Sometimes a girl needs a little time to herself. That was exactly why I headed to the Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort in Aruba. Nothing like a little island R & R.
The best part about staying at the Village, for me, was that I literally got to have it all. I had a gorgeous one-bedroom apartment with a lake and golf course view. I could get a lift to the beach with one phone call or enjoy the ten-minute walk from the Village to either Tamirjn or Divi Aruba (sister resorts that are across the street and on the beach complete with much needed palapas). And the place wasn't mobbed despite there being lots of guests there.
With my all-inclusive package (an optional add-on at the Village), I could eat at any of the resorts' restaurants I chose and I could use the spa, pools, work-out room, you name it. In my mind, that is the way to go.
The rooms at the Divi Beach and Golf Resort are comfortable and beachy. You know, with rattan furniture and blue accessories. And because I had the one bedroom, I also had two full baths and a fully loaded kitchen "“ right down to plates, glasses, and utensils. It was quite comfortable and pretty.
The staff was friendly, capable, and available without being hovering. They remembered my name and inquired about my day. And if someone couldn't answer a question, they pointed me to someone who could.
I had a fabulous meal at the Tamarijn's Asian style restaurant Ginger. But the best meal I had was at Windows, which is the Divi Village's newest restaurant. It is not part of the all-inclusive. But it is certainly worth checking out. The food was plated beautifully and was equally as yummy.
The highlight of the trip was a golf lesson with the resort's hunky golf pro. I had never before picked up an iron or a club (save for miniature golf) and by the end of the lesson I was driving balls straight across the range and down the center. Now, if only I had time to practice…
I did leave the property to go downtown to shop (mostly jewelry stores and souvenir shops) just minutes from the resort. I also ventured out to Palm Island, which I would definitely recommend. You can hang at the beach, snorkel with the giant, bright blue parrotfish, or try out their sea trek, where you "walk" underwater. Very cool.
This resort would be equally good for couples or families – not to mention traveling alone or hosting a girls' weekend "“ because there is so much to do. All non-motorized sports are included (when you sign on for the all-inclusive package) which means wind-surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. The most surprising activity they offer is an indoor rock climbing wall. I myself wasn't brave enough to try it, I'm afraid.
Divi is still busy building away at the Golf and Beach Resort and are scheduled to premiere shiny new time-shares at their Phoenix Resort, which is just a few miles down the road. (I spent a lovely day at their beach too.) That's one renovation I'm very excited to see since the new resort design includes building up the beach to meet the edge of their new restaurant that will be surrounded on all other sides by water.
It's an interesting concept, the non all-inclusive resort that's all-inclusive. What makes it so appealing is that you can have all the perks of the all-inclusive with none of the downside (that is, less fancy rooms and big crowds, generally). Not that the other properties are anything to sneeze at. I just really appreciated the comfort and space. And I liked that the all-inclusive package was an option as opposed to a requirement, which means you get to choose based on your vacation style. Like to eat on property? All-inclusive is the way to go. Like to go out or to cook? Then don’t add the package and simply pay as you go at the various hotel restaurants.
For travel starting March 1, 2009 through December 23, 2009, Â suites are available from $139 per night atÂ Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort; from $179 a night at Â Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort; and from $125 a night at Divi Dutch Village Resort. The coolest thing I think, in terms of price, is that with the all-inclusive at the Golf and Beach Resort, kids 17 and under stay and eat free and adults get unlimited golf after 3:00 p.m.
The Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort in Aruba was a perfect fit for my solo escape needs. But I look forward to bringing the whole family to enjoy it next time. It was the kind of place that could be as romantic or as family oriented as you choose. And isn't choice what vacationing is all about?
Jenny Block is the author of "Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage" (Seal Hardcover, June 2008 and Seal Paperback, March 2009), which has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. She writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News publication Quick called "Sex Talk with Jenny Block" (quickdfw.com). Jenny holds both her BA and her MA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught college composition for nearly ten years.