Let me start off by saying that I am not usually a complainer. I do not like to bash businesses and tend to only give positive feedback. That being said, I just have to warn people about the lack of chairs at this hotel, as well as lack of enforcement of the “chair tagging” rules (at least for the “regulars”).
We booked this hotel as an exchange through Interval International. Overall the hotel is fine. The main issue is with the pool chairs but beach chairs aren’t that much better. Upon check in you receive a “chair tag”.
You are allowed to tag your chair early (guards advised not earlier than 5:00 AM) but you have to remain in the chair until 7:00 AM at which time you can leave but for not more than 2 hours. Annoying to wake up at 5:00 AM ON VACATION, but fine. My husband went out there at 5:00 AM on our first morning there… sat there more or less ALONE, surrounded by hundreds of tagged but EMPTY chairs. He finally decided to head back up at 6:55 AM (5 min early). When we came back down we had a nastygram from the guards about leaving earlier than 7:00 AM.
When we saw the guard I complained about the fact that all of the chairs were tagged but less than 5% actually had a person in them, yet we were the only ones to receive a nastygram. He just shrugged his shoulders and said: “don’t worry about them”.
Later, after speaking with an owner, we discovered that the security guys are all buddy-buddy with the regulars and do not enforce the rules 1. To stay in the chair until 7:00 am and 2. To not leave the chair empty for more than 2 hours. We even witnessed one security guy tagging a chair for a regular! I’ve never witnessed anything so ridiculous in my life.
According to the owner who we spoke with, they built an entire extra building but did not add any additional pool area or chairs… hence the lack of chairs for guests when the hotel is full. Hundreds of empty chairs that have been tagged but do not have anyone in them from 5:00 AM (when my husband went down there) until after 11:00 AM or later in some cases.
We met tons of people while in Aruba who were staying at others hotels and apparently this is NOT an issue there– plenty of chairs at their hotels! The situation on the beach isn’t that much better. We were able to reserve a palapa on the beach one day but only because we got lucky when someone cancelled their reservation. Oh, and we had to PAY to rent the palapa for the day. Stay next door at the Ocean Club or Marriott Hotel.
They do not have this chair tagging BS. We will never stay at the Surf Club again unless they get rid of this horrible chair tagging process. The early bird should get the worm… so it should be first come first served as it is in most if the other hotels in Aruba. Empty chairs for 5+ hours with the security guys looking the other way. Unless you want to get up at 5:00 AM every day of your vacation then sit alone in the dark for 2 hours just to have a chair, then stay elsewhere!