After what seemed like an eternity of being cooped up at home, I booked a trip for the last week in December to Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino.
This review will highlight the specific Globalist benefits as I was excited to finally use my newly minted Globalist status.
The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort is a category 6 – requiring 25,000 points per night. Our 4 night stay intially cost 100,000 points.
But I got 25,000 points back from Hyatt’s ‘Bonus Journey’s’ promotion after registering for the promotion and holding the Chase World of Hyatt visa. This promotion also doubled my qualifying nights to 8.
Standard rooms were running ~$1000/night at the time, so I’m happy getting over 5¢/point value!
We ended up renting a car although it wasn’t really needed – we only used it once to drive to an excursion (even though the excursion included transportation from your hotel). When pulling up to the hotel, the bellman advised us that they weren’t providing valet service due to COVID.
He helped us with our bags and directed me to park right across the street from the hotel in a large parking lot. I simply grabbed a ticket when entering then discarded it since your hotel room key then gives you access at the gate.
Don’t forget to keep your key after checkout so you can get out of the parking lot (the bellman reminded us on our last day). There were no parking charges.
I loved the open air lobby. COVID signs were present everywhere reminding guests to wear masks, keep 6′ apart, etc.
The agent did a thorough cleaning the check-in area (including the added plexiglass) after each guest completed their check-in.
The casino was located at the opposite end of lobby.
One of the first Globalist benefits I used was one of my 4 guaranteed suite upgrade certificates before our trip.
I was hoping to book one of the Family Suites since my kids usually don’t like the pull out sofas in suites. The 850 SF Family suite also has bunk beds in addition to a sofa bed and the king bed. But unfortunately there weren’t any available.
But when we checked in, we were offered an even larger 904 SF Ocean and Pool View Deluxe Club Suite that included two full bathrooms along with a huge living area (with pull out sofa bed), wet bar, and a full sized table.
Although we would have to wait until 5:00pm since the enhanced cleaning takes longer (we didn’t mind since it was already 4:40pm). Our room was literally the size of 3 standard rooms!
Room view from Juliet balcony.
The bedroom was huge and included yet another sliding glass door to a tiny balcony. There was also a large closet and make-up counter right next to the bathroom.
The toilet was a full on automatic opening, automatic flushing, 15 button remoted controlled toilet!
There was a second full bathroom (albeit smaller) off the main entrance that the kids used.
A few minutes after checking into our room there was a knock on the door with a delivery. It turned out to be a six pack of San Pellegrino sparkling water with a bowl of fruit.
I was a little surprised to get this as I read that Hyatt discontinued the welcome amenity for top tiers back in 2017. The note attached was from my Globalist concierge -, Stephanie Baker who helped me setup the suite upgrade, so I’m guessing she set this up.
After checking out our room we headed down to the Regency Club for happy hour. Access to the Regency Club is complimentary for Globalist members. You can also access the club by using a ‘club access award’ earned in the World of Hyatt program or by paying for a room that included club access.
The club had a great location right next to the beach so it was easy to pop in and grab waters or soft drinks during the day. Apparently the location if fairly new and took over half the space of an old restaurant.
Happy hour ran each day from 5pm to 7pm. With the COVID restrictions – the hosts served everyone individually at their own table.
Wine and beer were complimentary. Vegetables with ranch dip were served in individual containers along with two rotating hot items each day.
Some hings such as the chimicurri steak bites and waffles/chicken bites were good and another things were terrible 🙁
Globalists are also entitled to complimentary continental breakfast in the club lounge (if the property has one) or at a designated restaurant.
When we checked-in, the agent told us breakfast would be served in ‘Ruinas del Mar’ restaurant as the club was not serving breakfast. The agent said to just charge breakfast to the room and it would be removed at checkout (it was but the added gratuity was not).
This was fine with us as I much prefer a full restaurant breakfast vs a continental club lounge breakfast.
The restaurant has both indoor and covered outdoor seating – outdoor was so much better!
The Ruinas del Mar breakfast was pretty typical but it was modified buffet style due to COVID. You can order any type of egg dish with toast (including omelets) from your server – I recommend doing this first with your coffee, juice, etc as it takes some time to come out of the kitchen.
