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View Full Version : Renaissance Ocean Suites - Trip Report Day 1 & 2 - 7/11 & 7/12



coqui
07-12-2008, 05:23 PM
WOW! I can now understand the 'why' part of why so many of you return to Aruba frequently. As I write this, my girls are passed asleep from a fun day at Renaissance Island.

The fun 'trek' to Aruba started Friday Morning and it takes 3 planes and all day to get to Aruba. The last flight was the most "eventful" in that we were leaving Miami but the flight was delayed an hour while the crew was LOOKING FOR 2 PAGGANGERS. Hmm... ok let's make an full plane of people wait until we locate these 2 passangers --- I didn't get it. However, the American Airlines employee told me that since the flight was international and the passangers bags were already on the plane then they would need to either locate the passangers or locate and remove their bags off the plane <sigh>. The people finally boarded and alot of people clapped and the back half of plane BOOed.

We had confirmed our pick-up with Bully the Taxi Driver we found on this thread for the initial 9:30pm arrival. He was there waiting at 11pm for us outside the glass doors with his sign. Thank you Arubalisa for a picture of him on the Aruba Bound website because I was able to quickly spot him and started waving frantically -- 'WE ARE HERE WE ARE HERE' ha... ; ) He took us to the Ocean Suites and we were finally here... but ...:(...

After 14 hours 'door to door', with 2 little ones we were READY to get to the room. The computers were down <another sigh> and the guy behind the counter took 30 min to get us checked in while he was looking for a room for us. We finally made it to the room... 4th floor pool & ocean views --- but not a timeshare room.:confused: We booked thru Interval International via timeshare exchange and the room we should have received would have been a bit larger, with some burners, fridge, dining table -- etc.. none of those things were in the 'suite'. The kids were passed asleep and we spoke to manager on duty said he would 'switch' us in the morning (mind you I had already unpacked half our stuff ---ugh. <yes another sigh>.

This morning we made the move to a 5th floor room that faces Ocean only and over looks Renaissance Island as well -- WOW -- really really amazing and the room is a timeshare unit! Come to find floors 1, 3 & 5 are the timeshare floors. Anyways -- we re-unpacked and cooked breakfast in the room. We ended up at the Renaissance Island and the only word I can say is HEAVEN!

It was at that moment when I finally thought -- I am now on vacation. ; ) .... Rob/Cindy-O => Guess who came to us as a waiter??? --- Jorge! I told him I had read so many wonderful comments about him on this thread and he was a bit overwhelmed and shy about it all. He was so great -- you are right. He brought the girls strawberry and peach smoothies and we played and had lunch and played some more. Our favorite part of the Island (not that we saw it all) was the section at the 'back' of the beach/water where the beach comes back up and you can stand (near the back rocks). Mom & Dad 'layed out' there while the kids packed us with sand as they stood in 12 inches of water... very very relaxing setting.

One last Jorge comment --- he told his manager what I had mentioned and she came over and asked for the website address so she can see what you all say about Jorge --- Jorge was so happy!

Heading out soon -- will write more tomorrow and download pictures once I return.

The temp. is PERFECT here!

THANK YOU ALL -- for all your comments and suggestions to all my questions. I was able to learn so much from all your advise.:)

cindyo
07-12-2008, 06:05 PM
Coqui...We travel with 25-40 people every year. Jorge may be confused as we all tackle him when we arrive...we're the one's ( cindy and rob) who sent him the photo Christmas card that he carried around...He'll know who we are...we're with rick, jen, sherri, pete etc from Massachusetts...
Also, check out the red sail shop and say hi to Innia, she's a peach. She'll also remember us. She sent us an Aruba t shirt when my daughter spilled bleach on her favorite one.
NOW...what did I tell you...love that private island. I think when you get to your next destination you will miss that place !!!!! No fighting for recliners, no general public....keep us posted..and ENJOY !!! cindy and rob

Arubalisa
07-12-2008, 06:34 PM
coqui, sounds like after a couple of hiccups, that all is now well! :D Reassuring as always to know that Bully was reliable. Not that I have ever heard otherwise. ;)

We will live vicariously through your reports while you are there. :D

Just out of curiousity, now that you are there and see how wonderful it is ;), do you know see why we were "trying" :o to get you to pull back a little bit on all of your activities. ;) :cool:

DANNYO
07-12-2008, 07:48 PM
Coqul,
Thanks for sharing the start of what we all hope,is a great vacation in Aruba.Yes ,now you will start to see why we all love and call this little island our home away from home.ENJOY your vacation...:behappy:

coqui
07-12-2008, 09:55 PM
Arubalisa--- HA -- ok, I must admit that I am a bit of an over planner. I think it is from all the Disney World Trip we go to. I actually have spreadsheets of what activities, parades, shows, etc by park/day. My thinking is -- 'this is a vacation and I would rather not think about what to do'. For this Aruba Trip I tried to plan the same - hehehehe-- we have an agenda and sometimes follow it -- sometimes don't -- we try and go with the flow of the moment -- but if all else fail --- we have a fallback plan. So... yes agree on there are a ton of 'would like to do's' on our plan -- if we do it great -- if we don't -- great. I am just so thrilled to be here ;) .

