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“Best Place for a Honeymoon (Long Review)”

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Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 6, 2005

My wife and I stayed in the Tara Penthouse Suite (basically a larger version of the Tara Suites with a large balcony and on the top floor) from March 29-April5 and we loved our stay there. The room was incredibly spacious and the view from the top floor was amazing. We had the One Happy Honeymoon package which included a snorkel or sunset sail from Red Sail Sports, a bottle of champagne waiting in your room upon arrival, and the Romantic Dinner at the Pirate's Nest. Overall, the package was a good deal and Bucuti was an amazing place!
Be warned though: Bucuti is VERY picky about their towels. For example, they give you a towel card when you check in. You present the towel card to the Towel Hut justoutside the Sand Bar and they give you towels in exchange for it. This is very convenient as you never have to worry about taking towels to the beach, however, if you lose the card, you will be charged $15 for a replacement. In addition, we hanging out in the main lobby area and one of the front desk employees and some guests who were attempting to check out got into a heated argument over a missing towel in the room, and Bucuti was going to charge them $15 for it, etc...so be careful.
[The Tara Suites]
The big bonus with the Tara suites is that you have your own reception desk and your own group of activities coordinators. The activities coordinators basically can help you book anything from snorkel excursions to dinners, and can call cabs for you, etc...The regular activities desk, which is available to all Bucuti customers is open until 4p.m. (maybe 5, can't quite remember). However, the Tara desk is open much later (I think they close at either 6 or 7) so you can chill on the beach a while longer and still get back to the desk to book activities for the next day.
The spa was overpriced and even my wife didn't enjoy it that much.
[The Pirate's Nest]
BEWARE of happy hour. Only a selection of mixed cocktails are half off, and the beers are all full price. So make sure you ask before you order. In addition, forget trying to find a seat after 5p.m. (the happy hour runs from 4-6, and 9-10). The bar gets packed real quick, so if you want to get some cheap cocktails get there early. The service on the beach is pretty efficient: put up the red flag, guy takes your order, brings food in about 15 minutes, and you can charge it all to your room. The wings are ok, and the other tapas aren't bad if you're real hungry.
We had a dinner included in our honeymoon package at the Pirate's Nest, and while the setting was very romantic, the food was pretty crappy. They set a nice table for you with candelights right out on the beach, and then proceed to bring you five courses of crap.
[Things to do in Aruba]
If you get a chance, I'd HIGHLY recommend booking a tour with Gimini Bus Tours, and ask for Frank. We spent $60 on this trip and it was the best $60 we spent the entire week. Another family had booked the same day as us, but they cancelled last minute, but Gimini tours never cancels their tours, even if there is only one customer. So my wife and I had a private tour around the island for $60! He took us around to the Lighthouse, the North Coast, Natural Bridge, the church, and other places of interest. We then headed to Rodger's Beach for a DELICIOUS lunch at Coco Beach. We thought that Rodger's and Baby Beach were the best beaches on the Island simply for the view. A cool mix of blues and greens. Then we ended the tour by snorkeling at Baby Beach for about 45 minutes. So it was about a 5 hour tour for $60 and it was a private tour (and by the bus size, they can really only book 3 couples max). A private tour with a taxi is $0/hour and doesn't include food or snorkeling equipment. Frank even gave us some free T-Shirts, and he was incredibly knowledgeable about the island.

Flying Fishbone is definately an overrated restaurant. Simply for the fact that a bus does not go out there and the taxi ride is $26 each way from Bucuti. So that factored in with the cost of the meal, just didn't seem worth it for the food we got.

El Gaucho was definately the best meal on the island that we had. Although the atmosphere can be quite loud, the food is great and the guitar players are awesome! They go around to each table and you can request any song you'd like to hear. The 28oz porterhouse had a great flavor, but it was mostly fat and bone. I'd stick with the tenderloin or the Gaucho steak. The argentine grill is HUGE too!

We thought Tango would be a cool restaurant, since they have live tango dancing performaces. However, it was basically a lesser imitation of El Gaucho in terms of food, and the tango dancing is basically 2 people who dance to 2 songs every hour. They have "live" music for outdoor dining, but all that is is some guy singing along to karaoke tracks. HILARIOUS! But romantic, no.

If you're on your honeymoon, scope out Marandi, it's right near the airport and is located behind Havana. It's a little known restaurant and they don't advertise much, but the view and setting there is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! My wife also bought a pair of their pants for $50, and so did a number of other women. =)

Le Petit Cafe had some real good food.

The grocery store isn't too far from Bucuti (about a 1 mile walk), so we walked there and got a taxi ride back for $6 to haul our groceries. Since the Tara Suites have a full kitchen with all the utensils you'll need, this was a cheap way for us to eat lunch throughout our trip.

Crystal Casino seemed to be the place where people were winning the most money. We lost a fair deal at Alhambra. But as with most casino's, they tend to only be available for deposits, not withdrawals. =) So don't expect too much.

Make sure you confirm the cost of the taxi with the driver before going in. The taxi rates are SET, i.e., there is a price list from Bucuti to pretty much any destination on the island. However, some taxi drivers will try to add a dollar or two, so be sure to get a taxi fare card from the activities desk. From the airport to Bucuti is $17. Don't pay anymore. On Sundays' and holidays and after midnight on any day, there is a $3 surcharge for any cab.

