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Thread: La Cabana and the Renaissance - Long Report

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    Senior Member DaveNJodie's Avatar
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    La Cabana and the Renaissance - Long Report

    Another glorious trip to paradise…Long Report…

    Saturday - Left Hartford, CT on November 15th at 5:50 AM (Ouch!) for Aruba and, after a short layover in Washington DC, we touched down a little before 2:00 pm. Lines were a bit long as three planes landed close in time but there were no worries as we were officially on vacation. Gathered our bags and stepped outside to see a rep from Jay’s Car Rental waiting with a sign for us. Took us to their office (a 2 minute ride) and we were off in our rental car in less than 15 minutes. I highly recommend Jay’s, having used them twice now. Excellent customer service, newer vehicles, and very competitive pricing. We were starving after a long day traveling and headed straight for Zeerovers for lunch. This is still one of my favorite places on the entire island. Had jumbo shrimp and barracuda for lunch, along with fries and plantains, and we were stuffed. If you don’t mind getting a bit messy from peeling the shrimp and picking at the fish with your hands (as there are some bones), you cannot get fresher seafood on the island. We then drove to La Cabana, checked into our room which had ocean and pool views, and unpacked a bit. Drove over to Superfoods (which is close and many people walked from the resort) and picked up snacks and drinks as well as breakfast and lunch items. We ate most breakfasts in the room (omelettes with spinach, onions, bacon and Gouda cheese, English muffins, fresh fruit, etc.) and we made little picnics for lunches on the beach. We were tired and stuffed and went to bed early…after a swim in the ocean and pool of course.

    Sunday – Woke up early, packed up some drinks and our snorkel gear and headed to Boca Catalina. The winds were relatively calm and the visibility was phenomenal. We snorkeled from Boca Catalina to Broken Rock and back, seeing tons of fish, sea urchins and starfish. Saw some huge trumpet fish which I had never seen before. Snorkeled for almost three hours and we were exhausted, so we went back to La Cabana and had a nice picnic on Eagle Beach. The winds were light and it was only the partial clouds that gave us some relief from the intense sun. The water was amazing as always and I simply love the gentle rolling waves at Eagle Beach. Dinner was at El Gaucho which is one of my favorites and never has disappointed me (in spite of the sometimes spotty reviews). I had the El Gaucho Steak with mashed potatoes and sautéed broccoli, along with a caesar salad. Everything was outstanding. I wish were could get Brazilian cuts of beef in the U.S. After dinner, we went to Moomba Beach Bar for a little dancing. The DJ was excellent and we had a good time, in spite of feeling old as the average age there was probably 25. I don’t feel old and never care what anyone else thinks of my dancing (especially after a few drinks), so I had a great time.

    Monday – Had to burn off some of the alcohol from the night before so we played racquetball at La Cabana in the morning. Nice court and a great workout room for those that are so inclined. Spent the day back a forth between the beach and pool, and enjoyed some two for one drinks by the pool during happy hour. We had trouble pulling ourselves away and missed the bulletin board party at the Amsterdam Manor. Went to Passions for dinner, which I think is one of the most romantic dinner settings in Arbua (having previously been to Barefoot, Flying Fishbone and Pinchos). The service was outstanding, the sunsets are spectacular, and the food is excellent. We had the grouper with shrimp and a seafood medley that included a lobster tail, shrimp, mahi mahi, and grouper, as well as Caesar salads. We had the dessert trio which was lit up with a sparkler and it was over the top. All I remember is that the key lime pie was light and delicious! For anyone looking for a romantic evening, Passions is a must do.

