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Thread: My Valentine's Trip Report

  1. #1
    Senior Member corona's Avatar
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    My Valentine's Trip Report

    We had a wonderful time in Aruba and as a bonus, we arrived on Valentine's Day. Of course, from past wonderful experiences, we expected no less.


    The Positives:


    The taxi service we received from Ivan and Joseph (I hope I got their names right) from Bully's team. Joseph took us back to the airport and was at the hotel to pick us up ten minutes prior to our scheduled time. Very impressive, as always.


    The Hyatt. It's a lovely hotel, and the staff is top notch. You can book your palapa in advance to arrival for $35/day. We actually booked ours when we made our reservations last spring. For us, it's well worth it. I'm pretty sure, but not positive, that if you book the day of, there's no charge. There is also lounges around the pool area that's at no charge.


    Casa Tua. How did we never have their pizza before??? OMG (and I don't say OMG lightly), the pizza was fantastic! (No service charge added)


    Papillon Restaurant. Again, how did we ever miss this place? We met friends there, and because we made last minute reservations, we had to take a 6:45 seating (or 8:30, but we had after dinner plans), and as it turned out they had an early bird special up to 7pm. For $30 we got a choice of appetizer (we chose corn/fish chowder), I had grouper and my husband had steak, and for desert my husband had vanilla ice cream over papaya and I had coffee with a very small piece of cake (like 1 by 1 square inch, which was just right). The special also included a glass of house wine. What a bargain!! The food was all wonderful, but I think my grouper was a little tastier than my husbands filet, but the filet was also very good. (No service charge added)


    Madame Janette's. I still will put it in the positive category, although neither my husband nor I have found a entree we love. This time I had the almond crusted grouper, and he had the duck. Both were good, but not great, in our opinion, but I know others love them both. The appetizer we ordered, Kobe Beef Carpaccio, was absolutely wonderful. We love the atmosphere, the decor, the service, and we were seated at a table beside the entertainer. The man who sang the night we were there was wonderful. My husband and I are originally from WV, and he sang Almost Heaven WV, so he had us in the palm of his hand..haha (No service charge added)


    Marriott Burger/beach side lunch at Waves Bar and Grill. Best hamburger anywhere, hands down. My husband has even ordered the Marriott burger at other Marriott and they don't compare. Partially, it's the location, but he said the burgers really are better. It's a full 1/2 lb bacon burger with fries, so we split the meal (we tip as on the price of two meals though). Even though we never ask, they've always split the burger for us, so we each have our own plate. Even at that, I split my half again with my husband. It's a big burger. (No service charge added)


    Scott's Brats!! It's one of the *many* treasures I found from reading this board. It's in a fantastic location, beach side behind the Playa Linda, and since we were staying at the Hyatt, it was just a short one minute walk from our palapa. The brats were delicious. We also had the Italian sausage one day. It was a tad spicy for us, but we're (especially my husband) like milder foods. You can't beat the price either. I think we bought our lunch there five out of eight days. Congrats to luvsun and Scott!!!! You guys have it firing on all burners!!!! (No service charge added)


    The Club dining at the Hyatt. My husband travels a lot for work, so he has diamond status at the Hyatt. The complimentary breakfast and dinner hors d'oeuvres were meals in themselves. We skipped going out to dinner several nights because the food was so good there. Too bad we didn't stay there when we had our teenagers with us.


    Ice cream/Gelato at Aromi D'Italia in front of the Playa Linda. We wouldn't miss it!


    The So-So's:


    I hate to say it, but The Aqua Grill. My cedar plank salmon was good, but my husband's fish was only okay (sorry, but I forget what he ordered now). His Caesar salad was bland(and this coming from the same person who had to gulp water we drinking his Italian Sausage). (They add the 15% service charge, so be sure to check your bill before paying).

    The Hyatt's Palm's for lunch. The food was only okay (I ordered the chicken wrap and my husband had barbecue) but worse was they were very understaffed. I felt sorry for the waiters. They were working their tails off. I wish we would have ordered the burger for a comparison to the Marriott's. (The Palm's also added the 15% service charge).

