We stayed through First Choice 15th to 29th July 2014, as a family of 3 with our 17 year old Son, and our friends and their two sons (20 & 16).
We fellow from Gatwick on the Thomson 787 Dreamliner. Great new planes that had extra leg room all round, many (free) film choices, and up to date entertainment, including the ability to charge you laptop or smartphone via the touch screen in front of you. Good food and service both ways. Thomson need to offer some free drinks other than with meals if they are to get up to Virgin Atlantic's standards in my opinion. We were about 35 mins. late leaving. As the Dreamliner flies at 40,000 ft on a very direct route there isn't much chance to make up for lost time. The cabin is less pressurised meaning we experienced less jet lag.
As the bouts had been doing GCSE/AS levels/University exams we managed to go just before the main UK school holidays, meaning there were many more older teenagers in the Tamarijn and its sister hotel The Divi. This meant they soon made lots of new friends from all over the UK, USA and also Argentina.
I should say that this is the 3rd time we have been to stay at the Tam, our previous visits being in Summer 2011 & Summer 2009. As experienced travelers we always look for a good quality accommodation, normally somewhere in the Caribbean on an all inclusive basis. In previous years we have traveled to Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico as well as many times to the Greek Islands and Spain.
The thing that stands out for me with the Tam is that each time we return there have been improvements. There are many very long serving members of staff including Irene, Edwin and Ronny and Curtis on the various bars, the great Carmen in The Tam's buffet at breakfasts and lunches and the lovely Iris who works very hard to give great customer service as one the hotels Concierges.
The improvements we saw this time included:
> Many chilled water stations throughout the property
> New patio doors at the back of each room, with new security bars
> New sink tops in the bathrooms
> New shower doors and a small lip to stop the bathrooms flooding when someone has a shower
> Improved number and quality of machine in the Tam's gym
We ate at most of the specialty restaurants across both hotels, and as many other reviewers agree, we found that The Red Parrot was the best overall quality/service. The service at the Italian (Paparazzi) is very relaxed and some could say slower. We also went just for drinks to Paparazzi most evenings before our dinner as you can get drinks served in chilled glasses unlike most of the bars where drinks are served in plastic cups, due to the strong winds and eco friendly nature of the Tam - it has won an Eco award.
One dining option we did twice was the $35 pp + drinks offer for AI guests at Windows On Aruba. Both times the service was warm and very friendly. They took pictures and presented us with a certificate & cake with a candle at the end of the meal, and glasses of Champagne on arrival as we were celebrating our 22nd Wedding Anniversary. The quality of the fish and steak dishes at Windows is very high, and we chose a Sauvignon Blanc & a Shiraz on both evenings we went to Windows which cost $38 per bottle - not too bad we thought. The local Balashi beer is served in bottles in Windows.
We met many new friend this trip including Sarah & Trev, Jane & Cliff and Karen & Andy. Our boys soon made friends with these guys kids - they were all staying at The Divi and we met up most evenings for drinks. The Divi's buffet area has been totally renovated since we last went. It is now much nicer than the Tam's. You can of course choose each day, including a stroll 10 mins up the horseshoe shaped Druiff Beach Bay between the hotels for breakfast.
It is not uncommon to meet many folks particularly from the States who have been many more times than us to The Tam and Aruba - there are very many repeat visitors to the island
Check in was done on the De Palm sponsored transfer bus, which does really only take about 20 minutes from the airport.
Other activities we booked through De Palm using our Aruba Plus discount card that I bought online before we left $17, and we worked out we had over $100 value in just the discounted trips we went on, included
> Atlantis Submarine (Weds 23rd July) - you have to pay for a $9 each way taxi to the capital Oranjestad from the hotel. Then you dive to about 150 underwater and see sunken ships and reefs and of course lots of fish. Full cost was $104pp for over 12s. Elton our guide, and Bryan and Jan E made the whole thing very enjoyable for all. My family & friends enjoyed seeing the marine life as they don't SCUBA dive like me;
> De Palm Tours Morning Snorkel Adventure (Sat 26th July 2014) - You are picked up from the Tam at 8 am and taken to De Palm's own pier in the high rise area of Aruba - 10 mins drive - and sail on a large catamaran which stops at 3 snorkeling site including a reef just offshore, Antillas a 400' GermanWW2 wreck, and another stop near a lovely beach. Lunch and booze/soft drinks are included. Call out to the Captain and hard working crew who sail every day morning, afternoon and a sunset cruise. We have done this trip 3 times and still feel this is the best water based fun you can have. Full cost was $84 pp for over 12s
> Deep Sea Fishing with Driftwood (Monday 21st July 2014) - We had done much research online including TripAdvisor. 5 Chaps got a taxi to the Renaissance Marina where we met the Captain Marcelo and his First Mate Anthony. We had booked a 4 hour morning charter for $400 for up to 6 people. All Tackle bait and soft drinks were included. Once on board Marcelo took us into the cabin for a full briefing, and said the water was "a little rough". We steamed out for over 30 minutes in heavy seas, and thought our usual luck was going to be the case for over 2 hours, as we caught nothing. Anthony however had other ideas. He was constantly changing lures and bait. Then the reels started screaming. We took in turns to haul the fish in. We caught 2 smallish Bonito (tuna of about 20 lb, a 25lb Wahoo and others fish. If you are thinking of going fishing DO BOOK The Driftwood. Its not cheap, but we managed to find a £20 discount voucher in the bag ladies are presented with when you leave the airport. This meant we could add to the tip for Marcleo and Anthony. I was seasick for the first time ever, and (sorry Anthony!) managed to catch him a little bit - no problem he was moving across the deck helping us despite the very rough seas. Both guys are consummate professionals. The booking online through the owner's website (Mr. Herbert Merryweather) was simplicity its self. Written confirmation came back within 10 mins. of booking online and we paid on the day. Great service. We will be back the next time we are in Aruba. We gave the fish to the boat as we has a restaurant reservation. They cooked it up in the sister Driftwood Restaurant where we went for a drink another night and bough Driftwood T-Shorts to commemorate a great fishing trip
Some reviewers of this hotel say that some staff are rude. I can understand this comment, but I found that if you made eye contact used their name and said please and thank you the staff were generally very pleasant.
