Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Aruba

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Romantic, adults-only resort with a sophisticated vibe
  • Beautiful location along famous Eagle Beach -- great for strolling and swimming
  • Owner-operated for over 25 years
  • Infinity pool and Jacuzzi surrounded by chic, cushioned loungers
  • Free champagne during a seated check-in process
  • Free breakfast buffet served daily
  • Lunch and dinner menus offered in the restaurant and on the terrace
  • Nightly happy hour specials with live steel drum music
  • All rooms include balconies, mini-fridges, iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs
  • Day spa and salon with a number treatments and packages
  • Bright, well-equipped fitness center
  • Car rentals and an excellent concierge service for activities and tours
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking

Cons

  • An unceremonious entrance, with no staff to help with luggage
  • The resort has few on-site dining options and activities
  • Some rooms have lackluster views
  • Pool area is on the smaller side

Bottom Line

The Bucuti is a romantic, adults-only resort taking up a prime stretch of Eagle Beach in the Low-Rise hotel district. This intimate, 104-room property has 14 acres of beach, and the main activity here involves lingering on the sand under shaded palapas; there's also a chic infinity edge pool. The hotel has been open for 25 years, and the original owner can often be seen socializing during check-in while guests enjoy a free glass of champagne. Rooms have stylish furnishings and modern amenities such as iPod docks, laptop tablets, and free Wi-Fi. A free breakfast buffet is served daily, and there is a restaurant for lunch and dinner, though plenty more restaurants are within walking distance. The resort sees a high percentage of repeat visitors, so book early.

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 Scene

A romantic boutique resort ideal for those seeking peace and quiet

Exterior
Exterior

Aruba is an island well-known for its big chain names (such as Westin and Marriott), but for those who seek it, there's a more intimate resort experience to be found. Tucked away in the Low-Rise area (it can be hard to find for first time visitors) is this low-key boutique resort renowned for its romantic setting and sustainability.

The entrance is nothing to write home about (there are no porters to help with luggage), but interiors give off a sophisticated vibe. Arrivals will be seated at one of the check-in desks and offered a free glass of champagne. Once settled into the contemporary rooms, guests guests can explore the rest of the property: A green lawn dotted with tall palms separates the resort's two wings, and leads to the expansive beach area where the main restaurant, terrace and bar is located.

Nightly happy hours at the Sand Bar are not to be missed: Drink specials are a good value, and the live steel drum music is an authentic way to experience Aruba's outstanding sunsets before heading to a dinner reservation.

The resort's owner has been a local for over 25 years, and is passionate about keeping the property modern and fresh. In 2012, the hotel upgraded its fitness center, featuring new equipment in a bright space. Bucuti also added a new restaurant in January 2013, Carte Blanche, a fine-dining establishment that features a 5-course menu that changes daily.

 Location

Taking up a prime expanse of Eagle Beach, close to the airport and capital city

Aruba is a small island 15 miles north of Venezuela known for having white sand beaches and constant trade winds. Bucuti is tucked away from the crowds in the Low-Rise hotel district, just 10 minutes from Aruba's capital city of Oranjestad and Queen Beatrix International Airport. (The Low-Rise district and High-Rise districts are exactly what they sound like, with low- and high-rise hotels, respectively. The High-Rise section fronts Palm Beach and has close proximity to shopping, restaurants and bars, but the Low-Rise section to the south tends to feel less crowded.)

A rental car is recommended for longer stays, but taxis can be arranged through the hotel's concierge service. The neighboring Divi Resort complex offers a 9-hole golf course, and upscale dining options can be found within a short walk of Bucuti at the Shops at Alhambra Casino.

  • 5-minute walk along the shore to the hub of Eagle Beach
  • 5-minute drive to Palm Beach for high-rise hotels, restaurants and shopping
  • 7-minute drive to California Lighthouse
  • 10-minute drive to downtown Oranjestad and the cruise terminal
  • 10-minute drive to Alto Vista Chapel
  • 10-minute drive to Tierra del Sol golf course
  • 11-minute drive to Queen Beatrix International Airport
  • 22-minute drive to Arikok National Park
  • 23-minute drive to Savaneta for beachside dining
  • 36-minute drive to Baby Beach

 Rooms

Contemporary rooms with varying views, suited for romantic couples or couples traveling with adult children

Tara Beach Suite Balcony
Tara Beach Suite Balcony

Bucuti completed updates to all 104 rooms and suites in 2011, and then further (more minor) soft renovations took place after our visit in 2012. There are two wings to the resort: the original Bucuti Wing and the newer Tara Suites Wing. Eco-friendly rooms have modern amenities, motion sensor systems, tiled floors, and contemporary furnishings in a sophisticated color scheme.

