Set on Aruba’s renowned Palm Beach, the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is an inviting escape to soak up the sun, splash in the sea, and enjoy a breather from the stresses of everyday life. When I visited a couple of months ago, I found myself instantly transported to a picturesque tropical getaway with palm trees swaying in the wind. It didn’t take long for me to make my way to the beach so I could kick off my shoes, bury my feet in the sand, and enjoy the balmy ocean breeze.
Thanks to unobstructed trade winds from the East, Aruba benefits from a constant breeze that makes the 80-degree temperatures comfortable. The beautiful weather and the fact that the island lies outside of the hurricane belt are just some of the reasons visitors find it so enticing. It was my third visit to the “One Happy Island,” and I was excited to experience the resort’s Eforea Spa along with other wellness offerings throughout the island.
Despite being a mere 15 miles from Venezuela, the island is one of four countries—Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and the Netherlands—that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Here, you’ll hear Dutch, English, and Papiamento spoken.
The Hilton Caribbean Resort & Casino, formerly the Aruba Caribbean Hotel and then the Radisson Aruba, is essentially where tourism began on the island. The hotel, opened in 1959, was originally designed by renowned architect Morris Lapidus, who is responsible for many of Florida’s most memorable hotels from the 1950s. The property, reopened in 2015 as a Hilton, now features 357 guest rooms and suites with views of the ocean and gardens.
WHAT WE LOVE
- Bird interaction
- A treatment at Eforea Spa
- The stunning sunsets
- Sunset Concierge Private Dining Experience on the beach
WHAT NOT TO MISS
- A jeep tour with De Palm Tours
- The Aruba Aloe Museum complete with scrub bar experience
- An Aruba Ariba, the island’s signature cocktail, which was created by Hilton bartender Juan “Jocky” Tromp in 1963
- A hike through Arikok National Park, where a host of indigenous healing plants thrive
With three towers on property—Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao—the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino has plenty of options when it comes to room categories. I found myself with an ocean view in the Aruba Tower with a private balcony. The spacious room came complete with everything I could possibly need for a relaxing stay. I also had an opportunity to tour the other towers and was impressed by the garden-view rooms, which highlight the lush foliage found on property.
It’s easy to eat well at the Hilton thanks to a variety of dining venues. Before I had even checked into my room, I found myself at Gilligan’s Seafood Shack enjoying a tuna tartar dish I would order repeatedly throughout my stay. A salmon poke bowl soon became another favorite. Overlooking the beach and ocean, it’s the perfect place to find both shade and sustenance. In the mornings, Laguna Restaurant, located on a freshwater lagoon and surrounded by tropical foliage, serves up popular breakfast offerings.
For pre-dinner drinks, Mira Sola invites guests to enjoy small bites and the island’s signature cocktail, the Aruba Ariba, which was created on-site. And no visit would be complete without dining at Sunset Grille, which provides nightly views of the setting sun from its terrace. Inside, you’ll find caricatures of notable guests and local celebs lining the walls of the entrance. A modern steakhouse, it also features locally caught fish and seafood along with the traditional prime-aged steaks and chops you’d expect to find.
Spa and Fitness Facilities
Upon arrival at Eforea Spa, I was excited to experience the Sacred Sounds Massage (starting at $140, 50 minutes; starting at $215, 80 minutes), a full-body massage combined with vibrational sound therapy. Crystal sound bowls were incorporated into the beginning and end of the treatment but only for a minute or two, so I can’t say I really felt the promised healing benefits from the tonal therapy. However, the treatment itself did provide some much-needed relaxation.
The oceanfront spa is an inviting retreat with eight-treatment rooms, an outdoor cabana, a Japanese-inspired bamboo relaxation area, and a steam room, sauna, and cold plunge pool. It relies on products from FarmHouse Fresh, Kopari, and the locally based Aruba Aloe.
Like the rest of the resort, the spa is family friendly, with teen and family packages on the menu. One example is the Coco Tsunami Package for Kids (75 minutes). Designed for those six to 11, it includes a 50-minute massage and a 25-minute manicure and pedicure with Hello Kitty Nail lacquer. Parental supervision is required.
There is no shortage of programming at the Hilton Caribbean Resort & Casino. Wellness enthusiasts will be most interested in the guided bike tour to the California Lighthouse, stand-up paddle board, pool aerobics, beach tennis, vinyasa flow, and more. And off property, there is a visit to the nearby Aruba Aloe, the oldest Aruba company in the world. There, you can enjoy a presentation on how aloe is fileted and discover its many benefits, both as an ingestible and topical agent.
And for those who are working remotely, the resort offers the Power Palapa, a reserved oceanfront palapa complete with resort towels, bottled water, a power and USB charging station, as well as a laptop cooling pad and Sunshade privacy cover upon request. I found it the perfect place to get some work done while still enjoying the sun, sand, and surf.