The former Radisson Aruba rebranded to Hilton Aruba. Many of us booked Club Carlson award stays because the credit card devaluation and are hoping to have those stays honored. Both Deals We Like and Mommy Points have been tracking developments. I am back with a Labor Day stay with my wife and can provide this firsthand report.
Q: Are Club Carlson award stays being honored?
A: Yes. Club Carlson did email me ahead of time. If you haven’t gotten an email, easiest course of action is to call the hotel itself and verify your reservation.
Q: Do I have to pay anything?
A: I was only billed a per day ‘environment levy’ of a couple dollars. (Note: on the check-in rate sheet it looks like Radisson is paying Hilton $135 per day, at least for my stay.)
Q: Are Club Carlson status benefits being honored.
A: I don’t think so. That will probably take some advance work to attempt to get honored.
Q: Are Hilton HHonors status benefits being honored?
Q: How to get a HHonors number on the reservation?
A: I called the hotel direct. My number was there at check-in, however the front desk said they are not fully linked up with Hilton yet so see the numbers but not the status. I told them I am Gold and they honored it, for them to verify later.
Q: Are room upgrades being honored?
A: Yes, I got upgraded to a room where I could not perceive what had been upgraded.
Q: What tower should I stay in?
A: According to Tym2Trvl, who I met in the Aruba departure lounge, the main Aruba tower is best. I was out on Curacao.
Q: What toiletries will I have?
A: Radisson, until they run out. Shoe mits are Hilton.
Q: Is there an Executive Lounge for Diamonds?
A: Yes, though I did not see it. As a Gold, I was not given access.
Q: How is the Gold Continental Breakfast benefit handled?
A: Poorly. The main breakfast spot is Laguna, which is full buffet only. They do not honor Gold breakfast or even allow upsell for the difference. It is $22 plus 15%. There is an outside bar by the lobby where you can get a sad continental breakfast from the case. We never saw anyone eating there for breakfast. Down by the beach of Gilligan’s which has the continental plus a la carte entrees. The continental is $15, the entrees are a few dollars more though exclude juice and coffee/tea. The manager agreed to allow us to order entrees after seeing the fight my wife and I were having about me wanting to use the benefit and she wanting smoked salmon over at Laguna. We were supposed to pay the difference, but she could not find a way for the system to process it, so we got off with no surcharge. I expect this to be one-time, so rather than hassle the restaurant, please contact Hilton and the hotel with feedback that they should allow upsells to Laguna.
Q: What is the condition of the hotel?
A: Radisson let things slide. When we checked in, and again the next day, the power was out in half our room until we got engineers to reset the circuit breakers. The room was fine, though unremarkable. Our building had a guest lounge with 4 computers and no power. Another Hilton Gold we ran into at the front desk had plumbing problems 3 times that needed repairs.
The main lobby has been refreshed. The pools and grounds are good, with the interior gardens a nice bonus.
Q: Is there direct beach access?
A: Yes. All the beaches in Aruba are public access, so you leave the hotel managed grounds and then it is a free-for-all of local vendors, weddings, and activities. No hard sell. This is the busiest beach, lined with major resorts.
Q: Did you know Aruba is a desert?
A: When I think Caribbean my assumption is jungle, which is hardly the case for many islands. This was an unhappy surprise to my wife who does not like dry climates.
Anything I missed?