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Reviewed March 6, 2012

Just returned from 8 days in Aruba...What a great time at the Surf Club...

Here's the weeks's run down on everything you should do and avoid.

FIRST THINGS FIRST - If you drink liqour buy it at the Duty Free in the Aruba Airport. We bought 4 liters of vodka in NYC but found it to be $5-8 dollars cheaper in Aruba believe it or not.

Upon arrival it was very smooth.
If you need a car there is a really sketchy place called "Jay's" I was unable to rent a car at Dollar or Budget as I only was carrying a Debit card but the guys at Jay's let me pay in cash and it was cheaper then any of the major car places for the week. So dont be afraid of the indian guys outside of the airport asking if you need a car (and to me a car is def needed if you plan on traveling around the island) :)

My time share only covered 7 days so we went down a day early so we could wake up in Aruba and not waste a day traveling - We stayed at Bricknell Beach Club on the strip (if your only staying there for a night its ok, otherwise staying there a week you wouldnt be happy)

Upon arrival on the morning of our time share we checked in around 11AM...The room wasnt ready obviously...We made it a point to tell the front desk people of all the requests we made thru interval and they made it seem like all would be ok. (this was prob the worst part of the whole trip) - We were allowed to use the pool and all that for the day so that was fine - but when it came to getting our room all of our requests were ignored. We requested a high floor with a view of at least the pool (as we are sure everyone requests the ocean view) ...We were put on the 3rd floor with a garden view. Very disappointing. We made a bit of a scene and they said check back the next day and they would attempt to move us. As we got into our room we used the bathroom and the toilet didnt flush so I called the front desk and spoke to a man named Glen who was very polite and professional and he understood our issues so they moved us immediately across the hall, which at least had a pool view so we were satisfied. That was the end of the bad part of the trip.

The rooms were nice, nothing super fancy but your typical 1 bedroom suites. Full Kitchen, nice bathroom, big tube, and great balcony. One thing that needs to be said BRING YOUR OWN PILLOWS. I did not get a good night sleep at all the whole trip because of the pillows. Very feathery and squishy with no support. Just awful. So if you like your sleep def bring a pillow. I ended up stuffing the sofa pillows into a pillow case they were so bad.

The pool grounds were very nice. If you desire a prime time location to sit wake up early and tag your chair. They have tags for you to save chairs...If you are not there by 8am to tag them you will not get that prime time location. Also you only have 2 hours to return to them or security will remove them.
For the lazy river - stop by a grocery store or bring a comfortable tube. The ones they sell at the gift shop arent the best so if you can score a nice lay down one def do so. They have an airpump so blowing them up is a piece of cake.
The adult pool was very nice - good to have an area to get away from the kids because there are alot of them at this resort. Not overwhelmingly annoying but after a while if you dont have any the screaming is a bit much. They have a smoking section if needed and the whole pool area in general was never overly crowded which was nice.

If your into hot dogs they have a Nathan's stand on the walk to the beach from the pool and the guy making them is named Lloyd. Very nice guy. They take about 10 minutes but he is great and makes it fly by so def grab one of those.

The beach is great - Getting a chair is never really a problem ... Tons of water sports and other stuff to do. I did parasailing. Its was $100 bucks for 2 people but well worth it if you never have done it. Everyone around there working is pleasant.

If you are into snorkeling and booze cruises and dont have children def do the JOLLY PIRATES morning tour. It requires you to wake up early but if your into drinking no matter what time of the day (you are on vacation right?) then this is the best one...The guys working it are very very fun and interactive. The snorkeling itself quickly became secondary to the booze and conversations you are able to strike up with people as everyone is there to have fun. It seems like a long time 930-130 but it flew by and every second of it was enjoyable. There were people with kids on it but you could tell they wish they didnt bring them :)

As for booze - At the resort drinks/beer VERY expensive. Take a trip to KUNG FUI near the Wendys. You can get a case of Local Isalnd Beer (Balashi Chill, which is comparable to Corona) for 25$ USD compared to the resort which sells them at $7 bucks a pop. They are only 10oz but thats what they sell at the resort for $7. We saved alot of money by doing this seeing we easily went thru a case in 2 days. Also the food is not really expensive either like people say. We bought Tenderloin, Chicken, Hot Dogs, Sausage, and other condiments for about 35$. Get Milk by Wednesday as they run out quick.

