Hi there from all of our favorite island. Sorry I haven't posted anything sooner but I have just been too relaxed (lazy). We arrived here on Thursday July 5 and get back to NJ on Thursday night July 12, so I will post a more detailed report, restaurant reviews, etc then. Though I would like to at least share a few observations of our first 5 days...
-Weather has been real nice. The first few days were actually "cool" for Aruba with the breeze and fairly low humidity, but it has gotten hotter and more humid as the week has gone on-but no real rain to speak of!
-We are at the Surf Club and the Palm Beach area is definitely busier than when we were here last July. There are actually lots of people in the shopping areas, including the Palm Beach and Paseo Harencia malls which seemed like ghost towns last year.
-We have had 5 super dinners so far at Amuse Bistro, Wacky Wahoo's, Cuba's Cookin', Madame Janette's, and Barefoot. Tonight we eat at 2 Fools & a Bull and we're really looking forward to it. Much more detail on the restaurant scene when I get back.
-The Surf Club has been terrific- friendly staff as always, they added many palapas to the beach, the adults only serenity pool is great.
-I had lunch at Scott's Brats on Saturday and finally got to meet Leslie and Scott. They have a great setup there at the Playa Linda, their food is really good and very reasonable. We brought them some Univ. of Wisconsin decals and they promised to add them to their growing collection. Apparently we missed Ricky59 by a day or so, but he has left his mark with license plates. Leslie and scott are really nice folks and they seem to be working their butts off to be successful.
Would have loved to meet you as well. Scott & Leslie told us all about you and your wife-I think they are missing you guys. Maybe next year we can all meet there for brats and beer-kind of a BB lunch happy hour.
Since I had such a lousy experience with Thrifty last year and complained about it, I thought I would give props to Avis. We had great service from Avis this year from the time we stepped into their booth at the airport to the time we returned at the airport when we were flying home. I booked a "mid-sized" car since we had 4 adults and a good amount of luggage and when I got to Avis they upgraded me to a Suzuki APV van at no extra charge. The Van was almost new and had lots of room for us to spread out after those big dinners . Avis may not be the cheapest rental on the island but they were excellent and the airport pickup was super convenient.
By the way, Thrifty is no longer in business in Aruba and they have been absorbed by Dolllar.
Other random thoughts in no particular order...
-the Ritz is going up really fast and is really big (I posted pictures on another thread).
-the new Super Foods is going up really slow and looks like it is being built by 2 or 3 men.
-there was definitely an increased police presence. on Sat. night (7/7) we ate downtown and there was some sort of street festival going on near the old Carlos & Charlies. The were 2 cops on every corner of downtown.
-there seems to be a lot of new restaurants and there were a decent number of people at the malls in Palm Beach at night which last year seemed deserted.
-The Surf Club management is definitely improved and have figured out how to deal with the large amount of people, both at the front desk and on the beach.
-the serenity pool (adults only) at the SC is fast becoming one of my favorite places. The landscaping is great and they have created a real sense of privacy and I was able to get chairs whenever I went there. I am generally a beach person, but I love coming off the beach in the afternoon for a few hours of quiet time with my book and a drink at the serenity pool.