I visited Aruba for a romantic birthday getaway following an island group retreat at the end of the summer. At a consistent 80-90°F and outside of the hurricane belt, Aruba offers ideal and reliable weather for a special island experience.
When choosing accommodations for my birthday vacation, I knew I wanted a hotel that would be romantic, private, couple-friendly, and walking distance from the best beaches. As a creative and green-living enthusiast, I sought colorful, earthy, or modern decor from eco-conscious establishments. After much research, I decided on the Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba for my stay. Take an inside look at the hotel and read what I thought of the experience in this detailed hotel review.
My First Impression of the Boardwalk Small Hotel:
On the main road and directly across from the Ritz Carlton, the Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba is hidden behind a painted wall perched under draped palm trees. The strategically placed hotel sign saves you from missing it upon arrival.
I'd already felt acquainted with the hotel and the sisters who own it, thanks to the friendly reminder email they sent me about my booking, one week before the trip. Their personalized letter-writing style made me feel like I was going to visit a friend for a few days, and their activity suggestions left me anxiously waiting for my birthday vacation.
The Boardwalk Small Hotel's long driveway ends at the front office, which on Sundays is closed. Of course Sunday was my arrival day, but they reassured me it'd be easy to get into my casita: a small, yet fully equipped vacation house.
I walked to the front office, knowing it'd be locked, and saw an envelope taped onto the door with my name written on it. Inside of the envelope there was a map, a warm welcome note, and instructions on where to retrieve my hidden key.
The grounds weren't completely staff-free, though. I noticed two employees turning over rooms and collecting trash and laundry, so it was good to know that if I needed anything (regarding my room) on that Sunday, I could be immediately assisted.
I found Casita #5 and my key quite easily, thanks to the map, and when I unlocked the door I couldn't believe what I saw.
The casita looked exactly as the photos presented on the hotel website! If you travel frequently, you'll know how often hotels get a bit overzealous with the color correction, fish eye, and filters in their photos (only to show up to a bed, nightstand, and dirty wall in your room), so I wholeheartedly appreciated the effort put into the grounds and accommodations.
In my one-bedroom casita, I was welcomed by a fully equipped kitchen, television, dining table, living room set, and *air conditioning*. I noticed there was a master switch near the door that shut off all the lights if needed, and if the door was held open for too long, the air conditioning automatically switched off. I was impressed by their devotion to the environment, to say the least.
Walking toward the back of the casita, I passed a small closet (that I never used), noticed a fire extinguisher (hallelujah), and then fell in love with the bathroom. There was a double shower, Aruba's local Aloe products (soap, shampoo, cleanser), and even a shower clothesline for drying. Lastly, there was great water pressure, consistent hot water, and a great flushing toilet (we always have to make sure of that)!
The adjacent bedroom had two extremely thick queen size beds, separate air conditioning, and offered the best sleep I've ever had on vacation.
I thought there couldn't be anything better, until I opened the refrigerator and noticed the fresh pitcher of iced tea made for us! I was sold. And it was delicious, in case you were wondering.
I also loved that my casita had a patio with its own hammock and grill. The local newspaper was provided and the four seat table setting was perfect for a evening barbecue, easily available by purchasing the BBQ kit at the front desk or heading to a supermarket.
Facilities and Perks:
The ground facilities were gorgeous. The paths that looped, connecting the casitas, were charming and I felt as if I was in my own little village.
The pool is well designed and an excellent place to catch some sun. It is a perfect pool for wading and floating, but if you want to take serious laps, head to the beach less than a five minute walk away.
There was also a reading area designed within a gazebo with a double hammock and reading chairs/patio couches. I didn't go there often, because I was so in love with my own casita, but it seemed like a nice quiet place to retreat to if I wanted to get out of my room but not go too far.
The customer service at The Boardwalk Small Hotel was impressive. I am relatively low maintenance, but whenever I needed anything, I always felt like I could give the front desk a call and receive immediate, useful assistance.
All of the ground and office staff members were kind, respectful, and helpful to every guest, I intentionally observed--not just me, because I was a blogger. That was nice to see.
The best part about the service at the Boardwalk Small Hotel was that they provide you with enough information to make your own decisions. Their signature treasure box, for example, is placed in each casita and offers the best recommendations for food, activities, shopping, and more - all approved by locals.
I know being on an island makes things 100% more cheery, but with the renovation design, reliable customer service, and stunning casita, I gave this place a 10/10 within minutes.
After evaluating it over the course of three days, I will give it a 9.5/10 due to the distance from supermarkets (you have to take a taxi, which can be called for you by the front desk), since I LOVE to walk.
Would you stay at the Boardwalk Small Hotel for vacation?
Did you love these photos as much as I loved my casita? All of my friends have been texting me about this gorgeous place so I just had to post a full inside scoop!
To book your stay at the Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba, visit boardwalkaruba.com.
Disclosure: I received complimentary accommodation in order to produce this hotel review. However, since it is a review and not a paid advertisement, all content is based on my own experiences and is not monetarily compensated to favor the establishment.