by Michael Blanding
Throughout the Caribbean, Aruba is known for the quality of its beaches, long white-sand strands that seem to stretch endlessly both directions, tumbling gently into a gentle azure sea. The main tourist area of high-rise hotels north of Oranjestad lines the beach with one towering hotel after another, all crammed into the sand next to dozens of beach umbrellas and vendors touting parasailing and speedboat rides. While it can certainly be exciting, it doesn’t always make for the most relaxing beach vacation. The antidote is the “low-rise” hotel district further down the beach, a much more low-key area with a big wide beach and plenty of elbow room. Vendors here are few and far between, and there is little competition for lounge chairs and umbrellas, so guests soak up the sun and the sea without competition.
Situated right in the middle of the low-rise district, the Divi Aruba All-Inclusive may not be the flashiest resort in Aruba, but it strikes a good balance between sophisticated dÃƒ©cor and proximity to the beach. Attached to the Tamarijn All-Inclusive resort, with which it shares a meal plan and many activities, the Divi is quieter and more upscale than its sister property, with a more urban design of dark teakwood, earth-toned couches and granite tiles around a large pool area. It’s not quite as lively or close to the beach, but it does nicely combine adult comforts and fun for kids.
Perhaps most surprising is the quality of the all-inclusive offerings; unlike some all-inclusive resorts that offer lackluster meals and limited drink offerings, the Divi’s restaurants are all excellent, with The Red Parrot a particular highlight. Add unlimited tropical drinks, a free kids’ club and a full complement of watersports and other activities, and you’ll find Divi Aruba offers exceptional value for the money.
Our Editor Loves
- Two large pools, wading pool and Jacuzzi
- 10 restaurants included in all-inclusive rates
- Kids' club and other activities offered through the Tamarijn All-Inclusive next door
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The 261 guestrooms are organized around several garden courtyards overflowing with tropical plants, with plenty of room for kids to run around and explore. They represent a significant upgrade over the rooms at the Tamarijn next door, while still not quite as nice as those at the Divi Village across the street. Rooms are decorated in a muted tropical palette of aqua and pastel yellow, with cherrywood and rattan furniture. The smallish bathroom includes a marble-tile floor, shower and double vanity. Each room includes a spacious closet with a flat-screen TV, mini-fridge and complimentary Wi-Fi access which can be found throughout the resort. Each room also includes a balcony or patio, with a mix of ocean and garden views.
The guestrooms feature a king bed or two queen beds and the bathrooms feature a large walk-in shower.
These oceanfront, one- or two-bedroom suites feature a king bed in one bedroom and two double beds in a second bedroom. The spacious living room area features a sofa and chairs and a sliding door to the terrace or balcony.
The trade-off from the Tamarijn is proximity to the ocean -- unlike its sister property next door, accommodations are set back a little bit from the water, though still within no more than a minute's walk away. It all depends on what you are looking for. For some, that trade off will matter little for the upgraded quality of the furnishings; others will sacrifice quality for the ability to walk right out of the room onto powdery sand.
Over all the resort appeared nice but in the inside, under closer inspection this was not the case. The rooms were outdated, featured holes in the walls and very few outlets. Overall the resort was severely understaffed. Often had to wait 10+ minutes to get a drink at the bar. It wasn’t just the bars that were understaffed but also the front desk, housecleaning and restaurants. Once you did get helped by staff they were very nice but it just took a while. Almost everyone we met was extremely nice and lively the staff was amazing considering how much work they make them do. Now my kids have severe allergies and most of the chefs were happy to accommodate but one female chef in particular seemed particularly annoyed that we requested special food to be taken from the back (to avoid cross contamination). She was very difficult to work with and made the process of simply feeding my kids an absolute nightmare. The other chefs were much more helpful and kind to my kids would constantly check in and make sure they were eating well. The divi resort is a sister resort of taramujn which is supposed to be the same thing. It is not. The sister resort of divi hosted most of the activities, shows and such. The only plus of the divi side was that it had a better beach. Nightlife is minimal you won’t find many people out past 10:30 unless they are headed to the casino. Amenities such as beach chairs and dinner reservations were very hard to come by you would have to wake up at 8 am just to secure one chair for the day and make reservations for 2 days later at any of the restaurants. Overall I rated the experience a 2 because of the business set up. Much could be done to improve
by Lyle K
The rooms were cleaned every day to a high standard, the restaurants were excellent, especially the Red Parrott as well as Pure Lime.My daughter spent her 21st Birthday on 26th July and Bucks Fizz was served at breakfast to us all.Entertainment in the evenings was a joy even at my age (not disclosed).We would definately come here again and use the Divis sister hotel Tamariyns facilities with its watersports and gym.
This is my second visit to Aruba (the first in 2006), I was also born here and left the island when I was ten years old.
The Divi's activities center is around the large and spacious pool area at the center of the resort. It features a stylish pool deck full of comfy couches and chairs around two large rectangular pools with both shallow and deep areas. A separate, smaller sit-down pool is less than a foot deep, with cushioned seats within the water, and is perfect for parents of young children to sit and enjoy a frozen cocktail while the little ones splash in the water. The area also includes a large Jacuzzi pool for both kids and grown-ups. The pool tends to be a little quieter than the pool area of the Tamarijn next door (which is also open to guests of the Divi). Instead of classic rock music pumped over the speakers, Divi guests are treated to a more alternative soundtrack -- think a steel drum version of Coldplay.