  • Most Superior Rooms have a garden view, though some come with a partial ocean view.
  • Deluxe Rooms are slightly larger than the Superior Rooms and come with two queen-sized beds and large balconies.
  • Bungalow Suites are located in a standalone building that leads out to Eagle Beach.
  • Junior Suites feature full kitchens, separate bedrooms and sitting areas, and large balconies.
  • Tara Beach Suites come with oceanfront views and separate living areas. Bathrooms have granite countertops.
  • The four Tara Beach Penthouse Suites have outstanding views of Eagle Beach and large terraces. The units come with living areas and full kitchens featuring stainless steel appliances. The bathroom has both a clawfoot tub and separate shower.

All rooms include:

 Family

Guests must be 18 years or older

Bucuti is an adults-only resort, and guests must be at least 18 years old to stay here.

 Food

Free breakfast for all guests and a main restaurant for lunch and dinner

Restaurant and Sand Bar
Restaurant and Sand Bar

This is not an all-inclusive resort, though breakfast is free for guests. There is a main restaurant and terrace for lunch and dinner, and more restaurants are within walking distance.

  • The main restaurant, Elements, is located on the beach and re-opened after our visit in 2012.
  • Carte Blanche, a fine-dining establishment serving a unique five-course dinner daily, opened in January 2013. The smal space is ideal for foodies looking for a one-of-a-kind meal.
  • Breakfast buffet is served in the Dutch Galleon or the Tara Lounge, which is an air-conditioned room. The spread includes made-to-order omelets, bacon, pancakes, sausage and French toast, as well as fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, freshly baked breads and Danishes, pâtés, cheeses, sliced meats and vegetables, coffee, tea and espresso.
  • The resort's more stylish terrace, just in front of the "ship", is a good place for relaxed meals or pre-dinner drinks.
  • For a set price, guests can dine in a private cabana on the beach, separate from the main dining area. The price covers wine or champagne, appetizers, entrées, dessert, and tea, coffee or espresso.
  • Bucuti also offers a unique Dine Around program, which gives guests an option to purchase vouchers that can be used at any of about 20 restaurants located across the island.

 Beach

Eagle Beach is famous for offering beautiful white sand and ideal swimming conditions.

Beach
Beach

The highlight of the resort is the prime location on the famous Eagle Beach, considered one of the best beaches in the world. Not only is the resort's 14-acre beach area considered safe, but views face west for outstanding sunsets. This beach is cleaned daily, and because of the great expanse, it is impossible for it to feel crowded despite being open to the public. The shore has lapping turquoise waves straight from a postcard -- great for swimming and long barefoot strolls in either direction.

  • For guests who want to relax with a book, shaded palapas are available to guests on a first come, first serve basis. Those staying in the penthouse suites will have access to their own palapa.
  • Each guest is given two guests towels upon arrival. These can be exchanged for clean towels anytime during the stay.
  • Food and drink can be ordered from the beach by using the "flag-up" service.
  • Non-motorized water sports are available for guests. For motorized sports, simply walk towards the hub of Eagle Beach for rentals. The resort's concierge team can also help book specialized tours and activities.

 Pool

An infinity pool and attached Jacuzzi offers a sand-free alternative to the beach

Infinity Pool and Jacuzzi
Infinity Pool and Jacuzzi

Though Eagle Beach is the main attraction for sunbathers, a stylish infinity pool can be found behind the resort's main restaurant. This spot is rarely crowded and there are several cushy lounge chairs that offer guests a sand-free environment to relax and enjoy a drink. There is a Jacuzzi attached to the pool for evening dips when the temperature drops.

 Spa

A small spa offers a variety of individual treatments and full-day packages

The Intermezzo Spa is a well-known name around Aruba, and has several locations, including the one in the Tara Suites Wing of Bucuti.

