A posh paradise on Aruba’s Palm Beach
320 Rooms / 55 Suites
When the massive, multi-tiered saffron-colored The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba completed construction in 2013 — where the tiny shacks of local fishermen once stood — it forever changed Aruba’s famous Palm Beach landscape. Now creating a formidable bookend on the posh white-sand beach, the hotel provides the island with an upscale alternative that’s especially well equipped to cater to families and very large groups. In fact, this hotel boasts the largest meeting spaces in all of Aruba.
The hotel’s exterior attempts to blend in with the island’s Dutch-colonial-style design roots; however, once you set foot inside the impressively grand lobby, it’s all typical Ritz-Carlton glam. There are two stories of window walls looking out onto the Caribbean and hallways of high-end shops.
The lobby’s bar, Divi, has a surprisingly good sushi bar and an outdoor terrace, which has become a favored spot to watch sunsets for both locals and visitors. No doubt the complimentary signature sunset cocktail handed out to each and every person who is present during the sundown worked to increase this spot’s appeal.
Accommodations range from limited sea-view standards to massive one-bedroom oceanfront affairs replete with outside showers and private decks. But the all-suite Club Level floor is where you’ll want to book a room if you can. This elite level takes up the entire seventh floor and includes a comprehensive lounge offering an eclectic choice of quality food and drink five times daily, a dedicated concierge, a business center and stunning sea views from its dining areas.
All guest rooms provide amenities on par with the Ritz-Carlton brand (signature linens, 46-inch flat-screens, marble baths, Asprey bath products) and are decorated with bright accents in tropical colors, such as sea aqua and lemon yellow.
And you won’t have to worry about outdoor space — every room comes with its own private balcony with views (some better than others) of the sea.
Though the spa is the largest on the island — some 15,000 square feet with 13 treatment rooms and its own indoor water circuit — it never seems impersonal due to its intimate-feeling design and warm, engaging staff.
The signature treatments revolve around the traditional elements — earth, water, fire and sky — and incorporate locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Not to be missed? The unique Zoya Hamaca experience, which involves a massage, a hammock and sea breezes.
A large, modern fitness center with daily fitness classes (yoga, Zumba, tai chi) rounds out the health and wellness offerings.
Breakfast and dinner can be had in the main dining room, Solanio. This is an Italian-influenced indoor/outdoor emporium with an open kitchen. Madero Latin Grill is the poolside option where you’ll find lighter pool bar fare and cocktails to match.
An outpost of BLT Steak is where to head for dinner when you really want a well-prepared piece of meat or traditional bistro cuisine — it’s an elegant but relaxed space and it also has a bar the whips up killer cocktails. Private romantic dinners on the beach can also be arranged if requested 48 hours in advance.
There are two pools, one adult-only. The beachfront is so expansive that some attendants ride Segways to better serve guests. Cabana rental with food and beverage service is available at both the pool and the beach, and a private pier walkway off in the mangroves makes an ideal location for a destination wedding.
There’s also the option for families to send their children to the Ritz Kids Club, should they ever tire of the pool and beach — many of their fun and interactive activities are curated directly from Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures program.
For nightlife, the glitzy 15,000-square-foot casino with table games, modern slots and sports betting invites gamers to get in on the action. You can’t miss the live music in the Divi lobby lounge right outside its door.