Hotel Report: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is well-suited for honeymooners, young families and other sun-seekers. Seen here is the adults pool at the hotel.

The Caribbean is chock-full of beautiful beaches, but as our plane descended into Queen Beatrix International Airport on a recent sunny morning, we were reminded that Aruba’s beaches — with sparkling sand and amazingly clear surf — are something special. So, upon arriving in our suite at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, on the pristine Palm Beach, we were delighted by sweeping views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea and the island’s powder-soft shore.

Thanks to its setting and at-your-fingertips offerings, the resort is a haven for honeymooners, young families and other sun-seekers. And like its clientele, the resort’s room options are diverse. Everyone wins when it comes to beautiful beach views, but for the best bird’s-eye vantage point, opt for deluxe rooms on the eighth-floor, the adults-only Tradewinds Club. There, a private lounge is stocked with complimentary refreshments, and Tradewinds Club guests enjoy use of an exclusive beach.

Up on the top three floors, Governor’s Suites are the cream of the crop. Each measures 1,000 square feet and has a 200-square-foot balcony, a large bedroom with a canopy bed, separate living room, two large bathrooms and a walk-in closet. Families will appreciate the option to connect Governor’s Suites and Junior Suites to regular guestrooms. The regular guestrooms in the atrium have connecting options, as well. Want to ensure just-right scenery? Use the resort’s handy Virtual View Finder to pinpoint the perfect room.

Starting at the Spa

We found a visit to the resort’s Mandara Spa the best way to start our stay. The Massage de la Aruba is just the thing for classic relaxation, while the smoothing Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial can take years off your complexion. If you’re looking for an only-in-Aruba experience, try the Aloe and Milk Bath Wrap. It incorporates aloe (Aruba’s top export) from Aruba Aloe, the oldest such factory in the world. The plant’s vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids work together with hydrating and smoothing milk to leave skin looking and feeling fresh. Spa Director Muriella Perrotte (mandaraaruba@setarnet.aw) can assist with treatment bookings, which should be made three to five days in advance.

Although it would be easy to spend a whole Aruba vacation at the spa or on the beach, there’s plenty to explore off-property. Just ask Alberto Tromp (albertotromp@depalmtours.com) of De Palm Tours, which has an office inside the resort, for help with a fun itinerary. Intrigued by our spa treatment, we paid a visit to the nearby Aruba Aloe, where we enjoyed a tour and stocked up on silky sunscreen and soothing gels.

If your clients are all about aquatic activities, schedule a visit to De Palm Island for a Sea Trek excursion. Regardless of your past scuba experience, you can walk among schools of silvery fish and colorful coral along the sea floor with help from a special underwater helmet. A fun stop for kids, De Palm Island also has water slides, a zip line, its own beach, a snack bar and basketball courts.

Governor’s Suites measure 1,000 square feet and have a 200-square-foot balcony, along with separate living room.

A delightful discovery during our weekend was an afternoon spent foraging for edible, wild flowers with Aruba native Frank Kelly, a surfer-meets-scientist who’s a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the island’s flora. Find him on Facebook under the name Taki Aruba, or ask Tromp to help set up a foraging tour. Note that Tromp, as well as the resort’s concierge (marriottconcierge@depalmtours.com), can also assist with onsite requests, including wedding proposals, water sports, in-room amenities and dining reservations.

Dining Diversity

The Aruba Marriott has more than a half-dozen eateries of its own, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, La Vista (creative Italian), and the beachfront Atardi, where patrons can sink their toes into the sand as dinner is served. (For uninterrupted views, request a table closest to the water.)

If hands-on is more of your dining M.O., ask Guest Relations Supervisor Ricardo Zambrano (ricardo.zambrano@marriotthotels.com) to book a private cooking class. Chef Miguel Garcia took us into the resort’s kitchen, where we learned to make Keshi Yena, a signature Aruban dish. After you’ve cooked, sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor, along with dessert and, upon request, wine pairings.

For finger-licking fried fish and seafood, there’s Zeerovers, an on-the-water eatery in Savaneta, 30 minutes down the island’s southern coast. And to score a taste of the island’s Dutch heritage, grab a table on the patio at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes, a five-minute drive from the resort. You’ll have your pick of countless sweet (Nutella, bananas, strawberries) and savory (bacon, mozzarella) ingredients to go atop a thin, pizza-size Dutch pancake — and you’ll likely return for a repeat meal.

Group All-Inclusive Packages

Marriott Caribbean & Latin America Resorts has added new Group All-Inclusive Packages at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and eight other of its full-service resorts in the collection. The packages provide perks and savings, as well as all-inclusive prices, for groups and meeting planners. Group agreements must be signed on or before June 31, 2017, and the packages are available to new business only. Groups must have a minimum of 10 people and a four-night length of stay.

Located across seven regions, each property has sizable meeting spaces, restaurants, catering menus, spas, accommodations and beachfront locations. Specific perks and inclusions vary by property — examples include three meals per day, all taxes and gratuities (including bellman and maid), à la carte dining options, 10 percent commissionable package rate on rooms and F&B, up to 30 percent spa discounts, up to 50 percent off on banquet menus, and more.

Here’s the complete list of participating properties:

  • Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
  • Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
  • CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort
  • JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
  • CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
  • Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
  • JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa
  • San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
  • St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino