Let’s begin this article with a spoiler alert. You are in for a treat if you are a foodie when traveling to Aruba. The Aruba travel veterans know that food on this island is top-notch. First-timers are sometimes a bit apprehensive, but you shouldn’t be. Let’s explore.
Do you like exploring local flavors? You should. Are you vegan? No problem. Food truck lover? Yes, please. Kosher? Check. Meat? Fish? Poultry? Yes, yes, and yes. Aruba has something to offer you.
That fact that Aruba is somewhat of a tourism center is known. Our island continuously receives accolades from travelers worldwide and experts alike. Currently, in Aruba, there is a push to try to promote its culture and gastronomy, with the latter having arguably improved considerably in the last decade or so.
Today’s topic is for the oenophiles among us, or at least for the ones with a moderate curiosity about wines.
Due to a private initiative, Aruba is carefully taking its first steps into the world of winemaking with the introduction of “Adore Wines” by Mr. Luiz Videira Melatti, with locally grown grapes.
In terms of tourism development at lot went on during my 6 month absence, as you can image. This post is especially interesting for the repeat visitors to Aruba or just for the one who are curious by nature. I’m touching each project briefly just to get you up to speed. At a later time I will elaborate on the individual projects, including several pictures. Let’s get to it.
The construction at Alhambra Casino has been ongoing for the better part of the year. Currently work is being done at the main entrance which is on the east end. On top of the main entrance a dome is being build to give the casino entrance a grand appearance.
Construction at Ritz Carlton Aruba
On the eastern part a new section is being constructed, which seems to going to function as a storage room or staff area. The parking area is completely finished, including new asphalt pavement, desert landscaping and LED parking lights.
The shopping area that use to be there was razed to make place for a new, better organized shopping area. The retail section still needs months of construction. Only food retail business to remain open during construction is Subway restaurant.
Renovation at Tropicana Resort is ongoing, at a slow pace it seems. The old temporary banners with the resort titles made place for more permanent titles. Tropicana chose for a retro design using white letters on top circles with green background and gold trim for the second part of the resort name. The casino’s name is now Trop Casino. As of today the casino hasn’t resume business. The restaurant there is open for business. By the way I saw a couple of juicy deals on their website for the coming months. Have at it.
The island government has pushed for the construction of a linear park across the street from Talk of the Town Resort (this resort is located on the way to Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, just after the airport). The linear park is an open and accessible park for locals and visitors alike.
The first contours of the park are becoming visible and I must say that I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the first shapes of this park. I could see myself hanging out there with the family. The complete plan entails the largest linear park of the Caribbean connecting the park from Talk of the Town to the hotel area by the beaches.
Oasis is practically finished, with only a few more minor details that need some work. The way things are going I believe guests could be arriving weeks before year’s end. It really looks nice. I’ll have to tour the place to see the quality in the detail and finish.
Construction at Acqua Condo continues to be ongoing, but not without the well documented issues. This time the issue isn’t the construction itself, rather the fact that some buyers are complaining about getting a different unit than initially was agreed upon. Sigh… By the way, I read that on a forum.
I have always been a fan of Taste of Belgium and related restaurants. You should check them out. They have a great Facebook page with up to date pictures of the construction at Taste of Belgium Restaurant.
North of Marriott Resort, construction of Ritz Carlton continues without novelties. This luxury resort is expected to be delivered somewhere in 2013.
Construction at La Cabana continues. Big parts of the resort has been delivered, including the front facade and lobby. I think the renovation should help La Cabana fix issues it had recently due to the previous lack of maintenance.
These are just a couple of developments I covered, many more to come in the coming time. I’ve added some links for your convenience. Have a great week.
When Paseo Herencia commercial center opened three years ago in Palm Beach, club Mr. Jazz opened. This place was supposed to be become the go to place for people in their twenties, thirties and forties to go and have a good time. It never really took off, despite ownership changes.
A Dutch entrepreneur acquired the failed Mr Jazz project and vowed to change it into something this island has never seen before: Zissles. This is restaurant features the Dinner Show D’Licious.
Zissles Dinner Show D’Licious [image by aruba.com/Aruba Today]
D’Liscious has been well received thus far. From what I understand from the reviews and customer response, people love it. Maybe I should invite my wife to this show. Congratulations to the crew at Zissles.
Starbucks Coffee opened its second location in Aruba. It is in the downstairs lobby area of Renaissance Marina Hotel, adjacent to Renaissance Mall in down town Oranjestad. A year ago Starbucks opened its first location in Renaissance Market Place, not too away far from this location.
I’m surprised that Starbucks* decided to expand so soon in Aruba [FYI Starbucks doesn’t franchise*] After all Starbucks finalized a major restructuring in its business just over a year ago by closing down many locations across the United States and Australia. I’m guessing they’re are betting on oversees expansion with strong American customer presence.
New Starbucks at Renaissance Marina Hotel Aruba
Previously this location already sold coffee and breakfast, now it’s been slapped with a Starbucks logo and design. I’m sure sales will increase, as the location is terrific. There are several shops in the area and this is also the dock location for the shuttle boat to Renaissance’s own private island.
Hard Rock Cafe Aruba has been open for well over a year now at South Beach Centre in Palm Beach. It opened in a time proven to be rather difficult for the restaurant business in Aruba. Examples of this are the recent closures of some high profile restaurants such as Le Dome Restaurant, Ristaurante Italiano, Bella Luna, Rumba Restaurant and Le Petit Cafe (partially) among others.
Hard Rock is alive and kicking. At this point that is. In fact, Hard Rock is opening a “Rock Shop” in middle in town. I’m not sure what that is but I imagine it’s a retail store with Hard Rock merchandise. In below picture you can see the banner “Rock This Way” to remind tourists of its location in Palm Beach. This banner was put there since the inauguration in late 2008.
Rock Shop opening in Oranjestad
I think it’s a rather good move to open a “dependency” in town, especially in that heavily trafficked area with cruise ship passengers. Apart from that the all important brand expansion is crucial. Cruise ship season starts later this year in September. By opening there Hard Rock also helps offset the dominance of jewelry stores in that area. For the record, Aruba doesn’t produce any jewelry, it’s all imported.
NOTE: This article was written by guest writer Sonny Vallejos. She’s been coming to Aruba with her husband for 20 years and love it so much here they even purchased a condo.
While visiting Aruba this week with my son and his wife, we took them to a restaurant we have in all of these years never been. It was highly recommended for the food and service. The restaurant Old Fisherman was your typical Aruban restaurant with plenty of island ambiance but not over the top.
As we were seated all four of us were given menus. My daughter-in-law received one which showed the prices in florins while the rest of us were given menus showing the prices in U.S. dollars. We started comparing the prices. You know trying to convert the florins into U.S. dollars. While it just started out as a learning process of converting florins to dollars, we began to notice a huge discrepancy between the amount charged in florins and the amount in dollars. We then asked the waiter why there was a difference in the menu prices and had one or the other not been updated. The waiter replied that my daughter-in-law received the wrong menu. She was given by mistake the menu for the locals.
Old Fisherman in Oranjestad
Well, now we were furious. We have owned our own home here in Aruba for the past 5 years and a time share prior to that, so we have been considered “locals” by many vendors just by showing our deed. However, at the Old Fisherman’s if we didn’t have a “card” then we were not considered locals and would be charged the prices in U.S. dollars, which by the way was at least 10 to 15% more in price. After several conversations with the manager, Old Fisherman finally agreed to giving us the local’s price for this one time only.
While I do believe that the locals in Aruba should be given discounts in some areas I feel that we should all be charged the same to eat at a restaurant. Why should tourists be charged differently?