Posts Tagged With: Hyatt Regency

Vacations in Aruba

Growing up I went to Aruba every May and eventually it switched to every summer. I used to consider it my second home. Back then Aruba wasn’t well known and tourists didn’t flock to it in droves. It wasn’t unusual to run into celebrities who would travel there to escape the crowds. I have met more basketball teams than I can count. I’ve also met several actors and comedians. I met Sinbad in the pool.

My family and I used to stay at the Playa Linda. Our room had one bedroom, a living room with a pull out couch (where I slept), a living room, full bathroom, dining table, and full kitchen. There were two pools. One for kids and one for adults. Nothing special. A staircase led down to the beach with huts. The lobby had a small game room, a small store for essentials, a bathing suit shop, a tourist shop, and a restaurant. Back then there was nothing really around. There was a 2×1 Dunkin Donuts across the street, which made us very happy. On the beach there was a large hut that would have free coffee and cookies at 2pm everyday. The cookies were plain tea biscuits, but I used to love them. There was also a bar by the pool. The place eventually started to feel run down so we moved down to the Hyatt.

The Hyatt is where I have most of my memories. We used to stay on the top floor of the hotel (9th floor). We knew all the staff and they all knew us. They watched me grow up. The top floor has a desk for the concierge, a room with a computer (later addition) library and TV, there’s several areas to set up food and drinks, and another room with seating. We used to eat breakfast here everyday. Cookies would be put out in the middle of the day and I always looked forward to them. At night appetizers and dessert would be put out. Some nights we would make dinner out of the appetizers. Taco night used to be one of our favorite nights. I used to run down the hall in my pj’s at all hours of the day and night for food. I couldn’t imagine doing that now. The hotel had a casino in the lobby. My last year in Aruba I was 18 so I could gamble. I had fun playing the slots and black jack. There were several small shops in the lobby including a TCBY, which I went to every night. There’s also a salon and gym off of the lobby. There’s two restaurants on the lower level. Ruinas del Mar was the fancy one. We used to go there for brunch and for one fancy meal every trip. We used to order grilled salmon for dinner. The other restaurant, the Palms, is more low key. We would order lunch from them. I would either get a grilled cheese w/fries or a tuna pita w/ chips. There’s a bar and a smoothie station on the lower level as well. There are two giant pools with another bar off of the lower pool. There’s also a hot tub and a water slide. I spent many hours on that slide. I’ve won several competitions on that slide. Some for speed and some for tricks. I could do flips and turns on the slide. Beyond the pools there’s the beach. Every afternoon there would be Bingo. We never missed Bingo. The prizes included free drinks (alcohol and smoothies), money, free equipment rentals, etc.

A typical day for us would go like this:

1) Dad woke up to run and play tennis. He would save our pool chairs
2) Breakfast
3) Gym
4) Change for the pool
5) Pool
6) Cookies
7) Lunch
8) Bingo
9) Pool or walk to the other hotels
10) Change/shower
11) Appetizers
12) Finish changing
13) Dinner out of the hotel
14) Dessert in the hotel
15) TCBY and hang out in the lobby, casino, or walk the beach

My mom and I aren’t pool, beach, or sun people. So we often walk to the other hotels just for something to do. We would just walk or shop. We spent a lot of time in the Holiday Inn and Allegro/Occidental, since they were the closest hotels. The furthest we would would be to the Wyndham to the left or the Marriott to the right.

Once a trip my mom and I would take the bus into town and spend the day in Oranjestad. We would spend the day shopping for items to bring home to friends and coworkers.

After I turned 18 we stopped going. I wanted to see the world and going to Aruba every year prevented that. Now everyone has caught onto Aruba. The place has changed in the last 8 years. I probably wouldn’t recognize it anymore. I hear there are so many new hotels, restaurants, and shops.

I’ll do individual posts for some of my favorite places in Aruba.

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Hotel Map Back in the Day

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Updated Hotel Map

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When I was 18 this was the Hotel Map

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Sinbad and I back in the day

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At the mini golf place in Aruba

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Hyatt Lower Pool-Jump Time!

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Playing bingo and being silly

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Some hotel in Aruba

18! I can gamble. Hyatt’s Casino. I won $20.50 that night.

Hyatt Beach

Hyatt Pool Area

Ocean View from Hyatt Room

Ocean View from Hyatt Room

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Waiting outside Ruinas del Mar

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Beverly! She worked at Palms

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Palms Restaurant

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Did I mention I absolutely hate suntan lotion?

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Aruba from our balcony

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Coloring in my room

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She was the house keeper. I loved her.

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Hanging in our spot

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On the 9th floor with Angie

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Bingo Time!

