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Oyster Hotel Review
Rundown décor and a lack of activities make for a less lively atmosphere than at most Aruban resorts.
Sunset Pool Bar and Grill
Until recently, the Tropicana Aruba was part of La Cabana, the resort that looms directly across from the hotel's parking lot. In fact, some of the bathtubs are still emblazoned with "La Cabana" in bold, raised lettering.
Despite being its own entity, the Tropicana Aruba is made up of time-share condo units, just as it was under the La Cabana flag. Like many time-share hotels in Aruba, regular vacationing guests can still book a room for a few nights at a time, but because each unit is owned and furnished by a private investor, the quality of the rooms and their overall upkeep varies from room to room. In most cases, the guest rooms look much older than what you might find at a more conventional hotel, such as the Radisson.
As for the general vibe and character at the hotel, you are likely to hear some 1990s Latin pop music at the pools, but the rest of the resort remains extremely quiet. In the lobby, the only sounds tend to come from the bellmen and the breeze.
Overall, you can find a much better hotel for the money elsewhere. And you don't have to take my word for it: Read through a year's worth of TripAdvisor reviews and you'll likely spot titles like "Don't Stay at the Tropicana Aruba," "The Web Site Lies!" "Not What I Expected," and "What a DUMP!" Although, an early 2011 change in management and slight renovations have seen an upsurge in support for the dated resort.
To get to Eagle Beach, you either have to walk for 10 minutes past La Cabana's property and cross a highway, or ride the tram that takes guests to and from the water. A few restaurants, including Le Petit Café, line the way, but it's mostly parking lots and palm trees.
- Seven-minute, $10 to $15 cab ride from downtown Oranjestad
- Five minutes from the High-Rise shopping complex,
- Though there is an overpriced mini-mart on the property, the Divi Dushi Convenience Store, the closest major supermarket is about a five-minute drive away.
- About 15 minutes from the airport ($20 to $25 by taxi)
Eagle Beach is one of the nicest beaches in Aruba. The sand is as white as the volleyball poles, and the sunset looks like a National Geographic spread.
- The resort has a limited number of thatched-roof palapas available to guests free of charge on the beach, though you may need to show up by about 6 a.m. to claim one.
- There are no beach towels available at the beach itself, though the hotel passes them out to guests in the pool area.
- The resort doesn't have any food facilities on the beach, but there are other restaurants nearby.
A one-bedroom suite
Since the Tropicana Aruba is mostly devoted to time-shares, every guest room is either a one-, two- or three-bedroom suite. All come equipped with kitchens that include refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, coffeemakers, and even blenders, making it easy for guests to cook their own food. All living room couches are also sleeper sofas.
The hotel began renovating rooms (starting with the two-bedroom suites) in 2009, however, and as of 2011, there have been updates to to the roof, elevators and TVs (with an expansion in programming.) Unfortunately the dated furniture in rooms remain.
- Frayed threads whip up off the bedspreads
- The water pipes near the bed gurgle each time a neighbor turns on their faucet.
- Narrow balcony, barely able to fit its plastic table and chairs.
- Color TV with HBO, Showtime, Cinemaz and Starz
- Wi-Fi for $10 for 24 hours
- Given the Tropicana Aruba's distance from the beach, none of its rooms have ocean views; the best you can hope for is a nice view of the pool.
Eagle Beach is separated from the resort by a large highway, so accordingly the hotel puts a lot of effort into its two free-form pools.
- The quieter adult pool has a shady grotto jutting off its end.
- The kids' pool has a 150-foot-long waterslide and the swim-up The Crazy Parrot.
- The only real poolside activity is water aerobics every day from 11 a.m. to noon.
- The fitness center offers top-notch cardio equipment, including ellipticals, treadmills, and stationary bikes, in addition to free weights and weight machines.
- Five lighted tennis courts
- 24-hour hi-speed Wi-Fi Internet access can be purchased in the lobby ($10 a day or $35 a week). Access is given through Wi-Fi cards that provide guests with internet service throughout the resort as well as several other hotspots on the island.
Some parents might worry about their children getting sick from dirty rooms, mildewy curtains, and cranked up air conditioners. Others might detest having to cross a four-lane highway with small children to get to the beach. In short, there are probably worse places to go with kids, but there are certainly betters ones too.
- 150-foot waterslide at the pool
- Very little action at night to keep kids awake
- The Tropicana Aruba's suites can easily sleep five people.
- Kitchens enable families to economize meals
Dirt, mildew, and general wear and tear pervade the resort's rooms.
I found stains and specks of dirt all over the white-tile floor, and a circular rust imprint taunted me by the bathroom's tissue dispenser. I encountered mosquitoes in the bedroom and living room, and found the crevices in the floor tiles to contain more than an acceptable amount of grime and dust. The TV screens had greasy smudges over the displays. The bathroom, in all its turquoise glory, smelled a little musty.
Beyond the particulars, the rooms just don't feel clean. In many rooms, the dull vanilla walls and old furniture look like they haven't been renovated in more than a decade.
Between the two on-site restaurants, guests are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
The Blue Marlin restaurant
The Tropicana Aruba currently offers pool bar and grill, The Crazy Parrot, which serves everything from salads and sandwiches to plates of lasagna and BBQ ribs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a casual dining option, guests should visit Mamuris, which is adjacent to the casino, and serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Also available is a Dunkin' Donuts located between the two pools in the courtyard and a Baskin Robbins. Both are open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Not surprisingly, most guests at the Tropicana Aruba choose to take advantage of their kitchenettes and cook their own food. The closest major supermarket, Superfoods, is about five minutes away by car.
A 362-suite property mainly composed of time-shares, the Tropicana Aruba is minutes from shopping, downtown Oranjestad, and the Aruba International Airport. However, even with its stocked kitchens, the outdated rooms, 10-minute walk to the beach make the Tropicana Aruba a less-than-ideal option.
This Hotel Also Featured In
Things You Should Know About Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino
- 25 J.E. Irausquin Blvd, Oranjestad, Aruba
Hotel Is Also Known As...
- Aruba La Cabana
- Aruban Hotel Oranjestad
- Aruban Resort Casino
- La Cabana Resort Aruba
- The Aruban Hotel
- The Aruban Resort & Casino at Eagle Beach
- One Bedroom Suite
- Penthouse Suite
- Three Bedroom Suite
- Two Bedroom Suite