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Thread: Just got back...after 10 years

  1. #1
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    Jan 2012
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    Talking Just got back...after 10 years

    Well, after not being in Aruba for 10 years and bringing another family (newbies) with us, I was a bit nervous. It did not dissapoint! The other family actually wanted to buy a timeshare while we were there. It was a perfect 10 in every category.

    JetBlue from Boston arrived early both to and from Aruba.

    We got a rental car from National, prebooked by our travel agent. This took a bit of time at the desk because the woman was the only one there and her phone was ringing off the hook. She kept me waiting about a half hour. My poor daughter was hot and dying of thirst. Next time I'll plan on waiting a long time and have water. Hans from Tropic Car Rental was booked or we would have rented with him.

    Arrived at Renaissance Ocean Suites at 1:30 and our room wasn't ready until 4 so they gave us a $50 credit. We changed in the bathroom and jumped in the pool. Ahhh.

    Room ready at 4:00. Clean and comfortable. We had paid for an island view as opposed to ocean view. Bonus: we actually had a beautiful view of the water, cruise ships, and sunsets. Perfect!

    Dinner at L.G Smith Steak and Chop House. Excellent service and food.

    We went to the Renaissance Private Island three days. Again, perfect! Plenty of chairs and hammocks. So easy to just walk into the water then back to your chair. Towels, bathrooms, showers, gift shop all right there. The service was painfully slow. At least one hour for a drink or food. So we figured out that we should order one hour before anyone was hungry or thirsty. That applied to both the restaurant and the beachside service. The food was great but the service was so painfully slow. We sat down one day at the restaurant for a burger and bruschetta and it was a full two hours from beginning to end.

    We found the service at the hotel to be ridiculously slow too. It got to the point that we would just get take out from the various restuarants at the Renaissance Marketplace and avoid needing anything at the pool or Sole at all costs. Their system is just not working but the help is very nice. Too bad. I waited at the swim up bar for 1/2 hour to order one drink. Then it took another 1/2 hour to arrive.

    Other than the abysmal service at the Renaissance, we really liked it a lot. I know that sounds funny but we learned our way around. The island was dreamy and the pool was not crowded. The rooms were quiet. It would have been nice if they had things for the kids to do like shuffle board, horse shoes, ring toss, arcade, more of a game room, etc. We bought some floaty tubes and tennis balls and the kids kept busy. They were happy.

    We did the Jolly Pirate afternoon snorkel tour. Lots of fun and great staff. We would do that again. My husband and daughter snorkeled three sites and fed the fish from their hands. Then the rope swing was a blast. Great day.


    We also rented the Aruba Trikes. The men had a blast driving and we had a blast being driven around! Great way to see the island. We went to the rock formations and that was a highlight. Our guide Michelangelo was terrific. The bikes were in great shape and it was well worth the money. Very exciting for the kids and we laughed the whole time.

    We did the ABC tour of the Natural Pool. Right as we left their office in the big Land Rover, a hornet flew in and stung my daughter on the vein in her elbow. I was a little freaked out. She's very stoic and just sat there. Our driver didn't have anything except ice so we just used that for about 10 minutes. Then I asked him to pull over at a grocery store so I could get vinegar. It was a more rustic local store. The people there were very nice. They didn't speak English but helped me and let me use the bathroom (I was a wreck by now ). The vinegar helped and then our dirver got some aloe. All better.

    The drive to the Natural Pool was beyond anything I can even describe. If you haven't done it, you should, as long as you are not afraid of heights. You feel like you are going to fall of the volcanic trails at any time. Our driver Elias was awesome and we felt safe with him. The weather was too rough for us to swim but it was still a beautiful, memorable adventure. Then he took us to the donkey farm which my daughter adored, the gold mine ruins, the natural bridge, then Arashi Beach We probably could have just done with the Natural Pool. It was a looong day and we were wiped. The beach was gorgeous and we'll go back there.

    The best meal we had was at Ruinas Del Mar at the Hyatt. The atmosphere was so pretty, the service was top notch, and our meal was 4 star. Our very favorite.

    Barefoot was very good but not outstandfing. The view of the water and atmosphere were great but our food was only ok. For the price, I would probably go somewhere else next time.

    My daughter got pizza from Cafe Tua every night. Best pizza ever, according to her. It was really good homemade pizza and very nice people.

    One night I got take out from Hung Paradise, Best Chinese food I've ever had. Very reasonable too. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

    Cilo (City Lounge) at the Renaissance Marketplace was terrific. We went twice, without a reservation, and were so pleasantly surprised. Great extensive menu, fabulous food from soups, apps, salads, and entrees. Huge portions and very reasonably priced. Loved people watching there. Great service. Their tuna tataki was so good!

    It was something like 87 degrees every day. Everybody was so friendly and nice. We felt safe and at ease. The kids would go and get ice cream at Hagen Daz every night and we felt fine letting them walk around. Walking Palm Beach at night was blissful. The color of the water at Arashi Beach and the Renaissance Private Island are colors I will dream about all year long.

