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Have you ever visited a place you had never been to before and somehow you felt an instant connection?
Somehow you just easily slipped into the local lifestyle, feeling at home and at ease in a place that is at once both exciting and new, yet as comfortable, carefree, and familiar as your favorite flip-flops.
For London-based lifestyle influencer and blogger Louise Boyce, Aruba was just that. “I feel like Aruba changed me in a spiritual way. I felt calm, relaxed, at one with nature,” says the social media standout, who has gained fame on Instagram as @mamastillgotit_ and with her blog, “Mama Still Got It!”
Louise had dreamed about one day visiting the island, sharing, “Aruba had been on our bucket list for a long time, but it always seemed like a dream that couldn’t possibly become a reality, mainly because we felt like it was really far away, or too expensive to get to. But when we did our research, we realized that flying to Aruba wasn’t as long as we thought, and when we read that Aruba guaranteed sunshine all year round and was outside of the hurricane belt, we thought we’d go for it!” With her husband, Jesse, and two sons, Basil and Sonny, six and three, respectively, Louise checked into Boardwalk Small Hotel—their chosen home base while on Aruba—for a family adventure that would bring them joy, relaxation, and a sense of zen that is priceless.
“We’ve never been big fans of large, built-up chain hotels; we much prefer staying somewhere smaller with personality and the freedom to go where we like and not be tied down to the all-inclusive hotel food and pools. When we go away, we like to pretend that we live there, and staying somewhere like Boardwalk really felt like we were home away from home. Boardwalk’s casitas were so beautiful, down to earth, vibrant, and large enough to fit all of us. As it is also run by family, there was a feeling of community and a very chilled vibe,” explains Louise.
Boardwalk’s off-the-beaten-path location, tucked away on a historic former coconut plantation, is lushly secluded yet five minutes from dining, entertainment, and activities. A short walk to scenic Palm Beach takes guests to Boardwalk’s exclusive reserved area with lounges and palapas for relaxing.
Family vacationers take note: there’s a lot of fun going on beyond the beach on Aruba as well, with immersion into the authentic local lifestyle so attainable. The Boyce family spent endless hours exploring the island. Louise shares, “Every day was a highlight. We explored beaches that were so breathtakingly beautiful—which, of course, all adults can appreciate—and the kids loved seeing the turtles swim next to them at Baby Beach, seeing the pelicans dive to get their food, following iguanas, and walking with the flamingos on the beach. Being around nature in the wild is so good for both children and adults.”
Back home and getting back to “normality in cold and dark London,” Louise reflects on her experience on the island. “I can see why Aruba is called the ‘Happy Island,’ because everyone we met was friendly and happy—maybe this is because of the continuous good weather or the stunning beaches and fantastic food. I hope this feeling of zen will continue. My kids asked me, ‘Mummy, why don’t we live in Aruba all the time?’ So, if it can make a three- and six-year-old feel like this, imagine what it can do to you!”