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Hanging out with the amazing women that worked on the 9th floor

Aruba 1990

9th Floor

One of many iguanas on the island

Joking around on the lower level of the pool

Marriott

Hanging with an iguana

Waterslide time!

Aruba from our balcony

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Categories: Aruba, Caribbean, Family Vacation, Photos, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things Get Steamy in Gastown

6/10/13

We headed out to the visitors’ centre to see if there were any special discounts. The centre was being remodeled so it was moved to the Convention Centre across the street. There was a science convention going on. The visitor centre was just a couple of brochures and some free postcards. We left and stood outside admiring the view of the water and mountains.

We went next door to Canada Place. The Disney Wonder cruise ship was docked there. I became obsessed with it. I had never seen one up close before. It was beyond massive!!! I could not believe something so big could float. We went to the 1812 exhibit which said it was closed. I was really upset. I really wanted to do it. We continued walking around Canada Place and examined the other cruise ship that was docked there. We swung back around and saw that the 1812 exhibit was open. Yeah!!!

The exhibit was free. It started with a movie and some special effects (smoke and loud noises). The exhibit was super small. It was the size of a bathroom. There were some interactive screens and some reproductions of uniforms and guns. There were a couple of original artifacts. The exhibit had free postcards, stickers, and magnets. It also had a machine where you could take a picture of yourself as a historic figure from the exhibit and send it to yourself as a postcard. My small head didn’t work well with it, but it was still fun.

Next we went in search of a place that had these special buns but couldn’t find it so we gave up. We walked to Gastown which is supposed to be sketchy. Aside from a handful of homeless it wasn’t so bad. I wanted to go straight to the clock to catch the 1pm whistles, but my mom wanted to go to the dollar store. We argued and she won. We bought some candy and I bought some chocolates to give to UGA staff and my Au Bon Pain friends. I bought Disney Kinder which the 5 year old girl inside of me fell in love with. Each chocolate has a Disney princess inside. I bought 3 hoping for Jasmine. I got Rapunzel, Belle, and Aurora. No Jasmine :-(.

We headed to the steam clock, which really was steaming. We waited for the whistles but there was nothing. We took pictures and went into nearby souvenir stores to shop. In the store we heard the whistle. We missed it! The lady in the store told us that it is better on the hour. I knew we should have gone at 1pm. Now we had to wait until 2pm. We shopped until 2 and caught it whistling. See the video below:

We then headed to Gassy Jack. We took pictures and went to Deluxe Junk Co. which wound up being out of business. We needed to head to the Museum of Anthropology. We wanted to use the restroom and buy tickets first. We walked to the Fairmont Hotel and used their super fancy restroom. We bought four bus tickets and walked to the bus.

Our bus driver was beyond slow!!! He was driving me nuts. He gets on the phone and calls his boss and says he’s running late. Hmmm I wonder why. He boss tells him to dump us all at the next stop. I’m pissed my directions are for the bus we are on not for this other bus. Without Internet we will be lost. We get on the new bus and are left off at the University of BC. The driver informs my mom and I that we have a mile to walk to get to the museum. Super fun! We run the mile because the museum is closing soon.

I get to the museum and only have 45 mins. I figured they would discount it. Many museums don’t charge in the last hour. Nope, full price. I grab my mom’s tablet and take pictures of almost every item. The museum isn’t really my taste. I like Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and Japan. This museum focuses on Native Americans and South America. There were some Chinese, Japanese and Greek pieces, but nothing big or spectacular. I still enjoyed looking at the masks and some of the Shinto pieces. I rushed and was done in about 35 mins. My mom bought me two postcards while I was in the museum.

We headed to the Chen Center aka the 4400 Center. The area had tons of flowers which meant tons of bugs. I didn’t want to stick around. My mom struggled to take a good picture of me with the entire building. I was obsessed with the 4400 TV show so the center meant something to me.

We walked to the bus which wound up being a mile away. I was melting from all my layers. The bus finally came and our tickets were expired. We thought they were good for 90 mins from being swiped/inserted not from time of purchase. We were screwed. The bus was in the middle of nowhere. The driver let us on. There were no seats and we had to stand for 40 mins after a two mile walk in the last hour.

We went straight to Regency for cold waters and food. I had mozzarella balls and garlic bread again. There were stuffed mushrooms, but I haven’t had mushrooms since I got violently ill from them in 2010. They had chicken salad on a chip. The chicken salad looked like cat food. Seriously. With nothing else to eat I forced myself to eat some. Dessert was mini cakes. I had two minis.

At 9pm we heard the loud noise again. This time it sounded like a canon. A quick google search told me they sound a canon every night at 9pm.

Categories: Canada, Family Vacation, History, Travel, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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