Thinking of planning your next vacation to Aruba and don’t know where to stay? This post is here to help! I’ll lay out the pro’s and con’s of Aruba’s many lodging options.
First, let’s talk about the island. Aruba is a pretty small island and is very accessible by car, so if you are not staying in a downtown area there is no need to worry. The island offers plenty to do for just about anyone, read more about that here. Palm Beach is a great area for what most travelers are expecting when going on vacation, think hotels, shops, restaurants and bars all within walking distance from each other. Eagle beach however is a much quieter area, this is where all the low rise hotels are. There are lots of time shares and not as much of a night life in this area. What about the random Air BnB’s on the opposite end of the island? These are a great option as well. Let’s break it down into sections…
If you are looking for resorts with poolside bars, restaurant options galore and casinos, this is the area you want to be in, if not keep scrolling! I absolutely love this section of the island for many reasons. The main reason is the convenience. I can wake up, walk out of my hotel and be on one of the most beautiful, seaweed free beaches in the Carribean in just a few steps. I can also walk out the other side of the hotel and be surrounded by restaurants and shops. No need for a taxi! There are TONS of great hotels on this strip of the beach. Here are my top 4, all from different price categories and chains.
The Ritz Carlton Aruba
Ok, if the Ritz is in your budget, do it! This is the last hotel on the strip so it does have a bit of a longer walk down to the shops and restaurants, but it’s totally worth it for the service they provide. The rooms are immaculate here and I’m a clean freak so that’s not a term I use lightly. The grounds are a little “plain” but they are also kept very neat and orderly. The pool and beachside servers are super attentive and friendly. This hotel prides itself on the service it gives to it’s customers and it shows, big time. There is free sunscreen by the pools and beach area, water stands with water and cups readily available for you to cool down and they also bring out popsicles for the kids mid afternoon for a snack. Their customer service is unmatched.
We also noticed how quiet this hotel is, many of the surrounding beaches are cramming their hotel guests in like sardines.. Not here! All around we were thrilled with our stay and every time we visit Aruba we spend 90% of our time at night at the Ritz Carlton’s bar and casino.
Pros– Great service, very clean/new feeling, quiet, best beach, casino, restaurants, sunscreen by the pools/beach, water by the pools/beach, beach servers, great pool/beach chairs
Cons– pricey, longer walk to downtown stores, only two pools (1 kid, 1 adult)
Ahhh the Hyatt! You will fall in LOVE with this hotel. The lobby and hotel grounds will seriously have your jaw on the floor. While this can also be another pricey option it really is worth it for all this hotel has to offer. There are multiple pools, and unlike the Ritz there is also a waterslide and swim up bar. Wildlife is no stranger here, the grounds host a large koi pond with swans, iguanas and tropical birds spread throughout so you feel like you are walking through a tropical jungle. This option is located much closer to the downtown area and also has a great spot on Palm Beach. The only negatives besides price are the rooms can be a little tired looking and the room doors slam shut pretty loudly. This can be annoying especially if you are a light sleeper.. This hotel has a bit of a more upbeat vibe than the Ritz but is still quiet enough and does not have that “spring break” vibe.
Pros- beautiful grounds, multiple pools, swim up bar, water slide, casino, restaurants, stores, close to downtown shops, great views from room, great lobby.
Cons- pricey, rooms can be “tired”, doors slam shut and can be loud at night.
Marriott Surf Club
Looking to travel with the whole family or need a suite with a kitchen? This is your place to stay! The Marriott Surf Club was a great place for anyone traveling with a group or anyone that just needs more space. The rooms were clean and updated, and the two bedroom suites had everything you would need. There were even laundry machines in the unit which we found to be super useful during our stay. There were also several pools and even a lazy river which was awesome. This is definitely a kid/family friendly spot.
A few things I wasn’t a fan of were the towel and chair system. You have to exchange your towels in order to get new ones which means you have to exchange your towel before going up to your room, now you have to use your clean towel to stay dry walking through the hotel and then reuse it all the next day. Depending on the time of year, you may also need to wake up at 6:30 am to tag your chairs in order to save them for the day. Many people tagged oceanfront chairs and never used them during the day at all. I also found it to be a bit rowdy if this is your honeymoon or a romantic getaway.
