I just arrived at the Hilton Aruba a few days ago and wanted to share my initial thoughts. This is my second time at the property, with the first time prior to it changing ownership when it was still the Radisson Aruba. Overall, I wouldn’t know a difference. The resort is almost 99% the same with the same amenities and same service.
Here are my quick thoughts:
- Overall service is the same. I haven’t seen a difference in maid service, restaurant service, front desk service, etc. I personally think the service is fine, but if you are used to the Four Seasons you probably wouldn’t be pleased with the service at this hotel. At the pool and the beach they will come around and take your food and drink order which is nice. I personally haven’t used the concierge desk, so I cannot comment on whether or not they are helpful. And maid service came mid-day and even cleaned up/folded the stuff in my daughters pack-n-play.
- Internet is awful! I cannot remember if that is a change from last year, but I do not recall having the same issues. In-room service is in and out constantly so I wouldn’t plan on getting a ton of work done.
- The palapas reservation system is the same. Palapas are shaded huts on the beach with lounge chairs. Palapas are free and available to reserve at 4pm the prior day. Although if you want to guarantee availability or one right in front of the ocean, you can pay and reserve ahead of time.
- Happy Hour at Gilligan’s restaurant is still 50% off select drinks between 4-6pm everyday.
- They are still offering kids eat free although no where do I see it advertised. All kids under the age of 12 eat free with a paid adult meal. I am not sure if this is at all onsite restaurants or just Gilligan’s. The kids means are also generous portions (I think the same size as an adult meal), so we are able to order an adult meal and a kids meal to feel my family of three during lunch time and save some money. My daughter is only 2 so not eating an entire meal herself.
- They’ve painted the exterior white which makes the resort look a little nicer.
- I do not believe they’ve changed one thing to the rooms. While some of the rooms are small, I personally do not care. I am hardly in the room and outside the entire day.
- They now have a coffee place in the lobby which offers coffee and pastries. Perfect for those looking for a quick on the go breakfast.
The major difference is how they are honoring status. Now that it is a Hilton hotel, Club Carlson status no longer plays a role. It also seems like a month or so ago they changed the way they are honoring Hilton status (although it might depend on who you get at check-in). They are NOT honoring Hilton Gold or Diamond status IF you booked prior to the change of ownership with Club Carlson. HOWEVER, if you let them know that you were previously told that they’d honor your Hilton membership, they will do so. This did require the manager Nelson to come over and approve it though.
While they never checked the email I printed out that said they’d honor my benefits, I did bring it just in case. All I said is that I emailed the hotel this past summer after ownership changed and was told all benefits would be honored. This includes continental breakfast for those with Gold status and executive lounge for those with Diamond status. And the executive lounge is AWESOME!
Overall, I really enjoy this hotel and that is why I came back again for the second time. However, with the number of Hilton points it now requires I’ll probably be hesitant to stay here on points vs. some of the other chain hotels (Hyatt and Marriott). I’ll be sure to write a more detailed post of this hotel after my week vacation (and when I have better internet)!
Let me know if you have any questions!