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Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

Chicago
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Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

My wife and I just got back from Aruba and let me start by saying I already miss it!!! We were supposed to go to the Bahamas, but we were uncertain of the predictability of the hurricanes so we changed our plans last minute. Here is the LONG report from my trip.

Arrived on 9/13/08 and checked in at the Holiday Inn, man this place needs to be torn down. I booked online with the Priority Club because I am a Platinum member due to all the business travel that I have to do. We were upgraded to a Suite and man was I disappointed. The bathroom was falling apart, the TV did not work, the bed was lopsided. I was very disturbed by the conditions of the room and the tower we were in. I don’t want to come off as a snob or that I am above anyone else, because I am not. We booked here because I was trying to save a little bit due to the added expense of having to change our travel plans at the last minute due to the hurricanes. So we left our stuff in the room and went to the Radisson to see if they had any availability. I was not going to stay at the HI no matter what. We were greeted at the front desk by Martin, who is one of the hotel Managers. He took very good care of us. We were placed on the top floor of the Aruba tower. We also received a $150 food and beverage credit for our stay. WOW, what a room. Yes, we were going to have to pay about $50 more per night than the HI, but it was worth it. They even drove us back to the HI so we could pick up our stuff. We stayed here last year, so I know that we are staying at one of the best resorts on the islands. The staff go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and do whatever they can to make your stay memorable. Thanks Martin, we will NEVER stay anywhere else in Aruba!!!

That night we walked down to the Westin to have dinner at Blossoms. It is Japanese/Chinese. It was alright, I was a little disappointed in the food. I have heard many great things about this restaurant and was not really please with my meal. Our meal consisted of a couple of Spring Rolls, Pot Stickers, sushi rolls and Shanghai Noodles. The rice in the sushi rolls was half cooked so that is the part that I was most upset about. I love sushi and to have bad sushi you remember it. I let the management know and they didn’t do anything about it. I wasn’t looking for a free meal, but at least offer to make me new rolls.

Sunday 9/14/08 – Went down to the beach and fried ourselves. It always sucks to get burnt on your first day. We ordered beach service to our Palapa from Gilligans. Lunch was a Italian Panini w/fries that we split. Last year we never finished our lunches so this year we decided to share a lunch to save food and $$$. Dinner was at the Sunset Grill inside the Radisson. I just love that place. I got the Oscar Style fillet and my wife got the Honey Dijon Chicken. Sides were Gorgonzola Au-Gratin potatoes, AWESOME, and creamed spinach. We shared a Martini Salad for and appetizer and had the chocolate soufflé for dessert. The meal was great as always. Staff is very helpful and never hovering. They are not on “Island Time” and your food arrived promptly. We highly recommend this restaurant.

Monday 9/15/08 – We were fried form the sun from the previous day so we decided to go shopping downtown today. Did some nice damage to the pocket book on this day. Picked up some knockoff watches from Kenny at Best of Aruba. They are located on the street directly behind the Renaissance Mall. He gave us a very good deal on the watches and even threw in a tee shirt for free. We ate at Iguana Joes for lunch. Shared a rib sampler and burger. Not bad. Good food for the price. For Dinner we ate at Gianni’s, arodd from the Rad. Another awesome meal. So good we went again on Saturday. My wife had the 4-chees rigatoni and I had the Linguini with prosciutto and artichoke hearts. We shared a brownie ala mode for dessert. WOW that meal was outstanding. The cheese oozed off the rigatoni noodles and my meal was cooked to perfection. Now we are both Sicilian and we were very impressed by the quality of this food.

Tuesday 9/16/08 – Lunch was on the beach from Gilligans. Shared the Philly Cheese steak. Pretty good. nothing special. Dinner was at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at the Marriott. They had a 2 for $89 special going on. We started with Caesar salads, scalloped potatoes and creamed spinach for sides, Mixed Grill for me and the Fillet for my wife and finished it off with mixed berries in fresh cream. The meal wasn’t bad by all means. Its something that you can get at any Ruth’s Chris.

Wednesday 9/17/08 – Lunch was on the beach from Gilligans. Shared the Cuban sandwich. Pretty good. Dinner was at Madame Jeannette’s. I heard of this place last time we were here and now I am really upset with myself that we did not come here before. This is truly a dining experience. The make up of the restaurant is fantastic. It’s off the beaten path but well worth the trip. My wife had the Hungarian Goulash and I had the Lobster bisque. Even though it was 90 outside was that worth it. Some of the best goulash and bisque that we have ever had. Dinner consisted of the schnitzel for my wife and “Dutch” tenderloin for myself. The tenderloing was sliced with carmelized onions and sliced Roma tomatoes, the melted gouda cheese and the covered in hollandaise sauce. My mouth is watering for this as I type this it. It was hands down one of the best meals I have ever had in my life. If you don’t make it here you will be sorry you missed it. Service was fantastic.

