Guest Author - Kara Williams
With its recent $50 million makeover, its oceanfront location and convenient accessibility just seven miles from the international airport, the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino makes an ideal Caribbean honeymoon hotel - especially if you choose to splurge on the additional $125 per night (per couple) to stay on the ultra-luxurious Tradewinds Club.
The entire top floor of the renovated Aruba Marriott on Palm Beach is dedicated to the brand-new Tradewinds Club. Guests on this level enjoy so many amenities, including:
- Private check-in
- FREE internet access
- Extra-plush robes
- Deluxe bath amenities
- Pillow menu
- Packing and unpacking services
- Private beach area with separate bar and use of complimentary floats
But perhaps the ultimate rock-star treatment you'll receive as a guest of the Tradewinds Club is the deluxe food and beverage service offered five times a day!
In the morning, sit with your sweetie in the exclusive Club Lounge (accessed only via 8th-floor room keys), and enjoy eggs, sausage, bagels, fruit, yogurt, cereals, juice and hot coffee (cappuccinos too!) -- all included in the Tradewinds Club fee.
Lunchtime brings tasty nibbles (think Smoked Gouda & Turkey Wraps), then it's tea time with snacks and sweets in the mid-afternoon. "Discovery Hour" every day at 6 p.m. features appetizers served at the resorts' on-site restaurants. And in addition to the open bar (beer, wine and liquor) offered for three hours nightly, cheese and pastries are served for an hour in the mid-evening as well.
Considering the prices for restaurant cuisine at the hotel, you could easily "earn back" the $125 fee per room per night simply by enjoying all of the included food and drink in the Tradewinds Club Lounge.
That's not to say honeymooners shouldn't experience the dining options outside of the Tradewinds Club Lounge, namely the totally renovated La Vista restaurant, facing the ocean with floor-to-ceiling windows and serving up Italian specialties. Other options include Simply Fish, with a mainly seafood menu and tables on the beach for a casual-yet-intimate setting in the evening, plus a Lobby Cafe for quick sandwiches, salads, pastries and muffins, upbeat Ketsu Sushi Bar and Ruth's Chris Steak House. You won't go hungry at the Aruba Marriott!
No matter where you stay on property, even if it's not on the Tradewinds Club floor, you've got lots of choices for room configurations that vary in price. All of the room descriptions and suite floor plans are detailed on the Aruba Marriott website (see Related Links below).
Personally, I'm fond of the Executive King Room options, which have a spacious living area, oversized double-sink marble bathroom with private commode, walk-in closet and pretty bamboo wood flooring. Or go ultra-luxe with one of the Governors Suites and their romantic four-poster beds (see photo at left) and 500-square-foot wrap-around balconies. All rooms received a makeover in the $50 million renovation; gone are the floral prints and wicker accents, replaced with sleek, dark hardwood furniture and upscale bedding.
When you do leave the confines of your honeymoon room, there's lots to enjoy at the resort, such as the Stellaris Casino (the largest on Aruba), a free-form swimming pool with swim-up bar, white-sand beach and mellow ocean (no boogie boarding waves here), and the small-yet-full-service Mandara Spa.
Again, the location of the Aruba Marriott is great -- since it's at one end of Palm Beach, you can walk the oceanfront for a long while, checking out other hotel properties and casual beach bars. (Moomba Beach Bar & Restaurant is one of the hippest nearby spots to hang out on the beach.) And when it's time to venture further afield, consider the Safari Jeep Adventure from De Palm Tours for an introduction to some sightseeing spots and off-road excitement; super-romantic and chic Pinchos Grill & Bar, which sits on a wooden dock on top of Aruba's turquoise water; or spend an afternoon shopping (with the hoards of cruisers) in downtown Oranjested. Better yet, get active with a windsurfing lesson (see the many huts on the beach in front of the Aruba Marriott) or learn how to play the hot new sport of beach tennis!