View Full Version : I am finally home!

03-22-2009, 09:40 AM
Well, it finally happened, I came home after many weeks in Aruba. It was a very interesting experience being in Aruba for one month. I met lots of people and got to really observe things and have the time to take it all in.

My first comments on about the Surf Club beach. I love the beach and this is where most of my observations have come from. PEOPLE ARE THEIR OWN WORST ENEMY! There is no question that crowding is an issue at the FRONT of the beach at the Surf Club but people make it worse. They have instituted a new policy of tagging the chairs. Good idea but people are now using the tags plus their towels and reserving chairs at the pool and the beach. Obviously, not using both! Very selfish and frustrating.

When I met with the manager Scott, he was very nice and we discussed a decision by the previous management to put an additional 6 huts right in the front of the beach. This decision has proved disastrous as I have never seen more fighting on the beach until this was done!:doh: This has caused the area to always seem too crowded. Although there was lots and lots of room at the back of the beach area. Now that I have been there in "down" times it is easier to assess than at the usual hectic pace of weeks 51 & 52. Before these 6 huts were installed last fall, the front area of the beach was an adequate space for people who wanted to enjoy the beach (usual busy weeks excluded). Now there really is little room anytime. The huts take up so much space and the people who rent them believe that they should have the space around the huts and the space right to the water. They position their chairs under the hut for shade and get extra chairs to sit at when they want sun. The chairs outside the hut are put in such a way as to prevent people from sitting behind or in front of them. I do understand what and why they are doing this but this prevents others from enjoying the beach area by the ocean. When these huts were not there, the area was too large to have the "hut" people reserve their space all the way to the water. This is a major problem and one that needs to be rectified asap! Met a lot of people who traded into the Surf Club but said they would never buy there because of this very problem.

Went to Gianni's again, actually third time during this trip. I really don't know what to make of them? Food was good but service...
Arrived ten minutes before my reservation and of course, they didn't have it. That is three reservations and they only had one that I made via email. The other two were made by phone (one by me and the other via the concierge). I don't know if they rarely mark the phone reservations down but it is not a good situation. Many arrive with reservations and have the printed confirmations and they don't have it marked down??:eek: Again, you need to wait as the hostess takes each person directly to their table so the whole process takes so much longer than necessary.
We were seated outside under the absent front canopy. Noticing that the front canopy was not closed I asked to sit closer in but was refused as the area under the canopy closer to the building but it is reserved for large parties (there were empty areas available). Tables of two must sit at the edge by the sidewalk. After 1/3 of the way through our meal it got very windy and I was cold. Asked if the canopy could be closed over and was told it was broken and then told by someone else that people want to sit outside don't like having the canopy over them??? Broken story more believable. Generally, service was slow but there were lots of people running around doing, well, not really sure!!
The ambiance is very nice at Gianni's and the food is great but my frustration with this place is rising. I think I may try Azzura next trip. I know it is the same owner but perhaps it is run a little better?? (read in another thread that the old manager is back so I will check that out). I am going to email the owner with my comments eventually.

The weather was really beautiful the last week of the trip. No crazy weather, not wild ocean, just warm weather and a beautiful beach. Dannyo, the beach was excellent. Finally, the ocean floor is what it should be.

Met Lynn R from this BB and of course our resident author, SanNic 44 at a book signing. Enjoyed meeting him immensely, and spent a few minutes chatting about Aruba and his book. Very interesting person and a great wealth of Aruba information.

The boys had a great time and all arrived home safe and sound. They were a pleasure to have around and the two "newbie" boys became Aruba lovers like the rest of us. Missed Master Blaster/Ocean Safari. That was a great trip/ride/experience to do.

That is all that I can think of at this point, as I really am working hard to return to some sort of normalcy after being in Aruba for so long. I left here while it was winter and arrived home to the beginnings of spring. Snow was plentiful and now almost non-existent. Reality must set in and the mundane aspects of real life must take over. I look forward to reading other posts as they enjoy their Aruba vacations.

