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Thread: First Trip and it was AMAZING!

  1. #1
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    First Trip and it was AMAZING!

    First off, THANK YOU to everyone who gave reviews, recommendations, etc on this site. We were only there for 5 days/4 nights, but we will definitely be back and for longer next time!

    HOTEL: This was our first trip to Aruba and I can definitely say we will be back! We stayed at the Renaissance Marina hotel, and while the rooms weren't phenomenal, they were clean and a lot larger than I had expected. The hotel itself was great and just what we were looking for -- my hubby and I were looking for a place that had a "trendier" vibe, and the Renaissance Marina delivered. It's pool bar/club "Blue" was great, with music videos projected onto the side of the hotel, and live music some nights. It's the type of place we would have visited regardless of whether we were staying at the hotel. I also liked the openness of the hotel and the overall look of the place. Plus, the boat to the private island actually comes inside the hotel. It was really cool. Not to mention, the only 2 Starbucks on the island is at the Renaissance and Renaissance marketplace. We also didn't mind not being in the Palm Beach area. There was a lot to do in Oranjestad, including restaurants, malls, bars, and it was easy enough to get to places in Palm Beach on nights we wanted to go there. It was actually kind of nice to be away somewhat from the hotel strip.

    Also, I loved having our own private island. Because of the recent rains/storms, I had heard that the waves and current around Palm Beach were stronger than normal, and the water was darker. The great thing about the Renaissance Island is that it's like 2 lagoons -- each are blocked off by rocks and only gentle waves/rocking motion in the water. You can actually rent floats like you use in the pool! The water was also very clear, and my fave part were the flamingos on the island! I think we would stay at the Renaissance again just for the island.

    WEATHER: It rained at least once everyday, but no day was a complete washout. Everyone did comment on how unusual the weather was for Aruba, and it was a little disheartening to wake up and see clouds, but we still managed to get tans! I also didn't have a huge problem with mosquitos, but I did keep myself covered in OFF Deep Woods. Usually, if there's a mosquito within a 30 mile radius, it finds me, and I only had one bite at the end of the trip. Coming from somewhere that has a foot of snow and it's 20 degrees, the weather in Aruba was phenomenal.

    FOOD: Our 2 big nights out were at Passions and Anna-Maria's. Both were fantastic! We loved being on the beach at Passions and there was a beautiful sunset. While the atmosphere was our favorite part, the food was good, too. Anna-Maria's was also very good. We definitely felt "special" and "in the know" since the place is so discreet. Chris's house is beautiful and the back patio was lovely. My husband is Italian-American, and he was more than pleased with the food. We also ate at Taj Mahal, which is a more local Indian place in Oranjestad that had very authentic and good food, and at Iguana Joe's (which was good lunch fare).

    ENTERTAINMENT: Moomba Beach was the place to be on Sunday night and we had a blast! There was a great DJ and the outdoor dance floor and bar was packed. We also hit up Blue at our hotel and CiLo (City Lounge), as well as Mambo Jambo on Wednesday night (salsa night). While Aruba isn't NYC, it does have some great options for music/club/bar scene and we found out the "hot spots" for each night by talking to some of the locals.

    So, that was pretty much our trip. We really just wanted to relax on the beach during the day, so other than some shopping around the Royal Mall and around Oranjestad, we didn't do much during the day. Next time, we hope to try out the Jeep tours of the desert, scuba diving, and horseback riding. I also have a whole list of places to try for dinner! I can't wait to go back!

  2. #2
    Senior Member sunworshipperII's Avatar
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    Sounds like another Aruba lover has been born... glad you had a terrific trip... thinking of trying passions this trip... what did you have at anna marias I heard its limited...








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  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks for posting your trip review.
    glad that you had a good time!!!

    can i say it?
    "we got another one."

  4. #4
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    Hi sunworshipper -- another Aruba lover has definitely been born! I actually just wrote a review of Anna Maria's in the Culinary section under a thread for Anna Maria (not sure how to link). But, the menu was actually pretty extensive, and Chris was great about allowing us to essentially order what we wanted, without being confined to the menu. Since they make everything to order, it's very easy to substitute or ask for something else. For example, DH got gnocchi but with a bolognese rather than red sauce and he got it with the chicken parm instead of the normal pasta that comes with chicken parm. There were only a couple appetizers and desserts to choose from, but I think that's somewhat typical in an Italian restaurant. Overall, we thought it was great!

    Passions was also a winner for us. We loved the setting -- sunset on the beach, tiki torches, dance floor with live music. It was very romantic. We felt like we were in a movie, and it was cool to see the transition from daylight to dark. Plus, we went a little early and got drinks at the beach bar right next to Passions at happy hour (so 2 for 1 drinks) and we brought them with us to Passions, which saved a lot of money on drinks. The food was good, but not amazing. The only thing I didn't love was that at night, it was kind of hard to see what you were eating. I think we will go back, though, just for the experience!
    Last edited by LauraProc; 01-08-2011 at 11:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member arubaislove's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you had such a great time! I was happy to read your review about Passions. We have reservations there for this week. Thanks for the tip about the mosquito's as well, I guess I should pick up some off before we head out. And mostly, glad to hear you shall return!

  6. #6
    Member skilz77's Avatar
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    Awesome trip report... Makes me so excited for our first trip! We are alike that a mosquito will bite me before anyone else. Did you buy your off in Aruba? Wondering if it's better to buy it there. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    buy the OFF at home if you are going to pack it in checked luggage.

    if you are only bringing carryon then no aerosols/liquids over 3 oz are allowed.

    the insect repellent spray in aruba is probably about 10 - 20% more expensive than you'd find at a walgreens or walmart in the usa.



    Quote Originally Posted by skilz77 View Post
    Awesome trip report... Makes me so excited for our first trip! We are alike that a mosquito will bite me before anyone else. Did you buy your off in Aruba? Wondering if it's better to buy it there. Thanks!

  8. #8
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    My parents had such a great experieance with Anna-Maria's also. They really enjoyed the laid back feel of the place and were loving the owners as they were their family. It is nice to have something different in Aruba with so much pride in making sure everyone has a awesome time with a twist.. Cant wait to go myself.

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