The entertainment at both The Tam and the Divi were of a consistently higher quality than previous visits, including and early evening musician, and later (9:15pm - 11 pm) acts and artists. The boys and their friends enjoyed plugging their iPhones into the sound system on several nights and whilst we were there ta young US DJ kept the teenager highly entertained. Special mentioned to Bradley at The Tam. He is the official "Fun maker" and his regular poolside B-I-N-G-O, and his hilarious use of his meaning of some numbers was very funny. He even had his own words to a Queen song for the bingo. Keep shaking those bingo balls my friend!! I would say that The Divi evening entertainment was better of an evening, The Tam during the day. Great bar staff at the beach bar for sunset watching and later in the nights at The Divi. Whilst we did tip, is was not expected, and gratefully received. One barman at the Divi is engaged to The Thomson Holidays. I don't remember his name I'm afraid but he always has a smile and gave exceptional service bringing my wife a bottle and her friend of wine one evening in an ice bucket. Brilliant.
The weather was very windy the first week and less so the second. Sunrise was about 7:30 am and sunset about 7:15 pm. Do take higher factor creams as you are near the Equator and the sun is strong. Also buy some of the local "off!" insect repellant as it does work - we bought one to take on next year's hols! One night we were stuck (on well!!0 at The Divi as a Tropical Storm passed by dumping about 4 inches of rain in 2 hours. The entrainment and bars just kept going as if nothing was happening. Amazing!
Nature had taken much of the sand away in front of The Tam, which was a shame. I know it will come back - just walk towards the Divi to be able to walk in without climbing over large rocks or coral in the sea. Those going soon might be best to take some water shoes. It didn't spoil our holiday
Whilst I have mentioned the improvements we saw this time, and I don't ever recall seeing a comment against a review on TripAdvisor, there are some suggestions I would make to further improve the resorts:
> More places to drink from real glassware especially on a evening;
> Take the entertainment area out of the buffet at The Tam. If you want to use their buffet after about 7:30 pm you will find it very busy as people keep their tables;
> Move the safes from under the counters in the bathrooms - too inconvenient; Also make them free. This is supposedly a 4* resort so the $2 per charge is a bit daft in my opinion.
> More frequent shuttle services. There were noticeable less;
> Improve the pool area at The Tam as they did a few years ago at The Divi;
> Make the WiFi free and of a consistent quality. Behind the 1200 rooms ( we stayed in room 1207) there is free wifi, or you can pay $50 per week for a code. We didnt.
Overall this was our favorite trip to Aruba. With may subtle improvements and friendly faces at The Tam who made our holiday so special. We will be back but are going to try elsewhere for a few years, but this place, at the prices available online is definitely very hard to beat.
One Happy Island truly delivered a great holiday. Thanks to all at The Tam & First Choice. Karen is a confident and friendly rep. Her welcome meeting was very informative even though we had been twice before.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- All oceanfront rooms on the mile-long beach make this lively resort the perfect choice for beach lovers. The Tamarijn Aruba is Aruba's hot spot on the beach where the fun never stops. There's plenty of activity day and night. Learn to windsurf, ride a bike on the boardwalk or climb the 30-foot rock climbing wall right on the sand. Kayaking and snorkeling are just steps from the rooms. When the sun goes down, the fun begins with lively music around the pool and theme shows. Or try your luck at the Alhambra Casino nearby. All Inclusive Amenities: • 10 Restaurants and grills • 8 Bars with daily drink specials • 4 Freshwater pools • Non-motorized water sports • Divi Winds Sports Center with fitness center • Bikes, beach volleyball, tennis clinic • Weekly water aerobics, yoga and Zumba classes • Lighted tennis courts • Nightly entertainment with theme nights • 30ft Rock climbing wall on the beach • Daily activities • Kids Fun Club for ages 5 - 12 • Free Wi-Fi throughout property ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive Hotel Oranjestad
- Hotel Tamarijn
- Aruba Tamarijn
- Tamarijn Aruba Beach Resort
- Tamarijn Aruba Beach Hotel
- Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive Oranjestad