Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive Beach Update June 2009

Aruba Bound
Having found them to have the best pricing, we have now used MCM Tours for over ten years when booking our Aruba travel. Knowing, for our original all inclusive visit to Aruba, that we needed a spot which was affordable for a family of ten, it was they who originally suggested the Tamarijn because of the quality of the food, value and oceanfront rooms. MCM Tours has always provided us with the best customer service and are quick to respond to our questions. All around they are a pleasure to work with.

What can I say about the Tamarijn that I have not said before? For the money, this is one of the best values on the island. Certainly for us, having a 13 yo who loves to eat, and kids 17 yo and under staying and eating free at the Tamarijn, this works out to be the best for us. Our daughter can eat pizza and ice cream to her heart’s content while washing it down with unlimited frozen concoctions and sodas. Staying in room 1313, two times out of three, some of the members of the staff have come to call our dd, “Lucky”. ?

The rooms are by no means luxurious, the bathrooms need a facelift. To their credit, the Tamarijn in the past year have added new soft furnishings to the rooms as well as new flat panel televisions. There have been other people who have complained that the rooms are too small. This has never been a problem with us, once you have sailed on a cruise and spent seven nights or more in a cruise ship cabin, you never give it a second thought. I know members of the family and certain friends, who would not be happy with the resort and I would never recommend it to them because of that.

However, having said that, we are also not paying Radisson, Marriott or Hyatt prices. The only time we spend in the room is sleeping from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and odd bathroom stops and showers. In Aruba, at the Tamarijn, our patio and the beach in front of our room are our living room.

Check in at the Tamarijn was smooth. While waiting for dh to fill out the paperwork Igmar from the activities staff spotted us and came over to say hello with hugs and kisses. He has worked there since we have been going to the Tamarijn and we know why. He is great at what he does and genuinely cares about his guests. Lo and behold we were assigned room 1313. We had stayed in this room on our first stay at the Tamarijn and loved it for its location. This time the beach in front of our room was in the best condition that it had been in all three of our stays. One of our loves of Aruba is the beach and this was just perfect. Our family had waited a year, but we were in our paradise of Aruba.

For anyone who has been to the Tamarijn before and was saddened to see the erosion of the beach over the past years, the beach was looking the best since our first visit in December of 2007. I hope for everyone’s sake that Mother Nature is cooperative and leaves the sand on the beach for some time to come. The sand on the beach makes a great resort even better!

On the upside, the Tamarijn/Divi has improved their golf cart shuttle service. Previously at night we have had some very long waits to get between the Divi and the Tamarijn. It is not a bad walk between the two, and I don’t mind walking after dinner, but when we traveled with my then 94 yo grandmother who was incapable of the walk it was an issue. This year, there were new shuttles were larger and seemingly there were more of them. In addition, there were clearly marked “shuttle stops”. Even though the Tamarijn was sold out while we were there, we never had to wait very long.

A negative was their change to their dinner reservation system. You are able to only reserve ala carte restaurants one day in advance. The concierge opened at 8 a.m. each day and lines were long each and every day. It was simply hit or miss that you would be able to get a reservation for a time of your choosing at a specific restaurant. My advice is to be very flexible about times and restaurant choices. The fussier you are, the earlier I would get in line to make your reservation.

I have read some complaints on different forums regarding the service at the Tamarijn and I would like to address this. We found out from Carmen, one of the bartenders, and by far our favorite, that the resort was short on bartenders. Two were out sick after having had surgery. Carmen, seemingly a “Superwoman” worked the pizza bar solo on our next to last day at the resort and had her vacation canceled for the following week.

Our dd had a problem our second day at the resort. She went to the pizza bar to order a pizza and after fifteen minutes gave up and came back to our palapa crying saying that they, the bartender and his assistant, ignored her. Dh and I walked with her back to the pizza bar. Felix and Rudy were both working and though there were people at the bar, everyone was being taken care of. Felix came over and asked me what I needed and I told him what had happened. He seemed very surprised and questioned Rudy about it. Rudy gave it very indifferent shrug of the shoulders, Felix glared towards him and pleasantly took the order and we all moved on. Dd did not have any trouble the rest of our stay.

Dh late the same day walked up to the bar to get he and I each a drink and Felix was alone tending bar. Rudy was busy counting the tip money and refused to come out from behind the back counter to assist Felix. Dh went to the front desk and explained what had transpired and Rudy was never seen again at the pizza bar during any of the other 11 days of our stay.