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Oyster Hotel Review
Families and couples have an extraordinary time getting in touch with nature and lounging on the beach.
This is definitely a family hotel, but that's not to say it's ordinary. In fact, with lizards leaping past winding garden paths and a cacophony of parrots (albeit caged parrots), I felt more in touch with the local fauna here that I did at any other hotel in Aruba.
But there is a down side to the exotic atmosphere. Guest rooms are scattered across three buildings -- the main Aruba Building, the partially attached Curacao Wing, and the completely separate Bonaire Tower. All three are connected by garden paths winding over brooks and miniwaterfalls. Pretty? Yes. But it's also a breeding ground for mosquitos. Pile on the bug spray.
The Radisson is surrounded by other hotels; all line the shore. There are plenty of restaurants nearby, too.
On Palm Beach, sandwiched between the Riu and the Occidental resorts, the Radisson is in a line of beachside hotels. On the water, the resort is near the De Palm Pier. There, guests can kick back, get a drink, and take a speedboat for a spin (I recommend doing these things in reverse order).
Just outside the resort, Gianni's Italian restaurant and Danielle Steak and Chop share a building on the other side of the street. There's a strip mall, Arawak Garden, half a block down the street. It houses Soprano's Piano Bar, Tango Argentine Grill, Fishes and More, and Salt and Pepper.
The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Oranjestad. Hop in a cab, or save some cash by just waiting for the bus that comes by about every 20 minutes. There's a bus stop right by the Radisson's entrance.
The Radisson shares its beach with other resorts, so it can get busy. Guests should check out the sunset cruises.
The Radisson shares its popular beach with several other oceanfront hotels, like the Riu and Occidental resorts. Guests should plunk down on the first free seat they see, as the beach tends to get busy.
Apart from the standard smattering of water-sport kiosks, this beach's greatest asset is De Palm Pier, a long, wooden gangway into the ocean. The pier has a lively bar at its very tip. You can nosh on some quesadillas at the bar and then catch a sunset cruise around the coast.
Guest rooms got a facelift in 2011, and now feature comfy beds and large flat-screen TVs
The Garden View Room
Rooms received a bit of a facelift during the 2011 renovations. New bedding and linens, as well as new Simmons Luxury Plush EverNu mattresses are now featured in every room. 42-inch plasma TVs, iHome clock radios, and computerized climate control systems and dehumidifiers are standard in every room category, too.
The spa's sauna
- The Radisson has two large pools. Like a wavy exclamation mark, the winding lagoon and the circular pool at its tip are separated by a slim walkway to the beach.
- Tip: The line for towels can get pretty long in the midafternoon. Save yourself the hassle and bring one down from your room.
- Large, modern gym with windows that look out over the water and a great mix of cardio and weight-training equipment. It's free for guests, as are the saunas and steam rooms in the adjoining spa.
- The Larimar Spa is a beautiful flagship facility with nine treatment rooms, saunas and whirlpools, plus salon services. It's the first in a chain that's set to open at the Radisson's hotels worldwide. In-room massages can be booked at the spa, too.
- Cell phone rental at front desk.
- Valet and self-parking (free) available
Renovated in 2011, but still small and unimpressive
Small and dark, the Radisson's casino looks like an obligatory add-on, meant to keep pace with every other Aruban resort. But improvements can be seen since the 2011 renovations brought in new gaming equipment and furniture.
The rooms and grounds are well-kept.
Considering the two pools, the hotel's proximity to the beach, and the gaggle of kids and teenagers running everywhere, I was surprised not to find a grain of sand or dirt in my room or anywhere inside the buildings.
The Radisson has ample dining options -- both on-site and away from the hotel.
A salad from Gilligan's restaurant
- The Sunset Grill, the Radisson's fine-dining option, is open evenings.
- Mira Solo is perched above a fake waterfall with a view from the pool to the beach.
- Gilligan's restaurant, out past the pool and at the far end of the beach, has a lively bar where crowds from surrounding hotels congregate in the evenings. There's even a booth on the beach with an ice-cream cart.
- Right by the casino, the Laguna restaurant floats over an artificial lake between the Curacao and Bonaire buildings.
- Coffee and Cream, right by the lobby, is a tiny cafe open during the day. It serves sandwiches, coffee, and pastries.
- Just outside the resort, Gianni's Italian restaurant and Danielle Steak and Chop share a building on the other side of the street. There's a strip mall called Arawak Garden, half a block down the street. It houses such notables as Soprano's Piano Bar, Tango Argentine Grill, Fishes and More, and Salt and Pepper. Basically, guests won't go hungry.
It has all the wedding essentials at reasonable prices, but this big, aging, crowded family resort isn't especially romantic.
It's a beautiful beach, but it's far from private.
- Wedding Size: Up to 1,200 guests, depending on location; only one wedding per day
- Wedding Packages: Unlike most resorts, the Radisson Aruba does not offer standardized wedding packages. For just the basics -- a civil service fee, a nondenominational officiant, a cake, decorations ranging from a bag of rose petals to a chuppah arch, and the location fee -- your expected price will largely depend on which extras you choose to include.
- Ceremony Locations: On the beach aisle, the beach, the pool deck, the ballroom, and either the north or south Mira Solo lawn
- Photographers and Videographers: Photo packages include 36 pictures, a CD, and an album; video packages include one hour of filming; no extra fee for outside vendors
- Music: You can choose to pay per hour for a DJ or soloist or a three-hour minimum for a five-piece band
- Food: For a standard dinner, buffets and plated meals (just an appetizer and an entree) are about equal in price. Kids', kosher, vegetarian, and gluten-free menus available upon request. Also, unlike at most other resorts, you can opt for a more affordable breakfast wedding or a brunch.
- Drinks: An open bar varies in price depending on the quality of liquor
- Cakes: One to three tier cakes available.
- Spa Treatments: The Larimar Spa offers a full menu of services, including bridal makeup and hair styling.
- Honeymoon Suite: The Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and Aruba Plaza Club Suites each have an in-room Jacuzzi tub, a private balcony, and an ocean view.
- Airport Transportation: The hotel does not offer airport shuttle service.
Sporting two large pools, exotic landscaping (with caged parrots), a top-notch spa and fitness center, and a long beach where kids and teens run wild, the Radisson is an excellent value, especially since its $26 million renovations were completed in October 2011 of all guestrooms, the casino, and all other common areas. Plus, the location is ideal; ample restaurants and places to party, on-site and off.
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Things You Should Know About Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa
- 81 J.E. Irausquin Blvd, Palm Beach, Aruba
Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As
- Aruba Radisson
- Palm/Eagle Beach Radisson
- Raddison Aruba
- Radisson Aruba
- Radisson Aruba Hotel
- Radisson Aruba Resort Casino
- Radisson Palm/Eagle Beach
- Bonaire Suite
- Curacao Suite
- Deluxe Ocean View Room
- Garden View Room
- Guest Room
- Partial Ocean View Room
- Penthouse Suite
- Plaza Club Aruba Junior Suite
- Plaza Club Room Deluxe Ocean View
- Plaza Club Room Partial Ocean View
- Plaza Club Suite Aruba Tower