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Oct 20, 2011

Arubian Nights

A curated guide to 72 hours in Aruba

You have friends who never miss the Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba in late May - but you don’t do large crowds. Small and intimate with lots of fun and adventure in the sun is more your style. As the temperature starts to drop stateside, you’ve been bitten with wanderlust and are thinking about giving Aruba a try. Luckily you have a three-day weekend to spare – so here’s an Arubian itinerary that maximizes every minute.

Stay/Relax: A “hotel-within-a-hotel,” the Tradewinds Club, housed on the eighth floor of the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, has just 49 rooms and is only accessible via one elevator by Tradewinds Club guests. An adult-only indulgence, only those 18 and over are welcomed. Preferential treatment begins even before arrival. A Tradewinds Club staffer personally confirms reservation dates and airline info. Upon arrival at the hotel, bypass the general lobby check-in and head for the sanctuary upstairs.

Once settled into a luxurious ocean view room, enjoy perks like the five complimentary daily food servings, which includes Discovery Hour (featuring nibbles from the hotel’s many restaurants), in the private lounge. Evenings get especially bubbly with gratis alcoholic beverages. During the day, the private beach - where towels, floats and beach beds are also complimentary - make it easy to relax. Should extra assistance be needed, the Tradewinds Beach Cabin offers outdoor treatments from Mandara Spa.

Explore/Fun: Get familiar with the island on an Aruba Safari Jeep Adventure offered by De Palm Tours. Get picked up at the hotel and travel to Jeep heaven. By all means, take the wheel but do know that there is smooth terrain and there is rough terrain. Typically there are four per Jeep who alternate driving as the caravan follows the guide. Some sights include a visit to Alto Vista Chapel and Arikok National Park. Making it atop the hill is well-worth the effort as nature has certainly blessed Aruba. A modest lunch is even served but it’s the postcard-perfect view that will fill you up.

Lounge/Drink: Anchored by a giant palapa on a white sand beach right at the Caribbean Sea, Moomba Beach Bar & Grill is just a stroll away from your villa and even that sounds farther than it actually is. All are welcome morning, noon and night, proving that pleasing all the people all the time is so possible. Adult playtime is good all day but kicks up to epic proportions with the sunset happy hour during the week and live music on the weekends. “No shirts, no shoes, no problem” is official bar policy along with plentiful drinks. It’s a blueprint to chill that’s won raves the world over.

Eat/Romance: Get those pheromones pumping at the on-property pop-up beach restaurant Simply Fish. It’s where sand between your toes, softly lit palm trees, steady ocean breezes, freshly caught seafood and an extensive wine list are regular features. Grilled shrimp lemon grass kebabs and the seared scallop risotto are sea-happy sureshots. And the best thing of all, should romance require some overtime, you are already at the hotel.

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