Thursday 7/17 & Friday 7/18 - Baby Beach, Laundry, Move to Westin
Thursday - 7/17/2008
After breakfast, we attempted to head out to the Colorodo Lighthouse and Baby beach. I say 'attempted' because it seems like everywhere we go we get lost! We packed up in the jeep and drove off. Of course we never found the lighthouse --- ha -- but we did end up at the other end of the island. We were on some dirt roads and very high up. (I have no idea name of where we were ) The views were breathtaking. To the right was baby beach and to the left was miles and miles of beautiful shoreline. AMAZING! We took pictures of the water hitting the rocks along the coast and then headed to go down to baby beach. We attempted to drive on the 4x4 dirt trails all the way down .... but we hit dead end after dead end -- HA. I told my husband those trails were the wrong way to go. Anyhow, the girls loved the bumpy paths... and when we finally got to baby beach -- they were exhausted! We took several pictures at baby beach and then decided to head back to hotel and cook lunch. We made a great lunch and as a side note --- the burners in our unit worked great as well as the hotel provided some non-stick pans for us to use as well which made it nice. After lunch was naptime , AKA -- momma's favorite 2 hours. After lunch we hit Renaissance Island for the last time . We made great time of it and played and swam a long time at 'tuba aruba' (hehe). Our favorite boat driver was Ytienne (sp?) he was very helpful with the girls and even let the toddler 'drive' -- great pictures and memories as she still is talking about 'I drive boat'. We cleaned up after beach time and headed over to our dinner location -- Madame Jannette. I know I will get some feedback from this one -- but hands down this was my favorite meal and location thus far -- to us much better then Flying Fishbone the night before. The service was 5 star, the food was beyond amazing and the ambiance was very elegant/caribbean. Truly shouldn't be missed. I had the almond crusted grouper (think $24) and my husband had surf & turf $40. The kids selections were really good too. There was a lot of food for the price and we took several 'doggie bags' back with us. I can't say enough about the food quality and service --- this is a MUST.
Once we returned to the hotel -- it was 'laundry' time. This was the BIGGEST mistake of our trip. My husband placed 2 loads in the washers (5th & 4th). That was fine, but the dryers never dried the clothes.... He restarted them several times -- but still wet clothes -- $14 out and several hours later... the front desk was no help. Huby brought all the clothes back and we 'hung' the clothes to dry all over the room on chairs/iron board/tables under the ceiling fan... Needles to say, this was the worst part of trip.
Friday - 7/18/2008 -- When we awoke, the clothes were still damp. Another trip to front desk and they not only wouldn't refund the $ when they found out the dryers were not working correctly... they said to 'try it on the 1st and 3rd floors'. We finally had dry clothes (another $3.75 later and several more hours waiting for clothes to dry). Lesson learned -- no washing clothes at renaissance ocean suites. Just plan on bringing home dirty clothes and washing at home.
We finished packing with 13 min to spare (checkout time was noon and they are pretty stern on that time and no later -- even for Marriott Platinum members that stay at Marriott/renaissance 140+ nights a year). Bully was there to pick up luggage and help us transport our luggage to Westin. When we arrived at Westin, I thought there might be a problem with checking in 4 hours early -- but no problem at all. In fact, they upgraded us to an oceanfront room. We purchased the room thru priceline for $105/night! What a STEAL! The hotel and the room and views are INCREDIBLE here. I walked around with the biggest grin... After getting our luggage to room -- we were ready for lunch. Nos Cunucu! I had a print out from their website on how to get there -- glad I brought this. This restaurant SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. The food really was fabulous -- this is my second favorite place behind Madame Janette and ahead of flying fishbone... Very 'locals only' hole in the wall. After talking to the owner, they had shut down for a few months for remodeling. The decor is still very nice and very 'homey' but the food is incredible. There was no one else there -- but we didn't get there till 1:15pm so after any kind of rush. If you have a car GO TO THIS RESTAURANT! The coconut shrimp and crusted snapper are delicious. My girls loved the family of peacoks that walked around and they had a fun time taking pictures of them. When we pulled up -- my husband thought -- NO WAY (there was a wild dog barking in street). Thank goodness we didn't turn around... anyways --- we then went back to hotel for naptime . The pool at the Westin is heavenly as was the beach. The sand at the westin area is FABULOUS! Very silky sand almost luxurious. We played for few hours on beach. There was also a live band by the pool area bar. they were GREAT. We danced to a few songs. ; )
For dinner, we pushed out our reservations for a bit later since we had late lunch. We went to Buccaneer. This was good food but the best part was really for the girls. We sat next to a fish tank and the girls 'talked' to the blow fish the entire time. This was VERY relaxing. The prices are reasonable as we spent $54 total for family of 4 (no alcohol or other beverages -- just water). The service was so-so --- but again, you go for the table entertainment. Recommend this for kids.
Thats all for now --- heading to bed early -- can't wait to get a full nights sleep in the 'Heavenly bed'.
Saturday, July 19th - Ostrich Farm, Natural Bridge & Shopping!
As we had the last day with the Jeep, we thought we would make good use of it. We started out on the road to the ostrich farm for breakfast which ended up being brunch by the time we got there - ha. They didn't realize we had made reservations so it took them a bit to get breakfast together. (I had done reservations via email confirmation.) No worries though, once we were seated the coffees (fabulous african espresso style coffee) were coming and soon after the food. We were served a large platter of cheeses and hams/salami, platter of different breads, platters of jelly's (including chocolate LOL), platter of boiled eggs and best of all a platter of Ostrich Omlette! The girls liked it until they found out what it was. It was actually much better then regular omlettes for hubby and I. Overall, we were pleased with this breakfast choice -- adventurous and delicious. After the ostrich farm, we headed one stop over to the Natural Bridge. How breathtaking it must have been before it collapsed in Sept. 2nd 2005. We took great family pics here although I was a bit worried about tripping and falling down at the bottom (what mom isn't though). We took off driving down to Oranjestad and did some shopping. Souveniers and stuff -- but that was a bunch of fun. As the day got warmer - we did end up at senor frogs for the girls to go down the water slide. The two yr old way in no way going by herself and she wouldn't leave the place until she went down slide . Guess who had to go down with her! <sigh> So yes, after her and I went down -- momma was done at senor frogs - lol.
We went by Ling and Songs to pick up some Dutch liquors to bring back home and then back to the room. We took a rest and then got dressed for dinner at Cuba's Cooking. Delicious food but we split some meals since we were still somewhat full from brunch. The Pechuga con Mofongo was great ($23). We had 4 mojitos, 2 adult dinner entrees, side of rice and beans for girls and they split food with us which worked out great, dessert of tres leches and cafe con leche and our bill ended up at $118 with tip. Everyone's budget of $200-$250 per day for family of 4 is pretty accurate (my husband still dines like a growing teenage boy).
We did a little more driving and came back to go to bed early afterwards.
1. Renaissance private island 2. Sunsets from our room 3. Baby beach 4. Alto Vista Chapel 5. Hiking Hooiberg 6. lighthouse and cunucu exploring 7. all the restaurants 8. Crystal and Seaport casinos 9. charlie's Bar 10. Downtown Orangestad.