Four Stylish Ways to Stay
by Susan Campbell
Secret Romantic Escape – Aruba Ocean Villas (Top photo)
The absolute ultimate in adult-only romance is secreted away in Savaneta on the island’s southeast coast. So well hidden, you wouldn’t even know it’s there unless someone tells you where the gate is! But that’s the idea. This intimate boutique resort was designed as a surprising hidden Eden for those seeking privacy and an incredibly special stay. Choose from a collection of South Pacific style overwater bungalows, beach villas, and even a two-story treehouse ─ each with its own unique character and all personally decorated by the owner/artist herself. This is where creativity meets barefoot luxury and epic amenities abound like boat-style lounge decks with swings, hammocks, Bali daybeds, deep-soaking tubs, personal dipping pools, Jacuzzis and even pianos and crystal chandeliers to name just a few. The tiki style beach bar is the nexus of social life, and the tables on the beach are perfect for romantic for toes-in-the-sand dining. There is also one private overwater palapa for dining (reservations mandatory) or you can have dinner served in your villa.
There’s also great snorkeling, and complimentary sea kayaks allow you to explore the surrounding mangroves. For couple’s massages, there’s a special spa palapa perch or you can have treatments right in your room. Extremely attentive and personal service is the hallmark of this enchanting little hideaway, so whatever your heart desires to make your retreat extra special, they will do their absolute best to make it happen.
Upscale Elegant – The Ritz-Carlton Aruba
The glamourous grandeur that awaits within isn’t readily apparent at first glance at the exterior of this massive mustard-coloured complex on Palm Beach, but you know when the Ritz-Carlton name is on it, once inside, it won’t disappoint. And it doesn’t. Your first steps into the gleaming marble lobby will signal you’ve truly arrived at an opulent class of stay. This is where a two-story glassed-in panoramic view of the island’s stunning aqua sea is your backdrop at the Divi Lobby Bar and where guests are invited to view incredible sunsets and receive complimentary samples of their signature drink to celebrate the day’s end. All 320 modern and stylishly appointed guestrooms and suites offer private balconies and ocean views, and on the 7th floor, Club Level guests enjoy their own private lounge and upgraded amenities. Luxury shopping, a glitzy 24/7 casino, a first-rate spa and fitness centre, and dining at a choice of themed restaurants offer pastimes, but most will spend their days by the two pools (one adult-only and one family friendly) and lounging on the sprawling beachfront where you can view the colorful kites dancing in the sky from the kiteboarders practicing next door. Though excellent personal service is typically a Ritz-Carlton trademark, of special note at this one is the beachfront servers who deliver your food and drink aboard Segways—so much fun to watch.
Boho-Chic Beach House Style Stay Boardwalk Boutique Hotel
When twin sisters Kimberley and Stephanie Rooijakkers decided to convert a bare basics windsurfer’s hangout near Palm Beach into a chic little beach house style resort, they had no idea it would become the darling of alternative style off-radar stays on island and a Trip Advisor favourite for five years running. Located in a historic coconut plantation, with an inviting little pool surrounded by lush greenery, the entire property is dotted with colorful and creative extras personally envisioned by the owners themselves like their signature “Treasure Chest” ─ a box full of helpful tips in each room on how and where to enjoy the island’s best local pleasures.
The original complex had only 14 rooms, but they’ve since added an entirely new wing now bringing the casita count to 46. The new wing has its own multi-experience pool with an over-water hammock. and they now offer daily poolside bar service for Happy Hour, too. Each cottage style room or suite has its own cool and quirky character, some with personal dipping pools or outdoor showers, and every room has a full kitchen and BBQ. Their new Lobby Bar café will offer some food and beverage service, and though the hotel is not on the sea, it’s a short stroll across the street to their Boardwalk Beach palapa paradise strip in the sand right beside the Ritz-Carlton Aruba. You can also order food and drink at discounted costs from the Ritz, and have it delivered by those fun servers riding Segways.
Elevated Family-Friendly Escape Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort
This towering phoenix rising above Palm Beach is part of Aruba Divi family, but unlike its sister resorts around Eagle Beach, it doesn’t offer an all-inclusive option. (Though you can include buffet breakfast.) It was designed to provide an elevated home-away-from-home style of cosmopolitan accommodation for folks who prefer to cook some of their own meals. All 240 rooms and suites have gorgeous, well-equipped modern kitchens with everything one could need to entertain (except the food,) and there are also community barbecues. On-site laundry facilities is another convenient extra.
Choose from spacious studios and one-two-bedroom suites or go more upscale with a split-level penthouse, and all accommodations boast modern amenities and are decorated with cheery splashes of Caribbean colours. It’s great for families since they have a dedicated children’s pool, lots of activities, and the calm, kid-friendly surf is due to manmade breakwaters on their beach. In low season, children under 12 stay free (one per paying adult).
“Pure” is the theme for all the on-site food and beverage options ─ trendy purebeach has creative tapas and small bites, pureocean is their signature alfresco dining room, and puredeli offers great fare to-go including an ice cream bar. But as fabulous as this spot is for families, it’s not without its sultry side for couples. Many of the superior suites have with luxe whirlpool tubs with built-in neon lights, their special romance package includes private palapa seaside dining by torchlight, and the pureindulgence spa offers couple’s massage either inside or surfside.