Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

Get a Taste of Luxury and Local Culture at This Aruba Beachfront Resort and Casino

Aruba Luxe Travel Epic Stays
by Alexa Moore Jun 6, 2023

It was a breezy Caribbean day, and the smell of fried dough and melted cheese flowed through the restaurant kitchen of La Vista at Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino. I was there for a cooking class to make pastechi, a traditional Aruban breakfast staple similar to an empanada or Jamaican patty. And it was a delight.

The experience is one of many the resort offers that all have the same purpose: to help guests embrace Aruba’s culture and to amplify the idea that Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, as well as the entire island of Aruba, is a destination for all types of travelers.

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After a four hour flight from Washington DC and a 20-minute airport transfer from Reina Beatrix Airport to the resort, I was ready to get close and comfortable with island time.

top view of the aruba marriott resort and the front beach

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

Stepping into the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino feels like a portal into Caribbean paradise. A long hallway with delightful nautical touches leads to the gorgeous lobby with massive ceilings and touches of modern luxury everywhere. Yet it’s the exterior of the property that really stuns with its location on a white sand beach facing the sea.

the premium ocean view king bed suite at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

While I don’t particularly encourage staying in your room all day at a resort on what’s been deemed one of the happiest islands in the world, it is tempting. After opening the door of my oceanfront king bedroom, I was greeted by modern design, a spacious walk-in closet, and an ultra-comfortable bed I never wanted to leave. However, the 100-square-foot balcony truly stole my heart with its incredible views of the Caribbean Sea. I arrived in the afternoon, rolled my suitcase in, and offloaded onto the balcony to take in those sparkling blue waters and warm tropical breeze.

This eight-story property has 414 oversized guest rooms, including 24 suites equipped with a balcony perfect for sunset or sunrise gazing.

adult pool at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

The Aruba Marriott is a family-friendly resort. Those seeking a more exclusive and adults-only experience can book with the resort’s Tradewinds Club. This exclusive boutique experience is a kids-free sanctuary and features access to a reserved beach and lounge, personal concierge, special services, and upscale amenities.

Amenities and experiences at the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

the mandara spa at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

The property’s Mandara Spa is the largest full-service spa on Aruba. The Balinese-style spa has 12 private treatment rooms for healing and relaxation, whether you want to enjoy the spa solo or partake in a couples treatment. If exercise is what you’re after, the two-story fitness center is open 24 hours.

Also open 24 hours? The Stellaris Casino, which has 26 gaming tables featuring various types of poker and blackjack. Race and sports gaming kiosks are available for those looking to indulge in sports betting.

aerial image of the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

There are, of course, plenty of options to rest and recharge by the water. The resort has two main pools: a family friendly freeform pool with a surreal waterfall feature and a swim-up pool bar. The other main option, the H2Oasis, allows adult guests to escape the kids at the 10,000-square-foot pool with cabanas available to rent, a full bar, and ample poolside seating.

palapas on the beach at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

Then there’s Palm Beach itself. Since I’m a DC girl and the closest “real” beach to me is hours away, I spent most of my stay wandering, wading, and recharging by the ocean. On one of the days, I rented a palapa, which is an adorable thatched roofed dwelling that provides plenty of shade. When my waiter informed me that there was a two-for-one drink special on piña coladas, I thought to myself, can I just live here?

Where to eat at the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

There are 10 restaurants and bars on the property. And for those who can’t go too long without their mocha frappuccinos, a full-service Starbucks is available on the property that offers in-room delivery.

I didn’t have a bad meal my entire trip. I found myself frequently enjoying Lobby Bar, a large bar and restaurant that specializes in Nikkei cuisine and sushi, where I indulged in several cocktails, including a smoking old fashioned (you have to see the presentation on this one) and a hibiscus margarita.

atardi beach restaurant at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

Most days, I opted to start my day with the breakfast buffet at the La Vista Restaurant. There’s a wide range of breakfast treats, including a gluten-free section, mimosa bar, and selections of local Aruban favorites. Though when I was craving a quick pick me up, I opted for Gelato & Co, which not only served the most decadent passion fruit gelato I’ve had in a while, but also delicious green smoothies and other lighter breakfast options.

beef tenderloin served at atardi restaurant on the beach at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

However, the pièce de résistance was my dining experience at Atardi. During the day, it’s just the beachfront, but right before sunset, that same beach transforms into an ultra-romantic dinner spot. When I arrived, I was encouraged to take off my shoes and walk barefoot to our table for dinner. I dined on lobster and fondant potatoes while enjoying the salty air and orange sunset painted on the sky.

If you’re looking to explore beyond the property, considering visiting Zeerover, a no-frills but all-of-the-flavor local spot that serves up delicious seafood.

Things to do at and around the resort

sup yoga paddleboarding at the aruba marriott resort

Photo: Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino

Both the resort and the island have so much to offer, and you can create the experience you want by booking through the concierge. While I was visiting, I had the chance to partake in a number of worthwhile activities both on and off the property.

UTV Tour with De Palms Tours

Aruba is well known as a tropical paradise, but it has a diverse landscape filled with rolling dunes and giant cacti. A De Palms Tours UTV tour around the island is an unmissable experience to see what the island has to offer beyond the beach. This three-hour ride took me on a thrilling trip across the island to visit natural bridges, a lighthouse with a complex history, and several other landmarks. Just don’t wear anything too fancy and expect to get dusty.

Pastechi Cooking Class

There are many cuisines around the world that have some sort of delicious, fried pocket of dough stuffed with cheese, meat, or any manner of other ingredients. Aruba may take the cake for the best in the world. The Aruba Marriott offers a pastechi cooking class with one of its chefs. The hour-long class takes you through everything you need to know to make pastechis, from stuffing the delicious treats to frying them. And while the purpose probably wasn’t to overindulge in three different flavors of pastechis, that’s precisely what I did.

The pastechi cooking class is one of several different resort-led experiences you can enjoy, including a new holistic desert sunbathing experience.

Mural tour of San Nicolas

San Nicolas was once a sprawling town with a community of Caribbean migrants who emigrated to the island to work at the oil refinery. The area is transforming through art and is now home to the Aruba Art Fair, one of the largest art festivals in the Caribbean. The mural tour is run and operated by Aruba Mural Tours and is about art, but also the complexities, the culture, and the people behind it.

How to get to the resort

The Aruba Marriott is located in Palm Beach, Aruba, seven miles from the Reina Beatrix Airport. You can get to the resort by taxi, rental car, or alternative transportation offered by De Palm Tours.

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