aruba beach resort adults-only
The Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is an oasis of calm in Aruba.

A Low-Key, Lovely Adults-Only Beach Resort in Aruba

By: Bob Curley - March 30, 2024

When Aruba’s Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort opened in 1987, it made sense for the hotel’s restaurant to be built in the shape of a boat shipwrecked on the sand: while Eagle Beach didn’t exactly resemble a desert island back then, it was far more deserted than it is in 2024.

These days, the elegant Elements restaurant stands where the  landmark Pirates Nest was once marooned, and while Eagle Beach has grown considerably, Bucuti & Tara has managed to maintain an oasis of calm amid the crowds. A stay at the 104-room hotel remains a welcome upscale, low-key experience on Aruba, and the only true boutique-style beach resort in the island’s main hotel district.

The well-preserved quiet, from the lobby to the beachfront, is no accident, says Crescenzia Biemans, the resort’s chief corporate officer and granddaughter of founder Ewald Biemans.

“When planning Bucuti, Ewald took a mindful approach from the earliest days,” she says. “He consulted satellite images in determining the placement of the resort buildings [and] chose to place them further back from the beach. This provided what remains today as the widest and deepest stretch on Eagle Beach. Guests enjoy wide open spaces and tranquility, a hallmark of the Bucuti & Tara experience. The resort achieves this purposeful experience by carefully controlling everything it can within its property lines.”

For example, while there’s not much that can be done about the neighboring hotel towers that now can be seen from the resort’s courtyard, Bucuti & Tara can do the little things (like prohibiting guests from playing music on the beach except when using headphones) that add up to a serene atmosphere.

The inland placement of the resort buildings also protects the resort from high tides and sea level rise; Bucuti & Tara, as one of the greenest resorts in the world, attracts a clientele that’s concerned with sustainability as well as where the next cocktail is coming from. The commitment to the environment goes beyond the absence of plastic bottles and straws at the resort: the solar-heated hot tub is perhaps less hot than some might like, and the guest rooms perhaps less cold; the tour desk politely declines to book activities that the resort owners feel are bad for the island’s environment, such as jetskis and ATV/UTV rentals.

“Our environmental sustainability program caters to a very specific client that will choose us over other similar properties for a guilt-free, carbon-free vacation,” says Ewald.

Biemans was originally permitted to built 140 rooms on the property, but wanted to keep the key count to a more manageable level. “With 100 rooms, we are still able to provide that personal and individual attention people love, being recognized and not being one more room number,” he says.  “We retain our staff: over 50 percent have more than 10-15 years of service with us, and [guests] love to be remembered and recognized.”

As with airlines and concert tickets, dynamic pricing has been adopted by many hotels and resorts in order to maximize profits and sales. Bucuti & Tara, however, maintain just two rate classes per room type: summer and winter. “We protect our repeat customers by securing them a room when we could sell it at higher rates to a long line of waitlisted guests,” said Ewald.

Despite sitting on arguably the finest stretch of sand in Aruba, the resort also has resisted the temptation of selling day passes to cruise visitors.

“We fiercely protect our peace and tranquillity by making sure that our services are mostly exclusive to our in-house visitors,” Ewald says. “We also do not allow rowdy attitudes, have minimal entertainment, and zero activities on premises.”

A lot of resorts talk about curating their guest experience, but in a sense Bucuti & Tara succeed by carefully curating their guests. A “What We Are Not” page on the website explicitly dispels certain expectations: there are no groups, no kids, no room service, and no all-inclusive option is avaiable. “People love knowing what they can expect just as much as others appreciate knowing that a Bucuti experience may not be the right fit for them,” says Crescenzia.

aruba hotels best bucuti
The Elements restaurant at the Bucuti Tara.

“If a guest wishes for action, we refer them outside the resort,” add Ewald. “For guests who feel that there is nothing to do or the resort is too quiet, we allow them to check out, assist them in finding a resort to their liking, and refund them the balance of the prepaid stay so they can enjoy Aruba.”

The resort’s Elements restaurant is the only amenity at the resort that’s open to the general public, but even here, the welcome has limits. Outside guests are invited to sit in the open-air, beachfront dining room — both food and drinks are excellent, and very reasonably priced considering the quality and setting — but the adjacent SandBar remains reserved for resort guests only.

Matching the overall resort ethos, Elements is adults-only, has portion sizes designed to minimize food waste, and has service that is attentive but unhurried. “Elements was created with the same way as the resort was created in its earliest days, with mindfulness,” says Crescenzia. “That consistency with a dedicated focus on the guest experience (stunning views, superior service) is paramount. The pricing is just like the room rates: it is focused on delivering value.”

It all adds up to a winning formula: occupancy at Bucuti & Tara — where accommodations range upwards from standard rooms in the Bucuti section to the Tara suites — averages 97 percent year-round.

“The ‘no surprise fees’ room rate is value-packed: nightly rate, full daily breakfast, all fees and taxes, WiFi, in-room tablet, guaranteed sun loungers and umbrella (huge in Aruba), complimentary wellness activity of the day, parking, local calls,” Crescenzia says. “Bucuti is proud of being Four Diamond. It is not seeking to be in the ultra-luxury category with a different set of criteria.”

Aruba has other four-star resorts, and some five-star resorts that offer a longer list of amenities than Bucuti & Tara. But even after close to 40 years this unique resort still has no direct competition on Aruba — mostly a result of staying true to what it is. “Bucuti is comfortable with itself in a way that other properties thattry to be all things to all people are not, thinking that is how to survive,” says Crescenzia.

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