Car rentals and multilingual concierge for activities and tours
Non-smoking property (a con for some)
Free Wi-Fi and on-site parking
Pool area is on the smaller side
Carte Blanche may require reservations months in advance
In-room air purifiers and de-humidifiers can be noisy
Guests under 18 are not permitted (a pro for some)
Four-pearl Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is an adults-only property taking up a prime stretch of sand at the southern end of Eagle Beach. This eco-friendly, 104-room hotel has a stellar reputation and many guests return for its intimate and exclusive, yet unpretentious vibe. The main activity here involves lingering on the sand under shade umbrellas, or lounging by the chic beachfront pool. Guest rooms are handsomely decorated with luxurious decor and higher-end amenities such as iHome systems, charging docks, minibars, and built-in TVs in bathroom mirrors. A free breakfast buffet is served daily, and dining is a highlight -- including five-course menus at the intimate gourmet spot, Carte Blanche, and romantic beachfront dining at Elements. Bucuti & Tara is one of the area’s chicest hotels, but those looking for a stylish stay that's kid-friendly can consider Divi Aruba All-Inclusive.
A romantic, quiet boutique resort with a chic, contemporary beachfront setting
Aruba is an island well-known for its big chain hotels and downmarket vacation rentals, but for those who seek it, there's a more intimate resort experience to be found. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a low-key boutique property renowned for its romantic, adults-only vibe, chic, modern setting, and sustainability efforts. The seated check-in process immediately sets the exclusive tone with refreshing wash towels and flutes of champagne provided to guests. Once settled into the contemporary rooms, it's all about relaxation. A green lawn dotted with tall palms separates the resort's two wings, and leads to the expansive beach area where the pool, Elements restaurant, and Sand Bar are located. Nightly happy hours at the Sand Bar are not to be missed; drink specials are excellent value for Aruba and the live steel drum music adds a local beat to the stunning evening sunsets. At sundown, well-dressed guests reappear for dinner on the Elements deck, illuminated with LED planters that add ambience.
The property is open to the beachfront with its own long stretch of white sand, scattered with deckchairs for two beneath white shade umbrellas. The shore has lapping turquoise waves straight from a postcard. It’s an elegant coastal scene. The resort's owner, Ewald Biemans, has been a local for decades, and is passionate about keeping the property modern and fresh. Bucuti added the new Tara wing in 2004, with 41 oceanfront suites and penthouses, and Carte Blanche in 2013, a fine-dining restaurant that features a five-course menu that changes daily. The hotel caters almost exclusively to couples, and guests under 18 are not permitted.
On a prime slice of Eagle Beach, with plenty of restaurants and shops nearby
The resort is about a 15- to 20-minute drive from Queen Beatrix International Airport, tucked away from the crowds at the south end of Eagle Beach -- one of Aruba’s most popular beaches. While lined with other smaller-scale resort properties, Eagle Beach tends to have a more laid-back vibe than Palm Beach to the north, where big name high-rise hotels dominate the beachscape. Guests may wish to head to Palm Beach for the abundance of dining and nightlife options on “The Strip,” roughly a 10-minute drive from Bucuti, but plenty of restaurants are located within close walking distance. Alhambra Casino is about a five-minute walk away and offers a variety of shops, eateries, and boutiques.
A rental car is recommended for longer stays, but taxis can be arranged at the front desk. Nearby highlights include Divi Village Golf Course (a 10-minute walk), Bubali Bird Sanctuary (eight-minute drive), the island's iconic California Lighthouse (about 10 minutes by car), and even more dining and shopping options at Oranjestad (also 10 minutes). Farther flung destinations include Arikok National park (20 minutes) and Baby Beach (35 minutes).
Sharp and contemporary, with handsome furniture and balconies, some with beach views
There are two wings to the resort: the Bucuti Wing and the Tara Suites Wing -- the latter was under renovation during our summer 2017 visit. Standard, Superiors, and Deluxe categories are on offer alongside a choice of Suites, and all units are spacious, handsomely decorated, eco-friendly, and appointed with luxurious modern amenities. Stylish contemporary furniture, dark-wood finishes, sleek lines, and elegant pops of color like teal give rooms an elegant and timeless aesthetic.
Standard and Superior Rooms feature a garden or partial ocean view, while Deluxes have ocean views. Junior Suites feature full kitchens, separate bedrooms and seating areas, and large balconies. Tara Beach Suites are oceanfront and offer separate living spaces. Those craving the most luxe experience should opt for the limited Tara Beach Penthouse Suites, which unfold like beautiful private homes with large terraces and outstanding views of Eagle Beach. The Tara wing was also under renovation during our visit.
While the higher-category rooms have appealing perks, even the most basic room categories offer amenities like high-thread count bedding, bathrobes, air-conditioning, and pillow-topped mattresses. They also include microwaves, minibars, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers. Tech-friendly extras like flat-screen TVs, laptops (they can be picked up at reception), and iHomes round out the modern features. Bathrooms have shower/tub combos with dispenser soap from the local favorite, Aruba Aloe. TVs are embedded in the mirrors and there's plenty of counter space.
Rooms are also equipped with de-humidifiers and air purifiers to provide clean air (the hotel is non-smoking), however they do make noise and may disturb light sleepers. All units also contain safes, hairdryers, irons, ironing boards, and direct-dial landlines.
An exclusive take on typical resort trimmings, with gourmet dining and low-key entertainment
The highlight of the resort is its prime location on iconic Eagle Beach. Not only is the resort's beach frontage considered safe, but views face west for outstanding sunsets. This beach is cleaned daily, and because of the great expanse, it is impossible for it to feel crowded despite being open to the public. It’s great for swimming and long barefoot strolls in either direction. Deck chairs for two beneath white shade umbrellas are available on a first come first served basis, and there are plenty. Food and drink can be ordered from the beach by using the "flag-up" service.
Unlike nearby all-inclusive resorts that offer nightly entertainment for the whole family, Bucuti maintains a low-key romantic atmosphere. Though Eagle Beach is the main attraction for sunbathers, a stylish -- but slightly small -- pool and hot tub is provided just off the sand. This spot is rarely crowded and there are several lounge chairs that offer guests a sand-free environment to relax and enjoy a drink. The Sand Bar offers great happy hour specials and live steel drum music each evening, and weekly movie nights take place right on the beach. The free breakfast buffet is served in Elements restaurant with a diverse and delicious spread that includes made-to-order omelettes and espresso. Elements also serves lunch and dinner with indoor air-conditioned seating, or open-air seating on the beachfront deck. Carte Blanche, a fine-dining establishment, serves a unique five-course dinner daily, but expect to make reservations (sometimes well in advance).
For wellness, the Purun Spa is a well-known name around Aruba, and it has several locations, including the one in the Tara Suites Wing of Bucuti. Although it was under renovation during our summer 2017 visit, it features massages, aromatherapy, facials, and wraps among a solid list of treatments. There's also a 24-hour fitness center with plenty of modern cardio and weight equipment.
Bikes and non-motorized water-sport equipment are available to rent at the hotel; motorized sport operators can be found a short walk down Eagle Beach. Laundry and dry cleaning services, free newspaper delivery to rooms, and free use of laptops are all offered. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and a concierge is available to book tours, excursions, and car rentals. The hotel also offers honeymoon and romance packages, which include extras such as a bottle of champagne waiting in the room and a romantic candlelight dinner for two on the beach.
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