This trip report is very late, but when I return from Aruba I just feel so depressed.
Hotel: Tamarijn Dates: November 1, 2012 to November 12, 2012
We (wife and two children ages 6 and 11) arrived at the Tamarijn, were quickly checked in and provided room keys which did not unlock our room. Luckly, we were driven to the room via the golf cart and our driver was kind enough to return to the front desk and have the keys reset. The poor guy had to do this 2x because the keys would not work. I gave him a $20 so he has happy.
We settle into the room fast and run out to the beach, the view was very nice, but there was a 20”x10” seaweed right infront of our room, kinda took away from the view. But we survived. After a few hours at the beach we decided to shower and hit the buffet. My wife started to unpack and noticed that the drawers had little bugs in them! We were in building 2200. We walked down to the front desk and asked kindly for a new room, which we were granted in the 2300 block. So we switched. The women and the desk was very helpful.
From the new room, the seaweed was now to our right so that was better. I just loved how you could sit on the bed, patio (1st floor) and check out the ocean. Also, if one of the children had to use the bathroom, you could just let them go on their own since the patio door was about 15 feet from the beach. We had quickly claimed the beach hut right in front of our room. I would wake up at 6am and put our towels out with a beach bag there to claim it. Staff here chain up all of the beach loungers at night, however if you walk around you always could find a stack that was not chained up. So at 6am I would take two to four chairs and put them under our hut. Yes, I am that guy! Heck, I felt it was my right to claim the hut right outside my room, plus we stay on the beach from 8am to 5:30pm, every day (minus 1.5hrs for lunch).
Beach You cannot control Mother Nature, but the seaweed pile was an eye sore. There was also a big step down from the little board walk to the beach. The beach itself was cleaned 2x by the beach zamboni during our stay. Last year at the Divi, the beach was cleaned very day. That made the sand much softer and it just looked a lot nicer. Sometimes you would step down from the boardwalk and you would hit a very small rock that was just under the sand, boy would that hurt. But I was glad to not have had a building with tons of big rocks. Thanks to Aruba Lisa and Andrea for helping me pick which block I should stay in to avoid the big rocks that were found to the right of the bunker bar. I emailed the Tamarijn about 30 days before our arrival and again 48 hours out and requested the 22 or 23 block.
Food Breakfast- I thought it was okay, but it was not as good as the previous year when we stayed at the Divi AI for 15 days. My kids hated the BF at the Tam, they would eat like little birds so I had to take them to the Divi. The omelets at the Tam were over cooked and you had to tell the person to add double the cheese. If you did not you could not tell the omelet had cheese. Also, you had to tell the cook not to burn the omelet. Lunch- We at at the main pool bar. We all loved the selection here, much better than the Divi beach bar. Why? The selection! We had cheese fries, chicken fingers, pizza, all cooked to order. I was sad, just a tad, b/c the ice cream machine was gone but they did have little cups of ice cream behind the bar, this was nice, but the kids like making their own cone better. We did love the setup, eat lunch with the kids at the bar, then swim in the pool for a bit. One day the kids even got to make their own tie dye t-shirts, that was cool.
Dinner- Day 1 was the only day we ate at the buffet. DW is not into the buffet style dinner, she does not like leaving stuff to chance. We then stayed on a steady rotation of Red Parrot, Paparazzi, Ginger, and the cook your own food place. The kids love cooking their own food, I liked it as well. The food quality I thought was excellent, same type of family dinner that would run me $100 in the US so I thought it was a good value. I read in the past about some complaining that it is too hot. You are in Aruba, what do you expect, lol. Red Parrot was our 2nd favorite, I thought the steak was good and I loved the sauce they put on it. Paparazzi and Ginger were okay, not bad, but not great, just okay. The chicken parm at Paparazzi tastes difference, the chicken is not the same as in the US. As for Ginger the good was a bit to salty.
We did take advantage of Windows on Aruba. Unlike all of the other reviews I have read, I must say we did not like it. My steak had no taste, it looked great, but it had to flavor. DW had the lobster, this dish cost the $35 that you had to pay plus another $20 or $25 surcharge, so her meal was $55 or $60. The lobster was small and average. It was the same exact lobster you would get in a US chain restaurant called Red lobster, but their price is $20, not $55. The atmosphere was very nice as was the server, I just felt that for $150 or so we over paid for low quality food. Will never return there. We were not mad, just disappointed.
Adventure One morning, we rented a small car from Hertz at the hotel, maybe $80 for the day. The kids just love the Ostrich farm. So that is always our first stop. The price is fair, maybe $30 for the four of us. You take a little walk and the guide tells you some fun facts. Then you get to the best part, the feeding. The guide gives each child a bowl full of food, and they back up against the fence, while holding the bowl against their belly. The Ostriches, then wrap their necks around them to get to the food, it is so funny.
After that we take the vehicle to the old gold mind ruins which is about a few miles, maybe a 5 min drive away. We walk around the rubble, maybe buy a drink and admire the rock formations that people must have stacked at some point. We then drive the car towards the fallen natural bridge. Lots of picture moments on the way.
Last year we rented a jeep and paid more and I noticed cars doing the same stuff we did, so this year I went for the car. I did not shop around for price. Last year the place I used was offsite and I felt like they were shady. It was much easier and I felt safe renting from the hotel Hertz agent.
A few nights we grabbed a taxi down to the high rise congested area. Tons of people all over the place. I could not believe it. The kids like walking around and looking at all of the items for sale from the merchants. Well, they liked buying stuff better.
Our days are very much the same in Aruba. I wake up secure the hut, go back to sleep till 8am, we eat breakfast, then sit on the beach, eat lunch, swim in the pool, return the beach, watch the sun set, then shower, dinner, watch hotel show, then bed. Very basic, simple, and relaxing.
Would I stay here again: Yes, but I would prefer the Divi b/c the beach is better (IMO of course). I think we saved $500 by staying at the Tamarijn over the Divi. Also, the kids liked breakfast better at the Divi.
Nice detailed report. Was surprised to hear about the seaweed. I wonder if it's more difficult to groom the beach at the Tam because of the rocks. When we were at the Divi in October they cleaned the beach daily. Thanks for sharing. Oh and my DH won't eat chicken when we are in Aruba because he says it doesn't taste the same but I don't really notice much difference.
Last edited by Pegmeister; 03-17-2013 at 06:39 AM.
Pelican Pier at sunset with a bucket of Brights!
Sunsets at Bunker Bar
LG Smith Steakhouse, Windows on Aruba,
Nice report, sounds like a great trip. Boy...$20 for the guy who helped with your room key, must of made his day I stay at Divi and I too miss the soft serve ice cream, the ice cream in the cups is not the samehope they will bring back the soft serve machine, fingers crossed! I agree the Tam beach bar has better snacks but Divi does in fact have the better beach. Either place you stay it is fun to go back and forth. Hope you are planning a return trip sometime this year!