I was not going to post about my experience at this property. I find myself still 'seething' almost a month after our stay. But, others (erc, alrenaissance) have asked about this property and I've decided to give the story of our stay. I'll report the 'good' things about this property in the beginning so those of you who don't want to read about 'negatives' can stop reading after the first paragraph.
We went to this 'island paradise' from December 5 thru 12. There is a shuttle boat service that takes guests to their 'private island'. The shuttle departs from inside the Marina Building just below the lobby bar and picks up guests from the Ocean Suites at a dock near that building. The private island is a small little island that has an 'adult' and 'family' side to the island. When you leave the boat shuttle, the sign points one in either direction. The adult side is the same as the family side except the family side has a restaurant and is larger in size. The adult side has pink flamingos in residence and fish ponds where you can watch the different species of fish swimming around in the water. The entire private island is very quiet so not sure why they have the 'distinct' difference of adult and family designations.
The hotel is located in the mall area and has all kinds of upscale shops and products of all varieties. Be warned...there are no pricing bargains in Aruba because everything that comes in from elsewhere is subjected to an import tax that actually (in many instances) makes the selling price higher than in the States. They will try and sell you on the 'no tax here' issue, but the price is still higher.
There are many restaurants located close by...the restaurants close to the manin road (Iguana Joe's, The Paddock, Cafe Plaza) are all tourist oriented. Faster service (than island slow time) and lousy service but they'll get you out so you can enjoy the island (ha,ha). If you go behind the scenes (behind the hotel away from the water) you can find local establishments that have excellent food and service. Que Pasa and Jemanja are a couple of classy local locations you can walk to from the hotel with great food.
That's it for the good. If you don't want the negative...stop reading.
The boat shuttle sometimes has 'wiseguys' that run on jet skis and splatter the boat with huge sprays (waves) of water while the shuttles go back and forth to the island. Apparently, the hotel doesn't know how to solve the problem because so many were talking about it happening regularly on the boat. It's quite dangerous when you see these jerks running at the boat and turning quickly just before getting to the boat to create this huge wall of water.
When we checked in to the Ocean Suites, we were given a room at the far end of the building on the water. The rooms and walkways are old and in need of an upgrade. My opinion....the place is 'dumpy'. An old Sonesta that was never updated. The internet service did not work in the room. It is hard wired (no wireless in rooms, but wireless in the lobby) and Platinums are entitled to the hard line service for no charge. It didn't work. I reported it and housekeeping brought me a new cable for connection. I noticed when replacing the cable that the jack on the wall had been tampered with and probably was the source of the problem. The new cable didn't work. I informed the front desk as we were leaving to meet friends. They sent maintenance there (I went back to meet them). I showed them the wall issue. They tried to fix it and couldn't. Said they's have to get a new cable and try that (cable # 3). Housekeeping brought another cable. It didn't work. Maintenance said they would have someone come the next day to fix the wall issue. I left. In the meantime, there were always folks sitting all over the lobby trying to connect to a bad internet feed in the lobby.
We returned and our key didn't work. had to go to front desk, show ID and get new ones. They worked. We went out for breakfast the next day. Came back, Keys don't work. had to go show ID, get new ones. Asked if anyone had come from service to fix the wall phone jack problem. Was told they would have no way of knowing. I asked if they could call maintenance and see...they did and told me they were coming now. We left before they came and when we returned there was a new cable connected to my computer (cable #4). It didn't work. I went down to front desk and tell them and they told me to call the computer company that handles the service. Asked how to do that and was told to use the room phone to call hotel operator and they would connect me. I did and waited 45 minutes on the phone for nobody to take me off hold. Left a message for a call back. We left.
We returned and, you guessed right, keys don't work. Went to front desk, showed ID...TOLD them that the light was coming on yellow when we put the key in the lock. They gave me new keys. I went back to the room and called the internet service again. Left a message to call me back. They did....at 12:15 AM. That's right....12:15AM. I could hear the guy clicking his keys on his computer and going 'uh-huh...uh-huh' for about twenty minutes or longer. I kept asking what he was finding. Nothing. I finally asked him if he could see my computer through the line into the room. He said no. I told him of the phone jack. He told me he couldn't fix the problem and said good bye. I gave up on having internet in the room. The worst part of this, beyond the total waste of my time (in hours) was that they BILLED me for calling the internet service to fix THEIR problem.
