Romancing the trees at the Boardwalk Small Hotel

Scaling things down to small, makes them irresistibly cute. I recently spent 24 hours of happiness at the Boardwalk small hotel and would like to tell you that romance is well and alive and living at the Boardwalk.

I was sitting on a wooden bench mid colorful throw-pillows, at the entrance to my casita, facing the tall palm trees, listening to them while they talked.  They rustled their fronds, vibrating their canopies, catching the breeze as it raced through their leaflets. I was sipping my morning coffee. For lack of other words, I have to call it a magical moment, when the garden and its residents tune intently into each other.

Some of those tall palms having been on guard since the Tromp Plantation days, when the area was an oasis of coco trees, in the middle of nowhere, no roads, no houses, no hotels. Kids came to the Tromp Plantation to play scavenger hunt at the end of a beach day; it was the heart of the wilderness.

I have fond memories from going to Geert v/d Berg’s board building workshop at the back of the property to order a customized GvdB windsurfing board for my champion windsurfing kid, David. This must have been around 1987, Geert was a legendary windsurfing board builder, and daredevils from around the world flocked to Aruba for a taste of the untamed wind at Fisherman’s huts. They had nowhere to stay with their sandy feet and drippy harnesses, so Geert and his wife at the time Julia, started building casitas to accommodate the demand, two at first, then another and another, sinking every dime they made into the project, first renting the land, then buying the lot outright; first one then another, nurturing the garden, making it bloom.

Then Aruba-born, Belgium-raised twin sisters Kimberly and Stephanie, discovered the magical spot in 2008 while here on a kite boarding vacation. The fell in love with the place and eventually took the property over in 2011. Following a major US$1.3 M overhaul including the total renovation of 14 casitas, I ended up recently spending 24 hours of happiness in this chic, brightly colored Caribbean retreat, talking to trees over coffee on a Sunday morning.

Kimberly and Stephanie took the original barefoot, no frill concept much-much further, creating a lovely boutique hotel with many unique personal touches. My fridge was stocked with sparkling wine, ice tea, and water, there was a small handwritten Father’s Day card and gift left behind, the stylish bathroom featured Aruba Aloe products, my hammock, BBQ grill and cooler, were at my door, waiting for their marching orders, best of all a treasure box filled with great suggestions, where to go, what to do.

The highlight of my morning was the beach. Yes, the Boardwalk Small Hotel was granted its own private beach in December 2016. It is gorgeous, graced by two large grape trees and the VELA windsurf center as a neighbor. You will find it sandwiched between the Ritz Carlton and the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino featuring comfortable lounge chairs with plump cushions, shady palapas, beach towel, folded beach chairs, and beach toys, as well as snorkel gear, available from 9am to 5pm. The most spectacular feature? The F&B beach servers of The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, will deliver lunch to your palapa or beach chair, and you can charge it to your room at the Boardwalk!

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June 24, 2017
Rona Coster