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“Marriott Surf club”

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Marriott's Aruba Surf Club
Ranked #16 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Marriott Surf club”
Reviewed April 27, 2009

Just got back from a great vacation at the Surf Club. Like previous reviews yes it is crowded at the pool and beach but you can get a spot after 9-10am. Some folks waited on line from the day before to reserve palapas I don't see the point. They are not
all water front and since its a public beach anyone can park themselves in front of you with or without a chair. Stayed in the Spyglass tower, that was nice. Request a high floor it can get noisy from the kids outside. Yes there are lizards and birds everywhere. There is no smell except where you walk in to the beach and thats from the restaurant and their tanks outside. The sand is not slimy, it is just that soft. It felt the same at another beach on the other side of the island. The food is expensive everywhere skip the hotel not as tasty as on the strip. Take the bus for 1.30pp, we saw couples taking cabs from the marriot to the strip and its a 3minute ride around the corner! Crazy! The hotel will not move you around after you get a room so ask for what you want at check in and HOPE for the best. We heard alot of complaints but in the end you had to stay where you were put initially. There are 2 supermarkets, great for snacks fruits and water, Kong Hing was the more local one and cheaper. Cab ride to that area is now $28 from airport, I didn't find any postings w/a lower rate.

Helpful?
2 Thank MrsMacMac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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CT
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2009

The Aruba Marriott Surf Club is an excellent place to stay. We were there 3 times last year alone!!! In May, my husband and I went alone. We had a wonderful time. In June we decided to go back with our 'kids' , aged 19, 22, and 23. They loved it and are looking forward to our stay again this June. In October, we returned with my sister and her husband and they plan to return with their kids ( 18 & 17 ) with us again !!!!

We own at the Ocean Club, but enjoy going to the Surf Club as well. The OC is wonderful, but quiet. We enjoy the activity and the family thing. If you are looking for quiet...OC is your place. If you enjoy people watching and the kids laughter, Surf is more your speed. PLUS the Lazy River is wonderful for an afternoon cool down after a long day in the sun.
There ARE pool side security guards....I've always seen this as a big plus. They aren't at all obtrusive. This may sound a bit off the cuff, but......You have worked hard to get to Aruba and vacation. You've prepared to stay in one of the nicest resorts, so why should the guests of the other hotels get to mosey on down to the Lazy River that you have saved and spent a little extra for?? It is that simple....after all....are you going to go to one of the other hotels pools to swim?

Now...the chair thing at the pool is somewhat true, but not as awful as some make it sound, you WILL have a place to be either at the pool ir on the beach. I am afraid people go away from these reviews thinking it is a total nightmare. It is NOT. We've never once had a problem...if you don't get one right away, you will. And as the other reviews said, if you have 4 kids with you who aren't going to actually occupy the chair, why covet it?? It is only fair. ( An example of this; We were staying at the Marriott St. Kitts and there were 2 chairs available together near the pool. I put my things down and sort of wiggled the other empty one closer to mine and a woman snapped, "My son is using that chair,'.....Her son, about 16 or 17 years old, was all curled up under a towel with his girlfriend about 10 feet away on the pool deck. This is the stuff that people get annoyed with and in turn write the negative reviews. A little fairness goes a long way and is good for both parties.
I do empathize with the writer who got stuck with the room over the OC airconditioning units. We've had the same room. Loud and unenjoyble as far as being able to use the balcony, BUT we didn't let it be of big concern. We spent most of our waking hours outside after all, that is why you are in Aruba !!!!!
I could go on and on about the positives in Aruba, from Salsa Lessons to Scuba Diving to just plain old lazing around at the beach. Restaurants are plenty. You would be hard pressed to come away without a favorite.
We are heading back in June and anticipate a wonderful time.

  • Stayed June 2008
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Helpful?
1 Thank MysIsle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level 4 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2009

My family just returned from Aruba and stayed at the Surf Club. It was fabulous! We had a 2 bedroom on the 4th floor. There were 6 of us total including 5 year old twins. The girls thought they were in paradise! The lazy river, the water slide, the beach were all top notch. The resort and room were super clean.

The one negatvie is the chair tag game. You have to get up at 7 am and go down and tag chairs. There were 6 of us and we only would tag 4 chairs for the adults due to the fact that the kids would never use them. Some people would tag 6-8 chairs ont he beach and the pool and be absent for hours on end. That was frustrating but everything else was great.
The food in Aruba is AMAZING! We skipped most of the chains and ate at Madam Janette, Bucaneer, Haracauri (sp?), Old Man and the sea, French Steakhouse and a bunch of others and all were superb with the exception of Haracauri.

