The Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino hosted a trip for The Vacation Gals’ contributor Jill Florio and her mother-in-law, along with several other bloggers and their mothers. The Vacation Gals loves girlfriend getaways and family travel; how terrific that our contributor is one of those women that gets along with her in-laws so well that a trip like this feels like a girlfriend getaway and family travel all in one lovely week. Of course, it helps that the setting was the Aruba Marriott Resort. A Caribbean getaway at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino hits all the right notes for a fun, relaxing time away from the everyday. – Ed.
The stunning view arrested my attention first. And kept it. I’d never had a balcony room directly above turquoise Caribbean waters before. The whole time we unpacked – my Mother-In-Law and I – we kept looking up with a renewed jolt at the vast Aruba vista before us. The ocean did come to dominate our ‘mother-daughter’ bonding stay, with a shoreline of white sparkling beaches and tropical waters.
After unpacking and exclaiming our delight over the down comforters, feather pillows, high quality sheets, large private balcony and – most welcome – the double bathroom sinks, we put on our brand new flip flops, and set out to explore the environs of the Aruba Marriott Resort.
Water Fun at the Aruba Marriott Resort’s Beach
The Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino pampers guests, what with the clean and new-looking rooms (don’t forget those killer views!), excellent food, friendly service…and several choices of cool watery action:
1. We could swim on the extraordinarily clean beach, and rest under palm palapas.
2. We could party at the main pool, formed as a rock-lined cove, complete with waterfalls and a swim-up bar. This is the place where all the action lives. There was morning water yoga, there were kids laughing, there was a steel drum band, and people cheerfully sipped big pink Aruba Ariba rum drinks. You get the full Caribbean island experience here.
3. Or, we could enjoy the peace and quietude of the H2Oasis – their adult’s-only pool retreat, with lots of tropical shade trees, billowing cloth cabanas, and plump pillow-lined lounge chairs. The theme here was Zen, and it was very serene – a nice quiet break from the lively beach and wild party pool. It was so quiet here, that really huge local lizards make the H2Oasis their home – a really colorful accent to the scene. If you’ve never seen a big and bright blue male lizard chasing a potential mate right under your lounge chair, you’re in for a wildlife treat.
Anyway – yeah, we did what any normal person would do in Aruba and started to chose Option #4: Spend time at all three swimming holes.
In fact, we actually ended up doing #5: Take out a stand-up paddle board with Vela Windsurf. At least, I did the paddle board – my mother-in-law chose to sit that one out. I’d never done it before, but with my kayaking knowledge, I figured it would be easy. Basically, yeah, it is easy, unless you get out into the wind. I was able to stand right up from a kneeling position, but had some trouble pushing up against the constant Caribbean breezes. Once I figured out that the wind dropped off right on the shoreline, it was all smooth sailing…er, paddling. You can go up and down the coast as far as you like, but it’s recommended to stay close to the shoreline while you explore, unless you’re in the mood to accidentally sail off to South America.
The water itself along the Marriott’s shore is really calm. Just what I’d wanted for a Caribbean getaway at the Aruba Marriott Resort. Gentle swells lap along the white sandy beach. Not exactly a surfer’s paradise, but perfect for back floating under the sunny skies, and quite safe for little kids. I prefer not having to worry about being slapped in the face by salty waves. It was exactly what my mother-in-law and I needed to relax and zone out.
Fresh Food at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino
It was the end of the first day, and after much time spent in travel, we hoped for an easy and low-key meal. The easiest dinner option for the first night of a Caribbean getaway at the Aruba Marriott Resort was the buffet. We went to Marriott’s La Vista, had heaping plates of food, and way too many desserts (the tall shelves of picture-perfect parfaits were to die for). This was probably the nicest buffet I’ve ever had, even though I don’t like fish – a potential deal-breaker on an island paradise. There were plenty of non-fish hot meal items to make me very, very happy.
We watched the sun go down right in front of us (there is indoor and outdoor seating; both are great for views – the place is called La Vista, after all), while I explained to my tablemates about the Green Flash. We didn’t see it that day, due to not really looking – we were too involved with the heavenly food. Beautiful buffet presentation. Tasty. I wanted to eat here each night, but then I would have missed out on the Marriott’s Simply Fish, which is an Aruba must-do.
We saved the elegant setting of Simply Fish for the last night, and got the treat of eating barefoot, toes in the sand, almost in the water. There is even a set of cubbies to put your shoes into, so you can really relax. Our traveling group commandeered a large table, decked out in linens and candles. Clicking our wine glasses with joy, we dug our heels in the warmth of the sand, and watched yet another perfect sunset over the water.
No Green Flash this time, either – and I was looking. I was surprised when a local told me she’d never seen it – maybe it’s more of a Pacific Coast phenom, where I’ve seen it often. In any case, the meals at Simply Fish were really much more upscale than the restaurant name would imply. The waiter enthusiastically asked, “Who wants some fish?” and everyone chimed in with joy. Except me, who made a face. I had the filet mignon instead, which was very satisfying, in a generous portion. The prices at Simply Fish were pricier than La Vista, so I recommend saving this table-on-the-sands multiple course meal event for the last evening.
At the Aruba Marriott Hotel Itself
One thing I really came to appreciate during our Caribbean getaway at the Aruba Marriott Resort was the free water in the lobby. No, really. A large jug was placed out each day with some kind of local water mixture, which, as far as I could tell, had mint, orange slices and something else – cucumber water? Aloe water? I couldn’t get enough of it, and kept making excuses to return to the clean and cool lobby with my empty cup.
It became a minor obsession, and I really should have asked what was in the water. Maybe it only tastes good in Aruba, though, the way trail mix only tastes good when you’re backpacking. I decided to leave it a mystery for my next visit.
This Marriott was also entirely smoke-free – an incredible relief. A lot of times at international destinations, smoking is a big thing. I loved breathing clean ocean breezes with the tang of salt, and nothing else. The hotel had a 24-hour fitness center, but sadly, I didn’t use it. The allure of hedonism was too strong. I did use the resort-wide WiFi, and sent out dozens of photos on Facebook, to taunt all my friends. Now that I am home, these pictures serve to taunt only myself. Can I go back now?
This Caribbean getaway at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino was hosted by the resort.