The ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) are comparatively unknown specks on the Caribbean-holiday radar; yet the paradise of Aruba has the same white sands, balmy temperatures, floppy palm trees and transparent-turquoise seas as the biggest brochure names. Ready to book your escape to the Dutch Caribbean? Here are the best resorts in Aruba.
It’s fairly small compared with the supers on the shores nearby, but this place packs a punch on white-sand Palm Beach, amid the bustling high-rise zone. Among its 214 rooms of contemporary-beachy decor – wicker furniture, tropical-pattern fabrics – are some with kitchen facilities ideal for families. There are two pools (one with a waterfall, one adults-only), and you can reserve a private palapa hut. Pep things up with a little adventure: watersports activities can be booked on the beach where, for the less-intrepid, there’s a popular bar, too.
Unfurling beside mellow Manchebo Beach, this resort and spa specialises in relaxed luxury – admire its freshwater infinity pool – and laid-back Caribbean hospitality. With hammocks, a cocktail bar and à la carte dining, indulgence is the watchword – the open-air Spa del Sol even has beach cabanas where couples come for sensuous massages. The chilled atmosphere permeates the peaceful rooms in low-rise blocks, where you sleep deeply and wake in time for daily sunrise yoga and pilates on the beach, if that’s your bag.
Need an all-inclusive hotel for a destination wedding? La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino has the goods. With its own chapel and a casino – even a kids club – everyone’s happy. Home to 449 rooms, it’s not an intimate affair – particularly during late afternoon happy hour at the Pata Pata bar. But it is all-embracing, with a large lagoon pool and waterfall, a waterslide, hot tubs, basketball nets and a fully equipped gym. If you’re feeling lucky tonight, the Glitz Casino has you sorted for slots, sports betting, table games – and karaoke.
For something beyond the Aruba-resort norm, there’s Divi Dutch Village, on the west coast, far from the commercial scrum – with its low-rise pastel architecture; the whole Druif Beach area appeals to visitors looking for privacy. The 123 suites (studio, one- and two-bedroom options) occupy a garden setting very close to the beach, and you can access facilities at neighbouring hotels. You don’t need to leave the area for shopping and bars – the harbour has a lively market selling tax-free perfume, jewellery and cosmetics, while souvenir stores peddle leather and handicrafts. You could, though, if you want, take a bike and follow the coast for 20 minutes to Eagle Beach.
Built in 1959, the Hilton was Aruba’s first real resort, hence its prime position at the southern end of Palm Beach. There are 357 spacious rooms, with modern amenities, in three towers, with easy access to landscaped lawns and a pair of serpentine pools. The Palm Beach action is handily close, but you might never leave the resort – not with two bars (ergo happy hours aplenty), three restaurants, a casino open from noon until the wee hours and a club for kids, who’ll love the hotel bird-whisperer and the daily conversations he has with his parrots.
Located downtown, in Oranjestad’s bustling cruise port, this upmarket property is handy for Flamingo Beach and the Renaissance Mall. Since it was designed as two zones – adults only and family-friendly – guests can enjoy the facilities without any cramping of style. There are nine places to eat and drink (including a steakhouse, a pizza joint and a Starbucks), plus a 24-hour casino and a spa: try an outdoor treatment at the Spa Cove, hidden among mangroves on the hotel’s 40 acre private island, reached by free water taxi.
Amid the bustling high-rise zone, the Courtyard by Marriott Aruba Resort backs onto Palm Beach, allowing you direct access to its white sands. Front-row loungers can be reserved for a fee; chairs further back are free on a first-come, first-served basis. With 148 guest rooms, the hotel doesn’t feel cramped, even as you make new friends during fitness classes, or happy hour at the swim-up bar. With a restaurant, bar, and a kids club, there is plenty to do, including ordering room-service lazily to your private terrace.
Renovated in 2018, this popular property saw many rooms upgraded with modern kitchen facilities and outdoor space. Which makes it ideal for families, as does the 150ft (46m) water slide, snaking into a pool where there’s a shallow counterpart for tots. Adults love the swim-up bar with its twice-daily happy hours and live music at weekends. At the other end of the resort try the more relaxed second pool, with a waterfall and spa, colonised by couples and serious sunbathers. Or take the free shuttle to Eagle Beach (five minutes away on foot).
With just 72 rooms, this family-run hotel leaves a small footprint on the sands of Eagle Beach, and guests are rewarded with complimentary wifi to enjoy by the waterfall pool. The architecture is Dutch, and traditional wells and flower-filled wheelbarrows forge an unpretentious authenticity that sets the place apart from the generic chains that dominate the strip. The friendly concierge can help with free snorkel gear and bike hire. Of the two restaurants we prefer the one on the sands for a lovey-dovey dinner under a palm-frond palapa. Of the two bars, visit the terrace one, to mingle over sunset cocktails.
Looking for more options? Check out our guide on where to stay in Aruba for a local experience – you can even book your hotel room with Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.