Beautiful and busy Palm Beach location, along the bustling main drag of the High Rise hotel zone
Large rooms with apartment layouts, kitchens, and contemporary beach decor -- multiple bedrooms available
Two pools (one with waterfall, one adult-only), hot tub, and shady palapas
Lots of food and beverage options on-site and out the front door (independently owned)
Well-stocked mini-market with reasonable prices
Spa del Sol and a big, modern fitness center
Family-friendly features including kids' club, games, and family pool
No all-inclusive rates (pro for some)
Spotty Wi-Fi (can pay for a faster upgrade)
Strict 30-day cancellation policy in high season
Playa Linda Beach Resort is a 214-room upper-middle-range time-share property located directly on gorgeous Palm Beach. Most of the clean rooms have an apartment-style design with full kitchenettes, separate living rooms, and private outdoor space, making it well-suited for longer stays. Plus, the resort’s two-bedroom units, waterfall family pool, and kids' club are big draws for anyone traveling with the kids in tow. There is also a hot tub, an Asian-themed spa, and plenty of places to grab a drink on-site, as well as a plethora of restaurants, shops, and entertainment located in the hotel's plaza and along the buzzing main drag out front. However, some guests might miss an all-inclusive option. For something with all-inclusive rates on the beach, check out the Barcelo Aruba.
Well-maintained time-share resort with an upbeat and relaxing vibe
Opened in 1983, Playa Linda has held up rather well thanks to continual maintenance and renovations. The resort is a time-share property, saved after bankruptcy by the owners who now run and manage the property. With 214 rooms, it's on the small side, but still covers a fair amount of square footage -- and even more if you count the shared plaza space it leases out to restaurants such as Le Petit Cafe and shops selling everything from sunblock to sterling silver. The plaza vendors generate lots of foot traffic out front, and the beach area is usually packed out back, but it's still possible to soak up some peace and quiet in the adult-only pool. Most of the guests tend to be on the older side or families traveling with small children -- many of them are time-share owners.
In the thick of it all, between Palm Beach and the main drag
Playa Linda is flanked by the sands of Palm Beach on one side and one of Aruba's most trafficked tourist strips, J.E. Irasquin Blvd, on the other side. It's within easy walking distance of a dense selection of hotels, bars, restaurants, and casinos. Popular spots nearby include a movie theater, Caribbean barbecue restaurant Smokey Joe's, and the I "Heart" Aruba souvenir shop. Dining options include everything from Wisconsin bratwurst to a Dunkin' Donuts. It's also fairly close to both Hadicurari Beach and Eagle Beach, (five minutes north and south by car, respectively). The resort is a 15-minute drive to the airport and a 10-minute drive to downtown Oranjestad.
Apartment-style rooms with kitchen features and tropical decor
All 214 rooms at Playa Linda are time-shares, but the decor and interiors are consistent. Each is apartment-style with some semblance of a kitchen, ranging from a simple microwave, dishes, refrigerator, and coffeemaker setup, to full kitchens and dining rooms with multi-range stovetops, dishwashers, name-brand appliances, eat-in bar areas, and glass-topped dining room tables. Decor reflects a contemporary beach style with stained poplar and wicker furniture, tropical patterned fabrics, and a sprinkling of artificial plants. In the larger units, master bedrooms have king-size beds, while two single beds occupy additional rooms. All units have sofa beds facing flat-screen TVs. Wi-Fi is free, but can be spotty. Guests can upgrade for an additional fee. Floors are tiled throughout, and bathrooms are bright and well-lit with makeup mirrors and dedicated makeup removal towels. Additional bathroom amenities like vinyl shower curtains, in-wall hairdryers, pump toiletries, and fluffy-but-small towels are a bit of a letdown.
Large beach, independently owned restaurants, and two pools
One of the strongest features of Playa Linda it its large beach. The soft sands stretch across the back of the resort’s entire plaza property, not just the hotel, giving guests an ample sweep of sand and access to tons of scattered strappy plastic beach loungers. There’s not much shade on the beach, so if you know you’ll want a personal palapa hut, or Chickee beach hut as the resort calls them, you’ll have to reserve it -- in person – between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. For anyone looking to add a little adventure to their sun-tanning, there’s a water sports vendor in the middle of the beachfront as well as a jamming pier bar.
The large beachfront isn't the only place to grab sun at Playa Linda; there are also two pools and a hot tub. The family pool area received a makeover in 2015: the faux-rock facades were removed and two sections with submerged loungers were added. The former grotto-style hot tub is now framed by sleek columns with a waterfall feature. The area is surrounded by loungers and shady palapa huts. The adult-only pool was added in late 2014 and is a slightly smaller, rectangular pool located in its own area off the family pool. It also has its own small row of palapas and loungers.
While the resort doesn’t operate any of its own restaurants, it lease out spots to casual dining venues on-site and in the adjacent plaza. To-go eateries include Dunkin' Donuts, Eduardo’s Beach Shack (serving fresh juices), and sausage slinger Scott’s Brats (this popular hut closes when the brats sell out -- which is usually just after lunch). Poolside, Azzuro’s Ristorante Italiano has table service with sea views, while Carlito’s Sports Beach Bar is the go-to for games and American bar food. Just out the entrance to the right, Le Petit Cafe has cuts of beef and fresh seafood served sizzling on a hot stone, while guests will find a French menu at Amuse Bistro. To the left is Garden Fresh, akin to an upscale Subway restaurant with healthy sandwiches and salads on the menu. A well-priced and stocked mini-market has a few items for special diets like almond and soy milk, gluten-free frozen food, and baby food, as well as beer, wine, liquor, and convenience items like sunblock and postcards (there’s a mailbox at the entrance of the lobby).
There is no want for booze at Playa Linda. Guests will find more bars than restaurants scattered across the resort, including two beach bars. Azzuro’s runs a slick poolside bar that is attached to the entrance of the restaurant, as well as a small white-wicker furniture beach bar spilling onto the sands of Palm Beach. Amuse Bistro runs the resort’s Lounge Bar and happy hour. Carlito’s Sports Beach Bar has a good happy hour, lively vibe, and a colorful decor.
Other notable features include a large kids' club with activities and an Asian-inspired indoor/outdoor spa and salon, Spa del Sol (independently operated). The resort's spacious fitness center can be found off the parking garage and is stocked with modern cardio machines with individual TVs, free weights, and equipment for floor exercises. Off of the Amuse Lounge Bar, guests will find a lending library, and the concierge office, complete with booking services and a business center (offering two computers with internet and boarding pass printing capabilities). Wi-Fi is free, but spotty. Coin-operated laundry machines are located off the room hallways. Parking is available in the parking garage.
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