I will be visiting Aruba for the first time this year and wanted a relaxing less hectic vacation (with out fighting for a spot on the beach and people's kids running ramped!) so decided on a villa/house, Villa safir 18 (http://www.villasafir18.com) but I can not find any independent reviews on the place. Does anyone know it? Is this an okay part of aruba?
The second part is that I'm slightly freaking out. I've been researching aruba over the last few hours and came across many news reports of breakins and robberies of rental cars and rental properties. This isn't to say that your room at a hotel can't be robbed but it seems at a hotel your physical safety is less in question. I can replace my personal belongs. Am I being paranoid?
It's difficult to find a bad area in Aruba, the area your visiting near Arashi beach is very nice, no need to be paranoid. I've seen the reports on car break ins, but to be honest, we visit for two weeks each Janurary have never had a problem with leased vehicle and we go "all over" the island. Enjoy your trip. The biggest problem you'll likely encounter is the need to return on a regular basis. :-)
I own a vacation villa on the island. You will find that most reputable owners operate using rental/propery managers. This is a question you should ask the owner of Safir. I think a property/rental manager is essential. Imagine if something happens, such as a burst pipe in the night and you need help. Our management firm is on call 24/7 and assists our guests with many things...restaurants, bookings, etc.
It is standard practise to take a deposit with a booking...generally up to 50% and then the balance paid 30 days before occupancy. There are some who operate a little differently. I would be cautious of the payment you are being requested to make. Have you asked to see the rental agreement and what protection there is for you?
The area is an OK area.
With respect to rental car breakins. Yes that happens, but it also depends somewhat on where you park. If in Oranjestad at night and you park in a dark off the beaten path place then you will increase the chances. In over 7 years we have not had a car broken into.