When we started to plan our trip to Aruba, we had no idea where to stay. We are not really into the whole resort thing, so we wanted to stay away from that part of town. With a little bit of research, we learned that almost all of the major hotels were in an area known as the high-rise part of town. Here you could find tons of hotels and resorts lined up and down the beach. That was not our scene, so we started to look a little deeper at more locally owned hotels.
Without much work at all, Sheryl found a place located on Eagle Beach called MVC Eagle Beach. It is a very small hotel, with only 19 rooms available, and is located literally across the street from Eagle Beach. We did a little more research on the beach itself, and found it is rated as one of the nicest beaches on the planet. White sand, crystal clear water, and not very busy since it is a couple of miles from the high-rise part of town.
Most people that I have talked to, those who have been to the island, said that staying in a resort is the only way to go. People said the same thing about Hawaii. We don’t like to be stuck, literally flying into the airport, getting a ride to the hotel, and never leaving. So while we were in Hawaii, and while in Aruba, we grabbed a rental car and just figured it out as we went along.
In Hawaii, it was a lot easier to get around. One, we were still in the United States so our cell phones worked. But down here in Aruba we had no access to wireless Internet or GPS whatsoever. When we pulled out of the rental car place, we had no idea where to go. Trust me, the map they handed us did not help either.
We eventually found our way to the 1A/1B, which is one of the only true roads on the island. It literally goes north and south on the west coast of the island and that’s it. The entire east coast of the island has no way to get there, sans renting a Jeep.
Our hotel was on this street, and we pulled up not knowing what to expect. The hotel actually closes at 3:30 in the afternoon, and after our flight got in late we were way past that time. As a matter of fact, the pilot had to circle the island three times because he “did not know how to land in the rain”. Oh yeah, it rained from the day we got there until late Monday evening. Don’t even get me started on the rain.
Anyway, we get to the hotel and surprisingly someone was in the office. They had our key, and we headed to room 3. The room had a king size bed, and the AC worked. That was all I needed! Granted, the room was small, but we had a really good rate, and we literally could walk across the street and be on the beach. We did that a few times, but the visibility in the water was poor, so the snorkeling was weak.
The hotel offers a breakfast buffet every morning as well, but it is not free. It is $8.50. Now, if you choose to have breakfast at the Tulip Restaurant, the restaurant attached to the MVC Eagle Beach, don’t expect pancakes and sausage. It was a very European breakfast filled with fresh fruits, hard-boiled eggs, and toast. We only had breakfast there one morning, as the rest of the trip took us elsewhere for food and drinks. The coffee was good, though. It was quite strong.
Speaking of the Tulip, every night we came home, rain or shine, it was always packed for dinner. The sign out front read, “Affordable Meals on Eagle Beach”, but after looking at the menu, we didn’t agree. Of course, when a meal at Wendy’s costs $15 per person, maybe a $20 entrée was affordable.
The hotel was nice, though. We didn’t have anything to complain about. The TV in the room was small, but who goes to Aruba to watch TV? (Of course, when it’s raining in Aruba, that might be something you choose to do.) All of the channels were also in Dutch. But it provided some unique entertainment while we were getting ready each morning.
Sheryl and I love to immerse ourselves in a culture like that. The hotel is locally owned and operated, is affordable (all things considered), and is in a great location if you have a rental car. If we ever went back to Aruba (which we will never do thanks to an awful first impression) we would totally stay at this hotel. Nothing negative to report from here!
(When you start to look for a room on the island, I encourage you to look at some of the nicer hotels in the high-rise. We talked with some folks that were staying at the Marriott Aruba Resort, a time-share community, and they were paying $495 a night. The nicest hotel there is the Riu, and while we have no idea how much a room cost there, we do know that paying just over $100 a night was a good deal.)