Aruba, Jamaica, Ooo I wanna take ya .. Sorry. That is always what runs through my head when I see Aruba.
Often times when we would make travel plans, my husband would mention Aruba. He always talked about the fond memories he had from when he went there. In complete transparency, when he went previously, he went with an ex-girlfriend. So, it was a mission of mine to make sure that when we did go, that we made new, better memories to replace the ones that he had with his ex.
We booked our hotel months prior, as we always do.. however, I got an email from Marriott ( I am a rewards member) outlining black Friday specials. I never thought of hotels having black Friday specials, but they do! Our resort that we had already booked for Aruba showed up on the email. I went to the site to price out how much it would be with the special, and it was $400 cheaper PLUS it included a $50 per day resort credit. I booked it right away.
One of the main reasons I am a loyal Marriott client, is I like that I can reserve hotels, and not pay a deposit. That way if we change our mind, or things like this come up where we have to cancel a reservation, I love that I can do so, without paying a cancellation fee. So I cancelled our original reservation, and kept the new one.
We chose to stay at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. We stayed here, because they are the only hotel, that offers access to the private Renaissance Island. Why is this significant? This is the island that houses the Flamingoes you may have seen on Instagram. This is the only place in Aruba that has them.
We arrived at the Resort, and it was very nice! Right next to the reception, was a very large pool, a pool bar, and lots of different shops. When we checked in, I confirmed with the associate that we had the daily resort credit. She said “yes, I see $25 per day”. Umm, no ma’am. I have an offer of $50 per day. After some back, and forth, and speaking with the manager, we settled on a room upgrade, and the $25 credit. Humph.
We took a boat to a different building that apparently had all ocean front suites. There was another large pool, a pool bar, and stunning views of the ocean. We were glad that we took the upgrade for the view alone. The room we originally booked was a standard room. We typically don’t go crazy with the room, because the only thing we do in it is sleep. We care more about the amenities of the hotel/resort.
The first night we went to the palm beach area of Aruba. We went to a place called Moomba Beach. We ate dinner, then walked over to another part of the restaurant that was set up like a club. There was a DJ, and lots of people having a good time. The music was pretty much the same as what they play in the states. We had a great time!
My husband had always talked about how he rented ATVs, and rode them around the island. The next morning, that is just what we did. We rented ATVS (remember to bring your drivers license), got a map from the shop associate, and took off on our own. The island is only 11 miles long, so I thought it would be pretty easy to navigate around, and it pretty much was. We rode down to the beaches, to visit the mini natural pool, the natural pool, and the natural bridge (which had been broken up).
If im honest, it was a little scary. For most of the journey, we didn’t see anyone else. It was just us and nature, which was nice, but it being so desolate made me a little nervous. When we got near the more tourist-y attractions, there were more people around, and I felt a lot more comfortable. Over all it was a really nice experience, and the beauty of the Island itself was incredible.
That night we had a nice dinner on the resort. The food was very good, and we ended up going to bed early. After a full day in the sun, we were beat.
The next day we headed over to Renaissance Island. This is a private island owned by the hotel. It is where they house the flamingos. To get to the island you dock a boat from an area at the resort. They scan your room key to verify you are staying at the resort then allow you on the boat. Once at the island, it is split in 2 sides. One side is adults only, and the other is family friendly.
The island is pure paradise! Everything you need for a relaxing day is on the island. They have lots of hammocks, and beach chairs. They have huts where you can get a massage, a nature trail, and the most adorable flamingoes. There is also a large bar that serves food and snacks.
We went here a few times during our trip. I couldn’t get enough of the island and its perfection. You could buy little feed to give to the flamingoes, so remember to bring some change if you decide to go. We didn’t bring any change, so we weren’t able to feed them. They still came up to us though, so we were able to get fun pictures and videos with them.
For the last day, we hung out and explored the area around where we stayed. There were lots of stores & restaurants. We went to a really cool one that had money all of the walls. Money from every country of guests that frequent there. I cannot remember the name, but it was on the water, so it also had a very nice view.
We can’t wait to get back to Aruba! It was definitely paradise, and there is so much to do, it is the perfect vacation destination.