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Thread: Back to Aruba - Finally!

  1. #51
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Any beach!!
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    Can’t believe you are back home already! At least you have another trip to look forward to though! The Hilton is a nice property. We stayed there when it was the Radison. While we prefer the low rise area, it’s still nice to have a change of scenery. They have a nice casino and we liked to walk over to Salt and Pepper for breakfast. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!!

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  2. #52
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    thank you so much for taking the time to share your travels and Christmas travels with us!

    I am so glad that your friend is now "hooked"

    Again, thank you and stay warm.
    Minneapolis' spring I am sure is right around the corner.

    Quote Originally Posted by ideastowords View Post
    Thank you all for the kind words.

    Pegmeister, do make Asi Es Mi Peru a priority if you can. I hope you can make it back to Aruba sooner than later.

    LisaGrn, I had to drag out the winter pajamas when I got home, too! It was in the 30s in Minneapolis when I stepped off the airplane at midnight. UFFDA (a Minnesota colloquialism). But, at least there wasn't snow! (Apparently there was snow south of us.)

    Aruba4Ever, right there with you on your opinion of Aruba. I wish it wasn't such a haul from Minneapolis, though. Sunday was a 12-hour travel day with the layovers and customs, but I love that U.S. customs is in Aruba so you can just get it over with. Relieved they didn't charge me for my luggage that was overweight by five pounds.

    My friend, who had never been to Aruba before, had such a great time he blew every bit of his airline and hotel points to book us a week there from December 25 to January 1. This deserves another "Uffda" - to pay for this with money (as opposed to points) would have been ridiculously expensive; my friend might be able to afford it but I never could without winning the lottery. This will be a new kind of Aruba experience for me - we're staying at the Hilton in Palm Beach.

    I am hoping the direct flight on Sun Country (he's covering it so I will take the risk with this notoriously undependable airline) will be less strenuous. If it isn't, this will probably be my last trip.

    Travel insurance for the December trip is going to be complex as insurance doesn't cover reward points, apparently; a last-minute cancellation would cost an evening's hotel stay when you use reward points. But! An evening hotel stay at the Hilton during super high season is in excess of $850 - that is a huge chunk of change to me. And with unpredictable Minnesota weather, I think insurance of some kind is a must-have, so I am hoping I can find one that will cover the hotel fee if we get a huge snowstorm. With Sun Country, there's only one flight a week, so it's not like we can rebook for the next day.

    B Likes to Travel, thank you for getting it - having those three days to myself was rejuvenating.

    CPJones - thank you!

    WaltVB, thanks for reading my ramblings!
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind?
    Karma...It is pronounced "HaHaHaHa"

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  3. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    The last three days of my trip were uneventful, yet somehow I didn't find time to report back. Frankly, there really wasn't much to report, as I simply spent days floating in the pool or bouncing in the ocean. So this will be a wrap-up of observations.

    1. Oceania is an excellent resort. I loved that it was almost empty, but not so empty that I didn't meet a lovely couple to dine and have drinks with a few times. They were even generous enough to give me a ride to the airport on my last day. But I am an introvert - my pal Jerry is a TOTAL extrovert, and his only complaint is that he wishes it would have been busier. But he'll more than get that busy atmosphere he craves when we stay in Palm Beach in December.

    The condo had an outdoor hot tub - that was very much worth the investment, especially during curfew. It was fun to bubble under the stars.

    I loved having a washer and dryer, especially since Jerry packed minimal clothes, I could give them a spin and no one was the wiser. (I think men need women more than women need men - forgive me, but it's just an observation).

    The walk to the pool and beach was easy as could be since this was a ground-floor; although, I sacrificed views for that.

    A drawback is that the place was lit up like a Wal-Mart - which I complained about earlier. I don't know how anyone can stand jarring fluorescent lighting. I am going to recommend that Prestige Realty make the $30 investment (probably less) to change out those awful bulbs. Correct lighting is critical to creating a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere, but I know some people just don't understand that, through no fault of their own. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we purchased battery candles and twinkle lights. These came in very handy when the power went out on my last night there. (It was very exciting walking back to the condo in pitch black, on the road - they had all the standard entries locked so I had to enter through the security gate.)

    2. Prestige Realty is likely running with a very thin staff and/or thin budget, which is no surprise what with Covid. They did allow me to order groceries beforehand with merely a three percent surcharge so that was super handy. It was great to arrive to a fridge filled with favorites. They handled that perfectly.

