We have been to Aruba five times and always stay at the Marriott Aruba Surf Club. We do go to the Stellaris Casino and Hotel (3 buildings away on the same beach) to gamble some and to go to their great restaurants. The beach there is great!
On the other hand, the Renaissance is in town--very busy area--with almost no beachfront for sitting, sunning, etc. Although we have not personally stayed there, a guest by the pool at the Surf Club told me that she and her spouse had done so and was very disappointed. Partly because the room was not nice, but also because there was no easy beach access.
Lots to do on Palm Beach where the Marriotts are located, plus easy walking distance to many, many other resorts with excellent dining choices and excursions--like sunset cruises. Oh, and the dinner on the beach in front of the Marriott will make you think you're in heaven! Awesome, at Simply Fish!
We have been to several Marriott properties in the Caribbean, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman, Cancun, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, Curacao and I must say because of the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly staff, nice facility, beach 'board room' bar and calm waters for walk in snorkeling, Curacao could not be beat.
110% agree with Ecoeddie!
Spent our 2016 winter vacation at the Curacao Marriott and it was absolutely fantastic! First class all the way ... wonderful people, beautiful facility, great snorkeling ... heading into town for great meals was a treat as well (if for some reason you decide to switch from Aruba to Curacao, or anyone else is going, let me know so I can share the name of the best local cab driver EVER!!!) ... it's an island with a wonderful history of inclusiveness and welcoming those who had been persecuted in other countries, a very multi-cultural country (most locals speak four or five languages), plus they have fantastic baseball What more could you ask, other than a first-rate Marriott, and they have that too!!!
Which Marriott, the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino says its closed permanently! We are looking for a Caribbean for next year. We were in St Thomas in January and a bit disappointed in the Marriott @ Frenchman Reef. Location and staff were great but the rooms need a major update. Its listed as a Cat 9 hotel but only the location is a 9, the hotel itself is a 6 at best. We are looking at St. Kitts and Aruba and didn't think of Curacao.
Look at Luxury Resorts in BVI | Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection if you want a truly wonderful relaxed quiet location!!!! We've been there twice and loved it so much.
goaltender if you are serious about the place please ask questions and I'll be happy to respond as well as a few other Insiders who have visited this wonderful place.
IAHFLYR Thanks for the comment. The bride does not do the internet well so I get to do all the research and then give her the choices. She is a sun worshipper and I am not but Happy Wife, Happy Life so I tolerate it. She prefers beach over a pool. We enjoy good dining and are not big night life people. She wants to go to Aruba, I am not fond of the Island due to the winds. I have been looking at the Marriott Grand Cayman and will consider Aruba if I have to! We are New Englanders and need to break up the winter with a week of warm weather typically near the end of January before the spring break price hike.
We were at the Curacao Marriiott Beach Resort and Emerald Casino in January 2016. I do thin kI read they were closing for 18 months maybe to renovate (and it was already REALLY nice IMHO ... great location, so if they were closing for that long to renovate I think they're going to do some major sprucing up). I can't really comment on other locations ... St. Kitts looked VERY nice and quite similar to Curacao in terms of the resort and people in Aruba are great but I would love to live in Curacao someday! It's got pretty much EVERYTHING I want in my forever home (other than my daughter LOL) ... There's another Marriott resort in Curacao IIRC, a Renaissance, which is closer to "downtown" so not a beach relaxing place ... but Willemsted, Curacao's downtown, is one of the loveliest clean small cities you could imagine, just delightful. Great restaurants, wonderful people. Lots to see of interest and it's a UNESCO city. The bridge at night is spectacular. If you can check out the other Marriott spot closer to airport let me know what you think! And for fun, if you read this now, watch Team Netherlands tonight in the World Baseball Classic. Several Curacaons on the team including their manager Sir Hensley Meulens, the first MLB player ever from Curacao!
I've stayed at the Renaissance Aruba a few years ago and can't remember any problem with finding a nice beach spot to set ourselves in... Actually, the private island that hotel has is a big advantage, as only hotel guests are allowed on and it has a beach of its own!
The hotel also had a renovation of its main building not too long ago, so the rooms are quite brand new now.
I go to Aruba every year and have stayed at both. There is no question in my mind. The Marriott Stellaris is definitely the better choice. The renaissance is not on the beach. Yes, they have a private island where a boar takes you from the hotel to the island but even the island is not really a beach. Go to Aruba, you will love it for the perfect weather. No worries about hurricanes and rain and stay at the Stellaris. There are a lot of resturants and bars within walking distance. The experience would be so much different if you stayed at the Renaissance downtown. Full of tourist from the cruise ships and not a beach experience at all. IMO . .there is no contest between the two.