Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ritz Carlton Aruba Hotel Review


Hi friends! Below you will find my Aruba & Hotel review from our recent trip to the Ritz Carlton Aruba. I've also included all of the items I took with me on this trip in case you plan on going to Aruba, or another tropical destination!

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If you've never been to Aruba, or you aren't familiar with it: google it! This was my 3rd time coming to the island without being on a cruise and it always keeps me coming back for more. Aruba is located just north of Venezuela, and if it's a clear day and you're on the right side of the island, you can actually see Venezuela. White sandy beaches, and crystal blue water surround you nearly everywhere you go, and the locals are truly amazing.

Room: We stayed in a 550 sq. foot "Ocean View" room with a King bed. The room was plenty spacious and had floor to ceiling glass windows with a sliding door out to the balcony. I absolutely loved opening this door first thing in the morning and listening to the waves crashing outside. It was super peaceful! Every room also has a balcony with a table and chairs allowing you to see sweeping panoramic views of the ocean. If you're a coffee snob like me, you'll also appreciate the personal Nespresso machine in each room - I think I made a hefty dent into their Nespresso pod supply! Onto the bathrooms - each bathroom was outfitted in beautiful marble with separate soaking tubs and showers, and in case you forgot something, signature Asprey toiletries were provided daily.

Food: Obviously the second most important topic! I am a huge food lover, so the quality of food on vacation is really important to me, and the Ritz did not disappoint! There were four restaurants on site: Solanio, BLT Steak, Madero, and Divi. Each restaurant had it's own flare, but all of them truly reflected Aruba's island culture from fresh seafood to tropical fruits. I highly recommend the breakfast buffet at Solanio - which offers a vast selection of made to order blueberry waffles, omelets of your choice, a large fruit buffet etc (breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was in heaven) and the sushi at Divi!

Beach: The beaches in Aruba are breathtaking! The sand is bright white and super fine, and the water is crystal clear in some places, and turquoise in others. The Ritz has it's own private beach with full service bar staff right in front of the property. We really liked this because it was quiet and secluded and less touristy. They also offer paddle board, and kayak rentals free of charge. The pool staff comes and checks on you every 20-30 minutes with cold towels, popsicles, bags of chips, samples of the drink of the day, and food/drink menus and they make up your chair for you with towels and all!  I wasn't kidding when I said it's full service, you literally don't have to lift a finger. 

Pools: We actually spent a good deal of time at the pool as well. If you know anything about Aruba, you know it's windy - all the time. The wind is actually welcomed since 95% of the time it's scorching hot outside, however, it's not pleasant when the sand is being thrown at you. There are two large resort style pools on the property, with cabanas available for rent, and Sunbrella pool floats free of charge.

Spa: The spa at the Ritz Carlton Aruba is amazing! The facilities are top of the line, and available for guest use even if you don't have a spa appointment. Aruba also has a herbal ritual the spa honors for happiness, wealth, and health. The Fitness center is also apart of the spa, which offers state of the art equipment and daily classes like yoga and zumba. 

Activities: There is tons to do in Aruba! We preferred to relax and take it easy this trip, but there is something for everyone. We did however, do a snorkeling tour through Red Sail Sports which was conveniently located in the resort. Aruba has an old ship wreck near the resort where you can snorkel or scuba dive, in addition to beautiful reefs with plenty of underwater life to explore. If snorkeling isn't your thing, you could rent jet skis, parasail, rent a private deep sea fishing charter, take a catamaran ride, play beach tennis, golf etc. Like I said, there is something for everyone! If you're feeling adventurous, many tourists in Aruba rent Jeeps and take them off roading to see the natural bridge and swimming pools. This is highly recommended, although we chose to skip it (I've seen it on a previous trip). And if you're feeling lucky, there is a casino on site at the resort! 

Transportation: One of the reasons we keep coming back to Aruba is because there are direct flights from Charlotte. The flight is about 3 - 3.5 hours, and the airport is super easy to navigate through. Once you've deplaned, it's about a 30 minute taxi ride to the hotel which will cost you around $40 US dollars. The taxi's are lined up right outside of the airport and we didn't have to wait longer than 5 minutes to get in one. The taxi takes you straight through the downtown area, so if you aren't planning on leaving the resort, you'll at least get to see what downtown looks like on your way in. I do recommended going into downtown for a day just to explore the colorful buildings, duty free shopping, and authenticate restaurants with european style terraces overlooking the water. 

Downsides: Honestly, the only downside I can think of is the cost to stay at the Ritz Carlton Aruba. The rooms can run anywhere from 380-700/night for a long weekend (4 nights). However, if you are a Marriott Rewards member, there is special pricing and they do allow you to use points for your stay (our entire trip was on points)! In this case, a trip like this is really affordable and so worth it! 

All in all, I cannot rave about Aruba enough. If you've read my "about" page, you probably know I was born in Holland, so Aruba and all of it's dutch/european flare hits close to home - minus the 9 hour flight. The people are fantastic, the island is clean and beautiful, and the food is great! We will definitely be returning.

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