International hotels and high-rise resorts make for fantastic holiday relaxation but for visitors who really want to get away from it all, the Caribbean island of Aruba offers some unique, boutique alternative accommodation.
More readily associated with well-known hotel brands and top quality properties, this gem in the Dutch Caribbean will surprise many visitors its choice of smaller, charming properties, offering even more of a chilled escape.
With some just feet from the azure blue Caribbean Sea, others offering a simple budget break or comfortable privacy, the island’s diverse portfolio of accommodation includes cottages, villas, and bed and breakfast and studio rooms.
North Shore Cottage is a prime example: Built in 2007, this cute property is located on Aruba’s north shore and on the edge of a nature reserve. It includes one bedroom, with a queen-size bed, while two single beds and a toddler bed are provided in the loft area (additional foldaway bed and cot available on request).
Attractively-landscaped, the property is a five-minute drive from the main Palm Beach shopping and restaurant area and also include a modern kitchen, wifi, cable TV and sat-nav system to use in a hire car. Hammock, beach chairs and snorkelling equipment are also provided and there is a weekly maid service. Nightly rates are from US$95 (approximately £76); www.northshorecottagearuba.com
For a cosy haven in a quiet, prestigious resident area – but just two minutes from the beach – try Aruba Cunucu Residence in the Westpunt region. This 100-year-old property was recently modernised and consists of three one-bedroom apartments, one two-bedroom unit and two studio apartments. All have air conditioning and there is a private swimming pool. Nightly rates from $168 (£134). www.arubacunucuresidence.com
Meanwhile, Wonders Boutique Hotel is an adults-only haven for those who love to relax in casual yet luxurious surroundings, where a personal touch makes all the difference. The gated property has a pool, eight rooms with private bathrooms, and a private parking area. The atmosphere at Wonders is one of quiet enjoyment. The boutique hotel is located in a residential area within walking distance to island capital Oranjestad and close to one of the best beaches on the island. Rates from $99 (£79); www.wondersaruba.com
For a larger property, Aruba Beach Villas has 31 private villas, overlooking 400 feet of white sand beach in the north of the island, with spectacular sea and sunset views. Surrounded by palm trees, the villas have lush tropical gardens of flowering plants and grassy courtyards, with a choice of ocean, courtyard, and poolside views in studio, one- and two-bedroom villas. All villas have kitchenettes, showers, maid service, air conditioning, and 45-channel cable TV. Most have private decks or balconies and charming courtyards. BBQ grills, free cell phone, wi-fi, snorkel equipment and kayaks, and discounts on windsurf equipment rental. A swimming pool and jacuzzi are also available. Rates from $92 (£73); www.arubabeachvillas.com
For the budget-conscious, options include Aruba Blue Village, where prices start at $89 (£71) a night. Nestled in a quiet neighbourhood away from the crowds of the tourist area, the property is conveniently located just 10 minutes from downtown Oranjestad and five minutes from Eagle Beach. The property includes 29 junior studios, 17 one-bedroom suites, eight two-bedroom suites, and 45 long-term apartments. The property is tropically landscaped with two swimming pools, and also has a bar and restaurant, laundry services and a mini market.