Across the street from the sea -- some rooms have water views
Walk to Malmok Beach in five minutes, Palm Beach in 10
Modest studios have well-stocked kitchens and modern amenities
Rooms are cleaned daily -- a rarity in some apartment-style hotels
Small outdoor pool and hot tub
Barbecue area for common use
Snorkels and beach chairs available for rent
Daily happy hours and sunset trips
No swimming allowed at the beach by the hotel
Decor is a bit dated in some units
Views from Ocean View Studios aren't all that great
Wi-Fi can be spotty
The two-and-a-half-pearl Sunset Beach Studios has a low-key social atmosphere with poolside happy hours, sunset
gatherings by the water, and a gazebo full of seating. Its reasonable rates
and convenient access to the most popular beaches makes it a popular choice with budget travelers, though Wi-Fi is spotty and many of the 13 studios are slightly dated. Nevertheless, they're clean and have full kitchens as well as cozy porch areas. Guests should note that the beach by the hotel isn't swimmable, but Malmok Beach -- which is excellent for snorkeling -- is a six-minute walk north. For a more traditional hotel with an intimate and romantic vibe, check out the Boardwalk Hotel Aruba, which is a five-minute walk from Palm Beach, though rates may be slightly higher.
Low-key apartment-style hotel with social, friendly vibe
On an island packed with high-rise hotels, Sunset Beach Studios is a pleasant alternative. It's rates are reasonable, especially given the seaside setting, though that might be because the beach across the road isn't actually swimmable. Still, the low-key social vibe here gives the hotel a bit of personality, and most of the guests here
are older European couples. There’s even a daily happy hour around the
pool, followed by a ritual that gives meaning to the hotel’s name: Every
evening, guests gather around the sea-facing bench across the street
to enjoy the final minutes of daylight. The street along the shore stays relatively quiet, and lots of guests bike
the pleasant path to and from the nearby beaches. Overall, this is a small and unassuming place, outside
of the main areas where most of the island's hotels are located. The small property is perpetually busy, mostly with
returning guests who often stay for a week or more.
Easy walks to Malmok or Palm Beaches, a 15-minute drive into Oranjestad
Sunset Beach Studios is located on LG Smith Boulevard, the
main road that runs along the northwestern coast of Aruba. This is one of the quieter corners of the island, removed enough from the high-rise areas to feel secluded and relaxed. The hotel sits across the road from a beach, but swimming is not allowed there. Malmok Beach, which is excellent for snorkeling, is a five-minute walk to the north, while the north end of Palm Beach is a 10-minute walk to the south. Boca Catalina Beach is another option that's about a 15-minute walk from here. A car will be helpful for getting around, though, and Arashi Beach is only a five-minute drive from here. Super Food Plaza, a grocery store that's a bit of an island landmark and is handy for stocking the kitchens, is a 10-minute drive from the property. The shops, casinos, and nightlife of Oranjestad are a 15-minute drive in good traffic, though that can vary. Queen Beatrix
International Airport will take about 20 minutes to reach by car, though again, traffic is a variable.
Basic studios with bland island decor and well-stocked kitchens
The hotel's studios are fairly basic, though pleasant enough for a simple getaway in the Caribbean. Decor is a bit outdated and rather bland, with tile floors and light blue accents that contrast the mainly cream and beige color palette. The look has island overtones, and bright tropical beach photographs hang on the walls, though its worth noting that some rooms, like the Second Studio that we visited, are a bit more polished and have higher-quality hardwood furniture and modern details like distressed wooden cabinets in the kitchen.
All have a cozy porch area with chairs and tables and plenty of shade from the sun. Vines climb the trellises that separate the rooms, and lush plants stand overgrown at their entrances. The landscaping has the dual function of granting more privacy and adding to the tropical vibe. Rooms also have full kitchens equipped with full-size fridges, microwaves, stovetops, coffeemakers, toasters, and a generous assortment of cooking utensils. Even dish soap, cutting boards, and Tupperware containers are provided. Other amenities include flat-screen TVs with cable channels, electronic safes, and air-conditioning. Wi-Fi is free, but spotty. Bathrooms
are cramped, with small showers and very little counter space.
The studios are divided into categories based on whether they have garden or ocean views, which seems a
bit misleading, as Ocean View Studios offer lackluster vistas -- the property is separated from the beach by a two-lane street and large parking lot. Regardless, those seeking a bit more privacy
might prefer the front-facing rooms, as they are set a bit apart from the rooms in the back of the property.
Outdoor pool and hot tub, communal grills, but unreliable Wi-Fi
This small hotel has a circular garden area that’s mostly
hidden from the street by a row of studio rooms. Lawn ornaments, chairs, and
street lamps are scattered about the grass, giving everything a home-away-from-home, familiar atmosphere. A small outdoor pool is situated here, surrounded by lawn chairs and next to an
above-ground hot tub. The hot tub is tiny and somewhat awkwardly placed between chairs, but it's clean and perfectly functional. There’s not much
respite from the sun here, but there’s a large gazebo close by that has chairs and plenty of shade. Happy hours take place by the pool and guests also gather for sunsets just across the road. The hotel also offers two gas grills in the courtyard for barbecues. Wi-Fi is free, but unreliable, and parking is free as well. The hotel can also help secure car rentals at reasonable rates, and snorkeling and other beach gear is available for rent.
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