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Arriva Aruba


Aruba is the deep south of the Caribbean. The island is only a handful of miles off the coast of Venezuela. If you apply the rule that Caribbean islands are more laid-back the further south you go in that warm, azure sea, Aruba is virtually horizontal. Perhaps the relaxed atmosphere is helped by the serene climate. Aruba lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt, so your vacation is never going to be disrupted by 100mph winds. The only breezes that gently ruffle the island’s palm trees are the trade winds that keep the air temperature at a virtually constant eighty degrees – the climate varies so little that you are virtually guaranteed paradise every day of your stay.

Despite its unvarying climate Aruba is an interesting place, mainly because of its rich cultural inheritance. Modern Arubans have inherited a liberal streak from their former Dutch colonial masters, and, while the island doesn’t quite match some of the wilder areas of Amsterdam for unrestrained hedonism, kicking back and having a good time are regarded as highly praiseworthy activities. Aruba used to be part of the Dutch Antilles. Although now self-governing, it is still in principle part of the Netherlands.

Manchebo Resort and SpaThere are a wide range of resorts to choose from on such a relatively small island. One of the best value establishments is the Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa. This resort’s three stars disguise one of the best destinations of the island. The Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa is relatively small, with great accommodation and friendly staff. It also boasts the widest section of beach on the entire island, and close proximity to the downtown area of Oranjestad, the island’s capital.

Spa del SolThat beach, at a massive ten acres, really is huge – the hotel management boasts that it’s possible ‘almost to get lost on it’ – almost, but thankfully not quite. The place’s sheer size means that you can enjoy the sensation of isolation provided by much more expensive resorts at three-star prices. Lounging on the beach is one of the great pleasures of the Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa – and every length is gone to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. Want to spend the afternoon reclining in a lounger, or gently swinging in a hammock as you read a book, wafted back and forth by those luscious trade breezes? This is the place to do it!

Manchebo PoolThe resort offers much more besides the primal relaxation of lying on a beach, though. There’s the obligatory freshwater pool that you can use if all that seawater is playing havoc with your skin. Or you can book more adventurous activities, including windsurfing and snorkeling, at the Manchebo Spa and Massageresort’s hospitality desk. If you feel the need for a deep clean there’s also a Balinese-style spa available for your use. You can enjoy a variety of styles of massage, plus facial treatments, scrubs and wraps, a full manicure and pedicure, or some time in the whirlpool or steam room. And if you want to be taught how to relax even more you can enroll in one of the spa’s regular yoga classes.

If keeping a control on your budget is important you might want to consider signing up for the Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa’s Club Pega all-inclusive option. So many resorts these days charge a little extra for a wide range of premium services that it can be reassuring to know that your bank account isn’t taking too much of a hit every time you sip a cocktail. Under the Club Pega system, virtually everything is included in your up-front fee. You might have to pay a small surcharge for one or two luxuries – a premium beer, for example – but by and large everything you could want is covered, including one night’s off-site dining.

Not that you’d necessarily want to go off-site to dine, off course. The Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa offers you a choice of three different restaurants – The French Steakhouse, the Garden Terrace and the Pega Pega Beach Bar and Grill. The French Steakhouse, as the name implies. Serves up some pretty hefty cuts of beef to those with hearty appetites. If you feel that your day of lounging under the palms or by the pool has burned off enough calories to warrant such large-scale dining, you can find lighter snacks on offer at the Pega Pega, which is named after a type of small lizard which is indigenous to Aruba – though not, you’ll be pleased to hear, to its restaurants’ menus.

There’s a lot to see and do on Aruba beyond the boundaries of the Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa – if you want to hire and car to explore the island you can make the necessary arrangements at the resort’s reception desk. But with luxury like this on offer at such good prices, you might ask yourself: why bother?

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