Then, of course, there's the beach, which curves around a point in a wide, graceful arc. The beach is exceptionally wide and pretty, with white sand and several palapas (thatched-roof umbrellas) available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Unlimited drinks service is provided from the nearby Sandpiper Bar. The beach here is not nearly as active as the beach at the high-rise hotel district north of Oranjestad, however, there are a few isolated beach vendors that offer the latest rage in Aruba -- rides on huge nylon float rafts towed at high speeds by speedboats.
Activities and Water Sports
Other activities at the Divi include twice-weekly water aerobics at the pool; most sports and outdoor offerings, however, take place at the Tamarijn next door, which is located a short walk down the beach boardwalk or a short shuttle ride away. The water sports center there includes Sunfish, kayak and windsurfing rentals along with a rockclimbing tower on the beach.
The Tamarijn also has bike rentals and a Kids' Club, open to guests of the Divi at no extra charge, offering full- and half-day programs including arts and crafts, sandcastle building and the like.
Nightly live performances alternate weeks between the plaza at the Tamarijnn and the pool deck at the Divi -- so you might want to call ahead and figure out which resort will be center stage when you visit, depending on whether you want to be in the midst of the action or not. The performances at the Divi tend to be a little more low-key than at the Tamarijn (though hardly sedate), including a jazz quartet, steel drum bands, and a dance performance followed by an interactive salsa clinic. The performances at the Tamarijn, meanwhile, are a little bit more high-energy, including a Latin dance and Carnaval shows, as well as a weekly "fire limbo" performance. The Tamarijn also offers a weekly movie on the beach, featuring a kid-friendly title you can watch with your feet in the sand.
The many restaurants at the Divi Aruba are a significant step up from most all-inclusive resorts, especially the signature Red Parrot restaurant fronting the beach.
The interior is done in an undersea theme, with shimmering blue walls, coral light fixtures and a waterfall and gurgling stream running through the middle of the restaurant. The ocean theme extends to the menu with seafood dishes such as pesto linguine topped with buttery sautÃƒÂ©ed shellfish, crab, shrimp and a Cajun-rubbed mahi mahi filet served with fried plantains. Other dishes, however, surprise with a Continental flair, including escargot and quiche. As upscale as the menu is, the atmosphere is relaxed and lively, welcoming for children in the inside area or on an outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. The Red Parrot also offers a children's menu with the choice of a petit filet mignon, alongside fish and chips spaghetti, and chicken fingers.
A more international flair can be found at Pelican Terrace, a buffet-style restaurant open for breakfast and lunch, as well as various theme-night dinners. A popular Caribbean night features Jamaican jerk ribs and spiced local snapper and grouper, while other nights include Mexican, Asian, Italian and Mediterranean fare. There's also a BBQ and Steak & Fish night.
The Divi Aruba opened their newest Mexican restaurant, Pure Lime in December 2015. The traditional Mexican menu offers items like tacos, burritos and tostadas for dinner.
Coco Grill & Bar
Situated around the pool, the Coco Grill & Bar serves up pizzas all day, including the signature Coco pizza with ham, pineapple, jalapenos and mushrooms, as well as pressed Panini sandwiches.
The beachside Sandpiper Bar offers a lunch menu of hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches to diners on a teakwood patio overlooking the ocean, as well as to loungers in palapas on the sand.
Guests at Divi Aruba are also allowed dining privileges at any of the five restaurants at the Tamarijn next door, included in the all-inclusive meal plan. The Cunucu Terrace and Pizza Per Tutti are similar to the Pelican Terrace and Coco Grill, respectively; however, the resort offers three unique dining experiences: Papparazzi, an elegant but family-friendly Italian restaurant; Ginger, a pan-Asian noodle bar; and Palm Grill, an interactive eatery where diners can stir-fry their own meat and vegetable dishes.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Divi Aruba has regular shuttle service to the Tamarijn next door, which has several extra perks.
A fitness center on the beach has a spacious and sunny room, and includes free weights and weight machines, along with cardio equipment. A personal trainer is also available to help polish your training routine.
Babysitting services are available through the resort for an additional fee.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access can be found throughout the resort.
For adventures farther afield, the Divi has a concierge desk run by De Palm Tours, the island's premier excursions company, which offers a range of activities including jeep tours of the national park, sailing and parasailing adventures and glass-bottom boat and submarine rides through the reefs.
The Art of Smart Timing
Aruba is a popular destination year-round due to its regular balmy temperatures and international clientele. The low-rise hotels are particularly popular with European and South American tourists, who travel more in the "off-season" of April through November, ensuring that the Divi Aruba is always lively (though not crowded). Rates at this time are somewhat lower than those in the high season from December through March, when the hotel is at peak capacity.
Flights fly to Aeropuerto Internacional Reina Beatrix, right outside Aruba's capital of Oranjestad, just a few miles from the resort.
Divi does not provide airport pickups, but taxis are available for a flat rate. Depending on traffic, it's anywhere from a 15 to 30 minute trip.
For Mom and Dad
There is a nail salon and a recently expanded spa, Indulgence by the Sea, which offers manicures, facials, massages and other body treatments, both inside the facility and in a private enclosure on the beach. The menu of treatments is long and varied, including such pampering treatments as a mojito body exfoliation, a green tea and seaweed body wrap and a cool peppermint foot scrub.