Dubbed "One Happy Island," Aruba has many reasons for its cheery moniker.
There’s no risky time to visit the desert island due to its location outside the hurricane belt. Its pristine crushed coral sand doesn’t absorb heat, keeping bare feet comfortable. The ombre shades of the Caribbean Sea and magical sunsets make for an inimitable backdrop. The tap water, distilled in a saltwater desalination plant, is pure. The ABC islands, in which Aruba accounts for the A, are considered the safest of Caribbean islands. The temperature, complemented by the breezy trade winds, stays at a pleasant 82 degrees on average yearround. And if the sun gets the best of you, aloe thrives in the desert conditions of the island.
There’s a general sense of contentment and well-being that Aruba exudes, and that’s most apparent in its warm and welcoming people, who represent over 90 nationalities from more than 130 countries on the 70-square-mile island (a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands).
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino, located on Palm Beach among other high-rise hotels, is enjoying the completion of its first phase of the multimillion-dollar renovation. The 359 newly reconceptualized guest rooms were designed to make guests feel as though they’re staying in a private beach home. Natural light accentuates the room’s creature comforts, which include white oak furnishings, a handwoven wool rug and an oversized chaise lounge. Bathrooms were expanded and feature Kohler fixtures and a handy digital clock that’s inte - grated in the backlit vanity mirror.
The resort’s open-air lobby, with views of the aqua water and white sand beach in the distance, is a popular locale, with the Carnival-themed casino and ZoiA Spa, which uses hand-pressed oils and home-grown herbs in its services, nearby.
The hotel’s dining outlets are diverse and plentiful. Ruinas del Mar pays homage to the island’s gold mining past; Mexicado (Aruba’s first Mexican restaurant) serves traditional and contemporary Mexican dishes; and Café Piccolo is a cozy Italian bistro with a woodfired, stone oven. Sunset specials are served Piet’s Pier Bar, and smoothies are just steps away from the white sand beach at Kadushi Juice Bar (freshly cut coconuts can be found here, too).
Red Sail Sports, a full-service dive and water sports facility with a desk in the Hyatt Regency Aruba’s lobby, disembarks from Piet’s Pier Bar. Its friendly crew takes guests out on one of its catamarans to explore the marine life and sunken remains of the SS Antilla that live under the calm turquoise waters. Sunset din - ner sails and moonlight cruises are available as well as private group functions.
The desert terrain of Aruba sets it apart from other Caribbean islands; the best way to see the north side of the island is on wheels. Off-road jeep tours travel along the rugged terrain to the Natural Bridge, Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, California Lighthouse, Natural Pool, Alto Vista Chapel and, not to mention, many beaches along the way. Guests of the Hyatt Regency Aruba use De Palm Tours Aruba regularly, and the hotel also partners with ABC Tours Aruba and Around Aruba Tours.
It’s fitting that aloe—known for its medici - nal properties—is ubiquitous on the island. More than just a sunburn relief, aloe has played a big part of the island’s culture and economy. Aruba Aloe, the oldest aloe company in the world, offers weekly interac - tive workshops at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. Guests make their own moisturizing aloe scrub while learning about the island’s abun - dant natural resource and the part it plays in Aruba’s undeniable happiness.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Temperature: 82 degrees year-round on average
Currency: Aruban florin; the U.S. dollar is widely accepted
Language: Dutch and the native Papiamento are the official language; English and Spanish are widely spoken
Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (Eastern Standard Time plus one hour)
Electricity: Aruba adopted the North American voltage standard, the same as in the U.S. and Canada
Traveling to the Caribbean is always worth the hassle, with vacation just on the other side. Leaving, on the other hand, is an abrupt change in scenery that takes suntanned travelers from sandy beaches to face long lines and cramped airport quarters.
And with U.S. Customs & Border Protection at Queen Beatrix Airport, departing Aruba is just a little more tedious.
First Class Aruba’s VIP Departure Service lessens that pain by fast-tracking you through all but one of the checkpoints (the U.S. Customs & Border Protection). After you’ve skipped the lines, the VIP lounge— stocked with snacks, drinks and comfortable chairs—awaits.