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First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

Hartford...
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First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

My husband and I spent a long weekend (9/27 - 9/30) on Aruba to celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary. We had a great time! Here are some of my impressions -

Accommodations:

Apartments Beach House Aruba, L.G. Smith Boulvevard 450

Located directly across from Hadicurari Beach, eclectic is the best word to describe the Beach House (quoting cammiedog). Quiet and relaxing also describe our stay.

We stayed in the Deluxe Ocean View One Bedroom Suite. Prior to arrival, I made arrangements with Ewald for a bottle of champagne and flowers for our room - perfect!

The innkeepers, Ewald and Doris, were terrific. They were present on the property most of the time, but allowed us our privacy. They were very friendly, happy to make recommendations, and even made reservations on our behalf.

I would stay at the Beach House again without hesitation.

Dining:

Madame Janette - We LOVED this place! From the moment we walked in, we were treated with enthusiasm and respect. Although our table was ready upon our (early) arrival, the maitre d' suggested that we relax with a drink at the bar - I had a Flirtini and my husband had his first (of many) Balashi. After our drinks, we were ushered to a wonderful outside table. Our server, Leny, was a delight. I ordered the crabcakes appetizer and my husband had the wild mushroom puff pastry. Although the crabcakes were good, the mushroom puff was out of this world!! One of the best apps I've ever had. My husband ordered the filet and I had shrimp in a blue cheese sauce. We each ordered the au gratin potatoes as a side dish. The steak was huge and grilled to perfection and the shrimp were so delicious that I couldn't put down my fork - except to stab into the best au gratin potatoes ever!! Sometime during the course of our meal, although I don't remember having done so, we must have mentioned to Leny that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. We were surprised by a wonderful dessert - chocolate layer cake topped with sauteed almonds with "Happy Anniversary" written in raspberry sauce. Truly decadent! I will return to MJ on every subsequent trip I make to Aruba!

Flying Fishbone - how can you beat not only dinner on the beach, but with your feet in the water and gentle waves lapping over your toes?? This was one of my top 5 overall dining experiences ever! After our gluttonous experience at MJ, we decided prior to our arrival to not order appetizers. At the recommendation of our server, Benny, we enjoyed one of Flying Fishbone's specialty drinks and were given plenty of time to relax while waiting for our meals. My husband had the filet and I ordered the chef's special shrimp with a side of mashed potatoes. After dinner, my husband surrepticiously arranged for champagne and dessert - Brownies served with Vanilla Sauce and ice cream, served with a sparkler (whee!) - to celebrate our anniversary. While the food was very good, what really made this place special was its setting and the atmosphere. (Did I mention the strolling saxophonist?) I would recommend this place to anyone looking to experience a romantic beach dinner.

Morning Star Oyster Sail Romantic Dinner Cruise - I can not say enough about this cruise! A private cruise on a 40' sailboat at sunset. Katrin and Marciano were so personable, yet professional. We had a wonderful time getting to know Kat and Marci and their beautiful daughter, Jasmine. And the meal - it is incredible what Kat is able to put together in the gally of a sailboat! The 5-course meal was cooked to perfection and served with elegance and class. We were given plenty of time to relax between courses and wanted for nothing! This cruise was the best part of our trip to Aruba!

Ventanas del Mar at Tierra del Sol Resort - After a wonderful massage and refreshing swim in the pool, my husband and I enjoyed a light bite poolside. My husband ordered the Chef's Club Sandwich - quite a mouthful and quite tasty as well. I had the Mango Chicken Salad - perfectly portioned and surprisingly tasty! Exactly what we were looking for! I would definitely return to sample what other delights the menu has to offer.

Hadicurari - We had a quick bite here before leaving Aruba. I had the Fried Chicken Salad, which was good but unremarkable and my husband had the Ham & Cheese Panini, which was deceptively exotic. A very nice setting. I would like to try this restaurant for dinner some time.

Activities:

Massages at Tierra del Sol - I guess technically, massages aren't considered an "activity" but we enjoyed a very relaxing couples massage. I had originally hoped for a couples massage on the beach at Manchebo Spa del Sol, but I called too late to book a reservation. We were not disappointed in the spa at Tierra del Sol! The massages were fantastic, followed by a rejuvenating swim. Although I would like to experience Spa del Sol, I would gladly return to Tierra del Sol!

Rancho del Campo - Horseback riding excursion through Arikok National Park to the Natural Pool. What this place lacked in personality it made up for in scenery! What a gorgeous tour through the desert, ending up at the Natural Pool (which was much to rough to enter on the day we were there), followed by a trot along the beach. Positives - the views couldn't be beat. I'm not sure an ATV tour of the same trails would have the same impact as doing it on horseback. Negatives - there was no controlling the horses, the stirrups were not properly adjusted to our height, and the tour guide was bland. I would plan a horseback excursion with someone other than Rancho del Campo for my next trip.

Baby Beach - Baby Beach was beautiful - the waters were calm and the beach was uncrowded. We only stayed for a short while, but I would definitely return. We took a wrong turn in our attempt to locate Baby Beach, and came across a very large pet cemetery. It was really quite unexpected and fascinating. While on the south end of the island, we also attempted to find the Natural Bridge, but never did. We did, however, see herds of goats throughout the desert. That was pretty cool.

I read the TripAdvisor Aruba forums religiously in the month leading up to the trip. I felt so well informed about what to do, where to eat, etc. Thanks for all of the great advice!

Massachusetts
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1. Re: First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

Sounds like a great trip! Dont feel bad about not finding things by car - who knew you can get lost on an island. I think we drove around the same neighborhood for hours at one point :)

Massachusetts
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2. Re: First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

Very nice report! Happy to hear you enjoyed Madame Janette's. It, too, is one of our favorite restaurants on the island. And you are correct - the pototatoes au gratin are simply the best!

Be sure to try Hadicurari on your next trip, for dinner. The fish trio was excellent and the torch lighting at night is very romantic.

Delaware
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3. Re: First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

I agree Madame Janette is a wonderful resturant with great food and a wonderful staff. Glad you had a memorable trip.

Cleves, Ohio
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4. Re: First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

04sox- best way to describe the place. Laid back as well, just the way we like things. We are going to be staying there for our 3rd time in May 2008. So far away.

Rocky Top
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5. Re: First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

Terrific report- Wish all vacations went that well. Thank you for sharing your Aruba trip.

6. Re: First Time Visitor - Impressions of Aruba

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