If you’re heading to the Caribbean island of Aruba, you’re likely wanting to spend some time lounging by the ocean or doing water activities like snorkeling or kayaking. Many hotels are ideally situated along the water, great for easy access to the beach and gorgeous views from guest room balconies. Oyster visited the island’s top hotels to evaluate how every feature stacks up against the competition, from the rooms to the pools to the restaurants. So if you’re planning a getaway and need a place to start, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our top beach hotel picks in Aruba, and get inspired!
Perhaps the highlight of the entire resort is Druif Beach, a long, oval-shaped stretch of white sand that is free of debris and sharp objects. Not only is the area safe -- the beach is home to many Low-Rise resorts -- but the views face directly west for outstanding sunsets. The beach is cleaned daily, and because of the great expanse, it is impossible to feel crowded. The shore has lapping turquoise waves resembling a postcard -- great for swimming and long barefoot strolls in either direction. In fact, guests can walk all the way to Eagle Beach and beyond. All beaches in Aruba are public so there are no off-limits areas to worry about.
The Bucuti is a romantic, adults-only resort taking up a prime stretch of Eagle Beach in the Low-Rise hotel district. This intimate, 104-room property has 14 acres of beach, and the main activity here involves lingering on the sand under shaded palapas; there's also a chic infinity edge pool. The hotel has been open for 25 years, and the original owner can often be seen socializing during check-in while guests enjoy a free glass of champagne. Rooms have stylish furnishings and modern amenities such as iPod docks, laptop tablets, and free Wi-Fi. A free breakfast buffet is served daily, and there is a restaurant for lunch and dinner, though plenty more restaurants are within walking distance. The resort sees a high percentage of repeat visitors, so book early.
Playa Linda Beach Resort is a 214-room time-share property located directly off the sands of Palm Beach. Most of the clean rooms have an apartment-style design with full kitchenettes, separate living rooms, and private outdoor space, making it well-suited for longer stays. Plus, the resort’s two-bedroom units, waterfall family pool, and kids' club are big draws for anyone traveling with the kids in tow. There are also a few hot tubs, an Asian-themed spa, and plenty of places to grab a drink on-site, as well as a plethora of restaurants, shops, and entertainment located in the hotel's plaza and along the buzzing main drag out front.
One of three beachside Marriott resorts side-by-side, the safe, family-oriented Surf Club has clean, comfortable rooms, an excellent gym, a huge waterslide, a teen lounge with Nintendo Wii video games, and the winding "Lazy River" pool (possibly the best pool in Aruba). The beach in back of the hotel begins where the pool ends, and has soft sand, clear water, and plenty of shade.
Gorgeous pools, a reliable kids club, and a soft-sand beach in a modern hotel near the High-Rise shopping/dining/drinking complex -- the Hyatt is virtually flawless, even if it does lack local charm. Rooms are clean and modern, and have flat-screen TVs, excellent beds, and iPod docks -- they're among the best in Aruba, excusing the tiny balconies.
Primarily a time-share hotel, the Costa Linda draws the same families two to three times each year. Newbie travelers are likely to stick out, but devotees of surf and sand won't care -- the hotel has one of the most spectacular and quiet beaches in Aruba. Plus, all guestrooms were renovated in 2012. Though there's a stellar restaurant on site, Aruba's hot spots are a cab ride away.
With 240 suites surrounding a large pool complex, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort is Divi's only tower property, just 11 minutes from the capital of Oranjestad. It's located on Palm Beach (not quite as wide as Druif Beach, where its sister properties are located), and guests will have easy access to the High-Rise district's restaurants, casinos and nightlife. Suites come in a range of sizes (studio, one, two, or three bedroom), and have fully equipped kitchens, flat-screen TVs, DVD players and balconies -- all with ocean views. The newer Beach Tower offers upgraded amenities such as stainless steel appliances and washer/dryer combos. The numerous features -- including two popular beachside restaurants, tennis courts, a modern fitness center, ballroom, and spa -- make this resort feel much bigger than it actually is.
Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive is one of five Divi properties on the island. This family-friendly, 236-room resort is situated close to the shore along Druif Beach, dotted with straw beach huts for shade. Though beach space in front of the long row of two-story buildings is tight, there's a broader stretch of sand a short walk north, in front of the slightly more romantic sister resort, Divi Aruba. The all-inclusive bracelet worn by guests allows for unlimited meals and drinks at both Tamarijn Aruba and Divi Aruba (nine dining options and seven bars, total) as well as nightly music and entertainment, water activities, a kids' club, tennis courts and a rock-climbing wall. All rooms come with ocean views, balconies, duvets, mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms have been updated, though the property as a whole does show some wear and tear.