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Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive December 22, 2007 - January 3, 2008

Author: Arubalisa
Email: arubalisa@gmail.com (More Trip Reviews by Arubalisa)
Date of Trip: December 2007

In that we prefer a sit down dinner, by choice, our family did not dine at any of the dinner buffets. Each night there was a different theme. Menus were posted following lunch at the Cunucu Terrace, so you had the ability of deciding whether you wished to eat the buffet for dinner or ala carte, if you could still get a reservation.

For our ala carte meals, we ate many terrific meals at all the restaurants: Ginger, Red Parrot, Paparazzi and the Palm Court Grill. Being at the resort for 12 nights, and so the restaurant food did not become boring, we did rotate restaurants each night and overall were extremely happy with not only the quality, but the portion sizes. Some of the men ordered, appetizer, soup AND salad each night and were never told no or limited in any way. They just ordered whatever they wished. On Christmas and New Years the Divi and Tamarijn's restaurants offered a special holiday menu with only three entrees. My Mom is a finicky eater and did not care for any items offered. One night she was able to order a Caesar Salad which was not on the menu and which she loves anyway. New Years night at the Red Parrott, she asked for broiled shrimp which they not only said was not a problem, but they even offered to prepare with garlic for her. Every night the server received a $10 tip. Too much or too little or not necessary I suppose is based on personal opinion. Tips were always gratefully accepted.

We ate only once at Ginger since my parent's are real fond lovers of that type of cuisine. We only ate twice at the Palm Court Grill since there were 10 of us and preferred eating together. My personal favorites were the Caesar Salad at Paparazzi and the Red Parrot, the Dutch Onion Soup at the Red Parrot and the Churasco a Moda at the Red Parrot. This steak was served with a delicious, hint of garlic, creamy "almost" mashed potato as well as tomato vegetable relish and orange soy barbeque sauce. These were spicy, which I have a hard time with, so just asked for them on the side the next time. Special requests like that were never problems.

At Ginger, the Asian restaurant, some of the items we sampled included: Appetizers: Spring Rolls, Sushi, Green Curry Mussels, Tempura Mix (included fish besides the Vegetables), Miso Soup, Won Ton Soup and Entrees: Tokyo Beef Noodles, Spicy Chicken, Spicy Green Curry Chicken and Mango Chicken.

The Palm Court Grill Restaurant was a different concept. The table is your cook top here and you cook your own food. You grill your own two choices of Shrimp, Pork, Chicken or Beef. Some in our family just doubled up and ordered two beef or two shrimp and it was never a problem. Before bringing out your entree for cooking, there was a choice of two salads and two soups were offered as well. Along with your selections for the entree, each table was also served a fresh vegetable mix for grilling, French fries or fried rice, and three yummy sauces: Chimichurri, teriyaki and garlic mayonnaise. Besides the ice cream, the best dessert was found here, what they referred to as cream puffs! In actuality, even better, Profiteroles!

What would an all inclusive resort be without an Italian restaurant? At the Tamarijn it was called Paparazzi Restaurant. I would label the food here more Aruban Italian, than true Italian but we made out just fine. With that said, I was never daring enough to try the Lasagna al Forno with cottage cheese. Perhaps next time I will be daring enough to try it? In the 12 years we have been traveling to Aruba, never have we found a true Italian meal. No matter where we have been it has always had that blend of Aruba mixed in. Imo, it would only be the real Italians looking for some of Mom's "homemade gravy" who would have a tough time at Paparazzi since again, like all the restaurants, there was something for everyone.

At Paparazzi we sampled just about everything. Appetizers: Bruschetta, Prosciutto E Sopressata, Carpaccio Di Pesce, Caesar Salad, Beef consommé with ravioli and Entrees: Ravioli Al Formaggio (Cheese ravioli in a creamy mushroom sauce served with basil and parmesan), Pasta Di Penne (Mediterranean ratatouille with penne pasta and tomato), Frutti Di Mare (Spaghetti with shrimp, mussels and squid in a creamy crustacean sauce), one of our favorites: Rinforzare E Salsa Delia Senape- Grilled beef tenderloin with cheese ravioli and grain mustard butter sauce and Dessert here: try the Torta Di Formaggio Di Amaretto- Amaretto cheesecake with marinated raisins and rum raisin ice cream. No need to go out drinking when you get a taste of their rum raisin ice cream. With the amount of rum in that ice cream the spoon stands up all by itself.

The other most popular ala carte restaurant is the Red Parrot Restaurant located at the Divi Resort. Items we sample here included: Appetizers: Nicoise Salad, Caesar Salad, BBQ Chicken Wrap, Island Seafood Gazpacho, Bonito Carpaccio (tuna loin), French Delight (Baked Brie cheese on toast served over poached apples finished with honey and red wine drizzle), Chorizo Delight (dh's least favorite item in all the restaurants), Dutch Onion Soup and Entrees: Creole Snapper, Coconut Shrimp, Lomito Famoso (grilled medallions of beef tenderloin accompanied by a garnish of potatoes, onions, bacon and carrots served with a creamy pepper sauce) and Churasco a Moda (Marinated and grilled sirloin steak served with creamy garlic potatoes, tomato vegetable relish and orange soy barbeque sauce).