    One of my favorite things to do first thing every morning with my daughter was to wake up, see which new cruise ships were in the harbor, hit the Dunkin Donuts, then walk over to the little strip of souvenir stores next to the Renaissance Marina and get a fresh smoothie from the man who has a blender on the dock. How cool is that?! He was there 12 years ago and it was a delight to find him still there.


    Can't wait to go back. Probalby next time at Playa Linda or Marriot Surf Club only because we need a full kitchen with an oven due to dietary restrictions.

    Thanks to all your help and suggestions, we were able to plan ahead and make some smart choices. It was a trip full of great memories.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    May 2007
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    thanks so much for your trip report!!

    i am sorry to hear that the food/bar at renaissance island did not give good service.
    we have never been disappointed in the service or quality of food or drink on the island. we never have had food or drink at the renaissance hotel pool bar or outdoor poolside restaurant so i have no comment re: service there.

    wow check in is at 4 pm and they gave you a $50 credit?!?! how come? boy were you lucky!


    what time of day did you get over to the private island?

    did you feel safe on the trikes?

    if you have taken photos, would you post some in your gallery?

    thanks for the nice report!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Island-girl View Post
    Well, after not being in Aruba for 10 years and bringing another family (newbies) with us, I was a bit nervous. It did not dissapoint! The other family actually wanted to buy a timeshare while we were there. It was a perfect 10 in every category.

    JetBlue from Boston arrived early both to and from Aruba.

    We got a rental car from National, prebooked by our travel agent. This took a bit of time at the desk because the woman was the only one there and her phone was ringing off the hook. She kept me waiting about a half hour. My poor daughter was hot and dying of thirst. Next time I'll plan on waiting a long time and have water. Hans from Tropic Car Rental was booked or we would have rented with him.

    Arrived at Renaissance Ocean Suites at 1:30 and our room wasn't ready until 4 so they gave us a $50 credit. We changed in the bathroom and jumped in the pool. Ahhh.

    Room ready at 4:00. Clean and comfortable. We had paid for an island view as opposed to ocean view. Bonus: we actually had a beautiful view of the water, cruise ships, and sunsets. Perfect!

    Dinner at L.G Smith Steak and Chop House. Excellent service and food.

    We went to the Renaissance Private Island three days. Again, perfect! Plenty of chairs and hammocks. So easy to just walk into the water then back to your chair. Towels, bathrooms, showers, gift shop all right there. The service was painfully slow. At least one hour for a drink or food. So we figured out that we should order one hour before anyone was hungry or thirsty. That applied to both the restaurant and the beachside service. The food was great but the service was so painfully slow. We sat down one day at the restaurant for a burger and bruschetta and it was a full two hours from beginning to end.

    We found the service at the hotel to be ridiculously slow too. It got to the point that we would just get take out from the various restuarants at the Renaissance Marketplace and avoid needing anything at the pool or Sole at all costs. Their system is just not working but the help is very nice. Too bad. I waited at the swim up bar for 1/2 hour to order one drink. Then it took another 1/2 hour to arrive.

    Other than the abysmal service at the Renaissance, we really liked it a lot. I know that sounds funny but we learned our way around. The island was dreamy and the pool was not crowded. The rooms were quiet. It would have been nice if they had things for the kids to do like shuffle board, horse shoes, ring toss, arcade, more of a game room, etc. We bought some floaty tubes and tennis balls and the kids kept busy. They were happy.

    We did the Jolly Pirate afternoon snorkel tour. Lots of fun and great staff. We would do that again. My husband and daughter snorkeled three sites and fed the fish from their hands. Then the rope swing was a blast. Great day.


    We also rented the Aruba Trikes. The men had a blast driving and we had a blast being driven around! Great way to see the island. We went to the rock formations and that was a highlight. Our guide Michelangelo was terrific. The bikes were in great shape and it was well worth the money. Very exciting for the kids and we laughed the whole time.

    We did the ABC tour of the Natural Pool. Right as we left their office in the big Land Rover, a hornet flew in and stung my daughter on the vein in her elbow. I was a little freaked out. She's very stoic and just sat there. Our driver didn't have anything except ice so we just used that for about 10 minutes. Then I asked him to pull over at a grocery store so I could get vinegar. It was a more rustic local store. The people there were very nice. They didn't speak English but helped me and let me use the bathroom (I was a wreck by now ). The vinegar helped and then our dirver got some aloe. All better.

    The drive to the Natural Pool was beyond anything I can even describe. If you haven't done it, you should, as long as you are not afraid of heights. You feel like you are going to fall of the volcanic trails at any time. Our driver Elias was awesome and we felt safe with him. The weather was too rough for us to swim but it was still a beautiful, memorable adventure. Then he took us to the donkey farm which my daughter adored, the gold mine ruins, the natural bridge, then Arashi Beach We probably could have just done with the Natural Pool. It was a looong day and we were wiped. The beach was gorgeous and we'll go back there.

    The best meal we had was at Ruinas Del Mar at the Hyatt. The atmosphere was so pretty, the service was top notch, and our meal was 4 star. Our very favorite.

    Barefoot was very good but not outstandfing. The view of the water and atmosphere were great but our food was only ok. For the price, I would probably go somewhere else next time.

