We just returned home from our first visit to Aruba (loved it!!) so I will share my Holiday Inn Experience. We stayed on the fifth floor of the Curacao Section in an Oceanfront Standard Room.The room was clean and we had a great view of the beach and ocean from our balcony. We were in an end room, there are five on each floor. When entering the building, the first floor had an unpleasant odor to it, almost like cleanser and mint combined, but it did not filter to the other floors. The building was quiet and the housekeepers were very attentive. All of the staff were polite and helpful, though a language barrier was an issue for some of them.
The food at the Inn was ok, but nothing to brag about. The Service at The Sea Breeze was very slow, it appeared they were always understaffed. We had the buffet breakfast in The Coral Room and that was also ok. Not bad, but not great. We were less than unimpressed with the drinks and service at the Iguana Bar on the property. When I ordered a strawberry daiquiri, I got a pre-made mix with a shot of rum sitting on top of it. For $10 a cup, that was horrible! Luckily, we did not do the inclusive plan, so were found many places to eat and drink off the property that were better in value and quality.
The worst issue we had at the Inn was getting a hut on the beach. They have it set up so you can sign out a hut on the beach for the day (a great way to gaurantee shade) starting at 7:30am on a first come, first served basis. The problem is that people begin getting there early, but becasue there are benches and chairs all around, a real line does not form until 7:30am. Since there are no staff members present until 7:30am, the guests are left to fend for themselves and no one is sure where they should be. We witnessed numerous arguments between guests over who should be infront of who and some of them got quite heated and one actually got security involved. The attendant who was signing out the huts was a young boy who barely spoke English, so he did not have any kind of grip on the situations. We were there to relax, so we avoided the front of the line and were able to get a hut anyway, but witnessing such arguments puts a damper on your morning. They really need to figure out a better system for this.
Once in our hut, which we got at the far end of the beach near our building so it wasn't crowded, we were able to relax on the beach and enjoy ourselves. We fell in love with Aruba and are already talking about going back. Although the Inn was fine for our first visit, after seeing some other resorts in the sam eprice range, I don't think we will stay here again. Hope this helps someone!
Stayed at the HI this past March and three rooms later we had one that didn't leak...won't stay there again. Our next trip will be to the Rad. We figure we only have one vacation a year so spend the extra money on what we want. I stayed there back in 2000 (pre wife) and this past trip my wife fell in love with the property so that's where we are headed.
We have stayed at the HI for the last 6 years. It has been wonderful, we go in Feb and stay for 2 weeks. The food is good and you have lots of choices. The grounds are very well kept and the rooms are clean. We spend most of our days at the beach so it has been great. It has been a problem in the mornings getting the huts but there has never been any fighting. My husband has always been the one to get the hut and has met so many nice people in the past 6 years that we have all remained friends and visit in the summer months. Last year we went to New York and this year we visited Stratford. We have tried many places but have decided to spend our winter vacation in Aruba, there is no place like it. I did price out the other hotels and it is alot more expensive for us to stay at the others and we can get 2 weeks at the HI so will be going back again in Feb 2010. We always do the AI and then the odd night we go out to the wonderful restaurants that they have in Aruba.
we got married in March at the Playa Linda then found a deal we couldn't pass up for June which was at the Holiday Inn. The two don't even come close to compare. We did the all inclusive because we figured we had just been there and went to our favorite places to eat a few months earlier....except we did go back to Rumba's....
the food was NOT good. the drinks were ok, I tried to just stick with Balashi. For the deal it was good. But if you don't get a good price, I would never go back or get an all inclusive.
We have stayed at many places, low rise, downtown, high rise and north of the high rise. but our favorite is the Playa Linda. The room at the Holiday Inn was nice and the staff was also very friendly. It was very hard to get a spot on the beach even if we were up early (and this was June).
Someone had asked what hotel you can stay at in the same pricerange of HI. We typically stay in the timeshare and like to stay a few extra days usually at the HI b/c it is cheaper than other hotels. This year I went on priceline.com knowing what the HI was charging for a night. I started negotiating a low price. They will guarentee a 5 star hotel on Palm beach so I figured the worst I could get on Palm Beach was the HI. Although I don't think they would consider that a 5 star. Well after starting a bid under a $100. I was able to get the Radisson for $130/night for 4 nights with all taxes included. This was even cheaper than the HI. So there is a way to get those other hotels for cheaper.