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Reviewed 6 August 2006

My husband and I just returned from our 3rd vacation to Aruba (July 26 - August 2). We are in our mid 50s. Our goal was to rest and rejuvenate. We found our stay at the Marriott and in Aruba to be wonderfully stressfree and relaxing.

Direct flight from Philadelphia. Customs and immigration was a breeze. Took a cab to and from the airport and the Marriott. Cost $20 each way. Sure more convenient than having to wait for the transfer bus to stop at every hotel to drop people off. Cheaper too.

During our last vacation we stayed at the Radisson. Wasn't crazy about the ocean view room or the customer service, although the grounds were beautiful, the pools were great, and dinners at the Sunset Grille and Laguna buffet were delicious.

This was our 1st stay at the Marriott. We splurged and booked an oceanfront suite (called a deluxe oceanfront by Liberty Travel) and we stayed in room 768 in the North Tower. This suite was spectacular. We had sweeping, unobstructed views of the Caribbean, the lighthouse at the northern tip of the island, and a view of the surrounding land too. The wrap around balcony included 2 lounge chairs and a table and chairs. We ate our breakfasts on the balcony and enjoyed room service twice for dinner. Watching the sun set while relaxing on the balcony was perfection.

As others have posted, the food in Aruba is delicious. All of our meals were excellent.

The beach was crowded, but we never had trouble securing a palapa for the day. We didn't spend time at the pool, so can't comment on it.

We spent an entire day shopping in town and had lots of fun. Ate at Iguana Joe's. Strolled through all the shopping areas.

Rented a car for a few days (did it the easiest but I'm sure not the least expensive way) from Hertz. Rep is right in the hotel. Nice 4x4 vehicle. Explored the entire island. Swam at Baby Beach (southern tip). Fun.

We also wanted to stay in touch with family in the US so we rented a cellphone from Chapeau Aruba (located in the business office at the Hyatt). Made arrangements via the internet before we left the US. They emailed us our cellphone number which we were able to share with family before we even left. Rented a Nokia phone and had 75 minutes of outgoing calls. All incoming calls are free with this plan. Again, probably not the cheapest way to go, but easy. The cellphone rep delivered our phone to the Marriott, and came and picked it up before we left for the airport. Quick and easy.

EVERYONE at the Marriott was friendly and polite and eager to make our stay a memorable one. We will return to Aruba.. and will return to the Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled as a couple
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29  Thank centraljay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2006

My wife and I went back to Aruba to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in the place we went for our Honeymoon.We stayed at the Divi Divi then, but it is an all inclusive now and I avoid those. We took our 14 year old daughter with us. We stayed at the Marriot Stellaris. Exceptionally nice place. We were upgraded from the cheapest room to an Ocean/Island view room. Very nice upgrade indeed.

Aruba has changed. Much busier and much more crowded.

Service was great, in fact the service for our entire vacation was very good. I expected a little Carribean sluggishness, but to my surprise, it was very good.

The resort was in very good shape, clean, bright and very well taken care of. The amenities are very good, crowded, but good. The early to the pool rule applies here for sure. 7:00 AM will get you a prime pool chaise. Anything after 10:00, and you are searching for more than 2 next to each other. The beach is crowded, I will address that later. The High RIse strip of hotels/time shares in Aruba is a nice place to visit. Low rise section is a good choice too. You really can't go wrong, it is a small island.

The interior/urnban sections of Aruba could be a little cleaner. I am surprised the government does not take better care of it cash cow. There is litter on the streets in many places. I was very dissapointed to see that. It is a beautiful place and the people there should take better care of it.

I will put a few reccomendations here.

1) Rent a car, taxis are expensive, and it is too hot for the bus.

2) Skip the hotel beaches and head to Eagle or Arishi beach, try and secure some sort of cover, it is like broiling otherwise. Eagle beach is clearly one of the nicest,cleanest, most beautiful beaches on earth, and I have seen a lot of them.

3) Explore, this Island has some amazing scenery on the north side. Raw Desert, an unbelievable shore line. Worth the trip. (PS The natural bridge has collapased, but the scenery ther is still stunning.)

4) Visit town, but not for long. Expensive and touristy.

5) They encourage you to be at the airport 3 hours before your departure. I was there with nothing to do for over 2 hours.
Your call there.

6) We (family of 3) spent and average of $175 a day on food and misc. expenses, not counting gaming.

I would go back, just not right away. I will explore other places first.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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29  Thank bcane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2006

Just came back from our first visit to Aruba with my family (w. wife and 2 daughters - 17 & 21). This was the first family vacation where we all agreed that this needs to be an annual event. Depending on what you are seeking, this is a great island and great time. Typically we take a family vacation that involves lots of activity and moving. This vacation allowed us to relax and have lots of fun.

1) Hotel - read all reviews and our experience is like the reviews combined. OK, what do I mean? The hotel is on a great beach and the last new hotel on the beach. The Hyatt, Holiday Inn and others are in the middle of the strip. There are some fun and great restaurants on the street outside of the Hyatt area, but it is a 15 minute walk (dark at night) or a 5 minute cab ride. (Note -walk along the beach to the Holiday Inn and go from their lobby to the street.)

The hotel is a typical Marriott. Built to reflect the area with vacationeers and meetings in mind. As for the look and feel, yeah - the Hyatt and Occidental is probably a little fancier, but the Marriott is still nice. We stayed in room 767 and truly enjoyed the view. We were next to the ocean front suites with a pool/ocean view. We loved the mornings and having breakfast while looking at the coast and and other hotels.

2) Casino - there is a casino in the hotel. If you gamble, it is too easy. (The casino closes around 5:00am and opens at 10:00AM). Yeah - like most island casinos it is not the caliber of vegas or atlantic city, but is has most games and is fun.

