It’s my first morning on the Happy Island and I am sitting on the patio enjoying the morning sounds. There’s a rooster in the distance and a a few houses down a dog barks. Typical sounds of life in the Caribbean. But there is nothing typical about this island. I’m on Aruba and better yet, I am at Elements of Aruba.
The realization downs on me and I sit upright and really take notice of my surrounding. It’s a windy day on Aruba and the sound of the breeze triggers happy childhood memories on this very island. Aruba has played a big role n my earlier years and to be back now, almost 30 years later, is fascinating, mind-blowing and overall exciting.
The Super Hosts
My neighbor, who happens to be my host for the next two days, looks over the partition between their house and the three apartments they own. “Good morning. How did you sleep?”, asks Frank. He and his wife Ineke are the owners of Elements of Aruba, a boutique vacation rental in the heart of the island. It is in a typical Aruban residential neighborhood, yet it’s close to the touristic strip and some of the island’s must-sees and do’s. They are super hosts on Airbnb and it is easy to see why.
When I arrived at the Queen Beatrix International Airport the day before, Ineke was there waiting for me. Her first question to me as we walked to her car was: “Do you want to go straight to the apartment or do you want a short tour of this part of the island?”
The choice was obvious even though I couldn’t wait to sit in the plunge pool I saw on their website and Instagram feed. Ineke enthusiastically told me about how she and Frank ended up on Aruba, while she showed me several points of interest along the way.
After our detour to the apartments it was time to check in. From the moment you drive up to the apartments you can see that the upgrade the Dutch couple has done came from love. The driveway to the parking area was lined up with the island’s most iconic plant, the aloe vera. There’s a nice sign outside with their logo so you know for sure that you have arrived at the right place. Once inside the gate there’s a path leading to the three apartments. I was in the second one, right next to the pool. The apartment is comfortable and homy with a sleek design. The modern decorating done by Ineke herself, is what attracted me to them in the first place, and according to her I am not the only one that was mesmerized by the design of the apartments.
As you walk through the front door you find yourself first in the kitchen. It has an open floor concept, with a round dining table in the middle and the basics of what you will need a kitchen for. To your right is the living area, which is everyone’s favorite part because it looks like it was styled for a magazine. It has a contemporary design with a dessert feel thanks to the cacti in pots and on the large framed photograph in the room. The furniture is obviously European but the look is very much Aruban. Earth tones, hues of brown, beige and green are the colors of choice here. All together it makes the room not only stand out but gives it an inviting and warm feel. Next to the living room is a hallway leading to the bedroom with a side door to the bathroom, which is spacious and clean. The bedroom is another piece of art on its own. The first thing you notice upon entering is how uniquely large it is with a lot of space. The décor here is minimal but somehow that minimal décor works wonders for this very large bedroom. I must point out that the apartment I stayed in has the largest bedroom.
But my favorite space to occupy was the patio. Two chairs a little table and all the sounds of an Aruban morning are just what I needed with my coffee.
When Frank comes over for a visit I am happy for the company. Both Frank and Ineke are very hospitable hosts, friendly and at a ready to help with anything you may need during your stay. Frank’s visit this morning didn’t feel intrusive. Although we only met the evening before it felt like I was getting a visit from an old friend.
We talked about his passion for hiking, mountain biking and booth camps. He told me about several great trails he knows about and we laughed over the differences between their European way of life an our Caribbean ways.
Elements of Aruba is not just beautifully designed apartments. What makes it so special and unique are definitely the hosts and the additional services they offer. You can get a rental car through them to explore the island by yourself or they can take you on a half day or full day tours of the island, stopping at different spots, both famous and unknown. Frank, active as he is, is always ready to take you mountain biking on some of his favorite trails. But should you prefer to explore the island at your own pace, they provide you with a map and a list of the different hiking trails, complete with directions and step by step instructions with photos. Yes, these super hosts are super amazing.
My time at Elements was brief and I see now why Ineke and Frank insist on a minimum of 4 nights. Most of my time here, at Elements, was spent conversing with my hosts, while we sipped on Chill, an Aruban beer, and enjoying Frank’s homemade “Quesillo”. It unfortunately did not leave much time for me to enjoy the pool but I did go in. The warm water on a breezy Aruban day was perfection and I quickly realized that Elements of Aruba is one of those places you can’t help but return to, whether it’s for the designer decor, the pool or the amicable hosts.
Facts of Elements of Aruba
- Type of Accommodation: Boutique Vacation Rental
- Type of apartments: two one-bedrooms and one two-bedroom
- Price: about US$ 105 per night
- Green efforts: only LED lamps inside and outside
- Sheets are washed by Ineke and are sun-dried
- Garbage separation
- Living room design
- Homy feel
- Plunge pool
- Friendly and attentive hosts
- Central location
- The plunge pool
- Little parting gift at check out
Who is Elements of Aruba best for
Definitely solo travelers, business travelers and couples, small families. Definitely travelers who enjoy a more local experience and that do not mind not being in the center of the touristic areas like palm beach and eagle beach. Active travelers and those looking for local adventures are in good hands with the hosts. Booking a hike or island tour with them is a must.