Club Arias Bed & Breakfast Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Club Arias Bed and Breakfast is a friend and family-run spot in the in Aruba’s quiet southwestern village of Savaneta. Ten suites (and a tiny budget option, The Nook) are set within spacious and well-landscaped garden grounds with plenty of places to lounge. The entire property has a Mediterranean style, from the clay garden accents, to the large faux boulders and grottos, and down to the impressive hand-painted details covering walls, furniture, and signage. All suites include free cooked-to-order breakfast by Chef Gabriel, who also serves up pizza, pasta, wings, and private dinners. This is an ideal place for families or couples looking for local flavor or even just an escape from heavy tourist areas, but it's not on the beach and you definitely need a car.
My Aruban Home Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Walking distance to Aruba’s High Rise hotel strip, the four-room My Aruban Home is the antithesis of its nearby resort-style neighbors -- and that’s exactly what it’s aiming for. Run by a retired husband and wife team, this spot is full of extremely mindful amenities like car rides to familiarize you with the island, guest-curated Aruba guides, and a barrage of in-room comforts all purposed at making you feel like a well-taken-care-of family friend. There’s no pool, restaurant, or bar but it’s the ideal place to feel like a local without lifting a finger -- or spending too much cash.
MVC Eagle Beach Rating: 3.0 Pearls
MVC Eagle Beach is a mid-range 19-room boutique across the road from Aruba’s famous Eagle Beach. It is mostly made up of contemporary (if snug) Double Rooms, though there are a few larger adjoining rooms, making this a nice option for couples, small families, or groups looking for a beachside bargain -- the free breakfast doesn’t hurt either. While the small and shallow pool isn’t good for much more than dipping, there’s plenty of space to grab some sun, a bite to eat, or a drink. Some people find noise to be a problem, but if you can wear earplugs, this quaint beachside pick is hard to beat for the price.
Caribbean Palm Village Resort Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Caribbean Palm Village Resort is a 170-room time-share resort on the north side of Aruba. Slightly away from the tourist-heavy High Rise and Low Rise areas, this mid-range spot is ideal for those seeking a quiet Aruban vacation and who don't mind sacrificing easy beach access. The resort has two pools, hot tubs, a restaurant and bar area, tennis courts, and a casual spa, but it's pretty dead a few hours before midnight. Rooms are spacious with nicely equipped kitchenettes or kitchens, and even the non-renovated rooms are clean and in decent shape.
Boardwalk Hotel Aruba Rating: 3.0 Pearls
For those in search of a truly intimate boutique experience on Aruba, the affordable Boardwalk Hotel in Aruba is an excellent mid-range choice. This peaceful 13-casita property, tucked behind three massive Marriott properties and situated on a former coconut plantation, remains an oasis of calm. Casitas are spacious and bright with fully equipped kitchens, fine linens, and private patios. Snorkel gear is provided to guests, as are beach towels, coolers, chairs and umbrellas -- all of which adds to the value. There's no direct beach access, but guests can walk to nearby Palm Beach (full of restaurants, casinos and nightlife) or get in the car and head to a hidden beach recommended by the owners -- they know the local scoop, so guests should be sure to ask their advice.
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Aruba Marriott Resort is fancier than its neighbor, the Marriott Surf Club, but paradoxically, it costs a whole lot less. It has bright, airy rooms with fast Wi-Fi, a superb beach with clear water, one of Aruba's best casinos, a fitness center, spa, and a lagoon-shaped pool with a waterfall and a swim-up bar -- all for a great price. The only downside it's a bit of a walk to the restaurants and bars of the High-Rise complex; on-site options include a 24-hour cafe, the delicious (but pricey) Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, a lobby bar, and beach snack bars Waves and Simply Fish.