Liz - Aruba Lover
03-22-2009, 10:08 AM
Nice report Randi. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay. It is very hard to get back to normal after staying a month - isn't it. I know as I was there for over a month in Dec/Jan and will be doing the same next week. I do also enjoy the ambiance at Gianni's but there is a big turn over of workers there that the service is not always up to par. I do suggest trying Azzurro's next time as it is a smaller restaurant and Daniel, the manager is always around to take care of any problems, if any.

03-22-2009, 12:01 PM
Glad you had a great trip Randi, hope you get back in the swing of things quickly. I know after a week I have a hard time.

03-22-2009, 12:40 PM
the reasons you gave for the crowded beach is one of the main reasons we bought at Divi..to enjoy the relatively empty/quiet beaches as well as pools...although seems that since the third leg of construction happened it is soooooooooo crowded all of the time. And the beach chairs are non-existant or have towels on them with no one using them...so I guess the same problems are now everywhere....
As for Gianni's...we chose not to go there (yet) because we like Sole Mare so well and since the owner is the same we figure the food is also the same. The service sometimes is slow, but I hold to what I was told many many years ago...you are on the island and things move much slower here...so relax and enjoy it and don't wish your live away being in a hurry.
I think we are so used to fast service here and rushing from one thing to another it is hard for us to just relax and wait....even on vacation we want to rush to the next thing so we don't miss any r and r time......
but, glad you had a good time...we are going in November for 3 weeks (1st time)..I will see what it is like to just have time to do nothing but observe everyone else...!!!

03-22-2009, 01:27 PM
Welcome home Randi,
Thank you for all the reports while you were in Aruba.Thank you for all the updates on the Surf Club.And im so glad you had another get vacation.Hope my two weeks in October are as good as yours was.
Again ,Thank You

03-22-2009, 01:58 PM
We are going to Aruba on the 11 of April for a month,,staying at the Divi Pheniox...what advice can anyone give us ..this is our first time to Aruba

03-22-2009, 03:35 PM
We are going to Aruba on the 11 of April for a month,,staying at the Divi Pheniox...what advice can anyone give us ..this is our first time to Aruba

Have fun....don't sweat the small stuff (slow wait staff),,,,wear lots of sunscreen....take a jeep tour....

03-22-2009, 04:40 PM
I really enjoyed all of your posts. You didn't miss a beat girl, thats for sure.
It was great fun reading "the adventures of randi" for the month. Glad you are home safe with the boys and that they had a good time too.
Now, back to spring, huh? It might be tough to get back into the swing of things.

03-22-2009, 05:58 PM
I really enjoyed all of your posts. You didn't miss a beat girl, thats for sure.
It was great fun reading "the adventures of randi" for the month. Glad you are home safe with the boys and that they had a good time too.
Now, back to spring, huh? It might be tough to get back into the swing of things.

Thanks for your kind words and THANK YOU for Bully!!

03-23-2009, 09:05 AM
Hi Randi,

My dear fellow Canadian; I was glad to hear you had a great vacation. Loved your trip report. As I've said many times before, it's the little personal things, both good and bad, that separate our trip reports from information you could find on the tourist office web-site.

People reserving huts, chaisse lounges etc, whether on the beach or at poolside, by putting their towels on them, then disappearing for 4 or 5 hours for lunch or shopping expeditions are just plain selfish. I think it's a problem at most resorts. It certainly is at The Mill. Thanks for bringing it up.

GIANNI'S. This place seems to have been a major disappointment, at least for those of us who take the time to write about it. Like you said Randi, the food is good. As I said in my trip report, It's not the over-the-top decadence of SOLE MARE but it is good Italian food.

It is the sound and service which continue to be the Achilles heel of GIANNI'S.
The service, when we were there this past January was, to be charitible, disjointed. There might be 3, 4 or more staff attending to your table, but no one seems to know what their job is. That's why, within 2 or 3 minutes of each other, 3 or 4 people show up to fill up water glasses that are already full to the brim, then you're almost ignored for the rest of the evening. If you eat inside , as we did, you'll also see anywhere froom 4-6 wait staff just kind of hanging around the kitchen area.

