Car rentals and multilingual concierge service for activities and tours
Free champagne during a seated check-in process
Free Wi-Fi and parking
Some rooms have lackluster views
Pool area is on the smaller side
Carte Blanche may require reservations months in advance
Four-pearl Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a romantic, adult-only property taking up a prime stretch of sand at the southern end of Eagle Beach. This eco-friendly, 104-room hotel has 14 acres of beach, and the main activity here involves lingering on the sand under shaded palapas. There's also a chic infinity pool. Rooms are stylish and have higher-end amenities such as iHome systems, charging docks, and built-in TVs in the 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. This is one of the nicest hotels to be found in the area, but the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino has more on-site activities and allows kids for cheaper rates.
A romantic boutique resort ideal for those seeking peace and quiet
Aruba is an island well-known for its big chain names or downmarket vacation rentals, but for those who seek it, there's a more intimate resort experience to be found. Tucked away along busy Eagle Beach is this low-key boutique resort renowned for its romantic setting and sustainability. After passing by green lawns up the driveway to this villa-inspired hotel, guests enter a chic lobby that immediately sets the exclusive tone for a stay here. Design is a step above most hotels in Aruba, with dark wood beams and paddle fans overhead plus cheerful yellow walls and pretty flowers tastefully set throughout the space. Wicker resin furniture is low-rise or otherwise formed into sleek shapes, and pops of color are seen in soft furnishings and wall art
At this adult-only resort, arrivals are seated and offered a free glass of champagne. 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 main restaurant, terrace and bar is located. Nightly happy hours at the Sand Bar are not to be missed: Drink specials are a good value, and the live steel drum music is an authentic way to experience Aruba's outstanding sunsets before heading to dinner.
The resort's owner, Ewald Biemans has been a local for over 25 years, 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 establishment that features a five-course menu that changes daily. As the hotel caters almost exclusively to couples, there's an undeniable romance to staying here, and guests under 18 are not permitted.
On a prime slice of Eagle Beach, amid plenty of restaurants and shops
Bucuti is tucked away from the crowds at the south end of Eagle Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Aruba. Eagle Beach tends to have a more laid-back vibe than Palm Beach to the north, which takes 10 minutes to reach by car. There are plenty of other smaller-scale hotels all around, as well as several places to eat. There's no casino on-site, but Divi Aruba has one and is a five-minute walk away. Divi is also home to the closest golf course. The Shops at Alhambra Casino are a five-minute walk from the hotel and has a variety of boutiques and restaurants, including a sophisticated cigar bar. Plenty of restaurants surround the neighboring hotels, and all can be reached in five to 10 minutes on foot.
A rental car is recommended for longer stays, but taxis can be arranged through the hotel's concierge service. The island's iconic California Lighthouse will take just under 10 minutes to reach by car. It's also a 10-minute drive to Oranjestad from here, for even more dining and shopping options, while Queen Beatrix International Airport will take 15 to 20 minutes to reach by car depending on traffic. Farther flung destinations include Arikok National park, which is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. It's a 25-minute drive to scenic oceanside dining at Savaneta, and about 35 minutes to Baby Beach.
Sharp, contemporary rooms with handsome furniture and balconies -- some with sea views
Bucuti completed updates to all 104 rooms and suites in 2011, and more minor renovations took place in 2015. There are two wings to the resort: the original Bucuti Wing and the newer Tara Suites Wing. Eco-friendly rooms have modern amenities, motion sensor systems, tiled floors, and contemporary furniture in handsome dark wood finishes and sleek lines. There's little in the way of wall art, but all rooms manage to feel decorated in a tastefully minimal way.
Most Standard and Superior Rooms stick to white and gray tones with blue accents and feature a garden view, though a few come with a partial ocean view. Junior Suites feature full kitchens, separate bedrooms and sitting areas, and large balconies. Tara Beach Suites are oceanfront and offer separate living areas, with granite counter tops in the bathrooms. Those wanting the most pampering experience should opt for the limited Tara Beach Penthouse Suites, which feature large terraces and outstanding views of Eagle Beach. These units come with living areas, full kitchens featuring stainless steel appliances, and bathrooms with claw foot tubs and separate showers.
While the higher-category upgrades are all appealing perks, even the simplest room categories can count on amenities like high-thread count bedding, bathrobes, air-conditioning, air purifiers, and pillow-topped mattresses. They also include microwaves, 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 offerings. Bathrooms have shower/tub combos and all feature dispenser soap from the local favorite, Aruba Aloe. TVs are embedded in the mirrors, and there's plenty of counter space.
Great swimming and white sand right on famous Eagle Beach
The highlight of the resort is its prime location on famous Eagle Beach, considered one of the best beaches in the world. 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 its being open to the public. The shore has lapping turquoise waves straight from a postcard -- great for swimming and long barefoot strolls in either direction.
For guests who want to relax with a book, shaded palapas are available to guests on a first-come-first-served basis. Those staying in the Tara Beach Penthouse Suites will have access to their own palapa. Each guest is given two beach towels upon arrival. These can be exchanged for clean towels anytime during the stay. Food and drink can be ordered from the beach by using the "flag-up" service. Non-motorized water sports are available for guests.
An infinity pool and hot tub plus excellent gourmet dining and low-key entertainment
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 infinity pool can be found behind the resort's main restaurant. This spot is rarely crowded and there are several lounge chairs that offer guests a sand-free environment to relax and enjoy a drink. There is a whirlpool attached to the pool for evening dips when the temperature drops.
Every evening before and after dinner, the Sand Bar becomes a hub for guests to relax, with happy hour drink specials and live steel drum music. In addition, weekly movie nights allow guests to watch a new release or an old classic right on the beach. The free breakfast buffet is served in Elements or in the air-conditioned Tara Lounge. The spread includes made-to-order omelets, bacon, pancakes, sausage and French toast, as well as fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, freshly baked breads and Danishes, cheeses, coffee, tea, and espresso. Elements also serves lunch and dinner. Carte Blanche, a fine-dining establishment serving a unique five-course dinner daily, opened in January 2013. The small space is ideal for foodies looking for a one-of-a-kind meal, but expect to make reservations (sometimes well in advance).
For a set price, guests can dine in a private cabana on the beach, separate from the main dining area. The price covers wine or champagne, appetizers, entrees, dessert, and tea, coffee, or espresso. Bucuti also offers a unique Dine Around program, which gives guests an option to purchase vouchers that can be used at any of about 20 restaurants located across the island.
The Intermezzo Spa is a well-known name around Aruba, and has several locations, including the one in the Tara Suites Wing of Bucuti. It features massages, aromatherapy, facials, and wraps among a list of treatments. There's a mani/pedi station here as well, but no sauna. Bikes and non-motorized water-sport equipment is available to rent at the hotel; motorized sport operators can be found a short walk down Eagle Beach. The resort has an air-conditioned fitness center, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and plenty of up-to-date cardio and weight equipment. It's open around the clock. 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.
Bucuti appeals mostly to couples with its peaceful setting along the ocean. Couples frequently gather at Sand Bar's popular happy hour to enjoy the sunset views, cocktail specials, and steel drum music. The concierge can help book romantic tours such as the sunset sailing cruise. The hotel also offers specific 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. It's (unsurprisingly) a popular destination wedding spot, but the resort only allows one ceremony with less than 50 attendees per day, so as to not bother other guests. A full-time wedding planner makes the arrangements including officiator, flowers, decorations, photographer, videographer, wedding cake, music, entertainment, and dinner reception. Weddings take place on the beach or in the garden and courtyard area -- Bucuti does not have indoor event facilities.
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