As for dinner places:
- Smokey Joe's for ribs is pretty good. Certainly not the best ribs i have ever had but if you are in the mood for them they hit the spot.
- Gianni's italian rest. is very good and the prices are ok. Nothing I havent seen in New England.
- Flying Fishbone was by far the best place we went. Its def fancy and foo-foo but ambiance alone is worth every minute.
- El Gaucho was good, but nothing to get overly excited about esp being from the Boston area where Steakhouses are a dime a dozen.
- Blossoms in the Westin was nice if your in a China Food/Hibachi mood. Good prices, good food.
- Our Hidden Gem was CHARLIES in San Nicholas - Its a whole in the wall place with TONS of trinkets and wierd stuff. The menu is a little pricey but of all the steak I had on the island this place tenderloin was amazing!! My gf had the conch fritters and she loved them as well. GREAT place for a day stop!

If your into Nightlife:

GUSTO - Across from Senor Frogs plays House music. Good DJ and fun little spot.
CONFESSIONS - is great on Ladies Night (Wed) plays open format music...was fun nightclub
SOPRANOS PIANO BAR - good for a drink or 2 ...depends on who's playing I think
MOOMBA BEACH - Best night is Sunday ...Gets Packed!
MARTINI BAR across from El Gaucho is nice if you want a good Martini after dinner

Best part of the trip - We rented a RHINO 4x4 from Georges Cycle ($200 for the whole day) we ripped it thru the desert ...Saw the Natural Bridge ruins, Caves, Hidden Pool (You cant take the Rhino, but if you can get close and bum your way down to it the way we did def worth the trip) Natural Pool is amazing!
Took it thru the National Park and down to Baby Beach really nice Beach. Def rent one of these if you are in a day tripping mood worth every penny.

Overall, the island was awesome! Resort is very nice and you can certainly fill up days and nights with adventure if your not the sit by the pool all week type like I am. The one thing I wish I did was the trike's but doing the ATV was prob more fun.
The island is NOT as expensive as its precieved to be especially living in Boston area.
I can't comment on Casinos. I only played slots for 5 minutes at the Hyatt lost my $20 and left :)

Room Tip: Pool Side or Ocean View
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Bob L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 6, 2012

This was our fourth trip to Aruba, and we're timeshare owners at the Surf Club. We call Aruba the Key West of Holland, and if you've been to Key West you'll understand. Yes, there are lots of tourists, and yes, some behave better than others. But we agree with many of the other posts that say you get what you give, and we've always had a great time in Aruba and at the Surf Club.
Our favorite things - in our experiences, an extemely helpful and friendly staff, sitting on the balcony having breakfast with an amazing view, lazing on the beach under a palapa (and yes, you can get a free one even in the middle of the day tho it may not be waterfront), walking down the beach to the Pelican's Nest for ceviche and beers, having an excellent dive shop right around the corner, walking to great restaurants for dinner, and a spacious, clean two-bedroom unit. Our not so favorite things - when all the pool chairs are tagged but no one is sitting in them (but then we just go get a free bimini on the beach), you find yourself standing in line for coffee or palapas; some people don't watch their kids close enough, etc. So the good definitely outweighs the bad, and there are no perfect hotels. We bought at the Surf Club and keep coming back because we continue to have an amazing time on an amazing island, and live by the mantra that you get what you give.

A few helpful tips for a great Surf Club experience: 1.) patience - take a breath, you're on vacation so remember to enjoy every minute; 2.) if you're there for a week get some groceries from one of the markets 3.) rent a vehicle and explore the island a bit as even as big as the property is you can't quite experience Aruba without leaving the Surf Club 4.) use the concierge to make dining reservations 5.) Moomba Bay is right next door - go try it on for size 6.) wear sunscreen.

We hope this review helps someone else enjoy their stay at the Surf Club and on Aruba.

Room Tip: If you like to spend time on the balcony in the afternoon and want to be out of the sun, request an Ocean Club side room....you'll thank us later....
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 6, 2012

We love Aruba and have always stayed at one of the Marriott properties on Palm Beach. One of the main reasons we love it and keep coming back is the excellent service that we receive. We always immediately look for Wilma, who has been there since our first visit, at one of the beach or pool bars. She is awesome, and has won multiple island awards for her drink creations. She and all the Marriott staff make you feel so welcome and part of the family. Marriott properties are always clearn and updated. Always a good experience.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank TSK961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 4, 2012

My wife and I just returned from our 5th stay at Marriott's Surf Club in Aruba. We love this place. Each year it seems like they have performed at least one improvement to make it even better. The Surf Club, like the Ocean Club next door, is a timeshare resort. We own 2 weeks at this resort. The Marriott Hotel is also on the same property. Owners of the both timeshare properties, like us, can rent out weeks so you do not have to own to stay in either the Surf Club or Ocean Club. First, the positives - Marriott did a great job of designing the Surf Club property. This resort is right on the beautiful Eagle beach and in addition to just relaxing on the beach, there are the usual water activities available. There are beach chairs available to use for free as well as palapas which can be reserved - a limited number can be reserved at no cost and more are available to use for $ 15.00 per day. You have to stand in line at the palapa hut on the beach in an attempt to reserve either the free, or rented palapas - 2 days in advance. The pool areas at the Surf Club are beautiful - there are several pools as well as a lazy river that you can just float around on. There's a small wading pool just for little kids, another small pool for adults only as well as the larger general pool with a slide which is attached to the lazy river. The pool area is nestled in palm trees and plants. There are numerous lounge chairs and umbrellas positioned around the pools and lazy river as well as a small sanded area with additional palapas. There is a bar / restaurant at the pool area which serves fairly good food at a fair price. With regards to the rooms, the basic design of the Surf Club rooms is basically a 2 bedroom unit, although there are a limited number of 3 bedroom units. 2 bedroom units include 1 master bedroom that has a king sized bed, bathtub with jacuzzi, and a private bathroom with shower stall. There's a second bedroom with a queen sized bed, private bathroom, a couch that pulls out into another bed and a small refrigerator with a sink and coffee maker area. Each bedoom has a balcony - most of the rooms will have a view of the ocean, some of the lower level rooms will be at or below the palm tree level so you will have a view of the pool area only. The units also have a living room with another pull out couch as well as a full kitchen area with a dish washer, and a closet that has a clothes washer & dryer. Owners at the Surf Club do have the option of separating the main bedroom & kitchen area from the second bedroom area when we make our reservations so it's possible that you can rent the second bedroom only (called a lock off), or even rent just the master bedroom and living room / kitchen without the second bedroom. Maid service in the timeshare units is just once per week. The resort also has several grills on site if you want to do you own grilling, as well as a store where you can buy food, drinks and souvenirs. Keeping up with the Marriott name, the buildings and grounds are meticulousy maintained. Now for the negatives - there are a lot of rooms at the Surf Club and not enough palapas on the beach, or chairs around the pool to accomodate everybody so it can get crowded and has resulted in people running down at 7:00AM to reserve their chairs around the pool and as has been mentionned, to stand in lines trying to reserve palapas. Although you can usually find a lounge chair on the beach, it does get very crowded and Marriott now has "palapa police" roaming around trying to enforce regulations regarding use of the lounge chairs. This is the only real major negative of the Surf Club resort, unless you're an owner and now are dealing with the significant increases in maintenance fees every year - a portion of these increases being reflected as "surcharges".
There are several restaurants on the timeshare and hotel property, as well as shops and the largest casino so there is a lot available within a few minutes walk. In summary, the Surf Club is a great place, just a little crowded.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Brian K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 1, 2012

I have been to Aruba almost 30 times over the last 10 years. It is my absolute favorite place in the world! The people are so friendly and welcome you back and recognize you from trip to trip. I have a timeshare @ the Aruba Surf Club, so I go about 1 x a year. The 2 bedroom suite with kitchen is so spacious and comfortable. The weather always nice - 85 and sunny. I enjoy the Lazy river in the afternoon (crowds in the am) and the beach in the morning. There are no waves or sea shells there. it's a very small island - 6 miles by 12 miles.

Room Tip: Request to get the highest room possible....all the views are good, so the higher up will give you a larger panorama. The rooms are very quiet.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Susan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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