    We were overcharged $1 by the taxi driver who took us to Madame Janette's. The driver on the way back charged us the correct amount. We tipped accordingly.


    The Negative:


    One biggy. C'mon parents (I know those of you reading this board aren't really the parents I'm talking about so this is written as more as a head's up), do not let your kids run amok in the hotel, especially late in the evening. Yelling and running up and down the hallways is seriously rude. As it turns out, we were there over President's Day, and some school systems get a couple of days off, and they head to Aruba en masse. I first and foremost blame the parents, and second I blame the Hyatt for not putting the hammer down on the kids making a racket and a nuisance of themselves. The Hyatt did post security on every floor a couple of evenings, but it seemed it was more for show. One evening, we were leaving our room at around 10:30 pm and passed a group of young teens tearing down the hallway yelling back and forth, and the guard didn't say anything. We did hear other guests come out of their rooms a few times to tell the kids to quiet down. We've stayed several times at the Marriott Stellaris over spring break (before and after Easter when our kids were with us), and we never encountered this kind of ongoing behavior. I'm sure the Hyatt didn't like it either, but they should have risked alienating the parents of these out of control kids to protect the peace and quiet of others. We will never make the mistake of booking our stay over President's Day again. That holiday wasn't even on our radar when we made our reservations last year, but now it is. Our friends were staying at the Marriott Ocean Club, and they saw similar behavior. So, my advice is to be wary of Aruba, at least in the high rise area, over President's Day week.


    Small negative: The VIP lounge at the airport. We walked into the lounge at about 3:50 pm. We had a 5:40 flight. After standing there waiting for about 30 seconds the woman behind the desk to check us in (she wasn't on the phone or helping anyone else; she was just writing something), she informed us that they were already closed for the day, and she wasn't friendly about it. First, why didn't she just say that right off the bat instead of leaving us standing there waiting, and secondly, they close before 4:00?


    The Funny:
    There was a large extended family of Italian's from NJ who had several palapas. Unfortunately, for us, their kids were all parked in the palapa directly behind us with little supervision (again, what's up with these parents?! I don't understand it). My husband is 1/2 Italian, so even he knows the show the NJ Housewives, and maybe his wife watches the show, but won't admit to it . We had to laugh though, because there was a group of four pre-teen to young teenage girls that seemed to fight tooth and nail over every little thing, and strutted all over the beach together. My husband started referring to that little group as the future NJ Housewives. We cracked up every time they walked by, because really, they did look and act like NJ HW's in the making.

    Summary:

    All in all, it was an absolutely outstanding trip. We're tentatively planning a June trip with our family and our plan is to stay at the Hyatt (husband is almost out of Hyatt points so no free rooms, but he still has Diamond status, so we'd be able to take advantage of the club lounge with our now grown boys, and we're hoping to bring his parents if everything works out) . We will back for sure next February, but definitely not during the President's Day break. He has a lot of Marriott points, so we'll be booking at the Stellaris. The adult only pool looks lovely. We've already submitted our review to the Hyatt, and gave them tens almost across the board with the exception of the late evening racket from the kids with a small ding for the food from the Palms (we gave the Palms a nine). We stayed at the Hyatt last February, not a holiday week, and it earned tens on everything. It was just a bad week. Between the two hotels, the Hyatt wins for location while the Stellaris wins on accommodations (nice large balcony and larger rooms).


    Thanks to everyone on the board for all their great advice and recommendations. You've all made our Aruba vacation all the better, which is quite an accomplishment.
    No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
    Next Aruba trip in
    Loving Aruba Since Honeymoon 1984

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks corona!!

    re: NJHousewives.........i am unaware of the show, but is it kind of like the kardashians, except from NJ? do they put the FUN in dysFUNction?

    disclosure........no one here is insulting NJ
    Quote Originally Posted by corona View Post
    We had a wonderful time in Aruba and as a bonus, we arrived on Valentine's Day. Of course, from past wonderful experiences, we expected no less.

    children, running the halls of the hotel...........argh




    The Positives:


    The taxi service we received from Ivan and Joseph (I hope I got their names right) from Bully's team. Joseph took us back to the airport and was at the hotel to pick us up ten minutes prior to our scheduled time. Very impressive, as always.