The L10 is the main bus you will need. It takes you to Oranjestaad, and to the high rise areas. A round trip ticket is $2, and one way is $1.15. If you go into Oranjestaad, the bus will stop at the bus terminal and you can pretty much walk to anywhere you need to go. Then come back to the bus terminal and catch a bus back to Bucuti. The buses generally come every 15-20 minutes.

[All in all]
Probably the best place to stay on the island. The staff isn't incredibly responsive (if you need something, they will usually send it with housekeeping later in the day or the following day) but they're real friendly and accomodating. The beach is by far the quietest on the Island and the views are awesome.

[Last Note]
Check in is at 3p.m. In Aruba, you clear customs before you leave, so they recommend you get to the airport 3 hours ahead of your scheduled flight. Checkout is by noon, so make sure you factor those in as you book your flights.

  • Stayed: March 2005
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45  Thank susus116
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Lockport, New York
Reviewed March 30, 2005

Considering the mixed reviews I have read of late, I thought I would write about our experience at the Bucuti from March 21-March28th. We booked late and were not able to reserve a room in the Tara Suites but we took a chance and reserved a "garden room" and just asked to be put on a waiting list for the suites. We have traveled for 30 years with all or some of our children and decided that we wanted to be at the Bucuti because we needed some quiet time. It paid off big time. From the moment we stepped out of our taxi, it was all good. We were told they did indeed move us to the suites - not just the suites, but the ground floor. The room was great, the patio better and the beach just a one minute walk over 10 feet of grass. We always had our choice of spots on the beach and it was as magnificent as we imagined, Eagle beach is truly larger and the best on the island. The hotel staff was as accommodating as they could be and made our stay a wonderful experience. We made several trips to the high-rise area to check out other options for future stays (and to visit their casinos) but we could not believe how lucky we were at the Bucuti. If I had kids with me, I would pick the Wyndham or the Hyatt just for the action for them.

Dining on the island is a treat. We didn't eat dinner at our hotel restaurant but instead explored other options that were recommended. I would strongly recommend Le Dome, Pappiamento, Ruinas de Mar at the Hyatt and the Manchero French Steak House. We ate at El Goucho's because it was always mentioned in the reviews but we found our meals to be more relaxing and enjoyable at the other restaurants. Of course, we also did the downtown experience at Iguana Joe's and that was fun too. We never needed to rent a car and took a taxi everywhere - no problems ever. The hotel set up a personal tour of the island and that was terrific and so informative. We would return in a flash and will as soon as possible! In fact, right back to the Bucuti and in the same room!

  • Stayed: March 2005
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18  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 29, 2005

My wife and I just returned from a week at the Bucuti, and we certainly consider this our most memorable vacation to date. I would definitely agree with what most previous reviewers have said about the resort. We found a perfect beach, well maintained buildings and grounds, and very helpful and courteous staff. As for dining, we enjoyed alternating our dinners between some of the finer restaurants (Flying Fishbone, French Steakhouse, Waterfront Crabhouse) and Subway and Dominos. Some reviewers have been critical of the Pirate's Nest, but my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our fish dinners there of Sea Bass and Red Snapper while taking in the sunset along the beach. Other highlights of the trip were snorkeling at Baby Beach, drinks at Iguana Joe's, driving a jeep around the island (better have a good sense of direction, as virtually no road signs), and taking the Sea World Explorer to view fish around the Antilla wreck. As others have noted, it was very hard to leave the warm breezes of Aruba and have to return home.

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2005

We just got back from Aruba and the most wonderful vacation we have ever had. My husband and I stayed at the Bucuti Beach Resort from March 8th to March 16th. Let me just say that before we went I spent hours and hours reading through reviews and trying to find the perfect place for our vacation. It seems that no matter where you look you can find someone who has bad things to say about each and every hotel. Well let me tell you that anyone who found things to complain about at the Bucuti was really looking hard to find them. We stayed at the Tara Suites and they are all that you could ask for. The rooms are beautiful, the staff bends over backwards to meet your every need and the beach is unbelievable. You will have no trouble getting a hut to sit under any time of the day you decide to go to the beach. As far as the food at the Pirates Nest ...We ate there for a few afternoon meals. We found the food to be adequate and it came promptly. There are too many great places to eat to mention, but if you like Chinese food Blossoms is outstanding and you can't beat the Flying Fish Bone for a romantic dinner on the beach (ask for the front row when you make your reservations). Make sure you try snorkeling, it was my first time and I was a little nervous about it (o.k. a lot ) but I couldn't get enough of it. We rented a 4x4 ( with air !!! ) and did not pay for any of the snorkeling excursions. You can drive to the beaches where they take their groups and that way you can spend as much time there as you want to... I could go on and on, but if anyone would like any more information (grocerie stores, beaches to snorkel, rent a car or not ect. I would be happy to try to help. You can contact me through my e-mail address. Bucuti and Aruba will not be a disappointment!