This afternoon --- we hit the happy hour! Wow the 2x1 drinks are a steal and I didn't have to do anything. I think we tried 6 different ones and my favorite was the tropical colada. Any suggestions on what else I should try! After getting ready we walked over to Iguana Joes. Again, I think we tried a bunch of different things. My husband got the grouper and I had the Mahi Mahi fajitas -- delicious! The girls shared the Igua-Na-Nachos (YUMM) and the cuban rice and beans (wouldn't recommend this as I am Puerto Rican and have a bit of high expectations on rice & beans and these weren't too good). The Sangria was great too. We ended up with a couple Iguana Joes t-shirts and a full belly for the walk back to the Ocean Suites. WONDERFUL breeze at the restaurant that was outdoors on 2nd floor. My husband is an AC fanatic so was a bit hesitant but when we looked up and I showed him all the other restaurants were open air he thought -- well here goes -- HA! He had the best time of all....

Back at hotel and hubby putting babies down before we have 'movie night' -- I know Arubalisa -- that wasn't in the schedule LOL...

More to come tomorrow....

cindyo
07-12-2008, 09:58 PM
Coqui, don't know if you realize it or not, but you can take the golf cart back and forth to the Marina towers. If you have groceries to pick up there is also hong king behind the marina towers. ALso walking distance is Casa Tua, which has great pizza, and Rumba below it for a great breakfast. Have a blast....I am sure you found Dunkin donuts,right?

rob o
07-12-2008, 10:14 PM
Coqui...

I am sure that Jorge will remember us as the Red Sox fans who sent him the Christmas card with our daughters on it. We are always there in April. I do a lot of fishing off of the dock behind the restaurant on the private island....and gave him a good size fish to take home this year.

Try Maracas between the Taco Bell and Dunkin Dounts in the middle of the Seaport Mall for some real cheap drinks!

Andrea J.
07-13-2008, 09:31 AM
thank you for posting your trip report in chapters.
we all love reading.

relax and enjoy.

andrea

Liz - Aruba Lover
07-13-2008, 10:24 AM
I'm waiting for more reports. Keep them coming.

huffdaddy
07-13-2008, 10:39 PM
Keep those reports coming! We have 119 days till we get back for our 14th year. I can see and feel everything you guys are doing as you detail your trip. THANKS!

You guys might like to try the Dutch Pancake house for a quick breakfast. The Poffertjis are highly recommended. Usually with butter, cinnamon and extra powdered sugar.

Looking forward to your next report!

coqui
07-13-2008, 11:30 PM
Sunday - July 13 -- aka - Jeep Day... ; )
We received our Jeep Wrangler rental today. As a few of you mentioned, we went with Aruba Royal. I couldn't beat the price at $276 for a week on a 4x4 with free car seat, free cell phone with island usage, and free drop off and pick up. I think Dannyo is who I have to thank for that suggestion as I was originally going to get taxi to and from airport to get the rental. Anyways, we walked over this am for dunkin donuts -- oh BTW -- there are coupons online for timeshare owners for alot of places in walking distance to Renissance -- we used the buy 3 get 3 donuts free coupon today (I know its crazy -- but I am all about 'more for less' and kids wanted to have donuts anyways.)Anyhow -- after breakfast the Aruba Royal jeep guy was to meet us in lobby. (You will like this story tie in later .. please know we are a very politically correct family)...Wouldn't you know my husband had to offend a guy so early in the morning -- there was an ethinic guy with a 'turban?' on his head outside of the lobby doors cleaning out a wrangler and 'appeared' to have a blue shirt on as the Aruba Royal employee had mentioned -- my husband approached the gentleman cleaning out the jeep inquiring abot the rental and of course that was another tourist not an employee... ha -- We finally found the Aruba Royal guy and rented our jeep. Keep in mind -- we didn't pay for the 'larger' jeep that looks almost like a hummer -- we rented the smaller 2 door all open air jeep and it looked a bit small and rough (we are chevy suburban people and like large texas cars LOL) ... We immediately took off with the girls in hunt of the Butterfly Farm -- of course we got lost LOLOL and had no map and ended back at -- the Ocean Suites -- so after getting a map from the lobby we hit the road again. The island is soo small. We didn't realize it but we were already passed the Radisson so turned back toward the Westin to hit the butterfly farm.

