Less than a 10-minute drive to Eagle and Palm Beaches
Small but lovely on-site pool and garden
Rooms have functioning air-conditioning, mini-fridges, and flat-screen TVs
Pam Pam Restaurant and Bar with tasty, reasonably priced fare
Laundry facilities available at additional fee
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Free and ample parking
Long-term and student housing available
Rooms are dark, small, and austere, with a bit of wear
No hot water, or replenishing of toiletries
Location is not convenient to popular sights; cannot walk to beach
For its budget status, two-pearl Perle D’Or offers a surprisingly solid set of amenities less than a 10-minute drive of Eagle or Palm Beaches. The bright, mid-size pool and pretty garden, along with affordable food at tasty Pam Pam Restaurant, draw the mostly young Dutch students who stay here. The hotel doubles as temporary housing for international students, which usually generates a lively vibe and may explain the austere, dorm-like rooms. Despite having mini-fridges, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs, the rooms are worn and unpleasant, and lack of hot water -- strange even for such a cheap hotel. The simple rooms here are brighter but much smaller in size than at comparably priced Aruba Blue Village.
Simple hotel draws a mix of Dutch students and budget travelers
Perle d'Or is a bit of a mixed bag. From the outside, this is a pleasant -- even nice -- value option, but expectations must be managed. Rooms are spartan and unattractive, and the location isn't ideal for walking anywhere. When it comes to the vibe here, everything is thoroughly relaxed. Dutch teens sprawl on lounge chairs by the pool, while older Europeans chat under tiki huts in the green garden that welcomes guests. The hotel consists of a long, two-story building that winds around an outdoor pool and garden, as well as a breezy on-site restaurant. It functions as both a hotel and a student dormitory for college kids working and living in Aruba. The dual function makes for an interesting and generally social vibe, with a mix of younger travelers mingling with families and independent travelers on a budget. Pam Pam Restaurant is just next door, and becomes a cozy stage for the live jazz and salsa nights that sometimes happen here.
Less than a 10-minute drive to Eagle and Palm Beaches
Perle D’Or stands on a lonely street in the middle of the island, at a distance from the touristy strip along Aruba's west coast. While there's nothing within an easy walk, Aruba is small enough that in a car most sights are still under a 20-minute drive from the hotel. The two closest beaches are also the most popular on the island: Eagle Beach is a straight shot along a single road for about eight minutes, while Palm Beach takes about seven minutes to reach in a car. Otherwise the California Lighthouse is a 20-minute drive from the hotel, as is the Tierra del Sol Golf Course. Arikok National Park is the farthest sight, at just over 35 minutes away by car.
The hotel is within walking distance of a bus stop, and close to the island’s giant supermarket and pharmacy, Super Food Plaza -- only a four-minute drive away. It's easy enough to find places to eat with a car as well, as the hotel is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Willemstad and the marina, where there are endless waterfront restaurants, casinos, and a luxury mall. Palm and Eagle Beaches also offer an array of casual and fancier dining by the sea. The hotel is just 15 minutes away from the airport.
Tiny and austere, with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and air-conditioning
The rooms here are rudimentary at best, and the style doesn't rise much beyond that of a budget dorm. Individual reading lamps bring a bit of homey-ness to the colorful motel-like decor. Orange and lime-green walls are painted to give the impression of a headboard, and other decor is limited to white tiled floors, faux-wood tables that jut out from the wet bar, and thick orange drapes. The combination of the decor plus wear and tear make these rooms less than pleasant, despite the hopeful artwork on the walls spelling out “HOME” in big letters.
There's very little furniture beyond a queen-size bed, desk and two chairs. Also missing is storage space -- there’s no dresser or drawers beyond the narrow closet. Despite this, rooms still feel cramped -- there’s barely enough floor space to open a suitcase. Light comes from the single window facing the open-air hallways, which isn’t the most private arrangement, but at least grants a bit of sunshine. All rooms include a sink, mini-fridge, and just enough dishware for one or two people. They are air-conditioned, with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi as well. Bathrooms are just as tiny, with just a single bar of soap that's not replenished after day one. More importantly, the showers will not produce hot water, no matter how many times you turn the knob in either direction.
For a budget hotel, this place still has a few shining features, most notably the pool area. It’s on the smaller side and a bit cramped, but there are plenty of shady areas, as well as a few tiki huts and lounge chairs. And best of all, it's set in a lovely tropical garden, which has an almost wild look to it: green leafy plants seem to swallow the walkways. There are a few limited places to sit down around the hotel, too -- just remember to bring bug spray. Thanks to the overgrown garden, the mosquitoes come out in droves here and in the other common areas once the sun sets.
Pam Pam serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner as the hotel’s unofficial on-site restaurant (it’s not actually affiliated with the hotel). It’s pleasant and breezy, with a semi open-air layout and long bar. It can get quite lively here at night, as the restaurant is often the site for live music or dance shows. For Aruba, this place has tasty dishes at affordable prices, and Perle D’Or guests often get a special discount.
The hotel has a nominal fee for checking out any time after noon, which seems worth the minor charge to stay another half-day. They also offer long-term room rentals and laundry services at an additional fee. Wi-Fi is free and functional everywhere on the property.