful but it seems a bit Manhattan to me but the turquoise colors help take that feel away...with the big pond gone it is much more spacious but I really loved that pond. I also miss the upstairs bar which is now office space. There is a pool table up there and also 6 computers that can be used for free by guests (15 minute time limit when people are waiting to use them). The casino seemed to be coming along, by the time we left on Oct 20, slot machines were in place and lit up. They were also testing the big screen that surrounds the casino entrance. Looks like it will be bigger than I imagined.
The studio is very nicely decorated and is so spacious that it was not the "hotel room" I thought it would be. There was a nice sized kitchenette with a huge granite counter to sit at with both chairs and benches. Full stove, microwave and all you would need to make a meal if that's your thing (it's not mine...LOL) At first, I was a bit taken back by the full size bed (our 1 bedroom has a king) but it was fine and it was very comfortable. Also a separate sitting area with the TV and this is where you exit the unit to the back patio. The bathroom is large and there is also a nice walk in closet with an additional armoire and dresser between the bed and sitting area.
We didn't spend much time at the pool, but I did have to get down that slide a few times so we did spend some time there before hitting the beach one day. The beach was perfect during our stay...some surface seaweed that disappeared and reappeared from day to day but nothing major. Water was perfect temperature, crystal clear and calm enough for floating and we spend many hours floating around. We got a palapa everyday, even got a the same front row one 3 days in a row which was great- and we are not early birds at all. While looking for some noodles to buy, we found out that you can borrow noodles for free from the children's rec room and return them at the end of the week. I'm not sure if this is always the case, while we were there we didn't see many kids so maybe that's why it was offered to us..but again, not sure it could be the norm all year round for all I know....it was great to be have them because a noodle is all I need to float very happily.
We didn't eat any meals at LaCabana except one breakfast. I really wanted to make it to Las Ramblas, it is getting such great reviews but we never made it because we were out and about so much at night and let our taste buds decide our restaurants for the night. I'll be sure to put it on my list for our next trip. We only had one reservation all week and that was for Carte Blanche - so glad I made that reservation months in advance - incredible experience. The rest of the week we were winging it and did very well this way, even though I missed a few places on my restaurant list, a week just isn't long enough for all the great food options.
As usual, the grounds and rooms at LaCabana are very clean, they did change the color of their towels mid week to burgandy, so I guess this will be their new color for a while. The pool as usual, was always very lively every day - bingo, happy hour with live music and lots of activity going on.
Happy hours are great savings but the variety of drinks offered is very limited and were the same everyday which I thought was pretty lame...they should work on that. If they are going to limit the happy hour choices at least switch them up daily. I'm not a big drinker so it didn't affect us much but I do like to have one Brown Lady every now and then and they are not included in happy hour. I'm sure people who really enjoy happy hour would appreciate a bigger variety.
There was an issue with the construction...we arrived on Saturday and all was fine until Wednesday morning when I woke up with my heart splattered on the ceiling because our alarm clock was jack hammers breaking the floors above us - yes jack hammers. I wouldn't have minded so much if I had been prepared, especially because upon check in I specifically asked if there would be any construction issues around that unit and was told no. I don't ever use an alarm clock on vacation and certainly didn't want to be woken up by the building sounding like it was falling down. The ceiling fan above us was even shaking...it was an absolutely horrible sound.
When I called the front desk to ask them if the building was collapsing I was referred to the manager who informed me that "they cannot stop construction" - as if this is what I was expecting...I explained that I just would have appreciated a heads up on the situation upon check in and thought that was poor customer service. She agreed and said she "would have a talk with the person who checked us in" and offered to move our room but I certainly didn't want to pack up and move mid week - especially because we also had friends right next door to us and certainly didn't want to get anyone at the desk in trouble...my whole point was - I appreciate the willingness to move us, but why put anyone in the room to begin with, not warn them about it and then "solve it" by moving them mid week?? How about telling me before I get in there and let me decide what to do?? I would have been much happier if she offered up a massage or dinner voucher to make up for the heart attack I had (which was really the main reason for my meltdown, I wish to never be woken up in that manner ever again) but she didn't offer anything but the move and I wasn't going to ask for anything from her...just wanted some customer service and it didn't seem to be available that day. So from that day on, I was then prepared for the all day jack hammer and luckily woke up before it happened in the next mornings but there were no after beach naps those next few days or watching TV because you couldn't hear it, and that was fine - it kept us busy outside the resort and as long as I wasn't scared half to death over the whole thing I wasn't cranky about it especially because I do appreciate the improvements they are making. The new carpet-less hallways are SO MUCH NICER! So glad to see those tiled floors.
Other than the jack hammer glitch, everything else about our stay went very well. The property is still very well maintained, there is still some work being done on the beachfront units but the overall appearance has changed dramatically since our last visit and I really love the look of it.
The mini mart has changed a bit since our last visit also, but their prices are still not outrageous and it's very convenient to pick up a few things without having to pay big $. Since we do carry on only, I had to buy my sunscreen in Aruba and wanted it the minute we arrived. Went to Aruba Aloe at LaCabana and almost fainted when I saw the new prices - $20 for like 6 oz of sunscreen ?!?!!? - I think I'll pass. Went to the mini mart and found a great variety with prices just like home $9 for my body stuff and another $9 for my face stuff - and they were both much larger bottles. I had some sunscreen left at the end of the trip and gave it to a family by the pool who appreciated it very much. LaCabana also had another shop in the lobby with a bunch of sunglasses that were also very reasonable (I forgot my black ones home) found several that I couldn't decide upon and finally snatched a pair up for $14. I was very pleased with not feeling gauged by hotel lobby shops.
It was a great trip and can't wait to return again...without the jackhammers :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Full service, mixed use 449 room hotel/vacation ownership casino resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Cabana Beach And Racquet Club
- La Cabana Beach & Racquet Club Hotel Oranjestad
- La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino Aruba/Palm - Eagle Beach