One Happy Vacation at Aruba Marriott and Stellaris Casino

Aruba Marriott

One Happy Vacation at Aruba Marriott and Stellaris Casino

“Aruba is my favorite!” 

“Most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!” 

“Been there three times!”

This was my inbox ten seconds after posting my first picture from Aruba. People really LOVE Aruba. I always heard it was a gorgeous place, but I had no idea just how breathtaking until I finally made the trip myself. I already want to go back!

Aruba is a tiny island – just 19 miles long and six miles wide – located in the southern Caribbean. The weather is spectacular all year round. Unlike most tropical countries, the climate is dry and arid. You might be surprised to learn the island is laden with cacti and desert areas. While it certainly gets hot, it doesn’t get very humid. My curly hair and I can attest to that; All of my other trips to the Caribbean have resulted in the same “hairstyle” I’d have in an underground NYC subway station in the middle of July. Not this time! 

Aruba is known for its refreshing trade winds, which cut through the dry heat and provide constant relief from the sun. As you might imagine, the sand is white and the ocean is sparkling, tranquil, and so clear you can spot small fish as they swim by your feet. 

Aruba Marriott

The Stay

A quick car ride from the airport brought us to our hotel, the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Located in the Palm Beach area of Aruba, the oceanside resort serves as a top choice for travelers of all ages and stages. I saw families, couples old and young, and I even got to see a wedding – the resort is a popular spot for those who desire a beachfront destination for their nuptials. 

Rooms at the Aruba Marriott are modern, spacious and impeccably clean, and the staff is as pleasant as one might hope in a country with the moniker “One Happy Island.” Every room boasts a scenic balcony as well as a convenient walk-in closet. 

The resort has two pools, one just for adults. As a parent, I appreciate the separation. While I certainly wouldn’t advise your child to do cannonballs into the water, at least you know the guests who would be the most bothered by such a thing (and any other vacation shenanigans your kids get up to) will likely be at the other pool anyway. 

The main pool features cascading waterfalls and a swim-up bar. Reserve a cabana for extra privacy, or snag a palapa right on the beach to enjoy the Aruban sun and surf. For a little added fun, pop-up activities are scheduled daily by the pool or beach. Jewelry-making, family zumba, seashell hunting, giant games and dance-offs are just some of the offerings your family will enjoy. 

The resort offers tennis, basketball, and beach volleyball, plus pool games and aquarobics. There is also a bi-level, air- conditioned health club at the resort, with exercise equipment and a sauna. At the 6,500 square-foot Mandara Spa, guests (exhausted parents, perhaps?) can destress with soothing facials, bath and shower treatments, full body massages, and deep cleansing body scrubs and wraps.

Where there’s water, there’s water sports! Resort guests can go paddleboarding, boating, sport fishing, snorkeling, scuba and snuba diving.

If your tropical getaway is a kid-free one, test your luck at the 15,000 square-foot Stellaris Casino. Open 24 hours, the casino has 500 slot machines and 32 gaming tables. The lobby comes alive at night with music and live entertainment as well.

Mural in San Nicolas, Aruba

Family Fun in Aruba

If you’re staying at the Aruba Marriott, you’ll likely find everything you need for a relaxing vacation without going far. But if you are looking to add more excitement to your visit, there are several excursions to look into, including family-friendly ones.

One of the highlights of my trip was an exciting off-road UTV tour of Aruba’s sandy deserts and rugged coastline. Guided by De Palm Tours, we blazed through the rough and rocky terrain, stopping at some of the most scenic points to explore and snap photos. Kids ages 12 and up are welcome to ride as a passenger. 

We also checked out the local art scene with Tito Bolivar of Aruba Mural Tours. Tito’s inspiring passion for the island’s larger-than-life street art is a joy to see, along with all of the magnificent murals adorning the San Nicolas area. 

Other off-resort experiences your family will love include submarine excursions to underwater shipwrecks, coral reefs and marine life, hiking at Arikok National Park, cave exploration and even a donkey sanctuary where kids of all ages can meet, feed and learn all about the friendly animals. 

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Sunset at the Aruba Marriott

The Food

The spectacular weather and the sparkling sea might be what draws people to Aruba in the first place, but the food might be what keeps them coming back. I thoroughly enjoyed every last bite of food I tasted while on the island of Aruba. There’s a variety of dining options at the resort from which to choose, and no shortage of fantastic eateries throughout the island. 

At Tex-Mex themed Campeones, there’s a chips and guac bar you’ll want to hit a few times while you wait for your entree, along with an entire wall of hot sauce options to spice up your meal. At Atardi, guests will enjoy a unique and picturesque dinner experience right on the beach, savoring a gourmet meal while watching the sun slip beneath the horizon. 

Kids will want to stop daily at Gelato & Co. (it’s heavenly, trust me) and parents won’t mind a trip to the lobby for some fresh sushi, a signature cocktail or some Starbucks. Beachside and poolside dining is available daily, and there’s also a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at the resort. 

Just a few short minutes away from the Aruba Marriott, Brutto serves up an eclectic array of dishes in a chic atmosphere. With options from fresh sushi, paella, and fish tacos to truffle fries and tasty sliders, we had to go family style! Everything was amazing.

We also stopped at Zeerover, a popular fisherman’s wharf frequented by both locals and tourists. The menu is mostly fried but super simple – we literally ordered everything on it – and the seafood is as fresh as it gets. From the front, the place could be a dive bar. But head out back to the dining area and your jaw will drop taking in the stunning nautical views. You couldn’t be any closer to the sea if you were on an actual boat. 

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