We went to Aruba 19Apr-25Apr2013 (5 nights) with 8 adults and 2 children (2 x villas + 2 x guest rooms). We used someone else's timeshare slot and just paid for their maintenance fee, otherwise the nighty rate is very high.
It's my favorite beach thus far (Been to Hawaii, Jamaica, DR, Bermuda, & Bahamas). The ocean water is blue (not crystal clear tho), calm and clean. The sand was so soft on my toes and didn't need to worry about rocks in the water. The weather was hot but there was a constant light breeze which made the experience so enjoyable.
The Marriott Ocean club is connected to the Marriott Surf Club and Marriott Stellaris so we got to enjoy the amenities at all 3 x resorts. Resort was a 30 min drive from the airport and near all the other big franchise, high rise hotels. If you rent a car, they have free parking. They have a nice fitness center with plenty of cardio & weight equipment. All the cardio equipment had their own personal TVs so bring a headset to listen. Guest Rooms have free wireless internet, a refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, toaster & dishes. Villas have a stove, dishwasher, and living room area.
To save a little $$ and splurge elsewhere, we went to the nearby grocery store, and bought cereal, eggs, milk, juice & bread to make breakfast, and liquor/beer/mixers to enjoy our own self made cocktails while laying at the pool/beach (bring a travel cup/mug). We got good coffee in the morning from the resort's Ocean Cafe, ordered lunch by the pool (waiter service avail), and had dinner away from the resort as there are many great restaurants on the island (see my restaurant reviews). We enjoyed the resort's spa which offers private outdoor beach massages for $105, and plenty of water sports to choose from (jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, tubing, catamaran, etc) which is reasonable priced. They have free beach towel service, and free beach huts (get there early to get the free beach hut; if no free ones are left then they have huts for $10-$15 to pay for). Next to the towel service stand, there is an ice machine, water and cups that you can get free water (totally drinkable, no one got sick) and ice to add to your cocktails.
The Surf Club has a small lazy river and slide for the kids to enjoy, and the Stellaris has a casino for the adults to enjoy. If you sit through their 90-min vacation club/timeshare presentation, they will give you $200 in resort cash or $400 in casino cash just for listening to the presentation. There is a long strip of shops, restaurants & activities behind the high rise resorts that is convenient to walk to. You can also walk along the beach from the Marriott all the way down to the Divi and there are plenty of beach dining spots to choose from as well.
Tip: when leaving US airport, you can get a bottle of liquor (1 per person) at the duty free shop to bring to Aruba with you (ketal and grey goose was about $30) and if you smoke you can get cigarettes really cheap. We rented a jeep but if we go back, we wouldn't rent anything again. We would just use taxi service. In my opinion, the island isn't much of a site-seeing island. We did rent a jeep at $150/day and go off-roading to find the natural pool but wasn't worth it. It took an hour of bumpy off-roading to find the natural pool and all it was, was part of ocean water with a wall of rocks surrounding it.
All-in-all, it was a great vacation because we had a peaceful, relaxing time.
First floor location near the Stellaris side was so convenient; when at the beach or pool and want t...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.