To get this straight, this is a vacation rental building, not a hotel resort: there is no hotel staff on site and no services (room service, etc). These are individually owned and rented out, so expect as much, and don't expect a bunch of resort staff waiting on you hand and foot!
Our particular rental unit was fine, although it was oddly situated due to a custom change the owner did in the unit to make it a “lock off” (1 suite divided into 2 for the purposes of renting the 2 separately, one with significantly less features than the other). In speaking with other residents, this was highly unusual, so I won’t go into detail on that.
We'll start with the bad (our only gripe): the negative was our experience with Judy, the American expat who was hired (by the out-of-country owner of the condo we rented) to meet us and orient us to the property (property manager is technically her title, however there are no licensing requirements for this in Aruba). She was very rude, abrupt and unaccommodating. Normally I would say she was having an off day, but she was the same for check-in and check-out. She is definitely in the wrong industry, and would be best behind a desk somewhere not dealing with customers face-to-face. But I won’t dwell on this, let’s focus on the property itself.
This is a gorgeous property located across a small street from one of the best beaches in Aruba (in my opinion). Unlike some of the other beaches, it isn't invaded by hordes of cruise-goers looking for a beach for a few hours - although a few busloads come in, they stay fairly localized, and away from the area directly in front of the complex.
There is not a lot of activity around the property – there’s an abandoned waterpark across one way, and what appears to be an abandoned building site across the other way (didn’t see any activity during our week there). So not a lot of traffic beside the complex (there is a road between the complex and the beach, however - be cautious crossing, especially with children).
One of the best features of the property is the multiple pools. These are great for young families with little ones: there is sand in some areas directly beside the pools, creating a faux-beach idea: little ones can play in the sand and swim/wade in the very shallow water that gradually descends to over 8 feet deep at the far end - but the majority is a great depth for youngsters.
The property was very well maintained while we were there: public bathrooms were immaculate, the gym and kids' play areas (although I never saw them occupied during our week stay) was in perfect shape.
There is a security guard posted at the front to control the comings and goings, and the property had a very safe feeling (you need a code to get to the beach from the property through a large steel gate). Taking cabs back to the property at night, the guards wouldn't just let the cab through, but would look to see who was in the cab first.
There is a SuperFoods (large new supermarket) located a $10 cab ride away (or 30 - 40 minute walk) for you to stock up on groceries. It's about $15 cab to get to the main tourist strip if that's your desire for some more nightlife and touristy things - but if you're looking for a week of R&R, you could probably get away with a trip to the SuperFoods (there's another Chinese supermarket about 10 minutes away too, less selection though) and just staying on the property.
We headed to the main luxury hotel district 10 minutes cab ride away and the “feel” of the beach was much different: narrower beaches, packed solid with many stories of having to rush out in the early morning to reserve your spot with a towel or other personal articles. This reminded me more of Cancun beaches in the hotel district. Not at Oceania and Eagle Beach in front of it: maybe it was the low season, but we were never once crowded, there was over 150 feet of beautiful sand until the ocean, and lots of space to enjoy in peace. Children can wander a little bit with nothing but sand around them – no worries of losing them in the crowds.
Overall this is a gorgeous property in a great location. If you’re looking for the hubbub of a tourist destination surrounded by tourist traps, cheap souvenirs and I LOVE ARUBA t-shirt vendors, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a quiet paradise across the street from one of the best beaches in Aruba, you’ve got it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Oceania Residences meets refinement and seclusion. This luxurious condominium will take you to a place that is worlds away. It is located at Eagle Beach, recognized as one of the top 10 destinations in the Caribbean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oceania Residences Hotel Oranjestad
- Oceania Residences Aruba/Oranjestad