A strong breeze blew through the open air entryway at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa + Casino as we arrived late in the afternoon. Squinting through the bright sunlight, I could make out palm trees rustling in the wind and the turquoise ocean just beyond, calling my name for a quick plunge—right after I finished the cold glass of champagne they welcomed us with.
A swim and a shower later and we were having a bite for dinner at Alfresco Bar, the resort’s version of a lobby bar, dining on one of the best meals I’d had in a long time—a deceptively simple fresh fish skewer with fries. We watched the stars appear one by one and listened to the rush of a little waterfall behind us, already planning tomorrow’s extremely busy day of Pilates, an alfresco breakfast, and working with our toes in the pool all afternoon. I couldn’t wait to take advantage of everything the property offers—and it’s a lot.
The Hyatt Regency Aruba is situated in the bustling Palm Beach neighborhood on the island’s northwest coast. It’s a 359-room, family-friendly beachfront resort with two pools, a spa, and a huge lineup of amenities.
The resort’s lush, sprawling grounds wind from the entrance and Alfresco Bar all the way down to the beach, featuring waterfalls, a multi-level koi pond, towering palms, iguanas sunning themselves, and a three-tiered activity pool, complete with a huge waterslide and a swim-up bar along the way. One of the best late afternoons we spent at the resort featured a daiquiri in the pool and a quick ride on the waterslide.
There’s a second, adults-only pool tucked on the other side of the property, fittingly called Trankilo, and featuring an infinity wall that overlooks the ocean and first-come, first-served lounge chairs—but if it’s a special occasion, I highly recommend splurging on one of the pool cabanas with food and drink service, a stocked minifridge, a flatscreen TV, and a private pool entrance.
The picture-perfect beach is just as nice a place to park yourself for an afternoon—in June, the calm, crystalline water was an ideal almost-bathwater temperature that made getting out arduous. And check this out: guests can reserve complimentary beach palapas and pool umbrellas up to four months in advance at hyattbeachservices.com.
Aruba is super-easy to get to from the States, with direct flights from major cities like New York, D.C., Boston, Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta. While the island is technically a Dutch colony, it’s very Americanized—if you’re looking for an Olive Garden, a Dunkin Donuts, or a Wendy’s, you can find those nearby. As in most Caribbean spots, folks in Aruba speak English—along with Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamento, their native language.
Just make sure you wear (and reapply) sunscreen—the Aruba sun is no joke. And if you’ve forgotten yours at home, the resort has a couple of swim shops where you can find any and all essentials, including reef-friendly sunblock.
The resort’s tranquil accommodations are fuss-free and elevated, with plush beds, beachy neutrals, and full or Juliet balconies. They offer single rooms with kings or two queens, or suites with one or two bedrooms, ideal if you’re traveling with the whole family. Bathrooms are fully updated and have lux waterfall showers, and other amenities include coffee makers and 65-inch flatscreen TVs. And almost all rooms have stunning ocean views—waking up to those scenes never gets old.
The Hyatt Regency offers nine onsite dining options, from casual grab-and-go to upscale. Grab a quick breakfast at the Shoko Coffee Bar or sit down to an a la carte or buffet breakfast at Palms Beachside Grill. Palms also serves lunch daily, but if you’re busy chilling by the beach or pool you might want to grab an acai bowl at Kadushi Juice Bar or casual fare at Balashi Bar & Grill.
The Palms Beach Bar is open for drinks and bites from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, while Alfresco Bar is perfect for happy hour or after dinner drinks. The highlight of the dining program is Ruinas del Mar, a stunning indoor/outdoor upscale dinner restaurant that mimics gold mill ruins and is surrounded by a koi lagoon, waterfalls, and gardens. The menu features fresh seafood, Italian-inspired favorites, and an extensive wine list. A candlelit dinner here was almost too picturesque, made even more memorable by the koi we could almost reach out and touch.
Things to Do
While it’s easy enough to spend a few days doing nothing but the pool and beach, Hyatt keeps a full schedule of wellness, dining, and family-friendly activities. You’ll find highlights like morning beach yoga at 7:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; a tennis clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.; mixology classes with a bartender on Mondays and Wednesdays on 4:30 p.m.; or salsa dancing lessons on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.
Speaking of things to do, take advantage of your stunning Caribbean surroundings, if you feel so inclined, with watersports or tours. Aruba’s Red Sail Sports, located right on the Hyatt’s beach, offers water-based activities like catamaran cruises and snorkeling trips, or land-based tours like Jeep safaris and an ostrich farm excursion. You can even learn how to kite surf or spend a day deep sea fishing.
Wind down with an appointment at the onsite ZoiA Spa, where they highlight the healing properties of Aruba’s natural resources like aloe vera and red mud. Zoia means “balance” or “poise” in Papiamento. They offer specialized massages, body treatments, and even luxurious Hydrafacials, which use a patented water vortex technology to cleanse and hydrate the skin. My Bon Bini (which means “welcome” in Papiamento) treatment included a relaxing massage with aloe to treat my sunburn from the previous day, followed by foot reflexology, all in an outdoor cabana where the sounds of a passing shower lulled me to a near sleep.
Getting Off Site
While the Hyatt Regency makes it easy to never leave, you’d be remiss not to explore Aruba beyond the resort while you’re there. Take a stroll along the beach boardwalk and you’ll find yourself passing resort after restaurant after resort, perfect for switching up your scenery with a sunset cocktail at Pelican Pier, gyros at Kouzina, or dinner on the beach at Moomba.
The Palm Beach neighborhood is active and touristy, with tons of restaurants, bars, and shops open well into the night, even on weeknights. You’ll find any type of restaurant you’re after, from steakhouses to French brasseries to pizzerias. Or, take my advice and head out after dinner at the Hyatt Regency for gelato or dancing at one of the many bars, all within easy walking distance of the resort.
With everything on offer both at the resort and on the island at large, it’s more than easy to kill a whole week here—but a quick weekend away to lounge in the sand is just as worth it.