  • Two treatment rooms
  • Massages, aromatherapy, facials, and wraps offered
  • Manicure/pedicure room for nail treatments
  • No sauna
  • Couples massages can be accommodated in guest rooms, via special request.

 Drinks

A variety of wine, beer and specialty drinks can be ordered around the resort.

Wine in the Tara Beach Suite
Wine in the Tara Beach Suite
  • The resort offers a sophisticated wine and champagne list by the bottle ranging in price, as well as many options by the glass.
  • Popular nightly happy hours at the open-air Sand Bar, with live steel drum music and lovely sunset views. The resort's signature blended drink, Sand in Your Shorts, is made with rum, Crème de Cacao, coconut cream and vanilla ice cream.
  • Wine and cocktails at Tara Lounge in the evenings
  • "Flag-up" service for drinks at the beach
  • Stocked minibars in rooms

 Services

Stand-out services include free champagne at check-in and loaner laptops

  • Glass of champagne at check-in
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout resort
  • Free use of a laptop for each room
  • Free newspaper delivery to rooms
  • Concierge desk and 24-hour front desk staff to assist with activities, restaurant bookings and specialized tours
  • Car rentals available on-site
  • Free movies on the beach, under the stars
  • Gift shop
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service
  • Multilingual staff
  • Free parking

 Entertainment

This peaceful adults-only resort offers little in the form of typical island entertainment.

Unlike nearby all-inclusive resorts that offer nightly entertainment for the whole family, Bucuti maintains a low-key romantic atmosphere.

Every evening before and after dinner, the Sand Bar becomes a hub for guests to relax, with happy hour drink specials and live steel drum music. In addition, weekly movie nights allow guests to watch a new release or an old classic right on the beach.

 Golf

The Links -- with nine scenic holes, a pro shop and restaurants -- is one of only two golf courses on the island.

Golfers staying at Bucuti will enjoy being in such close proximity to the Links at Divi, which can be reached by foot. Open since October 2004, the Links is one of only two golf courses on the island. This 9-hole ocean-view course offers play over water and landscaped lagoons. Tournaments are held twice weekly, and golfers have use of a video golf swing analysis station, driving range area (in net), chipping area and bunker practice area.

The island's other option, Tierra del Sol, offers 18 championship holes and is a 10-minute drive from the resort. This desert course has beautiful ocean views and offers individual lessons, a putting range, chipping areas and a clubhouse with a golf shop and restaurant.

 Physical Activities

An air-conditioned fitness center and non-motorized water sports

  • Bikes and non-motorized water sport equipment is available to rent at the hotel; motorized sport operators can be found a short walk down Eagle Beach.
  • Air-conditioned fitness center with floor-to-ceiling glass windows opened at the end of 2012.

 Casino

A nearby casino with low-limit tables and over 350 slots

There's no casino on-site at the Bucuti, but the one at the Divi Aruba is a five-minute walk away. Divi's casino was the first in Aruba, opened in 1959, and has over video poker machines, multi-game machines, and over 350 slots. Table games (only available in evenings) include blackjack, roulette and craps, and they come with low-limit offers.

In addition, the Shops at Alhambra Casino feature a variety of boutiques and restaurants, including a sophisticated cigar bar.

More casinos can be found a little farther away, in Oranjestad and the High-Rise hotel district.

 Romance and Honeymoons

This adults-only property is designed for romance

Bucuti appeals mostly to couples with its peaceful setting along the ocean. Rooms have chic contemporary style, and the expansive beach rarely feels crowded; since all beaches in Aruba are public, couples can walk miles along the sand in either direction. The resort's location at the southern end of Eagle Beach faces directly west for outstanding sunsets. Couples frequently gather at Sand Bar's popular happy hour to enjoy the sunset views, cocktail specials, and steel drum music. The concierge can help book romantic tours such as the sunset sailing cruise.

The hotel does offer specific honeymoon and romance packages, which include extras such as a bottle of champagne waiting in the room and a romantic candlelight dinner for two on the beach.

 Weddings

Eagle Beach -- the resort's star attraction -- provides a romantic backdrop for intimate destination weddings.

This romantic boutique resort is, unsurprisingly, a popular destination wedding spot, but the resort only allows one ceremony on the premise per day so as to not bother other guests. In addition, weddings are limited to no more than 50 people to ensure that the resort atmosphere remains peaceful. Bucuti does not have a party scene, and kids under 18, while they can attend the ceremony, are not allowed to stay overnight at the resort.

