The Hilton Aruba is located along the main strip of Palm Beach with direct beach access. The hotel and surrounding area are beautiful and we enjoyed exploring the massive grounds. It provided quite the true “resort” experience with multiple pools, waterfalls, a freshwater lagoon, multiple dining options and family friendly activities. We spent the day at the resort and our night in the surrounding area with shopping, nightlife and casinos.
This Hilton was actually the first high-rise resort built on the island, and if you wander around enough, there’s a special picture showing it as the only high-rise resort along a several mile stretch of Palm Beach 😊
Where to stay in Aruba
The two main areas to stay in Aruba are the downtown area of Oranjestad or along the west side of the Island in Palm Beach and Eagle Beach.
The Hilton Aruba is located in the southern strip of Palm Beach. Palm Beach is famous for its multiple mega resorts and casinos (think The Ritz Carlton Aruba, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club, Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club and Hotel Riu Palace Antillas).
Palm Beach is touristy with these mega resorts, casinos, and the strip along JE Irausquin Blvd with multiple tourist shops, restaurants and bars. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as everything you could need in the area is within walking distance and even at night, the area felt very safe. We even took the enjoyable 30 minute walk from our Hilton Aruba Resort to the Ritz one night.
In contract, the capital and largest city on Aruba, Oranjestad, has rise hotels and authentic restaurants and bars.
Booking the Hilton Aruba Resort & Casino
We booked using our annual Hilton free night from the Amex Hilton Aspire credit card. Normally the price for one night runs ~$300 or 80K Hilton points.
We also had an additional $250 Hilton resort credit to burn from that same Amex Hilton Aspire credit card. This credit can only be used at Hilton resorts and can only be applied to the room rate, or incidental charges that are applied to your room. So you need to stay at the hotel in order to use the resort credit
Also keep in mind there is a “daily service charge” AKA resort fee that is added to the room rate. It includes internet, gym and non-motorized resort activities.
Location & Getting to the Hilton Aruba
The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is located in the heart of Palm Beach. The strip of sand in front of the resort is beautiful enough to spend several days enjoying the pools and activities. Surrounding the hotel are various resorts, restaurants, bars and casinos.
From Airport a taxi costs ~$35 USD, and takes about 15-20 minutes
Check In at the Aruba Hilton Resort
We arrived around 1pm and were greeted by very friendly staff members. Our diamond status was acknowledged, however the resort was completely booked out for the night, so no room was available for an upgrade. We were however allowed to have early check-in, which was a nice bonus. This is known to be a very busy hotel, being booked out almost every day of the year.
The resort entrance is beautiful but felt a little cramped with low ceilings.
We had the hotel bring our luggage to the room and used that time to take a quick tour around the grounds. I say quick, but it actually took us about 30 minutes to see everything. The resort is massive with over 15 acres of land and 350 guest rooms.
There are multiple seating areas and scenic waterfalls scattered throughout the resort.
There are two pools for swimming, one of which is connected to a bar serving drinks and appetizers.
The beach was stunning with a long stretch of sand as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately it was fairly crowded in the afternoon, but walking a short distance away from the resort some lone tables could be found.
Garden View Room, Curacao Tower
The room was fairly standard and came with two queen beds since we opted for early check-in. While not preferable for a couple, we used one for a “nap bed” that afternoon 😊
There was a small desk next to the TV.
The “garden view” was a little disappointing because it was really more of a view of the hotel next door. We did have a private balcony to enjoy flying our drone from. So that was a perk for us.
The bathroom was nice and clean with a single sink. The lighting around the mirror was fantastic, both visually and functionally. The amenities were Pasada.
While we couldn’t enjoy an upgrade with our Diamond status, it was a nice perk that the GM left a personally signed welcome card. We always appreciate when hotels go out of their way to do small things like this to make their guests feel appreciated.
Restaurants at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort
Like most resorts, there were multiple dining options ranging from a day grill to a fancy restaurant for dinner.
Laguna Restaurant (7am-11am) – Located next to the resort lagoon, it offers a full American breakfast buffet. Unfortunately we had to depart so early the next day we were unable to enjoy breakfast.
Gilligan’s Seafood Shack (11am-5pm) – Located right by the beach, this is the resort’s main restaurant for lunch. We were absolutely starving when we arrived. We started with chips and salsa, and unfortunately that was the best part of our meal.
We both ordered “fresh” turkey wraps that were quite possibly the most disappointing restaurant food items we have ever encountered. The wraps were clearly premade and soggy from sitting overnight. The tomatoes and cheese had created a sort of orange goo and was causing the tortilla wrap to slowly melt away. We expected freshy made wraps from a resort restaurant where the cost of each was close to $20. We picked at a few pieces of turkey, but didn’t want to make a big deal of it.
We did however pass the information on to the manager for constructive feedback. He also seemed appalled when we showed him the food and offered to remove the cost of the two wraps from our meal, which was well appreciated.
Castaways Bar (10am-6pm) – This bar is located next to the adults swimming pool and serves as the primary area to order drinks and appetizers during the day at the pool. We enjoyed tasty pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris from here while relaxing at the pool.
Mira Solo Bar (12pm-12am or 1am) – This bar is located just pas the entrance to the resort and next to the Sunset Grille Restaurant. It serves drinks during the day, but also is an area to get cocktails in the evening as well. There’s live music most days of the week.
Happy hour is 2pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm.
Sunset Grille Restaurant (530pm-1030pm) – We had a sunset dinner here that was very good. We had the $250 Hilton resort credit to burn, so we both ordered the prix fixe dinner and a few glasses of wine. The prix fixe dinner that came with an appetizer, salad, entre and dessert for both of us. Unfortunately, we lost most of the pictures from dinner, so there’s no pictures of the food, but we did have an amazing picture of the sunset.
Beachfront full service, 2 large pools, waterfalls, freshwater lagoon, endless resort activities including scuba lessons, snorkeling, sailing, biking, tours, etc. Shops, casino, and spa onsite, 5 onsite dining options.
The resort is overall very nice and the beach is everything you would imagine Aruba to be like. The food and drink were generally very good, except for our one encounter with melting turkey wraps for lunch. There are so many other resorts in this area, I don’t know if we would necessarily stay here again vs checking out another resort. However with our free night and $250 resort credit, we weren’t disappointed with our stay.