So just got back from aruba April/08 and here is what I have to say about the island and all the things I experienced there. Trip advisor was very helpful in helping me plan my vacation so I hope this will help you. I went there with My girlfriend and we had an overall very good time. so I will give teh Pros and Cons on stuff. I stayed for 7 days 6 nights and it is my first visit. probably last too.
Hotel: Marriott Ocean
Positives: Room was excellent we overlooked pool and beach and it was great. nothing bad to say quiet, even next to the pool. Cleaned it 1 time during the week and staff working for hotel was excellent very helpful. Pool was great and workout room very nice.
Hotel was great but the SPA at the hotel was horrible. I went there two times to get my gf a massage and both times they were very rude and didnt appear to understand what I was asking for. Upon checkout we found they actually billed us twice and Marriott manager couldnt do anything about it as the spa is a seperate business from the marriott. This was bad because we checked out at 530 am and were still waiting to hear from the hotel about what can be done. BEWARE the SPA NAZIs.
The Massage itself was good my gf says but not worth the hassle and def. not worth being charged 200dollar. plenty of better spas esp. if you want to get a massage on the beach.
Advice: DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY WITH DE PALM TOURS!!!
that being said heres why.
Renting a Jeep; $74 dollars a day, with insurance, another guy I was talking too said they were going to charge him an extra 100 dollars to take the top off, mine had a removable but boy it gets hot and no A/C. anyways a car rental is 54 dollars a day. I rented a jeep 2 days and a car 1 day to just tool around downtown.
Car was nice for getting to and from the downtown area. Oh and a typical cab ride is 15-25 dollars each way, you do the math. Great value. Get the Insurance. My Credit card wouldnt cover jeeps and dont know how usa policy does in aruba. insurance is 10 dollars a day extra.
Jeep; no A/c, no protection for your stuff so your going to be lugging anything valuable everywhere you go.
Rent the jeep and go to the national park, so much fun, but beware we saw A DEPALM tour truck overturned it is very dangerous. Get some experience in the park go to the caves etc.
The Natural Pool; a bit overrated, but GF liked it a lot. BeCAREFUL going to this is dangerous esp. if your not used to doing off roading in a jeep. Easy to get into trouble. GO SLOW and or take the DEPALM TOUR, however if your confident with your skills you can make it there and its cheaper then going with a tour. P.s. the tour came while we were there. 25 people jump into the pool for 1/2 hr and then the guy yells at them to lets go, it was horrible, so glad I didnt do the tour.
the Caves are a MUST SEE fun lots of bats, be prepared to TIP EVERYONE IN ARUBA even the "park rangers" asked for money, dont know what kind of rangers they were but gave a bit of info.
Snorkling, not the place to find a lot of nice coral, mostly all dead, but a bunch of small fish and easy access from the beaches. We brought our own snorkle equipment and with renting the car we got to all the same sites that the depalm tours take you too. The best place to snokel was baby beach and malmok beach. we were going to take the ferry over to De Palm island but they wanted 70 dollars a person wouldnt let us just go over even though we dont drink and had our own equipment. Silly trying to rip off tourists. Bring some bread and put it in the water and a million fish will come around. Renting the car made it easy to go and find less crowded beachs towards the west end of the island.
we had some nice meals;
Best: Flying Fish Bone, great meal were from chicago and it was comparable to any restaurant in chicago. good food, atmosphere and service were excellent. Make reservations and ask to be on the beach very cool. People get a bit crazy with pictures during sunset but otherwise excellent.
Moomba Beach (might be wrong spelling)
its about 2 blocks west of marriott hotel on beach. Its the best, service was good not great but close. The food was excellent for what it was. and the atmosphere is very relaxed again get reservations for the Beach.
*** BEWARE*** most restaurants include tip I almost gave people 35% tip because i wasnt checking, CHECK YOUR CHECK and dont get scammed out of money, one place had an 18% gratuity.
thats being nice, service was horrible and we were 2 of 15 people in the place, cant imagine if it was busy, the steak was all well done and very chewy. I wouldnt feed my dog the crap they were pawning off as steak. DONT GO HERE...
Smokey Joes-- food -OK Service --Horrible
this place gets crowded so they try to jam as many people in as possible. we got sat at a table for 4 and next thing we know the waitress says the owner wont let me sit you here, so we have to move ( i wanted to leave gf didnt) should have!! another guy comes up asks us why we moved we tell him and he says that it wasnt true, the service was AWFUL took forever to get food and ask for the bill as soon as you order maybe you wont wait an extra 1/2 hr. dont go here!!!!
Dinner on the Beach
Shopping for junk in downtown
Marriott SPA (Mandara) Spelling??
Becareful of the sun it was very windy and felt great but you can burn in 15 min. no joke.
****Get to Airport Early on departure, they say that the checkin gait closes 60min prior to boarding!!!!! ******* we got there 90 min prior to boarding and it took 89 min to get to the plane no kidding. And it wasnt a very busy time, I would allow 2 -2.5 hrs if I ever went again.
Brin g lots of sunscreen we went through 3 bottles of 50 30 and 15
their alovera products are awasome apply everyday and you will barely peel
** bring your own snorkel equipt. and rent a jeep it will be easier.
Anyways if you have anyother questions email me be happy to help if I can. Aruba is a cool place but probably wont go back. Once is enough to see it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set among beautiful Palm Beach is the immaculate Marriott's Aruba Surf Club. With a variety of on-site activities, filling your day with fun is no obstacle. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott`s Aruba Ocean Club Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
- Marriotts Palm Eagle Beach
- Marriotts Aruba Ocean Hotel
- Marriott Palm/Eagle Beach
- Marriotts Aruba Ocean Club
- Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club Palm - Eagle Beach