Experience Ultimate Indulgence on the Caribbean’s ‘One Happy Island!’

Perhaps it was the island vibes that resonated throughout the chart-topping song, or perhaps it was the appropriate name of the band who crooned out those familiar lyrics. Then again, maybe it was just the simple fact that Aruba was the first destination they named in a string of exotic Caribbean islands. Whatever the reason, ever since I first heard “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys, I’ve always associated Aruba with the crème de la crème of destination getaways. In fact, I may or may not be guilty of excitedly (and annoyingly) singing “Kokomo” on repeat in the days leading up to my own highly anticipated trip. To finally have the opportunity to visit the island for myself was a dream come true and a trip that could’ve only been been maximized through accommodations at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.

The Aruba Marriott Resort has been welcoming travelers to its luxurious property ever since the doors first opened in 1996. 20 years and many renovations later, the resort continues to be the number one spot for ultimate indulgence in Aruba. From the point of check-in to my prestigious accommodations in The Tradewinds Club, I knew that my adventure on the ‘One Happy Island’ was going to be unforgettable. That expectation was far exceeded in the kindness, hospitality and praiseworthy customer service of everyone I encountered over the duration of my trip. My lavish guest room was generously equipped with every conceivable comfort and plenty of unexpected little touches! My favorite feature was the floor to ceiling window that opened out onto an elegant balcony overlooking the resort’s freeform pool and the tranquil Caribbean sea. Room service dining on that stunning balcony would’ve been a more than perfect ending to day one, but something even better was in store, so I made my way down to the beach for a unique dining experience at Atardi. Right before sunset, the beach magically transforms into Aruba Marriott Resort’s pop-up restaurant. No shoes, no shirt, no problem! Our toes were free to wiggle in the sugary white sand as we dined barefoot on a mouthwatering selection of fresh seafood with front row seats of the vibrant sunset.

From leisurely strolls along Tradewinds Club’s private beach area to unlimited accessto the club lounge…

Breakfast the following morning came at leisure in the form of a hot buffet at Tradewinds Club & Lounge. Located on the top floor of the Aruba Marriott Resort, the Tradewinds Club is a spectacular “hotel-within-a-hotel” designed exclusively for adults to enjoy. With Tradewinds Club accommodations, the resort was my oyster! All guests of the deluxe rooms received the finest of resort amenities and a host of elite privileges. From leisurely strolls along Tradewinds Club’s private beach area to unlimited access to the club lounge where complimentary snacks and refreshments were available throughout the day, it was easy to indulge myself in the numerous pleasures and perks of the Tradewinds Club. The exclusive offerings further led me on the path of discovering what makes Aruba Marriott Resort the premier destination among Aruba hotels.

In spite of the many activities available on property, I couldn’t leave Aruba without a venture into the rugged Aruban terrain! For a unique experience, my companions and I opted for an off-roading adventure with De Palms Tours. Our excursion in the open-air Land Rovers eventually led us to Aruba’s Natural Pool, a depression of water formed by rock and volcanic stone circles. After a sun-drenched day of swimming and snorkeling in the invigorating waters, we got back in the Land Rover for a lunch trip to Zeerovers. Once there, we kicked back and enjoyed fresh seafood right from the source at this charming eatery in Savaneta, a seaside town which was once the capital of Aruba. The simple, yet enticing menu included the catch of the day, cornbread, fresh fries, fried plantains and the largest shrimp I have ever seen! Our catch of the day was succulent swordfish, and it burst with flavors and freshness that can only occur when eating from sea to table. Just in case we hadn’t yet eaten enough exceptional food—and we most certainly had—more memorable dining came that evening in the form of dinner and a show at Aruba Marriott Resort La Vista. After loading up plates from a buffet of international cuisine, we made our way back to our seats just in time for La Vista’s live carnival show. Male and female performers in vibrant costumes danced and spun their way through the restaurant as Caribbean music played. Cameras and cell phones snapped away as we cheered and danced along with the spirited entertainers. Our group wrapped up the lively evening with a nighttime stroll to MooMba Beach, where we toasted to the ‘One Happy Island’ with a few refreshing cocktails.

Yet another one of the many trip highlights was kayaking to Mangel Halto barrier reef with Aruba Kayak Adventure. Local guides accompanied our group as we glided along the crystal clear surface of the legendary Spanish Lagoon, once the hiding place for the famed pirates of the Caribbean. We traveled along the calm inland waters before heading into the central part of Spanish Lagoon, where brilliantly azure colored water resides. After docking at a secluded beach, we traded our kayaks and oars for snorkel equipment and embarked on a guided snorkeling tour of Aruba’s south coast barrier reef. From fire coral to parrot fish, our guide pointed out different forms of marine life as we observed one of the most abundant underwater ecosystems in the Caribbean. After an authentic Aruban snorkeling adventure, it was time for an authentic Aruban cooking adventure with some of the best chefs on the island. Back at the resort, we met with Executive Chef Teddy Bouroncle and Executive Sous Chef Romeo Penacino for a private, behind-the-scenes cooking lesson. The intimate time with the chefs was educational and informative, but most of all fun! With aprons tied and tall chef hats on, my companions and I laughed with Chef Teddy and Chef Romeo as we created our own tasty variation of the traditional Aruban dish, keshi yena.

The need for an exceptional farewell dinner led us to Screaming Eagle, a chic restaurant on Eagle beach with a unique dinner-in-bed experience. After cocktails at the bar, we kicked off our shoes and dined on exquisite French-fusion cuisine in luxurious canopy beds. The following morning, I took my time enjoying one final breakfast buffet at Tradewinds Lounge and taking in one last look at the spectacular resort from my guest room’s gorgeous balcony. Fortunately, my late departure time left me with just enough time for one more Aruban adventure. Steps away from the resort’s beach, my companions and I attempted stand-up paddleboarding yoga with Vela Aruba. Our yogi expert led us into Aruba’s sparkling waters for what was a most rejuvenating send off. It was yet another experience to add to a long list of reasons why I will certainly return to the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino for a second vacation in paradise.

Aruba Marriott Resort
& Stellaris Casino

L.G. Smith Blvd 101
Palm Beach, Aruba
Reservations: 297-586-9000