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What’s New In Aruba for 2023? 

What’s New In Aruba for 2023? 

Aruba is heading into 2023 with robust tourism plans including new hotel openings and renovations, along with other travel enhancements that will further its pandemic recovery. This follows a successful 2022, with full-year 2022 visitor arrivals having reached 98% of 2019 levels and tourism receipts fully recovered.  

“As we all collectively put the pandemic further into the rearview mirror, Aruba is thrilled to welcome the major developments happening on island, which add to the excitement visitors will feel this year,” said Ronella Croes, CEOof Aruba Tourism Authority. “From major accommodation developments to new airport resources, we are excited to showcase how the One happy island is continuously strengthening visitors resources this year.”

What’s New

  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Aruba Resort: The first hotel to open in Aruba this year, the Embassy Suites by Hilton opens its doors on February 1. Located across from Eagle Beach, the all-suite resort features 330 spacious suites with scenic ocean and island views, each equipped with a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar. Resort amenities include an expansive pool, three dining outlets, meeting space, fitness center, and coming soon, a spa and casino.
  • The Ritz Carlton, Aruba: Aruba’s Ritz Carlton opened the year with the debut of new, island-inspired designs for all guestrooms, suites and corridors. The hotel also introduced new culinary experiences, including a rum-tasting flight at Divi Sushi Bar and Lounge, and the new Madero Pop-Up Bar debuted in the pool area.
  • Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort: This beach resort is currently undergoing major renovations to all studios and suites with an expected completion date sometime in April. The property also recently completed renovations of Passions on the Beach and Horizons Lounge, as well as both the freshwater swimming and kiddie pools.
  • Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort: At the end of 2022, this Renaissance property completed renovations of all its one-bedroom suites.
  • Raddison Blu Aruba: Also completed at the end of last year was the addition of the Senses Fine Dining restaurant to the Raddison Blu Aruba. The venue offers a chef’s table experience as well as an a la carte option. Also new to the property are a new specialty coffee shop and café, The Clover.
  • Aruba Happy One Pass: Aruba will soon be unveiling the Aruba Happy One Pass, which will allow travelers to optimize the airport check-in process and health requirements as part of their arrival on the island. The app will connect directly to the traveler’s Embarkation Disembarkation card to streamline travel to and from Aruba.
  • Global Entry: The Aruba Airport Authority and Customs and Border Patrol unveiled a remote Global Entry Enrollment Center for U.S. citizens in late 2022, allowing U.S. visitors to expedite their departure from Aruba.
  • New Spas: Two new spas recently opened in Aruba. The Now Skin Health & Wellness Studio offers a variety of beauty and skin care services, while Essential Wellness Retreats offers holistic health experiences such as wellness workshops, 1-on-1 wellness consultations and activities like Yoga, Tai Chi and nature hikes.


HOTELS

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort 

Ranked number #1 by Tripadvisor, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is my favorite hotel on the island. The resort offers up the most beach space of any resort with a tourist-free vista of clean white sand. The adults-only hotel has 104 rooms and suites (make sure to book one of the stunning Tara Suites with large balconies directly overlooking Eagle Beach). The Purun spa with outdoor cabana options is a highlight, and the wonderful Elements restaurant and SandBar Lounge are among my favorites on the island.

This is a rare luxury for Aruba, ordinarily full of all-inclusive resorts and pools loaded with children. Service is top-notch (including a flag by your cushioned sunbed to call an attendant), and a concierge service to book all of your activities, including an exclusive sunset catamaran cocktail cruise. I noticed numerous guests celebrating a romantic anniversary or honeymoon, and others who have been returning for years.

Congratulations to the hotels amazing owner Ewald Biemans, for being honored this month at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). He presented solutions that other hotels can adopt in the collective race to stop climate change. The 100% carbon neutral resort is also the only property in Aruba to have received the Travel + Leisure 2021 World’s Best Award.


Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive

In February 2021, the property completed its $5 million renovation, which included new and expanded oceanfront accommodations. The project saw the redesign of all guest rooms, each expanded to include private balconies or patios. 

Dning options include the addition of live cooking restaurants Pelican Terrace and Cunucu Terrace, along with a new smoothie bar called Health Corner. 


Radisson Blu Aruba

Newly opened in April 2021, the 132 suite property on Palm Beach offers two and three bedroom suites as well as the largest rooftop infinity pool on the island.

The hotel has two more outdoor pools, one for families and another for adults, as well as multiple onsite dining options including FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, and Sunset Bistro.


Secrets Baby Beach

The 600-room Secrets Baby Beach Aruba will be situated alongside Baby Beach, a popular white sand-lagoon in the southern part of the island, close to San Nicolas. The new adults-only hotel will boast an architecture that blends with the landscape, offering stunning views of the region. Completion is currently slated for 2023.

