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- The Welcome Drink at Check-In
- The Gelato is Made Onsite and It’s Delish!
- Food is Top Notch
- Rooms are Large, Balconies Too
- The Swim-Up Bar is at the Family Swimming Pool
- This Family Friendly Resort Has an Adults-Only Section
- Prices in the Retail Shops Are Not Resort Outrageous
- Mobile Ordering is Fab!
- You Can Picnic Like It’s 1959
- The WiFi is Strong and Reliable, Even on the Beach
- Pickleball (and Pickle Cocktails)
- There’s Adventure to Be Had Off Property
- Non-Motorized Water Sports are Free
- Live Music Abounds
- USD is Widely Accepted
- You Can Leave Your Power Adapter at Home
- The Stellaris Casino is Smoke-Free!
- Check Out Time is Noon
The writer was hosted.
The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is a lovely property located on the island’s Palm Beach and one of the best places to stay on the island. When I stayed at the resort on my second trip to Aruba in a year, I found all of the things you would expect from a luxury oceanfront Caribbean resort: soft white sand, expansive beaches, comfy beach chairs, palapas for shade, beautiful pools and attentive service.
And then there were some surprises, such as:
The Welcome Drink at Check-In
I hadn’t even finished saying, “I’m checking in” to the friendly front desk person before another friendly worker handed me a paper cup filled to the rim with Aruba Ariba, the island’s signature cocktail, made with vodka, rum, Grand Marnier, creme de banana and fruit juices.
It was a real welcome after a long day of travel from Chicago that included a connection in Charlotte. If you happen to live on the East Coast, Aruba is an easy direct flight from several airports, including Miami, Boston and JFK in New York.
The Gelato is Made Onsite and It’s Delish!
I might have had gelato every afternoon. Or maybe I didn’t. Only my scale knows the truth.
I will admit to ordering a single scoop of pistachio gelato. It was delectable. The woman who makes the gelato says that the peanut butter Nutella flavor is the most popular. It’s easy to see why that would be.
Food is Top Notch
Because 80 percent of visitors to Aruba are American, the island caters to American taste. You’ll find all of the staples — from McDonald’s to Pizza Hut — on the main drag that runs through Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba.
Even at the Aruba Marriott Stellaris, dining options include the ubiquitous Starbucks and the fine-dining Ruth’s Chris Steak House. I didn’t eat at either, but I did order lunch delivered to my beach chair from Waves Beach Bar & Grill. Ruth’s Chris, which operates a steakhouse in Chicago, my hometown, is always a good bet for a great steak.
There’s a sushi bar in the lobby that I didn’t have time to try. But I did linger to hear the singer who had the diners entranced on Tuesday night.
At night, Waves Beach Bar & Grill turns into Atardi and dining there was the highlight of my stay at the Marriott Stellaris Hotel Aruba. Atardi serves only sustainably fished seafood — don’t miss the chance to order the scallop appetizer!
But the best feature is the setting. The tables are set up right on the beach, so you can sink your toes in the sand, watch the sunset, sip a cocktail and eat some very yummy seafood all at the same time. What’s not to like about that?
Although I was traveling together with a group of women, it made me want to return with my husband for a romantic sunset dinner.
If you prefer in-room dining, room service is available. No surprise there.
Rooms are Large, Balconies Too
My 400-square-foot guestroom had two queen beds, plenty of floor space for walking around and my morning yoga, a large walk-in closet, his and hers sinks, and, around a half-wall, a deep bathtub with a shower and toilet.
While I was staying in my room alone, I could easily see sharing it on a girlfriend getaway or even having my whole family there.
My large private balcony — the resort boasts that it has the largest balconies on the island — had two chairs and a small table and offered an ocean view over the family swimming pool and hot tub out to the palapas that line the beach.
There is a variety of room types available, including some with sofa beds and corner oceanfront rooms with huge wrap-around balconies outfitted with chairs and chaise lounges that left me drooling.
The Swim-Up Bar is at the Family Swimming Pool
There is a bar at the H2oasis adults-only outdoor pool, but you have to get out of the water to order from the tiki bar — or flag down a server to order and bring you a drink to your chaise lounge or private poolside cabana.
Why would the swim-up pool bar be at the family pool rather than the adult pool? I suppose it’s because parents need drinks on vacation too. Maybe parents need drinks more on vacation.
This Family Friendly Resort Has an Adults-Only Section
It’s called Tradewinds Club and it includes a private beach, an adults-only pool and access to the Tradewinds Lounge. Open daily from 7 am to 9 pm, this is the place for food and snacks throughout the day. The lounge offers:
- Full American breakfast each morning
- Light lunch from noon-2 pm
- Afternoon tea from 3-5 pm
- Hors d’oeuvres from 6-7 pm
- Open bar from 6-9 pm
- Cheese and pastries from 8-9 pm
- Non-alcoholic beverages and coffee all day
Prices in the Retail Shops Are Not Resort Outrageous
I was eyeing a pretty sunhat that the manikin wore really well. It was less than $30 — a remarkably low price for resortwear sold in a resort boutique.
