The Top Hotels in Aruba
Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, Arikok National Park—Aruba isn’t dubbed One Happy Island for nothing. With white sands and clear waters, the west coast has a hotel for every traveler, including supersize resorts and boutique offerings. Here are the best.
L.G. Smith Boulevard # 101, Noord, Aruba
Superlatives reign at this massive Palm Beach resort. Among the outsize offerings? The biggest casino in Aruba, with more than 500 slot machines and 26 gaming tables, as well as the island’s largest spa. Its 414 accommodations aren’t lacking for space either: Each room has a walk-in closet, double-sink bathroom, and private balcony; the highest-end suites are so palatial their balconies alone measure up to a sprawling 500 square feet—with ocean views to sweeten the deal. When you’re not playing roulette or indulging in a moisturizing coconut-milk wrap, kick back in one of the beachside palapas, or practice your breaststroke in the free-form pool, complete with cascading waterfalls and a volleyball net (a serene adults-only pool features a swim-up bar if that’s more your speed). In keeping with the more-is-more theme, guests are spoiled for choice with seven on-site restaurants, bars, and cafés, including a Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where the 500-degree plates ensure another best—the hottest meal in town.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 266, Noord, Aruba
Situated in three high-rise towers on the Golden Mile along Eagle Beach, the Blue Aruba complex is home to luxury condominiums as well as a full-service resort. Expect enormous windows with stunning ocean views and modern furnishings in apartment-style configurations that top out at more than 2,000 square feet; most come with fully equipped kitchens, and ground-floor residences have private patios and Jacuzzis. All the resort touches are here, including private beach facilities, two infinity pools, a spa and fitness center, and even a high-end restaurant that offers eight-course dinners. But golf lovers have an excellent reason to venture off-resort: The nearby Tierra del Sol Resort combines tee times on an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II with sublime seaside panoramas.
Bakval 20, Noord, Aruba
Aruba’s Palm Beach is known for its powdery white sand, tranquil blue waters—and sprawling full-service luxury resorts. Just steps away, the intimate Boardwalk Small Hotel is a laid-back alternative. Owned and operated by Belgian twin sisters Stephanie and Kimberly Rooijakkers, who were born on the island and spent their childhoods here, 14 casitas are scattered on the grounds of a former coconut plantation and individually decorated: studio, one-, and two-bedroom spaces are outfitted with bright pinks, yellows, and aquas, fully equipped kitchens, air-conditioning, and private patios with their own charcoal barbecues and hammocks. Breakfast offerings range from the local (think tropical fruit and house-made arepas) to the luxe (bottles of champagne), and can be delivered to your casita or beachside palapa, but with no restaurant on site lunch and dinner is up to you.
L.G. Smith Blvd 55B, Oranjestad, Aruba
It’s easy to see why Eagle Beach is touted as one of the world’s best shorelines. Studded with iconic fofoti trees and backed by sparkling waters, the powderlike sand hosts sunworshippers and, a few months out of the year, the highest concentration of nesting turtles on the island. The eco-pioneering Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is especially mindful of its unique setting, supporting local wildlife initiatives and ensuring it has the lowest electricity usage (per occupied room) of any hotel in Aruba. A focus on health pervades the property, which has its own certified wellness specialist; yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes; a restaurant that sources organic produce; and air dehumidifiers and purifiers in each of its 104 rooms. Yet guests can still expect traditional island-style pampering: romantic offerings include beachside dining in a private, candlelit cabana under the rustle of swaying palm fronds. The resort is adults-only.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 75, Noord, Aruba
Families will find lots to love at this 241-room high-rise property on Palm Beach. Children under 12 stay and eat for free, and the Treasures of the Caribbean kids’ club—complimentary to guests—organizes supervised scavenger hunts and sand castle–building competitions by day and film screenings, complete with popcorn and Shirley Temples, in the evenings. There’s also loads of space for the whole gang to spread out: Even the lowest-tier studio suites are amply sized, featuring a full kitchen, a dining table, and a private deck or balcony. But Divi also offers plenty to keep adults occupied while the little ones play, including two pools (with a swim-up bar and cabanas), a full-service spa, and two beachside restaurants with tables situated just steps from the water’s edge.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 81, Noord, Aruba
This Palm Beach resort lets type A vacationers make the most of every minute of their trip. For adults, the jam-packed roster of activities ranges from cardio kickboxing and archery to salsa workshops and lessons on how to make your own aloe scrub. Another grown-up perk: every 50-minute spa treatment and dinner for two comes with complimentary child care. Meanwhile, the ShocoLand kids club keeps tykes busy during the day with water-balloon races and seashell painting. Have a little down time? The 355 rooms were renovated in late 2016, and now have an airy, modern feel; each also has its own private balcony or patio ideal for enjoying island breezes. For those happy to while away the hours near the water, chaise longues surround two palm-fringed pools, and plenty of beachside palapas sit just steps from the sea.
