Aruba Trip Reports

Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino

April 25- May 2, 2004 by Stephanie

We arrived at the Radisson around 4 p.m. on the 25th, and were in room 2101. There was no view, as we were basically in the garden, but it was set back and secluded, and we enjoyed it very much. The only issue we had was that security guards would walk around at night to see if the sliders were locked, and it almost seemed as though they were lurking while we were sitting on our deck, which we did not like at all.
The room was clean and comfortable, and our housekeeper did a wonderful job. We always had plenty of supplies, and lots of big, fluffy towels.

Every morning, we had the buffet breakfast at the Laguna in the Radisson. The food was very good, and there was a nice selection of breads and fruits, along with the standard American breakfast fare. There was a piano player during breakfast as well!

Our trip was basically a business trip, so many provisions were paid for, so we didn't pay a lot of attention to prices. We had the dine around certificates, and while some restaurants we wanted to try were not on the list, there was still a good selection. Most places offered only icecream for dessert with the dine around, but we were usually filled up by our meals anyway, so icecream was just enough.

On Monday night we had the dinner on the beach at the Pirates Nest, which was very romantic except for the t.v. we could hear coming from the otherwise quiet bar. The food was very good, maybe not the best, but I felt that the whole thing was worth the $75, which included a bottle of wine, a 5 course meal, and dessert.

On Tuesday night we ate at Blossoms Chinese/Japanese, where they prepared the meals in front of us. The chef was very fun and entertaining, and the filet mignon was to die for! Everything there was delicious, and they did not throw knives around, which made me feel a little better!

Wednesday was went to the Amazonia, which was also a lot of fun. We were there before the crowd, so when we flipped our thing over to have them bring the meats, we were bombarded! It was actually very fun when it happened, but it became difficult to distinguish one meat from the other as they all were on our plates at once. Some of our group did not care for certain seasonings, and a lot of food was wasted, so it worked better as the crowd filled in, and only one or two waiters would show up at a time so we could be more choosy. I personally thought nearly every meat was delicious. We did consider going back another night, but wanted to try other things as well.

On Thursday night, we went to the French Steakhouse. One of our group was not to be admitted because he was wearing a tanktop, but the host offered him a t-shirt for $6. It was a very nice dinner, as we were seated outside next to the pool. The steaks were very good, but I do remember noticing that they were a little pricey. Even on the dine around, they offered a good selection of desserts.

Friday night we went to Bella Luna. This was the only place we went that did not add a service charge. The mixed drinks were the most reasonable we had seen, at around $5 each, and the decor was very pleasing. I noticed the food prices were on the high side, but it came out hot and delicious. We split a cannoli for dessert, which was also very good. Even though it was slow while we were there, we had to wait a little longer than we wanted to for our bill, even after we asked for it.

Most days we just spent at the Radisson section of the beach. We never had a problem getting a palapa, even when we went late. The attendants keep track of which huts have been abandoned, and they can usually find one for you. The only day that seemed crowded with boat traffic was on Saturday, and even the beach itself wasn't overcrowded during the week.

Our group wanted to do an atv tour, and our on-site travel agent recommended Rancho Del Campo for this. The riding was fun, but we didn't really get to stop for picture opportunities exceptat the natural bridge and natural pool. I believe that there are more stops for pictures on the horse tours, which I would have like, but the ride to the natural pool would probably have been scary for a novice like me. The 4 wheelers were not in the best shape, and while I understand that they take a beating being used all the time, there was quite a safety risk with the nearly bald tires and hard to control steering. I would definitely try another outfit next time. The people at the ranch were great, and we did receive free beverages before and after the trip, but we felt the trip itself was a little lacking.

One of our friends had rented a jeep, so we went out with them for one day, and visited the California Lighthouse, and continued along the coast for a while. If you can afford it, I would recommend renting a jeep, at least for one day, even just to check out the rocky coast, and have the ability to stop at any photo opportunity you would like, as opposed to being on a guided tour.

All in all, we had a great vacation. Even though we could not afford to do numerous activities;Being on the beach, and feeling like the people in the Corona commercial,was fun and relaxing, and was good enough for us. We were pleased with the accommodations at the Radisson, and found the staff was very helpful and courteous.