Gorgeous calm waters, predictable rain-free weather, constant refreshing breeze, and welcoming locals. . . it’s no wonder travelers tend to put Aruba on repeat once they visit this One Happy Island. Aruba Marriott Resort invites you to immerse yourself in all the island has to offer, and even rewards guests who are up for the challenge of unplugging. Take the plunge and hear how a trip to Aruba will make for One Happy Family.

The Basics

As great as family time can be, plenty of personal space is an absolute necessity. Aruba Marriott Resort has the largest rooms on the island, at 500-square-feet, with an additional 100-square-foot balcony that overlooks the mesmerizing blues of the Caribbean Sea.

The Digital Detox

Think you’re up for the challenge of a digital detox? Aruba Marriott Resort is sweetening the pie by rewarding guests who are willing to ditch their phones for the majority of their stay. Pony up your phone, which will be stored in a safe, and the resort will give you a disposable camera to capture memories old-school style, plus bonus Marriott Bonvoy points to redeem for a future stay.

On-Property Entertainment

Enhance your cultural travel experience by opting to visit Aruba during their month-long Carnival season and you’ll quickly see why they call themselves One Happy Island. You’ll experience a colorful celebration full of exciting dances, cheerful music and over-the-top costumery that celebrates the bright spirits of the local culture. If you can’t make it to the official Carnival, Aruba Marriot Resort has you covered with a mini Carnival at their beachside La Vista restaurant every Thursday night.

Aruba Marriott Resort

All the kids really care about is the size of the pool and whether or not there’s sand to bury a sibling, or maybe you. To answer both, the pool does not disappoint with a cascading waterfall, hot tub and swim-up bar with kiddie cocktails on command and the sand is prime for castle-making and moat-digging. As a parent, you’ll appreciate the calmness of the water that makes for a low-key ocean experience.

At a kiosk next to the resort, you can rent floats, paddleboards, kayaks and (we highly recommend for big laughs) schedule a 4- or 8-person tubing ride. You get to dictate the speed and excitement level to the driver via hand gestures and if you give your kids that control, just hang on for dear life!

photo: Donkey Sanctuary Aruba via Maria Chambers

Off-Property Play

At one time donkeys were an important mode of transportation on the island. But, as cars replaced donkey-powered transport, some 1,400 of these four-legged friends were left to roam aimlessly where they were often hit by the cars, fell prey to disease or were turned into lion food for visiting circuses. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba was created as a safe haven where each donkey was given a name, nourishment, a cozy place to take a snooze and an abundance of all-important love. Now, travelers can have playdates with the donkeys and, for a small fee, try a hand at feeding the sweeties.

photo: De Palms Snorkel Adventure via Maria Chambers

For a truly unforgettable experience, take the kids to swim with the fishes on a De Palms Snorkel Adventure tour via a 70-foot-long catamaran. You’ll explore three fish-filled snorkeling spots, including swimming above one of the largest sunken cargo ships in the world, the German’s SS Antilla. Your per-person fee includes lunch, drinks (including alcoholic beverages for adults), and snorkel gear. Pro tip: If your kid has their own snorkel gear, bring it. With so many people in the water all using the same gear, it’s helpful when your kid’s snorkel looks different to help track them in the water. 

Where to Dine

All this play will leave tummies grumbling, for sure. If you’re looking for on-property convenience, you’ll find a Ruth’s Chris Steak House with 5-star steak and seafood options, the beachside Atardi which specializes in seafood and stellar ocean and sunset views, La Vista makes friends with the pickiest of eaters with a wide array of buffet options all day, The Lobby is your answer for the inevitable island sushi crave, and Waves Beach Bar and Grill comes through with the casual pool-side lite bites and cocktails.

Oh, and for your morning fuel, mosey on down to the Starbucks for a caffeine fix or Gelato and Co. for an acai bowl or smoothie (and then cruise back by for a late-night gelato feast).

With so many options at the resort, you don’t technically need to ever leave. But, if you want to swap one beautiful scene for another, make a date with The West Deck. It’s set outdoors on a large wooden deck overlooking a white sandy beach, where fidgety kids can play bags and architect sand castles or be entertained watching planes and departing cruise ships with live music floating in the background.

photo: Linda’s Dutch Pancakes via Maria Chambers

Some would say it’s rude to not at least try Dutch cuisine while on a Dutch island, and it may as well be a pancake. Savory or sweet, let your taste buds guide you at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes, where you can plant your face in a 20-inch Dutch pancake. If you’re unfamiliar, Dutch pancakes are thinner than a pancake, and ingredients requiring cooking are cooked into the pancake.  Choose from preset combinations, like Strawberries & Whipped Cream or Brie, Walnuts & Honey, or imagine your own creation.

Aruba Marriott Resort

When to Go

The island has an average rainfall of under 20 inches a year and sits completely outside the hurricane belt. These truths, coupled with the fact the average daytime temp is a temperate 82 degrees, makes it an ideal tropical destination year-round.

Airport Information

Book your flight into the Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), which is about a 20-minute drive to the hotel. Give yourself a bit of extra time when you depart because you will go through both Aruba security and U.S. Customs, which saves you time when you land into the U.S.

Aruba Marriott Resort photo: Maria Chambers

Good to Know

  • We’ll answer the #1 question every American asks when leaving the country. Yes, you can drink the water. It’s actually one of the safest waters to drink on any island.
  • US dollars and Aruba’s local currency (florin) are accepted across the islands.
  • The local language is called Papiamento, but English is widely used.
  • There’s a fully-stocked shop near the lobby where you can purchase essentials like sunscreen, and the selection is good, so no worries about packing your own.
  • There is a nice 24-hour workout facility with free weights and machines, for those that like to keep up their exercise routine on the road.
  • Fun fact: Aloe is Aruba’s largest export, so give an aloe-infused cocktail a whirl in The Lobby Bar.

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
L.G. Smith Blvd. #101, Palm Beach, Aruba
Online: marriott.com

— Maria Chambers

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Photos provided by Aruba Marriot Resort, unless otherwise noted.

This trip was paid for by Aruba Marriott Resort and all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.