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 Post subject: Holiday Inn 5/28-6/3
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2003 10:16 am
Posts: 14414
Location: Georgia
Hubby and I have been to Aruba over 10 times, but it was the first for our adult sons - 18/19 years old. Ever since they started asking to go, we always said - when you're 18. So, baby graduated HS, and we left a week later. Warning - probably long and boring. Short version - We had a blast, and the boys want to go back. Your choice to stop or continue reading.

Flew first class w/ a combo of miles/money with Delta from Atlanta on Monday, 5/28. I had the forms filled out online in advance, so I flashed them (they weren't taken), and we breezed through to baggage claim. We grabbed a few bottles from Duty Free and took a cab to the hotel.
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Holiday Inn - We got rooms on the 4th floor of the Sea Tower, overlooking the pool/beach. We used points from a Spire Elite account, so we got 15% discount on food/beverages and a reserved palapa for our whole time. We paid for the all inclusive fee for our kids. We knew we wouldn't eat dinner there much, I don't need much for breakfast, and hubby won't drink house brands, so there was no point in all 4 of us getting it. We figured it would be good for the kids - if nothing else - for drinks and to use the all inclusive food as snacks. They made great use of it! Lots of pizzas and quesadillas were consumed that week by them.
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Our plan for the first night was to bar hop down the beach to happy hours, but the kids wanted to get in the water. The three men went in, and I watched from the palapa w/ a hh drink, since I didn't want to get wet and then have to get ready again. They stayed in the water past most of the happy hours. Changed quickly and walked up toward the Marriotts to see our favorite bartender and waiters at Waves/Atardi. Lots of hugs and fun as we introduced them to our kids. We gambled a little - all lost. I was starting to feel crappy, so I headed back to the hotel. The men watched some of the Caps game. The lesson learned tonight was that Matthew's voice volume goes up w/ each adult beverage. "Quiet Matthew." Everyone in Aruba knows his 'girlfriend is hot.' :lol:
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Tuesday - okay, it starts to blur a little here. I was sick so I headed to a urgent care type of place close to Tony Roma's. Ended up just going to the Pharmacy and asked their advice. I came back w/ cough meds and a nose spray. I blew my nose and hacked the whole trip, but I didn't let it get me down. We spent most of the day in/beside the water. Hubby and I had reservations at Atardi for sunset - wonderful as always. The boys went to the Italian place at the Holiday Inn. Matthew wasn't impressed (he had to wear shoes), but I think they both enjoyed the food.

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Wednesday was our day to explore. We had rented a car through Optima w/ lots of emails back and forth. I wanted to be at Balashi plant by 9:45 for 10am tour, but I wanted to stop at Bright Bakery first, so we agreed that the jeep would be delivered to the hotel by 9am. The boys weren't overly thrilled about getting up early, but they did, ate at the buffet (every day - perfect for them), and were waiting at 9am. No jeep. I called at 9:15 - they're on the way. They freaking showed up at 9:55!!! I was so angry. Obviously, we missed the Balashi plant tour. I had called once, emailed too - never an apology or an offer for a discount or anything. We headed out to explore a little. I don't recall the order - but we hit the Light House, Bright Bakery (that was fun - picking a few different things - reasonable prices), saw some of the rock formations, Grapefield Beach (?), saw some goats, etc. We went to Zeerovers for lunch and met folks that live on the island that we've known for years (through this board)..... Judi, Ann, and Carmelita (Milie's mom). We knew Matthew would love it, as he eats seafood and loves to fish. TJ - not so much, but he was okay w/ it. We ordered way too much food, but totally enjoyed the time. After lunch, Judi took us to Mangel Halto (sp?) beach / bar. We'd never been. She and TJ played a game of pool, we watched the locals a little (Matthew noticed that they didn't close the door when they went to the restroom!), and then headed back to the hotel. The plan was to use the jeep and head downtown for dinner - thinking maybe West Deck, but we ended up staying close by and went to Pelican's Nest. Matthew saw no need for us to spend money on him for dinner, so he stayed back and ate at the hotel.
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Thursday - Beach day. Total relaxation. By this point, the kids are talking about who they’ll bring w/ them next time! Ahhh, we’ve created two more Arubaholics! Men got cigars (yuck) and enjoyed the peace of Aruba all day. I'm guessing they probably went in the casino some too. I think it was Wednesday that Matthew figured out Roulette - and since he was winning more than TJ (Blackjack), TJ switched over too. We went to Azurro's that night and enjoyed it. No reservation, so we didn't really have a sunset view, but it was still nice. We exited through the resort to see some of the shops out on the strip. I think we must have hit the casino again that night – we pretty much always do. TJ enjoyed the legal drinking age in Aruba, just a little too much.
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Friday - I booked Jolly Pirate's afternoon snorkel cruise - purposely for the afternoon, so the kids could sleep in and not worry about being on a boat at 9am. Well, unfortunately, TJ coudn't even deal w/ it at 2pm either. :lol: :roll: :evil: The 3 of us hung at the beach a little that morning, Mike/I had lunch at Moombas, and then Matthew met us in time for the cruise. We had a blast! It really sucked that TJ didn't go. We had plans to go to Barney’s that night, and TJ rallied to go w/ us. I thought for sure they’d love the AYCE BBQ, but only TJ got it, and didn’t even finish one plate. Matthew had snapper, and Mike and I both had Grouper. Mike loved his Spanish Grouper, but my Parmesan Grouper honestly wasn’t as good as usual. I’m not sure what was different. Back to the Casinos, but first we hit some of the shops on the strip. I think this was the night that the Holiday Casino was very nice to us! The boys always go while I’m getting ready, and then we typically go back after dinner. I usually meet Mike in the casino on the way to dinner, but this time he came back to the room – and literally ‘made it rain.’ HAHA! He hit the $1 slot on one of the first few pulls for a nice sum of money. Not too shabby. Kids were up on roulette at this point too. When we went back that night – no joke – Mike hit a penny slot for over $400, and I hit one for over $50 (which personally is pretty darn good for me!).
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Saturday was the last full beach day w/ no plans. We figured at some point, the kids would want to do something like parasailing, wind-surfing, etc, but other than renting a paddle board once, they were content just being lazy. We used floats this day and totally enjoyed them (blow up noodles I brought). All 4 of us went to Pelican’s Nest for lunch and were lazy for the afternoon. I purposely had no plans or ideas for dinner, as just wanted to wing it w/out reservations. We ended up just eating at the Holiday Inn Seabreeze restaurant, and it was awful. This trip really didn’t concentrate on the food… that was unimportant this time.
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Sunday brought an early wake up call to get to the airport for our ~9:30 flight. We paid our hotel bill w/ cash from casino winnings and took a cab to the airport. We used AA miles to fly back through Miami. I think we got there around 7-7:15 and had to wait at the food court for the doors to open at 8am. No issues.

All in all a great trip. We’ve taken the boys on vacations before (US beaches, a few ‘historic cities,’ Cancun all inclusive, Bahamas cruise, etc., but always wanted to save Aruba for when they were legal (call us bad parents – whatever). They loved the beaches, the nice people, the gambling age, the drinking age, the easy walks to restaurants, , the gambling age, the drinking age, the ability to sleep late w/ us not badgering them to get up for the next activity, and probably most of all – the gambling age and drinking age. Haha. Whatever. They didn’t totally abuse it – no calls from hotel security, so it was fine! At 18/19 years old, who knows when we’ll get to take them on a family vacation again – w/ just family, so every minute of this was absolutely worth it.

Thanks for reading.
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_________________
Donna


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