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Sasaki Apartments 2.5

Noord, Aruba

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • A 15-minute walk to the closest swimmable beach
  • Downtown Oranjestad only 10 minutes away by car
  • Across the street from large supermarket, ATMs, and pharmacy
  • Spacious apartments with full kitchens and patios
  • Large and lovely pool plus sandy area and kiddy pool
  • Outdoor grill area with picnic tables (fee for use)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Free on-site self-parking, but spots are limited

Cons

  • Walk to beach take longer than hotel claims
  • Room decor is outdated
  • Area lacks charm -- on a relatively busy street and intersection
  • Wi-Fi can be spotty

Bottom Line

Look slightly to the left of the parking lot of Aruba’s most well-known supermarket and you’ll see Sasaki Apartments, an apartment-style budget hotel. While the hotel's central location is convenient to Aruba’s tourist sights, the beach isn't as close as the hotel promises -- it takes about 15 minutes to reach on foot -- and roads in the immediate area are quite busy. The reasonable rates might be worth the hike, as the 24 apartments include full kitchens. However, don't expect much in the way of style -- the rooms are dated, but clean, and there's a nice pool as well. Nearby Bubali Bliss Studios features lovelier, modern suites but a smaller pool and higher price tag. 

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Scene

Quiet, low-key apartment-style hotel on the corner of busy intersection

Sasaki Apartments’ big sign shines like a beacon welcoming guests to their apartment complex -- their very visible residence on the corner of a very busy intersection means the place is incredibly easy to find. The hotel essentially across the street from Super Food Plaza, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. While the convenience of having Super Food within steps of the hotel is helpful for quick snacks and making meals on a budget, it also means the hotel doesn’t exactly appear picturesque upon first glance. That being said, for budget lodgings in Aruba, the hotel is a clean and reasonable home base. From the outside it looks every bit like an island-based apartment complex, with a pink exterior and red-tile roof. Inside, things are pretty humble, and ultimately nothing really memorable.  

The hotel’s on-site pool helps up the value of a stay here -- it’s big and has a cascading mini-waterfall, as well as a kiddy pool alongside it. That and the central courtyard, adorned with a leafy trellis, help to create more of a tropical vibe. Europeans and Americans looking for an alternative to the high-rise hotel scene often stay here. Families from all over are also attracted to the hotel for the spacious suites, central location, and budget-saving kitchens.  

Location

Long-ish walks to the beach along busy roads; immediate area isn't charming

First things first: The hotel website claims Sasaki Apartments is only 400 meters (a third of a mile) from popular Eagle Beach. This is a bit of an exaggeration, however, as it's about double that to the closest swimmable strip of sand, and takes up to 15 minutes to reach on foot along some seriously busy roads. Aside from this bit of misinformation, the hotel’s central Bubali location means it’s convenient to a number of places, like Super Food Plaza, which is just across the street and has ATMs, a pharmacy, and a grocery store all in one place. It's essentially the only modern supermarket on the island. Restaurants are close by, too, like Smokey Joe’s Island Grill, which is about five minutes away on foot, or Madame Janette’s, about a 15-minute walk. Other than that, though, the immediate area isn't exactly charming, and feels pretty anonymously suburban. Getting to Palm Beach takes about six minutes by car, and the California Lighthouse is a bit farther, adding another ten minutes to the drive. The marina and shops in downtown Oranjestad are a 10-minute drive from the hotel, while Queen Beatrix International Airport takes 15 minutes to reach by car. 

Rooms

Spacious studio apartments with outdated style and up-to-date kitchens 

The 24 spacious studio apartments here aren't much to look at -- the decor is bland and outdated, with details like dark beige curtains, red abstract-patterned bedspreads, and white-tile floors. That being said, for budget rooms, these are fine enough, and everything is relatively well kept and clean. All studios include a full kitchen that's modern compared to the rest of the room. These include granite countertops, full-size refrigerators, toasters, microwaves, burners, teakettles, and cooking equipment. Rooms also feature a small sitting area with a table and chairs and a big couch that faces the flat-screen TV. Simple outdoor seating outside the rooms is nice for getting some fresh air, though there’s a lack of privacy on the patios since the apartment suites are directly adjacent to each other. All rooms also include air-conditioning, daily maid service (excluding Sundays), and free Wi-Fi, though it can be spotty.

Bathrooms aren't the best. When we visited, the bathroom was buggy and signs were posted not to flush anything -- including toilet paper -- which is only common at a handful of other budget hotels on Aruba. Additionally, the toilet seat in the room that we visited was hanging a little off its hinges. Otherwise, bathrooms are bright, with ample counter space, big showers, and hot water.

One important note: doors lock automatically and there’s no reception service at night -- so it's best to never forget the key in the room. 

Features

Communal grill area plus a large pool with kiddy area

The interior courtyard that runs between the studio rooms and that’s covered in a leafy green trellis is a nice addition to an otherwise basic hotel. The path first leads to a shady outdoor grill area, where there are several grills and a handful of picnic tables overlooking the pool area. Guests are welcome to use the grills, but unfortunately there's a surprisingly high fee charged per usage.

The pool area is quite expansive, and includes a large bean-shaped pool and kiddy pool lined with daybeds and tiki huts on both sides. There’s even a faux-beach section off to one side, where guests can play volleyball and pretend they’re sunbathing on the coast. The hotel’s pool and grill area are tucked away at the back of the property, which adds a refreshing sense of privacy to the place.  

Otherwise, there's not much on offer here. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, though it's not the best. The hotel does have a laundry room that's convenient for any longer-stay guests. Beach towels are not provided and there is limited parking on site for free, though spots can fill up in high season.

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Address

Bubali # 143, Noord, Caribbean

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