DINING


Infini Aruba
 

Located at the Blue Residences on Eagle Beach, this new dining concept from acclaimed Chef Urvin Croes accommodates only 18 people. The creator of some of Aruba’s most highly noted restaurants, Croes launched this chef’s table concept where diners and staff can interact throughout the evening.

The delicious 12-course experience is like going to the theater, with all presentations dramatically lit, as the kitchen plays center stage. The meticulously prepared selections (more like art presentations) are not a cheap dining option for sure, but judging by the enthusiastic applause at the end of the evening, it is well worth it.

With prices at $149 per person, you can add on a wonderfully curated wine pairing for $110 per person or the resident mixologist will pair specialty cocktails to compliment the meal. The menu included an overwhelming selection of small entries, including Curry Lobster, Jerk Chicken, Angus Short Ribs.


The Vue Rooftop

This new rooftop restaurant in the hotel zone offers an expansive menu with signature cocktail options. Many visitors I spoke with loved the new restaurant especially for brunch. Dinner items include everything you could possibly desire from steaks to seafood, and a huge pasta menu.


Bochincha Container Yard

This large open air space features international cuisine in a unique concept made up of 11 different shipping containers converted into kitchens including; Tapas, Sushi, Italian, Mexican, Grill Shack, Cigar shop, wine market and more.


Rum Reef

This extremely popular new restaurant has become an Instagram sensation with its waterfront infinity pool fronting the bar and grill. This is an adults only property and is a great respite from the heat of Baby Beach.

Also consider the popular Flying Fishbone, Madame Janette, Faro Blanco, 2 Fools and a Bull, Quinta del Carmen, Wilhelmina, and Elements.


SPAS


Ritz-Carlton Aruba Spa

The Ritz-Carlton spa continues to impress as one of the most refined options on the island. The talented staff includes my favorite healing therapist Elix, all within a 15,000-sq.-ft. ground floor beachfront location. With 13 treatment rooms, the spa offers a locally themed menu of treatments for healing and relaxation. With Aloe, coffee and other indigenous ingredients, the signature treatments are paired with skincare from ESPA and Eminence. Relaxation lounges include whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms, and a delightful quiet lounge. The spa is also very strict with Covid protocol and everyone is masked.

Also consider the popular Okeanos Spa, Renaissance Marina Hotel, ZoiA Spa, Hyatt Regency, Purun Spa, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

ACTIVITIES 


Jolly Pirates

A tradition for my family is to set sail for a four-hour adventure aboard the 85-foot Jolly Pirates schooner, cruising along the Aruba coastline. We all love snorkeling in the clear turquoise waters while visiting three of the island’s most popular swimming and snorkeling sites.

Co-owner and native New Englander Carla Cavallaro has maintained one of the best activities on the island that is always a lot of fun for adults and kids. The crew of the Jolly Pirates is the true highlight here; they are an energetic bunch full of humor, making sure every guest is entertained. One crew member hoists guests on his shoulders and does flips off the rope swing, much to the amusement of the rest of the ship.

The ship takes you to three of the most popular sites including the shallow reef near Malmok Beach and to the protected and quiet Boca Catalina cove for colorful fish and sea turtles. We also went snorkeling over a 400-foot WWII Antilla shipwreck and then celebrated our adventure with a BBQ lunch and an unlimited open bar. But the highlight of the trip as always is when we jumped off the ship using the rope swing, all taking place in a quiet cove. This is the perfect adventure for all ages and at affordable prices from $66 per person for the morning Sail, Snorkel, Swim and Swing package.


The Butterfly Farm

Within a large meshed enclosure, you can see hundreds of real exotic butterflies flying freely, a beautiful display of the most spectacular species from all over the world. Tony and Lori Cox opened the first Butterfly Farm in Saint Martin (since closed due to hurricanes), then Aruba in 1999, and have kept this marvelous family attraction thriving.

Located in the hotel zone near Palm Beach, visitors are encouraged to take a 20-minute guided tour, which is offered all day, to learn about the evolutionary cycle of butterflies. My family always loves this farm as we have so many stunning butterflies showing us love while also allowing us to get a close-up educational experience. Make sure to visit in the morning when the heat and humidity is not as oppressive and the butterflies are most active. This is the best time also to witness butterflies emerging from their chrysalis.


Flamingo Beach at Renaissance Private Island

The ultimate Instagram selfie experience, Flamingo beach is located on a small private island, which is part of the Renaissance Hotel in Aruba. The island is not open to the public and the only way to get there is by a quick boat trip arranged by the hotel. If you stay at the hotel, you can visit the beach as much as you want for free. If you buy a day pass, the price is steep at $125 per person and includes lunch and a drink. Best time to visit is early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

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