The Aruba mantra…One happy island. The fantastic, beautiful, Dutch Caribbean island is a wonderful place to spend a vacation (with your tennis racquets). This island is known for the year round warm temperature with its breezy tradewinds. It had been five years since our last visit to The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, and we were very pleased to visit the happy island again.
Getting to Aruba!
After we arrived in Aruba by plane, our private transportation was waiting for us outside the airport. It was an easy twenty-minute ride through the busy downtown area of Oranjestad. (travel tip: book airport private transfers in advance through excursion websites such as Viator.com. There were other transportation options available to us, such as taxi, shared shuttle and car rental). We noticed the Aruba cruise ship in port as our driver expeditiously made his way to our resort (travel tip: there was at least one cruise ship in port every day, sometimes there will be three or four ships at port).
Our Aruba resort!
There were three choices of areas to stay while in Aruba: Oranjestad, Palm Beach and Noord. Oranjestad had a lot of shopping and more downtown area. Palm Beach/Eagle Beach (on L.G. Smith Boulevard) presented an assortment of low rise and high rise hotels and resorts. Lastly, Noord area presented private home rentals with great beach access, near the California Light House. We chose to stay at Northern most point of Palm Beach, at the Ritz-Carlton Aruba.
The beautiful Ritz-Carlton Aruba was about a 20 minute drive from the airport. This five year young resort is located next door to the Marriott Stellaris Resort and Casino. The scenic route to town was a nice walk down the beach. Otherwise, a short taxi drive to the shopping, casinos and restaurants was never hard to find.
We absolutely loved the Ritz-Carlton Aruba property with its stunning ocean views. Our stay included access to the club level, at our resort which also had a terrace overlooking the ocean. Although we loved our first visit to the resort when it opened five years ago, we were very happy that the Ritz-Carlton Aruba was noticeably better in every area of service. The resort had its own casino, several restaurants, spa, shopping, two pools, and the best beach!
The service on the beach was extraordinary! When we first arrived we asked if the resort had a chair so that I could go down to the beach (I was still non-weight bearing, from my ankle surgery). They responded with we have a chair that easily is pushed through the sand and even floats in the water. We went from thinking we wouldn’t be able to go on the ocean to we not desiring to leave the beach! Each day, during our visit, the chair was waiting for us at the towel stand, for our glorious beach days.
The resort had a lot of activities going on, from yoga on the ocean, wind surfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding and many more water activities. Due to my ankle injury, I wasn’t able to participate in the fun water sports. No worries, I had fun floating in the beautiful warm caribbean waters watching all the activities going around and just enjoying the moments. The resort’s beach waiters impressively served the resort while riding Segways. Not only was it entertaining to watch, but it made the order process speedy and smooth! It was hard to leave the beach for other activities!
We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary during our stay in Aruba. (travel tip: Whenever you stay at a resort, remind the resort upon check in, if you are celebrating a special occasion). Our resort surprised us with a bottle of sparkling wine and fresh berries, to start our anniversary festivities. When we returned to our room after being out on the beach, we were surprised with another gift. A Ritz-Carlton Aruba beach towel. (travel tip: When you reach status level such as Platinum or Titanium with Marriott Bonvoy, the hotels and resorts often welcome you with a gift.) Our stay was off to a fabulous start!
We decided to book a couple’s massage before our anniversary dinner (travel tip: book your massage appointments in advance to ensure your time and type of service desired). The Ritz-Carlton Aruba spa was fabulous. They have separate spa areas including sauna and steam. The spa has separate lounges for relaxing before and after appointments, and a tranquil couples lounge. After our massage we were given glasses of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to share, as we celebrated our special day, after a relaxing couples massage! The Ritz-Carlton had a steak house on property called BLT. It was wonderful to sit out on patio, overlooking the crashing waves as the sunset in the distance. It was a great way to spend a romantic anniversary evening at the beautiful resort with excellent table service!
We would unwind each evening in the club lounge, to watch the sunset. As we spoke to other guests, we recognized a common theme. Most of the guests were returning guests. They enjoyed Aruba so much that they returned every year! Our club lounge staff was very happy to help us with our desired daily itinerary. We asked about the tennis on the island. The club manager confirmed our information that the Aruba Racquet Club was available to us for our tennis needs. We noticed if we looked out the window towards the island, we could see the tennis courts from the Ritz Carlton.
There were a couple of ways to visit the Aruba Racquet Club. We could take a short taxi ride or rent a car. We decided to rent a car for the day, from our resort. It was reasonable and convenient! We anxiously drove over to the Aruba Racquet Club which was only a couple miles from the resort. We found that the Aruba Racquet Club worked with all the resorts to provide tennis court time for guests, and anyone visiting the island! The club was beautiful with tropical flowers everywhere. The club also had structured programs with drop in tennis clinics in the evening, salsa classes, movie night and a restaurant on site. The courts were in perfect condition. They had several tennis professionals on staff for tennis clinics/lessons for youth and adults. From the main court, you could see the Ritz Carlton in the background. The Aruba Racquet Club was a great resource for tennis needs while visiting Aruba (tennis tip: Reserve your tennis court prior to going to club. Evening time is busiest.).
Another option for tennis in Aruba, would be to stay at a resort with tennis courts. For example, the Marriott Stellaris Resort and Casino has two tennis courts on property. They have daily tennis clinics. It is also possible to reserve tennis courts for a tennis game; however, you have to stay at one of the Marriott properties.
Although Oranjsted had a lot of shops and restaurants to frequent, we decided to check out the other side of the island. We could take a taxi, sign up for an excursion or rent a car. We rented the car from our resort, and found our way to the natural bridge (travel tip: other side of island was a 30 minute drive). On our way we drove by herds of goats, running through the streets alongside All terrain vehicles (from the local excursions), on the dirt roads. We made our way to the natural bridge, which was the “baby” natural bridge. Apparently the original natural bridge had collapsed, years ago. This excursion turned out to be a great way to spend a couple of hours in Aruba during our vacation.
Natural Bridge, Aruba-tennistravelsite.com
Last Words on Aruba!
Aruba was one happy island. It was almost always warm with a constant breeze from the tradewinds. (final Aruba travel tip: When flying home from Aruba, you must go through customs at the Aruba airport. This makes it easier when you land and less stressful!) Aruba had so much to offer that we love: beautiful resort, sunsets, tennis and white sand beaches.
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