Trip report March 2013
Arrived on a Sunday and didn’t have rental car so was happy to have Bully meet and greet us. First stop was Digicel and I guess I didn’t pay too much attention in Dec. but their prices have certainly increased. What used to cost $30 for one month unlimited data is now $41 and for $27 you used to have approx. 2 hours of talk time now its 1.5. Disappointing but still a better deal than I would get through my Canadian phone company.
First part of trip was with DS who was on his reading week from University so we stayed in the Studio/lock off at SC, then when DH arrived we stayed in the one bedroom. Since we usually stay in the full 2 bdrm unit I didn’t realize how much sound travels. While in the studio, you can hear cupboards closing, people talking, etc in the one bedroom. Luckily, they weren’t too loud and our wake/sleep cycles seemed to be the same. Once we moved over to the one bedroom, I was happy that I didn’t have someone sleeping in the living room of the one bedroom. The studio had a couple with what sounded like a 3 year old. They talked very loud/even had very raised voices early in the morning. We were up but this could have been an issue if DS was sleeping in the living room. The only annoying thing for me was that the child would constantly “flinging” the kitchenette door open and shut. I wanted to yell STOP!! LOL
At the SC, imo, the front desk is still the “missing link” in their customer service. Once again, they are slow and understaffed. Why does every question necessitate the need to go to the back and make a consultation? Many staff are new and one has to wonder why there is such a high turnover of staff. Apparently, once staff is trained they get scooped up by other resorts for higher pay. The SC front desk is not the easiest place to work with large number of guests and not enough staff. I also feel that the lack of a manager at the moment has also really had a detrimental effect on the overall running of the resort.
For those interested in the Aqua Condominiums, no progress at all since December unless you consider the outside concrete being painted white progress. Still watching those cranes sit idle for a year.
We rented, for the second time, a car from Tropic. After renting from numerous places over the years we can honestly say that this is the BEST car rental place on the island. Rates reasonable, cars clean and in great shape, easy pick up and drop off. LOVE TROPIC!! Too bad he doesn’t have a few bigger vehicles though.
Weather was actually quite strange and very unusual for this time of the year. Most days were somewhat overcast until late afternoon. Only one part of a day with rain but not the usual clear blue skies and more windy than usual as well.
On the plane down, I was seated next to a very nice couple who hadn’t been to Aruba in ten years. They were planning a very nice anniversary dinner and having found out that I was a “regular” asked me for advice. I redirected them from the Lighthouse restaurant to Barefoot. They ended up sitting next to DS on his return flight and they were extremely grateful. Barefoot is truly a great dinning experience and not as far to go as a few of the other places if you are taxing.
Much is being discussed about airport departures. We left on a Thursday and we didn’t have much congestion at the airport at all. It was the easiest departure we ever had. As I have stated in a few of my posts, the ability to clear customs, no matter how irritating it can be with the long lines, it is far better to do it in Aruba than to worry about getting through the process and making a connection.
White Modern Cuisine we enjoyed so much in December so we were looking forward to going there again. On one of our first nights we recommended the restaurant to a couple who had never been to Aruba. Coincidentally, we ran into them in the mall right after their meal. They told me that all the wonderful things we recommended were not on the menu as it had changed. I immediately went upstairs to check the menu and was totally disappointed! Gone was the delicious corn chowder that I ordered based on the many wonderful reviews from many of you, wonton soup gone, as were many of the other items that we had enjoyed. I spoke with someone there and she said that she had actually received a few similar “complaints”. The website and the menu listed outside did not accurately reflect their reality. The woman said that the owner/chef wanted to change the menu every three or four months. We, unfortunately, cancelled our reservation as there wasn’t anything my DH would truly enjoy. I sent an email to the owner while I was there explaining the situation and why we were cancelling. I explained that I understood the desire to “change” but that why would you eliminate items that were good “sellers” and especially not allow people to know that in advance. I suggested that customers who might return the following year could be very upset with the surprise. Hmm….still waiting for an answer!
Wacky Wahoos was amazing and went there twice but that is also a story! We arrived 15 minutes ahead of our reservation time and were promptly told that we had no reservation. The woman told me that Marriott concierge is “constantly telling people they have reservations and they are never booked”! I was seriously suspicious of this answer and told her so especially since Marriott reconfirmed this reservation. I told her that the restaurant’s inability to use email or answer a phone is why customers have to rely on the concierge. She wasn’t going to seat us because she said we didn’t have a reservation. I had her call the concierge and when she was told on what date, time and who they spoke to she finally agreed to find us a table. The customer right behind me gives her name and says she is here for her 7:30pm reservation. The woman says there is no reservation. Customer says Hyatt concierge made reservation; woman finds reservation for 8pm. The customer says that she would have appreciated being notified that reservation was at 8pm. Guess what? Woman says “Hyatt concierge does that all the time, they tell you that your reservation is the time you want but it really isn’t”! At this point I realize there is a game going on here and I don’t like what is happening. The next day I speak with a concierge supervisor and tell her the whole story. She says that this has become an issue with WW and blaming the concierge for their own reservation issues. She says that they need to speak with WW as we are not just Marriott customers but WW customers too. Unfortunately, WW doesn’t seem to understand that it might be easier to use email so they have a paper trail of reservations since they obviously are forgetting to mark things down.
We loved and enjoyed Chalet Suisse, Anna Maria’s, Barefoot, El Gaucho and Yemanja. All were fantastic and service excellent. No issues and are our usual stops on our bi-annual trips.
What we did that was special this year we went to both 2 Fools and a Bull and Carte Blanche. We loved both but we also think they are also very different. Food was delicious and beautifully presented at both places but there are very distinctive differences. 2 fools is more casual and more laid back while CB is a little more “high end”. CB wine list/pairing is better and both Dennis and Glenn really engage with their customers. Paul is very funny while Chef Fred is more in the background. While they have the same concept, we felt they are very different restaurants.
Back home and our wonderful trip is fading into a lovely memory. December won’t come soon enough!
Nice report. You were really good sports about Wacky Wahoos. I think it would have been annoyed (don't mess with my food)!! I also had thought about going to White Modern but after seeing the new menu on line DH wasn't real interested so for now it's just Barefoot and we'll decide the rest when we get there
Good trip report. I always got a response via email from all of the resturants that we pre-booked and I printed them and had them saved on my phone so I could show them in case there was ever a problem or lost reservation.
Thanks for everyone's posts. With respect to Wacky Wahoos, we still went back despite our horrible first experience of this trip. Wacky Wahoos is amazing but is really lacking in organization with respect to their reservations and lack of space. IMO, it is the best fish on the island but we generally try to go either early or late in the evening.