The butterfly farm was great. The girls liked a little bridge they have in the back and got to watch some turtles. There was some sort of butterfly (name I don't recall) that takes 8 months to 'hatch' out of the silk and it is HUGE and after all that -- it lives 5-6 days. We were able to see it! It was new just this morning and was still in the little 'box' waiting for its wings to dry. I took a beautiful picture of it that I will post when I return home. Anyways, the butterflys were VERY active as you all suggested in the AM. I think we will be heading back as the tickets we purchased were for our entire stay in Aruba. That is great for us since the girls had such a good time. They also have very beautiful jewlery with glass butterflys. I will definatley be heading back for that!

Kong Hing Supermarket grocery shopping was next. We got lost again looking for ling and sons but it had moved and this was next closest one we could find. It was nice that it was air conditioned and a huge building. I have to tell you -- my 2 year old is potty training (I know -- we are crazy) and we now know every restroom in Aruba --- including the one at this market. We went 3 times there <sigh>. We purchased some excellent cheeses, sausages and wine. They even had Blood Sausage!!! I can't wait to cook it. This is something we puertoricans LOVE and I can not find back home in Texas. I was just elated and jumped up and down right there in the meat aisle - HA. After aisle by aisle and getting lots of goodies, we headed out with of course almost no room in the jeep for groceries.

We got back to Ocean Suites and unloaded and cooked lunch and had our own 'happy hour' ; ) . Then off to the pool downstairs. We stayed there well into the pool happy hour time. I really am thinking I might mention to the front desk that they need additional bar tenders. There was 1 lady 'Luz' attending everyone at the swimup bar and she was very overwhelmed. Other then that, we had a great time swimming around and playing in the little beach.

Senor Frogs! For dinner tonight was Senor frogs. On the way there and btw Ocean Suites and the Marina hotels we were approached by a guy asking for money for 'bread' <sigh> that is so uncomfortable. Rob/CindyO -- yes we know about the golf cart but actually enjoyed the walk -- just not that moment. When we got to Senor Frogs I was surprised there was almost noone in there -- 5-8 other tables occupied and it was 700pm. We all shared 3 large appetizers(the Mixed Appetizer plater was $34 and worth it since there was alot of different items on it) and Nacho Dessert and it was more then filling --- note that the prices are rather high but then again -- you are at senor frogs and should expect that. We had 3 margaritas, 3 appetizers and dessert and the bill was just under $100. That said -- we did have a BLAST. Since the place was so empty, the girls went up on the stage and danced to almost every song. Great pictures came from that! We were there 1.5 hours!! I thought for sure they would fall asleep on way home after dancing that much... but no ; ) ...

On route home, between the seaport casino and the ocean suites there is a small 'stage' in front of the dutch pancake place. There was a couple singing and playing guitars & flute. They were so wonderful. They sang Irish songs, Louisina Bayou songs, the titanic theme song and even Spanish songs by Julio Iglesias!!! Talk about variety!! The girls danced with dad and I was able to get excellent video. I realy recommend this for families (ignore all the couples HA) and get out there and dance with your kids! We had an amazing time. I can't believe it but after we got in -- the girls asked 'can we go to bed' -- WHAT!!! ok that has never happened... Way to go Aruba!

Think hubby almost done with bath time so its wine on the patio time ; ) ....

Tomorrows adventure is Jolly Pirates --- fingers crossed we don't fall off the boat ; ) ....

qlaval
07-14-2008, 01:08 AM
Thank you very much coqui for sharing with us.
It just feel like we're there with you... :)

cindyo
07-14-2008, 07:40 AM
Coqui, Kids should have worn their swim suits and gone down the water slide at Senor Frogs, try again later.... Thanks for your posts. have fun, cindy

Arubalisa
07-14-2008, 10:03 AM
A terrific adventure. :D

FWIW, when you head up to the California Lighthouse and beyond. As far as I have ever been aware, there are no restrooms past the Marriot resort until you arrive at the "collapsed" Natural Bridge! :eek:

There is a charge for the Natural Bridge restrooms (they are very remote and have havey septic fees), but if you purchase something first, the lady is usually kind enough not to charge you. ;)

Hope you have as good a time of JP's as we did a month ago.

