Quiet location -- walk to Palm Beach in less than 15 minutes
Quaint, home stay-like vibe, unlike the area's anonymous high-rise hotels
Spacious rooms with kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, and bright, modern bathrooms
Small pool with patio and seating
Free cell phones to use while on the island
Breakfast available (at a fee)
Free coffee all day
Free on-site parking (though it’s limited)
Breakfast not included in room rates
No nightlife or social scene (a major pro for some)
Pool faces a field and doesn’t offer much shade
In Swahili, the word ‘karibu’ means ‘welcome,’ and it’s a
fitting name for this quaint, three-pearl boutique property, whose Dutch owners
make travelers feel as if they are special guests in their home. They go above and
beyond -- like offering rides, tips on what to do, and free cell phones in each
room -- to make for a memorable experience that's a far cry from what you’d get at
a typical high-rise hotel in Aruba. Beautifully decorated, modern rooms (of which there area only three) plus a
small pool help, too -- though you can get the same for a bit more cash at nearby
Boardwalk Hotel, which is also a closer walk to the beach.
Impeccably clean, with laid-back romantic vibe and charming courtyard
The unassuming Karibu Aruba sits on a quiet residential
street in Noord, one of over 200 inns and guesthouses (as well as a number of
high- and low-rise hotels) crammed into the Palm Beach area. The stiff
competition doesn’t seem to faze Andras and Beja, the Dutch couple who run the
tiny place -- though their special attention to guests adds a special twist on a typical hotel stay that helps this home stay-like property stand out from the rest. They
shuttle guests to and from the airport, give free rides to the grocery store, and offer tips for where to go while on island -- they’ll even provide a cell phone to use for
the duration of your stay. All of this is capped off by an endearing interior courtyard modeled
after a Spanish hacienda -- it's so clean that one can immediately
slip off their shoes and walk barefoot, island style.
The combined effect creates a cozy, homey vibe, and those looking for a lot of action at night should look elsewhere -- the property is quiet. At only
three rooms, it’s understandable that the couple is hoping to expand, with more
rooms and higher-end amenities in the works. For now, the hotel attracts American and European couples on
romantic vacations, as well as independent travelers who enjoy the subdued,
In Noord, a reasonable walk to beach and five-minute drive to waterfront dining
The hotel is located on the northern tip of Aruba in Noord,
one of the most popular towns for international tourists. While it's not right on the beach, the closest strip of sand is just over 10 minutes away on foot, though it
takes only five minutes by car to reach popular Palm Beach. There travelers will share space with people
staying at the high-rise hotels (like the Marriott) and there are innumerable
beachfront restaurants, ranging from clothing-optional-casual to fancy and expensive.
Otherwise downtown Oranjestad is just about 20 minutes away by car, where luxury shopping plus tons of dining and nightlife can be found. The popular Natural Bridge -- a photo worthy geological formation over the sea -- is 25 minutes away by car, and near pretty Andicuri Beach. It’s a 13-minute
drive to the California Lighthouse, about 10 minutes to Eagle beach, and about
22 minutes to the international airport.
Charming and simple apartment-style rooms with kitchenettes and bright bathrooms
The three rooms here are identical in their decor and
general layout, though the upstairs room is arguably a bit more private. White
and cream shades predominate, with cheerfully bright turquoise accents and terra cotta-tile flooring. These spacious rooms have clear glass-paneled doors that face
an interior courtyard shielded by white curtains, which creates privacy while letting in a good bit of that amazing Caribbean light. Solid wood accents -- like hardwood furniture with rustic silhouettes and chunky wood TV stands in some rooms -- add a bit of local flair. The overall effect is charming and romantic, helped by little chairs
and tables outside the rooms that beg for lounging with an early-morning coffee
Cozy details include slippers, robes, and ample towels of
all sizes, as well as a large and comfortable bed. The amenities are up-to-date -- the
flat-screen TV is huge, Wi-Fi is free, iPod docks, air-conditioning, and cell phones on the bedside tables are a nice touch. The rooms
also count narrow kitchenettes with sinks, microwaves, hot plates, and mini-fridges,
as well as enough cookware for a brief stay. Bathrooms are a highlight here—they’re
bright, modern, and showers with deluxe setting are especially large and unexpectedly high-end for this relatively simple hotel.
Small outdoor pool area with plenty of places for lounging
The hotel is small and features are limited, but there are a surprising amount of cozy
nooks and crannies to find throughout the property. The interior courtyard has a few covered couches for lounging on a rainy day, and there
are more in the main kitchen, as well as a telescope and other random knick-knacks, which the owners often make available for guest use.
The wide, large table off the kitchen often has cookies and
coffee on it for guests in the mornings. Breakfast is somewhat informal, though not included with room rates -- just ask the owners, and they’ll whip something up at a relatively minor cost. The dining area faces the pool, which is a nice-to-have extra. The pool area is pretty compact, with a few hammocks in the shade
and a small raised pool. There's a distinct lack of
shade aside from the hammock area and guests face the green field
that is adjacent to the hotel. It’s better than a street view, at least, and
there’s always a breeze, which helps.
Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and the owners will provide rides around town, including transportation to and from the airport. Cell phones are provided for guests to use during their stay.