My kids actually cried when we left they loved it so much.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank yipes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mundelein, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2009

Our family just got back from a week at Surf Club and, fortunately, most of our fears based on poor reviews were unfounded. There were good and bad aspects, so I will try to point out both and provide some good tips for anyone who reads this, as well. I put in an advanced request for a ocean view room, high floor, "pool side." They told me that they cannot guarantee anything, which I expected. We are Marriott Vacation Club owners but not the Surf Club, so let's face it, if we had purchased a unit at there for $20K+, I would certainly expect to be given the best rooms when I stay there. Anyone who doesn't understand this concept needs to fork out thousands of dollars for a timeshare and then reassess. That said, it never hurts to request the best!
We were glad to arrive on a Friday, as check in was a breeze (despite an issue with the key machine - no biggie, we got in our room right away and just had to get a set later). The line at the front desk Saturday was really long.
We were given a room in the Compass Tower (same building the lobby is in) on the garden side, as opposed to the pool side. When I asked if we could be changed to pool side, the person at the front desk commented twice that we were "lucky" to get such a nice room having traded through Interval and that the resort was full (spring break). She said we might be able to change rooms on Sunday but we'd have to pay a $61 cleaning fee. I am a self-proclaimed lodging snob but I managed to get over much of my initial frustration at the room location. I was continually perturbed by 2 things though: 1) our room was next to the ice machine and garbage shoot, and I could hear it at night in bed and 2) the Marriott missed an obviously major issue when they planned the resort right next to the Ocean Club - there is a huge air conditioning unit outside the Ocean Club which runs 24/7 and is extremely loud. It literally sounds like you have a room next to a helicopter pad. No lovely soothing sound of the ocean at all. When the doors to the balcony were closed we really couldn't hear it as much. If they want to fix that situation, they could put some nice tile roofing over the ugly back roof of the OC and adjacent maintenance area with the garbage dumpsters and and AC unit. It could match the rest of the Ocean Club roofing, would probably muffle the sound and would definitely make it more appealing visually. My recommendation is to make sure that you are not placed in a room on the garden side of the Compass Tower. If you were in the Lighthouse Tower, which is closer to the beach and thus farther from the AC monstrosity, it would not be as loud and the view would better.
We had a beautiful 2 bedroom, very clean, lots of room, super comfy beds and a full kitchen (which came in handy because the restaurants on the island are very pricey, so we ate at least one meal in the room each day to save $). There were 2 balconies, and thanks to the fact that Ocean Club is not a high rise (Surf Club is), each provided a view of the ocean to the left and a scenic view of the island to the right - just don't look straight ahead :( My husband is not a lodging snob, and he really didn't mind any of the negative aspects. I minded but sure didn't let it wreck my vacation.
The pools are very nice - 2 right next to each other. One is more of a kids pool (and no, it isn't the one with the swim-up bar, I have no idea what that other posting was talking about) with a slide, sprayers and wading pool for little tiny folks, bu it located in a wind tunnel, so we went to the other pool, as did most other people it seemed...including kids, of course. Lots of kids. As others mentioned, this is clearly a family resort. It was over-built, in my opinion, so you can expect it to be quite crowded, especially during school vacations. The Ocean Club was mellower and less crowded, as was the Marriott Stellaris right next to it. Towels are color coded and guests have to wear wrists bands, so people can't resort hop. Apparently, the owners at the Ocean Club got tired of Surf Club guests coming over and crowding up their pool, and who can blame them? You can take advantage of the other facilities at the 2 adjacent Marriotts (restaurants, stores, activities, etc.) and charge to your room. You just can't hog up their pool or beach huts which are also less densely packed.
They give out tags for the pool chairs, presumably in an attempt to control the situation that was loudly complained about, as far as there being not enough chairs for the numbers of guests. Honestly, I can't think of any truly fair way to deal with the chair situation and there are really a lot of chairs to be had, but of course everyone wants ones that are pool side. I actually had no problem with it, because we get up early anyway and snagged good chairs every day, but if your family sleeps in you will not be sitting pool side (a perfect example of "you snooze, you lose"). At roughly, 6:45 guests run down (literally in some cases) and put tags on chairs. You have to wait until 7am to leave them though or security will remove your tags and let other guests take those chairs - yes, I saw them doing that, so they are not kidding around. Then you have until 9am to get your butt back to your coveted chairs or security will let someone else take them. Once you have established yourselves as actually being in the chairs (pool bag, book, flip flops, etc.), you can go visit the beach, grab lunch or whatever. Just don't abandon them all day -not just because of the rules, but because if you don't want to be there, why take them in the first place? We only "reserved" 2 or 3 chairs instead of 4 - if everyone reserved fewer chairs because kids don't really sit in them that often, there would be more chairs for everyone.
As for reserving beach huts, it is very complicated but essentially you can pay to rent the huts for 2 consecutive days for $10 or $15 a day depending on how far they are from the water. There are also a number of huts that they give out for free, but you have to wait in line to get them at specific times (7am and 4pm, if I am not mistaken). There are lots of free loungers for sitting on the beach, but try not to be a jerk and plant them right in front of people who paid or waited in line for huts. Really rude. My husband did the 7am line (got down there by 6:40 and was about the 6th person in line) and got a free 2nd row hut for the day. You have to go back by 10am for huts.
