By Sana Butler
If you are like us, you have been to the Caribbean more than once. Something about lying in the sun, slathered in sunscreen, watching waves roll from indigo to neon, calms the mind; the island life teaches us all to slow down. While the Concrete Jungle sets the tone of a hyper-active schedule of Broadway shows, museum exhibits, opera tickets, on the road, the simple act of handing a beach towel to a hotel staff to drape over a chair is an orchestra seat ticket to do nothing.
Now through November is the ideal time to go because it is hurricane season when traditional travelers stay away. The Dutch island which lies southerly outside of the hurricane belt welcomes average weather of 83 degrees almost 365 days a year. Because it is a desert island (who knew?), rain is a harmless anomaly and the dry climate means you skin is more likely to feel sticky from the SPF. (Desalination provides the island’s only source of water).
Oftentimes, advance research on a destination to find places to go and what to do to travel like a local is a very good idea. This is not one of those times. There is not a lot to Aruba’s desert landscape so picking the right hotel is as important as packing the right bathing suit. Whether you’re a beachgoer, an adventure seeker, or a foodie in search of local eateries (like Screaming Eagle and Zeerovers), there’s plenty to do on this island, despite it only being 19.6 miles long. The beaches in Aruba are incredible, from sparkling turquoise colors in the daytime to vibrant backdrops at sunset. One of the most picturesque and action-packed beaches is Palm Beach, a hub for watersports enthusiasts and sunbathers alike, so you’re going to want to pack the right bathing suit - You will be spending a lot of time together. That is why New York City is the #1 feeder city to the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino which in turn has arguably the highest percentage of return visitors on the island at 80 percent.
The staff is on New York time which is a herculean sensibility considering the sun in your face, the sand under your feet, warmth, and relaxation inspires things to generally move slower. A groomsman who complains that his girlfriend and all of the bridesmaid commandeered the bathroom gets a new room to get dressed without a blink. When we want something we (admit it) wanted it yesterday.
Found on Palm Beach at the north-west tip of the island the Aruba Marriott Resort lures travellers with 411-rooms of contemporary decor, 9 bars and restaurants (Atardi, the pop-up restaurant on the beach is by far the best), 12 spa treatment rooms at Mandara Spa and a casino of slot machines that feels like the departure hall of a Las Vegas airport. The property offers the privacy of an adults-only pool and the exclusivity to book accommodations in the Tradewinds Club & Lounge on the 8th floor, accessible only with special key access. The hotel-within-a-hotel retreat delivers a boutique feel without the price.
Perhaps the best part of your stay is when you leave and see the hotel plays host to paintings by no name, up and coming local artists on sale throughout the lobby. Forget the gift shop, roam the halls for a souvenir.
Visit www.marriott.com for more information.
Forget having to worry about farm raised shrimp or genetic modified fish that plagues good eats in New York City. Enjoy fresh seafood right from the source at Zeerover in Savaneta.
What’s better than room service in bed? A chef-inspired, endless courses of French-fusion fine-dining without the messy sheets. Screaming Eagle’s Dinner-in-Bed experience may have been copied from Miami but perfected here.
J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 228
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Don’t want to miss your weekly Downward Dog session while on vacation. Try something new and practice your Ujjayi breathe on the water. After paddling away from the beach, take a Yoga class in the middle of the Atlantic with a stand up paddle board as your mat. The hotel concierge can book an appointment.