Then you head to the buffet which is roped off so there is a single entrance and exit. Even though they check your temperature before entering the restaurant and asking you to sanitize your hands when first entering, there is a second hand sanitizing station when entering the buffet line along with a worker wiping down each plate before handing to you.
There were just a few stations where you took the food yourself (i.e. covered fruit cups, covered yogurt, etc) – all of the other stations had a plexiglass partition with someone who served you whatever you liked.
This wasn’t the most amazing breakfast in the world and I got a little tired of it by our 4th and last day, but it certainly got the job done and I certainly can’t complain about free restaurant breakfast.
Pools & Beach
Our main reason for this trip was for sun, rest, and relaxation. The Hyatt has two main pools – a brand new adults only pool which is on the opposite side of the main tower and the main pool area which was divided into three pools included a swim up bar and waterslide.
The beach was just across a sidewalk and was packed with Palapas. The process for reserving seats at the pool or beach was the only thing I couldn’t quite figure out. You are supposed to reserve seats using a website – https://www.hyattbeachservices.com/.
They open the next day reservations at 4pm each day. The weird part was I would logon exactly at 4pm and there would be very few Palapas available and only in one small section (see screenshot below) and never any in the front row – we were usually in the 3rd row. One day it said nothing was available 🙁
If you don’t show by 10:00am, you aren’t guaranteed the reservation anymore – and there were many many empty chairs past 10:00am.
I originally was thinking Hyatt doesn’t own all of them Palapas (as I heard some people next to us book the Palapas from the beach services hut and weren’t given towels because they were Hyatt guests but it was the same issue for the pool seats. The pool was never ever crowded – it was actually usually empty and the website didn’t show much availability.
I reached out to Hyatt Aruba on Instagram since they were quick to like my photo when we arrived, but they only got back to me 3 days later and only told me to share my email address and someone from the recreations team would assist me.
I would love to hear in the comments if you were able to crack the beach chair reservation code!
For dinner each night we just wandered across the street – there are a bunch of restaurants within a few blocks. I thought 3 of the 4 we tried were fairly good and the prices were actually less than I was expecting.
- Smokey Joe’s Island Grill – we went here the first night and it was terrible – stay away. The mojitos were bad along with the food – it advertises as the best ribs in the carribean – well they were the worst ribs I’ve ever had.
- Amore Mio Pizzeria Napoletana – not wanting to wait to get into Lola’s for tacos which had a long wait, we went next door and was seated in ~15 minutes. The burrata appetizer was so good along with the cocktails and pizzas. We ordered 3 which was way too much for 4 people.
- Lola Taqueria – this place was GREAT – they had $5 mojitas and yummy tacos which were really reasonably priced – highly recommend and bookable on opentable.com
- Lobby Restaurant & Bar Aruba – for New Year’s Eve we headed here as the reviews looked good. We were hungry and didn’t want to wait for a table outside so ate inside and sat at one of the round booths. The inside felt like a chic Miami or Vegas restaurant with music. The food was very good and this was also bookable on opentable.com
We ended up doing on excursion and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We signed up for a 4 hour UTV tour that I found on Tripadvisor.
You could take quads, two seater UTVs, or four seater UTVs. The guides take you out through the back roads through the dessert and all around. There are a few stops along the way including a small cliff diving area and a hidden beach.
You will get dirty – actually filthy if it rains like it did on our trip.
I really enjoyed Aruba – I liked it better than Mexico and will definitely be back. And the Hyatt Regency was great – having Globalist status really made a big difference with the huge suite, club lounge access, and breakfast each morning.
Have you been to Aruba or the Hyatt Regency? What did you think? What other restaurants or activities do you recommend?
Chase World of Hyatt
Definitely my favorite of the Chase hotel cards. The Chase World of Hyatt card currently there is a 60,000 point bonus (30,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months of account opening plus earn 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 Bonus Point, up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months of account opening).
Hyatt has one the best award charts of all the hotel chains with free night awards starting at just 5,000 points.
This card also gives you a free night certificate (good at any category 1-4) each year when you renew.
The card's annual fee is only $95. Learn more and apply here.