Our lodging was one of the key parts of our experience. I feel that it was truly a hidden gem in Aruba.. tucked all the way on the south side of the island, away from the high-rise hotel scene, amidst the quiet seaside with the locals.
Wayne and I often opt for the more local/ hidden gems rather than larger American named hotels. Since I have done a lot of traveling overseas, I prefer to experience countries from their point of view rather than being catered to by American services. The food tends to be better, company more intimate and service more personal. Almost always though, we get nervous upon arrival because these places are located out of the tourist areas and as we drive further away we start seeing run-down areas and more rustic affairs and wonder if we're going to regret our decision. And always, we arrive to the exterior of our reservation, usually un-prolific... and walk in to discover a, somehow disguised, paradise - clad with local servers handing us warm towels, a cold drink and delivered into our own private oasis'. This time was no different. (Side note: There were some amazing resorts in Aruba that Wayne and I walked through - and if that's your thing - no shame -do it!).
Upon arriving to The Old Man & The Sea we walked down the marigold-curtained walkway fostering a lush tropical garden of palms & flowers to our room, The Orquidea (a haven for orchids). A wooden doorway opened to the straw covered cabana, our bed in center, facing a glass lined wall looking out at the ocean. The front porch set on the sand of the small private beach amidst the other 5 villas, 3 of which were held over the ocean. The adorable bathroom off of the side was open-air to the sky, with a sea shell for a faucet. They had filled a glass dispenser with water and fresh fruit for us and set out a tray of hors d'oeuvres and a small bottle of champagne for our arrival. We did that look at each other with big eyes and silent squeals! Wohoo... the sweat from our trip and anticipation were all worth it.
We could hear the waves inside our villa as we fell asleep and when we woke up, enjoyed long mornings on our porch with coffee and wonderful breakfasts on the beach with our feet in the sand or over the water on the pier. A few nights we came back from dinner and enjoyed the company of some of the other guests at the bar as the stars came out. And on some nights, the sweet bartender/ server got his guitar out when the mood was right, played for us and we danced around in the sand.