Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Palm Beach, Aruba
Tel: 800 223 6388 (toll-free)
Tel: 297 586 9000
Concierge.com's insider take:
Not your typical business-trip Marriott. A $50-million face-lift in 2008 kitted out all 411 rooms with new flat-screen TVs, Jackpack technology, and bedding. The spacious bathrooms have twin sinks, rain-showerhead fixtures, and large walk-in closets, while equally roomy balconies hold a table and pair of chairs. The ground-floor lobby was transformed into a loungelike space with a sushi bar, gelateria, and a cocktail bar serving aloe martinis, while the top floor was remade into the concierge-level Tradewinds Club. Those rooms raise the ante on amenities with a pillow menu, luxe linens and robes, crackerjack concierges, and a lounge that lays out a smorgasbord of complimentary meals and snacks stretching from breakfast until the dessert hour. Rooms 826 through 829 have the best water views. Outside, the free-form pool has a swim-up bar (natch), while ranks of palms and thatch-roof palapas throw a modicum of shade on the pale, medium-packed sand. Or grab a beach chair and park in the gentle surf, though the shallows here are a bit mucky. The Palm Beach location is handy for water sports; windsurf and kiteboard operators can be found just north of the hotel, while Red Sail Sports books diving, sailing, and snorkeling trips (297-583-1603; redsailaruba.com). The complex also has a round-the-clock fitness center, a Balinese-themed spa with 12 treatment rooms, and Stellaris, the island's largest casino, with 32 tables and 500-plus slot machines.