My soon to be bride and myself are planning a honeymoon trip to Aruba either 10/18 or 10/19 for seven days. We are both in our early 30's and like to drink/party but also like to just hang out on the beach. We have been looking at the following places so far:Renaissance, Occidental, Radisson and Westin. We are leaning towards AI just because of the amount of drinking we do but don't know what prices are for drinks/dinner in not through AI. We like the Renaissance because its close to downtown (no car needed) and the adult only section but not sure how we like the fact about having to take a boat to the beach.
From what I have found out so far on this site all the hotels mentioned above are good. We just need a little help pushing us one way or the other.
Could someone help out what the average beer/drink cost as well as dinner for two?
If you stayed at the hotels above recently, could you compare them to each other?
I'm sure i'll have other questions and if you need info from me ask.
Tom, Rennaissance owner here, been going for 12 years. I highly recommend the place, and cannot comment on any of the others. The boat ride to the private island is a lot of fun. The boat leaves every 15 minutes, you arrive to a gorgeous island, and don't have to worry about the crowd, saving chairs, etc....There are tons of restaurants downtown to walk to. View my pictures in the gallery of this site and you can see some pics of the island. Lots of people on this site have their favorites, so read all their posts too. Any questions about the Renn. ask away and I will do my best to answer. By the way, there are 2 Rennaissnces, marina and suites. Also, 2 sides to the private island, family and adult....
Drinks at the renn.run bout 9.00, but we bring our own alcohol.
We do not do AI, as there are far, far to many good restaurants in town.
Hi Tom, I definitely also like the Renaissance, for the convinience of downtown, and like CindyO, said no AI because there are great restaurants on the island. I would check with your travel agent, or if you want contact me, and do the drink only option at most of these hotel, which allows you some drinks not all day, and saves you money.
The two sides of the complex was one thing we liked about it. Its not that we don't like kids but it's nice because some parents don't watch them and they become bothersome.
Even with outside people able to go to the island there is no trouble getting chairs ect?
Jarubian, I didn't know that you could do a "drink" only AI. Like I said before we like to drink and at $9 per drink my fiancee alone would break the bank on this trip ! If you can't post it on here could you PM me any info on the drink only AI?
Does the Renaissance have a breakfast option also? From what I found it looks like food for two ranges from $80 and up. Is this correct?
Can a car be rented from the hotel or does this have to be done at the airport? I heard some hotels have that service.
I have to STRONGLY agree with the others about NOT doing an AI in Aruba. You will live to regret that decision. Had a number of friends go to the RIU (against my advice) and were very sorry that they did that. Aruba is known for the ability to get around and be safe. This is not something that most Carribean islands can offer. They did not enjoy the repititon of the food and realized that they missed out on a lot by being stuck to the resort.
The Radisson is right on the beach. They have an option that includes breakfast only. You can then go out for dinners. We go to the grocery store and stock up on alcohol/beer as it is much cheaper than buying from the resort. Kong Hing (grocery store) even sells styrofoam coolers. This is a very nice resort with a lovely pool.
Taxis are very reasonable and the bus system is very safe. It depends on what you want. If you want to wake up and be on the beach and overlooking the ocean stay at the Radisson, etc. Many restaurants and entertainment are within walking distance as our many shops.
The Renaissance is in the "heart of the downtown". It really depends on what your preferences are. As you can see there are lots of people on the BB that are happy in the downtown area and don't mind taking the boat to their beach, others prefer to be on the beach. Its what you like....
RK05...there is a rental agency in the hotel. Only people staying at the Renn can get on the private island..You need your room key to get on the boat that is activated when you check in. NO one else can go( unless they pay 75.00 per person). You get on the boat at the dock in the marina OR at the dock at the marina area from the suites.
I know nothing about an AI drink plan. Thats why we buy at the duty free airport and drinks are made in our room...Happy hour is at 5 and they are 2 for 1. cindyo
We were just talking the other night about what we wanted as far as being "on" the beach or close to town and we don't know yet. I think the best thing for us would be to get AI for drinks only if that is possible. I know that we can buy our drinks at the store but then we would have to bring all that with us and I would rather not mess with that.
