Aruba Trip Reports

34th trip to Aruba - Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort

May 4 - 16, 2017 by ~Amy~® and Mike

Aruba Forum Profile: ~Amy~®

Arrival - Flew Delta (first class and our usual airline) with no problems except for the few people playing musical chairs in first class on the ATL-AUA leg - a couple had been bumped up to first class but weren’t sitting together so they were trying to get everyone to switch seats with them. Luckily, this did not delay us (nor get anyone thrown off the plane) but it was a bit of a nuisance for a few minutes. I was in row 2 (my husband was arriving a few days after me) so grabbed my carry-on and was the first one off the plane and first one through immigration (no other planes at that time which was great.) I had filled out the online immigration form, did the passport scanner, and was standing in baggage claim within a couple of minutes. Browsed duty free and found a decent price on a bottle of Laurent Perrier (priced it at the store later on and had saved a whopping $4 by buying it at the airport.) My bag was one of the first down the chute so I was off. I had rented a car from Tropic but a friend (of both theirs and mine) planned on meeting me at the airport and drove me to Tropic’s new location across the street from PriceSmart. Paperwork was already filled out in advance so just agreed on a return time at the airport and I was headed toward Amsterdam Manor.

Checked in at Amsterdam Manor and the bellman was by my car before I barely even got out. Never had service that good! Little did I know that they (management) were waiting for me and decided to play a fun game of “let’s tell Amy that she got downgraded to a studio even though she reserved a one bedroom” (we stay at this resort every year and know most of the staff.) The woman at the front desk deserves an Oscar as I proceeded to be less and less happy. They finally let me in on the joke and there is apparently video/photos of which I refuse to watch – I’m sure the look on my face was priceless. You should not mess with a woman who has been awake since 2am and wants to start her vacation. Okay, it is funny now….sort of. Yes, I did get the one bedroom I reserved and the room number I requested so all was good (and a bucket of Amstel Brights on ice was waiting in the room for me.) Home at last……and new in the rooms this year is colored lighting in the bedrooms. There is a remote to turn the light into one of many color options or an option where the colors change. Very soothing.

Off to Bingos for a great first dinner (Mike from Bingo joined me for dinner and we had fun catching up) and then stopped at Barney’s on the way back to the hotel for a few drinks with friends and more catching up.

Spent a day meeting up with friends on the island which was fun – coffee at Mango’s with Hector (who used to own Optima/Payless) and then onto the Bucuti to have lunch with Ewald at Elements. Had the best lunch at Elements – nicoise salad (ahi tuna was excellent). Between my conversations that day, I think the three of us were able to solve most of the world’s problems – most, but not all – we made a good effort and the conversations were great as always!

A few days later picked up my husband at the airport for the second part of vacation. Hit the ground running right into the bulletin board party which was small that night (total of 7 people) but great seeing old friends again. Mike’s first beach day brought a visitor to our palapa on the beach – Angelo from found us so we invited him to stop by for a few Brights, conversation and some photos! Wonderful guy and will definitely keep in touch!

We usually hit Bugaloe a couple of times every trip and one day decided to head there for lunch since cruise ships were downtown. Well, a lot of the cruise ship people were at the beach renting umbrellas in front of the Hilton and the Bugaloe was packed sending out buckets of beer as fast as they could make them. Crazy busy at the Bugaloe and crazy busy in front of the Hilton. Note to self: do not go to the Bugaloe on cruise ship days.

Went to the lighthouse for the new tour. You can buy your tickets for $8/person inside the restaurant (near the bar) at the lighthouse. It was just us and the guide so had a great time learning the history and climbing the steps with him. Great view from the top and very windy up there.

Stopped by L’America Museum and Art Gallery again – love looking at their old collectible cars, art, and wine. It’s located right around the corner from Ling & Sons.

Fun time watching the Kentucky Derby at Horizons at Amsterdam Manor – great mint juleps – even had one delivered to my room earlier in the afternoon for a taste-test. Can’t beat the wonderful staff and service at Amsterdam Manor (thank you, as always, Peter!)

Saw so many turtles nests on Eagle Beach this year. Even saw one that was so fresh you could still see the turtle’s path from the night before in and out of the water to the nest. The one in front of Amsterdam Manor was due to hatch any day but, unfortunately, we missed it.

Cannot remember all the restaurants/bars we went to on this trip but loved: Bingo, Barney’s, Passions, Zuzuroh, Mango’s, Horizons, Nos Clubhuis, West Deck, Surfside Beach Bar, Casabari, Bugaloe, Fred, Que Pasa, Maroc, Wilhelmina, Elements, Arashi beach bar, Gasparito……..

Maroc was our special new favorite this year – a friend suggested (thank you, Mindy) to go with the platter called Chef’s Surprise and it was excellent with a variety of tapas! We had a fun time at the bar and ended up having espresso flavored shots with everyone at the bar at the end of the night.

Had the best gin and tonics at Horizons at Amsterdam Manor made with Bobby’s Gin from Holland, orange, and Indonesian herbs – best ever (another thank you to Peter and Marc!)

Drinks and dinner with so many special people this trip…..Angela and Jeff (loved meeting you), Corrine and Steve (so much fun to reconnect again – felt like we picked up right where we left off - probably could have talked all day/night), Christine, Robb, and Debi (OMG – we had so much fun that I forgot to take any photos!)

The second bulletin board party we went to was probably about 12 people or so and we had so much fun that I laughed until I cried (ask me sometime about the new name for the London Tube!) Also had some special gifts from some very special ladies which I will cherish (I drank one on our last night in Aruba which was perfect and the other is a beautiful bracelet which will always remind me of the fun times in Aruba – thank you, Donna and Marianne!) Hope to see everyone again next year!

On our last morning we always take photos on the beach with the year written in the sand. This year, as my husband was taking photos, a very friendly dog came over to introduce himself to me and decided he wanted to be in the photo – and so he is!

Departure – got to the airport about 2 hours before our flight (departed on a Tues.) and there was Hans from Tropic waiting for us to pick up the rental car. From the airline counter to the gate was less than 30 minutes – quick and painless.

What a great trip, great beach, great weather, great hotel (thank you Amsterdam Manor for always making it feel like “home”), and great people! Looking forward to being back again soon at the end of December for another fun New Year’s Eve on the island.