Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
A few short observations about the above 2 islands. We seldom eat out much so there is nothing here about restaurants.
Shoal Bay East is just as beautiful as advertised, although somewhat sparse for people during the period of time that we were there. A couple of the hotels have been wiped out, especially the pink one (I never did get the name). We stayed at Shoal Bay Villas in the unit that they always show in their ads. It is just as pictured. The adjoining restaurant(Le Beach) does not, however, let you charge your bills to the villa even though they are connected. We got in 2 or 3 swims per day on Shoal Bay East and enjoyed them all.
We toured the island some by taxi. At Cuisinart Resort and Sonesta, we met several people who were not happy with the beach. Each beach had many small stones on the beach and millions of jellyfish. We were told that this was the season for the jellyfish to come to those (and all of the other south-side beaches). The south-side beaches also had very high surf so that, for a few days, they were not able to put small craft into the water. Everyone that we met, we invited to come see us at Shoal Bay East, and several did. They had to pay about $25/$30 per trip, but they figured it was worth the price for some good swimming. Those resorts have very pretty and extensive grounds, but I wouldn't want to stay there myself. There is a long walk to the beach at each place (2 or 3 blocks), but I guess that goes with the carefully manicured grounds.
One day, Bobbie bought some wine at a local grocery store. When she opened it, it had already spoiled (even though the cork was intact). It had even been stored on its side at the store. I guess that the non-air-conditioned store was too much for it. All in all, we would go back but not to any of the over-priced south-shore places.
Aruba, too, was just as advertised. We stayed on the Concierge floor at the Hyatt. We had a complimentary continental breakfast each morning and complimentary hors-d'oeuvres each evening plus all of the wine that we cared to drink, and it was good quality wine. The white zinfandel, my favorite, was Berringer's.
All of the hotel beaches on that stretch of the island are very nice, although we presonally found the Radisson's to be the nicest. The Hyatt's grounds are very nice with many Tiki huts for the guests. The Tiki huts are assigned for all day at 7:00 AM, so, if you want a Tiki, you had better be there at or shortly after 7:00. The pools and water-slide are great, and the tropical birds and plantings are first-rate.
There are several patches of sea-weed growing in the water off-shore of the Hyatt, and a few at all of the other places except the Radisson. If you want to walk in the water, the sea-weed is somewhat annoying. Again, all in all, we would go back, but probably to the Radisson, which, we were told, recently spent about $50 million refurbishing their rooms. The people that we talked to all had high praise for their rooms at all of those hotels on the high-rise strip.
I have probably left out some things, but these are the ones that come to mind right now. If anyone would like more detail about either of these islands, send me a PM and I will attempt to answer any questions that come up.
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