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Old Monday, January 24th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Long awaited report of Club Arias and Aruba Clay

what a great report nancy!

so glad you liked arias and that you found that clay. so sorry that the weather was nasty. we all know that isn't the norm and affected many people over the last several months. maybe you can plan another trip using bad weather on this one as an excuse?



Quote:
Originally Posted by aaahruba View Post
Yes, I promised this review and yes, it is waaaaaay overdue. We were there late Sept. - October and honestly I'm always a little behind when we return and a little depressed that I have to go back to 'regular' life. But after 4 months, I've recovered enough to give my review LOL.

Our regular timeshare is at Divi Dutch Village and we needed one more night as our flight was leaving Sunday instead of Saturday (darn!). Club Arias was suggested here so we gave them a call. Arias was super accommodating and suggested we might visit ahead of time and try their 'pasta night' which their chef, Gabriel, was hosting.

Indeed, we went to 'Pasta night' and there was a choice of pastas and sauces - Gabriel suggested mixing all three which I had my doubts about, but it was actually very tasty. We toured the grounds, although it was a bit dark at the time, it was a nice preview of what would be to come and we made the reservation.

To start, the trip was VERY wet and rainy. More than we've ever experienced in 20 years of traveling back and forth to Aruba - also quite cool, especially on the north side of the island. We drove from the airport to the grocery stores on our first day in a downpour with flooding everywhere. This was taken looking out the windshield
http://www.gallagherpottery.com/aruba/photo1.jpg

We had some sunny days, but the majority of the days were overcast and or rainy and we saw 2 sunsets the entire trip.

Getting back to Club Arias. Easy to find on the main drag just outside the town of Savaneta, it has secure parking on site and a very interesting entrance. You feel kind of like a caveman and enter huge boulder walls and 'caves' that are lit well with piped in music to enter the resort. Although on the main road, inside the resort is really very quiet and peaceful.

Apparently Arias forgot our reservation and booked all the rooms, however, after realizing the mistake, made up for it by offering us a HUGE 2 bedroom suite (much larger than the small room we reserved) for the same price that could have slept 6 people instead of 2. The room was lovely, very clean and decorated (as is the resort) with decorative murals painted by Arias' mother. The rooms are very private, each with it's own outside entrance opening to one of the pools. There was a large swimming pool and also a fantastic shallow lounging pool with a tall waterfall made of the same boulders that were in the entrance way. There was a swim up 'bar' at this pool but the bar itself was not a functional bar. There were built in lounge chairs in this pool and it was a very nice setting. Arias had beach chairs, recreational equipment, coolers and anything else you might need for a trip to the beach. The beach/pool towels supplied in each room were thick and luxurious with the arias logo embossed on them. The beds were super comfortable. There are colorful painted standing coolers of Lemonade or Ice Tea on the grounds and offered at all times throughout the day. The sitting areas and gardens are lovely.

My only caveat (and I am picky) was the lack of hot water in the rooms. Arias explained that this was actually quite common on the island and very expensive to implement. Normally this would NOT be a problem as the sun warms the water enough to have a reasonably warm shower, however, due to the weather we experienced while we were there, the shower water was actually quite cool - too cold for me - and I opted to use the outdoor shower which did have hot water. This is really a room rather than a shower with plenty of room to change in and hang your clothing. I would like maybe to see some complimentary robes in the room as you need to put clothes on to walk across the pool area to the shower, then change again into clean clothes once you shower. But like I said - I'm picky It was a little disconcerting when the helicopter tour flew overhead but hey, they don't know who I am

The resort is located quite near Mangel Halto and is perfect for snorkelers. We opted to drive to Baby Beach for our snorkeling trip and the snorkeling was magnificent as usual. If you stay here, a car is a must - there are many great restaurants nearby, but you will need a car. Tracy the manager was a sweetheart and a local girl and can recommend the best places for just about anything and will give you great directions on getting there.

Before leaving, we were able to enjoy a nice Sunday brunch with scrambled eggs, silver dollar pancakes, bagels and fruit. Very tasty and Arias and his family did a super job in making us feel at home.

Overall we enjoyed our quick stay very much there. I would absolutely stay there again, although I do love our regular timeshare in that I can wake up with my coffee on the beach. I may miss that as I'm a beach girl at heart!

As to Aruba clay, since I am a potter, I posted one time on the forums a while back asking if there was any 'natural' clay on the island. A few people gave me spots to try and although we looked everywhere, I did not see any clay to be found. Well this trip, it was exceedingly wet, and we were driving out near Boca Prins in the hills and all of the sudden, I yelled, "Stop! That looks like clay!" In the runoff in front of us on the road, was a yellow/red pool of what looked sure as shootin' like clay to me. We got out of the car and I examined the side of the hill and with a rock, chiseled out 2 scuba masks full of Aruba dirt (that's all I had in the car to hold the soil). Yes, I realize you are not supposed to do this, and yes, I know you are DEFINITELY not supposed to take soil back to the US...however, it was only 2 handfuls of dirt and I was going to plead ignorance to the custom agents telling them it was clay - not soil.

So anyway, I put it in a little plastic bag when I got back to the timeshare, packed it in my suitcase (it kind of looked like dog poo) and no one said anything and no one was the wiser. I took it home, screened it, extracted the clay and put a little test cone in my kiln. It fired up great and I made a little mini bowl (that could hold a quarter) with the rest and plan on firing it off with my next kiln load! So yes, you can make a living being a potter on the island I will post a photo of my little mini bowl with authentic Aruba clay once it is done. I am so pleased with it.

Nancy
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