Treasuring Aruba’s Gems – The Beginnings of Boardwalk’s Treasure Box & Treasure Map

At Boardwalk our number one goal right from the start has always been to engage our guests in experiencing the island. This is based on our fundamental belief that the Aruba is the destination, not the hotel where you are staying. For our guests to truly experience Aruba the way locals do the Boardwalk team went out of its way to turn that mission into reality. Guests are provided with coolers, can use complimentary folded chairs, snorkel sets and, most importantly, are set up for success with the best and the latest island scoop, Aruba’s best addresses and hidden gems by our staff.

The Treasure Box

It’s been almost a decade since we first started formalizing the collection process of our local favorites and boy, did we take that seriously! Surveys were distributed amongst local friends, family members and business partners and all of them were quizzed on their very best experiences on the island, must-visit places in Aruba and much more. We added those to our own favorites based on personal experiences and mixed in the feedback from you, our own guests as well, and voila, the very first Treasure Box was born. The year was 2014.

From amenity to signature feature

We created about one hundred cards in various categories such as beaches, restaurant, romantic spots on the island and more, collected images for each place/activity, created a small write-up and wrote driving instructions on the back of each individual card –the Google Maps App clearly hadn’t been added to our smart phones yet. Anyway, the Treasure Boxes, small wooden boxes with a colorful lid that were placed in every casita as a unique in room amenity, were an instant hit. So much so, that the Treasure Box started receiving its own reviews, oh yes.

Changing to chains

Our eye for detail and efforts to have the cards plasticized and beautified with images and driving instructions didn’t go lost on our enthusiastic guests either, as the cards were flying out of the boxes and taken on island trips. And unfortunately, not returned so we made new ones. This time attaching the cards to a metal chain fixed to the box and with kind instructions for our guests to leave the cards inside the box for other guests to enjoy them as well. In addition, we had to ask our Housekeeping team to keep the cards clean and neat for the next guest to start using the Treasure Box. You catch our drift: the Treasure Box was a fun idea, until it became quite the handful of work.

It takes a village

With the cards being printed and plasticized it was costly and near impossible to make frequent updates to the cards so we ended up taking entire cards out of the Treasure Box. Meanwhile it had become a task in and of itself to create themed Treasure Boxes with cards that would only address certain interests like ‘Romance’, ‘Foodies’, ‘Adventure’ and ‘Beaches’. As you can imagine, it now took an entire village to manage the Treasure Box: the pr department coming up with new content for the cards and updating existing ones, Housekeeping cleaning and maintaining them, the Front Desk juggling the themed boxes and providing a customized Treasure Box in a casita based on the preferences of the guests, based on information received from the Reservations team. Are you getting tired yet, reading all of this? So did we.

Creating a Treasure Map

It was time for change, so we approached our conceptual designer Claudia Nooren – Ruiz-Vasquez to draw a map of Aruba in a style that would both match Boardwalk as well as traditional treasure maps often used in pirate-type movies. And so, the Treasure Box left Boardwalk’s casitas and made way for a paper Treasure Map that was provided upon check-in by the Front Desk team. The concept remained the same and each map was filled with local insights and best hidden gems on the island, along with short write-ups. The driving directions were replaced by numbers on the map, corresponding with a legend. And just like we had done with the themed and custom-made Treasure Boxes, we created different Treasure Maps for guests with different interests.

Updates and new versions

Since the Treasure Map exists on paper, making updates is nowhere near as flexible as an online version, but you, our guests really appreciate these maps so we will continue to provide this unique amenity. And the good news: in December 2023 we are giving our Romance & Aruba Explorer Treasure Maps a refresh with new handpicked favorites and updated information on all-time favorites. We will also be addeding two brand new Treasure Maps to our collection of custom-made maps: a Do-Good Treasure Map for guests who would like to dedicate some of their valuable vacation time to a good cause in Aruba, and for those who would like to contribute to Aruba’s wellbeing by donating funds to charities and initiatives such as adopting a donkey. We also added a Culture Treasure Map where we collected the best places to go for a private art class, which museums to visit while in Aruba and where to find authentic cultural island experiences. Both available in the new year!

Web App

If you’re thinking ‘what year are we in, with boxes and cards and paper maps’, you can rest assured. Boardwalk is as tech-savvy as can be and of course we also have all local insights and island recommendations digitally available for our hotel guests in an App. As soon as we have received your reservation and send you a confirmation of your booking you will also be provided access to our Web App which you can download on your phone. The App serves as a touchless key to your casita, is your virtual concierge where you can order breakfast or make reservations for a lounge bed and palapa on the beach. And you will be able to find all the Treasure Map information on this app as well.

Boardwalk News!

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba will be an Adults-Only property by the 1st of January 2025.

For those traveling with children ages 12-17, reservations with departure by December 31, 2024 will be accepted. Please contact [email protected] for more information.