Just returned to Oregon after 3 days in DisneyWorld followed by 11 days in Aruba. We only did Disney because my sister lives there. We were very anxious to get to the Island. During our layover in Miami Airport, I suggested to DH that we extend our vacation in Aruba 2 more days. He smiled big...I knew I had him then! I contacted the travel agent as soon as we arrived and made the changes.
Bully picked us up at the airport. I can't say enough about how wonderful he is. Reliable is at the top of the list. I asked him for directions to the "natural pool" as this was the only place that has really eluded us in the past. (this was our 7th visit) At the time, I didn't understand his vague directions, although, he did try hard to explain it all. (take a left at the cactus??!) Our hotel was the Radisson. We've stayed in all the towers before. This trip, we were given room 1706 which was on the 7th floor of the Aruba tower facing the pool and ocean. The asst. manager (Martin) had sent up a bottle of champagne for our 25th anniversary.
We enjoyed every minute of our time on the Island. It was a very quiet time as far as guests were concerned (as we were told the week after labor day normally was). Many others I spoke to said they would come back the same week since it was wonderful. It rained once while we were having lunch for about 5 minutes. We rented a jeep from Royal for 5 days who were wonderful as usual. The highlights of our trip were locating the natural pool and dinner at The Old Man and The Sea.
I would never recommend to others to find this pool unless you are an experienced off road driver. Which of course, my husband was. However, the danger was there. We picked up another couple in their 60s trying to walk it in the searing heat. Good thing we did because it was a long way off. Now the directions Bully gave us made perfect sense! 16 meters from that boulder, left at the cactus, etc. I had to laugh. When people asked us on the way back how to get there, we didn't know how to explain it either. We really enjoyed the pool itself and felt it was all worth it. If it was high tide, I'd probaby have a different opinion of the swimming! The problem was, my dh loved the drive so much, he went again the next morning by himself and took pictures of the sunrise at the pool. Crazy guy for sure!!
The Old Man and The Sea was the best restaurant I've been to in many, many years. Besides the food, which of course makes or breaks a restaurant, the customer service was above and beyond what americans are used to. I commented to dh that this is one of the reasons I love Aruba. They know and understand customer service! I had the Lamb which I read earlier someone felt theirs was overcooked. Mine was cooked perfectly. I told them med-rare to Med....whatever the chef felt best. I know everyone has their own tastes, but any meat overcooked is tough. DH had the filet. He actually shared ONE bite with me and it just melted in my mouth. Our waiter, Giovonni explained that he apprenticed in the kitchen for two weeks to learn all the sauces so he may be well versed in any customer questions. He introduced us to the Manager, Albert, who used to manage for the FF. Albert was a joy to chat with and was very excited about their Grand Opening the next night. Albert then introduced us to the Chef Gabriel who is very special indeed. His vision is clear and his talent is unsurpassed. He in turn introduced us to the owner Jon and his Mom. Wow, can you just see our heads spinning here?! We were in heaven! They personally gave us an ingraved invitation to return the following night to their opening party. I felt like I was on cloud nine! The party was out of this world fun even though we didn't know anyone else but the staff. Didn't we just meet them the day before? But this was their trick, they treated us like we were part of their family. Warm, humble, always the gracious hosts. We felt at home. Dh turned into the party photographer and will be sending all the photos to Jon for his future use on his website. I will post a few here in the gallery. Anyway, dh and I walked away that night saying, "WOW", what just happened there? Was that the experience for great memories or what? We felt very special indeed.
Dh, of couse, being the friendly guy that he is, asked his friend Martin the asst. manager if he could take some sunset shots from the rooftop of the Radisson. I'm whispering to him, Are you crazy? That's a liability! Guess again...Martin personally took dh up to the penthouse for a tour and let him shoot his camera to his hearts desire! WOW..is that customer service or what?!
In general, I'm trying to think of something that went wrong. Nope, I can't think of a single thing. Aruba was/is everything we wanted/needed and more!! Right down to the smiles Arubans greeted us with everyday. Upon our return to the states, our kids made sure we knew that next time we were not leaving them home again. (all 4 have been twice!) I told them to put it on their honeymoon list someday. hehe
Enjoy your vacations Aruba lovers. Memories are what life is made of.
Great report... thank you! I had to smile about the customer service at the Radisson and being taken to the roof. When we first switched to the Radisson... it was very much of a result of our request at 9:30 one night to tour a room (we were staying at the Hyatt). The man at the front desk smiled and made a quick phone call and brought us right up to a room on the 8th floor! We booked for the Radisson the next year and each year after that... I think it's home now!