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What’s New in Aruba

August 17, 2012 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent


Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino will undergo two culinary enhancements this year.


From a $1 billion plan to completely refresh Aruba’s infrastructure to new hotels and culinary offerings, Travel Agent highlights the latest to come out of this always-popular Caribbean isle.

Aruba’s Big Facelift

The Aruban government is investing $1 billion into infrastructure and beautification efforts to improve the quality of life of locals and to make the island more attractive to tourists.

The complete island refresh is heavily focused on the renovation and revitalization of the city center, Oranjestad, and on the development of new private structures such as constructing The Ritz Carlton and the Hard Rock Hotel.

The government is also implementing a new trolley system that will take visitors through the historical and commercial center. However, one of the most significant beautification efforts includes the development of the largest linear park in the Caribbean, which will function as a playground and recreational area for locals and visitors to gather and interact.

The government is investing money into island events and festivals—including the weekly Carubbian Festival—matching the branding and positioning strategy to provide a modern, cosmopolitan, high-quality destination.

Hotels on the Horizon

Aruba is welcoming the addition of two new hotels, including The Ritz Carlton and a Hard Rock Hotel. The Ritz Carlton is being constructed on Palm Beach, specifically to the right side of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. The Hard Rock Hotel is in the initial stages of development.

Aruba Culinary News 

Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) and Aruba Gastronomic Association (AGA) invite foodies to “Dine on Aruba,” a culinary promotion that launched this summer and runs through October.


Watapana Food & Art Festival
Visitors can sample Aruban dishes and view works by local artists at the weekly Watapana Food & Art Festival.


When clients book a stay at one of the participating “Dine on Aruba” hotels from now through October 31, for travel anytime from September 1 through November 30, they will receive two $50 “Dine on Aruba” gift certificates. The new program will allow clients to experience flavorful and diverse cuisines from more than 20 well-known international restaurants on the island.

Through “Dine on Aruba,” dedicated foodies and other vacationers can discover Aruba’s impressive culinary delights and enjoy everything from fresh Caribbean seafood and vegetarian dishes to exotic churrascaria creations and zesty, enticing Italian, Mexican and Creole cuisines. 

The new promotion is an extension of AGA’s popular Dine-Around program, which offers attractive menu specials at several participating restaurants year-round. For a full list of participating hotels, visit

Meanwhile, one of the island’s more popular hotels, Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino, will undergo two culinary enhancements this year. It will add an upscale Mexican restaurant to its dining landscape and revamp its existing signature restaurant, Ruinas del Mar, by December 17. These efforts are a follow-up to the multimillion-dollar refurbishment completed in 2008. The new restaurants’ design work is being headed by The Johnson Studio.

As they descend into the lagoon area, clients will be greeted by an inviting lounge situated on a floating deck over the existing reflecting pool. The lounge will provide a casual atmosphere and serve as additional outdoor restaurant seating. Sail-like shades offer guests a retreat from the sun during the day and serve as the backdrop for soft up-lighting and illuminated lanterns, creating a candlelit dining experience.


Carubbian Festival
The stage area at the Carubbian Festival where the audience can enjoy a parade of local entertainers.


Adjoining the lounge will be the yet-to-be-named Mexican restaurant. Its ingredient-driven menu of freshly made guacamole, refreshing ceviches, and authentic Mexican cuisine will be served with a contemporary twist. A glowing bar will display an extensive tequila selection, and a sparkling shot glass chandelier will entice guests to indulge in a taste. 

Adjacent to the new restaurant lies the redesigned Ruinas del Mar. The restaurant’s new look will include an open-hearth oven that aims to fill the dining room with a sense of warmth and invite guests to partake in the action and energy of the kitchen. Abundant outdoor seating will give clients the opportunity to dine amidst the waterfalls and wildlife, while vibrant draperies and handblown glass chandeliers will create a dramatic ambiance at night. From August 20 to December 17, the beachfront Palms Restaurant will be the main dining option, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Aruba Travel Guide App

The Aruba Tourism Authority just released the Aruba Travel Guide, a new and interactive mobile application where agents and clients can both find all the information necessary to plan a trip to Aruba.

The free app contains travel information for first-time and returning travelers, offering suggestions on where to stay and eat, sightseeing spots, water- and land-based activities, and island history. Aruba’s impressive array of events and information on promotions are also available through the app.

Features of the guide include “Tips by Locals,” where several Arubans share their favorite places and experiences; a built-in itinerary planner; and the “Augmented Reality,” which brings up on the screen all the restaurants and sights when pointing the phone in a certain direction, just like taking a picture. Agents can download the free app at

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About the Author

Joe Pike
Joe Pike is Travel Agent's senior editor covering the Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda; Hawaii; Central & South America. Previously, Pike was a newspaper reporter for The Asbury Park...

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By Joe Pike | August 17, 2012
A major effort to improve infrastructure tops list of latest news in the island.