@itzjustme: What is your budget for the honeymoon?
So FI and I are going to Aruba and I have done A LOT of research on all the hotels there.
At first, we really wanted to do all-inclusive. However, a lot of people on this site (and others) convinced us not to. Aruba has GREAT food we have heard – and it seems like it is not worth it to be stuck with 1-3 restaurants all the time due to paying all inclusive pricing. Aruba is also safe so you can really explore, walk around, take taxis, etc. It seems to me that all inclusives are really for the poorer countries (jamaica, mexico, etc) where you cannot leave the resort due to safety reasons.
We chose to stay at the Bucuti & Tara resort. It is adult only, includes breakfast, and is on Eagle beach, which is the calmer beach. Also, its rated #1 out of all hotels on eagle beach – #13 best hotel in the caribbean and #5 most romantic hotel in the caribbean.
The Palm Beach area (where the riu is) is busy, busy busy, so if you are into that kind of scene, that may be where you watn to book. I read a lot of the reviews for the palm beach hotels, and it seems you have to get up at 6 am to reserve a palapa on the beach, and that is SO not what we want to do on our honeymoon. Also a lot said people will tip the ppl and get their palapas just for doing so. Again, not what we want at all.
My friends stayed at the Riu after they got engaged, and they disliked it. Said the beds were hard as rocks & the food was bad. They ended up going off resort for every dinner any way which seems kind of pointless to do all inclusive at that point.
The Divi and Tamarjin are both on Eagle Beach and seemed like nice options but they had 3.5 stars (I think) and I didn’t really want to risk it. Also, I didn’t really want kids running around!
The one hotel we did consider doing AI at was the Amsterdam Manor. They are not an all inclusive resort, but do have the option for $125/pp per day which I thought was a bit steep. You have access to 3 restaurants, 1 off site, and 1 that you choose from a list for one meal.
Also, Aruba offers a “dine around” plan for $39/per person per day. They give you a list of restaurants and I think you get a three course meal at each restaurant. Again, we didn’t want to be tied down to specific restaurants but that is always an option.
In case you were wondering – our hotel room at Bucuti ended up costing $2300 (we got a garden room – dont plan on spending much time in there anyway. And if we are…we arent going to be looking out the window if you know what I mean, lol). Our flights were $1200. Our budget is $5,000 (thanks FI’s parents 🙂 ) so we have $1500 or so left for food/excursions, etc.