Sherrie74
07-14-2008, 11:28 AM
Thanks for your wonderful reports! I'm very much enjoying reading about your activities with the kids. I'll be making my first trip to Aruba in September with my 3 year old daughter.

Have fun and keep the reports coming!:D

coqui
07-14-2008, 11:09 PM
First, I should finish my story from yesterday (the tie in funny).. when we were at the pool my 2 1/2 year old saw the same gentleman in the turban that my husband had spoken to in the AM and she waked him down yelling --- HI ALADIN! MY PRINCE MOMMY LOOK ALADIN!!! Omg I thought I was going to die... on to today..

Woke up to the beautiful sunrise overlooking a bed of palm trees and in the distance - Renaissance Island. Amazing view. My husband my breakfast as the girls watched playhouse Disney (yes we had our fix of Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse clubhouse thank goodness - channel 22 at ocean suites).

We eagerly drove to the other side of island in less then 15 min and made it to Jolly Pirates by 9am. We took a bunch of pictures out in front of the Jolly Pirates both as it is a nice backdrop -- shade, 'monkey' looking totem pole thing, etc. Girls loved it. Then OF COURSE -- mom forgot to bring towels. In retrospect, we should have gone to the hotel next door to see if we could rent some -- but no -- $50 later for 2 pirate towels:doh: ... we were finally on our way to dock. There were 2 boats that transported passangers over to the Jolly Pirates ship. We took a spot in the very back which was perfect for us as it was shaded. We took many many pictures of the coastline while we sailed to the snorkel spots. The first spot was nice and all 4 of us jumped in... yes -- jumped in. The water was a bit cold for the 2 1/2 yr old but when we saw 'Dory' all was good. We swam another 30 min or so looking for Dory's sisters and brothers LOL while dad and the 5 year old actually snorkeled:).

After the first spot, little bit was exhausted and passed asleep with some pineapple juice. This was so perfect. She slept on me in the back of the boat all the while dad and sis swam and then even while they snorkeled at the shipwreck site which is the 2nd stop. The water was very choppie here :eek: so after they took some pics with the water camera (DON'T FORGET THAT) they made it back on board. We sailed to the last stop Malock Beach (sp?) and again -- WOW. I can't believe how many fish there were. Of course, I was throwing cheezitz off the back of boat since the little one was STILL sleeping (and we don't wake sleeping 2 yr olds LOL). We took many many pics of the fish 'jumping' for cheezits - HA. Then lunch came. I was glad that they fed kids first as the 5 yr old was starving -- 12:45pm. We brought snacks which I highly recommend if you have little kids with you so that held her over. The lunch was great although the girls didn't touch the noodles and coleslaw (ok so they ate just the chicken nuggets, watermelon & bread). The last activity was the Rope Swing! That was the highlight of the trip for me as the 5 yr old actually did it. The crew had already put away the life vests -- but they had no problem me digging another one out for her to jump with -- just ask. Mom jumped first (yes little bit finally woke up and we used potty on the boat -- again I know every potty spot on island!) That was exhilerating. I have to admit I have no upper arm muscles so it was challenging holding on and I 'jumped' (more like fell:p) almost as soon as I took off. The 5 yr old LOVED this as did the hubby. He even did flips LOL@!!! great video footage! The crew was amazing... very helpful and eager to provide refills. FYI -- if you are a bloody mary person, BYOWS (bring your own worestershire sauce) other then that -- the girls loved the juices and overall had an amazing time. HIGHLY recommend this for families.

We returned to hotel and showered up and had a few snacks and some wind down time. Since we didn't want girls to fall asleep early, we went back out and did a little window browsing. My hubby is always looking for watches (I don't like wearing them at all and he has who knows how many -- go figure -- match made in heaven?). I tried on tennis bracelets ;). I must admit, the price for diamonds here in Aruba is much higher then that in St. Thomas. We have been to St. Thomas/St. John/BVI area alot and the prices on jewels -- you just can't beat so I was a bit disappointed in Aruba prices there.

Wouldn't you know, little bit and I were in a potty across from Little Switzerland --- and when we were leaving the clouds opened up and it started pouring.... not rain or drizzle --- downright pouring cats and dogs! :rain:Hubby and the 5yr old were across the way at LS and we took pics across the way at each other thru the rain -- they as fast as it came on -- it stopped. Very refreshing.

