For Christmas 2023 I told Jason I just wanted a night away, I honestly did not care where we went, I just wanted to get away.
We had originally planned to go to Naples, Florida but a few days before we left, Jason checked the weather and realized it was going to be 60 degrees, so we detoured to Aruba where it’s always 80 and sunny!
We made a very quick trip, flying out early Wednesday morning and flying back Saturday. You basically lose 2 days for travel, so we only had 2 full days.
Arriving was easy. We left around 7am from Nashville, connected through Miami and landed in Aruba around 3. There was no line for customs and it was easy.
We had booked The Ritz Carlton with Amex points, so the hotel helped request a car to transfer us from the airport.
Once we arrived we were able to easily check in and grab an early dinner outside of the sushi lounge and watch the sunset.
I will say when we arrived I was not impressed with our room. It was on the first floor overlooking the kids pool, and another balcony. We heard people running down the hall at night and early the next morning. We have stayed at numerous Ritz Carlton properties and while the service was still top notch, the rooms were not as luxurious as the other properties. Clean but more like a Marriott room if that makes sense.
Since we had flown so far and this was our only getaway for the year, I asked if we could move rooms. I’m not one to usually complain because I am not confrontational but it was such a let down. Thankfully Ilene was very helpful and explained they were fully booked but she would check, she was able to find another room for us with a better view and on the 4th floor. She explained this would be two queen beds and not a King bed, but I honestly did not care. So we moved.
Because we were only there for a couple of days, we did not leave the resort much. My goal was to relax.
We ate breakfast at the resort with the all you can eat buffet. It included an omelet station, waffles, hot bar, and all the pastries you can think of. It also offered a fresh fruit station along side charcuterie and cheeses, including smoked salmon. Basically everything you would want for breakfast was available, even yogurt and oatmeal. Another great perk was a gluten free station with a designated gluten free toaster.
Lunch was enjoyed on the beach. The fish tacos and the steak quesadillas were our favorites. You also have to visit Jose’s Pop Up Bar with all the fresh island cocktails served in a coconut or pineapple.
We left the resort to venture downtown to try the Royal Restaurant. If you are traveling without kids, I highly recommend making reservations. This five course chef dinner was an amazing experience. Chef Ashwan took his time with each course of the meal. He even accommodated my request and made each dish gluten free.This was one of my favorite meals and we’ve dined at a lot of places. We even made some new friends.
Our last night we headed back Downton to Lima a cute little Peruvian restaurant. This place was also wonderful and the service was outstanding. You have to try the los and the market ceviche.
We did not rent a car but a taxi from the hotel to the downtown area was $13 which I did not think was very bad for a 20 minute ride.
Leaving Aruba was a little harder than arriving. There are about 7 lines, not even kidding, at the airport. If you are headed back to the US, you will go through customs here, which is nice to not have to deal with when you land. You will have to take your shoes off twice and go through two security lines. One for Aruba and one for US customs. Yes it’s a pain because there no TSA pre-check or Clear available. When we left it was a busy Saturday with over 50 people in line and they suggest arriving 3 hours before departure.
There is one option with a VIP service to skip the lines, kind of like the airpot fast pass. It cost $125/pp and someone greets you at the airport entrance and walks you to the front of every line. You also have access to a VIP lounge to wait with drinks and snacks included.
Our flight was delayed going home, so it seemed like it took forever but overall it was an amazing trip. We were gone 3 nights, which was great but I do wish we could of had one more day.