You wake up, slide your door open and peer out directly at the sand and the calm froth of Aruban blue.
This is unlike any other place to stay in Aruba.
In a sea of larger, mostly high-rise resorts, it’s a sleek, crisply-designed boutique hotel, breezy and hip, unpretentious and endlessly chic.
This is the Ocean Z Boutique. Hotel, and it’s almost certainly the coolest boutique hotel in Aruba.
The hotel, set in the stunning coastal neighborhood of Malmok, just a stone’s throw across LG Smith Boulevard from the waves.
There are just 13 rooms and suites, with a design by Venezuelan architect Oscar Enrique Bracho Malpica that’s equal parts ultra-luxe villa and luxury hotel.
It’s the kind of place more and more travelers are seeking out, part of a Caribbean trend of new hotels that marry the comfort and privacy of villas with the personality and energy of a boutique (Virgin Gorda’s Inn at Cornucopia and St Kitts’ hot new Sunset Reef are others that immediately jump to mind).
There’s a mix of room options, from junior suites with private solariums to our favorite, the master king ocean view suites that has access to its own semi-private pool.
The eponymous restaurant is terrific, with an international menu ranging from grouper and tuna to paella and Coquille St Jacques.
And then there’s perhaps the greatest amenity: Malmok itself, with its sparkling turquoise waters, its raw, rocky limestone coastline, its unmatched snorkeling.
But it’s the feel that stands out; Ocean Z is serene, relaxing and sophisticated; the design flows around you, somehow bringing the Malmok vibes right to your balcony.
This is not the Aruba you know. It’s another side of the island, another corner of Dutch Caribbean cool, a different way to experience One Happy Island.
There’s nothing like it in Aruba — and that’s what makes it so special.
For more, visit Ocean Z Aruba.