Now that I’m a family man, we’ve been gravitating towards the Caribbean more and more. Shorter flights, nice beaches, and less hassle overall. Last year we visited Turks and Caicos, so we wanted to try a new island this year.
We settled on Aruba partially because of our magically attained Hyatt Diamond status. I really wanted to see what a diamond suite upgrade could get us at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. We also spent two nights in a standard room using award nights from the Hyatt Card. Here are my impressions of the hotel.
While it was a bit tight for the four of us, we really enjoyed the standard room. Our view was whatever but what was really helpful was the ability to push the two beds together. While we did have a crib, it ended up just being easier having the four of us in bed. Two beds together gave us a LOT of space.
Other than that the room was pretty standard. The bathtub was great and perfect for bathing the kids. What stood out the most was when I asked them to clear out the minibar they sent up a separate mini fridge instead! Definitely one of the best amenities I’ve ever received at a hotel. I have to think that is because we were diamond but I don’t know that for sure.
One piece of evidence that it wasn’t because we were diamond was that a very helpful hotel worker named Jose (who was great throughout the entire trip) suggested we get one when he saw us entering our room. He didn’t know we already had one so maybe it’s just something they do there.
Bottom line – the standard room is nice enough that I would definitely go back. Yes, it’s a little small for four, but there still is enough space to make it work. The family suite, though, is even better.
While the standard room was adequate, the family suite was amazing. Our last four nights were booked on points and cash which made us eligible to use a diamond suite upgrade. The extra space made a huge difference since we could use the living room after the kids went to bed (instead of going to sleep at 9 PM with them!). There was plenty of space for the crib and in the family suite it was much easier to get our son to sleep in there because we weren’t five feet away.
There is a queen sized bed and also a sofa bed, so the room would definitely be comfortable even if you had bigger kids. There is a nice hallway where you can leave all your shoes and beach stuff, and we even had a nice view of the pool (albeit through a tiny window).
I’d say the biggest drawback of the family suite for a family with young kids is there was no bathtub. Showering kids can be tough and sometimes a little dangerous, but we made do. All in all we definitely preferred the suite, as you would expect!
Regency Club Lounge
The club lounge at the Hyatt Regency Aruba isn’t fancy, but it makes up for that with incredibly friendly and accommodating staff. Breakfast in the lounge was a decent spread, there were cold cuts, bread, bagels, and the like along with two hot items (usually oatmeal and something else).
The evening cocktail hour featured a decent salad and veggie spread along with another two hot items. Just due to scheduling and overall exhaustion we actually skipped dinner two nights – the food at the lounge was enough to sustain us so that saved us quite a bit of money.
Unlike other Hyatt lounges I’ve been to, the lounge never seemed overly crowded even at breakfast. The staff was amazing. They were always attentive and helpful and probably the highlight of the hotel (not just in the lounge). Also, for parents, the lounge has milk boxes (organic!) for kids, just ask the staff. Those same milk boxes go for like $4 in the hotel store so it’s a big deal!
Pool and Beach
The Hyatt Regency Aruba has three different pools though they are connected in various areas. It’s great having a variety so things never feel old. Though nothing is zoned off, there are parts of the pool that feel more adult oriented (like the swim up bar) and kid oriented (like the super shallow “baby pool”).
There is also a pretty awesome looking water slide that I’d say is great for all ages (if you’re tall enough).
The beach in Aruba isn’t as picturesque as Turks and Caicos but it’s still pretty great. Beach chairs are free but if you want a palapa (kind of permanent hut/umbrella thingies) you need to get there early or use the convenient online sign up system. Basically at 4 PM every day the system opens up and you can reserve palapas or pool umbrellas for the next day.
We never had a problem logging in at 4 PM and finding one, though we also found if we made our way to the beach at like 8 AM there would be some good choices for palapas (not all palapas are on the online system as some are reserved for walk ups). My wife observed that there were much longer lines for beach palapas in the morning at other resorts – maybe they don’t have an online system?
Anyway we had a beach in the morning/pool in the afternoon schedule that worked quite well most days.
Like any beach or island hotel, food was overpriced but decent. Since there are so many resorts in a row we mainly wandered around looking for meals though we took lunch at the pool restaurant and at our beach palapa a few times. Don’t expect anything amazing, healthy, or inexpensive and you will be fine. Neither the cost nor the quality was at a level that made us NOT want to eat at the hotel, if that makes sense. It’s just food.
Alas, I did not find a way to make it inside, but it looked clean and fun from the outside. I decided if I went in it was a black hole that I might never escape, so self control prevailed.
We really loved this hotel and thought it seemed the nicest of all the hotels on Aruba’s main drag. The most mediocre part was the food, which was passable, but the pool, beach, and room were good. The staff was definitely top notch and this hotel would be at the top of our list if we ever were to return to Aruba!