    Tuesday – Had a nice big breakfast in the room, relaxed for a bit, and then we decided to go to Baby Beach for the day. Of course that meant we had to pass by Zeerovers so we were compelled to stop there for lunch. Lets just say it was amazing once again and that I could have eaten there every day! After stuffing ourselves, we drove toward Baby Beach, making a small detour to drive around San Nicolas a bit. Then it was on to Baby Beach, which is another spot that should not be missed if you have a car. We snorkeled there and then just floated around the warm water of the lagoon. Drove back to La Cabana and got changed for dinner. Decided to change things up and we tried Azurro at Playa Linda for the first time. We both thought the food was outstanding (and a bit pricey). I had the Veal Osso Bucco which melted in my mouth and my friend had the pasta in vodka sauce which she loved. The restaurant was elegant, the music was a bit corny, and the food was excellent. I would definitely go back.

    Wednesday - Woke up early and played racquetball again – have to burn off a little bit of all this excellent food. Then we went downtown to the Dutch Pancake House in the Renaissance Seaport Mall for breakfast. We both had savory pancakes (really more like crepes) which were delicious. One had salami, oregano, onions and cheese, while the other had eggs, cheese, leeks, and onions. Getting hungry thinking about them now. Spent the afternoon at the beach…then back to the pool for Happy Hour…are you seeing a pattern here? Got cleaned up and went to Barney’s for dinner. This was a first for me and was a must do after reading all the positive reviews. All I can say is everyone is spot on with respect to Barney’s. I had the parmesean grouper which is, hands down, the best piece of grouper I have had anywhere! The place has a fun atmosphere (very casual), the food is exceptional, and the prices are very reasonable.

    Thursday – My lady friend had a stomach bug and had a terrible day in the room. I went to the beach for a few hours in between checking on her. Luckily…it only lasted a day and she was feeling much better by Friday. While at the beach, I walked over to the beach tennis tournament that was taking place and it was quite fun to watch. There were players from all over the world with their entourages. I had a salad in the room. MJs will have to wait until the next trip.

    Friday – Breakfast in the room and then spent the day on Eagle Beach…floating in the ocean. A few five minute showers but overall a fabulous beach day. Drove over to Moomba to park for our sailing and snorkeling excursion on the Black Pearl. It was pouring rain when we arrived so we sat in the car for ten minutes and it was gorgeous again. This was an amazing snorkel and sunset sail and I highly recommend for anyone, regardless of your snorkeling ability. The price is very reasonable, the drinks were excellent (one of the best rum punches I’ve ever had), the seats with soft blue cushions are extremely comfortable, the crew is knowledgeable, the snorkeling was great, and the cheese and tomato sandwiches as well as the grilled cheese sandwiches were awesome. There is a ladder in the center of the boat which goes right down into the water and made it very easy for everyone to get in and out of the water for the snorkeling. The sail back with the sun setting was extremely romantic and the owners even make a short video of your trip which is posted on their Facebook page. The Black Pearl’s near perfect Tripadvisor rating is well deserved. Make your reservations now as this boat fills up very quickly!

    Saturday – Checked out of La Cabana early and drove over to the Renaissance Marina Hotel for our last full day. We knew we would be too early to check in but we checked our bags with the bellman and then obtained cards that let us go over to the Renaissance Island for the day. The boat picked us up in the hotel lobby and took us over to the private island. My friend floated around the lagoon for a bit (after feeding the pink flamingos of course) and then we had a nice lunch at the restaurant. After lunch, the wind had died down a bit and we went snorkeling outside of the protected area (outside the rocks). Once again, the snorkeling was incredible and we saw at least three different types of huge parrotfish. After snorkeling we went back to the hotel and checked in, getting settled. Then down to the Blue Bar for a drink and a dip in the infinity pool. We changed and headed off to Texas de Brazil for our last dinner on the island. We had a very relaxing dinner, and enjoyed the great salad bar ($25 if selected without the meats) and the wide selection of meats ($45). I know that this is a chain restaurant, but it seems like they do everything just a little bit better in Aruba. I left stuffed and fell asleep about thirty seconds after hitting the bed (to the dismay of my friend who wanted to go out drinking…lol).

