Lame as it is, whenever I hear the word Boardwalk, I think of that song. The one with the robotic male “under the boardwalk” followed by the flirty female “having some fun.” Unfortunately for my husband (and possibly for your for the rest of your day,) this association and my own version of the original refused to budge for the whole duration of my stay at the Boardwalk Small Hotel, Aruba.
While grey skyscrapers take up much of the western coast of Aruba, the Boardwalk sits a block back from the sea decked out in bright colours on the site of a former coconut plantation. It’s run by two sisters, Kimberly and Stephanie, whose enthusiasm for the project spills into every thoughtfully designed nook and cranny.
Boardwalk divides itself up into small flats called casitas, carefully set up to give each stay some privacy and to lighten up life itself with fresh bright pinks, whites and blues. There’s a clear focus on artwork here, with many images and signs courtesy of local artists (like Elisa Lejuez, whose studio I visited here.)
Hammocks lilt in the barely there breeze and barbecues, fridges and fresh papaya marinades make Boardwalk more of a self-catered boutique apartment serviced with love than a fully fledged hotel.
Breakfast is available on request (but needs to be booked in advance which can trip you up if you’re flying in long haul.) “Regular” options are available, as is the (more) tasty Aruban speciality of arepa (a corn based bread.)
The real stand out feature of Boardwalk (aside from the owners’ sense of passion and purpose) is their Treasure Box idea.
Here, you can find inspiration for all the things you’d otherwise miss on a beach holiday in the Caribbean.
There are invitations to tour the wild desert park, tips on how to find pelicans stretching their wings on the beach, details for yoga, for golf and for kitesurfing, local spas, family beach tips and beyond. That’s how I found Elisa, the wishing stones on a windswept beach and a romantic poolside dinner within a restored historic house.
You’ll need a car to explore these possibilities but if it does all become too much, the small pool on site provides refreshment and the beach (plus bars and restaurants) is only a few minutes’ walk away.
If you prefer cute and cosy to major corporate sheen, then I’d definitely recommend the Boardwalk Hotel Aruba as a colourful, characterful place to stay.
Find details about the 14 rooms over here.
Disclosure – I paid a reduced rate to stay at the Boardwalk Hotel. As ever, as always, I remain free, freeeeeeee to write whatever I like here on the blog.
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