We started heading back to hotel and thought we would switch dinner up -- we had dessert first:p -- no objections from the kids. We had single cones from the Pico bello? not sure name of place --- but its right next to Don Carlos Italian rest. It was actually italian ice and the girls LOVED it! Who wouldn't right!! My hubby said -- you know little bit is going to make a mess (of course we had already bathed).... but we are on vacation. Of course we had ice cream everywhere and on walk back --- on the boardwalk--- she wanted to jump in to clean off:eek:... we had a lovely dinner back at hotel room after hosing down the 2 1/2 yr old.

We went down to take pictures of the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen. The sky went from light orange to purple. What a lovely backdrop to a wonderful day. <Sigh> I could definately live here!:o

Thank you all for all your feedback. This will be 'easy' to copy and paste into my scrapbook pages at home (as to why all the details).

We are looking forward to more adventures tomorrow!:behappy:

Aruba4Me
07-14-2008, 11:38 PM
LOVE hearing what's going on with you and the family! You're helping to keep the rest of us sane - keep it coming and have a wonderful time!

Arubalisa
07-14-2008, 11:44 PM
Keep the story coming... :D

waterfun
07-14-2008, 11:55 PM
Coqui,

Thanks for your trip report! We leave Friday for our first Aruba trip. My Internval International confirmation indicates Unit 539 at Ocean Suites. I hope this is an oceanfront room.

We are having dinner our first night at El Gauchos.

qlaval
07-15-2008, 03:26 AM
... My Internval International confirmation indicates Unit 539 at Ocean Suites.
I hope this is an oceanfront room...

Hi Mel,
Here's a pic of Renaissance unit #539 :)
But don't forget Interval exchange don't always end up with the given unit number...:o

http://www.aei.ca/~qlaval/Aruba/539-Renaissance.jpg

cindyo
07-15-2008, 07:37 AM
I wouldn't count on a guaranteed room # from interval. Sorry to disappoint you, there are no gurarantee's at the front desk unless you OWN that unit.
Whatever you get you will love it....AHHH

rob o
07-15-2008, 07:42 AM
Hi Mel,
Here a pic of Renaissance unit #539 :)
But don't forget Interval exchange don't always end up with the given unit number...:o

http://www.aei.ca/~qlaval/Aruba/539-Renaissance.jpg


If you do get 2539 or nearby, it is pool view, 5th (top) floor, high enough to see the ocean and sunrise. If you really want to see sunsets, request the other side, they will almost certainly accomodate you. Best rooms that side (all even numbers (are 2538, 2540, 2542, 2544)

coqui
07-15-2008, 10:12 PM
Is it Tuesday already??? Wow time is flying by quickly here. So as usual, we ate breakfast in the room and it is nice since the hubby and I can enjoy our favorite coffee while the girls watch cartoons and we relax.

We were off this morning in the jeep for our 'adventures'. We were planning on hitting the gold mine ruins, alto church, & the lighthouse.... but... after about 1 hour driving around LOL of course we were lost and hubby didn't want to pull over anywhere and ask for directions. We thought surely we can just drive 'north' and we will hit it (leaving the renaissance) I mean the island isn't that wide -- only 6 miles or so.. sigh --- so we were driving in circles.. but we actually really enjoyed the drive. Took some neat pictures of flamboyan trees (thats what we call them in PR -- red flowering trees). We saw a sign for Natural pool so we followed that sign until we finally saw a big pink bus. Following that bus, we stopped at the Ayo Rock Formations and then took off again behind it and went the 'back way' to the gold mine ruins. The toddler was fast asleep in the jeep and we had it all opened up (note, I was leary of doing this but the seatbelts are so difficult even for us to unclick that there is no way out little magician would unbuckle this one). The ruins were really neat. The 5 yr old loved climbing all thru it and it was SO nice to have the place all to ourselves since there was currently no tours coming thru it. I must admit I LOVED doing the tour ourselves in the jeep. When we were done, we headed towards the Alto Church via the crazy 'road' more like trail on side of the beach. The girls thought we were at a rollercoaster and had their hands up the entire time. Mind you, my husband is very Texan and loves driving in 4 wheel drive so he felt at home and loved it --- but it was a bit bumpy for me. Definatley do not recommend anyone that is going through morning sickness or pregnant or gets dizzy in general to do that route. We finally made it to the Alto Church ; ( there were several tours at the time. However, the church was so beautiful and to think it is so old and has been kept up so nice. When we returned to the car, my hubby being the worry wart he is was checking all the tires after our 4x4 drive to the church. Sure enough he gave me an 'I told you so' look... there was a nail in the back left tire and it was seeping air -- of course:(. We picked up the free cell phone from Aruba Royal and quickly got back in the car to attempt to make it to the palm beach area since the air wasn't seeming too quickly. We made it to Salt & Pepper restaurant and the rep. from Aruba Royal said he would be there immediately with a mechanic to change the tire while we had lunch.

