Expect the Extraordinary in this All-Season Luxury Caribbean Destination

While Aruba’s magnificent white sand beaches, turquoise waters and glossy resorts are reason enough to visit, in recent years there’s been a spate of luxury openings and renovations across the island that make this Dutch Caribbean island more alluring than ever. From lavish suites, sprawling villas and exceptional fine-dining experiences, Aruba’s newest crop of luxury options is drawing an increasingly discerning global audience.

Bathed by cooling trade winds and located outside the hurricane belt, Aruba’s reliably sunny skies also make it an ideal summer or fall Caribbean destination. Here’s what to look for when creating the ultimate Aruba luxury escape.

Dreamy Luxury Stays


Dushi Sue Villa is a new overwater villa in Savaneta
Credit Aruba Ocean Villas

Overnight in style at Aruba’s very first South Pacific style overwater bungalows. Tucked on a private beach in historic Savaneta, owner artist Oysth Henriques has launched the villa retreat of your dreams. This collection of luxury hideaways includes three eco-chic beach villas and three overwater bungalows featuring thatched palapa roofs, outdoor showers, wrap-around decks and original artwork. Surrounded by lapping waves, impressive ocean views and hammocks galore, you’ll be set to enjoy a cocktail or two.

In the heart of a quiet residential neighbourhood near Eagle Beach, Bubali Luxury Apartments is a new, adults-only addition to Aruba’s upscale lodging scene. Complementing its relaxed setting, each of the four contemporary suites come decked out with fully-equipped Euro-kitchens, serene master bedrooms plus sheltered private terraces. Spend your time lounging on the pool deck or relax on a beach lounger with cooler and beach toys (supplied in each apartment) at one of Aruba’s spectacular world-class beaches.

For the ultimate in 24-hour all-inclusive convenience (and the tranquility of a Spring Break no-party policy) is the Hotel Riu Palace Aruba featuring five restaurants and five bars plus two swimming pools on a prime stretch of Palm Beach with direct access to the beach, swimming and water sports. Nightly entertainment includes a glamorous onsite casino as well as live music and theatre shows. Opt for one of the spacious Jacuzzi Suites and you’ll experience loads of amenities such as a king-sized bed, lounge area with mini-bar, dressing room and breezy terrace with jaw-dropping ocean views.


Soak up panoramic views at the iconic Riu Palace Aruba
Credit Francisco Sanchez

Living large at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino means special offsite perks. This luxury resort features two settings, the family-friendly Renaissance Ocean Suites and adults-exclusive Renaissance Marina Hotel. Guests at either resort enjoy access (via complimentary water taxi) to Renaissance Aruba Private Island where you can chill out in one of the new private VIP cabanas, complete with an overwater hammock, sparkling wine and views of photogenic pink flamingos.

Planning a special event celebration or family getaway? Villa Royale Aruba, a private three-story villa perched in the hills overlooking the Noord region of Aruba is a posh stay that can accommodate up to 25 people in its eight modern bedrooms. Show off your culinary skills in the sleek kitchen or arrange for a private chef to cater a gourmet dinner in the formal dining room while you swim in the huge sparkling pool. The al fresco dining area features stellar views of Aruba’s coastline.

Exceptional Epicurean Experiences


Dine in a historic country home near Bubali Luxury Apartments
Credit Francisco Sanchez

A recent addition to Aruba’s culinary scene is Kukoo Kunuku’s new Wine on Down the Road tour, an evening outing that kicks off with a champagne toast and continues to four top restaurants for wine and tapas pairings. Perfect for wine novices or connoisseurs, culinary stops include an ever-evolving menu of restaurants such as White Modern Cuisine helmed by award-winning Chef Urvin Croes, who is blazing new culinary trails with dishes such as jerked Aruban Lamb Saco served with Johnny cake and Aruban potato salad.

Another memorable must-do for food fans is spending an evening in bed — a very swanky party-sized South Beach-style bed — at Screaming Eagle Restaurant-Lounge, a sumptuous venue where you can nosh on French cuisine crafted by Caribbean Chef of the year Erwin Husken. Expertly prepared seafood is a highlight of dining here. This is your opportunity to sample the catch of the day such as the local yellow-edged grouper.


Live jazz music at Atardi Restaurant
Credit Francisco Sanchez

More exceptional seafood awaits at Gilligan’s Seafood Shack at the Hilton Aruba. The new menu created by acclaimed Executive Chef Matt Boland has transformed this outdoor eatery on a lively stretch of Palm Beach. The best way to appreciate the menu’s dedication to freshness and flair is to go with a crowd of friends and share dishes such as the Millionaire’s Lobster Roll (succulent lobster and crab tucked inside a perfectly toasted brioche), coconut shrimp with sweet mango sauce or the addictive lobster, crab and corn fritters with citrus-chili sauce. Wash it down with a chilled Balashi beer, a local brew that’s one of the world’s few beers made with desalinated seawater.

For evenings, a fine-dining option for classic Dutch cuisine is the historic Quinta Del Carmen restaurant, located within a 100-year old country-style mansion. Evenings are ideal for dining al fresco within the leafy courtyard, on traditional Dutch dishes such as cheese croquettes and Sucadelappen (braised beef in red wine).


Enjoy dinner during a luxury sunset cruise aboard the Montforte III

No trip to Aruba would be complete without waterfront dining. Dinner at Atardi Restaurant set on the powder-soft sand of Palm Beach at the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino is a high-end yet relaxed experience complete with torchlight, live music and spectacular views. The macadamia-crusted grouper (with its creamy red curry sauce) and Surf & Turf are must-orders.

The sunsets are spectacular and menu inspired on the magical new sunset dinner cruise offered by Monforte Luxury Cruise. You’ll glide along Aruba’s shoreline in a gleaming teak schooner while sipping hand-crafted cocktails and dining on a four-course menu featuring popcorn garnished ceviche, fresh salad, beef tenderloin and indulgent desserts. Frolicking dolphins, seabirds and live music add to the unforgettable ambiance of this elegant evening.


New VIP Cabanas at Renaissance Private Island
Credit Francisco Sanchez

With so much to choose from when planning a luxury escape to Aruba, count on First Class Experience Aruba for assistance. This new VIP service includes personalized airport welcome (or departure), fast-track escort through immigration, luggage handling and access to the private Aruba Airport VIP lounge as well as customized itineraries with exclusive private shopping, spa and fitness or other tailor-made activities.

Michele Peterson is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in food, drink and sun destinations. Her work has appeared in major magazines, guidebooks and travel anthologies. Get travel tips, discounts and recipes on her A Taste for Travel blog and via Twitter/Instagram @atastefortravel.

Travel Planner

Aruba Tourism Authority: Get maps, travel advice and other valuable resources on the official tourism website. www.aruba.com

Hotel Riu Palace Aruba: www.riu.com


Flamingos at Renaissance Aruba Private Island
Credit Michele Peterson

Bubali Luxury Apartments: www.bubaliluxuryapartments.com 

Quinta Del Carmen Restaurant: www.quintadelcarmen.com

Atardi at Aruba Marriott:

Aruba Ocean Villas:

Monforte Luxury Cruise:

First-Class Aruba:

Villa Royale Aruba:

Screaming Eagle Restaurant-Lounge: www.screaming-eagle.net

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