Again, contrast this with SOLE MARE. At SM, you'll have perhaps 3 or 4 different staff members, attending to your table, but each person knows what their job is, so they don't get in each other's way. Also, the wait staff are very knowledgeable about the menu, both the evening's specials and how various menu items are prepared. At GIANNI'S, asking the person who takes your order about any given pasta preparation is likely to be met with silence and a blank stare.

And to repeat the matter about sound. We normally sit inside. At SM, the low ceiling and soft surfaces such as carpets, table cloths, chair upholstery and cloth napkins all muffle sounds in the restaurant and add to the general elegance of the place. By contrast, GIANNI'S two-storey ceiling, tile-on-cement floor, and bare wooden tables and chairs, turn the inside of the restaurant into a large echo-chamber. All sounds, a dropped spoon, someone stirring their coffee, or even what's supposed to be a quiet conversation, are heard by everybody, everywhere. As I said ealier, it's Italian cuisine with the ambiance of Air Canada's maintenance hangar.

Lat thing Randi, whereabouts in Canada do you live? It's a horrible, gray, drizzly kind of day. Like Vancouver, but without the mountains!!

Have a good one!


03-23-2009, 11:14 AM
Hi Glen,
Sole Mar and Gianni's are the same owner. We used to go to SM all the time but much prefered the ambiance (outside) of Gianni's once it opened. We don't like to sit inside for the reasons that you described. Whenever we can sit outside at a restaurant we love to do so. The scene at Gianni's as you outlined is so very true. We don't want a fast dinning experience and being on holiday it is nice to relax but there is a point when the slow service just become ridiculous. When you are hungry and want to eat your dinner, you really are not interested in waiting 45 minutes to get your food! I will send off an email to the owner eventually.

You are also right about the beach, happens where ever you go but because the Surf Club has a smaller beach (width wise) there seems to be more issues which are compounded by other people's selfish ways!

We live in Ottawa. Sunny and not too cold today but of course, we are still not out of the woods for another snow storm before the end of April comes around!

03-25-2009, 09:47 AM
I forgot to mention that we went to Buster's Garage. This place seems to be the new hang out for a lot of young people after 10:30pm.
This place is a hang out for local and tourists alike. Decor is very plain with pool tables, bar tables and regular tables. Three side of the large room is covered in TV's and the other is windows/doors. Nice and clean but plain.
The food was good and very casual. The managers were friendly and warm, especially the one from Toronto, Canada. We didn't hold it against him that he is a LEAFS fan!!:doh:

Mr. Ratt
03-26-2009, 09:39 PM
Okay Randi... you've piqued my curiosity.
Where's Buster's Garage?
Are we talking Oranjestad or elsewhere on the island?
It sounds as if the place comes alive about the time the Tamarijn starts to fall asleep, and quite frankly, I'm not ready to call it a day at 10-10:30.
This could be the solution to the "What are we going to do now?" question.

9 more sleeps 'til the plane at 6:20 on a Sunday morn.
Ah well, it's worth it.

03-27-2009, 08:32 AM
Buster's Garage just opened and it is in the same block as Hard Rock. A number of new restaurants have opened up in this new complex. High rise district.
One night we met our friends who live in Aruba and the place was packed watching boxing (not for me), other nights there is all sorts of sports on. When I was in the lobby of our hotel we heard a lot of people (in particular the young adults) discussing going over to Buster's. The crowd is of all age groups. It is a very plain place but bright and clean. Good burgers and very lively in the evening.

Sunday night is Moomba night, Saturday it seems to be Confessions and Buster's most other nights. These are all at the High rise district. There are the downtown places like Senior Frogs, etc. too.


03-27-2009, 07:46 PM
Nice report and welcome home, eventhough we never want to come home from that beautiful island.

03-28-2009, 07:38 AM
thanks! Its been one week home but it feels like a month..........

rob o
03-28-2009, 07:53 AM
thanks! Its been one week home but it feels like a month..........

You wil NEVER see me starting a thread that says Finally Home! :rolleyes:

Just over 300 hours and we'll be there! :D