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“Love Aruba thumbs down on the Surf Club”

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Marriott's Aruba Surf Club
Ranked #16 of 24 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 7, 2007

We love Aruba. However we don’t like the Surf Club.
If you have young children and love the Disney pool atmosphere you will enjoy the Surf Club. If you have manners, love the beach, dont enjoy swimming in the ocean without touching the slimy bottom, dont like paying $5 -$10 per day on a hut and would like to read without rude children constantly screaming while their parents drink beer from their coolers you will not have an enjoyable vacation unless you lock yourself in your room.
We have been vacationing in Aruba for many years. We bought a timeshare in the Ocean Club five years ago and love it there, then got suckered into buying another at the Surf Club preconstruction 3 years ago which we strongly regret. I wished we had bought another at the Ocean Club.
The salespeople mislead you by telling you how wonderful it will be.
The rooms are wonderful and bed linens I have to give them that but… It is so overcrowded now and it will be a nightmare when the two other buildings are completed. The pool scene is out of control. You have to get up by 7:30 am to get a chair by the pool. The rule is no reserved chairs before 7:30am but like other rules this one is not enforced. People are out there at 7am for their special chair. Its so lame. The staff is not so friendly probably because they have to deal with people complaining all day,. The the beach is horrible even if you are willing to pay for a hut they are so close together there is hardly a breeze, its hot as hell, the ocean floor is so slimy,yuk, it smells so fishy because the fishing/boating pier is a few yards away, there are no bathrooms on the beach you have to walk all the way back to the Surf Club to pee, the beach attendants watch you from a shaded hut while you drag chairs to the waters edge. No one is enforcing the no smoking policy, there is supposed to be a smoking section but its empty because people are smoking wherever they want and when I approached a staff member about this issue they said they didn’t want guests to get angry at them.
The only plus to the Surf Club vs. the Ocean Club is having a washer and dryer in your room. Be careful if you are interested in buying a timeshare at the Surf Club from Marriott unless you want points or want to trade your property.
If you love Aruba and enjoy the Surf Club and plan on vacationing there every year you can save $10,000 by buying one privately resale’s. Just look in the local newspaper or timeshare resales on the net. The only drawback is you can’t trade for other properties and you don’t get the points. The points that is another joke people are so impressed by the points big deal it gets you some airline tickets and maybe a few nights at a hotel. Big deal. You can save so thousands of dollars buying one privately.
The salespeople tell you can trade for all these exotic places but the reality is, it is so hard unless you are retired and can vacation anytime to get the week you want.
I tried to trade ONE YEAR in advance for Hawaii and lost 2 weeks in Aruba because it never came through. All in all like I said we love Aruba but hate the Surf Club. Book a few days at the Ocean Club then the Surf Club then you can decide for yourself.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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7  Thank jersey9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 23, 2007

Just returned from a 8 day stay at the Surf Club. The staff were so hospitable and friendly. We were greeted every day with smiles. We stayed in a lock off with a kitchenette. Being just two of us, this was perfect. Queen bed was comfortable and pillows were excellent. Air conditioning also worked fine. We also took advantage of the washers/dryers on the first floor in the Tower.
No problem getting chairs around the pool (first row) or on the beach. I did find the ocean bottom in front of the Club slimey but just moved on down to the Ocean club area and it was fine. We were able to get chairs down in that area easily as well, with our Surf Club towels. I would highly suggest the breakfast buffet at the Marriot Stellaris...it was a brunch style buffet and was delicioius. We also ate at Simply Fish and found the food to be superb.....HUGE LOBSTERS! Sitting on the beach with your toes in the sand, eating a wonderful meal and enjoying a great view....ahhhh.....ARUBA. We also had appetizers at Champions--the sports bar located in the Ocean Club...it was like any other bar food...not to die for but good.
Construction is still ongoing but the sounds of the waterfall at the pool covered most of the noise. When the final units are done, I do not see how the resort can accomodate the extra people.
We utilized the "swim up" bar and would highly recommend a frozen drink called Carnival Colada...it was beautiful plus delicious. The lazy river got crowed around 10 am with kids. I love kids and the wonder in their face so I had no problem with that. The best time to float in the river for those who would like to be child free is about 8 am or 8 pm.
We enjoyed El Gauchos but have to say we LOVED LOVED LOVED....the Sunset Beach Bistro and had no trouble getting reservations at sunset on the beach...again with our toes in the sand...enjoying good food , drinking a bottle of wine, and on THURSDAYS..it is LOBSTER FEST with a steel drum band and beautiful dancers entertaining the restraunt. We went there TWICE. Also tried AMAZONIA, loads of food ....very good but unless you have a big appetite--probably not worth the cost.
The weather was beautiful every day....a very nice stay. I would not hesitate to recommend Surf Club...the resort was beautfiul and staff were very acommodating.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank freedom63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2007

