LR Travel Report
New in Aruba: Resorts and Refurbishments
his past year has been a banner one for new developments on the Aruban resort landscape. First up is brand-spankingnew Blue Residences, a luxury condominium resort that opened its first tower of 42 units (including two five-bedroom penthouses) on March 1st, 2014, in Bubali on Palm Beach. The second tower is to open May 2015, and the third in January 2015. When complete, they will offer a total of 124 units. Then there was the grand opening of the Ritz-Carleton last fall. Located on the furthest end of Palm Beach, itâ€™s a mammoth complex with its own circuit of pools and beach, boasting 320 rooms and suites, all oceanfront. At seven stories, the entire top floor is reserved for their Club Level guests, replete with private lounge and keycard elevator access. They also have four restaurants, a lobby bar, a full service spa and a large casino open 24/7. Also slated to open sometime this year is the Hard Rock all-inclusive resort right outside of downtown Oranjestad on the tip of Eagle Beach.
They should be breaking ground soon to make their fall 2014 opening deadline. Other big resort news includes the closing of the Westin, which was recently bought by RUI right next door. It will be interesting to see how they incorporate the high-rise into their all-inclusive palace-style concept! Also under new ownership is The Boardwalk Hotel, and they have transformed it into a charming, colourful, upscale B&B (right across the street from the Ritz). On the refurbishment front, many resorts have been busy with refreshments and facelifts, like the Aruba Marriott that has redone their entire Grand Ballroom to the tune of l.5 million, unveiled a cool new lobby cafĂŠ, and reinvented the menu at their La Vista Restaurant to become a Seafood Sensation buffet five nights, replete with raw bar and ceviche station. The Divi group of hotels on Aruba (five in all) are also proud to announce that the new Alhambra Mall now also boasts a huge new indoor ballroom, perfect for conventions, events and wedding receptions. Visit: www.aruba.com. SUSAN CAMPBELL