If there were one thing I could fault on the service, it would be the golf cart shuttles between the resorts. Sure it is an easy walk, for most adults, but for my elderly grandmother as well as mother who had a hip replaced less than a year ago, it was not possible. The shuttles were just not dependable. Whether it was the mornings to get a ride over to the Divi for breakfast or even worse, to come back from dinner at the Divi's Red Parrot, either way expect a wait. One night we waited a half hour for the shuttle from the Divi back to the Tamarijn. There were plenty of shuttles around but they were taking folks back and forth between wherever and the Alhambra Casino.

Another huge topic among those who discuss the Tamarijn on the internet is "the rocks". There are a substantial number of rocks the length of the resort. Yes, it was a slight inconvenience, but again there are many positives of the Tamarijn which outweigh this aspect. In comparison to the high rises, the Tamarijn's beach may not have as sandy of a bottom, but unless you own a lanai at the Playa Linda or an oceanfront unit timeshare at the Riu, there are no resorts where you are able to walk from your room directly out onto the beach. If all you know are high rise beaches, all you know is a beach full of people. We had been reading and hearing how wonderful the beaches were at the low rise resorts for many years. It took a stay there and seeing it with our own eyes to be convinced that yes there are beaches in Aruba which are not crowded.

Which rooms have rocks in front of them? It seems that there is no single answer to this question since Mother Nature is always in flux. The one steady factor seems to be that there is always a beautiful stretch of white sand beach between the Tamarijn and Divi resorts.

http://www.arubabound.com/accommo/tamarijn_map.jpg The resort runs from the north at building 1100 ending to the south at building 2500 closest to Oranjestad. The end closest to 2500 is extremely quiet. The northern end at 1100 is not as quiet in that it is next to the fitness center, sports center (spot to pick up non-motorized watersports equipment) and a long stretch of beach beyond where many of the resorts guests choose palapas as well as owners of the Divi timeshares across the street.

During our stay, the north end of 1100 had the least amount of rocks, our recent stay was in the 1300 building, and walked to 1100 in order to easily enter the water. There were some coral shards (worn down, not sharp) even there but no rocks to climb over and I had advised my parents to bring water shoes. They were glad they did.

Essentially rocks extended from 1200 all the way down the beach parallel with the swimming pool to 1400 which had a very nice stretch of beach. All the public areas, two of three bars, restaurants, and lobby and publics areas are located between 1300 and 1400. Unfortunately, 1500 - 1800 was entirely rocky. The Bunker Bar is located between 1800 and 1900. 1900 to 2500 the further south you headed, the wider and better the beach was.

A terrific idea had read on the internet was to bring along clothespins or hair clip to secure our beach towels to the chaise lounges. With the type of chaises that the Tamarijn uses, there is no way to wrap the edges of the towels up and around and through the corners of the chair to prevent the towel from blowing off the chair. This tip worked like a charm!

We were very fortunate that outside of our four first floor rooms, there were a total of two palapas. As I said, my husband is an early riser. One morning he awoke at 7 a.m. and there was a woman already sitting under the palapa right outside our room. LOL, there was a palapa right outside her room, but her next door neighbors had risen even earlier and claimed that palapa. Domino effect and did not matter to us because we were touring the island that day. It worked out in days to come; she shared the palapa outside her room with her neighbors in the room next door. When we came back to the resort at 2 p.m. she evidently had already had enough of the beach for the day anyway and the palapa was empty. That too was a day during which the resort was booked solid. I think many folks down at our end of the resort headed north to use the palapas on the beach between the Divi and the Tamarijn. There were always a ton of people walking back and forth in that direction. If you did not mind the walk the beach there was nicer.

There are some buildings which have only two palapas. Down towards the south end of the resort from 1900 - 2500, there were a number of palapas being used by owners staying at the Divi Dutch Village. I understand they are fully entitled to do so, and you will also find owners from the Divi Village and Divi Links timeshares using the beach and palapas between the Divi and Tamarijn Resorts. The resort's policy is that you cannot "hold" a palapa; you must be there with your towels and possessions.

Tamarijn Activities
Upon check-in you will receive a packet of information which includes a list of resort activities. There was a wide variety of things to do at the Tamarijn. The activities center-towel hut was open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our family's main use was to pick up towels and floats. Most days we exchanged our towels for fresh ones late in the day when our time at the beach was over. This way when dh went out early in the a.m. to sit under the palapa waiting for the rest of the family to awaken he always had fresh towels. The most popular activities seemed to be bingo poolside as well as t-shirt tie-dying. My 18 year old niece was one of only three to participate in the beer drinking contest and though she lost, she still received a t-shirt. My brother and the kids took the bicycles out for a spin one morning and one afternoon he took a ride down to Palm Beach and back. There were always a ton of sign up sheets: pizza making, t-shirt cutting (presumably the ones you had tie-dyed earlier), Aruba Aloe Factory Tour, bicycle tour to snorkel and more. There was a minimal fee for some of them and you need to sign up in advance for all of them. Activities like the beer drinking contest and pool volleyball etc were more spontaneous, though scheduled and did not require sign up.

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