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Our Radisson Aruba Trip Report June 2011

Radisson Aruba Food, Beverage & Service

Overall, the staff and service were superior to any resort we have stayed at in our 20 visits to the island. There was a very noticeable improvement in service especially in the restaurants. Gone was service on "island time." Another sign of a quality resort was service on the beach and poolside for beverages, lunch and snacks. We had experienced this during our last stay at the Radisson, however this time if was much more attentive.

We enjoyed all of our meals at the Radisson whether our buffet breakfasts or dinners at the casual Laguna Restaurant as well as our beachside lunches at the Radisson's Gilligan’s Restaurant and Castaways Bar. Also to their credit, astonishingly, the kind ladies at Laguna Restaurant recognized our dd from her first visit to Aruba and the Radisson in 2006. Due to our budget, though we had stayed elsewhere in the past few years, I still find it remarkable that the staff remembered and doted on her.

The breakfast buffet at Laguna was included in our package and there was a choice of outdoor or indoor dining. Breakfast was always delicious and never lacking in any aspect. Fresh fruit choices alone consisted of fresh fruit, papaya, mango, cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon, pineapple and whole bananas, apples and some days even plums or pears. There were eggs cooked to order, including omelets, sausage, bacon, potatoes, assorted cold cuts, lox and hot and cold cereals. There were waffles on request, pancakes and French toast including brown sugar, syrup, fruit in syrup and other goodies for toppings. As well there were two additional hot dishes rotated daily throughout the week. Our family favorite was the local Pastechi. There was a variety of Danish, along with croissants, muffins and breads, and in addition, the usual English muffins and bagels. We were always offered one of a wide variety of juices when we were seated, and you were also left with a pot of coffee or tea.

Lunch at the Radisson is very convenient dining beachside at Gilligan’s Restaurant. It was a very easy routine that dh and I settled into. Whether it was at the bar, restaurant or toward the end of our vacation in our ongoing laziness, delivered on the beach to our chaise lounges, the lunch menu offered various choices and everything we sampled was tasty. The few times dd joined us for lunch two items were always enough to share between the three of us.

Dh loved the nacho platter; it reminded him of "real" nachos like they serve in “Jersey.” He was shocked when they were served to him the first time and then he was even more surprised when he realized he had cleared off the entire platter all by himself! That same day we were eating lunch at the bar and I ordered the “Shrimp Boat” because I saw someone else eating it and it looked so good. Oh my goodness, I love shrimp cocktail and I was hungry but very thankful when dd came along and helped me or I would have never finished it. It was an unfathomable amount of “peel and eat” shrimp with, REAL lemons. In all of our years of travel to Aruba, I never recall seeing real lemons anywhere with limes instead usually being substituted.

The Radisson's restaurants offer a variety of dining spots. For dinner there is the upscale Sunset Grille, casual Gilligan’s Beach Grill as well as Laguna Restaurant’s themed buffets three nights per week or intimate beach dining by torchlight.

Though we love to frequent some of the $100 and up per couple "fine dining" restaurants in Aruba our family was happy with the buffet at the Radisson’s Laguna Restaurant. It was such a good value at $23.95 per person plus 15% service charge (note the price has recently increased to $30 inclusive) we ate there twice. With our beverage credit included with our package through booking with MCM Tours, we were also able to enjoy wine with our dinner without running up an expensive tab. The beverages were added to our check that evening but deducted as a credit at check out. I wrote more details about our dinners at Laguna here and here.

If you wish to eat off property, there is any number of restaurants within walking distance. If anything, the worst thing I can say that is not a criticism of the hotel, is that it would be very easy to never leave the Palm beach area to see the rest of the island. A couple or family could easily spend a week walking the Palm beach area sampling the restaurants and stores, however remember Aruba is much much more.

The Radisson offers a daily happy hour with live entertainment and two for one drinks between 4 pm and 7 pm. Our dd quickly became enamored with "Milky Ways" ... Oreo Cookies, Vanilla Syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream, minus the Vodka and Crème de Cocoa, but still topped off with not one, but two Oreo cookies. In my mind the Radisson still serves one of the finest pina coladas on the island. At $12 a glass for fine wine and Amstel Brights at $5 each (no buy one get one at happy hour on those), alcohol at the Radisson is not for the faint of heart. If you are soda drinkers, you can easily get buy with stocking the complimentary, in room mini-fridge with soda purchased from the local grocery story as well as taking advantage of the 2 for 1 happy hour.

Each Tuesday during happy hour there is a manager's cocktail party with complimentary rum punch, wine, beer, soda and snacks. It was fun to see the names matched up with the faces of the managers and though we did not win anything, there were numerous gifts given away in a free raffle including two free nights for your next stay.


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