    The Hyatt. It's a lovely hotel, and the staff is top notch. You can book your palapa in advance to arrival for $35/day. We actually booked ours when we made our reservations last spring. For us, it's well worth it. I'm pretty sure, but not positive, that if you book the day of, there's no charge. There is also lounges around the pool area that's at no charge.


    Casa Tua. How did we never have their pizza before??? OMG (and I don't say OMG lightly), the pizza was fantastic! (No service charge added)


    Papillon Restaurant. Again, how did we ever miss this place? We met friends there, and because we made last minute reservations, we had to take a 6:45 seating (or 8:30, but we had after dinner plans), and as it turned out they had an early bird special up to 7pm. For $30 we got a choice of appetizer (we chose corn/fish chowder), I had grouper and my husband had steak, and for desert my husband had vanilla ice cream over papaya and I had coffee with a very small piece of cake (like 1 by 1 square inch, which was just right). The special also included a glass of house wine. What a bargain!! The food was all wonderful, but I think my grouper was a little tastier than my husbands filet, but the filet was also very good. (No service charge added)


    Madame Janette's. I still will put it in the positive category, although neither my husband nor I have found a entree we love. This time I had the almond crusted grouper, and he had the duck. Both were good, but not great, in our opinion, but I know others love them both. The appetizer we ordered, Kobe Beef Carpaccio, was absolutely wonderful. We love the atmosphere, the decor, the service, and we were seated at a table beside the entertainer. The man who sang the night we were there was wonderful. My husband and I are originally from WV, and he sang Almost Heaven WV, so he had us in the palm of his hand..haha (No service charge added)


    Marriott Burger/beach side lunch at Waves Bar and Grill. Best hamburger anywhere, hands down. My husband has even ordered the Marriott burger at other Marriott and they don't compare. Partially, it's the location, but he said the burgers really are better. It's a full 1/2 lb bacon burger with fries, so we split the meal (we tip as on the price of two meals though). Even though we never ask, they've always split the burger for us, so we each have our own plate. Even at that, I split my half again with my husband. It's a big burger. (No service charge added)


    Scott's Brats!! It's one of the *many* treasures I found from reading this board. It's in a fantastic location, beach side behind the Playa Linda, and since we were staying at the Hyatt, it was just a short one minute walk from our palapa. The brats were delicious. We also had the Italian sausage one day. It was a tad spicy for us, but we're (especially my husband) like milder foods. You can't beat the price either. I think we bought our lunch there five out of eight days. Congrats to luvsun and Scott!!!! You guys have it firing on all burners!!!! (No service charge added)


    The Club dining at the Hyatt. My husband travels a lot for work, so he has diamond status at the Hyatt. The complimentary breakfast and dinner hors d'oeuvres were meals in themselves. We skipped going out to dinner several nights because the food was so good there. Too bad we didn't stay there when we had our teenagers with us.


    Ice cream/Gelato at Aromi D'Italia in front of the Playa Linda. We wouldn't miss it!


    The So-So's:


    I hate to say it, but The Aqua Grill. My cedar plank salmon was good, but my husband's fish was only okay (sorry, but I forget what he ordered now). His Caesar salad was bland(and this coming from the same person who had to gulp water we drinking his Italian Sausage). (They add the 15% service charge, so be sure to check your bill before paying).

    The Hyatt's Palm's for lunch. The food was only okay (I ordered the chicken wrap and my husband had barbecue) but worse was they were very understaffed. I felt sorry for the waiters. They were working their tails off. I wish we would have ordered the burger for a comparison to the Marriott's. (The Palm's also added the 15% service charge).

