I'm also from NYS and my first trip will be Aug. 8th - 15th. I'm bringing my son and his friend (both are 20) and we'll be staying at the Hyatt Regency. I made all our plans before finding your site which has a veritable wealth of information! Also, a very friendly place to visit. I have sent an email to Bully for airport transport. I'm still trying to figure out the countdown thingie! But I still have lots of questions.
What do you know about the Hyatt? We have a room/breakfast combo.
We have lots of food restrictions - are most places okay with special requests?
What do you do with 2 twenty year old boys? Island tours?
The pools at the Hyatt look very nice. Is the beach crowded there?
I really appreciate all of your expertise. This island sounds like it could really become a habit!!!!!! We are so excited!
We stayed at the Hyatt for the first time last February and thought it was very lovely. We had no trouble finding open chairs around the pool, so hopefully you'll find the same in August. We were in Aruba a few years ago in August, and after mostly only being there over Easter week, it seemed like it wasn't as busy. The Hyatt is in a fantastic location for the new shopping areas and loads of restaurants, and all within easy walking distance.
As far as reserving a palapa on the beach, the Hyatt works a bit differently than what we were used to at the Marriott where we have normally stayed. I'm not one to want to get up early to get a spot, so I wanted to reserve my palapa for the week. The woman who helped me at the towel hut on the beach (where you make your palapa reservations) said that people reserve their hut up to a year in advance when they've made there reservations.
We're staying at the Hyatt again next February, and I've already contacted them about a palapa reservation. If you don't call ahead of time, I would suggest that soon after you get settled into your room that you check at the towel hut about the palapas, if you want one. It probably closes at about 6pm, but that's a guesstimate on my part. The beach is busy, but the palapas are well spaced. Some people just have chairs set up under the palm trees if they don't have a palapa too, so that's another option.
I didn't get the details about getting a hut on a day to day basis at the Hyatt because we were very lucky that there was one palapa reservation left for the week. I think it cost something like $25/day to reserve. The pool chairs are free, and if you're not one to care about being on the beach, that's always an option too. I'm not sure if you pay for a palapa if you get one in the morning.
As far as the boys go, our sons are in the ballpark age of you son and friend, and they have a fantastic time just hanging out by the pool, meeting new friends, and going to the casinos in the evening. Once our oldest son was in college and had a different spring break than our youngest son, we started letting him bring friends. We were always pestering them about doing different island activities, but other than snorkeling & sailing trip and a couple of fast paced tube type rides, they didn't have any interest in other activities. They were having too much fun pool side.
It worked out great for us to rent two cell phones for the week, so we could touch base with them from time to time. We've never had to ask for special requests due to dietary restrictions, but my guess is that most restaurants will be very accommodating. Arubans are known for their friendliness, and that reputation is well deserved.
It's nice to know that someone has been to the Hyatt and is going back. Great thought to reserve the palapa before we arrive. Thought I would call ahead about our gluten-free, dairy-free, everything-free restrictions anyway to give them a heads up.
Like you said, the boys are more interested in laid back beach/pool time. We sat down last night and talked about some our expectations. One thing we are considering is a helicopter tour of the island as suggested by Arubalisa (above). Sounds like something none of us has done ..... should be very interesting! And great photo opportunity to boot!
I love that you all are so knowledgable and willing to share with us newbies. It's helpful to have somewhere to ask these questions. I've already heard back from Bully and our rides are all set. It takes some of the worry out of being the only responsible adult in the group.
I am sorry, I thought there were four of you. When we went the maximum was three, so if there are three of you, you should be just fine.
No problem. Just three - been on my own since 2000. Decision making is a lot easier. I guess this should be under a different thread, but, do you know the name of the helicopter tour you took? I remember reading about your trip, but I'm having trouble finding that post, again. I'm trying to get acquainted with the "rules".