Feeling at Home in Paradise at Boardwalk Small Hotel
It’s island bohemian yet modern in all the right places. It looks like an exotic island oasis yet feels like home. It’s off the beaten path yet so close to world-class dining and shopping. Boardwalk Small Hotel embodies a sense of place that can be hard to capture in a large resort environment.
For me, and many travelers today, boutique hotels are tapping into a genre of hospitality that feels unpretentious, unique, and original while offering stepping-stones to authentic experiences highlighting the cultural vibe and local lifestyle of the destination. This, fellow travelers, can be found at Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba.
No cookie-cutter style going on here—the hotel is situated on the site of a historic coconut plantation, with 14 colorful casitas sprinkled throughout a lush tropical garden. And while the casitas are certainly not identical, rubber-stamped rooms laid out in perfect precision, there is a cohesiveness and well-thought-out attention to design and detail. Each casita features a modern, fully-equipped kitchen, large bathroom, quality beds and textiles, a spacious living room, and my favorite part—a private patio. It’s here, on the patio, that something magical and transformative happens.
Beyond feeling like you’re on vacation, an altogether release from the responsibilities and concerns of your “real world” comes when you slip out of those shackles and into the island lifestyle. For some, this release happens within hours, while others need that first wake-up in paradise to really let go. But it happens. For me, it happened while I was nestled in my hammock (every casita has one!), island breezes playing on the fringes of palms, a variety of resident tropical birds providing my island soundtrack, my husband tending to the fish on the grill. This!
“This” continued throughout my stay—eating coconut ice cream right out of the shell on the beach, losing myself in an underwater paradise while snorkeling the coral reef located just down the road, realizing I had gone an entire day without wearing shoes, buying fish from a local fisherman, driving around the island with no particular destination in mind…
Probably my favorite time during my stay at Boardwalk was at dusk. We tried to make it to the beach for sunset most days, and although the sunsets were amazing, I most enjoyed the walk back to Boardwalk. It’s only a three-minute walk from the beach, and by the time we arrived back at the Boardwalk oasis, the birds were in full chorus, settling in for the evening against a backdrop of pink and amber skies. Charcoal grills sent up delicious smoke signals to my nose, and our casita neighbors across the way always waved hello from their patio between sips of wine. I plopped myself into my hammock. It felt like I belonged there—my island home.
This kind of connection is hard to find in a traditional resort experience. My casita felt like my casita. And that’s what makes a boutique hotel like Boardwalk Small Hotel different. The experience, the emotional connection to the space, is the X factor that can make a vacation truly transformative.
About Boardwalk Small Hotel
Located just a three-minute walk from Palm Beach, shopping, dining, and entertainment, Boardwalk Small Hotel is locally owned and operated by sisters Kimberly and Stephanie. A pool, Jacuzzi, and 14 casitas—each with a private patio, grill, and hammock—are located on the lush grounds of the hotel. A dedicated beach area with beach huts and lounges are available to guests.