My boyfriend and I just got back from aruba yesterday. I had done extensive "research" and read many of the reviews on this site which were extremely helpful so I felt it was my turn. As someone had said before Aruba is not a pretty island but the Surf Club was nice.
The accomodations (we stayed in a one bedroom) were nicer than expected and extremely large. The only odd thing was the huge bathtub and sink in the bedroom. Other than that having a kitchen was great. Paking is difficult at best if you get back after 10. You have to go over to the Ocean Club overflow which is not a big deal. I dont know what they are going to do once the other buildings are open. Definately a concern if you are an owner or going to buy. Happy hour from 3-5 2 for 1 drinks
Lounge Chairs/Pool-Bring rafts from target otherwise expensive.
I read the much discussed lounge chairs and I was extremely stressed about this to say the least as we are not sunworshippers and wanted to sit under an umbrella. So the first few days I got there around 10 and had no problem but after about 3 days on Monday when most of the turnover happened, it was a huge issue if you did not get out there early. People would reserve for hours and not come back which really irritated me. They were not there using chairs or the umbrellas for a few hours but there was nothing you could do since there is a 2 hour hold period. But who is really knows when they put it down so its difficult at best to argue the two hours with security. Which I did on a desperate day. There is no way they will be able to accmodate when the other buildings will be finished so a huge problem to consider if you are thinking of buying. IBut be prepared to get up early
Car rental
We did rent a car after to much discussion and found that it worked out well. We drove to the grocery store about 10 min away for lunch and breakfast items and snacks. The food at the marriott was expensive for lunch for what it was, although we did order once or twice. Defiately rent a car if you will be leaving the propery for dinner or other excursions. Be forewarned that there are no clear street signs as someone said before so it is very easy to get lost as we often did.
I booked a few before I got there by emailing the concierge which was most helpful. But makesure to double check it all as they left off one of my reservations. The resturants we loved were:
Papimento-beautiful setting and great food my favorite
Chalet Suisse-great food and service.
Simply Fish-ate on the beach, great service and food.Skip the Flying fishbone in favor of this.
Giannis-across from the Radison. Good italian food slow service
Driftwood-expensive for what it was and service not so great
Aqua Grill- Good fish and service.
Moombas Beach Bar-good lunch and not so expensive

I dont eat meat but I did hear that the Brazilian meat places are great.
Thanks for all the previous posts they were so helpful.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank worldtraveler212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2007

Just returned from Aruba June 22nd. It was a great relaxing trip. The surf club was nice. The rooms were clean with adequate amenities. The grounds were beautiful and well maintained.

The beach was okay as far as I was concerned. On one side you have a dock with boats and jet skis docked. To the direct right a hut that rents out equipment for water activites. I prefer a much more open space when I look at an ocean and preferred the Ocean Club's view better. We were chased away by the Ocean Club's beach worker. We had a green band on and the light blue towels from Surf Club. He chased us away and told us we needed to go back to the Surf club beach. This was a bit annoying because I thought you would be able to use the amentities from all three marriott properties. I suspect if we didn't have the green band or blue towels it would not have been a big deal. And, no, we didn't choose a reserved palapa or one up front. We were choosing one quite a distance back. I have heard about the 'tanker' when reading several other posts. It is there every day and not a huge deal if you look past it. As far as the slime is concerned on the bottom, it is there if you go out far enough, but it is also at Ocean Club too. No big deal if you ask me.

The surf club pool was nice. It was kept very clean and was patrolled by guards morning, noon and night. It was the one my kids (ages 5 and 8) preferred the most. The reserving of chairs was in full swing the week we were there. Honestly, there is adequate seating at any time of day. I think the problem is that there is alot of vegetation that surrounds this pool. Those of us with small children can only sit first row and in certain spots to be able to see our children while they swim. The issue is that there are very few of these chairs around the pool that give you adequate view of your children. It was disconcerting to see those with teenage kids waking at 6am to get these prime spots, but such is life.

