I just returned from my second visit to the lovely island of Aruba and the Radisson. I traveled with my parents, husband and 3.5 year old son.
Flew Continental out of Newark and, other than a minor delay in departure, had an uneventful flight. We arranged to have Bully provide us with transportation from the airport since we were so enamored by him during our visit last year. Bully was waiting for us at the airport...what an awesome guy! He is a true gentleman, prompt and courteous.
After a quick stop at Ling & Sons, we arrived at the Radisson and were checked into our partial ocean view rooms on the Plaza Club level. Since the ArubaTower is closed for renovations, our rooms were on the 5th floor of the CuracaoTower. Truth be told, the rooms were lovely in that they were recently renovated, but were a bit smaller than the rooms we had last year in the ArubaTower. The Plaza Club itself has been temporarily relocated from the ArubaTower to the 6th floor of the CuracaoTower.
The women who run the Plaza Club are wonderful. They welcomed us back with champagne, fruit baskets and a sippy cup for my son.
We never noticed any construction noise, nor were we inconvenienced due to the ongoing renovations. The biggest negative in that regard is that Mira Solo, the martini bar, is closed as it's part of the ArubaTower. The Radisson did set up a band a few times by Laguna, but it just didn't have the same feel. At any rate, it's a temporary situation, so hardly worth mentioning at all.
The beach was a beautiful as we remembered. Never had any problem getting a palapa...even on days when we forgot to reserve one. Pools were great, too.
Ate at the following: Except for the one day we ate at Gilligan's, breakfast every day was at the Plaza Club. They had yogurt, fruit, breakfast pastries, cheeses & meats and two hot dishes. Very nice.
Bugaloe - lunch every day. Love the atmosphere and the food is good;
Salt & Pepper - ate there the night we arrived as we were tired from traveling and wanted something casual and quick. Food was good, service was okay. I think the particular waiter we had was a bit pompous, or maybe he was just having an off night...it happens. Would return if we wanted something quick and convenient.
Yemanja - first time there. Very good food and service. Would definitely return.
Azzuro - at Playa Linda resort. Though somehow related to Gianni's restaurant, which is directly across the street from the Radisson, the food at Azzuro's was exponentially better. Service was great, too. The night that we ate there, the breeze had died, so it was rather warm but enjoyable nonetheless. Would return, but not on such a still night
LG Smith's - at Renaissance Mall. This was a last minute decision and we were very happily surprised! The restaurant is beautiful, with lovely views, great food and service. Would absolutely return.
Madame Jeanette - second time there (third for my parents) and it did not disappoint. Excellent food (the almond grouper is a must!), drink, atmosphere and service. The only caveat is that it was extremely warm the night we ate there - again, no breeze. Also a bit buggy, so bring repellant. Another absolute return for us.
Windows on Aruba - at Divi Links. Very pretty restaurant with fabulous service. We thought the food was good, not great. We might return, but not before we try other restaurants.
We used Bully's services to get to and fro the restaurants. Love that he has a carseat!
We didn't go on any excursions, preferring to relax on the beach or at the pool with our son. Evenings generally consisted of dinner and drinks. We spent a lot of time at the Hyatt bar (the one near the casino) and at Bugaloe. Also tried Piet's Pier Bar, which is also part of the Hyatt, Moomba's on Sunday night (great fun!), Buster's Garage, South Beach Lounge and the lobby bar at The Westin.
Having walked the beachside "boardwalk" during the day and evenings, I must say that, in my opinion, the Radisson definitely has the nicest beachfront...wide, deep with plenty of shade. The grounds at the Hyatt are lovely and there seemed to be a bit more activity there at night than at the Radisson (that could be due to the closing of Miro Solo...I remember MS being rather lively last year). We met several really nice people and had some great conversations there.
The weather was mostly good, though not as good as last year. More cloud cover this year and much less wind. We only experienced one totally overcast day during which it rained for about a half an hour or so. Most days it was partly sunny/partly cloudy. I came back with a great tan, so those rays were getting through!
All told, we had an excellent trip and are looking forward to returning again!
If any one has questions, please feel free to ask!
Sorry I missed you this year, wish I was there. We are going in Dec this year for 8 nites, can't wait, everything should also be done and open by than also. We also would have missed Mira Solo, but last year , we also liked going over to Soprano's , ( choc. marinis for so so so so good ) Maybe next year.