    We were overcharged $1 by the taxi driver who took us to Madame Janette's. The driver on the way back charged us the correct amount. We tipped accordingly.


    The Negative:


    One biggy. C'mon parents (I know those of you reading this board aren't really the parents I'm talking about so this is written as more as a head's up), do not let your kids run amok in the hotel, especially late in the evening. Yelling and running up and down the hallways is seriously rude. As it turns out, we were there over President's Day, and some school systems get a couple of days off, and they head to Aruba en masse. I first and foremost blame the parents, and second I blame the Hyatt for not putting the hammer down on the kids making a racket and a nuisance of themselves. The Hyatt did post security on every floor a couple of evenings, but it seemed it was more for show. One evening, we were leaving our room at around 10:30 pm and passed a group of young teens tearing down the hallway yelling back and forth, and the guard didn't say anything. We did hear other guests come out of their rooms a few times to tell the kids to quiet down. We've stayed several times at the Marriott Stellaris over spring break (before and after Easter when our kids were with us), and we never encountered this kind of ongoing behavior. I'm sure the Hyatt didn't like it either, but they should have risked alienating the parents of these out of control kids to protect the peace and quiet of others. We will never make the mistake of booking our stay over President's Day again. That holiday wasn't even on our radar when we made our reservations last year, but now it is. Our friends were staying at the Marriott Ocean Club, and they saw similar behavior. So, my advice is to be wary of Aruba, at least in the high rise area, over President's Day week.


    Small negative: The VIP lounge at the airport. We walked into the lounge at about 3:50 pm. We had a 5:40 flight. After standing there waiting for about 30 seconds the woman behind the desk to check us in (she wasn't on the phone or helping anyone else; she was just writing something), she informed us that they were already closed for the day, and she wasn't friendly about it. First, why didn't she just say that right off the bat instead of leaving us standing there waiting, and secondly, they close before 4:00?


    The Funny:
    There was a large extended family of Italian's from NJ who had several palapas. Unfortunately, for us, their kids were all parked in the palapa directly behind us with little supervision (again, what's up with these parents?! I don't understand it). My husband is 1/2 Italian, so even he knows the show the NJ Housewives, and maybe his wife watches the show, but won't admit to it . We had to laugh though, because there was a group of four pre-teen to young teenage girls that seemed to fight tooth and nail over every little thing, and strutted all over the beach together. My husband started referring to that little group as the future NJ Housewives. We cracked up every time they walked by, because really, they did look and act like NJ HW's in the making.

    Summary:

    All in all, it was an absolutely outstanding trip. We're tentatively planning a June trip with our family and our plan is to stay at the Hyatt (husband is almost out of Hyatt points so no free rooms, but he still has Diamond status, so we'd be able to take advantage of the club lounge with our now grown boys, and we're hoping to bring his parents if everything works out) . We will back for sure next February, but definitely not during the President's Day break. He has a lot of Marriott points, so we'll be booking at the Stellaris. The adult only pool looks lovely. We've already submitted our review to the Hyatt, and gave them tens almost across the board with the exception of the late evening racket from the kids with a small ding for the food from the Palms (we gave the Palms a nine). We stayed at the Hyatt last February, not a holiday week, and it earned tens on everything. It was just a bad week. Between the two hotels, the Hyatt wins for location while the Stellaris wins on accommodations (nice large balcony and larger rooms).


    Thanks to everyone on the board for all their great advice and recommendations. You've all made our Aruba vacation all the better, which is quite an accomplishment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member purpleangel's Avatar
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    Great report!

  4. #4
    Senior Member corona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    thanks corona!!

    re: NJHousewives.........i am unaware of the show, but is it kind of like the kardashians, except from NJ? do they put the FUN in dysFUNction?

    disclosure........no one here is insulting NJ
    Thank you for saying we're not dissing New Jersey, and certainly not Italians. Some of my favorite people are Italian.

