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Accommodation - Oranjestad

If you’d rather be in the middle of the action than on an expansive beach, stay in Oranjestad. It’s not a big town, but it has big-town casinos, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. And you’re still no more than a 10-minute drive from the best beaches.

Aruba Sonesta Beach Resort - $$$

Oranjestad’s main road, a marina, and an open-air shopping mall (replete with boutiques, restaurants, and a multiplex cinema) separate the hotel’s two towers. The anchor of a second mall, the six-story Marina Tower is in the thick of the capital’s bustle. It’s popular with business travelers and vacationers alike.

The compact rooms feature colorful decor, modern bamboo furniture, and step-out balconies. The bathrooms have separate sink and bath areas. Overlooking the mall, atrium rooms are the quietest, but you’ll forgo an ocean view. Get a corner room on the 6th floor if you like high ceilings.

On the waterfront and favored by families, the five-floor Beach Tower feels more like a resort. It features a small manmade beach and roomy, recently renovated one-bedroom suites with living rooms, dining areas, large bathrooms, full-size balconies or patios, and fully equipped wet bars. White tile, floral pastels, and glass brick brighten the rooms.

Before hopping the free skiff to Sonesta Island (a 15-minute ride), catch the water, sound, and light show at the lobby lagoon. The Sonesta’s premier restaurant, L’Escale, is one of Aruba’s best. Also on the premises are two casinos (including the island’s only 24-hour facility) and a large theater that presents excellent Vegas-style shows.

Caribbean Town Beach Resort Aruba - $$

Between the airport and downtown Oranjestad, this unassuming hotel hosts mostly Europeans, especially 20-somethings, and Dutch families.

An outdoor restaurant and bar border one side of the good-size pool and deck area; the other three sides are lined with palms and rooms. Parallel to a busy road, the standard rooms are the least desirable except during the Carnival, when they offer prime parade views. The nicer and quieter superior rooms face the pool, and are tropically decorated. The attractive 1- and 2-bedroom apartments are farthest from the street in a quiet garden area; each unit has a private patio.

The hotel’s “beach club” across the street, features a small beach, towels, chairs, palapas, a small pool, and a snack bar.

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