We arrived at Queen Beatrix airport at about 2PM on Monday, Oct. 27, after an uneventful flight via Continental AL from Newark. Gail and I had aisle seats in order to be able to spread our legs a bit and have easy access to the aisle when necessary. The flight was quite full. I sat next to a couple from central NJ; the husband seemed to be doing his wife a favor by going on vacation. She was a sweet lady who just seemed to roll with his good natured jabs. (Turned out, that by the end of their stay, he had an absolutely wonderful time (who knew?) We were greeted at the airport by our old friend, Hans Dhooge, of the Tropic Car Rental company. As usual, this pleasant fellow helped to carry our bags to the Yaris which was parked across the way in the parking lot. We exchanged paper work and in about five minutes, Gail and I were on our way to another long looked forward to stay in Paradise.
Although our reservations were made far in advance and we had reinforced our preference for a high floor room in the Curacao Tower at the Radisson by communicating with Eleni at the Radisson Aruba web site, upon our arrival, we were told that nothing was available with a queen size bed other than in the Aruba (main) Tower. This was our fifth visit to the Radisson and each time we have been delayed for at least thirty minutes by ‘mixups’ with room accommodations. This time, I let them know that we were not about to accept only what they had to offer, since we had been told that they were at only 40% occupancy! My discussion with the reservations clerk was overheard by the assistant manager Martin Mittledorp who stepped into the discussion and apologized for the delay, etc. He offered us the concierge floor (8th) with access to the special concierge room for snacks, drinks, etc. for the length of our stay. We asked to inspect the room and eventually accepted his offer. All in all, I must admit, the staff at the Radisson was as accommodating as possible; friendly, caring, etc. They each contributed to a most wonderful week’s stay. Our package consisted of the daily buffet breakfast as well as $250.00 in hotel ‘spending money’, compliments of our friends at Players Choice.
We met two very nice couples at the Rad: one couple from Brooklyn (Toni and Charlie) and the other, "Zaneeta" (Sherry and Doug) from Riverdale, NJ. We had a lot of fun; a lot of laughs and most importantly, a nice time just being together.
The weather was mostly cooperative; it was raining upon our arrival, but it lasted about five minutes. Each day we had some rain; most of it occurring during the nighttime hours. Heavy thunder and lightning, too! The island was greener than we had ever seen it!
We actually drove downtown only once. Another day we took a couple of hours and did our annual tour of the northern end of the island, to Tierra del Sol. The homes adjacent to the golf course are as lovely as ever! We actually took some time to visit a couple of ‘old friends’ on the island, whose acquaintance we made during previous trips. One, Noelia, is a waitress at Ruth Chris’ at the Marriott. We stopped at the Marriott one afternoon specifically to see her. We did not dine at the restaurant, however. Our other Aruban friend, Ronald Israel, owns an interesting toy shop near one of the super markets. It was really nice to see people we had met years ago…with whom we correspond and who remembered us!
The reports about Omar prior to our leaving for Aruba concerned us, of course. We were happily surprised to find that the roads leading to the High Rise area were clear. The beach at the Rad was in very good shape, unlike others further north and south of Palm Beach. We heard some very disconcerting reports about the beach at the Marriott, for example. The pool at the Radisson was a joy; clean and refreshing...and totally uncrowded.
Of course one of the highlights of visiting Aruba is the variety of restaurants available. For our first dinner meal, we usually go to Tony Roma’s. But we were in the mood for burgers and went to the new TGIFridays at the new mall, opposite the Holiday Inn. Very disappointing!! We entered at about 5:45PM…the place was literally empty of customers. We were shown to a table and a waitress took our order. By 6:30, there were perhaps three other tables that were occupied and….we still had not been served. We got up, complained to the hostess and left! We ended up at Tony Roma’s, had great burgers and fries and were happy!! (First time we ever had to do that in Aruba!!--leave a restaurant totally dissatisfied, that is!)
The rest of the week we visited our usual favorite places: Chalet Suisse; Sole Mare; Gianni’s; Madam Janette; Sunset Grille. Lunches at Gilligan’s at the Radisson were made even more enjoyable by the presence of such sweet, friendly waitpersons.
All in all, as we say after every visit to Aruba….this one was the best one ever!!!