The drinks by the pool range from $6 (non-alcoholic) to $8 or $9. Happy hour starts at 3pm where you can choose from three drinks and get two for the price of one. Many people did purchase alcohol on the way into the airport in Aruba. You saw many people with their own pitchers and drinking their own drinks by the pool. Keep in mind that there are happy hours all over the place. Even simply fish has a bar that serves happy hour drinks so even if your not eating there, you can stop by for a great view and tasty drink.

Baby beach was a nice trip for those who like to snorkel or be adventurous. Definitely bring tubes or floats if you have them. The water is shallow and floating would be a fun thing to do as well. There is a hut of some sort that provides bathrooms. We did not need to use them, but heard others complaining that the people were charging 50 cents to use the facilities. This 'hut' also serves some snacks like burgers and dogs. Honestly, I wouldn't want to eat there and would advise bringing your own. You can rent a cabana and chairs. They are small and air circulation inside is not good, but the aruban sun is hot and there is no other refuge from the sun. 2 chairs and a cabana costs around $30.

The food around the Marriotts is fine. We ate at La Vista, Champions, Simply Fish, and by the pool. All were fine, but expensive in realtion to what you get in the US. We ate at various other spots as well. Everything was fine; I wouldn't say anything was the best. The sunsets in Aruba surprised me. Not much color, but pretty just the same. The waiter at Simply Fish told us that once in awhile you'll get hit with a vibrant colored sunset. Don't be afraid to venture off the property by foot. When you are on the beach, if head away from the surf club toward the Holiday Inn and then turn to head into town. You will find a nice selection of small eateries (even a Tony Roma's). There are few local vendors to buy wares and even a Dunkin Donuts.

We did use the Marriott Kids club a few times. The kids made a beaded necklace, painted a t-shirt etc... We went to movie night by the pool and even participated in water aerobics. They have a nice program and the staff throughout the properties are friendly and courteous. Food at the stores in the Marriott are pricey, but they are just as pricey at the mart. We bought pancake mix and syrup for $10.00 from the Marriott mart. It seems expensive, but when you think about it....I fed my whole family for $10 bucks. Just keep things in perspective.

All in all the trip was most enjoyable. I would return to this property again although I have so many other places I want to experience. Just go with an open mind and enjoy!

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank geeitsme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2007

Just got back from aruba yesterday....had a great time! I've read all the reviews about the surf club and how the pools are so busy and you can't find any chairs, etc....well, we didn't have that problem at all. With all the construction and chaos, they are giving all surf club members a wrist band which gives you priority to use the pool before 10AM, once 10AM comes around the neighboring Ocean Club members can come and use the pools. We actually went to the pool area at different times during our stay and were able to find chairs every time. Enough about the pool.
The hotel itself was nice...the only thing that I didn't like is that if you are a timeshare owner, they only have maid service for you once. That's right...only once the entire week. If you want additional maid service you have to pay.
Before you go to Aruba, you must know and understand that this is a DESERT island. Lots of sand, rocks, and cactus (cactii). The island itself is not so pretty but the beaches are great.
If you plan to visit different beaches and other locations outside of the hotel, definitely rent a car for the week, its cheap and well worth it. Some of the restaurants and beaches are 15-45 minutes away from the hotel so you would save money getting a car rather than using a taxi.
If you become adventurous and decide to rent a car....fair warning...this island has very very very few street signs so most likely you will get lost. Luckily you're on an island and can't really get too far...you can always find your way back to the hotel.
Sight Seeing:
1-California Lighthouse...its a lighthouse, not much more to say
2- Natural Bridge--kind of a disappointment
3- Natural Pool-- was pretty cool...it was an adventure just ffinding the natural pool on jeep (YOU MUST HAVE A JEEP 4x4)

My favorite beach was Baby Beach. It was beautiful and the water was calm. If you like to snorkel, bring some bread and all the fish will swarm around you...it was great.

Food was great! This is a list of the places that we ate at :

1- Texas de Brazil - awesome variety of meat. It's a salad buffet and all you can eat. There's a server that comes around to each table with different types of meat (Lamb, Beef, Chicken, Pork).
Highly recommended-cost $42.99 per person...tip is already added to the check

2- Driftwood - expensive but pretty good. Mostly fish and seafood.

3- Flying Fishbone- you eat dinner ON the beach in the sand. You have to make reservations for a table around sunset. Just absolutely beautiful. Extremely romantic. Pricy but worth it for the experience. the shrimp casserole was good.

