Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

By: Lisa Kinchen

Flying into that tiny Dutch island I was immediately overtaken by its allure. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, I was transported to an exotic paradise; one brimming with swaying palms, bright pink sunsets, golden and white sand beaches, sparkling coves, and the bluest water I’d ever seen in my entire life. Adding to that, it took one day for me to realize how beautiful the island was both inside and out. Everywhere I went, I found friendly and welcoming locals; people who were so eager to share their love of Aruba with me and anyone else who came along. Even more impressive, they shared this love in every language, making sure to take in account visitors from all over the world. On Aruba, as I learned during that trip, all of the locals speak four languages: Dutch, Spanish, English and the island language, a mix of all three, called Papiamento.

In my short time there, it was easy to see why the locals loved Aruba so much. Nicknamed “One Happy Island,” there’s no such thing as a bad day on Aruba… literally. Floating just outside of the hurricane belt, legend says that it only rains there one week out of the year, making it a great vacation destination all year round. So when I found out I would be returning to my favorite island, and in the dead of winter, I was more than excited to experience all that it had to offer once again. And to make it extra special, I stayed at what is now my new favorite hotel on the island: the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.

 

Two hotels in one, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino’s towering high-rises stand out from the rest – literally.

By the end of my very first day at Aruba Marriott, I realized that this hotel was perfect for any type of vacation, whether it be a romantic getaway, a family trip, or a weekend with your girlfriends. Along with having the largest guest rooms of any hotel on the island, this resort actually has its own hotel-within-a-hotel, the adults-only Tradewinds Club. Occupying the top floor of the hotel when you book a room at the Tradewinds Club (where we stayed!), you get a few special perks. In addition to having our own private lounge, we got exclusive access to a members-only beach area, use of the club’s concierge service, and a cabana at the magnificent H2Oasis adults-only pool, which also has its own pool bar.

The rooms dazzle – but just wait ‘til you get outside.

There’s nothing better on a vacation than relaxing. And while the beautiful rooms might keep calling you back, in Aruba, you won’t want to be anywhere other than outside. To get the best of both worlds, grab one of those cabanas by the pool or reserve a lounge chair right on the sand. For something sure to get your blood pumping, you can also walk along the sand, towards MooMba Beach, and find beach tennis, boating, kayaking, snorkeling, Sea Bobs, paddleboard yoga and more. When the sun goes down, your only priority should be watching it. Aruban sunsets are some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean, and even better when enjoyed with a drink in hand, on a luxury catamaran. Thanks to De Palm Tours, a bus comes around the resort every day to pick up guests who want to embark on a daily sunset catamaran. The hosts are fun, there are plenty of cocktails and bites to go around, and of course, the views are nothing if not stunning.

There’s something for every craving and palate.

Now, let’s talk about food. (You are on vacation, after all.) At Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, you’ll run into every type of food imaginable, from food stands and casual eateries, to fine-dining restaurants right on the sand and even a world-renowned steakhouse. If you’re waking up early to catch one of Aruba’s beautiful sunrises, grab a quick pastry and a cup o’ Joe from the new 24-hour Starbucks in the lobby. Or, if you’re like me and think breakfast is the best meal of the day, hit La Vista, the resort’s laidback poolside restaurant. There, you can grab a table inside or out and feast on an international buffet of pastries, fresh fruit, yogurts, waffles, eggs, every type of bread you can think of, and even savory, made-for-you omelets. Hint: pair it with a mimosa and look around. You’re in Paradise.

And breakfast isn’t the only thing the hotel does well; lunch and dinner are not to be missed, either. For a taste of the Orient, head to Ketsu Sushi for inventive sushi and sashimi rolls. Craving something tropical? Have lunch under a tiki hut at Waves Beach Bar & Grill, the largest beachside bar in all of Aruba, When the sun goes down, that’s your sign that it’s time for another fabulous meal. For a classic A-list meal, you can always indulge in a lavish steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, but the real treat is Atardi. A proclaimed “hidden gem” on the island, Atardi is where you can wine and dine with delicious seafood right on the sand, under swaying palms, watch magnificent sunsets and hear the waves lapping on the shore, just steps away.

 

But most importantly, just have fun.

If it wasn’t obvious already, the Aruba Marriott is a place where you can kick back, relax and do what you’re supposed to do on vacation: have fun. When you want to be pampered – because why wouldn’t you? – book a massage, a body scrub or a facial at the Balinese-style Mandara Spa, sitting at the far end of the resort. Want to win some of that money you spent back? Head to the 24-hour Stellaris Casino any night of the week, and you’ll find gamblers trying their hand at blackjack, poker, Russian roulette and slots until the wee hours of the morning. Then, collect your winnings and head to the lobby bar to catch a cab to downtown Oranjestad for a taste of Aruban nightlife, or if it’s late enough, watch the sunrise from your seat on the sand. Because if we haven’t said it enough, on the One Happy Island, catching a sunrise (or sunset!) isn’t just suggested; it’s all part of the magic.

For more information about Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, visit www.arubamarriott.com .