    The NJ Housewives are famous (or infamous) for Teresa Giudice's table flip. I'm only slightly familiar with the Kardashians, mostly because of the wedding, but if they argue to the point of making your ears bleed, and don't have a filter on their feelings &/or mouths, they're pretty similar..lol
    No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
    Next Aruba trip in
    Loving Aruba Since Honeymoon 1984

  5. #5
    Senior Member corona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purpleangel View Post
    Great report!
    Thank you very much, purpleangel. I've never written one before, but it was fun to do. It was a walk down memory lane.
    No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
    Next Aruba trip in
    Loving Aruba Since Honeymoon 1984

  6. #6
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    Andrea, there's housewives of nj, housewives of beverly hills, housewives of atlanta, housewives of orange county-- i think there's housewives from every state. though i am from nj and i am italian, they are nothing like the housewives of nj that i actually know, lol......

  7. #7
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    hahahahaha

    i live in a golf community (age/deed restricted) and i think we could get a housewife series here.
    ;-)


    now back on topic of Corona's report.

    Quote Originally Posted by gaby View Post
    Andrea, there's housewives of nj, housewives of beverly hills, housewives of atlanta, housewives of orange county-- i think there's housewives from every state. though i am from nj and i am italian, they are nothing like the housewives of nj that i actually know, lol......

  8. #8
    Senior Member katherine's Avatar
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    Red face

    Corona
    We stayed at the Hyatt President's week a few years ago, and swore we would never go to Aruba (or any vacation) during that time again. We paid more money to stay when it was a lot more crowded and the other guests were so rude! We also noticed the grown ups would go out and leave their teens and pre teens to wander the hotel and grounds alone. We were amazed at how many kids were unsupervised fairly late at night. A lot of them were going down to Moomba's and drinking. We have been to Aruba during spring break weeks many times and never experienced this.
    BTW I am a REAL housewife in NJ married to a wonderful Italian man and we are nothing like the Housewives on TV - although I love watching the show myself, and have run across the type here myself.
    katherine




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  9. #9
    Senior Member DANNYO's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing great report

  10. #10
    Senior Member corona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katherine View Post
    Corona
    We stayed at the Hyatt President's week a few years ago, and swore we would never go to Aruba (or any vacation) during that time again. We paid more money to stay when it was a lot more crowded and the other guests were so rude! We also noticed the grown ups would go out and leave their teens and pre teens to wander the hotel and grounds alone. We were amazed at how many kids were unsupervised fairly late at night. A lot of them were going down to Moomba's and drinking. We have been to Aruba during spring break weeks many times and never experienced this.
    BTW I am a REAL housewife in NJ married to a wonderful Italian man and we are nothing like the Housewives on TV - although I love watching the show myself, and have run across the type here myself.
    Katherine, it's hard to believe that you had the same experience a few years ago and also that it wasn't like this for you over spring break when I'd almost sort of expect it. For anyone who hasn't experienced it, it's really that bad. It's interesting that you also commented on the young kids at Moomba's, because our friends told us they saw that too. It'd be a shame for first time visitors to Aruba to think this is the norm.

    We arrived the Tuesday prior to President's Day Monday, and we started noticing an influx of loudness trickling in on Thursday. By Friday they were here, there and everywhere. We left the Tuesday after President's Day, and they were still going strong. It didn't ruin our trip, but it certainly was an annoyance, and one we'll avoid in the future, because we'll never go back that week.
    ------------------
    (Regarding the RHoNJ, goodness, those women are c.r.a.z.y! I read an article last fall where Melissa said she and her family were thinking about going to Aruba for Thanksgiving!! Yikes. Please no!

    You must really find the show a hoot. My Italian mother-in-law sometimes watches the show with me, and those women are so over the top, we just have to laugh. They so often excuse their behavior because they're Italian or because they're from NJ. Um nooo...they're just nutz! )
    No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
    Next Aruba trip in
    Loving Aruba Since Honeymoon 1984

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