Anyone know the rates on the hotel rental? I know if you get one from the airport you pay that 12% tax/fee. We are planning on renting a motorcycle for a 1/2 day also.
Renaissance Island early in the morning floating on a raft.
The Renn no longer has a AI drink plan. We always stay at the Marina Towers - typical hotel room, fairly small, but we are always out and about so that does not matter. Drinks at the Blue Bar by the Marina Tower pool (adult only) run about $7. From 4-6pm (??? on the exact time) is the happy hour 2 for 1 drinks. We go to the grocery store behind the hotel and buy beer for the room and have a bottle of liquor that we packed in our suitcase. We bring a medium soft side cooler and it works great for the private island and at pool side. We did the AI about 2 years ago and found that we ate and drank way too much just to break even. There are too many good places to eat in Aruba to do an AI. Our favorites are walking distance from the Renn.
Renaissance Island early in the morning floating on a raft.
The Renn no longer has a AI drink plan only, drinks are only with the full meal AI. We always stay at the Marina Towers - typical hotel room, fairly small, but we are always out and about so that does not matter. Drinks at the Blue Bar by the Marina Tower pool (adult only) run about $7. From 4-6pm (??? on the exact time) is the happy hour 2 for 1 drinks. We go to the grocery store behind the hotel and buy beer for the room (mini frig in room) and have a bottle of liquor that we packed in our suitcase. We bring a medium soft side cooler and it works great for the private island and at pool side. We did the AI about 2 years ago and found that we ate and drank way too much just to break even. There are too many good places to eat in Aruba to do an AI. Our favorites are walking distance from the Renn.
I can relate to you as my wife and I went to Aruba for our honeymoon when we were both 31 (our first time). At the time of our honeymoon we did not go AI, however, during subsequent visits to the island we have always gone AI as it is a far better value/far more convenient in my opinion. That being said, we always take the time to go out for a few special meals off the resort during our vacation (for a change of pace) even though we are on the AI plan (e.g. Flying Fishbone). Hence, my recommendation would be a hotel on Palm Beach with an AI option (my vote would probably be for the Radisson on Palm Beach).
Some other points to consider:
In terms of location, I prefer the Palm Beach location over the downtown location. Indeed, I believe the beaches are better, there are more people/is more to do during the day/more choice in terms of accommodations in the high rise hotel area. I also prefer to wake up and be able to walk to/along the beach (there is a great boardwalk linking the high rise hotels) than have to take a boat to my beach. It is also nice to have the option of walking the beach late at night when staying in the Palm Beach area (you travel to Aruba for the beaches – why not stay at a hotel that is located right on the beach).
There really is not much to do in Oranjestad during the day (souvenir, jewellery, and high end designer shops dominate the landscape – maybe worth a look for a day you want to get out of the sun, but that is about all there is to do). Furthermore, you can always travel into Oranjestad in the evening if you stay in the Palm Beach area (it is very accessible by bus/taxi) and some tours (e.g. Kukoo Kunuku) will bring you to the bars downtown as part of their tour.
My wife and I always like to have a drink or two ourselves while on vacation (OK maybe 3 or 4 or 5 or 6) and the cost of drinks at the resorts is very high in Aruba. Indeed, the cost of a drink on the average resort would probably be in the neighbourhood of about $7+ a drink i.e. for a Dixie cup sized drink (although just about every place has a 2 for 1 drink special around mid-afternoon). As such, if you are not AI, your bar bill can add up very quickly if you do not bring your own drinks to the beach.
I should also point out that the cost of beer/liquor is a little more in Aruba than in the U.S. Indeed, 24 Budweiser (7 oz bottles) will cost you about $28.61 USD at the local grocery store – which is the equivalent of about 14 beers or the size that you are probably used to back home (see: http://www.lingandsons.com). Additionally, you have to buy your alcohol at the duty free (I would recommend this option if you do not do AI) or travel to the store (i.e. waste part of your vacation) to get your alcohol and cart your cooler around with you while on your trip/at the beach (not convenient in my mind).
I would budget at least $200+ per day for food/drinks for two people if you decide against the AI option (probably more if you are heavy drinkers). You may want to weigh this cost against what the AI option will cost you.
Enjoy your trip and I would be pleased to answer any other questions you may have/clarify any of my points above should you require additional information.