Excelsior Casino has blackjack, craps, and poker room
Various all-inclusive options available
Minimart and specialty shops on-site
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Free on-site parking
Some guest rooms are dated and show wear
Restaurant food quality varies
Narrow beach can get crowded
Palapas are free but subject to a lottery system
Some rooms, especially on lower floors, may pick up noise
The three-and-a-half-pearl Holiday Inn Resort is a big family-friendly beachfront property with a traditional resort vibe, and plenty to eat and do on-site. Its 597 guest rooms are pleasant enough, but some are dated and show wear while others are more modern, with stylish coastal decor. All have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and furnished balconies. There's a slew of organized activities to entertain the American and European guests who stay here, though the lottery system to snag a palapa on the hotel's busy beach can be a nuisance. The all-inclusive option and prime Palm Beach location make the hotel a decent value, especially for those with young kids. The abundance of restaurants, nightlife, and shops across the road make it easy to venture out. Travelers seeking a less crowded beach setting could try Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort.
Traditional brand-name resort on a crowded beach, with a lively but family-friendly vibe
This hotel's wide, breezy lobby has a retro modernist feel and makes a good first impression. It sits between two blocky buildings that house guest rooms, and the resort unfolds in either direction along a narrow and crowded stretch of Palm Beach. It's one of the more well-known beaches in Aruba that's favorited by international tourists seeking a lively resort scene. Highlights are the calm, crystal clear waters, a generous variety of restaurants and beach bars, and a variety of water activities.
Just outside the lobby, a calm, landscaped courtyard with hammocks offers a relaxing spot to settle. It's slightly removed from the lively hub of activity at the main pool a little farther down the path, where kids paddle around and adults play pool volleyball. The resort’s expansive pool area has shady papapas and beach chairs set around the two neighboring freeform pools split by a bridge, and there's a zero-entry side where parents often play with toddlers. The style throughout the property is modest and somewhat dated in most public areas, which are nevertheless well-maintained and kept clean.
Between foot traffic from nearby shopping and the number of neighboring hotels -- including the Hyatt and Hilton, among others -- the area is well populated at night, with plenty of nightlife to explore.
On Aruba’s north western edge -- right on a touristy strip of Palm Beach
The Holiday Inn’s location might be its best feature. In addition to being set on the island’s most popular beach, it’s also in a bustling touristy center of Noord, with an abundance of restaurants and shops within walking distance. The upscale Paseo Herencia Mall and Palm Beach Plaza shopping complex are directly across the street, with stores, a movie theatre, samba club, and specialty shops. The drive from the airport takes about 25 minutes. It’s eight minutes to Eagle Beach, and downtown Oranjestad is about 15 minutes, depending on traffic.
Neutral decor with a coastal vibe, but some dated units show wear
Guest Rooms are sunlit and are mostly pleasant, though while some feel new and contemporary, others are less modern and show wear. Dated units have a soft green color scheme with heavy, cherry wood-veneer furniture. Those that are more on-trend have a sharp blue-and-gray palette and decor that suits the coastal locale. Both room styles have a mix of abstract art and beachy landscapes hanging on the walls, and past guests have praised units' comfy beds and level of cleanliness. All feature amenities like coffeemakers, mini-fridges, safes, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi, but it isn't always reliable. They're also spacious enough to include small seating areas with sofas and tables with chairs. Every room opens onto a balcony, and many offer ocean or pool views. Bathrooms are on the small side and styles similarly vary, but they all feature walk-in showers, free toiletries, stone vanities, and hairdryers. A few noise complaints from lower level pool-facing rooms means it might be best to request one on a higher floor, however music from the property next door can also annoy light sleepers.
Three pools and multiple bars and restaurants, plus a spa, fitness center, and casino
The Holiday Inn’s designated beach area is narrow in comparison to that of the nearby Marriott and Ritz Carlton, which can make it feel crowded, though the lounge chairs are placed closer to the water here than at the neighboring hotels. One major con is the lottery system to snag a palapa, so there’s no guarantee of beach shade. Two pools and a whirlpool comprise the main pool area, and there's a third freeform pool with a quieter vibe on the other side of a small bridge. Guest will find various restaurants and bars here, including Oceanside Bar & Grill, which serves burgers, salads, and wings, and the more formal Da Vinci Ristorante offers a la carte Italian cuisine for dinner. Sea Breeze Restaurant & Bar overlooks the beach and offers a la carte lunch and dinner, and Coral’s is the hotel's buffet restaurant. Room service is available.
Located in the lobby and opening into the courtyard is Palm Bar, which serves espresso, 20 different brands of rum, and sensational frozen mojitos. Dining packages are available -- some only include breakfast and others are all-inclusive. On-site brick oven pizza from Pizza Now can be delivered to guests wherever they are on the property. Daily happy hours are also offered, but food across the board gets mixed reviews.
Other on-site features include Etnika Spa, with a good range of spa and beauty treatments, a 24-hour fitness center, and theme nights that keep guest entertained each evening. The property has three activity zones, where specific areas are organized by mood (one is called “Chill & Mingle”), and they include everything from tennis to diving and yoga. Excelsior Casino is a one-room gaming spot that can get crowded -- some guests find it too small. Parking and Wi-Fi throughout are both free.
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