Key facts:

  • Basic wedding packages require a deposit.
  • There is a full-time wedding planner on-site for arrangements including officiator, flowers, decorations, photographer, videographer, wedding cake, music, entertainment, and dinner reception.
  • Bucuti offers a 10 percent discount on regular room rates for wedding parties and guests.
  • Weddings take place on the beach or in the garden and courtyard area. Bucuti does not have indoor event facilities.

 Celebrity Sightings

Professional sports players have stayed here, but this resort places a high importance on guest privacy.

Bucuti is known throughout the hotel industry as an adults-only romantic resort, and privacy of its guests is of utmost importance. The occasional celebrity has been spotted on the premise -- most recently, professional sports players from the USA -- but the resort would not name names.

 Eco-Friendly

The resort goes far beyond the standard eco-friendly practices of most hotels.

Bucuti's owner, Ewald Biemans, has been honored both locally and internationally for his environmental preservation work and sustainable tourism. Bucuti has been the recipient of many awards including the Green Globe High Achievement Award.

Some distinct environmental initiatives include:

  • Eco-friendly types of paper for resort marketing materials
  • Solar panels to heat water for guest rooms and the laundry
  • Water reducers, which cut down water flow by 60 percent in all showers and faucets, as well as low-flow toilets
  • Sink and shower water is treated and reused in the gardens.
  • Use of in-room dispensers with local Aruba Aloe shampoos, conditioners, and lotions, instead of individual packages in plastic containers.
  • Biodegradable detergents

 History

Bucuti has been run by the same owner -- Ewald Biemans -- since it opened in 1987.

The Bucuti Beach Resort opened in October of 1987 by the Austrian-born Ewald Biemans, who moved to Aruba in the early '70s. In March of 2004, he added the new Tara wing, which consists of 41 oceanfront suites and penthouses. Ewald lives on Aruba and runs only this one property. His direct, hands-on approach has contributed to the resort's loyal following; in fact, Bucuti has been noted for having a high occupancy rate for many years. Ewald makes himself accessible on a daily basis to chat with guests and receive feedback.

 Renovations and Upkeep

This well-kept resort received room updates in 2011, and a new restaurant and fitness center were completed in 2012-13.

  • The hotel was last renovated in 2011, and all rooms received decor updates. Changes are constantly being implemented to ensure the resort stays eco-friendly and modern.
  • Bucuti's staff is dedicated to keeping the resort well-maintained and free of debris.
  • An air-conditioned fitness center opened at the end of 2012.

 Handicap

There is only one designated handicap-accessible room, so guests with special needs should make requests in advance.

  • There is one designated handicap-accessible room in the Tara wing, as well as one handicap-accessible palapa (thatched shade area) available on the beach.
  • The resort does have first-floor rooms and easy walking paths for elderly guests.

 Safety

The resort in located in the safe "Low-Rise" hotel area and has around-the-clock security.

  • 24-hour security and key card access
  • Security cameras are strategically placed around the resort. This not only helps keep the resort safe, but this system can also help with lost and found items.

 Bottom Line

The Bucuti is a romantic, adults-only resort taking up a prime stretch of Eagle Beach in the Low-Rise hotel district. This intimate, 104-room property has 14 acres of beach, and the main activity here involves lingering on the sand under shaded palapas; there's also a chic infinity edge pool. The hotel has been open for 25 years, and the original owner can often be seen socializing during check-in while guests enjoy a free glass of champagne. Rooms have stylish furnishings and modern amenities such as iPod docks, laptop tablets, and free Wi-Fi. A free breakfast buffet is served daily, and there is a restaurant for lunch and dinner, though plenty more restaurants are within walking distance. The resort sees a high percentage of repeat visitors, so book early.

Things You Should Know About Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts

Address

  • J.E. Irausquin Boulevard, Oranjestad, Aruba

Room Types

  • Bungalow Suite
  • Deluxe Room
  • Junior Suite
  • Penthouse Suite
  • Superior Room
  • Tara Beach Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 104
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club:
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Hotel Information

Location: Aruba
Address: J.E. Irausquin Boulevard, Oranjestad, Aruba
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