YUM! Salt & Pepper was delicious for a small light fare lunch. The 5yr old really liked her Kruquet & fries and the toddler nibbled the chicken & pasta. The hubby and I shared coconut shrimp tapas, mahi mahi sandwhich and club sandwhich -- which was wierd as it had eggs in it... overall, delicious. The Sangria was nice and cold and fruity. Very good! By mid meal, the Aruba Royal rep & mechanic had arrived, changed the tire and apologized for the problem -- which really turned out to be no inconvenience.

We returned to hotel and swam at the pool for a bit, but it looked like weather was coming soon so we came in for girls to take a nap. The nap was wonderful ... and much needed. We had reservations for dinner rather early so girls needed to go down.

5pm came quickly and we had dinner reservations at 530pm at the Flying Fishbone. Yes, we are the crazy parents that really wanted to go to dinner there and wouldn't consider the baby sitting option. I just don't trust my babies with strangers. Anyways, we brought the 'plane toys' and it was actually perfect. We were there early enough and had a great oceanfront table. The 5yr old giggled that we were having a picnic and the 2 year old played with her magnet book almost the entire time. The other thing I wanted to mention -- on their website -- they mention stongly advising against kids -- but they had highchairs, booster seats and even kids menus (even though website said they didn't). The hubby and I had 2 beers, iced tea, 1 bottle Pino Grigio wine, Baracuda entree (catch of day #2), Mahi Mahi entree (catch of day #1), kids shrimp pasta, kids alfredo pasta.... The total for the meal with taxes and tip was $180. It was well worth it. (I mention the price since a lot of people that are new to forum are asking budget questions). Anyways, love love loved dinner and took great pictures with the girls. The staff was friendly and took several pictures. Mind you the kids were also very well behaved (believe nap had everything to do with it as well as toys). I would recommend it to other families -- just go early.

Anyways, we returned and are turning in early as dad & the 5yr old are doing the TomCar baby beach tour tomorrow morning while mom and toddler play at Renaissance island....

Again, thanks for all your feedback and feel free to ask any questions!

More tomorrow --- Coqui;)

cindyo
07-15-2008, 10:19 PM
Coqui, thanks so much for your daily reports. You are to funny, and I really get a hoot out of your writting.
Enjoy the rest of your vacation, it sounds like you are loving it there ! cindyo

qlaval
07-16-2008, 12:25 AM
Thank again, already looking for tomorrow posting... :D

KATH2ME
07-16-2008, 10:59 AM
coqui,

Well first let me say, thank-you for taking the time and writing everyday. I enjoy reading your everyday stories, I had to laugh, when I read your Aladin story " out of the mouth of babes "
Are you finding your way around a little better now? Anyway, keep the chapters coming:)

coqui
07-16-2008, 11:15 PM
Today was a 'split' day. Dad and the 5yr old went on a Tomcar Tour through Rancho Notorious. My husband booked it through the hotel (ren. ocean suites) however, the tour bus never picked them up. The bus was supposed to pick up at 830am and by 850 I was suspicious and the Linda at the consierge (sp?) desk called them -- they 'claimed' the bus had come by but of course it never did as they said just to take a taxi.... they did and rancho notorious picked up the tab. After that hiccup, all went smoothly. My husband had so much fun on the trip that he is actually wanting to do it again this trip! My 5 yr old's favorite part was 'going really really fast' as well as the caves because there was 1 bat in there. :eek:

I took the toddler out to Renaissance island. We had such great mommy and me time. Still, the family favorite spot on the island is the back area just in front of the rocks as it is very shallow and the water waves comes through there. Jorge was wonderful as always. After playing in beach and sand a few hours we took a nice nap on the hammock under palm trees. What a great breeze.

We returned to the hotel room and were all smiles as we ran into dad and sister coming in at same time! HA! We put the girls down for a nap as is now our 'routine' and then headed back out for a little bit more of renaissance island.

For dinner, we walked over to Casa Tua as many of you suggested. The pizza was reasonably priced and very tasty. We still spent $100 -- 2 pitchers sangria, 2 side salads, 2 pizzas (recommend the Hawaiian but not so much the One Happy Island pizza) and one of the dinner specials - grilled chicken brest (delicious!!).

