A distinct departure from the Caribbean’s typical verdant hillsides, Aruba, a gem set in the ABC islands of the Dutch Antilles (along with Bonaire and Curacao), features a windswept landscape with dramatic sculpted rocks and twisted divi divi trees silhouetted against tranquil shorelines. Soothing trade winds and minimal rainfall create idyllic weather year-round, outside the hurricane path, giving Aruba its motto, “One Happy Island.”
Within the low-rise hotel district is charming Bucuti Beach Resort and its chic new wing, Tara Beach Suites & Spa. The property spreads over 14 acres on Eagle Beach, designated one of the “Dream Beaches of the World.”
Upon arrival, guests relax with a complimentary glass of champagne as tropical strains of steel drums waft through the oceanside Sands Bar. The intimate, upscale boutique resort embraces romantic travelers, catering to couples and winning TripAdvisors’ award as one of the Top 10 Best Hotels in the World for Romance in 2008.
Aruba is well known as a honeymoon destination, and Bucuti fits right in with its elegant ambience, personable service, and breathtaking setting inspiring proposals, weddings, same-sex ceremonies, amorous anniversaries and sensual retreats.
Accommodations: The Tara Beach Suites have a comfortable living area, with sliding glass doors separating the bedroom, which is bathed in fine linens and offers beautiful ocean vistas. A wet bar is equipped with a coffeemaker, fridge and microwave. Bathrooms have his/her granite vanities, fluffy towels and locally made aloe products. In addition to the 36 suites, there are 68 other accommodations options, including ocean- and gardenview units, bungalows and spacious penthouses. In addition to plasma televisions with cable and pay-per-view movies, standard amenities include air conditioning, ceiling fans, air purifiers and turndown service.
Dining: Overlooking the ocean, the open-air Pirates’ Nest Restaurant is housed in a replica of a 16th-century Dutch galleon outlined in twinkling lights. Couples can enjoy private oceanfront dining under a palapa on the beach. House specialties include Caribbean bouillabaisse, jumbo shrimp in creamy chili sauce, and such Aruban delicacies as keshi yena and pan bati. A dinearound program with other properties allows guests to take meals at a dozen restaurants that are members of the Gastronomic Association.
Public Spaces: The serene pool area boasts posh lounge seating and a hot tub. The Intermezzo Spa offers a menu of pampering treatments, from fruit-flavored facials to chocolate body wraps. Couples can elect an enticing massage together in a cabana next to the calming tide. The fitness center in the courtyard lies under an open-air thatched roof.
The business center offers free Wi-Fi Internet and even loaner laptops, the gift shop/mini-mart is well stocked and the Tara Suites’ lounge provides a cozy gathering space that also serves continental buffet breakfast.
Activities: There’s an array of water adventures, from snorkeling along colorful coral reefs to evocative sunset sails with wine and hors d’oeuvres. Shopping and gaming are available at the adjacent Alhambra Bazaar and Casino complex or in downtown Oranjestad, three miles away.
Conveniently nestled amid most attractions, the Bucuti can arrange for guided visits to Arikok National Park, the historic gold ruins and other scenic sights.
After a day of swimming, golf, tennis or horseback riding, guests can watch a movie under the stars on Bucuti’s beach.
Getting There: Arrangements can be scheduled for air and cruise transfers, taxis are available for short jaunts, and the resort rents cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Though Bucuti is more relaxed than a luxury hotel, its extra touches are lavish, even in standard rooms in the original updated building. The sleek Tara Suites are geared for travelers who are seeking the works.
For more information, visit www.bucuti.com.--Roberta Cruger