    Sunday – We packed up our stuff, checked out, and checked our bags once again with the bellman. Then it was off to the private island for our last hurrah before flying home (at 5 pm). I know I’m a bit crazy, but I wanted to savor every minute in Aruba and I go to the airport (3 hours early of course) in my still damp bathing suit. Plenty of time to change my clothes there and I don’t want to miss one minute of sunshine. I floated in the lagoon for hours, had a nice lunch on the private island (btw…the mango margueritas are to die for), and left the island around 1 pm. Even on a Sunday, the lines for United Airlines were crazy and it took almost an hour just to check our bags. I was back home and in bed by 1:00 am, trying to figure out how quickly I could get back to my favorite destination.

    Dave
    See you in Aruba!!!
    Next Aruba trip in

  2. #2
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks for sharing!!
    glad that you had a nice time..........sorry to hear of your wife's stomach bug..........always a damper especially on a vacation
    zerovers.......you cannot go wrong there.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
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    Awesome review Dave. Thank you so much all the effort you put into it. Enjoyed reading all of it!!

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    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveNJodie View Post

    Monday – Had to burn off some of the alcohol from the night before so we played racquetball at La Cabana in the morning. Nice court and a great workout room for those that are so inclined. Spent the day back a forth between the beach and pool, and enjoyed some two for one drinks by the pool during happy hour. We had trouble pulling ourselves away and missed the bulletin board party at the Amsterdam Manor. Went to Passions for dinner, which I think is one of the most romantic dinner settings in Arbua (having previously been to Barefoot, Flying Fishbone and Pinchos). The service was outstanding, the sunsets are spectacular, and the food is excellent. We had the grouper with shrimp and a seafood medley that included a lobster tail, shrimp, mahi mahi, and grouper, as well as Caesar salads. We had the dessert trio which was lit up with a sparkler and it was over the top. All I remember is that the key lime pie was light and delicious! For anyone looking for a romantic evening, Passions is a must do.
    Thanks, Dave. One question: was there a smell at Passions when you were dining? There were a lot of comments posted that the Monday night BB meeting had to be moved because the smell was so bad... what time were you at dinner? We actually cancelled our reservation for dinner there as a result. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great review...... loved the detail on your restaurant ventures..... I too, love the Argentine beef that's so readily available in Aruba.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Great review, awesome trip! Loved your snorkeling descriptions and beach picnics. I definitely agree about Barneys and their grouper. Your report took me right back there. Thank you for sharing.
    Not sure when, but we will be back

  7. #7
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    the monday night gathering on nov 10th was not moved as far as i know.
    there were only 4 of us in attendance , but we all left at 5:30, maybe earlier due to the smell.
    the following day, we were at eagle beach near lacabana and the smell was bad on and off.
    but, on the 18th or 19th when we were up that way again, no smell.

    Quote Originally Posted by act1966 View Post
    Thanks, Dave. One question: was there a smell at Passions when you were dining? There were a lot of comments posted that the Monday night BB meeting had to be moved because the smell was so bad... what time were you at dinner? We actually cancelled our reservation for dinner there as a result. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    the monday night gathering on nov 10th was not moved as far as i know.
    there were only 4 of us in attendance , but we all left at 5:30, maybe earlier due to the smell.
    the following day, we were at eagle beach near lacabana and the smell was bad on and off.
    but, on the 18th or 19th when we were up that way again, no smell.
    Oops. Wrong Monday. Sorry.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DaveNJodie's Avatar
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    We did not notice any bad smells during our night at Passions. There were some occasional sewage smells coming from La Cabana near the Amsterdam Manor. Not enough to complain about though.
    See you in Aruba!!!
    Next Aruba trip in

  10. #10
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveNJodie View Post
    We did not notice any bad smells during our night at Passions. There were some occasional sewage smells coming from La Cabana near the Amsterdam Manor. Not enough to complain about though.
    Glad to hear that others did not have to experience that smell. Maybe it was just a bad few days.
    Not sure when, but we will be back

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