I have been there before with my wife and we have enjoyed every time we've gone. What a lot of people don't know is that the location of the Holiday Inn is perfectly situated amongst the High rise hotels. The Paseo Harencia Mall which is only several years old opened up right across the street from the hotel. This Mall offers plenty of things to do. Many restaurants to choose from, Brand new Movie theater, plenty shops to shop and nightly shows. The energy here at night along the strip which begins in front of the Holiday Inn is great at night time. Basically, a lot things revolve around this area without having to travel very far or cost you too much since you can walk around this area exploring.
The hotel itself has been recently renovated and it's looks very nice and inviting. The beach right behind the hotel is very cozy and convenient. Plenty of water activities to choose from or just good old fashioned rest and relaxation is available too. Like every where else you visit for the first time there's always a learning curve trying to figure out where to g0, what to eat, how to save money and discover hidden treasures in a short period of time. If you get a chance I would recommend checking out arubatriptips for pretty informative tips that might enhance your vacation stay, especially around the Holiday Inn and the High rise hotels. I found it very helpful.
Whatever you do make sure to use sunblock w/ an SPF of 45 or up from a brand name product. DO NOT FOOL AROUND WITH THE SUN. It can be pretty windy down there at times which makes it very deceptive, when the sun can burn you very Quickly. Anyhow, have a great time there. The staff in the hotel were very friendly like the people generally on the island.
Right on the beach lots of room at the pool, the meals where excellent we could not fault this hotel. The weather was very hot, late 90,s with trade winds to make if feel bearable, would go back in a heart beat.
The Holiday Inn Sunspree is situated in an area known as the High Rise hotels on Palm Beach, Aruba. There is also an area of Palm Beach known as the low rise which is situated a little further along the baech towards the islands capital Oranjestad.
The Holiday Inn Resort is one of the larger, if not the largest, on Aruba and consists of 3 towers each named after the Netherland Antilles ABC islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We were located in the Bonaire tower and by and large 90% of the rooms seem to have an ocean view of some sort.
The hotel was spotless and staff were very friendly but not personal given the size of the resort. The rooms were immaculate and carpeted (unusual for a beach resort) with all mod cons and fantastic air conditioning units. I would say they were the usual good standard HI rooms, very well equipped but by no means palatial.
There was a casino on site for those who wished to cast off their paycheques and at least 5 bars situated in the casino, main restaurant, buffet restaurant by the pool, beach and reception. The hotel ran both room only and all inclusive rates. We opted for room only because we wanted to get out and about and try the different types of food the island had to offer. Given the high price of almost everything on Aruba, particularly alcohol (Bud/Local Beer £2.80 - £3.50 per bottle), we were not sure this was the best option but it did give us some freedom.
As most of the restaurants are situated in Oranjestad, some 15 minutes by regular bus, eating out could have become a drag although in the vicinty of the hotel there were a few dining establishments worth checking out particularly the excellent and very reasonable Tony Romas situated across the road. There were all the usual US type stores for fast food in the vicinity also, Dunkin Donuts, TCBY, Subway etc. We ate in the hotel main restaurant just once on our trip but the food was good enough to merit another try.
The beach at the hotel was absolutely stunning (world renowned apparently????) and was safe for children and adults (like myself who fear the deep in case of sharks). The beach stretched almost all the way from here past Eagle Beach to Oranjestad and was well worth an early morning stroll. When I say early morning, i mean it, if you wanted a parasol on the beach you had to rise at 6.30am and wait for the guards to unchain the loungers etc. I know we all say odd things about our mullet/moustache sporting western european colleagues and their 'Midnight towel tossing on the lounger' shenanigans but the Americans were every bit as bad.
The Island, although considered the Dutch Carribean (one windmill and direct flights from Amsterdam was all I could relate to), is very Americanised therefore standards are high in all aspects of tourism. It is well worth renting a 4X4 jeep to tour around the island which is very barren away from the Carribean coast. There are lots of cactus, boulders and lizards that give you the impression you are in a spaghetti western.
Finally, I wouldn't recommend the island to anyone on a tight budget as most people, including the free spending Americans, were all moaning about the prices, particularly beer. However, If you could get a good all inclusive deal or not need to worry about cash then it would ideal. It is a little different from other Caribbean islands and and of course the beaches are beautiful.
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