Friday, January 4, 2008

Christmas & New Years at the Tamarijn

Aruba Bound
Our family of 10 had a wonderful Christmas and New Years at the Tamarijn Aruba topped off by a beautiful fireworks display accompanied by champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve on the beach between the Divi and Tamarijn. Christmas decorations at the Tamarijn and Divi were gorgeous. I feel very very fortunate to have finally experienced an Aruban Christmas.

If you have read a sufficient amount of reviews on the internet, you will have an excellent idea of what to expect from this resort. It is NOT a 5 star resort, but we have stayed at the Radisson and Hyatt on Palm Beach and found a much more relaxed atmosphere at the Tamarijn.

This was the first land vacation in Aruba for my brother. He said given the choice of staying at the Riu Palace All Inclusive Resort on Palm Beach or staying at the Tamarijn, he would choose the Tam hands down for simple fact that the tremendous amount of people all along Palm Beach. Add to the crowds, the huge amount of watersports activities and it was a real big turnoff to him.

Dh and I believe there are many "trade offs" for staying along Palm Beach at some of the more "upscale" hotels and staying at a resort such as the Tamarijn. For us, the biggest bonus of the Tamarijn was the ability to walk directly out of your room right out on to the beach. As much as we love the Radisson we cannot do that there.

There are many negative comments about the rooms at the Tamarijn. We had booked our trip through MCM Tours and they had requested, though could not guarantee, that our 4 rooms be near one another. Our room in the 1300 building was more than adequate in size for 3 people, but then again, the only time we spent in our room was to shower and sleep. The beach outside our room was our living room for the 12 nights of our holiday vacation. Our TV was never turned on. The ocean outside our door was our entertainment. The baths may be outdated, but clean and again, for our needs, not an important factor for this vacation.

We love to frequent some of those $150 - $200 per couple "fine dining" restaurants in Aruba such as the Sunset Grille and found all of the food outlets at the Divi and Tamarijn, whether ala carte for dinner or breakfast and lunch buffets, to be delicious. From made to order omelets at breakfast and even seafood selections at lunch such as scallops in wine sauce and paella, we could find nothing to complain about. Snacks and sandwiches at the Pizza bar were also excellent. Made to order pizzas were our favorite, with a choice of thick or thin crust!

Service was typical "Aruban or island time". No worse than any other place where we have eaten. If you are looking to sit down, eat and run, then the buffet will be the choice for you. If you are able to sit and enjoy the atmosphere and the company of who you are with, you will be more than pleased with the service and staff at both the Divi and Tamarijn.

I took over 3000 photos so will take some time to go through them all.

Even considering it is rainy season, we did experience more rain than we expected. Fortunately most, if not all of it occurred over night, or during the mornings. We did not have a single day in which we were "rained out" and there was always sun in the afternoon.

Of course, the best weather of the trip was yesterday with crisp blue skies and light winds.

Countdown now to June with a more comprehensive review to follow in the next week or two.

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