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Old Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Jimmy B Jimmy B is offline
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Join Date: January 31st, 2010
Location: Michigan
Age: 50
Posts: 14
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Post Feb 2010 Marriott Surf Club - Report

Feb 2010 Aruba Trip Report

We arrived at the Aruba airport on Saturday around 1pm. Bully was there (he is so easy to pick out of the crowd) waiting for us and he loaded our suitcases into his Taxi. Very comfortable taxi ride ! More on Bully laterÖ

Marriott Surf Club (1/30 Ė 2/7)
We stayed in a 2 bedroom corner unit in the Compass Tower (main building) on the 10th floor overlooking the pool. This was a perfect room layout and great location. The kids loved looking down at the pool each morning and the views of the sunset were incredible. It was nice having a DVD player in the living room for the kidís movies and a TV in each room. Internet access (LAN) was also available for free in our room, however the connection wasnít always reliable and was down several days. I could have taken my laptop down to the lobby or pool area for free wifi, but never got around to it.

My wife took on the chair tagging duty and was down at the pool every morning between 7-8am to tag a few chairs for us. Most of the time we were able to get our favorite spot, but it did take some moving of chairs and squeezing an extra chair in here and there. Iím still undecided if the chair tagging system is actually beneficial or not? We saw several chairs that were tagged and sat empty for more than 2hrs (the max allowed) and were not made available. There were also a few fights over chairs that took security intervention to resolve.

Ate at the poolside bar (Captains Galley) the first day and learned quickly that this was extremely overpriced. Kids each ordered a $10 hot dog and the total bill was $93 for the 5 of us. Needless to say, we didnít eat there the rest of the trip. We did buy groceries the next day at Ling & Sons (very nice store) and were able to buy most of the kidís favorite foods.

We did buy the $13 tubes down at the lobby store and the kids spent a lot of time in the lazy river. The tubes did seem a bit overpriced, but finding tubes in the middle of winter in Michigan isnít easy. We ended up deflating them and taking them home with us.

Overall, the kids really enjoyed the Surf Club. It was far more kid friendly than our previous stays with the Radisson. The size of the room, location near the new mall, and activities for kids were the main reasons we will return here in the future.

This is one of the main reasons we love Aruba so much. We enjoy having so many good restaurant selections and never opt for the all-inclusive environment. During our stay we dined at Madame Janette (2 times), The Flying Fishbone, Casa Tua, Gianniís, Marandi and Amici (2 times for breakfast). Our new favorite place is definitely Marandi ! The atmosphere, food, service and location right on the water are all incredible. We will be making this one of our stops on the trip next year. Probably wonít go back to Gianniís, food and service were average and the place is overcrowded.

One thing we did notice this trip is that the portion sizes at most restaurants seem to be increasing rather significantly. In a way, it is sad to see the American influence all over the island and a big turn-off for us. My wife and I are not big eaters (or big people) and the amount of food served at most places is enough for two people. I would much rather see the prices reduced and portion sizes maintained to one serving, but that is just me.

Car Rental
We booked a car over the internet from Royal ahead of time. The price was good ($222 for 3 days) for an SUV, but the car itself was a piece of junk. The vehicle would shake when going over 40mph, brakes were soft, A/C didnít work and the alignment was shot. I guess it didnít break down and it did get us to our destinations, so I tried not to let this bother me too bad. Seems like most car rental places on the island are hanging onto older inventory. Might be worth it next time to investigate some other rental places.

We emailed Bully ahead of time and told him our flight information and lodging arrangements. For those that donít know Bully, he is probably one of the friendliest Arubanís you will ever meet on the Island. He knows everybody and everybody knows him !
When Bully picked us up, he had his son with him in the front seat and it was so neat to see how he just adores him. Bullyís son is a ďspecialĒ child and you can tell he loves being with his dad when he works on the weekends.
Bully is well known for his promptness and in fact was early every time we used his services. For our family, travelling with small children, it is very nice to know that Bully was always there for us. His brother-in-law drove us back to the airport and was extremely polite, what a great company !! We will be using Bullyís services EVERY time we go back to Aruba.

Overall, another great trip to Aruba !! The weather was terrific as always and the Surf Club was a hit. We felt very safe on the island and walking around the new mall area at night with a 5yr old and a 2yr old was no problem.

Warning: Many people have mentioned on this forum and other forums a certain group of people ďtaking overĒ the Marriott during the month of January. We did encounter this group for a couple days at the beginning of our stay. For the most part we totally agree with the general consensus that this group of people were extremely rude, unfriendly and let their children run wild. Why this isÖ I have no idea. The place took on an entirely new identity once they left and even the staff seemed to become nicer (or relieved). Even our favorite lounge singer (Tony) mentioned a couple times in his act how the crowd was much more friendly once this group left.

I canít wait to go back next year, but I will always make sure that we schedule around this particular group of New Yorkers.

So long for nowÖ

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