Every year the turquoise shores and rough sandy beaches of Aruba reel in visitors from all over the globe. Aptly nicknamed “One Happy Island” the pristine and unspoilt country is known for its lively local atmosphere, stunning scenery and unique culture. Aruba’s long history as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has left it a special blend of Dutch and Caribbean culture making for a truly unique experience from the local cuisine to the baroque architecture. Best part? The postcard-perfect island is loaded with wonderful places to stay from all-inclusive luxury resorts to cosy boutique hotels.
When it comes to hospitality, Aruba is simply one of the best. The tiny island is home to some of the best luxury hotels in the Caribbean from big names like the Hyatt Regency Resort, Spa and Casino and the Renaissance Aruba Resort; to cosy local boutique hotels like Ocean Z and Little Jungle. Whether you’re looking for a classic all-inclusive package in a sprawling resort complete with afternoon massages, silver platter room service and ocean view jacuzzis; or prefer something a little quieter – say, a private suite right on the water with an outdoor shower and ultimate privacy, there’s something for everyone.
Arubian culture is a patchwork of indigenous Arawak, Caquetio, Dutch and Spanish influences that all come together to create one of the most unique and vibrant cultures in the Caribbean. The Dutch influence can especially be seen and felt throughout the island. From the Dutch baroque architecture, the vast variety of Dutch cheese to the towering windmill near Palm Beach. The main languages spoken in Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento, a Portuguese based creole found in the Dutch Caribbean.
Aruba, like so many other Caribbean nations, is a very festive island. From Bon Bini, a festival in the name of community to the classic Carnival celebrations that always kick off in a big fashion; there’s always a reason to celebrate. Aruba’s population is largely made up of Venezuelans, Colombians, Chinese and Dutch people who have all contributed to the island’s culture in some form.
This intimate, adults-only resort is consistently named the most romantic place to stay on Aruba. It’s understated (read: not all-inclusive) but the palm tree & tropical setting and modern rooms are the perfect touch of island luxury. Romantic beach dining can be enjoyed in one of Bucuti’s signature private palapas. Complete with a special six-course meal, couples can select sunset or moonlight seating to savour this intimate dining experience. Ideally located between downtown Oranjestad and Palm Beach on Eagle Beach, you’re close to some of the best restaurants, shopping and entertainment on the island.
As the name suggests, this is a boutique hotel in Aruba that ticks all the boxes. The entire resort is designed by a Venezuelan architect and there are clever design touches in every room, including stylish tote bags to bring to the pool and Bvlgari Toiletries. Spacious master suites have a spectacular view of the blue ocean and their own private pool, king-size built-in bed, and a separate living area. Guests always speak highly of the 5-star service here and its secluded location.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is one of the most picturesque resorts on Aruba: an all-inclusive paradise on a 40-acre private island where wild flamingos roam freely, that you reach by water taxi. The best bit? The hotel is divided into two zones, one for adults only and one that is family-friendly, so you can have exactly the type of stay you prefer. For couples, you can enjoy a couples massage at the Spa Cove or a night at the slots, while families will love the watersports and kids club. There’s 9 bars and restaurants to choose from, including an on-site Starbucks so you can begin your day with your favorite fresh brewed coffee!
Want to spend a week or two in the only overwater villas on Aruba? This hidden little piece of paradise features overwater villas with thatched roofs, private pools, hand-painted silk robes, mahogany furniture and deep soaking tubs. There are 3 villas directly over the water and another 3 set on the white sandy beach and guests can enjoy lounging on hammocks over the water or going snorkeling. Aruba Ocean Villas has a boutique, bohemian atmosphere and also boasts a wonderful beachside restaurant with local cuisine.
From the moment you set foot in the lobby at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa And Casino, you’ll be treated to a spectacular ocean view. This luxurious resort is built in a Spanish architecture style on 12 acres of lush tropical gardens with a three-tiered swimming pool, waterslide, spa, casino, 7 bars and restaurants, intimate Dining Under the Stars dinners and so much more onsite. 359 guestrooms include 16 spacious suites where you can soak up Caribbean Sea views from a private balcony.
The upscale Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has 411 guest rooms which are among the most spacious on the island; all have their own private balcony. Guests can spend their time sipping on cocktails in private cabanas at the H2Oasis adults-only pool, or try their luck at the 24-hour Stellaris Casino. There’s also a family-friendly pool and several restaurants to dine at, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, buffet restaurant, Italian gelato shop and sushi bar.
For a truly luxurious 5-star vacation in Aruba, The Ritz Carlton never fails to impress. It’s located along a beautiful stretch of Palm Beach, with 320 guest rooms and suites that all have Caribbean Sea views. Dining options are varied, with 6 restaurants to choose from (note: it’s not an all-inclusive resort). There’s also 2 swimming pools, a busy casino and a 15,000 square foot luxury spa facility with 13 treatment rooms. It’s the ultimate destination for fun and relaxation. The resort is also dog friendly, so Fido can come to the beach too!
Aruba has four main tourist resort areas: Palm Beach, Low-Rise Hotel District, Eagle Beach and downtown Oranjestad. Palm Beach is the largest area and is the most popular. Eagle Beach has more boutique hotels. The best places to stay on Aruba are usually along the western coast.
From April to August/September is the cheapest time to visit Aruba, as this is the island’s off-season so flights and hotel prices decrease. You can often get the same accommodations in the low season for 20% to 50% less than high season, which is January, November and December.
The best time to visit Aruba is between December and March when sunshine and temperatures are high without being overbearing best and rainfall is lowest. However, prices can be high during this time, so visit in the low season (April – September) if you are on a budget. There’s no ‘bad’ time to visit Aruba, as the island is outside the hurricane belt.
Eating out in Aruba costs about the same as most areas in the US. A rough price guide is that dinner for two with a bottle of wine and tip will cost between $80-$100. You can find cheaper places to eat, or choose an all inclusive package at your resort.
Yes! Aruba is known as one of the safest islands in the Caribbean and has a low crime rate. It’s very family friendly and safe for solo travellers. As Aruba is south of the hurricane belt, it is highly unlikely that the island will get hit by tropical storms.
Yes. All tourists must have a passport that is valid upon entry and for the entire duration of stay in Aruba. If you hold a passport from a visa required country then you must have a valid visa sticker in your passport.
It’s impossible to choose just one, but popular picks include Hilton Aruba Resort; Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino; Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino; and The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba.
If you are going to take full advantage of the resort restaurants and bars and spend most of your leisure time at the hotel, then yes, it is worth going all-inclusive in Aruba. You can save a lot of money by choosing all-inclusive packages, especially if you are visiting with kids.
No, Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is not an all-inclusive resort. They do have excellent dining options but you must pay a la carte.
This depends where you are flying from, but generally the islands of the Bahamas, Jamaica and Puerto Rico have the most flight options worldwide and to the USA.