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
27  Thank LadyBlue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2005

We decided on the Bucuti after much on-line research. Our last vacation had been to a huge All-Inclusive place in Mexico and we wanted a totally different vacation.

The Bucuti is a very pleasant place to stay. Our room was in the Tara Suites and was on the first floor right across from the laundry room. You can enter the beach straight from the deck off the bedroom. The suite was spacious and lovely. We were there in October of 2004 and watched the Boston Red Sox win the World Series from our living room!

My husband had a nice massage in the small spa located upstairs in our building. We spent most every happy hour at the Sand Bar and listened to Lee and his steel drums. We ate the "Romantic Dinner on the Beach" at the on-site restaurant, The Pirate's nest. It was reasonably priced and we had a wonderful evening watching the gorgeous sunset from our table on the beach.

The concierge desk was always helpful with directions to restaurants where we had booked dinner reservations.

The beach was lovely. Plenty of space between palapas and you never ever had to wait for one. I loved going into the water even if it was a little rough. We took our collapsable cooler with our own drinks to save a bit on beach service. When we did use it, the beach service was quick and the food (from the Pirate's Nest) was good.

Dushi Bagels has a stand right next to the hotel and made an excellent breakfast.

My husband got together (through the concierge) with other guests for a deep sea fishing trip that he enjoyed.

We had a wonderful week of relaxation and phenomenal views. We had a car and enjoyed snorkeling at Baby Beach and exploring the great restaurants including the French Steakhouse next door, Madame Jeanette's and El Gaucho.

We definitely recommend this resort if you want a quiet experience. We actually had to stay another night in Aruba due to a problem with our plane. American put us up in a high rise hotel on Palm Beach and it is a really different experience. We preferred the low rise area of Eagle Beach.

14  Thank CTYankey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 13, 2005

Just spent March 5-13 at the Bucuti and loved every minute of it. We chose the Tara suite and found it to be worth every penny: beautiful room decor, spacious and functional, great balcony facing the ocean, extremely comfortable king size bed, microwave oven and coffee maker, large bathroom with separate toilet. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. Breakfast in the Tara lounge is perfect, nice selection of breads, cereal, yogurt, fruit, cheese and cold cuts. What a relief not to have all the oily egg/sausage, bacon dishes. Coffee from a self serve machine (lattes or capuccino included) was also superb. The beach is incredible, sugar white sand and a calm turquoise blue ocean with no under currents, we could do our lap swims like in a pool. The hotel's pool is adequate at best, but with such an ocean who needs a better pool? There are enough huts for everyone to sit in the shade, but you do have to get up early if you want a front row hut. The beach is wide and never feels crowded. The Bucuti is definitely for adults, no beach or pool activities makes it unattractive for kids, it gave the feeling of tranquility throughout our stay. One day we took a bus to see the Hyatt in the high rise area; the beach there was narrow, crowded, and due to all the water sports, swimming in the ocean was limited in a small area surrounded by ropes. We rushed back to our beach as fast as we could!
Buses were easily available in front of the hotel for $2 round trip. We did some food shopping in several supermarkets just a few stops away by bus or a 20-minute walk from the hotel. The supermarket closest to the hotel was the nicest.
We didn't have a bad meal in Aruba and highly recommend the following restaurants in order of preference: Madame Jeanette, Papiamento, El Gaucho (fantastic Argentinean steaks), Pinchos and Chez Mathilde. The Bucuti's restaurant Pirate's Nest is mediocre, the only real negative we found here. In all fairness, we never even tried dinner there because lunch was bad enough and the service incredibly slow. Next to the supermarkets we found a wonderful lunch Cafe by the name of Delifrance.

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
35  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
New York
Reviewed March 7, 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Bucuti last week and enjoyed every minute of our stay! The staff was exceptional and waited on us hand and foot! We always found a hut on the beach no matter what time of day it was. Dinner on the beach at the Pirates Nest at sunset was awesome! We will be back next year and wouldn't think about staying anywhere else......

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba

Address: L.G. Smith Boulevard 55 B, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Aruba > Palm - Eagle Beach
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#1 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#2 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#4 Business Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range: $331 - $700 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba 4*
Number of rooms: 104
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This adults-only, romantic resort, located on Aruba's spacious and beautiful Eagle Beach, is award-winning and owner-operated. The 4-star and 4-diamond resort receives high satisfaction ratings and recognition that includes #1 Hotel for Romance in the Caribbean 2017, Top 3 Beach Destinations in the World, Conde Nast Gold List, and Green Globe High Achievement Award. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is eco-friendly and offers a tranquil boutique experience with friendly service. The intimate atmosphere is exclusive and relaxing to couples seeking tranquility and romantic experiences. No groups and no all-inclusive packages available. Two top restaurants available on property and romantic beach dining. Breakfast is free daily.Resort's website offers you the Best Available Rate including all taxes and fees, free breakfast and free WiFi. (Not all-inclusive) ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
Bucuti And Tara Beach Resorts Aruba
Bucuti Beach Hotel
Golden Tulip Palm Eagle Beach
Golden Tulip Oranjestad
Aruba Bucuti Resort
Bucuti Beach Resort Aruba
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach

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