For the past 3 years, we’ve been taking the kids down to Aruba for Halloween weekend, and it’s always a blast. We just returned back from a great stay at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. We’ve previously stayed at the Radisson Aruba (which is now the Hilton Aruba, undergoing major renovations) and the Marriott Stellaris. All of the high-rise hotels are located within walking-distance of each other on Palm Beach.
I chose to stay at the Hyatt this time because I found a great rate, and I was able to utilize the 4th-night free benefit from the Citi Prestige. I also wanted to soak in all that came along with being a Hyatt Diamond, because it is going to be much harder to indulge in top-tier Hyatt status once the new “World of Hyatt” program rolls in.
From AUA, expect a 20-minute taxi ride costing $25.
Free Nights Are Possible, but Check Rates First
For starters, free nights are 25,000 point per night, but check rates first. In my case, it was a better value for me to pay for the room rather than use points. Plus, I was able to use one of my DSU certificates to upgrade to a suite.
Additionally, I was able to secure a AAA breakfast rate (which was the same rate as the Hyatt member rate), and it was nice because it gave us the choice to have breakfast at the Club Lounge or the restaurant. We were so glad to have the restaurant option because we found there to be much more variety and the food spead/menu items were better (more on that below).
Family Suite vs. Sunset Suites
We arrived to the hotel very early- before noon. I had mentioned earlier that I applied one of my Diamond Suite Upgrade certificates to the reservation. After doing research and reading reviews from other travelers, I learned that using a DSU normally books you into a Family Suite, which is close to the elevator and offers a separate bedroom for additional privacy when rooming with kids or other family members.
However, the front desk agent informed me that I’d actually been booked into a Sunset Suite (an upgrade), with a full ocean view, but the room was not ready yet. We had the option to snag a Family Suite right away, or wait until after 3 pm for the Sunset Suite. In terms of room design, the Sunset Suite does not have a separate bed or bedroom. Instead, there is a couch that converts into a bed.
We were faced with having to make a decision to get a room immediately with extra privacy or to wait for the room with a view. Our children are very young, and probably wouldn’t appreciate a strange room of their own, so we chose to wait for the Sunset Suite, and I’m glad we did – the views are surely the best in the house!
As far as the room, it was large and standard in what I would expect at a Hyatt Regency. While it didn’t “wow” me, it served its purpose well and we had no complaints during our stay other than the fact that we didn’t receive any turndown service during any of the 4 nights we were there.
We told managers and housekeepers that we’d like to have the room turned down between 6-7 pm because our toddlers go to sleep at 8 pm, but every night without fail, we got a knock on our door around 9 pm.
Lounge Breakfast vs. Restaurant Breakfast
The lounge breakfast offerings were fine (some hot food options, cold cuts, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, cereals, etc.) and is included as a Hyatt Diamond member, but I personally think dining in the restaurant each morning was a better choice. The buffet was plentiful (but the same items everyday) and there was an egg/omelet station. There’s also an a la carte menu available if you want to change it up some of the days, featuring items like huevos rancheros and Aruban rice crispy french toast (my favorite!).
And let’s not forget about the view! Another plus for dining in the restaurant over the Club Lounge is the view! Dining al fresco with koi fish has to count for something ;).
I’ll be honest – while the restaurants on the property offer an awesome ambiance, I found the food to be expensive (as expected) and mediocre. The good thing about Palm Beach is that there are so many awesome restaurants nearby (walking distance even) to try. I have a separate post coming highlighting some of my favorites soon.
Of course, there is a convenience factor to take into consideration when dining on premises. We did stay at the resort some days for lunch when the kids didn’t want to leave the pool or the beach. Not having to worry about carrying cash or a wallet is nice too. The Palms Restaurant by the beach/pool is open for lunch and offers burger, sandwiches, salads, etc.
Traveling with young kids is fun and wonderful, but also exhausting. A full day in the sun, sand, and water is tiring to begin with, and it’s nice to be able to decompress and interact with other adults once in a while. I think the idea of kids clubs at resorts is fabulous, but unfortunately ours are too young for that (the Hyatt Regency Aruba accepts kids 3-12).
Luckily the resort offers private babysitting services at a very reasonable rate ($15 per hour + $2.50 ph per additional child). We decided to book a babysitter through concierge after the kids went to sleep for a few of the nights we were there so that we could go have some dinner, drinks, gamble, etc.
The sitter was caring, reliable, and always on-time and professional. We exchanged phone numbers so that we could stay in touch during the night if needed. I highly recommend this option if you’re traveling with young children, and you crave a vacation from your vacation.
Palapas aka Beach Huts
I think the whole beach hut reservation system at resorts in general is silly. Something about waking up early (6 am), only to start camping out in line next to a towel hut just makes me giggle. First of all, regardless of status, it cost up to $75 per day for “prime real estate” at the Hyatt Regency Aruba, which is defined as the first two rows by the water or a shaded cabana further back. The others are free, but are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Thanks to my bulky double stroller, I had no problem setting up shop as far back as possible. In my eyes, the beach huts are basically just a place to set up a temporary home base anyway, so I wasn’t interested in spending extra money for the day. It would be nice if elites at least had the option to reserve a palapa ahead of time at a discount without waiting in line, but that is not the case.
I really enjoyed our stay at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. The good news is that we weren’t hit with any silly “resort feeds”. Also, having lounge access as a Hyatt Diamond definitely sweetened the deal for us because we were able to grab snacks on demand throughout the day (especially since we had kids with us), and we also got to fill up a bit during the daily happy hour between 5-7 pm with light bites and finger foods (sushi, soups, mini sandwiches, etc). I’d definitely return to the Hyatt Regency Aruba again, as long as I still have top-tier status!
What are your thoughts? Have you visited the Hyatt Regency Aruba before? Have plans to check it out soon?