Why Smart Travelers Are Making Aruba Their Place in the Sun
When you’re planning a trip, what’s in a name?
If the name of the island you’re contemplating is Aruba, the name conjures up soft breezes, pristine white sand, island hospitality and clear, calm azure water close to 80 degrees. Makes you want to pack your bags right now, huh?
Millions of Americans are sticking their toes in the waters of international vacation travel for the first time in a couple of years, and the savviest among them are heading for Aruba, which offers all of the benefits listed above and many more. The island is the southernmost vacation spot in the Caribbean, a mere fifteen miles from the Venezuelan coast, and therefore far from the hurricane belt that wreaks havoc on travel plans every year.
The first thing you notice when you land in Aruba is the dryness of the air. Aruba’s aridity is traceable to its desert-like climate, which means consistently warm temperatures all year long. The predictability of Aruban sunshine is a huge boon not just to beachcombers but also to wedding planners, because the island receives under fifteen inches of rain a year, none of which will fall on your nuptials.
One of the most popular places to stay is the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino, located in the middle of the high-rise district overlooking a delectable beachfront where you can relax under coconut thatched palapas or a more traditional beach umbrella and idly watch the hours pass. The Hyatt has been on the beach for three decades, and many of its staff members, along with some of the repeat guests, have been with the resort since opening. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for grandparents, parents and kids to return repeatedly to Aruba despite the fact that plenty of other Caribbean options beckon.
So what makes Aruba so compelling, aside from the aforementioned white sand beaches and the dry, comfortable air? A lot of it has to do with the hospitality culture of the island. Tourism isn’t just Aruba’s biggest business; it’s the only business.
Aruba was settled by the Dutch centuries ago and combines the Dutch sense of order and ease with its own brand of hospitality and desire to serve. Of course, if you really want VIP service, just tell people you’re a Red Sox fan because native son Xander Bogaerts is a standout at Fenway. But you didn’t come here to hear about baseball.
The Hyatt simply could not be a cleaner, friendlier environment. Armies of team members scour the property constantly, cleaning, polishing, raking, washing and otherwise making the place feel absolutely pristine, which is no small matter in these post-COVID times.
When you arrive at the resort, you’re greeted by the open-air lobby looking straight out to the beautifully landscaped pool areas before you get to the white sand beach. Each of the hotel’s 359 guestrooms and suites have been recently renovated, and it shows. The rooms are bright and airy with stunning views of the pool or ocean, and the essence of Aruba is evident in the beachy, textured finishes.
The island, like the rest of the Caribbean, and the rest of the world, took a drubbing during COVID. Aruba bounced back perhaps more quickly than other places, primarily due to its Dutch connection. The Netherlands maintained a safety net for Aruba’s residents throughout the pandemic.
One great thing about the Hyatt is that you literally step from your room to the beach and then a few moments later, you’re in that azure, delightfully warm water I mentioned a moment ago. The property boasts the only two-story water slide in the high-rise hotel district, which makes the Hyatt an extremely family-friendly location. There’s also an adults-only section with its own long, beautiful pool overlooking the ocean and cabanas offering privacy as well as peace and quiet. By Trankilo, the adults-only pool, you can rent a cabana along the water for added relaxation, where you’ll receive a fully stocked minibar, your own sound system and a private butler who’s happy to cater to your every need.
You’ll eat well, you’ll drink well, you’ll probably lose money in the casino, because that’s what casinos are for, but you might also feel the need to make more of a splash while you’re down there. Red Sail Sports offers snorkeling cruises that are actually party boats in disguise, with their super friendly crews managing a delightful open bar.
One of the dive spots is a shipwreck: a German warship that its captain deliberately sank in 1940, at the outset of World War II. He did so rather than let the Dutch marines take possession of the ship and its contents, including supplies for U-Boats trawling the Caribbean and the North Atlantic. These days, fish call the shipwreck of the Antilla their home, but you can certainly take a peek while you’re down there. You can also go parasailing, fishing, golfing, jet skiing and pretty much anything else you can think of on the water or on land.
When you return to the resort and need a moment to relax, guests with access can visit the new Regency Club. With a terrace overlooking the resort, the club offers World of Hyatt elite members and Regency Club guests with a private concierge, a relaxing library and computer workstations, all with coastal-style décor.
Because wellness and recovery are themes of the property, the Hyatt also offers the highest quality yoga, qi gong and meditation classes on the beach every morning, including aerial yoga on Saturday mornings.
Since Aruba’s re-opening in 2020, the island now offers more flights than it did before the pandemic, making it even more accessible and an increasingly popular destination for Americans looking to vacation in the Caribbean.
The serious point is that since Aruba is a little bit further from the U.S. mainland than the Virgin Islands, Key West or the Dominican Republic, it isn’t always on every traveler’s radar. It is time to rectify that situation. Whether you’re looking at a weekend in the sun or a wedding that can finally take place now that COVID is (fingers crossed) a fading memory, it’s time to make Aruba your next trip.