As a side note, there were a few posts describing 'fast' boat drivers when transporting passengers to and from renaissance island.... this so far has not been the case for us at all. All the drivers have been very curtious and drive very slowly in wake zone and in the in between section they do drive a bit faster but never unsafe.

Timeshare side notes, I just wanted to mention how wonderful this unit is. Although there is not a dishwasher nor washer/dryers in the unit -- there is daily maid service for no extra fee (like most places we exchange at). This is very nice. Usually, we also get a once a week towel/sheets exchange. At the renaissance ocean suites they change out the towels daily and make the bed daily as well. I feel like this is the best of both worlds -- timeshare + delux hotel room.

Thats all for now --- more tomorrow!
Coqui:D

cindyo
07-17-2008, 08:07 AM
Another perfect day for you ...keep the reports coming.
Boat driver, Jorges, is the best one. (Some, have had to have an attitude adjustment over the years, but now are better)Jorges loves our kids, and gets so excited when we arrive for our 2 wk stay. His son is in boston, and we are all too!
Try staying late, till the 6:45 boat, and see the beautiful sunset over the hamocks and honey moon hut. It is an unbelievable photo op. Just gotta find someone to take the pics of you. However, don't miss the boat back....

rob o
07-17-2008, 08:08 AM
I took the toddler out to Renaissance island. We had such great mommy and me time. Still, the family favorite spot on the island is the back area just in front of the rocks as it is very shallow and the water waves comes through there. Jorge was wonderful as always. After playing in beach and sand a few hours we took a nice nap on the hammock under palm trees. What a great breeze.



It sounds like your favorite spot is the same as ours.We float in tubes out there all of the time. Since we use "Tubes" Cindyo has named it "Tuba Aruba". Feel free to use and enjoy OUR spot!;);)

Jacki
07-18-2008, 12:44 PM
Love your trip notes (Thanks ArubaLisa for pointing me here)

coqui
07-18-2008, 11:38 PM
Thursday - 7/17/2008

After breakfast, we attempted to head out to the Colorodo Lighthouse and Baby beach. I say 'attempted' because it seems like everywhere we go we get lost! We packed up in the jeep and drove off. Of course we never found the lighthouse --- ha -- but we did end up at the other end of the island. We were on some dirt roads and very high up. (I have no idea name of where we were ) The views were breathtaking. To the right was baby beach and to the left was miles and miles of beautiful shoreline. AMAZING! We took pictures of the water hitting the rocks along the coast and then headed to go down to baby beach. We attempted to drive on the 4x4 dirt trails all the way down :doh:.... but we hit dead end after dead end -- HA. I told my husband those trails were the wrong way to go:rolleyes:. Anyhow, the girls loved the bumpy paths... and when we finally got to baby beach -- they were exhausted! We took several pictures at baby beach and then decided to head back to hotel and cook lunch. We made a great lunch and as a side note --- the burners in our unit worked great as well as the hotel provided some non-stick pans for us to use as well which made it nice. After lunch was naptime :p, AKA -- momma's favorite 2 hours. After lunch we hit Renaissance Island for the last time :(. We made great time of it and played and swam a long time at 'tuba aruba' (hehe). Our favorite boat driver was Ytienne (sp?) he was very helpful with the girls and even let the toddler 'drive' -- great pictures and memories as she still is talking about 'I drive boat'. We cleaned up after beach time and headed over to our dinner location -- Madame Jannette. I know I will get some feedback from this one -- but hands down this was my favorite meal and location thus far -- to us much better then Flying Fishbone the night before. The service was 5 star, the food was beyond amazing and the ambiance was very elegant/caribbean. Truly shouldn't be missed. I had the almond crusted grouper (think $24) and my husband had surf & turf $40. The kids selections were really good too. There was a lot of food for the price and we took several 'doggie bags' back with us. I can't say enough about the food quality and service --- this is a MUST.

Once we returned to the hotel -- it was 'laundry' time. This was the BIGGEST mistake of our trip. My husband placed 2 loads in the washers (5th & 4th). That was fine, but the dryers never dried the clothes.... He restarted them several times -- but still wet clothes -- $14 out and several hours later... :mad: the front desk was no help. Huby brought all the clothes back and we 'hung' the clothes to dry all over the room on chairs/iron board/tables under the ceiling fan... Needles to say, this was the worst part of trip.

Friday - 7/18/2008 -- When we awoke, the clothes were still damp. Another trip to front desk and they not only wouldn't refund the $ when they found out the dryers were not working correctly... they said to 'try it on the 1st and 3rd floors'. We finally had dry clothes (another $3.75 later and several more hours waiting for clothes to dry). Lesson learned -- no washing clothes at renaissance ocean suites. Just plan on bringing home dirty clothes and washing at home.