Juan E, J.E. Irausquin Blvd #85, Noord, Aruba
You won’t find a better pool than the one that awaits at this 357-room family-friendly resort situated on the powdery sands of Palm Beach. With cascading waterfalls, a swim-up bar and grill, two outdoor Jacuzzis, and a two-story waterslide, the 8,000-square-foot stunner is every kid’s dream. If more adult-centric diversions are on your wish list, the concierge can arrange catamaran-sailing excursions, deep-sea fishing trips, and snorkeling and scuba-diving expeditions off nearby shores, as well as spa treatments that utilize local ingredients like red mud, seaweed, and aloe vera. The resort’s 10 dining options provide plenty of atmosphere for winding down after a jam-packed day: sample seafood specialties like scallops a la plancha in a setting inspired by the island’s plantation ruins, or watch the sun set over the water, rum punch in hand, from your perfect perch at the pier bar.
L.G. Smith Boulevard 526 Malmok, Noord, Aruba
Conceived by Venezuelan architect Óscar Enrique Bracho Malpica, this Malmok Beach beauty stands out from the pastel pack with its modernist aesthetic: think wall-to-wall windows and pitched roofs, as well as gauzy curtains and minimalist furnishings in a palette of creamy whites and beiges (don’t miss Philippe Starck’s Kong chairs in the lounge). The 13 rooms and suites come in a range of impressive configurations: Two have their own infinity pools equipped with hydrotherapy jets, two have sprawling 1,076-square-foot solariums, and most have spacious outdoor showers that open onto private wooden decks; all bathrooms come with rain showerheads and a range of luxe SPA Bulgari toiletries. In keeping with the contemporary feel, a wealth of high-tech amenities make the modern traveler feel right at home, including 48-inch flat-screen LCD smart TVs, Bose alarm clocks with Bluetooth capability, and Buscaglione espresso machines.
L.G. Smith Blvd 82, Oranjestad, Aruba
Upon your arrival at this 556-room resort, you might be disappointed to find a small pool instead of sandy palapas overlooking the sea. But the Renaissance makes up for its location on a busy thoroughfare in the capital city of Oranjestad with its own private island, a 40-acre oasis dotted with pink flamingos and iguanas. After an eight-minute water-taxi ride, you can choose between two distinct beaches—one adults-only, the other designated for families—plus an array of vacation-friendly amenities. A beachside bar and grill serves up burgers and wood-fired pizzas; an open-air spa offers Swedish and cold stone massages, as well as reflexology; and an extensive water-sports program includes activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and ocean kayaking. If that’s not enough to tire you out for the evening, a steak house and casino await back at the main resort.
L.G. Smith Blvd #107, Noord, Aruba
Travelers hoping to find the lap of luxury need look no further than the Ritz-Carlton. Backed by the aquamarine waters of Palm Beach, the resort’s 320 rooms are generously sized, with cheery turquoise-and-yellow color schemes and balconies overlooking the ocean. Leisure pursuits can be as easy as a daytime doze in a poolside cabana or as strenuous as a catamaran sailing trip complete with diving lesson. Need a break from all that sun? Indoor facilities include a spa that specializes in island-inspired treatments (think full-body massages with local aloe and divi-divi tree oil) and a state-of-the-art gym that’s open 24 hours so guests can sneak in early-morning workouts. Before you roll your eyes, consider the four on-site restaurants (BLT Steak, from noted chef Laurent Tourondel, is a favorite). For an even more memorable experience, staff can arrange a private sunset dinner on the beach to the tune of a serenading violinist.