Last year I had the unique opportunity to stay with four different Marriott properties around the Caribbean when I embarked on the Passport to Paradise Project with Marriott Resorts of the Caribbean and Mexico. The experiences were of course amazing and the islands beautiful, but what was equally interesting to me was to see the differences between each of the Marriott properties. One that surprised me perhaps the most though was the Aruba Marriott Resort.
Located on along the northwestern beach of Aruba, the hotel sits next to many of the other resorts on the island, resort row if you will. It’s much more than a simple hotel though; it’s a massive property with a lot of features I simply didn’t expect. Updated only a few years ago, the Aruba Marriott has beautiful public spaces and even the rooms seem relaxed but modern. Not every hotel can say that, and it was a nice amenity to see. There’s nothing worse than checking into a hotel with a nice lobby, but rooms that belong in a different decade if not century.
One of the best features is something I haven’t seen at a Marriott property before, the Tradewinds Club. Modeled after Club Level access at hotels like the Ritz-Carlton and InterContinental, Tradewinds is a collection of 49 deluxe rooms with many amenities one usually expects only from high-end, luxury resorts. Panoramic ocean views, a private lounge with complimentary refreshments and light meals, an adult-only pool and even a private beach are all some of the luxe features included with Tradewinds access. The Tradewinds manages to achieve a feat that few other hotels along that same strip of beach in Aruba can manage, an air of luxury and exclusivity. The benefits, especially the meals, more than outweigh any extra costs and the service is as good as I’ve seen anywhere in the world.
Food is an important part of the Aruba Marriott experience; the resort offers high-end dining that is frankly unusual to see in a beachside property. Ruth’s Chris is my go-to steakhouse back home in Washington, DC and it was great to see them as one of the many restaurants on site. For a truly iconic experience though, the Simply Fish restaurant is not to be missed. Listed as one of the top 10 dining experiences on Aruba, the restaurant is so much more than a simple meal. Guests are led to the luxurious, on-beach dining for the best views imaginable. Plan your meal to coincide with sunset for a once-in-a-lifetime, romantic experience. I’m no seafood eater, but the menu was thankfully expansive and everything from fish to non-fishy items are executed with care and precision. While the food is undoubtedly amazing, the ambiance is the real reason to eat here.
Of course though it’s the ability to both relax and have fun that is the real draw to Aruba, and the Marriott has both in spades. Multiple pools, an expansive beach and an activities desk that can arrange everything from a submarine ride to a desert 4×4 experience I think every visitor to Aruba should try. Whether you’re an active traveler like me or someone who likes to just tune out, both are easily attainable at the Aruba Marriott.
Overall, my experience at the Aruba Marriott Resort was a good one. I’m personally not a big fan of casinos, but the onsite Stellaris casino was always hopping with activity and is frankly a very common sight at Caribbean resorts. The room was comfortable, the service friendly and the food exceeded expectations. Frankly, I don’t think there’s much more you could ask for from a beautiful resort on the equally stunning island of Aruba.
Have you been to Aruba? What did you think?