Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach Resort & Casino Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Aruba

This hotel has undergone significant renovations since our visit.
We will update our photos and review as soon as we can.

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Huge beach
  • Fitness center on-site
  • Spa on-site
  • Numerous bars and restaurants within walking distance
  • Supervised kids' club with daily activities

Cons

  • Slow, limited service
  • Unexciting room decor

Bottom Line

The Holiday Inn is a family-friendly beachside resort with a decent fitness center, day spa, and nice pool. It could be a bargain, but the rooms are a little basic and the service is definitely hands-off. Fortunately, the upscale High-Rise shopping complex, just across the street, has loads of great restaurants and bars.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Families from around the world take in this beachy scene, spending the day on the shores or by the pools. Guests can choose to adopt the all-inclusive option or pay as they go.

With plenty of beachfront, the hotel is a prime spot for families toting kids and young teens. Guests head to the sand early in the morning and stay there all day, availing themselves of the outdoor Iguana Pool Bar and maritime-themed Sea Breeze Grill. On the beach, four-post thatched structures give shelter to fully reclined blue-and-white beach chairs. Some guests migrate to the two connected pools during midday, either to be closer to the restaurants or to soak in the twin bubbling whirlpools.

The lobby, an open-air ode to light pink tiles and waist-high crowd-control stanchions, is not air conditioned. The Canastas Lobby Bar is the hotel's most popular spot for Aruba's native Balashi beer.

Directly across the street is the High-Rise shopping complex, which includes restaurants, the Mr. Jazz music venue, a movie theater, and a variety of shops.

The Holiday Inn also gained considerable notoriety for being the hotel where Natalee Holloway was staying in when she disappeared in 2005.

 Location

The Holiday Inn is a 30-minute, $30 cab ride from the airport. The location is safe and just across the street from a mall.

The Aruba airport is farther from the Holiday Inn than it is from most hotels -- about a 30-minute, $30 cab ride (depending on traffic).

The hotel's main entrance is just seconds off Aruba's main road, the thruway that leads directly to downtown Oranjestad, 15 minutes away. The beach is in back of the property, while Tony Roma's restaurant -- highly recommended by locals -- is across the street.

The location feels very safe. Between foot traffic from the High-Rise complex and tourists from a number of neighboring hotels -- the Hyatt, Occidental, Radisson, and others -- the area is well populated at night. For added security, hotel personnel frequent the street outside the hotel.

The High-Rise shopping complex is directly across the street. The High-Rise has many restaurants, including the fabulous Hostaria da Vittoria. There are also a number of nightlife haunts, such as a movie theater and a samba club misleadingly named Mr. Jazz.

 Beach

The beach is the main draw. The shores are clean and the water is clear, but waves can be aggressive.

The beach
The beach

The beach is the Holiday Inn's main attraction. Families spend the day sunning on the hot, fine sand and wading into the warm water. The water is clear and clean but surprisingly aggressive -- every third or fourth wave bowled over at least one hapless kid (or the sand castle thereof).

Plastic lounge chairs, available all over the beach, are set in full recline underneath the hotel's numerous thatched cabanas. Drink service was pretty slow during my visit, but most guests simply get their own drinks, rather than waiting for a staffer to come around.

The view of the horizon from the sand is excellent. At night, as lit cruise ships pull away from shore, the oval yellow glow of the cabin lights recedes like fading stars.

 Rooms

The rooms are slightly outdated and come with a musty smell, but they're generally clean. Views from the small balconies can be amazing.

The 2011 renovations brought some modern touches to rooms, which now feature a more standard yellow, green and white palette instead of dated tropical prints,a swell as up-to-date technology, such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.

  • Two doubles or one king bed
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • 37-inch flat-screen TV with satellite
  • Coffeemaker
  • Mini-fridge
  • In-room safe
  • All rooms have balconies or patios

 Features

Guests alternate between the pool with an island, the family pool, and two Jacuzzis. The gym has an adequate amount of equipment, and the spa offers a bevy of beauty services.