Although the sunscreen prices were a little steep at $26, I figured that’s about what I would have paid at a convenience store.
Mobile Ordering is Fab!
Once you’re all set up under your beachfront palapa, you don’t want to leave just to eat. At least I didn’t. That’s when I pulled out my phone, aimed it at the Mobile Ordering QR code, perused the menu, put in my order and sat back to wait for someone to head over with the food and drinks.
The chicken sandwich from the Waves Beach Bar and Grill was fresh and nicely seasoned.
You Can Picnic Like It’s 1959
The resort offers a throwback picnic on the beach. It includes a charming red checked picnic blanket and a basket filled with the candy your parent used to love, like candy cigarettes (yep, those were once a thing). There’s also a tube of Coppertone sunscreen, retro sunglasses, copies of old Life magazines and some yummy hotel treats, such as house-made pastries, fresh fruit and croissant sandwiches.
The WiFi is Strong and Reliable, Even on the Beach
This might be surprising — it isn’t always easy to get a great wifi signal on the beach of a tropical resort — but it may not be a plus. Having wifi in the resort’s common areas made me think I should be working instead of reading my book, swimming in the warm Caribbean water or just watching the sunset.
Typical Type A behavior. We sometimes need to be deprived of the ability to work for us to actually stop working.
The wifi was strong in my room, in the public areas, at the swimming pools and on the beach. So I really couldn’t get away from it.
Pickleball (and Pickle Cocktails)
The resort recently unveiled its newest addition: pickleball courts next to the tennis courts. Paddles and balls are available for check-out from the front desk.
To celebrate this event, the lobby bar created a pickle-flavored martini — the pickle version of a dirty martini with olive juice. It’s surprisingly good.
There’s Adventure to Be Had Off Property
You certainly don’t need to leave the resort. There is plenty to do on property. But you really should take at least a day to explore Aruba. There are so many adventurous things to do in Aruba, from snorkeling to parasailing to driving UTVs around the island.
Not sure what activity is right for you? Just stop at the concierge desk, where four people — that’s right, four! — were always standing by ready to help me figure out whether I was in the mood for a laid-back snorkel to see a shipwreck or a more adventurous (and dusty) romp over the rocky terrain in a UTV.
Non-Motorized Water Sports are Free
You can check out a wide variety of floats, stand-up paddleboards, snorkel gear, even kayaks, for free from the beachfront tent.
Well, maybe not exactly free. But they are included in the $65/night resort fee. That fee also covers:
- Enhanced internet access
- 60 minutes of local calls and 30 minutes of international calls to the US and Canada from the guestroom landline
- Three bottles of water
- Fitness center classes
- Welcome drink
Live Music Abounds
As the wife of a musician, I’m always looking for live performers vs. DJs spinning someone else’s recorded music. At the Marriott Stellaris Hotel Aruba, I heard talented singers and musicians performing in the lobby and on the beach.
According to the hotel website, there’s also live music in the casino, although I did not see (or hear) that myself.
USD is Widely Accepted
There’s no need to stop at a currency exchange the minute you step off the airplane. American dollars are accepted everywhere on the island, whether you’re buying a souvenir or tipping your waiter.
You Can Leave Your Power Adapter at Home
This was a welcome relief for me. I packed in a hurry and forgot to tuck in my international power adapter. So I was very happy to see the outlets are American power-friendly.
When you forget to bring a power adapter, you’ll find that they are VERY expensive when you have to buy them in country. Ask me how I know this. Just don’t ask how many adapters I own because I forgot to pack one!
The Stellaris Casino is Smoke-Free!
Since I have asthma, I always hold my breath when I walk past a casino in Las Vegas. In most cases, you can’t even walk through the lobby of a Vegas hotel without encountering the foul stench of stale cigarette smoke.
So it was a very pleasant surprise, indeed, to walk into the shiny Stellaris Casino and be able to take a deep breath thanks to the resort’s no-smoking policy.
Check Out Time is Noon
This is later than most resorts’ 11 am check-out time. It means there’s time for one last walk on the beach and a leisurely breakfast before you have to vacate the premises. Check-in time is the industry standard 4 pm.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Americans clear customs in Aruba. The airport operates on “island time.” That means it can take a while to work your way through all of the passport checks and luggage scans. Believe people when they say you should get to the airport three hours before your flight!
Aruba Marriott Stellaris Resort FAQs
Where is the Marriott Stellaris Hotel Aruba?
The hotel is located at L.G. Smith Boulevard, #101 on Palm Beach. It’s about a 15-minute ride from Queen Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba.
What Amenities are Included in the Guestrooms?
- Double vanities
- Hair dryer
- 2 Robes
- Alarm clock
- Iron and ironing board
- Air conditioning
Is There a Spa at the Aruba Marriott Stellaris?
Yes. The Mandara Spa is onsite. I did not manage to visit, although I was sorely tempted by the option of a massage at the beachfront facility. I have visited Mandara Spas at other resorts and have never been disappointed, whether I was relaxing in the sauna or getting a well-deserved massage.