High Nine

One of the best things about Aruba is that you can safely walk about. Either on the beach or on the sidewalk that “loops” around the High Rise section, you can stroll safely back and forth from end to end.

There’s the High Rise area of hotels and timeshare condos, and the Low Rise; our resort is among the High Rise section.

Let’s go for a beach walk! There are nine properties that make up our tour…

looking up the beach from one of the far ends

When you start at the far end, the first resort is the Divi Aruba Phoenix. The last time we were here, they were constructing a whole new complex. All you heard all day was “bang, bang, bang” as construction workers pounded metal beams into concrete slabs. I don’t know how vacationers staying there could stand it (you couldn’t hear the noise down at our end of the beach).

aruba phoenix streetside...

...and beachside! newly constructed area is on the left

Next is the Westin. It changed hands and became the Westin a few years ago; before that, it was extremely popular with the Dutch vacationers. Now, I’d say, it’s more American-ized.

Westin streetside...

...and beachside!

The Radisson has the most luscious greenery of all the resorts. It’s popular with people who take a 3 or 4 night get-away. (Can’t imagine travelling all this distance for that timeframe, but to each their own!)

even the street-side portion of the property is impressive with its foliage and flowers!

the hotel itself is setback the furthest from the beach of any of the resorts

aruba truly lives up to this motto! i love this boat (found on the radisson property)

...and this is my favourite sign from over the years! i love looking at the place names and distances to them!

Next, you will find what we have dubbed, “The Monstrosity Known as the RIU.” This property used to be the cutest little timeshare called “The Aruba Grande.” Picture the kind of place you’d take your cute little Grandma. It had the BEST looking pool – seriously, Olympic-sized. Now, RIU has taken over and I’m sure it’s a wonderful all-inclusive get-away spot, but with the turrets and sheer enormity of the buildings, it is a personal eyesore.

the RIU looms up on the street side...

...and is no less imposing from the beach view

The RIU is ALSO not that popular in the ‘hood because their security is SUPER-TIGHT. At all other resorts, you are free to meander the grounds. RIU has security stationed EVERYWHERE and you can only enter from the street-side of the property. Humph.

[Sidenote: I just realized I reversed the order of the Radisson and the RIU. RIU is beside Westin, then it’s the Radisson…]

The Occidental is next; it’s another all-inclusive. It was completely renovated (used to be called The Allegro) a few years back, too (yes, there has been a lot of overhaul on the various properties in the last five years or so).

as you drive up, from the street...

lots of watersport options, beachside, at the occidental!

The Hyatt gets my top vote for overall gorgeousness. I hope to go over there later this week to tour the grounds, and sit in the lobby. Yes, it is that worthy. It exudes class, charm, and is just top-notch (of course, you will pay for this exclusive feeling if you stay there!)

just lovely, from the street...

...although in all honesty, i would rate their beach area as "mediocre." (their pools more than make up for this so-so beach rating!)

We are next!

hello, friends on the beach!!

The Holiday Inn was one of the first establishments in the Palm Beach area of Aruba. They have a vast beachfront area – my vote for the best on the whole strip. You can get all-inclusive vacations at The Holiday. It holds a special spot in my heart; the first time we came to Aruba, we stayed here for a week. I’d give it a 2.5 star rating overall – it’s nice, but nothing super-special. But, for a fairly economical introduction to a week in Aruba, I’d say there’s nothing wrong with it. The location can’t be beat.

there are THREE of these wings on the holiday grounds...

Lastly, you will find The Marriott. Again, note the disdain in my tone. We call this “Snootiville.” In order to give justice to the enormity of the complex, I’d have to do a completely separate tour. There are literally acres of timeshare condos and hotel rooms. Everything exudes snobbiness, I must say. You will pay, but you will be treated royally. It’s easier to access the Marriott by beach than by road, so we’ll stick to the beachside views.

with all the various options, the marriott is easily the size of a small village

hard to get a good view of anything other than sand!

And that’s The Strip!

Now, let’s go back to our place, go for a swim, and grab a drink!

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  • Lisa  On March 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve never been to Aruba, but it looks amazing! We considered going there last year, and it’s still on our list for the future. So glad you’re enjoying yourself 🙂

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 11, 2011 at 4:52 am

      i give aruba 5 stars/two thumbs up, lisa! a good way to experience it is a one week all-inclusive, just to get a taste of the island. there’s lots of activities to do, sights to see…we just never have ventured far…we have good intentions, then get down here and just want to be beach bums! keep it on your list of future options, i say!

  • Johanna B  On March 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I haven’t visited a place with sand for nearly 16 years. Would love to walk along the Gulf again and hear the seagulls. Some of my earliest memories involve the beaches along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. We lived in a little town called Waveland for 4 years when I was age 3-7. The house we lived in got washed away during hurricane Camille in 1969.

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      thanks for sharing your sand and beach memories, johanna! i am sorry to hear about the demise of your hourse…i can’t imagine living on the beach as my permanent residence – i sure could give it a go, though!

  • MelissaNibbles  On March 10, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Wow! Looks amazing. I’m so jealous. I’m glad you liked the book (I just read your comment). Her other books are good too.

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

      thanks, melissa! yes, i think i’ll go thru her entire repetoire! her style reminds me of emily giffin and jennifer weiner (meant to be a compliment as i find they write enjoyable vacation/beach reads).

  • Zo  On March 10, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I have to say, where your staying does look the nicest to me. I loved reading your perceptions of the other places (heh. snootiville!) Hope you have another fabulous day!

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

      thanks, zo! yes, i may be biased (!) but we are fortunate to have a lovely beach area. the best is the people who i know here from over the years are so nice, too. it’s a real community.

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