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Since the Beach Boys opened their 1988 hit ‘Kokomo’ with mention of this tiny Caribbean island, Aruba has become a significant hotspot, attracting visitors from all over the world with the promise of an idyllic holiday. Though attractions like lava formations, historic gold mining smelting stations, and natural rock bridges provide worthy distractions and enviable photo opportunities, most visitors come to enjoy the expansive sandy beaches, warm tropical climate, and crystal-clear waters.
Aruba's waters are home to spectacular coral reefs and shipwrecks to be explored while snorkeling and scuba diving. There are plenty of deep sea and sport fishing opportunities, and water sports such as windsurfing, jet skiing, and kayaking. On land, visitors can explore the island cycling along scenic coastal trails or go further afield on off-road 4x4 tours. Freshly caught seafood can be enjoyed at numerous local restaurants, as well as more exotic dishes. Although accommodations range from boutique hideaways to large international hotels, all-inclusive resorts have emerged as a popular worry-free vacation option. Here, our absolute favorite all-inclusives in Aruba.
Best Overall: Tamarijn Aruba
With private, two-story beach villas facing directly onto the beach, the Tamarijn Aruba offers uninterrupted ocean views and unbeatable access to the sand. Although also appealing to couples and groups, this property is a great place for families, with children under 12 staying and eating for free. There are a ton of family-friendly activities such as a rock-climbing tower on the beach, a games room with pool and table tennis, and access to water sports equipment.
Five on-site restaurants, as well as five more at the nearby Divi Aruba, provide an excellent diversity of dining options, from hibachi-style dining on the ocean-view alfresco terrace of Palm Grill to the classy and sophisticated Paparazzi restaurant lounge and the modern and stylish Ginger, Asian Flavors restaurant serving up exciting Asian fusion cuisine. The poolside Pizza Per Tutti serves hot pizza and cold cocktails, while the Bunker Bar is a casual thatched beach hut set out over the water. The Coconuts Bar has a scenic second-floor terrace perfect for sunset libations. Once the sun has dipped below the horizon, a nightly schedule of themed dance and music shows entertains guests with salsa dancing, fire shows, and live jazz and reggae bands.
Best Budget: Holiday Inn Resort Aruba
At the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba, guestrooms are furnished in a clean, modern manner, with soft beige and white color schemes and minimalist décor. Large floor-to-ceiling windows open onto private furnished balconies, some with superb views over the beach and ocean. Three separate zones provide a range of experiences, with the Peace & Harmony zone radiating a calm and tranquil environment where guests can relax and enjoy yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi classes. The Action & Play zone has the main pools and fun-filled family activities, while the Chill & Mingle area is a more adult-friendly zone with a relaxed vibe and a full-service spa with a Jacuzzi hot tub.
Resort activities include tennis courts, ping pong tables, cycling, and snorkeling. Restaurants and bars include the beachside Sea Breeze, which serves juicy grilled meat cuts, fresh seafood, and refreshing cocktails. Traditional Italian fare can be found in the elegant dining space of Da Vinci Ristorante and casual beef and chicken burgers can be enjoyed on an outdoor terrace at the Oceanside Bar & Grill. The relaxed Palm Bar stocks an impressive range of rums and wines, while the Excelsior casino offers guests the opportunity to try their luck at blackjack, craps, and poker.
Best Boutique: Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort
Just a short stroll from the gleaming white sands of Eagle Beach, the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort is a relaxed boutique hotel with a stylish European air, but with all the services expected in a leading resort. Housed in a Dutch colonial-style building of warm yellow walls, brick courtyards, white balustrades, and a red terracotta-tiled roof, rooms and suites come with stylish wooden furnishings and vibrant tropical color schemes. Each room features a full kitchen and bathroom, with the more upmarket rooms offering Jacuzzi tubs and private terraces with a pool.
Outside, a waterfall trickles into a freshwater swimming pool, surrounded by pool loungers and a nearby children's pool. The chairs and tables situated directly on the beach sands make the Passions restaurant an intimate and unforgettable place to dine, while Mangos Restaurant provides themed cuisine influenced by French, Asian, and Italian flavors. As well as three daily meals at the resort restaurants and unlimited premium drinks and cocktails, the all-inclusive option offers a weekly meal at an off-site restaurant, an invitation to the manager’s cocktail party, and unlimited use of the property's floats, snorkels, and mountain bikes.
Best for Families: Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort
Centered around a stunning free-form infinity pool and located in the heart of a deluxe 9-hole golf course, the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort is the ultimate Aruba resort for vacationing families. There's a huge range of activities available on the nearby private beach, including a rock-climbing wall, beach volleyball court, and water sports equipment such as kayaks, snorkels, and rafts. Other activity services include tennis courts and bicycles for exploring the local area.
While parents are relaxing with therapeutic massages and rejuvenating facial treatments in the full-service spa or playing a round of golf, kids can be entertained in the video game room or in supervised activities at the nearby Tamarijn Aruba. The spacious suites and villas can accommodate up to six guests, and come with flat-screen TVs, private balconies, and tropical-style décor. The resort offers extremely reasonable deals for families staying on the all-inclusive packages. Kids under five stay and eat for free, and heavy discounts on rates are given for kids ages 6 to 17.
Best for Romance: Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa
With only 72 rooms and a locale on coveted Eagle Beach, the boutique Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa is a breath of fresh air compared to the crowded mega-resorts lining the same shared stretch of sand. The open-air lobby and spacious grounds have definite South East Asian influence, with trickling waterfalls, statuary, and koi ponds. Luxurious modern rooms contain cherry wood furnishings, marble bathrooms with walk-in rainfall showers, and private furnished patios.
