Honeymoon Destination: Aruba!

The multi-level pool complex at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino. All photos courtesy of the Hyatt.

The multi-level pools at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino. All photos courtesy of the Hyatt.

They call Aruba, a 70-square-mile strip of Caribbean paradise, “one happy island”—and not just because of its lively spirit and friendly, welcoming people. This Dutch island’s spectacular white-sand beaches, shimmering teal water and opportunities for fun and adventure will make you and your to-be very, very happy.

It’s no exaggeration to say the sun is always shining in Aruba. The island’s immaculate weather, with an average temperature of 82 degrees, heavenly cooling trade winds and virtually no rainy days, is the perfect backdrop for your post-nuptial bliss. The most popular strip is Palm Beach, on the western side of the island—and that’s where you’ll find the beachfront Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino. The Hyatt sits on 12 magnificent acres, an oasis where you can be a beach bum or an explorer, depending on your mood.

They say that once you visit Aruba, you always return. Why not start that tradition with the most romantic trip of your life—your honeymoon?

BY DAY Make your way to the hotel’s pristine shoreline, strewn with palm trees and palapas (shady huts with palm-leaf roofs), and laze in the calm, clear water—or opt for the 8,000-square-foot pool complex that includes a three-story water slide and the Balashi Bar and Grill swim-up bar.

On a more adventurous day, jet-ski, paddleboard or kite-surf—or sign up for a Red Sail Sports snorkeling trip, which takes you out to sea on a catamaran where they’ll serve lunch, snacks and tasty rum drinks. You’ll marvel at tropical fish as you snorkel above reefs and the breathtaking Antilla shipwreck, a 400-foot sunken German freighter.

If you’re ready for a break from the water, take a short taxi ride to the colorful buildings and plazas in the capital, Oranjestad, to shop luxury retailers or haggle for handmade jewelry at the local markets. And don’t miss De Palm Tours’ Land Rover adventure: From a safari jeep, your guide will drive you through local towns as you make your way to the Natural Pool in Arikok National Park, the ruins of an old gold mine, and the first Catholic church on the island, Alto Vista Chapel.

Palapas on the beach at the Hyatt

Palapas on the beach at the Hyatt

BY NIGHT Aruba is famous for its glitzy, high-energy casinos, many of which are open until 4a.m. and feature live music. Palm Beach is buzzing with nightlife: The streets are alive with music, and vendors sell their wares in open markets. Bars, dance clubs and outdoor restaurant patios, all just a few minutes’ walk from the Palm Beach hotels, teem with tourists and locals alike after dark. You can even sign up for a barhopping party bus; the brightly decorated school buses that whisk you around for a night of drinks, dancing and excitement are a great way to meet other couples vacationing on the island—and are loads of fun. If you’re looking for a more subdued evening, check out the nighttime options at your hotel, like karaoke and live music—or simply lounge under the stars.

WHERE TO STAY The Hyatt Regency is located steps away from Palm Beach’s restaurants, shops and calm-water beaches, and its lush grounds, bright with greenery, include multiple decks and levels with glamorous pools, tucked-away Jacuzzis, fountains, restaurants, and bars that lead out to the private beach—along with luxe rooms, an open-air lobby and beautiful architecture. Literally every room has a view, and the staff will tailor your stay to suit your specific honeymoon desires.

WHERE TO EAT The Hyatt has three main on-site restaurants: Ruinas del Mar (contemporary; famous for its Sunday brunch spreads), Mexicado (authentic Mexican; don’t miss the flights of three specialty tequilas paired with the grilled mahimahi tacos) and Palms (fresh island cuisine), all of which offer indoor and outdoor seating. Footprints Beach Grill is a romantic option that’s perfect for honeymooners: Six nights a week, the hotel transforms a few oceanfront palapas into private dining areas where you’ll enjoy your meal by the glow of tiki torches, with your feet in the sand.

Head to nearby Carte Blanche or 2 Fools and a Bull, both of which offer chef’s-choice five-course dinners. And be sure to have a romantic meal at La Trattoria El Faro Blanco, an Italian restaurant at the foot of Aruba’s California Lighthouse that has a spectacular view of the island.


Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt

WHAT TO PACK Aruba’s always-sunny weather means you’ll need to bring sunscreen and a fabulous hat. (If you forget the former, you can purchase Aruba Aloe, a specialty local product, in island shops.) Also recommended: swimsuits, sandals, comfortable walking shoes and “island-chic” apparel (nothing too formal), plus casual clothes for the jeep tour.

BEST TIMES TO GO The weather in Aruba is nearly perfect year-round, with minimal fluctuation in temperature. And because it sits outside the hurricane belt, there’s really no risky time to visit. Mid-December to mid-April is high tourist season; September is usually the least crowded month.

NEWLYWED NEWS The Hyatt’s Romance Planning Manager—yes, that’s really a thing—will work with you from your initial phone call straight through to your arrival in the stunning open-air lobby, to create the perfect honeymoon experience. She’ll book private dinners, plan champagne toasts, and do her best to fulfill any request that your dreamy newlywed hearts desire. Be sure to reserve the private suite with adjoining outdoor terrace at the on-site ZioA Spa for the Serenity Couple’s Package: 60 minutes of relaxing, luxurious massaging (and champagne and goodies) with your new spouse.

GETTING THERE Catch a direct flight from Philadelphia International Airport, and you’ll be sitting pretty in paradise in just over four hours. The Palm Beach resorts are a 15-minute cab ride from Queen Beatrix International Airport.

For more on honeymoons—roundups, advice, inspiration and deals—go here

This article originally appeared in the spring/summer 2015 issue of Philadelphia Wedding

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