Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive by Marsha, July 2002
I just returned from the Tamarijn late last night. The trip was wonderful and we can't wait to go back. I can't believe I was ever worried that it wouldn't be great. The people who said this place was "a dump" must have gone somewhere else. I have been to many islands and many resorts and this was overall my best vacation. I'll cover some of the main points. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.
Flight: We flew direct (both ways) on American Airlines from JFK. The flights were uneventful. Going down the plane was empty and we had plenty of room to spread out, but it was crowded on the way back. Airport security went smoothly. Two hours before was plenty of time in both directions. On the plane we had a meal, a movie and TV shows, so it went pretty quickly.
Transfers: I followed the advice on the board and took a cab to the hotel instead of the DePalm bus. It wasn't necessary. The Tam is the first stop on the bus, so anyone who took the bus got there at the same time as us. I would, however, recommend taking a cab on the way back to the airport. DePalm insists on picking you up 3-1/4 hours before the flight which is totally ridiculous.
The Tam: The Tamarijn is a very clean, very attractive hotel on the most incredible beach I've ever seen. The rooms are not fancy, but I would trade a fancy room any day for opening my sliding doors onto the beach. No waiting for elevators, no long lobby's. It is a place where everything you need is available an everyone makes an effort to learn your name. We went by the Hi Rise area and while those hotels may have been nicer, it looked like Miami with the hotels and the people piled on top of each other. I know a lot of people like that, but I'm not one of them.
Room: We requested the 1900 block and were given 1913. It is true that this is the best section of beach, but I don't think I would do it again. The truth is that we didn't spend that much time at the beach in front of our room and it was a long walk to everything. Next time I think I would stay in 1700 or 1800 and be closer to everything. The room itself was simple, but clean and adequate.
Tam/Divi Difference: It was exactly as explained to me by reservations -- the Tam is a great place for families and teens and the Divi is full of honeymooners. While the Divi looked a little nicer, I was traveling with my 17 year old daughter and very glad I picked the Tam. She made a lot of friends and I had a great time too. It wouldn't have been fun for either of us to be swarmed by honeymooners.
Restaurants: We went to Aruba with the intention of eating out at one of the outside restaurants at least once. We never did because we liked the choices there too much. Both the Paparazzi and the Red Parrot were really good and we wanted to go back to them. The Palm Court was good, but it was more grilled "meat and potatoes" and that wasn't something we really enjoy. The Paparazzi was especially terrific for the atmosphere. There were little alcoves for couples and an accordion player playing Italian love songs! We met people from other resorts who came there and even a few locals who said they eat there often.
Breakfasts and lunches were buffets with a nice assortment. If there was ever something we didn't like or we were hungry late afternoon, the snack bar had a great (and tasty) selection of pizza and sandwiches. We never had the dinner buffet. I like to get dressed up and be served for the evening. We did venture out one evening after dinner for dessert at Le Dome. I was told by a friend that this was a must and I'm glad we did. The desserts (a choice of about 40!) were incredible.
Evenings: The entertainment at the Tam was very interesting. We enjoyed the Synchronized Swimming and Carnival shows. I also spent each night at the Alhambra Casino. I played "Let It Ride" and won all but one night.
Sightseeing: We took the DePalm Discover Aruba tour and it was incredible. It covers all of the island and I highly recommend it. My daughter went horseback riding to the Natural Pool and the beach.
Timeshare: We checked out the Divi timeshare and received the horseback riding free. It only took an hour. I actually thought the timeshare was a pretty good deal, but I only go to all-inclusive. I don't want to drive a car, see a kitchen or go to a supermarket on my Caribbean vacations!
I think I've covered it all. We can't wait to get back.
P.S. Don't forget the sunblock. I poured on 30 every hour and still burnt.