Are you looking for a luxurious resort in Aruba that’s also very family-friendly? Then you have to check out The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba! This property is one of the only 5-star resorts on the island, so it should be at the top of your list if you’re looking to visit Aruba. In this article I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, the activities, and the extra amenities you’ll receive if you book a club-level room. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba for hosting us!
One thing you should know is that the Aruba airport is very busy these days. You can easily wait an hour or longer to get through immigration and customs when you land. Luckily we had authenticated our negative Covid test results through the app CommonPass, which gave us access to expedited line for Covid screening. I would highly recommend doing this, because it saved us a ton of time.
If you’d like all the details on what Aruba requires from visitors in terms of Covid testing, and how you can save a ton of time by using the free CommonPass program, here’s a video all about their current travel requirements:
We booked a one-bedroom suite with a beautiful, ocean facing view. The bathroom had a huge shower. Seriously, it was so big that all four of us could have fit in there at once. There was a spacious living room with a pull out couch, a dining room and a work area.
We opted for a club level room, which costs a little more, but the benefits are well worth it. With a club level room, you get access to complimentary pressing of several items of clothing per day, coffee or tea with your wakeup call, and access to the club level concierge. This is particularly useful when the main concierge in the lobby gets busy.
But the best part of staying club level is getting access to the gorgeous club lounge. The lounge serves a full breakfast each morning, plus light snacks, hors d’ oeuvres & desserts throughout the day, as well as a full drink menu. The service in the lounge is particularly good, so if you’re going to stay at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, I very much recommend upgrading to club-level.
There are two main pools at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. There’s a family pool, as well as an adult pool, which is lined with cabanas.
Aruba is known for its white sand beaches and turquoise water, so no surprise, that’s exactly what you’re going to find when you stay at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. The property is located on Palm Beach, in the high-rise hotel section of the island. But this section of Palm Beach is much quieter and feels more secluded, so it has a really chill vibe. Just remember that this is still a public beach, so stay alert and take care of your belongings, just as you would anywhere else.
Cooking with the Chef
Solanio is where you’ll find the breakfast buffet each morning at Ritz-Carlton Aruba. But one morning, the girls got a special treat when they were invited into the kitchen to make pancakes with the chef! Sean has developed a love for cooking and baking since we started spending so much time at home during the pandemic, so it was really cool for her to experience cooking in a real restaurant kitchen! And just like at home, Ella was the perfect sous chef.
If your kid enjoys cooking, be sure to check out Ritz Kids, the kids club at the resort! They offer a variety of activities each day, including waffle making! Ritz Kids charges $20 per hour per child, and they require reservations at least 24 hours in advance, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to use the kids club.
The main breakfast destination is Solanio. Here you can find a full breakfast buffet, or you can opt to order a la carte.
Ritual Coffee Culture
There’s also a coffee house called Ritual Coffee Culture. There’s coffee of course, but also sandwiches and pastries. It’s open all day and is great if you just want to grab and go. It also has a gelato station, which of course the girls loved.
Divi Bar and Lounge
The lobby bar, Divi Bar and Lounge, has a light food menu as well as drinks. We had dinner here the first night and ordered sashimi and a variety of rolls. The bar is particularly known for their gin and tonic selections, so if that’s your drink, you’ll appreciate all the different gins and tonics you can choose from.
The girls weren’t the only ones who picked up some new skills from the Ritz Carlton staff.
Serge and I took a mixology class at the bar where we learned how to make the resort’s signature cocktail, the cadushi. It’s made of white rum, orange liquor, cactus puree, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and 7-Up. The cocktail is then placed in a smoker, which is not just for presentation. It really does add to the flavor.
If you’re a steak lover, you should check out BLT Steak, a chain of American style steakhouse that has many locations worldwide. One thing that’s fun here is that they serve popovers instead of bread. We started with a seafood platter that included oysters, shrimp, and crab. Serge and I shared the porterhouse for two, and for dessert we had miniature donuts with ice cream.
But our favorite restaurant by far was Casa Nonna, which is Italian for grandmother’s house. A name like that is always a good sign. Casa Nonna is actually located in the exact same space as Soliano, but it has a completely different front of house and kitchen staff.
So basically, in the mornings it’s Soliano, but in the evenings it transforms into Casa Nonna.
There’s a roaming mixologist who comes to your table and prepares your cocktail of choice right in front of you. It’s really interactive and fun to watch. He made some delicious non-alcoholic mocktails for the girls too, so it’s an experience the whole family can enjoy.
We started with the grilled octopus salad, and a charcuterie board. Then for entrees, Serge had the shrimp scampi while I had the mushroom ravioli. We got to chatting with our server Joshua, who, it turns out, is actually an incredible surfer, and represents Aruba at international surfing competitions all over the world. His Instagram handle is @inwaterw3trust if you’d like to check out his skills, and also to see what the waves in Aruba are like!
Dinner on the Beach
The signature dining experience at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba actually isn’t in a restaurant at all. It’s Dinner on the Beach. You can customize a four-course menu according to your preferences, and the resort will set up this luxurious outdoor dinner on a secluded part of the beach. There’s a table for the food, pillows for seats, and a beautiful sunset for the backdrop.
Our personal butler Luis took care of every detail for us. He was really amazing. I seriously couldn’t believe that he managed this entire dinner on his own. He also made the evening so fun for us, with great music and conversation and we enjoyed learning more about his life. Like many Aruba residents, he’s originally from Colombia but he moved to Aruba as a kid. While he’s proud of his Colombian heritage, Aruba is really home for him, and he’s now married and has a young daughter, so the roots run deep.
Dinner on the beach starts at $120 per person, and it’s definitely something you should look into if you’re coming to Aruba to celebrate a special occasion, like a birthday, an anniversary, or even a proposal! It’s worth the splurge for sure.
Ok, let’s talk about Covid safety at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. One thing that’s interesting to note is that Aruba actually has the highest vaccination rate in all of the Caribbean. As of the recording of this video, over 60% of its residents are fully vaccinated. Just a day or two before we arrived, Aruba had dropped all its Covid restrictions, so masks were no longer needed, even indoors, and restaurants were back to full capacity. That said, all guests at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba are required to wear masks indoors. And of course, staff are masked at all times.
The property offers on-site Covid testing. The rapid antigen test is US$50 and the PCR test is US$125, and results for both are returned in 24 hours. I would recommend booking your Covid tests as soon as you check into the hotel. They’re only offered a few hours a day, so availability is somewhat limited. If you’re planning a stay at this property, I’d recommend calling the resort ahead of time to find out what their most current policies are. Unfortunately with the new variants going around, Covid restrictions change very rapidly these days, so what you experience when you visit may be different than when we went. Aruba itself has also experienced a spike in Covid cases in the last few weeks, so they could be putting some new policies into place.
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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