Just got back from my very first trip to Aruba and wanted to share some things.
We arrived at about 145PM on the 9th and quickly cleared through customs, no problems at all. We arrived at 2:30 and the room was not ready, which was annoying.
Upon check in at 3PM we were showed to the room and I got both requests I made. I had a high floor in Tara Suites and it was centrally located. This was really great because I wasn't even supposed to be in the suites, someone cancelled and I snuck in.
RESORT: The Bucuti overall was definitely nice. The grounds were beautifully manicured, and well maintained. Most** of the staff were very friendly, some were not. The rooms are perfectly situated on the beach so that they literally get full sun from mid afternoon to sunset, illuminating the space which is very nice. As for the room itself, I thought it was nice but the living room furniture was dated, and everything was kinda dusty. The humidifier made the air so clean but it beeped every single day and needed to be emptied. The bed was terrific, situated right by the balcony, and there were two huge flatscreen TVS. The bathroom is a huge weakspot, small, dingy, and the tub really does look like something out of a holiday inn.
I thought the food was okay. Most lunches were fine, but people wjo say the breakfast was "fantastic" need to get their heads checked. The french toast was hard, pancakes rubbery. The whole thing was like a continental breakfast at Sheraton. Hey it's free, but i'm a breakfast guy , so would rather have a menu option.
I seem determined to believe that Bucuti would make a strong drink at the bar. This never happened. My boyfriend was a little smarter , but it almost took me the whole five days to accept it. Haha. I just kept ordering every drink on the menu, hoping to find something. They are all weak. The Aruba Ariba is the best best, with only one ingredient being a mixer, but they still tried to kind've screw you there too. My boyfriend ordered dirty martinis and they were all vermouth. This is not really acceptable to me, and only one bartender ( a young kid ) really hooked up my drinks one night. I was bombed, but an older man who was also on shift, made my first drink , and it was weak. The milkshake frozen drinks tasted great. Bottom line, the resort doesn't make strong drinks, but I thought all drinks were reasonably priced, so it evens out.
We decided to venture to Manchebo one night ( the night I was bombed) and check out their drinks. I thought the Mojito was great, in this huge glass and reasonably priced. What i didn't like was the big a** cockroach that greeted us at the entry to the bar!, and my boyfriend saw another one flying/crawling up the wall across from our seat near the open aired kitchen. He is terrified of them , and thank god for the Aruba Ariba's because I woulda been screaming like a girl too if i wasn't drunk. He made me down my drink, and i don't even know how i walked back to Bucuti. I coulda seen 30 flying roaches at that point and not noticed. I know it's the caribbean, but I'm out when I see a flying roach. Bucuti was literally right next door, and I never saw one cockroach. Just interesting.
As others noted, I once again got shanked weather wise. I went to Grand Cayman last year and the weather was bad. This was overall better, but not great. There was rain every day almost, and although it did generally clear, there was only one glorious day with full sun. That was an amazing day, and the water was crystal clear, but sadly it was the only day. With the weird weather came rough water, and by day five, I was pretty much over it. The water was really cloudy every day, and I was stepping on god knows what everywhere in the ocean. It just wasn't very relaxing for me. I know it can be different because the one day it was nothing but sandy bottom and i could see straight through. I am open to others comments, but I am not really sure which instance was the norm. From what I could see from my experience, the rough water, coral and cloudiness was prominent. I had already read about the wind, and that was nice, but on two days the gusts were obnoxious, blowing sand in my face, knocking over chairs, and sending inserts from the beach bar menu across the resort. Hold on to that Pina Colada!
The restaurant experiences were pretty good. Flying Fishbone was just an awesome setting all around, and liked food. Barefoot was also great, but comical to a point. We were seated and it was so romantic, but then two local pregnant ladies and their kids got in water in front of us. Hilarious! Then this huge plane flew by. Then the club next door starting playing loud dance music. Before I know it there was some stray cat next to our table asking for food. I still liked it much though. Matthews was very ordinary. Food was fine, but I shoulda just went to Screaming Eagle- I couldn't get over the fact it wasn't on beach. Pincho's was very romantic, and Madame Jeanette's was good too.
Finally, I'd like to commend Aruba's airport. The departure process was extensive, but seamless. Everyone was friendly. It was an outright nightmare for me in Grand Cayman last year.
In the end, I do understand the appeal of Aruba, but I am not sure if i would return. The people are very friendly, and i don't care what anyone says, it felt highly safe at almost all times, more than I ever have in Caribbean. This is crucial being a gay guy. Still, it's very important for me to have a serene beach with clear beautiful water. With the weather, wind, and rough coral water, I was turned off and not relaxed. Yes, i did some research before I went and knew i was taking a risk with water and wind. I understand the water in Aruba has it's own beauty, but it's hard to hold it next to Anguilla, Turks and even Cayman. It was gorgeous the one day, but again it's the only day i experienced that. Maybe next time I'll try high rises for calmer, clearer water?
Anyways, I definitely will take the warm fuzzy good memories with me. Thanks for everyone's help on this board, and I just hope my next destination has better weather!! Third time's the charm , right?