Room Key: Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino
Address: J. E. Irausquin Blvd. 81, Palm Beach, Aruba
Phone: (297) 586-6555
Reservations: (800) 333-3333
No. of rooms: 353
General Manager: Gary Jutz
Room Rates: Vary by room category and time of year. Rack rates through March 31 start at $449 per room, per night, double; from April 1 to 15, from $429; from April 16 through Dec. 22, from $250. Packages and special promotions available.
Aruba's tourism officials have reason to
celebrate as the destination moves through the peak visitor season
with robust hotel occupancies, a high aircraft load factor, a 40%
repeat visitor rate and tourism investments that totaled more than
$230 million in 2006 alone.
Clearly, this is
a destination on the move, and the silhouettes of construction
cranes on the skylines of Palm Beach and Eagle Beach attest to
old axiom of "no building higher than a palm tree," which used to
set the construction tone in the Caribbean, now is as obsolete on
Aruba as it is on other islands.
hotels entered 2007 with numerous properties already enhanced and
upgraded and several more products due to come on line within the
The latest entry
is Spanish chain Sol Melia, which has purchased the former 153-room
Bushiri Beach Hotel. Sol Melia will raze that property and build a
450-room luxury resort.
The resort will
open in late 2008, marking Sol Melia's debut on Aruba.
Sol Melia will
offer a variety of meal plans for its guests rather than operating
strictly on the all-inclusive plan, according to Jorge Pesquera,
CEO of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association.
The arrival of
Sol Melia will bring to three the number of hotels in Aruba run by
These include the
all-inclusive Occidental Grand Aruba (the former Allegro Hotel),
which opened last May, and the 450-room Riu Aruba Grand, which is
under construction on the site of the former Aruba Grand and
scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year.
Spanish hotel chains on Aruba will not alter the hotel mix that
drastically, according to Pesquera.
"The addition of
the Spanish groups is fine because it adds mix to the overall
product and brings another element of tourism from Europe,
especially the two-week group," said Pesquera.
with Edison Briesen, minister of tourism and transportation, and
Myrna Jansen, managing director of the Aruba Tourism Authority,
summarized the destination's public and private sector projects at
last month's Caribbean Hotel Association's Marketplace event, which
was held in Aruba.
be completed on the first of three cruise terminals by March 1,
according to Briesen.
Bids are being
taken to rehab a second port facility later this year to ease cargo
congestion in Oranjestad. Construction will begin on a
multimillion-dollar waterfront development and a 48-acre marina
village late this year.
At Queen Beatrix
International Airport, the Aruba Airport Authority has already
installed a central security area, four elevators and the airport's
first private jet terminal.
The main runway
will be recapped later this year, according to Briesen.
secured Transportation Security Administration compliance status in
A $10 million
face-lift and upgrade program will begin in the second half of the
year on a 10-mile linear park from the airport into downtown
The park will
feature green areas and new jogging and walking zones.
Hotels that have
completed major renovations include Talk Of the Town Hotel &
Beach Club, the Westin Aruba (the former Wyndham property
reflagged as a Westin last December following a $24 million
upgrade), the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, the Hyatt
Regency Resort and Casino and the four Divi properties.
Aruba Resort & Casino opened its Larimar Spa last fall, the
Holiday Inn Aruba Resort and Casino currently is renovating the
third of its three guest room wings, the Bucuti Beach Resort added
its new Tara wing and the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris
Casino has embarked on a $40 million renovation project.
sector has reaffirmed its commitment to Aruba," Pesquera
described the current airlift picture as "strong," reported that
Delta will add a Sunday flight from New York (Kennedy) on Feb. 18
and that bookings on JetBlue's daily service (twice on Sundays)
from Kennedy are "helping boost winter occupancies."
A decline in room
inventory contributed to the 6% decline in stayover arrivals, to
630,000, in Aruba's visitor figures through November 2006 over the
same period in 2005.
"We had 8% less
room inventory because of the property renovations taking place,"
$3.7 million ad and promotion campaign, launched last October,
along with the commitment of its tourism industry partners, paints
a different picture this year. Forecasts call for a 6% jump in
tourist arrivals to bring the island back to the record levels of
totaled more than 591,000 passengers on 314 ship calls through
November, "our best year ever," according to Jansen.
predict that more than half a million passengers will arrive on 310
cruise calls in 2007, including eight ships that will make their
first calls ever in Aruba.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].