Aruba Trip Reports

Holiday Inn Sunspree

May 15 - 20, 2002 by Renee

My husband and I celebrated our 1st anniversary in Aruba. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree. We had read a lot of negative reviews on the HI and I was concerned with our decision. I tend to be a little particular about hotels (I prefer Marriott and Hilton), but we needed this to be a "cheap" get away. Let me be the first to say, I was pleasantly surprised!


We arrived in Aruba on May 15th. We were greeted with cocktails upon our arrival at the HI. We told the desk clerk "Sonny" that it was our anniversary and would like an upgrade if one was available. Sonny upgraded us from a garden view room to an oceanfront suite at no extra charge. Our room was in the "C" tower. The room was very clean and comfortable. We read about rooms being dirty and smelling musty, but ours did not. We had a small fridge and a really nice balcony. Maid service was prompt and they did a great job cleaning up the room. We only did three of our five days as all inclusive. A tip for all inclusive . . . if you stay at the HI, join their Preferred Member program before you go. There is no charge for the program. You will receive a different color AI band and you do not have to pay any of the surcharges on selected items, such as premium brand liquor and lobster. Our drinks were always strong enough and the food was good. We found the staff to be very accommodating. We had also heard reports that the staff was not attentive to the AI guests. We did not have that experience at all. We at lunch at the SeaBreeze and dinner at the Mirmar in the evening. The HI had nightly shows and all you can eat buffets. We did not eat at the buffet, but we asked several guests and they said the food was very good. The HI’s pool is not spectacular to look at, but it was clean (and who goes to the pool in Aruba anyway!). We walked up and down the beach and the HI does have the nicest beach. It was beautiful! I would recommend the HI to anyone who wants to have an enjoyable stay and not spend a fortune!


Jolly Pirate Snorkel Cruise - was a blast! A ton of fun and the drinks kept flowing!

ABC Extreme Land Tour - also a blast. "Saint" Ivan made the tour! He was a nut. We learned a lot about the island and the natives.

Casinos, Casinos, Casinos! - We did not care for the HI casino. It was okay, but nothing special. We heard the Marriott had the best casino. It was nice, but we like the Hyatt’s casino the best. If you stop in, check out Raymond at the Blackjack table. He was great fun!

We also did some parasailing (way different from parasailing in Florida) and rode the tubes. Tubes were fun, parasailing . . well, lets just say I wouldn’t go in Aruba again. The boat we went on just drove out over the water and idled . . .when the wind slowed down, you sank and when it picked back up, you got jerked back up. My stomach was upset by the time I came down!


Madame Jeanette - I cannot say enough about this restaurant. What a wonderful way to celebrate our 1st anniversary. A quaint, quiet, out of the way place with twinkle lights everywhere. The guitarist was playing "Almost Heaven, West Virginia". All of my family lives in West Virginia and I thanked him for playing the song. He asked if I was there for any special reason. I told him it was our anniversary and he asked my husband to come and dance with me and he played "Let It Be Me". It was exceptionally romantic. The food, . . . oh my gosh, the food! Truly the best I have had. Ever. From anywhere. I don’t think you could go wrong with anything on the menu!

French Steakhouse - Again . . a great pick! We ordered the special 5 course meal and it was very good. The seafood crepe appetizer was awesome! Little tip, if you pay with an American Express card, you save 10%. Our total bill came to $62.00. That included their 15% tip . . Service was so good, we included an additional $10.00!

**Make a note to check you bills. Most, well, all of the places we ate at included the tip in the total.
**Also make a note that they will charge you for every drink you order . . $2.00 per ice tea (they don’t refill).

SeaBreeze at the HI - Ate lunch there every day. Food was good.

Mirmar at the HI - We read complaints about this place too. We have three very good meals there. No complaints. It’s not Madame Jeanette or the French Steakhouse, mind you . . but just as good as the restaurants we eat at in Tallahassee. My chicken parm was okay (wouldn’t recommend ordering it). It was just okay . . BUT my Mahi Mahi was very good as was the steak I ordered. My husband had the lobster, filet and Mahi Mahi. He was happy with his choices as well.

Hope all of your vacations to Aruba will be as enjoyable and memorable as ours!