- Small, dingy casino
- Wi-Fi only available in certain public spaces
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 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
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.
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.
It has all the wedding essentials at reasonable prices, but this big, aging, crowded family resort isn't especially romantic.
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