The beach itself is very nice. The Marriott staff promptly rakes up seaweed each day, so it is relatively clear (in fact, they were much snappier about this than many of the other resorts along Palm Beach where there was still lots of seaweed at 9am). But, seriously, what kind of fool thinks there will be absolutely no seaweed in the, um, sea? I noticed a minor smell just once for a minute, and I think that was only because I was looking for it due to the reviews I read here. My husband didn't read any reviews and smelled nothing (power of suggestion?). We were puzzled by the remarks about slimy sand. It was very soft sand, not slimy at all. The beach was very crowded but, then again, it was spring break. It was less crowded by some other hotels - I assume ones with fewer rooms/guests.
There were various resort activities (some free and others or a fee), including a Kid's Night Out that we took advantage of ($25 per kid for 3 hours), and we also made good use of our Marriott "VIP" card (for owners only, I think) that gave us discounts at certain restaurants and other places. The staff was super nice and helpful, for the most part. Drinks were expensive, but there were specials at the bar each day. You can walk along the beach to the other Marriotts or take a golf cart out front (kids loved that). You can also walk the other way toward the Holiday Inn and cut through to the mall area with shops and restaurants. There is a fountain light show in the mall at 7:30pm, then every hour after.
Here are my other tips and observations:
Reserve a cab to pick you up at the airport and for the return trip. I emailed Bully Taxi after seeing a posting on this site, and we were SO glad to have him waiting right at the airport to meet us. Great move! Not only that, but he charged less than others paid to get to the resort, he gave us dining recommendations and he was honest -I left my wallet in his cab and he turned right around and brought it back with every penny inside. What a great guy!! Send me a message if you want his email address, so you can reserve him in advance.
Be smart and grab some duty free liquor on your way in like I did, so you can make your own drinks! I bought a liter of 8 year old Bacardi on the plane for $15. Price for a 5th of regular Bacardi at the resort "market"? $38.
Do not drive out to the remote area of the island with the caves unless you a) have a 4 wheel drive vehicle and b) want to spend a lot of time bumping around in the hot, dusty dessert. On the upside, once we had jiggled around on the heavily rutted dirt "road" in our compact car for awhile, we ran across a bar and restaurant in the middle of nowhere, like an oasis. I heard other people call it the "dirt bar." We were just glad to get some refreshments. As we attempted to get back to civilization, we encountered many closed roads. My husband thought it was an adventure. I and the kids thought it was...something less than fun.
Jolly Pirates cruise was fun and good for kids (mine are 6 and 9). We did the shorter afternoon cruise and everyone snorkeled. My daughter loved the rope swing off the side of the boat! Not a cruise for really serious snorkelers but good for families.
Baby Beach offered a fantastic snorkeling experience for kids and us - like swimming right in a fish tank because it is so shallow! Too bad the view is marred by the looming refinery. I heard that Arashi Beach is a nicer beach that is great for snorkeling, but we didn't make it there.
Do not pay the local crooks who try and get money from tourists for parking downtown. Two shady looking guys told us to give them $3 to "protect" our car from people who would break in. We felt like they were actually implying that if we didn't pay up our car might be broken into...by them. We didn't pay them but we did move our car to the other side of the lot, out of sight. When we came back, we saw them trying to shake down more tourists, and we also saw several other scary dudes lurching around looking at the cars, one of which had a flat tire (did he refuse to pay up?). It definitely freaked out our kids. We only had the car for one day to do some sightseeing, and I'd say that overall cabs are the way to go. I would not have wanted to park downtown at night, and there was actually a security guard out front of El Gaucho the night we went there for dinner. He was looking out for tourists and calling over cabs. Just be careful.
Iguanas are everywhere, big and small. If you are squeamish about lizards, this is not the place for you. They eat cherries, so do not paint your toes red. My friend did that and claims they chased her around. Kids thought all the iguanas were fantastic - named them and fed them leaves.
Tubing was fun - $15 pp for 20 minutes on a 3 person tube.
Restaurants recommendations (I reviewed a few of these on this site): El Gaucho (awesome steak), Gianni's, Wacky Wahoo (best piece of fish I ever had!), breakfast buffet at the Marriott Stellaris ($22 but really good - they gave out coupons at the Surf Club later in the week for $17 price) , breakfast buffet at Moomba Beach ($12 and 20% discount with the VIP card)
Restaurants I do not recommend: Iguana Cafe at the mall across from the Holiday Inn (poor Mexican food), Petit Cafe by the Playa Linda Resort (service was horrendous and my daughter burned herself on the hot stone - they could not have cared less)
Buccaneer was so-so - there are fish tanks on all walls, which the kids liked, so if you go ask to be in the room with the sea turtles.
Many restaurants have an automatic 15% "service charge," a portion of which is apparently taken by the restaurant and the remainder may or may not actually go to your server. Service tends to be poor at these restaurants - probably because the waiters are not being tipped well. Just go with the flow. If they give great service, give them some additional tip. If not, consider yourself lucky to be on vacation in Aruba and don't sweat the small stuff. Service here is definitely more slow than in the states, so adjust your expectations.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
14 Thank TrayZ48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gibsonia, PA
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2009