We finished packing with 13 min to spare (checkout time was noon and they are pretty stern on that time and no later -- even for Marriott Platinum members that stay at Marriott/renaissance 140+ nights a year). Bully was there to pick up luggage and help us transport our luggage to Westin. When we arrived at Westin, :p I thought there might be a problem with checking in 4 hours early -- but no problem at all. In fact, they upgraded us to an oceanfront room. We purchased the room thru priceline for $105/night! What a STEAL! The hotel and the room and views are INCREDIBLE here. I walked around with the biggest grin..:D. After getting our luggage to room -- we were ready for lunch. Nos Cunucu! I had a print out from their website on how to get there -- glad I brought this. This restaurant SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. The food really was fabulous -- this is my second favorite place behind Madame Janette and ahead of flying fishbone... Very 'locals only' hole in the wall. After talking to the owner, they had shut down for a few months for remodeling. The decor is still very nice and very 'homey' but the food is incredible. There was no one else there -- but we didn't get there till 1:15pm so after any kind of rush. If you have a car GO TO THIS RESTAURANT! The coconut shrimp and crusted snapper are delicious. My girls loved the family of peacoks that walked around and they had a fun time taking pictures of them. When we pulled up -- my husband thought -- NO WAY (there was a wild dog barking in street). Thank goodness we didn't turn around... anyways --- we then went back to hotel for naptime :). The pool at the Westin is heavenly as was the beach. The sand at the westin area is FABULOUS! Very silky sand almost luxurious. We played for few hours on beach. There was also a live band by the pool area bar. they were GREAT. We danced to a few songs. ; )

For dinner, we pushed out our reservations for a bit later since we had late lunch. We went to Buccaneer. This was good food but the best part was really for the girls. We sat next to a fish tank and the girls 'talked' to the blow fish the entire time. This was VERY relaxing. The prices are reasonable as we spent $54 total for family of 4 (no alcohol or other beverages -- just water). The service was so-so --- but again, you go for the table entertainment. Recommend this for kids.

Thats all for now --- heading to bed early -- can't wait to get a full nights sleep in the 'Heavenly bed'.

More tomorrow....
Coqui

coqui
07-20-2008, 08:28 AM
As we had the last day with the Jeep, we thought we would make good use of it. We started out on the road to the ostrich farm for breakfast which ended up being brunch by the time we got there - ha. They didn't realize we had made reservations so it took them a bit to get breakfast together. (I had done reservations via email confirmation.) No worries though, once we were seated the coffees (fabulous african espresso style coffee) were coming and soon after the food. We were served a large platter of cheeses and hams/salami, platter of different breads, platters of jelly's (including chocolate LOL), platter of boiled eggs and best of all a platter of Ostrich Omlette! The girls liked it until they found out what it was. It was actually much better then regular omlettes for hubby and I. Overall, we were pleased with this breakfast choice -- adventurous and delicious. After the ostrich farm, we headed one stop over to the Natural Bridge. How breathtaking it must have been before it collapsed in Sept. 2nd 2005. We took great family pics here although I was a bit worried about tripping and falling down at the bottom (what mom isn't though). We took off driving down to Oranjestad and did some shopping. Souveniers and stuff -- but that was a bunch of fun. As the day got warmer - we did end up at senor frogs for the girls to go down the water slide. The two yr old way in no way going by herself and she wouldn't leave the place until she went down slide :doh:. Guess who had to go down with her! <sigh> So yes, after her and I went down -- momma was done at senor frogs - lol.

We went by Ling and Songs to pick up some Dutch liquors to bring back home and then back to the room. We took a rest and then got dressed for dinner at Cuba's Cooking. Delicious food but we split some meals since we were still somewhat full from brunch. The Pechuga con Mofongo was great ($23). We had 4 mojitos, 2 adult dinner entrees, side of rice and beans for girls and they split food with us which worked out great, dessert of tres leches and cafe con leche and our bill ended up at $118 with tip. Everyone's budget of $200-$250 per day for family of 4 is pretty accurate (my husband still dines like a growing teenage boy);).

We did a little more driving and came back to go to bed early afterwards.

More tomorrow!

Sherrie74
07-23-2008, 02:38 PM
Okay, anyone else jonesin' for an update here?

huffdaddy
07-23-2008, 10:52 PM
Yeah, I'm going into withdrawal, here!