Okay, here we go. My wife and I just returned from Aruba on 7/26/07. We stayed at the Manchebo Resort and Spa in the Low-rise district. Here's some helpful info for those who plan on visiting Aruba in the near future.
Aruba In General: It's very HOT and SUNNY there! VERY HUMID with an almost constant breeze/wind, which you will appreciate. People around the whole Island are generally friendly. The service in restaurants is SLOW compared with the Northeast, but hey, you're in their world, you're on vacation, and the food is great and worth the wait. The 15% service charge on all food and drinks will confuse some small tippers since it is only a PARTIAL TIP and the rest is distributed among the other resort staff. I myself tipped well on top of the service charge. American CASH and credit cards are accepted everywhere, and change was given in American dollars. All prices are listed in dollars. No need to exchange currency. The Bus system worked well for us. Buses run roughly every 10 minutes. Fares are $1.30 p.p. each way or $2.30 R/T p.p.. The buses however are NOT air conditioned, but the windows are open.
CASINOS: Most casinos have older slots. The tables in many don't open early in the day, until later in the afternoon. The best Casino I found was at the RIU...nice atmospher, bright w/good music, and the most modern machines. This was not a gambling trip for us so I can't supply details for the hard-core gambler...sorry.
Restaurants: We ate at a variety of restaurants around the island and found the food to be quite good at most. No restaurant was actually a disappointment.
RESORTS: As stated above, we stayed at the Manchebo Resort and Spa. A small resort (only 71 units) with a LARGE beach. We always had a straw beach umbrella no matter what time we hit the beach. This is NOT POSSIBLE at the larger resorts. Our resort is geared towards the middle to upper age groups which is exactly what I wanted. Some kids around, but not annoying or loud. The bars/restaurants however do not stay open very late, but late enough for my wife and myself (we are in our low-mid 40's). This resort served our needs just fine. My wife said the Spa treatment was the best she ever got, and trust me, she can rate a spa.
Now, read carefully. The High-Rise hotels are beautiful, no doubt about it. Large pools, big gardens, marble lobby's, exotic birds, nice rooms etc., etc.. HOWEVER, if you are a beach person, you're gonna have a problem. LIMITED number of straw umbrellas (say 2000 guests and 25 umbrellas...you figure it out. And trust me, YOU WILL FRY if you don't have some shade to hide under during the day.
Sundays: If you're in Aruba on a Sunday, almost everything is closed. Some stores will open IF a cruise ship arrives, but other than that, cross shopping off your list. Some stores also close for "siesta" during the week between noon and 2p.m., but most stay open.
Hope this run down has helped. Feel free to ask questions. I will gladly answer any I can.
ARUBA...OUR NEW VACATION DESTINATION.