The pool area is split into four sections -- two separate Jacuzzis, a shallow family pool, and a standard pool. The standard pool has a small circular island with beach chairs on it. The chairs are deep enough to get wet, but shallow enough to keep drinks chlorine-free. The Jacuzzis bubble like stew pots, and many guests rotate between both tubs. Why choose? You're on vacation!

A National car rental desk is stationed in the lobby.

Pelican Watersports is available on site, and a sundries and general store, a delicatessen, and a fragrance and cosmetics shop highlight the shopping concourse.

The fitness center and Intermezzo Day Spa are next door to one another.

The resort also has a business center and kids club.

 Casino

The casino is a popular attraction, booming at all hours.

During my visit, the Excelsior casino, a one-room gaming spot, was swarming at midnight. Blackjack and craps drew the spectators. The meditative poker section was filled but nearly silent, with one table spilling over with 10 players.

 Food

Corals Restaurant is extremely popular with the breakfast crowd. At lunch, pool-goers dig Iguana Pool Bar. There are a number of places to eat in the mall across the road.

The Iguana Pool Bar serves decent burgers, dogs, and other simple American fare. It -- unlike the maritime-themed Sea Breeze Grill -- actually catches most of the sea breeze.

There is a buffe-stylet International cuise at Corals Restaurant, and the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Cafe Da Vinci serves Italian for dinner.

Tony Roma's restaurant, advertised as "famous for ribs," is right across the street. The High-Rise shopping complex is also across the street and has a number of places to dine, including the excellent Hostaria da Vittoria.

 Destination Weddings

Wedding options are a bit limited here, and although the hotel is affordable, the quality of service, the food, and the beauty of the location matches the price tag.

  • Wedding Size: No clear limit on the number of guests; the property is huge and the hotel has 600 rooms.
  • Extra Fees: Extra decorations can add up the final price of a wedding, be it for a bag of confetti or fresh tropical flowers on a wedding arch.
  • Wedding Packages: The free, basic wedding package includes a wedding coordinator, minor decorations, a bottle of champagne, one-tier wedding cake, a bouquet and a boutonniere, a dinner for the bride and groom only, and a nondenominational pastor. Other packages range in price and include extras such as one hour of photography, one hour of music, breakfast in bed for the bride and groom, and a catamaran sail for the bride and groom.
  • Ceremony Location: On the beach or in the garden
  • Photographers and Videographers: Photo packages start at one hour of photography, and increase in price quickly for photo and video.
  • Music: Recorded background music during the ceremony is the cheapest option, but a four-piece dance band for three hours is available
  • Food and Drinks: Menu options charged per person per hour for a cocktail reception with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and an open bar; a plated dinner with wine starts is also an option.
  • Cakes: Prices vary based on flavor, decoration, and number of layers
  • Spa Treatments: The Intermezzo Day Spa offers massages, facials, and hair and nail treatments.
  • Honeymoon Suite: There's no special honeymoon suite, but newlyweds usually stay in an Ocean Front Superior Room or a Lanai Room with a beach and ocean view.
  • Airport Transportation: Some packages include transporation from the airport for the bride and groom, but all wedding guests will have to take a 30-minute taxi ride to the resort.

 Bottom Line

The Holiday Inn is a family-friendly beachside resort with a decent fitness center, day spa, and nice pool. It could be a bargain, but the rooms are a little basic and the service is definitely hands-off. Fortunately, the upscale High-Rise shopping complex, just across the street, has loads of great restaurants and bars.

Things You Should Know About Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach Resort & Casino

Address

  • J.E. Irausquin Blvd #230, Aruba

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • Aruba Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Aruba
  • Holiday Inn Palm Eagle Beach
  • Holiday Inn Palm/Eagle Beach
  • Holiday Inn Sunspree Aruba
  • Holiday Inn Sunspree Hotel
  • Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort
  • Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort Aruba
  • Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Aruba - Beach Resort & Casino
  • Palm/Eagle Beach Holiday Inn

Room Types

  • Garden Suite
  • Lanai Room
  • Ocean Front Standard Room
  • Ocean Front Superior Room
  • Ocean View Standard Room
  • Ocean View Superior Room
  • Standard Room
  • Superior Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 600
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
Casino: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Aruba
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd #230, Aruba
(See Map)
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