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Thread: Trip report 11/1 - 11/8

  1. #1
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    Trip report 11/1 - 11/8

    Another amazing trip to Aruba. This Forum is wonderful and I have been following the advice for three trips now. It is so helpful so a big thank you to everyone involved.

    Bully picked us up from the airport and he is exactly what I love about the Aruban people. Kind, helpful, friendly. He took us to Ling and Sons to pick up a cas of Balashi for the hotel and then off to the Westin. Arrived at about 2:15 and room was ready for check in. Went right to the pool and started the vacation. All week the staff at the Westin was wonderful. While laying by the pool or on the beach, they come around with cookies, ice pops, frozen fruit on a stick and ice cold towels. There is ice water available at the pool at a self serve station. The service was exceptional.

    First night dinner (you will notice that this report will revolve around food as most of our trip did as well) was at Casa Tua. Great pizzas and a couple of cold Brights . Wife had the seafood pizza and I had the Gypsy (chorizo, black olives and onions). Shrimp bruschetta and caesar salad for apetizers were good. Great food and inexpensive.

    Sunday was a beach day (that was all we did, no sightseeing this time). I wake up at 6:30 everyday and go for a swim. It is the most peaceful time and place for me and you can just forget the world for a few minutes. We had a passing shower for about 10 minutes and then it was business as usual. The weather for the week was unbelievable. Clear skies and virtually no clouds for 7 days.

    Sunday night went to Smokey Joes to watch the Giants game and enjoy some ribs. Wife doesn't like ribs so she had the Mahi Mahi with Aruba sauce and really liked it. Ribs are soft and plentiful. Another inexpensive quality meal. Walked back to the Westin on the beach and enjoyed a glass of wine on the beach under the stars.

    Monday dinner was El Gaucho. Have never had a bad meal there. Before dinner went to Garufas for a belvidere martini and enjoyed the piano entertainment. Had the Conch app and Gauch steak. This place is just great. We were stuffed so we took a piece of fried cheesecake to go and ate it in bed. Whatever was left of our large pitcher of sangria was also put in a to go cup and was great at the beach the next day.

    Tuesday we just wanted to stay on the beach and had some pizza from Casa tua and a quesadilla on the beach with a couple of cold beers. At this point, we were in full relaxation mode.

    Wednesday was MJs. My first time and I was not really impressed. Wife loved the Almond Grouper and I had the pork loin smothered in onions and peppercorm sauce. It was very dry. Wife enjoyed the Almond Grouper. We shared he crab cake appetizer and again just OK. Service was really slow, even for Aruba standards.

    I hope this report is not getting boring. I will post the second half of the week when I have a bit more time after catching up on some work.

    Andrew

  2. #2
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review! Cannot wait now for the second half. The Westin has always been one of our favorites. Was the water clear up at that end of Palm Beach while you were there?

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    Water was clear and very calm. The beach clearly eroded during Omar. It is more narrow from the water towards the hotel making the paapas kind of close together in some areas. There was probably a 2 foot drop to step down right at the waters edge. We did hear from friends at the Marriott and Hyatt that the beach was a bit dirty and had a slight odor. We walked by there on two occasions and did not notice it.

    To be continued...

    Andrew

  4. #4
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    great trip report thanks
    look forward to part 2

    sorry to hear that MJs was a disappointment.
    i hope that you sent your pork loin back.
    MJs tries to go out of their way to keep the diners happy as do all of the aruban restaurants.

    andrea

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    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
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    Andrew..thanks so much for this report...we love casa tua also....continue pls...cindyo

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    Trip report continued...

    In reading part 1, I realize I left some gaps and there are some other items that should be included. First, breakfast each day was the buffet at the Westin in the Bon Bini cafe. A very nice buffet that was included in our trip but not nearly worth the $25 per person that is normally charged. That being said, it was a nice start to each day.

    Each evening, we ended with a night cap at the Lobby bar where we enjoyed great conversation with other guests and also with bartenders Karen and Jojo. Wife had the espresso martini every night and loved it. I usually opted for a port wine or sambuca or baileys. The lobby of the Westin has this unbelievable scent that can conjure up memories the moment you enter the revolving door at the main entrance. The hotel is non-smoking and this is great if you are a non-smoker.

    I generally commented on the perfect weather in the prior report. The first 2 days or so were extremely humid with virtually no breeze at all. This caused a lot of flies and gnats but still no sign off mosquitoes. That comes later.

    I think I left off on Wednesday evening at MJs. While a bit disappointed, I still enjoyed the experience and the live music.

