In mid-October we headed to Aruba to celebrate the fact that our marriage has lasted for 20 years. We had talked about a trip to an exotic beach destination for the anniversary for some time but pinpointing a good destination with sunny and hot weather in October proved slightly challenging. We had a few contenders on our list at the start and Aruba was not one of them. However, after some ifs and buts and certain things we wanted to avoid, like flying through Paris, we settled for Aruba. And I couldn’t be happier with our choice as we found paradise. Pristine beaches with sand that doesn’t get hot, hot and sunny weather that is not humid and with a constant cooling breeze, friendly and slightly cheeky people, good food, warm seawater that has no jellyfish, sharks or other nasties.
We arrived in Oranjestad on Monday afternoon after some 16 hours of travelling. After collecting our luggage (which was quite quick) and clearing customs we hopped in a taxi and headed towards Palm Beach and the hotel, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Once we got settled in at the hotel we grabbed a coffee from the Starbucks conveniently located in the hotel lobby (we would utilize this service almost every day during our stay) and headed out to check out the beach and hotel grounds. The hotel complex offered two pools (one was only for adults), a gym, a spa, a casino, six restaurants, a gelateria, two pool bars, a lobby bar, a smoothie bar and a sports bar. As the day had been long and we were struggling to stay alert we decided to have drinks in the lobby bar and an early dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. La Vista is an Italian restaurant that also serves as the breakfast restaurant of the hotel. As we weren’t really feeling hungry but knew we had to eat we opted for something lightish. I had a Caesar salad with shrimp and hubby chose the Citrus tuna salad with seared fresh tuna. This was our first touch with local seafood and boy was it delicious.
|Partial sea view from our balcony|
The next day we had breakfast at La Vista and then spent the day on the beach and at the pool just relaxing, swimming and reading. For lunch we enjoyed refreshing smoothies from the smoothie bar on the beach. Prior to dinner we utilized a happy hour offer at the hotel’s sunset bar and for dinner we headed to a beachfront restaurant called Hadicurari. October was Eat Local Aruba Restaurant Month and we chose the restaurant based on their “eat local” offer, however, once there we asked about this menu and they claimed they didn’t have it. We felt a bit cheated but decided to stay anyway and the food was nice enough. My starter was marinated chilled shrimp accompanied by a chilled gazpacho soup and hubby had the ceviche – fresh fish marinated with key lime, onions, cilantro and peppers. For the main, I opted for the catch of the day which (if my memory serves me right) was a red snapper. Hubby went for the Surf & Turf consisting of a 4oz filet mignon of beef tenderloin, mahi mahi and shrimp. Both dishes had a side of vegetables topped with grated cheese which I found a bit odd.
|Hadicurari beachfront restaurant|
As we had informed the hotel that we were celebrating our anniversary we found a nice card and two mini-bottles of Mumm champagne in our room when we returned from dinner. They were a nice way to round-off a perfect first day in paradise. The next day we headed out to explore the capital, Orajenstad, but more about that in another post.