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Old Saturday, January 27th, 2007, 06:22 PM
JohnL JohnL is offline
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Join Date: May 6th, 2006
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Default Aruba Grand/RIU Aruba Palace January 2007 Update

Good Day Aruba Lovers:

Susan and I just returned from a week in beautiful Aruba on January 19, 2007. What a great time we had. There is much to report on the new RUI ARUBA PALACE, aka, Aruba Grand. First, I did not have the opportunity to meet with Richard and Debbie as I did not think it was necessary.

The construction is proceeding nicely, but it is unlikely to be done before December of 2007. They are now pouring the forms for a fourth building located in back of the familiar existing building. The two new buildings that are in various stages of construction are monstrous as you will see from the attached photo I took while taking a helicopter tour of the island. Seeing is believing and there is no way this project can be finished in July. I spoke to a number of individuals who either were taking part in and/or had knowledge of the construction process. Projected date of all phases to be complete is the end of December 2007. Total cost of the new construction is 120 million US dollars...WOW! While the RUI may be taking reservations for this property for July 2007, information is that they HOPE, and I repeat hope, to have the older existing building renovated and complete by July. Now whatever this means, I don't see it happening. I will tell you that there are 800 Dominicans working two 12 hour shifts to try to get the project completed. I saw no one working the existing building and MUCH needs to be done, especially in the area of the 10 condo timeshare units. The patios of these units are in rough shape; paint is peeling from the spiral staircases; dust is all over the place; outside lights have been removed; and I observed a few broken/replaced windows. I also observed lights on in a few of the units indicating usage.

An Aruban source has informed me that RIU intends to use this facility as a few day stop over for European cruise passengers and all inclusive vacations for residents of Spain and other Euro countries. No doubt they will have to fill the rooms and by the looks of things there will be MANY, MANY rooms. That translates to hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Where they put these folks on the beach is anyone's guess, but they seem to know what they are doing.

There is not much more to report. I did not have the opportunity to see any of the past employees of the Aruba Grand, but I do understand the employees allegedly received a very nice severance package.

I have many photos of the property. A Kodakgallery.com email invitation to view them may be necessary so if you cannot connect to the following link:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...id=0&ownerid=0

Send me a private email with your email address and I will send an invitation to you.

I purchased timeshares at the DIVI Phoenix pre-construction. They are building 140 units in 4 buildings in between the Phoenix Tower and the Wyndham property- NICE! I bought a 950 square foot large 1 BR unit on the 3rd floor for 4 weeks in the month of February. The Divi Phoenix beach will be completely made over. They have privacy and it will not be over crowded. I'm excited about it.

I do have concern about tourism in Aruba. The island was quiet while we were there for 9 days. No restaurant was full. Walk-ins were very much welcomed. For January, I was shocked. I stayed at Costa Linda, which is very nice. But the ocean in this area is rough and the currents are very strong. I did not see many older people in the water, except in the pool. Palm beach is much nicer, and was not crowded by any stretch of the imagination. Rumor has it that the Natalie Holloway matter is causing problems for Aruba tourism. I believe it. The airport was dead when we arrived and when we left. I hope things pick up.

Thank you all for viewing.

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John L
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