Arrival Experience: Located in the heart of town, just across from the cruise port, the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino is a centralized property that gives guests access to shopping, dining, and its own private island. As one of the only properties not situated along a coastline, this resort is not what some initially think of when they come to Aruba. However, it offers one of the most unique amenities on Aruba: its own private island. At the center of the resort, a private motorboat enters though a special water canal to carry guests to a special island reserved for guests of the resort. There, guests are treated to their own restaurant, spa and gym facility, and private beach. Guests love taking the private water shuttle, which operates every 20 minutes. What may seem like a drawback is actually a huge draw for the resort. An escalator rises from the arrivals level to the reception area where whirling ceiling fans and free wireless Internet access often attract guests. Welcome drinks are provided at check-in before guests are directed toward the glass-coated elevators to reach the guest rooms.
Dining: The main Aquarius restaurant serves buffets three meals a day with a live cooking station that personalizes the menus to guest requests. The morning breakfast buffet comes with sparkling wine, several local Aruban dishes, and an omelet station. Lunch serves an executive menu that is popular with local business types (nearby government and business offices are within walking distance). It allows them to be in an out within an hour. Dinnertime has a fresh seafood menu featuring numerous fresh catches from nearby shorelines. The steakhouse, closer to the casino, has a waterfront dining space with exceptional views of the cruise port and waterfront where bobbing yachts provide ample entertainment. Choice cuts of beef are worthy of some of the best dining rooms of New York or Chicago while specialty dishes for vegetarians or pescetarians abound. A Starbucks café at the heart of the resort is always abuzz as is the main bar and lounge that fronts the infinity-edge pool facing the harbor.
Rooms: All of the accommodations are fresh from a recent refurbishment in 2014 that showcase the latest of the Renaissance style and lifestyle design portfolio. Colorful carpeting and fabrics form the backdrop of the contemporary guest quarters that showcase modern appurtenances like flat-screen cable TVs, slick nightstands with iPod dockings stations and easy-access power outlets, and coffeemakers. Free wireless Internet is available for all guests that are members of Marriott’s free loyalty program. Clever lamps, nifty design elements, and strongly lighted bathrooms with wide vanities are standard in all rooms. As in most North American Renaissance hotels, Aveda toiletries are a delightful in-room perk. Lighted makeup mirrors, oversized towels, strong rainfall showerheads, and hairdryers are in all. Room types vary between those that face the interior atrium and active canalway for the private island boat to the cityscape. Most popular are rooms that face the harbor and infinity-edge swimming pool.
Amenities: The panoramic infinity swimming pool features numerous lounge chairs with cushioned tops and dozens of towels. Guests can take a dip in the pool morning, noon, or night (when the changing lights give it a sexy glow). The full fitness center sits a short distance away with the guidance of a personal trainer. On the private island, guests can enjoy another gym or massage station. Those wanting more substantial spa treatments (including massage) can experience a treatment in the onsite spa. Meeting space is ample, which is what helps to attract so many business groups to the resort (besides its city-center location and free wireless Internet). A free shuttle runs guests to the family-focused sister Renaissance hotel, and all guests can opt to dine at the nearby shopping center across the street (also affiliated with the hotel). Those with money burning a hole in their pocket can swipe their credit cards at the big-name brands located on the first floor of the resort property (this is the only high-end shopping center on the island). This is a unique resort on the island; it is not on the resort strip or even on the beach, but it has a strong loyal following that appreciate its amenity-rich offering and the luxury of a private island.