Hi all, We will be using points for a family vacation in August. We are looking for a great (preferably Caribbean) beach. We've never traveled to any of the islands - wondered about Puerto Rico and Aruba. Prefer a less commercialized and laid back feel. No need for shopping or fancy restaurants.
Welcome to Marriott Rewards Insiders (MRI), ygoydich,
There is a rich pool of posts on the site that talk about the Caribbean islands. I would encourage you to look at the "More Like This" column on the right hand side. You can also find some great posts utilizing the search box in the top right of any screen.
But let me also give you my own experience: I stayed a week at the Marriott Grand Cayman back in 2012 and think it might meet what you are looking for. The property is smaller compared to other Caribbean resorts, but I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. The beach is beautiful. I felt the service was very good. The on-site dining was not too bad, but there are also options within walking distance. For breakfast there is a great little place I would recommend, Cafe del Sol (5 minute or less walk). There was also a post recently in this thread: (Caribbean Properties) about the rooms recently being updated.
While I have never been to the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach, from my research it would certainly meet your requirement of less commercialized. Hopefully someone else has stayed there and can comment more about the property.
Enjoy your trip and I encourage you to share details of your trip on this site.
There are great reviews of all the Caribbean resorts on Insiders and yes welcome to Insiders.
We avoid the Caribbean in the summer just for the hurricane risk and focus our attention for beach travel at that time to Hawaii. The Caribbean is gorgeous anytime of year but the Hawaiian Island are much less prone to be in the path of a storm.
Please feel free to inquire about specific resorts as I'm pretty sure some Insiders can give you excellent advice.