Aruba Just Relaxed Restrictions. Here’s How To Maximize Your Visit.
Good news for anyone looking to travel to the Caribbean’s happiest island: as of late last week, there is no longer a domestic curfew in Aruba, and businesses need not close by 9 p.m., now able to stay open until midnight. If you’ve been waiting to cash in your vacation days until you could maximize your time in paradise, your day has arrived. And if you prefer to take your maximization to . . . well. . . the max, then you may want to stay at the island’s undisputed champion of superlatives, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Here, you’ll find the Aruba’s largest balconies, largest spa, largest Starbucks, largest casino and, best of all, largest standard hotel rooms to make the most of every moment you spend on Palm Beach. Beyond the resort’s impressive list of headline grabbers, here are some highlights from Aruba Marriott’s rooms, dining and drinking, and nearby activities to plan your fall getaway.
You won’t find larger standard rooms anywhere on the island, with each of Aruba Marriott Resort’s accommodations measuring at least 500 square feet, and plenty of the 414 rooms and suites going well beyond. Outside of every room, you’ll find a private balcony with at least 100 square feet of personal escape for morning coffee or evening cocktails with a view. Give yourself an in-room spa experience with rain-style showers and bathroom amenities including the island’s most famously soothing export, aloe. If you’re traveling without kids, upgrade your stay by joining Tradewinds Club to access a personal concierge (complete with packing, unpacking and ironing service), access to the Tradewinds Lounge, reserved beach seating, complimentary snacks and drinks throughout the day and upgraded in-room amenities for a comprehensive dose of added luxury. You’ll also snag priority status for appointments at Mandara Spa and will have access to the adults-only H2Oasis pool (though you can enjoy this last perk even without Tradewinds Club membership).
Dining and drinking
With ten spots to eat and drink across the resort, including two pool bars, a beach bar and grill, a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and the buffet no Caribbean resort is complete without, there are a few standouts you’ll want to be particular mindful not to overlook. While a hotel lobby may sound most suitable for cocktails only (and there is a solid bar scene here with live music and photo-worthy sips), plan to grab an actual table and sample from the sushi menu. In addition to rolls and sashimi that take advantage of the island’s abundant local seafood, you’ll find plenty of additional Asian-influenced bar bites like kimchi wings and Asian barbecue flatbread to round out the experience. When it’s time for romance, a dinner reservation at Atardi is a must. This surfside restaurant is perfect for sunset dining with toes in the sand (don’t worry, there’s a shoe-check for leaving your fancy footwear safely behind), offering a menu focused on seafood but complete with both meat and vegetarian options. Atardi only serves dinner, but neighboring Waves Beach Bar & Grill dishes up lunch a few steps back, under the shade protection you’ll absolutely need in Aruba’s afternoon sun. After dinner (or whenever, really), stop by Gelato & Co. for a hefty menu of gelatos and sorbets, or an irresistible selection of colorful gelato pops. This lobby hotspot spot is especially crowded at night, but don’t be alarmed by the line—no matter how long it may be, it moves quickly. In the morning, you’ll find smoothies and healthier bites, like acai bowls, here.
While you’ll find plenty to eat, drink and do without ever leaving Aruba Marriott Resort, there are several area attractions worth a diversion. To take in some of the island’s natural wonders, including an island desert, land arches and out-of-the-way beaches, book an off-road UTV tour with De Palm Tours. Pay by 2-person vehicle (drivers must be at least 23) and leave your cute resort outfits behind; you’ll get properly dusty on this adventure. If you’re looking to snap pics of your most colorful outfits off property, consider at street art tour with Aruba Mural Tours. Tito Bolivar, founder of Aruba Art Fair and the nonprofit that oversees the vibrant festival, leads regular tours through the once forgotten San Nicolas neighborhood, now teeming with destination-worthy murals and installations, including innovative mosaic and tech-interactive pieces. Indulge in Aruba’s Dutch influence with brunch at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes where a massive menu of even larger pancakes offers tons of sweet and savory combos, but a build-your-own option provides complete customization. Think of these as thin pancakes stuffed or topped crêpe-style, and expect your entire plate to be covered by a single pancake. Feel free to take your meal over the top with boozy coffee drinks, too. Finally, bring your experience full circle with dinner at Lima Bistro, where owner and chef Teddy Bouroncle brings his years of experience as Aruba Marriott’s former director of food and beverage operations to his own chic space. This harbor-side restaurant in Oranjestad serves international fare with a strong Peruvian influence and offers a rapidly changing menu of fresh local finds filled with plates as beautiful as they are delicious.