3) Restaurants - the only meals we ate in the hotel was breakfast and lunch. Most were from the 24 hr cafe in the lobby. (Dunkin Donuts is available across the street from the Hyatt.) For dinner we went to local restaurants and had great meals.

4) Beach - Marriott is on the far end of Palm Beach. The Marriott beach is beautiful, but you need to understand the process to rent huts. When you check in - you can reserve huts (for a small fee) at the towel hut from 10:00Am - 5:00pm. They reserve 50% and leave the remaining 50% for "same day" reservations. If you opt for same day, you need to reserve it at 7:00AM the day you want to reserve (people line up starting at 6:30AM). Best is to get tot he hut at 10:00AM and they allow you to reserve for three consecutive days.

5) Pool - typical Marriott resort pool. Large, pleanty of charis, pool bar (with weak drinks). We are not pool people, but had a chance to look at the lazy river pool next door at the Marriott Vacation Club and it is great compared to the hotel pool.

6) Crowds in Summer. We were completely surprised with the amount of people and the crowds at the beach. Although summer is their off season, the beach was full and pleanty of activity.

7) Employees - ********* - can not say enough. Marriott did a fantastic job hiring the right people and keeping them pleased. It showed in the attitude and actions of all the people we encounted. Smiles, greetings and offers to help were everywhere and it absolutely is refreshing. I stay in too many marriotts (all Us and Canada) and ther have been too many employees with attitudes. Can not say enough about the kindness and welcoming feeing the people at this resort offered.

8) Will we be back - YES. This is the fist trip in years where my family asked if we can make this a regular event.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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29  Thank reese123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2006

June 10-14. I was skeptical at first because of some of the reviews about the smoke smell in the lobby and construction but we didn't experience any of those problems. On arrival they had a little delay with check in and upgraded our rooms without even having to ask. Everyone had a smile on their faces and I have to say it was the freindliest hotel I have ever been to they were so attentive to our needs. The staff was absolutley AWESOME! The room was very spacious and clean and of course the balcony was large. I even liked the bathroom, and that was a suprise for me. The beds slept very comfty as well. We went in the second week of June and we never had a problem with finding a spot on the beach no matter what time it was. The beach never had more than a handful of people on the beach. Be prepared of dining prices. I expected to pay alot but we were easly laying down $100.00 everytime we ate. Other than that the Latin show was nice also(get the free tickets through time share).

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank babyguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2006

I just got back from Aruba on July 22, where I stayed at this Marriott for 1 week.

This hotel needs a facelift- big time. The lobby is dull (little lights), dark furniture, and somethign I would see in the early 80's. A boring fish pond (koi actually), with coins, plaster exposed, etc just looked so dated.

Check in was good, and if you are into the "free punch", it was offered at least. We upgraded to an ocean view with little fanfare.

The Room was 809, on the 8th floor overlooking the timeshare buildings and some of the beach. The room was a nice, average Marriott room with a comfortable bed (though they seem to be shorter than an average king). The room had an empty fridge if you decided to purchase items off property, however, even if cranked, your items were barely cold. The rooms do have internet access ($14.95/day, or $75 for the week). I used it for business and fine when connected to the cable, but the wireless down by the pool - forget it - very very slow. The room had a fan, which was useless, but the AC worked well. An annoying thing in the room was the TV was on the right hand side of the bed - had to look over to the right to watch tv instead of at end of bed. If you have kids, especially little ones, keep them away from the balcony. I dont have kids, but man, I could see little ones falling through the railings with no problem. Definitley not to US code anywhere. Also, no venindg machines on the floor, only ice. Overall, the room was good and looks like it was updated in the last 5 years.

Pool - now this area needs improvement big time. Talk about crowded - and I went there offseason. While it is nice that each chair has a little cabanas on top, there is no room to maneuver a chair or get any full sun as there are a ton of them. I think Marriott packed them too tight in here. Also, if you are into someone screaming B5 for Bingo on a mike midday, then sit by the pool. Talk about low brow. Then there's poolside aerobics..
I cant imagine what this place is like during the winter - get me out of here.

Beach - Cabanas (or huts) are for rent $15/day, and can be reserved 3 days at a time. Half of them are first come/first serve. Generally didnt have a problem getting one, but service is terrible here. Generally plenty of towels. Another sore point - there are very little servers on the beach for drinks. You'll rarely see one, and if you do, better run after them. Again, poor service there. Beach quality - not hotel fault - is ok. Nothing clear about the water unless flying at 500 feet, and roped off areas to swim, as powerboats beyond rope. There are watersports very cloe by, typical prices for waverunner $55. Seems like every one liked the inner tubes behind the power boat.

Breakfast - Included with room (or $100 credit) was poor at best. Terrible to be honest. Same ol buffet, with items that I would swear were there for a few days - seriously.

Casino - I've been to vegas and a number of resort casinso. This one is ok - a bunch of penny and nickle slots for those interested.

Non-Hotel Related - Side note that the natural bridge collapsed. LG Steakhouse downtown is good for steak, as is Smokey Joe for ribs near the Hyatt. Downtown a little bigger since I last saw it about 5 years ago, but same ol jewerly stores, etc

My overall experince, when compared to other Marriots (JW included) and other fine hotels, is that you could do better. Possibly try the Hyatt, Divi or maybe one of the Marriot Timeshare rooms. I like Marriott, but this is ceretainly no JW Marriot in Cancun, or the one on Kuai, or those in FL and elsewhere. As such, I would not come back to this hotel.

Stayed: July 2006
23  Thank Kevin77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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