Tag Archives: Aruba

Aruba: Where to stay, what to do

Can you ever go wrong with staying at a Ritz Carlton property? The answer is no, and this property is one worth checking out. In conjunction with the exceptional service and attention to detail we have all come to expect with the brand, each of the 320 spacious guest rooms has access to a private balcony—perfect for watching the sunrise or sunset over the ocean. The property has four different restaurant options (ranging from poolside grill to white tablecloth seating) and gives guests the option of requesting a romantic dinner on the beach, with a butler and personalized menu. There are two swimming pools (one of which is adults only), a luxury spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center with enough equipment to keep you on your gym routine while on vacation. The hotel also offers a 15,000-square-foot, 24-hour casino located in the hotel for guests and non-guests.

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Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

Located in the heart of Aruba’s busiest tourist district, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino offers guests an unparalleled experience. The resort has 40 acres of exclusive beach sand and shore, which are home to a flock of wild flamingos and countless iguanas. Guests arrive to the private oasis by water taxi, which leaves from the lobby’s canal. The resort is divided into two zones: adult only and family friendly, allowing you to choose the type of vacation you wish to have. Rooms come complete with free Wi-Fi access and most have access to balconies that offer ocean or garden views. The resort also has a luxury spa, outdoor pools, easy access to Renaissance Mall and a 24-hour casino.

WHERE TO EAT

Flying Fishbone

This locally owned restaurant gave me one of my favorite beach dining experiences to date. Diners are treated to a table in the sand (that quickly turns into “a table in the water” as the waves come in) amid the backdrop of a breathtaking sunset and an ocean that never ends. As the sun sets, colored lights reflected on the water creates a magical feeling under a starry sky. But the views aren’t the only reason this restaurant is named No. 8 on the list of “best beach restaurants around the world.” The menu is filled with delectable seafood and steak plates that use local ingredients and techniques to create a culinary experience you won’t soon forget.

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WHAT TO DO

Renaissance Aruba Private Island

Even if you aren’t a guest at the Renaissance, you can purchase a day pass for $99 per person to their private island (if their hotel isn’t at capacity). A water taxi will take you on a 10-minute ride to the island, where you can spend the entire day soaking up the sun with wild flamingos and iguanas, getting pampered at the Spa Cove with a view of the open sea, partaking in water sports or beach activities and enjoying a good lunch at Papagoyo Bar and Grill.

Arikok National Park

With more than 7,000 acres (18 percent of the entire island) designated as a national park, Arikok is a must if you’re visiting Aruba. The park is made up of three distinct geological terrains: the rough hills of the volcanic Aruba lava formation, the mysterious rocks of the batholithic quartz-diorite/tonalite and the limestone rocks with fossilized coral. The park has huge significance in the history of Aruba as it has traces of the earliest human activity—the Caquetío people left rock paintings in Cunucu Arikok and Fontein Cave. Within the park is one of the island’s most sought after attractions, Conchi (or the Natural Pool), which is a calm pond created, in part, by the massive rocks that block out the rough seas, but it can only be accessed by foot, horse, ATV or four-wheel drive vehicle. The park also has several mini-beaches throughout, giving guests the opportunity to stop during their exploration. And visitors can see most of the island from atop Arikok Hilltop. The park is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $11 per person, or free from anyone 17 and under.

Sunset Cruise

Aruba is known for having some of the best sunsets in the world, thanks to its location in the Caribbean Sea. Book a sunset cruise so that you can enjoy the view of the pink and orange sky from the sea. Most cruises last approximately two hours and offer guests snacks and cocktails for the duration of the cruise. While sailing along the coast, you’ll have the opportunity to glance at oceanfront properties that you can’t see from the main roads. Tickets are $55 per adult and $29 per child (ages 3 to 11).

Megan Pinckney (@shadesofpinck) is a retired beauty queen turned lifestyle blogger who loves exploring the world and writing about it.

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Source:

http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2017/jun/22/aruba-where-stay-what-do/

Aruba Tourism Officials Have a Radical Idea to Reduce All-Inclusive Resorts

Tired of tourists who rarely venture outside their resorts, and who leave their wallets locked in the hotel-room safe, Aruba is moving to limit all-inclusive holiday packages.

The Dutch Caribbean island, located 20 miles the north of Venezuela, has become one of the first places in the world to limit all-inclusive deals, which bundle accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment into one price. Regulations that came into effect in August cap all-inclusives at 40 percent of hotel rooms on the island. They currently make up about a third of the country’s 5,500 rooms.

Popularized by chains such as Sandals and Club Med, all-inclusives are one of the fastest-growing segments of the $550 billion hotel industry, and revolutionized tourism in developing countries from Jamaica to Thailand. Tourists gravitate toward such vacations because they’re budget friendly and easy for families reluctant to stray far from beach-side snack bars. Now, Aruba wants tourists to look beyond their resorts, said Otmar Oduber, the nation’s minister of Tourism.

We are moving away from the trend,” Obuder said in a telephone interview. “It’s very important for us for tourism not to become a negative concept in the life of the people of Aruba.”

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SPREADING THE WEALTH

“The all-inclusive, particularly in the Caribbean, is a model that prevents other forms of tourism from flourishing because nobody is leaving the resort,” said Mark Watson, executive director of Tourism Concern, a U.K.-based charity that promotes ethical tourism. “People are flying in, going to the resort, not leaving, and then flying back out.”

The all-inclusives on Aruba include Divi Resorts and Spanish chains RIU Hotels SA and Occidental Hotels. Yvonne Swiezawski, a spokeswoman for RIU, which purchased an resort and reopened it as the all-inclusive Hotel RIU Palace Antillas, said the regulations will affect its plans to grow on the island and negatively impact investors’ perception.

“If the regulation of all-inclusive hotels does not allow us to grow on the island, we will be forced to reinvest somewhere else,” Swiezawski said in an e-mail.

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The all-inclusive business is a significant part of a tourism industry that supports 85 percent of $2.6 billion economy, according to the International Monetary Fund, which said Aruba is the third-most tourism-dependent country in the world. The sector provides a third of all jobs on the island of 100,000 people, according to the U.K.-based World Travel & Tourism Council. Visitors to all-inclusive resorts spent 21 percent less on average than other tourists last year, the Tourism Ministry calculates.

Aruba isn’t the only place to be concerned by the trend. Last year, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras criticized the all-inclusive concept, which he said, “largely alienates tourism from the local economy.” In 2000 Gambia banned the sale of the vacations, although it later rowed back on the decision. In 2011, business owners in Majorca held a day of protests against the resorts.

 

TAKING RISKS

Aruba’s new regulations may help local businesses, but they also pose risks, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Margaret Huang in an e-mail.

“With a growing competitive market in parts of Mexico and with the threats of the cruise industry, which is essentially an all-inclusive experience, Aruba may lose its appeal as a competitive tourist destination,” Huang said.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, a Florida-based organization that represents hotel owners, said it recommended Aruba take other approaches to enticing tourists to spend their money outside the resorts.

“Several all-inclusive developers, which were considering investments in Aruba, indicated to us that restrictions on the amount of all-inclusive offerings they would be permitted to provide would force them to reconsider their investments,” spokeswoman Adriana Serna said in an e-mail. “Today’s consumers want choices.”

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Source:

https://skift.com/2016/10/07/aruba-tourism-officials-have-a-radical-idea-to-reduce-all-inclusive-resorts/