4- Whacky wahoos- Great fish of the day. Great fish soup. (fish of the day $16-$22). GREAT food. Highly recommended.

5- El Gaucho- this place was a disappointment for me. I heard great reviews and everyone said that the steak was great. I ordered the El Gaucho Steak medium rare ($32)...it was chewy and dry. I figured that the El Gaucho Steak would be the best steak b/c it has their name on it...guess I was wrong. Maybe I just ordered the wrong steak. I wouldn't eat there again.

Texas de Brazil and Whacky Wahoos were the best 2 restaurants for my taste buds.

Overall, the trip was great and the weather was great.

7  Thank etprelude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2007

What can I say about a beautiful island and beautiful resort! My husband and I (thirty-somethings with 2 kids) were looking forward to some couple time in Aruba. We were fortunate enough to stay here after we were not pleased with the 1 BR suite at La Cabana Beach and Racquet Club. We contacted Interval International (we are members) and they were able to move us to a 2 BR at the Marriott with no upgrade fees or anything! Boy, were we impressed! When we checked in, only half of the suite was ready, but that half beat the other place hands down with cheery, updated, high quality furniture/well-stocked kitchen/over-stuffed bed with down pillows & duvet/granite counterops/washer & dryer, all the other comforts of home. We really felt like our vacation could begin! The pool was beautiful, complete with a lazy river and waterfall. We had heard about the pool chair patrol, but had no problem getting chairs. There was a market on site and an activities/rental car desk. There is also a game room with video games/air hockey table. There's a kid's club that does fun things with all different aged kids and you can check out board games and participate in adult games also. There's a concierge that was very helpful in suggesting restaurants and would even make the reservations.

The resort is next to the Ocean Club and the Marriott hotel/casino. The resort is 15 minutes from downtown and around the corner from the other high-rise hotels. All the properties were immaculate and first class. The entire 2 BR suite was spacious with 3 TVs and DVD. The full kitchen was great! The staff always seemed to work to keep the property immaculate. We had midweek maid service.Our room overlooked the parking lot, but if you looked around the corner on the balcony, it was a great view of the ocean.

We would definitely visit Aruba and the Marriott again, next time with the kids. The resort and island are very kid friendly. I'm so glad we asked for Interval's help and thankful that the Marriott was able to accomodate us. The island is beautiful in and of itself, but the Marriott Surf club really made all the difference between an OK week away from home and a truly great vacation!

Stayed: June 2007
7  Thank latsim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2007

We came to Aruba during their off season which is during the months of May-July. The weather was great! (The rainy season is Oct-Dec...do not come during that time) We ate at a few good places. We are from Louisiana and know what good food tastes like! Madame Janette is a place that you MUST dine at. The almond crusted grouper is delicious and my husband ate a filet that was VERY good too. The atmosphere is great also. Try and sit in the more open area under a fan or where you have access to a nice breeze. Another great place that my husband and I ate lunch at was right on the beach in front of the Marriott Surf Club called Hadicurari. (it is a yellow building; they do not have a sign up with their name) It was excellent also. I had the grilled seafood salad (that is not the exact name on the menu) and my husband had the grouper sandwich (you have to request it) and it was VERY good! We also ate at Papimentto and it was very good food and an excellent atmosphere. It was mainly outside seating with torches lit and the tables surrounded a big swimming pool. DO NOT EAT at Que Pasa....food was terrible and the service sucked to say the least. We ate at the Sushi restaurant at the Marriott and it was not worth it!! We also dined at Driftwood and the food was alright. I would not go back there again! Overall the Surf Club was nice. You have to provide your own raft for the lazy river so bring one unless you want to buy one at the Marketplace for $7.00. The beach wasn't as nice as I expected. The water was sorta slimy. We also went on an ATV tour through Watapana and they were a rip off!!! We started 30 minutes later and were screwed over that time. We did not go the sites they had promised us!! You must see the natural pool and we didn't even get to go there. There was no water only soft drinks on the tour and who wants to be stuck out in the middle of the desert without any water!!!! (Someone told us they went on an ATV tour with Notorious?? and that it was great) We also took a snorkeling tour with Pelican Adventures and that was really neat. We found out that a few other tours were a little cheaper but we were overall very satisfied with Pelican Tours! The snorkeling was amazing and a must do during your stay in Aruba!

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank LSUtigergirl
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

Address: 103 LG Smith Boulevard, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Aruba > Palm - Eagle Beach
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:
#12 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#18 Romantic Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range: $325 - $715 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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