Press trips are premised on wanting writers to experience fresh vacation ideas and new paradigms of travel, so I was thrilled to participate in the “Mom and Me” press trip to the Aruba Marriott on Mother’s Day weekend. During a few brilliantly sunny days, our group of Gen X and Gen Y travel writers and Boomer Moms enjoyed an active beach getaway that included a catamaran/snorkel sail, a jeep excursion, and—for the writers and a few intrepid Moms—paddle boarding lessons.
This was my first visit to the Dutch-Caribbean island of Aruba, and I found it to be a fun, upscale Caribbean getaway with a good tourism infrastructure and plenty of activities for those who get bored sitting on the beach. The island itself—located very close to Venezuela—is mostly flat; its beauty lies in the powdery white sands and clear, calm azure water that feels like a warm bath. Swimmers like me will be in paradise.
We stayed at immaculate Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/travel/auaar-aruba-marriott-resort-and-stellaris-casino/), located on a prime stretch of resort-lined Palm Beach. While the Marriott’s design vibe is generic, the stunning beachfront view from the glass-fronted elevator makes a great first impression—you want to get out to the beach pronto. And guest room amenities for modern travelers are all here. Color me picky, but when it comes to hotel guest room comfort, there are oversights that consistently confound me, even in otherwise lovely accommodations. Among these are lack of good, pinpoint reading lights on each side of the bed; several conveniently located outlets for my technology; a safe that is easy to use and large enough for my IPad; a decent makeup mirror; and the most common irritant of all—not enough hangers in the closet. At the Marriott, there were more sturdy wooden hangers than I could use, and staying plugged in was was easy with a nifty, wall-mounted strip that not only had four AC power outlets, but also audio, video, digital, and USB plug-ins.
I also loved the Marriott’s sequestered adult pool, a gated oasis of calm for grownup guests, with comfortable lounge seating perfect for late afternoon libations.
Tips for Foodies: It’s well worth the five-mile cab ride to experience the authentic island atmosphere and mouthwatering cuisine at the tiny, laid-back Pinchos Bar and Grill, where all tables sit over the water (http://www.pinchosaruba.com/about). At the Marriott, we all enjoyed the sumptuous seafood dinner buffet at La Visa restaurant and our final toes-in-the-sand dinner at Simply Fish.
IF YOU GO
Unlike much of the Caribbean, Aruba has an arid climate that tends to offer consistently dry, sunny weather year round. U.S. citizens go through customs in the Aruba airport when returning home. The official Aruba Tourism Website is a good place to browse for basic travel information, hotel deals, activity options, and more: http://www.aruba.com/