Pros- Tons of pools, pretty grounds, suites available with kitchens and laundry, lazy river, swim up bar, bingo and activities in the pool daily, nice rooms. This is a super fun place to stay with music at some of the pools and a swim up bar with sitting areas around it.
Cons- The beach is next to marina and doesn’t have the best view, no room service or restaurants at the hotel (besides poolside restaurant), no casino, chair system is not ideal, having to exchange towels daily can be annoying. No lobby space to sit inside and have an ocean view, slow service by the pool and beach. Can be loud and busy. I don’t recommend it for a romantic/couples getaway. No ocean views from the pool like many of the other hotels.
The Holiday Inn is one of the most affordable Palm Beach hotels every time I book a trip to Aruba. While it may not be the most luxurious of the options it’s still a good one. We stayed here during the peak of the busy season and we were impressed by this hotel. First, this is the closest hotel to downtown, you literally have to walk across the street and you are there. The lobby is open air style with views of the beach right as you walk in. We liked the pools but also liked that we could put our chairs out wherever we wanted to on the beach.
The downfalls were the rough view from our room and also a leaky bathroom. Maintenance was quick to stop the leak, but we quickly realised the water was coming from the walls which freaked me out a bit. The rooms were dated but nothing terrible. My only other complaint was not having a beach server to take your order and bring you the drinks, you have to get up and walk over to the bar for service.
Pros- affordable, great pool (the view of the beach is the best!), casino, you can put your chairs anywhere on the beach, open air lobby, prime location right across from downtown market area.
Cons- rooms are not the cleanest and are a little cheesy/dated, bathroom wall was leaking and filled with water, bathroom is tight, no beach service, views from the room were not the best (overlooked roof with satellite dishes and ac units)
Now let’s talk about Eagle beach for a moment. I have never stayed in this area, however many friends and family prefer it because of how quiet it is. You can wake up and not feel bombarded by tourists and busy resorts. This beach is known for its soft white sand, shallow warm water and is also one of the top rated beaches in the world. If you are looking for a more low key, beach only type of vacation staying in one of the low risers may be a better fit for you!
The Renaissance in Aruba is known for its Flamingo beach, many tourists flock to this hotel to get Instagram worthy shots with their new pink friends. What some people don’t realise is that this hotel (depending what tower you are in) is not actually beachfront, it’s across the street from the ocean. Even the “family side” has a man made beach/pond by its pools, but not legitimate beach access. I don’t want to discourage you from staying here as this hotel is really unique with it’s own private island that guests rave about.
The other thing to keep in mind is that this hotel is in the cruise ship port area. What does that mean? Heavy traffic and foot traffic if cruise ships are in for the day. There are many high end stores and restaurants in this area however this is a separate downtown from Palm Beach so you may find yourself taxing more than expected. Again, a quick google search may have you sold on this spot after seeing the beach huts they offer on their island.
There are many Air BnB’s available in the more popular spots around the island. These are a great option if hotels are not your thing or are already booked up. A few of my family members prefer to stay in an Air BnB on the other side of the island as they enjoy an off the beaten path type of vacation. Renting a car in Aruba is just as easy as driving one around. Eagle beach also offers plenty of parking and public access so you won’t be missing out on any of the great beaches the island has to offer. Check out my other post on Aruba to see all the fun things you can do while not staying in a resort.
In conclusion my favorite hotel in Aruba is the Ritz, however in peak season when the prices are high I will book the Holiday Inn just to get on the island! If the prices are the same between the Ritz and the Hyatt I would go for the Hyatt if you want a more lively vibe and the Ritz if you want the ultimate relaxing vacation! If upscale hotels and superb service are the least of your concerns then definitely save your money and stay at the Holiday Inn. Here are some pointers for booking:
- Check the prices often, I have seen prices fluctuate quite a bit in just a few days.
- I have found 50% off deals on Black Friday on booking sites like Expedia.
- Book early if you can.
- If you want/are able go to, visit Aruba in the off season for the lowest rates.
- Be sure to look up the Air BnB on google maps as photos can be deceiving and many of them are a taxi drive away from the beach!
What would your choice be after reading this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts!