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Reviewed March 10, 2012

This is the third time I had been to Aruba and the first traveling with my almost one year old. We stayed with my in laws in a 2 bedroom unit that has a kitchen,dining room and washer/dryer. All of these things make a family vacation SO much easier. The room was pretty nice and very clean. They were able to provide both a crib and a high chair, so that was really helpful.
The pool chair situation is a bit strange. People waking up at 4 am to go sit on chairs till the 7 am reserve time?! My mother in law went down at 6 or 6:30 everyday and sometimes we ended up with chairs with no shade, which doesn't work so well with a baby. Other than that it was nice, kind of crowded. The beach has palapas that you can reserve as well. The food at the hotel was alright. We ate at Ruth Chris which was very good, the pool bar was pretty decent and Champions to watch a basketball game one afternoon.It was nice that you could walk between the Stellaris, Ocean club and the Surf Club. The adult only pool at Stellaris looks really beautiful with all the open air cabanas. All in all if I was just with my husband I doubt we would stay here, lots of families with kids and/or older people but it works really well if your traveling with family.
If you say you want an Ocean view room, they will say they have it but every room is listed as ocean view apparently, we overlooked the parking lot, but if you stood on the balcony and looked to the left you saw part of the Ocean. Be specific if you want a full view, or pool view otherwise you will end up overlooking the parking lot!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Amy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 8, 2012

We recently traveled to Aruba and stayed at the Marriott Surf Club. We truly enjoyed our stay. The lazy river was awesome, We played tennis, beach volleyball, grilled steaks, did shuffle board. The rooms were neat and clean, the beds were amazing. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We absolutely would stay here again.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank RonGrub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 8, 2012

I just got back from a week trip here with my wife and 17 month old. We had a fantastic time.

We had the 1 bedroom unit. It was very spacious. The bathroom is separate for privacy if you have young children while they are sleeping. The kitchen is well stocked with plates, cooking utensils, etc. The kitchen is new and very clean. There is also a washer and dryer stacked in the closet. It has a dining table that can fit 6 people, and a living area with tv. We also had a nice deck with access from the living area or bedroom We were on the 9th floor in the garden view room, but still had a nice view of the ocean if you position your chair properly.

Upon arrival we went to Long and Sons groceries. They had just about everything you would need. The prices were more expensive than in the us, I would say by about 50%. We bought fruit and breakfast foods since it was easier to stay in with the baby. The hotel serves breakfast. It costs $13 for an “American style breakfast” and coffee was $4. There is also a starbucks and dunkin donuts about 8-10 minutes up the road by foot.

They sell laundry detergent near the ice machine for $1.25. it is expensive at the grocery store so you can buy it as you need it, or bring it. We paid $13 for a small bottle before we realized they sold it.

You can walk to a bunch of restaurants and the other hotels from the hotel which is very nice. You don’t need to take a taxi if you want to stay close by. A taxi down town was about $12. The most expensive was from the airport at $25.

Champions in the hotel: Sports bar theme, food was bland. I would skip this place.

Giannis: Average Italian at best and the most expensive meal we had in Aruba. Walking distance. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Simply Fish is in the hotel: Reserve early and get a table on the sand for the sunset. Food was great and the setting was beautiful.

Mi Casa: Thin crust pizza, very inexpensive, walking distance

El Gaucho: need to take a taxi, but well worth it. I am a big steak person and this place was top notch. Reasonably priced. Don’t skip this place, you will be sorry…

Madame Janette: you need to take a taxi. This was the best meal we had on the island. This is a must

Pelicans nest: This is next door to the hotel on the water. Cheap lunch spot, $7-10 sandwiches

Mamma Waba: Also next to the hotel on the beach. Same price as pelicans

Hadicurrari: On the beach at the exit of the hotel. Good lunch, reasonable prices

In general drinks ranged from $8-12 dollars. Every day the pool bar has a special on something. Usually its $8 and they offer 2-3 different drinks

The pool and lazy river are great. Lots of area for the kids to play. You can buy tubes in the resort for a few dollars more than buying them at walmart. Sometimes you can find them left behind by others as well. We brought them, but next time I would not bring them if I didn’t have the room in my suit case. There are lots of children at the resort so if your looking for something quite this is not the place. The only thing I did not like which was mentioned by others here is that the chairs get taken quickly. I think people go out at 5am to reserve them. it is a terrible system they have. I went down early one morning as the baby had me up and I found people reading books with book lights in the dark, and had already claimed there chairs at 6am. I always went around 7-7:30 and found somewhere for us to sit. Also at around 2pm people leave or move and you can find something. This is the only negative thing I can say about the place, that is why I gave it 4 stars.

People will be asking you to sign up for the time share. We told them we didnt want to, and they still gave us the 10% off card. it can be used for antyhing in the resort. This was a nice offering. It seemed like everyone had one.

I cant believe we never went to Aruba before. Leave your jeans and long sleeve shirts at home, you will never wear them. This island is safe and laid back. We will be back next year for sure!!!

Room Tip: Garden room high up gets you some water view.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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10  Thank doms1214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 7, 2012

My husband and I stayed here for 7 days for our honeymoon. We stayed in a suite/full room with the kitchen, dining, separate bedroom, and balcony with a view of the ocean. Lovely! We loved the lazy river, there was always a pool chair available at one of the poolsides, the adult salt water pool was heated and fantastic. The ocean was only a short walk through the pool area and we never had trouble finding a chair. Umbrella/cabana's are free on the beach. The dock to go on the snorkeling is immediately out front of the hotel into the ocean. As a guest at the Surf Club we were able to use the amentities at both the Ocean Club and Stellaris Resort both next door. Stellaris pool was more for adults, the Ocean Club pool was more of an older crowd and way less crowded of all three hotel pools. Either bring a float with you for the lazy river or buy one from the gift shop. The price to rent is outrageous. Also, be sure to bring a cooler with you and fill it to take to the pool/beach with you. Drinks are pretty pricey! We had dinners at La Vista(Stellaris) which is Italian and delish! We also ate at Simply Fish(Stellaria) which is mostly seafood and it is outdoors on the beach at night. We did snorkeling with the Jolly Pirates(highly recommend), and the Koko Konuku party bus(also highly recommend!). Also, go to the grocery as soon as you get there and stock up on food, it is much cheaper that way! At night you can walk the beach to get to the other hotels(Riu, Hyatt, etc.) and there is a Senor Frogs, Sopranos Piano Bar, Hard Rock and several other nightlife things to do. My only complaint is the spa at Ocean Club. I went there to get a mani/pedi and checked in and after waiting an hour I told them I would not wait any longer and I would be leaving. They said they already charged the credit card and would not-could not refund. So basically I paid almost $100.00 for a manicure and pedicure I did not get and wasted an hour of my valuable pool time. Not to mention the spa was crawling with people there to get their "free 5 minute neck massage" for some timeshare seminar. Just don't even waste your time on the Ocean Club spa!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank SMCWRC2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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