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Monday, March 22, 2010

Aruba -- Holiday Inn All Inclusive

We stayed at this hotel for a week with points as a Platinum member February 2010.

Status perks

We received an upgraded ocean front room in the Aruba tower, and different color wristbands that designated our status. There was a cheese and fruit welcome basket in our room.


Guestroom

The room and balcony were both spacious. The room had been recently remodeled and contained a table & chairs, couch, large fridge, safe, and coffee the first night. 


There was a table and two chairs on the balcony. We liked the walk in shower with no tub in the bathroom. The wireless Internet had a strong signal (you can purchase a card at the gift shop, which is $10 for 24 hours). They offered a telephone promotion, which we also took advantage of--20 mins for only $2.99. There was no full length or close up mirror in the room, which I missed. There was a mirror behind the bathroom sink and on the back of the dresser. The hair dryer is one of the older noisy styles like in many Holiday Inn Express hotels.

Beach & pool

The beach is beautiful, and the pool area is also nice. We did not have any trouble getting a hut on the beach. We were able to get one after 8 am without standing in line, although not in prime areas. My husband stood in line two mornings for about 10-15 mins before the towel hut opened, and we got a hut right on the beach front row those days.

Food & beverage

The food at the Iguana Grill was very good. We ate lunch there almost every day. We especially liked the grouper. We were also happy with the food at both dinner restaurants, although our checks always had items listed that we did not have. Our package was all-inclusive, although we still had to sign checks with 15% tips added on. I assume staff members must get the tips, which would account for the extra items on all our checks. Only one staff member never added items to our check, and for that she received cash tips, which we were not as generous with for the others (she was outstanding in other ways as well). 

I did not like any of the food at the breakfast buffet. It was always cold, and never looked fresh. A fresh omelet station or similar would have made breakfast better for us.

The beverages were average. I tried all of the red and white wines, and did not care for any of them. The island rum is okay, if you like all the fruity drinks. At the beginning of our stay, Absolut was included, so we enjoyed a couple good Bloody Marys and similar drinks; however, they changed this policy mid-week. There was a large fridge in the room, so we were able to purchase wine and other items that we preferred.

Overall

We loved the ocean view room, and would stay here again. The beach is beautiful, the a la carte dining was good, and most employees made us feel very welcome.