We traded into the Surf Club for the third time in three years between 3/28 and 4/4 with my wife and three kids (11, 9, 7). Once again, we had a blast. Yes, the pool and beach were crowded, but it was still worthwhile. Basically, if you get to the pool by 7:30 you were in good shape. One note - the pool guard was definitely keeping track of times when you came down and when he saw you again - he has a little chart he was keeping. The pool seemed about normally packed to us, but the beach seemed very crowded for some reason. Having said that, we were able to play baseball and volleyball pretty much anytime we wanted, so no issue there. Rooms were clean as usual and check in was less than 10 minutes - I was pleased since the resort was full.

Had dinner one night at Ruth Chris Steak house and it was excellent - make sure you try the Orange Mojito! Also, ate twice at Casa Tau and once at Salt and Pepper - both very good. Went to Simply Fish on Friday and it was just ok - probably won't go back.

We rented a jeep from Royal one day and went to the Natural Pool - whoa.... I can't beleive what they call roads. It was very cool getting there, but there were HUGE rocks on the road.

We've already put in our trade request for next year!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank PAHoosiers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dalton, MA
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2009

My husband and I just returned from the Aruba Surf Club and we couldn't have had a better vacation. I read all the reviews about not being able to get chairs by the pool or having to use tags to reserve chairs or having foul smells by the beach, etc. We were able to get chairs at the beach every time we went down - never had to leave. And as far as the pool - well, if you enjoy being side by side with tons of people, then you have to expect the crowds and go down at 7:00 AM to reserve your chairs. But even with the crowds, we even found chairs under huts every time. I imagine if you were traveling with a group or had kids, it would be more difficult, but just the 2 of us had no problems. We did get a sulfur smell near the beach one day, but it was passing and we didn't notice again. Our room was a lock-off unit and contained a microwave, toaster, refrigerator & coffee maker. We stopped at Ling & Sons grocery store on the way to the resort and stocked up for breakfast and lunches. All we spent money on was dinner. Prices were a bit high - but when you're on vacation you have to expect that. We found great places to eat - Pizza Bob's (low rise area), Iguana Joe's bbq (downtown), Gianni's (downtown) were 3 of the best. We checked out the casino's at the Marriott and Radisson - I only play slots and my husband doesn't gamble so I didn't spend too much money - actually made about $30 one night. We didn't do much tourist stuff - except for the Kuku Kanunu bus tour! What a fun night - for$59 each you go on a party bus to the lighthouse for a champagne toast at sunset, get dinner at a mansion and then hit about 3 bars for drinks and dancing. We had a great time. The weather was excellent - very windy - but thank goodness or you wouldn't be able to take the heat. Keep the sunscreen on and use the cabana's. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and will definitely be going back. The people in Aruba were very friendly and helpful and seemed to always have a smile on their faces. As their license plates read "One Happy Island" - we totally agree.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Merryweather60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Vernon, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2009

I just came back from a week long trip with three girlfriends. Yes, we're from New Jersey and apparently some of the reviewers on this site have a problem with that. The only rude people we met on this trip were those with unruly children. But the resort was great. The stretch of beach was great, the wait staff on the beach was great, the food was really good. It wasn't overcrowded unless you were one of those people too cheap to rent a palapa for the day and decided to put your chairs in front of ours! The only true problem we ran into was asking the staff questions - for each staff member - you would get a different answer. But other than that, the room was excellent, clean, great location.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Esqbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Marriott's Aruba Surf Club

Property: Marriott's Aruba Surf Club
Address: 103 LG Smith Boulevard, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Aruba > Palm - Eagle Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#14 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#18 Romantic Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Marriott's Aruba Surf Club 3.5*
Number of rooms: 450
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Also Known As:
Marriott`s Aruba Surf Club Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
Marriotts Palm Eagle Beach
Marriotts Aruba Surf Hotel
Marriott Aruba Surf Club
Marriotts Aruba Surf Club
Aruba Surf Club
Marriott Palm/Eagle Beach
Marriott Surf Club Aruba
Marriott's Aruba Surf Club Palm - Eagle Beach

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