Thursday 9/18/08 – No lunch today. I went on the afternoon snorkel trip from DePalm. It was a good time. They provide you with drinks, a sandwich and some fruit. The snorkeling was not bad. We went to the sunken ship the Antiglla (sp?) and another spot by some beach. It was a good time. Not to pricy $50 for 3 hours. Saw a ton of fish, sqil, eels and bumped into a sea turtle. That was pretty cool. We had dinner at Aqua Grill. Now I have read mixed reviews on this place and we were not happy with this choice for a meal. We started out with a Caesar salad that had someone’s long black curly hair in it, crab fritters, the wife had chicken and I had the special which was Blackened Brazil fish. It was so so. The fish was over cooked and the chicken was very dry. I don’t recommend this restaurant.

Friday 9/18/08 – Lunch was on the beach from Gilligans. I had the grouper sandwich and the wife got chicken tenders. Grouper was dry, but oh well. Dinner was it Iguana Cantina known by the Promenade Mall. We shared the guacamole and chips. I got the beef taco’s and my wife got the beef burrito, which was 12” long. That was a HUGE burrito. Food was okay. I’ll take my local joint anyday over this. This was probably the least expensive meal that we had.

Saturday 9/20/08 – Lunch was on the beach from Gilligans. Shared the Italian Panini. We went back to Gianni’s for Dinner. This time we have the fresh mozzarella and prosciutto bruescetta for an appetizer, my wife got the gnocchi and I got the shrimp scampi over linguini. Once again, Gianni’s hit a home run. Not a single thing wrong woth our meal.

All in all we had a wonderful vacation. We didn’t do any excursions, just laid by the beach and made some new friends. Played a little in the casinos at night. Won some lost some. I’m planning on doing another post on my poker experience. We want to thank Martin and his staff at the Radisson. You were all wonderful and made us feel like we were at home. We also want to let Dennis and Marla, Bob and Lauren, Mike and Katie, and Art and Gloria that you all made our vacation a wonderful time and we hope to stay in contact with you in the future!!!

Boston
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127 posts
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1. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

Sounds like a great trip!! Madame Janettes, Sunset Grill and Gianni's are all on the list for my visit in November... glad to hear your positive feedback!

Boston...
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2. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

great report...love the rad too....sunset grille is my all time fav. on the island...we reallly liked giannis too.....MJ...not so much (i know proably the only one) maybe we just had a bad nite....cant wait till we go back....

thanks for taking the time to write....

Illinois City...
Destination Expert
for Palm - Eagle Beach
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3. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

I'm not sure what building you were in at the Holiday Inn, but we found our room to be very nice....in the Aruba tower..it had just been renovated and we had no complaints.....and I am fussy about clean and comfortable.

I wish you would have mentioned what tower you were in at the HI.

jl
Waltham...
Destination Expert
for Aruba
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4. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

I'm thinking he may have been in the tower that hasn't been renovated yet? I would have thought the HI would be totally redone by now.

Chicago
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5. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

If you were facing the HI from the beach it would be the far left tower.

The room was not the ONLY reason we decided to change resorts. There were some other factors that led to our decision. One of them being there were too many kids running around the resort. We did not expect that. I know everone has the right to be on vacation, however I just needed to relax and I don't think I would have been able to there with alot of children running around and yelling all day. Also, the beach wans't very clean. Alot of seaweed, cigarette butts and general garbage all over the beach.

I am not trying to sound like a snob, because I am not. I am reporting things fairly and honestly without bias or prejudice.

new york
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6. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

sounds fun i stayed at the aruba beach tower it was clean and great even had ocenfront room

maybe you were in the old tower

it sounds lilke you had a great time there ....

New Jersey
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7. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

Thanks for sharing your trip report. Sounds like we have similar tastes - the Radisson is my favorite Aruba resort and Madame Janette is actually my favorite all time restaurant anywhere.

Glad to hear you had a good time. Hopefully you'll remember to pile on the sun block next time! :)

Boston...
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8. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

Thanks for the trip report. Sounds like a great trip in the end. So sorry it started off rocky. If you liked MJ's, try Papiamentos next time and get one of the meals "on the stone". Ask to sit out by the pool. Ambiance is wonderful. MJ is our fav place, but have always been told to try Papiamento. This time we made time for it and are so glad we did. It is now on our must-do list for when we return.

Montoursville, PA
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9. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

I would probably have done the same thing if I were you (changed hotels). We stayed at the Surf Club which is BEAUTIFUL and I thought the Holiday Inn right next to it looked like it was in desperate need of a remodel, that is looking from the outside of it. I consider myself to be extremely picky when it comes to where I stay. I prefer new and clean and the Surf Club was right up my alley. Glad to hear your vacation turned out so great!

Indiana
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10. Re: Trip Report 9/13/08 -9/21/08 (LONG!!)

Glad to read your review. Husband and I have a free room at the Brickell Bay. I have mostly seen bad reviews about it. I thought when we get there if I need to we can get go to a different place and pay. I was thinking of the HI. I have seen mostly good reviews of it. Maybe we will try the Radisson if we need someplace other than Brickell Bay.