    But the arrival was a bit bumpy - our greeter was not at security so the taxi just plopped us down wherever and we were left to figure out where our room was in this multi-building complex. As I was dialing their inquiries desk, a young man came running around the corner and dropped us off to our room with little explanation about anything - like showing us how to operate the thermostats (which isn't intuitive). Again, this is likely because staff is spread thin. Also, simple fixes weren't fixed: a jacuzzi that wouldn't bubble, a bathtub with no stopper, and a malfunctioning safe. These were all resolved within 24 hours, but again, I am surprised they wouldn't check everything before someone rented, especially consider no one had been renting the place for several months. As was very apparent in my earlier posts, all of these issues transformed me into Queen Karen - I blame it on a very long travel day and minimal sleep for the week prior. If I wasn't so exhausted and at ends, I would have noticed they had a second bathroom with multiple towels - but they arrived the next day with even more. My friend tipped them $20 for that - I had embarrassed him with my Karen-ing.

    What gives me pause is that no one toured my room when I left. Before I could check out electronically, I had to sign a waiver stating that I will pay for any issues in the condo if found within the next three weeks. This felt sketchy to me, but I did make a video of the place in the minutes before my departure. Had I known sooner, I would have taken video of everything operating correctly, as opposed to footage of just a tidy condo. I am hoping that they have integrity and won't suddenly charge me huge money for a drummed-up repair.

    If I stay in a condo in Aruba again, I don't know if I'll be renting with Prestige, but I understand that they have a corner on the market so it may be unavoidable. For the investment I made, I expect better service with minimal surprises, but again, perhaps Covid has them running thin.

    3. I gained 10 pounds. I think those three days left to lounge and fend for myself did me in. But what a way to go. Aruba's restaurants are fantastic. While my favorite tasting table is Fred, they're all excellent. On my final days there, I stayed close to the Eagle Beach area just for ease. I was thrilled to see an excellent guitarist at Las Ramblas, this ensured they got my business for dinner the following night. I am not a huge fan of nonstop covers from the 60s, 70s and 80s, but he was extremely gifted and being starved for live music, I will take what I can get! I realize he's catering to a very diverse crowd. I asked him to play some Django Reinhardt and he offered the theme from Dr. Zhivago instead, because apparently I look Russian - a euphemism for fat little babushka, I just need a kerchief on my head and I will be all set! But I digress. Their $35 three course fixed-price menu was a tremendous value - I dream about the paella.

    Someone needs to write about fine-dining at a value in Aruba - this would be one example. Others are the tasting menus at Twist of Flavors and Que Pasa - I didn't go to Que Pasa, but the friends I met at my condo went and they raved about it.

    I also credit my 10 pounds to the excellent bakery at Super Foods. I kept hoping the exercise trotting over there would make a difference, but no. A few marathons might make a dent.

    4. Renting a car is no big deal. If I can drive in Aruba without incident, anyone can. Though, it made me nervous because even though I bought the extra insurance, the deductible was $1,000. You see, I lean toward being a klutz in every aspect of my life: My legs are covered in bruises because I unconsciously am bumping into corners and so it is with my driving - my own car has tiny scrapes and dents. This is no big deal if you own the vehicle, but can be costly if you're renting. Fortunately, the rental remained untouched even after two trips to the donkey farm and a visit to the airport.

    5. Pack half the clothes you'll think you need - per wise advice I witnessed on this board but did not heed, unfortunately. (I wish I could give credit - if you said this, please reply and take credit.) And invest in shoes that will allow your feet to expand - I tend to blow up in the tropical heat - not a bit from the food . My feet outgrew my sandals and were covered in blisters as a result. That might have led to weight gain because I became far more sedentary once the blisters emerged.

    I hope you found this helpful or, at minimum, somewhat amusing. Thanks for reading my posts! If anything else comes to mind, I will certainly add to this.
    Last edited by ideastowords; 04-27-2021 at 10:41 PM.
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  4. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Pegmeister, thank you for that information! That's really good to know and we will definitely check out Salt and Pepper! I was busy typing up my final trip report when you posted .

    Andrea J., on Saturday it's supposed to be 79 degrees here so I like to think I brought the warm weather back And we are definitely hooked - especially if our direct flight is dependable!
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