    Thrursday was another beach day. We would usually hang under the palapa and move to the pool late in the afternoon to rinse the salt and relax. I brought a few balashis to the beach in a little cooler bag. What a money saver. A balashi is $5.50 or so at the outdoor bar and we paid $24 for a case. Highly recommend this. Should have bought two cases. Wife is not really a beer drinker but does enjoy Corona in the summer. I convinced her to have a Bright the first night at Casa Tua and she was hooked.

    So Thursday was another steak night and we decided on LG Smiths. Cab dropped us off but the driver had no change at all. So I go up into the casino and get change and run back down. We sit by the window in LGs and order the shrimp cocktail and tuna sashimi appetizer. Very good. We both had the filet, my wife the 8 oz. Cooked perfectly and very soft. Shared sides of mushrooms, creamed spinach, mashed potato and onion rings. This place has a very elegant atmosphere but I think the steak at El Gaucho may have been better. The dessert was a mango cobbler with ice cream and cinnamon sauce. Outstanding.

    Friday, a bit of sadness was starting to creep up as we were leaving the next day. A sunset dinner at Passions was our plan. This place is beautiful with exceptional service. We had the crab salad to split and loved it. Wife had the seafood parade and I have the grilled ahi. Good meals and loved the potato casserole and grilled veggies. This was a mosquito-fest. I had used to Off wipes before leaving the hotel and they came around with spray. My wife got bit on her forehead and it blew up right away. It looked like she hit her head. We had to hang in there though to order the Passions suprise dessert. Since it's a suprise, I won't say what it is other than very good.

    Went back to the hotel and to the casino for the last time. Only gambled 3 nights and ended up winning a few bucks over the course of the week. Enough to pay for a few dinners.

    Saturday morning, one last early morning swim and then Bully called to break the bad news...he was picking us up to go to the airport. We never flew out on a Saturday, now I know why. After checking in, the line for customs was outside around the building and snaking all the way back into the check in area. We had a 3:30 flight and made it to the gate at about 2:45. It took us about 2 and a half hours to get there. Boarded the plane and paradise was left behind.

    Another amazing trip. I must add that I read "An Island Away" by our very own SanNic44 while on the beach. An excellent read and I highly recommend. Can't wait for the sequel.

    Something about this island captivates me. The spirit of the Aruban people, the weather, the great restaurants; but I also find the regular and repeat visitors to this island to be one of a kind. People we met at the gate in JFK became like old friends, we wold see them on the island and it would be like we really knew each other. People we met at bars or restaurants became immediate friends and we will miss them all. Maybe the island brings us together or maybe we all continue to congregate on the island together because we are similar as a people that we instantly click. Maybe it is just the euphoria of being in paradise that allows us to open up and enjoy the company of new friends. Even the members of this forum. ALthough many have never met and we live in different parts of the country, we share this common interest that makes us enjoy interacting with each other on this forum. It is an interesting phenomenon that always makes me think and smile. To each of you, I say thanks again, enjoy your future visits and always keep a vacation booked to satisfy the addiction.

    Andrew

  7. #7
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    WOW! Again, I felt like I was there with you. Yummy...that crab salad at Passions! The rest of their food is pretty darn good as well.

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    Member hawaiianmoonlight's Avatar
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    I can't thank you enough for your last line... "keep a vacation booked to satisfy the addiction." It made me realize why I drive my family and extended family crazy. I'm always the one saying let's go here, let's go there. My daughter and I are booked for a western caribbean cruise in April and I'm trying to get hubby to go. says he's not a cruise person. Well, we've never been on one, how do you know if you don't try it?! Care Diem.
    Next Aruba trip in

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    Member hawaiianmoonlight's Avatar
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    Sorry about the type o... I meant Carpe Diem.
    Next Aruba trip in

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiianmoonlight View Post
    I can't thank you enough for your last line... "keep a vacation booked to satisfy the addiction." It made me realize why I drive my family and extended family crazy. I'm always the one saying let's go here, let's go there. My daughter and I are booked for a western caribbean cruise in April and I'm trying to get hubby to go. says he's not a cruise person. Well, we've never been on one, how do you know if you don't try it?! Care Diem.
    My wife and I both work pretty hard and it makes it all worthwhile when you can take a nice, well-deserved vacation. We always try to give ourselves something to look forward to.

    Cruises are great and something that you will definitely enjoy. Many people are concerned about feeling trapped but you would be shocked. THese ships are so big now and offer so much entertainment that there may be parts of the ship you never even get to see. Enjoy it.

    Andrew

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