Now on Friday I go to the lobby and join the group connecting and get an e-mail that one of my pet dogs is ill. I ask them to call me in the room so we can discuss what to do. Go back to the room for the call and the keys don't work. I go and get new keys and my wife tells me she heard the phone ringing and we missed the call. I have to go BACK to the lobby and e-mail to call again as we are now in the room (my wife was). They called. We talked for 30 minutes about what to do and arranged for a follow up call, if serious and, if not, an update call on Monday morning with internet correspondence in between if necessary. I got internet mail that a 'sinus infection' was being treated. I'm OK with that.
We go about our day and every other time we returned to the room the key didn't work. I asked them what they were doing and they said they'd have maintenance check it. The next day (Sat) we went out for breakfast and returned. The keys didn't work. I went to the desk and told them of the 'yellow' light again and they said it was a bad battery issue. I asked them why that was MY problem as they hadn't fixed it from Wed to Sat. I took the new keys and they DIDN"T work. I went back to the front desk for another set and told them I was checking out as soon as I find other accomodations.
I get a call from a front desk supervisor about 15 minutes later asking if she could try and fix the problem by moving us to the Marina Bldg. I allowed her to do that. The room was arranged but wouldn't be ready until 5:30 or 6PM. I told her we had a 7:30 arrangement and that we had to get it done in time. She gave explicit instructions to the front desk people and told me a supervisor would call me by 6PM when the room was ready. They didn't. I called and asked the hotel operator what was going on. She had no idea. I asked to be connected to the front desk super. He's at dinner and won't be back until after 7PM. It's 6:30 now. I am VERY angry. I get a call from the front desk that she knows about our room and will send the 'golf cart' to get us and our belongings and told us to go immediately to the lobby. It never came. I asked the front desk to 'call' the golf cart and it came. After 7:15 now. I guess you can tell...we missed our 7:30 arrangement.
We were given an Ambassador Suite. The TV didn't work unless you unplugged and re-plugged the cable connection (I figured this out). I had e-mailed of our new room for the Mon update call. Mon AM...the phone rings once...nobody there. This happens anbout 7 times and then we finally have someone there on the phone. They told us that every time they were connected to the room the phone would disconnect after one ring. We arranged for a follow up vet call as the dog was responding OK, but, as we later found, it was just the drugs that were keeping him stable. I asked for a follow up call if ANYTHING was needed and arranged to be called at a specific time. We never got a call and the internet was LOUSY so I gave up trying to connect because it was just impossible. We went about our time.
Other issues: This hotel speaks about their 'bar' being the new 'hotspot' in Aruba. It is an outside place where they have a DJ who plays loud island music. They play video on the side of the hotel building. There were about 12 people there. The drinks come in cup sizes that are the same as you get when getting a drink from a water cooler...about 4 ounces...and they are PLASTIC cups that the side collapse if you pick them up wrong because they are so thin. And...speaking of drinks, I drink Gin and Tonic...and very frequently get soda instead of tonic. I never send it back and, if I get another, I ask them to make sure it is tonic. I got soda with my gin here. My wife and I were loking about it and she tasted it and the waitress came over and asked if there was a problem. My wife told her of the wrong mixer but said it was 'OK'. I have never experienced what happened next....the waitress got a straw, PUT IT IN MY DRINK TO TASTE IT and told us the mixer was correct!! We got up and left. Incredible.
We never got a call back about our dog. But, a maintenance worker came to the door and told us he had to check the phone because people were calling us and telling the front desk they couldn't get through to the room. When he left, I made a panic call home and was told that, at that time, it was too late to deal with the issue (untreatable now) but I was in time to have them put our pet to sleep. He had taken a bad turn for the worse when the drugs wore off. They had been trying to call and had left countless messages for me at the front desk........now, I'm not saying that it was their fault, but I'll never know if I had gotten a call in time if I could have arranged for a better outcome.
I could go on but I'm not. There's a lot more, but what's the point. I asked for a meeting with the GM and he wouldn't meet with me but sent the supervisor who handled the problem initially. She is the ONLY person who cared about doing things right there. I e-mailed her of my disappointment with the GM and she e-mailed back that he wanted to contact me and was glad to get the e-mail so he could. That was almost a month ago. very caring.
So, you decide if you want to stay here. I won't.