    My daughter got pizza from Cafe Tua every night. Best pizza ever, according to her. It was really good homemade pizza and very nice people.

    One night I got take out from Hung Paradise, Best Chinese food I've ever had. Very reasonable too. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

    Cilo (City Lounge) at the Renaissance Marketplace was terrific. We went twice, without a reservation, and were so pleasantly surprised. Great extensive menu, fabulous food from soups, apps, salads, and entrees. Huge portions and very reasonably priced. Loved people watching there. Great service. Their tuna tataki was so good!

    It was something like 87 degrees every day. Everybody was so friendly and nice. We felt safe and at ease. The kids would go and get ice cream at Hagen Daz every night and we felt fine letting them walk around. Walking Palm Beach at night was blissful. The color of the water at Arashi Beach and the Renaissance Private Island are colors I will dream about all year long.

    One of my favorite things to do first thing every morning with my daughter was to wake up, see which new cruise ships were in the harbor, hit the Dunkin Donuts, then walk over to the little strip of souvenir stores next to the Renaissance Marina and get a fresh smoothie from the man who has a blender on the dock. How cool is that?! He was there 12 years ago and it was a delight to find him still there.


    Can't wait to go back. Probalby next time at Playa Linda or Marriot Surf Club only because we need a full kitchen with an oven due to dietary restrictions.

    Thanks to all your help and suggestions, we were able to plan ahead and make some smart choices. It was a trip full of great memories.

  3. #3
    Senior Member corona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    479
    I enjoyed reading your trip report. We just "found" Casa Tua Pizza on our past trip. I'm with your daughter...best pizza ever! I'm sorry about your daughter's sting. That's sure not the best way to start out a trip. We've never gone to Natural Pool, but it's on our list of things to do. Somehow vegging on the beach seems to knock our other plans out the window.
    No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
    Next Aruba trip in
    Loving Aruba Since Honeymoon 1984

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    May 2007
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    side note..........
    insect stings and bites
    always good to keep a product called "AFTERBITE" in your bag.
    and a couple of benadryl pills.

    what i find frustrating for such a long tough ride to the natural pool is sometimes the water is so rough that folks cannot swim :-(

  5. #5
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    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Even though we could not swim in the natural pool, we still got to stand under the spray, which was incredible and it cooled us off. Next time I will carry a little After Bite with me! (My pocketbook is already a mini pharmacy with bandaids, neosporin, arnica...which we used plenty.) I had Benadryl gel and pills back at the hotel, of course.

    We did feel totally safe on the trikes but only becasue I knew the dads knew how to drive them! There was a lot of traffic in town but they did just fine. My opinion is that if you don't know how to drive a motorcycle or dirt bike, it might not be the best activity.

    We got to the private island around 10:30 or 11. There were plenty of beach chairs in partial shade and there was practically nobody in the water. We would stay until around 3 or 4.

    Our travel agent said we were gauranteed check in by 3, through Gogo Tours and if we didn't get into our room by 3 we would get a $50 credit. We also got another $50 credit for staying 7 nights, again through the Gogo Tours. The credit could be used toward food and drinks.

    I will try to post pics if i can. I have a great camera and some of my pics look like postcards, but I'm not very good at posting them. Aruba Trikes has us posted on their site for the March 1st tour. You can see we are all smiling ear to ear.

    Still laughing at all the great memories. One Happy Vacation!

  6. #6
    Aruba since 1979
    Moderator
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    29,886
    thanks for the info on the trikes.
    paul and i are considering it for our next aruba trip.

    you, like all mother's know about carrying the portable pharmacy in the purse!!

    gogo tours has a pretty cool credit policy.
    awesome.
    we rent privately at renaissance and check in is not til 4.
    last time there though, they at least took our luggage and issued our rooom keys so that we could go over to the island and enjoy the day.

    :-)

    again, thanks so much for your great "aruba story"
    Quote Originally Posted by Island-girl View Post
    Even though we could not swim in the natural pool, we still got to stand under the spray, which was incredible and it cooled us off. Next time I will carry a little After Bite with me! (My pocketbook is already a mini pharmacy with bandaids, neosporin, arnica...which we used plenty.) I had Benadryl gel and pills back at the hotel, of course.

    We did feel totally safe on the trikes but only becasue I knew the dads knew how to drive them! There was a lot of traffic in town but they did just fine. My opinion is that if you don't know how to drive a motorcycle or dirt bike, it might not be the best activity.

    We got to the private island around 10:30 or 11. There were plenty of beach chairs in partial shade and there was practically nobody in the water. We would stay until around 3 or 4.

    Our travel agent said we were gauranteed check in by 3, through Gogo Tours and if we didn't get into our room by 3 we would get a $50 credit. We also got another $50 credit for staying 7 nights, again through the Gogo Tours. The credit could be used toward food and drinks.

    I will try to post pics if i can. I have a great camera and some of my pics look like postcards, but I'm not very good at posting them. Aruba Trikes has us posted on their site for the March 1st tour. You can see we are all smiling ear to ear.

    Still laughing at all the great memories. One Happy Vacation!

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