Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Kids and adults share the laid-back scene.
The Hyatt tends to attract two types of guests: families with small children and gamblers. The outdoor seating of Ruinas del Mar overlooks a rippling lake, and in the morning families gather to watch black swans gliding by -- and that's to say nothing of the incredible three-tier pool. In the evening, however, the casino and the Alfresco Lobby Bar can attract large crowds who come to drink "Mario's Special" (the bartender, Mario, lent his name to the tonic) before heading to the upscale restaurant concourse to dine.
A (30-minute) $30 cab ride from the airport, the hotel is between the sea and a shopping complex.
The hotel's main entrance is just seconds off Aruba's main road, the thruway that leads to directly to downtown Oranjestad, 15 minutes away. The High-Rise shopping complex, directly across the street, has many restaurants, including the fabulous Hostaria da Vittoria, and a number of nightlife haunts, such as a movie theater and a samba club misleadingly named Mr. Jazz.
The location feels very safe. Between foot traffic from the High-Rise and tourists from a number of neighboring hotels -- the Holiday Inn SunSpree, Occidental, and Radisson, among others -- the area is well populated at night. For added security, hotel personnel frequent the street outside the hotel.
The fine white sand beach is just feet from the main lobby. Plastic lounge chairs, available all over the beach, are set in full recline underneath the hotel's numerous thatched cabanas. The Kadushi Juice Bar, serving nectar with names like "Mango Madness," stands at the entrance to the beach. Two watersports providers -- Delphi Watersports and Rodney Water Sport (not affiliated with the hotel) -- compete for business on the beachfront.
The hotel's tri-level, three-tiered pool consists of three separate pools scaling three floors (each, directly next to one another). Guests can get to each of the different pools using a set of stairs, though kids preferred using the waterslide. However, you might have to wake up ridiculously early if you want to secure a chair by the pool-- there have been complaints of guests reserving chairs in the early morning (read: before dawn!).
On the ground-level pool, there's the swim-up Balashi Bar & Grill. Each level is large enough as a stand-alone swimming hole, but together the whole structure nearly reached the border between the Hyatt and the beach.
A 24-hour fitness center includes a spa, which offers everything from massages and facials to Recovery Wraps and exfoliation services.
The packed casino is open every night until 4 a.m.
The casino, about 75 feet from the front desk in the main lobby, opens at noon and closes at 4 a.m. It was consistently packed, and had more "career" gamblers than casinos at the Riu Palace Aruba, Divi Aruba Beach Resort, and other resorts.
Large rooms, a great pool, and a kids' club
Besides the noticeable (yet inconsequential) stains on the daybed and non-working desk lamp, all was tidy. In the bathroom, neither the mirrors nor the transparent shower walls bore mildew or streaks. The silver fixtures and granite vanity top were similarly spotless.
Maid carts patrolled the halls from late morning until evening. The pool area was free of garbage and other debris. The white lobby floor, traversed by incoming guests and flip-flopped beach-goers, shone like new.
The 24-hour room service, a private multi-course meal by the ocean, sushi and Italian restaurants, and the High-Rise complex give guests many options.
The hotel offers a number of specialty dining options. For the late-night gambler (or baby-cradler), room service is available 24 hours.
Footprints Beach Grill, a spot for oceanfront dining, sets up shop after dark. Guests can arrange for "Sunset Service," a multi-course meal in view of the sunset (private butler included). "Dinner Sail" serves up fine dining on the high seas on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m.
I got pizza at Café Piccolo, an Italian restaurant, and ate a sushi dinner at Café Japengo, a Japanese eatery. The two restaurants sit on either side of Ruinas del Mar, and share a common alfresco patio. A group of waiters serenaded a couple with "Happy Birthday" at Ruinas del Mar while I feasted on cheesecake brûlée at Japengo.
The High-Rise complex across the street has a number of restaurants, including the excellent Hostaria da Vittoria.
The a la carte options here allow you to personalize your wedding without going over budget on an excessive wedding package, a feat that's hard to accomplish at some of the other large resorts nearby.
Gorgeous pools, a reliable kids club, and a soft-sand beach in a modern hotel near the High-Rise shopping/dining/drinking complex -- the Hyatt is virtually flawless, even if it does lack local charm. Rooms are clean and modern, and have flat-screen TVs, excellent beds, and iPod docks -- they're among the best in Aruba, excusing the tiny balconies. Zoia Spa reopened in May 2012 following a complete renovation, and now offers a full range of tratments and salon services.