The open-air Spa de Sol is located directly on the beach and is inspired by Balinese traditions, from the wood-and-thatch structure featuring intricate hand-carved reliefs to the hot stone and shiatsu massages, seaweed facials, Balinese body scrubs, and fish massages. Four restaurants provide a variety of dining experiences, from alfresco poolside dining on Mediterranean seafood at Ike’s Bistro to the succulent meats and tender fish dishes accompanied by gentle piano tunes at the sophisticated Chophouse. The Omakase Sushi Bar serves traditional Japanese cuisine, while the casual Pega Pega Beach Bar & Grill delivers tropical drinks and dishes such as fresh-caught fish, fruit smoothies, and rum cocktails.
Best for Luxury: Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
While the upscale Renaissance Aruba is located in the heart of downtown Oranjestad, guests can still enjoy a tranquil island experience with exclusive access to the resort’s private island. Just a short ferry ride away from downtown's restaurants, shops, and bars, the secluded isle is all white sandy beaches and flamingo-filled lagoons. Upon returning to the hotel complex, guests can luxuriate in stylish modern rooms in soothing cream and blue color schemes, with private balconies presenting ocean or garden views. Guests can choose to stay in separate family-friendly or adults-only sections of the property.
Three pools on the property include two large free-form pools with swim-up bars and a dramatic rooftop infinity pool. The Okeanos Spa provides a full set of exclusive services, such as aloe or black caviar facial treatments, Swedish, aromatherapy, hot stone and shiatsu massages, and chocolate body wraps. Dining options include meat and seafood dishes paired with an extensive selection of wines at L.G. Smith's Steak & Chop House, exotic Caribbean cuisine at the casual Aquarius restaurant, and wood-fired pizzas and American gastropub fare at the beachside Papagayo Bar & Grill.
Best for Singles: Divi Aruba Beach Resort
Partnered with the nearby Tamarijn Aruba resort, the Divi Aruba Beach Resort is a more adult-orientated option that caters to a young, fun-loving crowd. Guest suites come with modern comforts such as Nespresso coffee machines and LED TVs, and most also offer spacious furnished balconies with ocean views. Water sports such as kayaking and snorkeling are available on the private beach area and additional services and amenities include the links and putting greens at the nearby Divi Aruba golf course, the gaming tables and slot machines of the Alhambra Casino, and massage and facial treatments at the Indulgence by the Sea day spa.
A variety of alfresco bars serving beers, cocktails, wines, and spirits are scattered around the resort. As for dining, the Coco Grill & Bar serves fresh pizza under a stylish wooden pagoda; the oceanfront Sandpiper Bar doles out classic American snacks on a scenic wooden veranda; the sophisticated Red Parrot restaurant does fine dining; the Pelican Terrace serves up Caribbean-inspired dishes, and Pure Lime offers authentic Mexican dishes. The Pelican Bar and Poolside Bar provide beverages for guests lazing around the gently curving freshwater pools, and more bars are available at Tamarijn if Divi's options somehow aren't enough.
Best on Palm Beach: Hotel Rui Palace Aruba
Although the majority of Aruba all-inclusives are clustered along the undoubtedly beautiful sands of Eagle Beach, the Hotel Rui Palace Aruba offers an equally unforgettable holiday destination for visitors willing to look further afield. Facing over the spacious sands of Palm Beach and with plentiful dining and nightlife options in the nearby area, the hotel features a range of amenities that cater mainly to singles and couples, although the infant's pool, children’s playground, and kids' club do make this property suitable for young families.
There are two main hotel pools, including one with a swim-up bar, in-pool sun lounges, and an adjacent whirlpool bath. The large fitness center contains weights and modern aerobic and cardio equipment, while the relaxing Renova Spa offers massages, facial and body treatments, and hairdressing and beauty services. Five restaurants present a range of cuisine from steakhouse cuts to Japanese and Italian dishes. Several bars include an open-air poolside bar, the eclectic lobby bar with extravagant décor and an ice-cream counter, and a sports bar lined with prints of famous athletes and serving typical American pub grub. There's also a bar in the reasonably-sized casino, but drinks here are not included in the all-inclusive rate.
Best Beachfront: Barceló Aruba
Facing onto a spacious and relatively quiet stretch of Palm Beach, the Barceló Aruba offers a superb beachfront experience. That means plentiful sun lounges, sun shades, and hammocks, and impeccable beach bar service. There are also a wide variety of water sports available, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, snorkeling, and diving. In the Royal Level guest suites, the antique wooden furnishings and understated artworks achieve a level of traditional style seldom encountered in nearby all-inclusive resorts, and the furnished balconies provide spectacular ocean views.
Outdoors, the impressive free-form pool contains islands, hot tubs, rock features, and waterfalls, as well as a swim-up bar, and is lined with palm trees, pool lounges, and private cabanas. There are also two floodlit tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, and a well-equipped gym. Six restaurants include the international buffet at The Palm, authentic Asian cuisine at Kyoto, and Caribbean fusion seafood at the beachfront Aruban Seafood. As well as the poolside Splash Bar, the slick and stylish lobby bar contains moody blue lighting, pool tables, and live music performances. The recently refurbished casino contains card and roulette tables, slot machines, and themed shows including Circaribe, Explosión Latina, and Grease.