Our trip started out from Newark/Liberty on June 4th in a rain storm, we pulled away from the gate on time, only to be told by the pilot that we were # 25 to depart. It took us about ½ hr to take off, which wasn’t bad considering. They made the time up in the air & we landed about 5 minutes late. Got our luggage, a taxi & off to the Bucuti, rooms were ready, champagne toast, unpacked & we were in the water by 2:30PM. Not bad at all. My wife & I traveled with our son & his girlfriend who are 20 yrs old. Let me first start out by saying the staff at the Bucuti from the housekeepers, to the bartenders, to the concierge, to the managers, could not have been more accommodating. I don’t know what others have encountered when they have had a problem, but a smile goes a long way! This was our 9th trip to Aruba & our 4th straight year at the Bucuti, the staff knows us by name & I’m sure this helps on the service end of things. Met the owner several times during our stay & he could not have been nicer. We stayed for 10 days and the weather was superb, not one drop of rain. We don’t do any sight seeing anymore because we have seen what we need to see. We are beach bums, and that is where we stayed for the most part. We rented a car from Royal, which is who the hotel uses for 3 days @ $120.00, all charges included. I used my Amex card & had called them previous to our trip and was advised that we are covered for the CDW insurance as long as we DECLINE the rental car companies insurance. We drove over to the Amsterdam Manor beach to rent jet skies on 2 occasions, $60.00/1/2 hr per person. They don’t seem to want to negotiate on price, even for 3 people, but they did give us 15 minutes extra on the 2nd trip out. We ate lunch at Pizza Bob’s twice, the Hyatt once and the rest at the Sand Bar @ the Bucuti. All were very good. We ate at the following for dinner & I can’t say that we had a bad meal at any of them, except one:
Fishes & More (got my Cuban Cigars for the week at the shop by Salt & Pepper)
Marandi (sunset dinner @ 6 PM, great pictures, ask the owner to take some shots, he is very good with a camera) Make sure to go there on a day when you rent a car, $25.00 taxi ride each way.
Gianni’s (walked thru the Hard Rock, some cool stuff there)
Chalet Suisse (My wife & I ate here, great Rack of Lamb & Grouper) while my son & his girl went to Blossom’s. He had been there before and was totally disappointed with the quality of food, would not return)
Gianni’s (back by popular demand, I don’t usually do repeats, but that’s were everyone wanted to go, I compromised and ordered a steak from Daniel’s menu which is connected and it worked very well, good steak might I add.) Service was a little slow that night, which was our only complaint.
My wife & I got a chance to meet a fellow poster, Baseballmom & her husband; it was real nice to put a face to the name. We ate breakfast 2 mornings together. I knew she was going to be there while I was there & it was fun trying to pick them out without asking to many questions…LOL. I knew they were from Mass. & picked up on her husband’s shirt.
I will say that the island seemed quieter & less busy than previous years; we usually go about the same time each year. The cab drivers commented on it as well. We got to the airport 3 hrs before departure, which was 5:45 PM on Saturday & we were first on line, not the case last year when the lines were out the door. We took our time through customs, did some shopping, ate some pizza & still had plenty of time to spare.
We stayed in the Tara Bldg, where we always stay, my son was in a superior room & I must say, it looked quite comfortable. We may opt for that type of room next time.
Concierge made or reconfirmed dinner reservations everyday without a hitch & even included directions to each place on the confirmation that they left in our room.
We also got a nice welcome back/we missed you bag with Gouda cheese, crackers & cookies from the hotel.
Made a trip to Ling & Son’s for some alcoholic beverages & snacks, saved on the bar bill, but still hit most if not all the happy hours.
In response to someone that wrote in saying they only give 1 beach towel per person, not so, we got a card allowing 2 per person. They ask you upon check in how many you want & you get a card accordingly. Towels for the beach were large & soft. Towels for the bath were not, just standard hotel towels. Good enough for us.
Bartenders were great, treated us good as we did them. Service charge is added to everything, but we tipped on top of that. It goes a long way.
Just a reminder, they don’t take cash at the bar (except for tips) or restaurant, only room charge or credit card.
If anyone is interested, they do have Catholic Mass @ 5PM on Sun @ Casa Del Mar, 3 hotels over. 5 min walk at most.
We will be returning next year!
Hope this helps, if anyone has any questions, please ask.