It’s summer all year ’round on the little Caribbean island of Aruba. The moment you exit the arrival hall a sultry warm island breeze welcomes you. I like it hot, hence me partly living in Algarve. Not to be out in the sun much, you’ll find me where the shade is, but a constant temperature of about 30 ºC combined with bright daylight makes me really, really happy. The island is mine for a week, invited by the Aruban Tourism Authority to go with the luxury island flow. I can do that, let’s go.
Sleep at Renaissance Aruba Resort
My home base for the first part of the trip is Renaissance Resort. This large complex consists of two hotels, the adult exclusive Marina Tower – where I stayed – is located in the center of the island’s capital Oranjestad and incorporated within the high-end luxury Renaissance Mall. Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are just one step away from breakfast buffet. That’s shopping made efficient.
The other part, Ocean Suites, is located opposite the main road and situated along the Renaissance beach. Dedicated to families and couples, this area is more quiet and has beach access. What all the rooms and suites have in common is kingsize beds, crisp soft Egyptian cotton bed linen, soft bathrobes and high-speed internet. And, a major perk, they both have the boat service to the exclusive Renaissance Private Island. Scroll down for flamingo’s and more.
Breakfast at Arikok National Park
After a good night sleep, easy after a 10 hours flight from Amsterdam, we headed for the north side of the island for breakfast in the Arikok National Park. The nature side of Aruba. This national park comprises almost 20% of the island and has a totally different landscape. Rugged terrain, desert-like hills, dark sand filled with tall cacti and breathtaking views. Rough sums it up.
Our stunningly decorated – by House of Mosaic – breakfast table was set among tall cacti with names as candlestick, bowl cactus, snake cactus and pipe organ cactus. I know this because ranger mr. Julio Beaujon joined our table and elaborated about his beloved park. Perfect for hiking, there’s even a special full moon hike.
Breakfast was prepared and served from the half-open adjacent Adobe house, made of dead cactus ‘leaves’. Loved the local fruits like tamarind. Sticky, sweet and extremely healthy. Rich in vitamin B, D and C. Start with peeling the top first to avoid sticky fingers.
After breakfast we enjoyed a private island jeep tour with Around Aruba Tours. Be ready for a bumpy ride (don’t sit in the back) but worth it due to stunning sea views, natural bridges, black stone beaches and the Ayo rock formation.
Lunch at Ocean Z Boutique Hotel
Nature makes hungry, we all know that, and did we go from one extreme into another after the jeep tour. An exclusive healthy organic (thank you so much, Nuts Nuts! Health ís the new luxury) awaited us at Ocean Z Boutique hotel. A new, small luxury hotel with only 13 rooms built around a chic modern pool located opposite the road from Malmok beach.
Think Bvlgari amenities, Murano glass decorations, showers with ocean view and all the luxury one can wish for. Initially ment to be the new beach house of elegant owner Eva Zissu, until she changed her mind and used her global luxury travel experiences to built this chic hidden gem. We enjoyed an afternoon by the private pool, this definitely qualifies for luxury laid back island flow. Open for guests from July, 15 2016.
Dinner at Windows on Aruba
Dinner at the clubhouse. Not your ordinary clubhouse but fine dining restaurant Windows on Aruba at Divi golf links resort. One of the two golf courses on the island, Divi has a 9 hole course (have to come back for that one) and Tierra del Sol plays 18 holes.
Divi Divi is a household name on Aruba. Apart from the wind-shaped stunning trees you see everywhere, the Divi Resort group also owns 5 hotels and 4 spa’s on the island so the name keeps coming back.
Chef Matt Boland and his team presented us with a farm-to-table and dock-to-dish culinary trip which was cooked to perfection and artfully presented. Since I do not eat meat, call me a pescetarian, they prepared a matching veggie menu. Loved every bite, with my all-time favourite Tuna Tataki as benchmark dish. The taste of the softest tuna with the wakame salad was pure perfection! Oh, and who says no to Veuve-Clicquot?
Breakfast on the beach
Next morning we had breakfast on the beach – feet in the sand! – at the Ocean Suites part of Renaissance Resort. Serene were the surrounding sounds – waves rolling in, birds chit chatting around and the continuous sea breeze, they account for the true image of Aruba for me. And a made-to-order outdoor egg station also helps.
An omelet with broccoli, goat cheese, mushrooms and tomato is a perfect start for a hard days work of relaxing on Renaissance Private Island beach. Let’s board the water taxi and head for a flamingo swim.
Aruba’s private flamingo beach
The Private Island is only accesible by hotel boat – don’t forget your room keycard – and exclusively reserved for Renaissance Resort guests. The boat leaves from inside the Marina Tower, just in front of Starbucks where the waterway starts. From there it stops at the pier next to the Ocean Suites to pick up guests and then heads straight for the Private Island. It takes about 10 minutes.
The Private Island is divided in two beaches, left for families and children ànd iguanas, the right beach is again adult only.
And flamingos, caribbean beach pets. They are used to being photographed and really form a picture perfect contrast with the deepblue crystal clear sea. And they know it. The flamingo beach is quiet and relaxed, sunbeds and towels are free to use.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the private spa cove which is located between the two beaches, along the mangrove bushes. Overlooking the ocean from a hammock with a fresh mango smoothie close at hand strongly resembles island bliss.
This Spa Cove has two hammocks, outdoor shower and a private wading area. Two massage beds along the ocean form a perfect setting for a relaxing couples treatment. Oh, if you need food or drinks just raise a flag. Privacy, please.
There is only so much luxury to share in one post. Stay tuned, Aruba part two will be up next week…
More Aruba: The Ultimate Luxury Aruba Guide part two Life and Style after Fifty Portrait of Eva Zissu Luxe and Links golf at Tierra del Sol Resort
This stay was an international journalists trip organised by Aruba Tourism Authority. I was there by invitation on behalf of Chapter Fifty and L’Officiel NL and did not pay for any of the above-mentioned activities. Words, photos and opinions are my own.