It’s not everyday that you get to jet-set to the Caribbean, so why not make the most of it?! Aruba is a smart choice flight-wise, as there are many direct flights from New York City and other hubs. Oh, how I miss those direct east coast flights! Regardless of what time of year you visit, you’re sure to have a fabulous time. Aruba is nicknamed “One Happy Island” and my guess is that you’ll be one happy traveler while you’re there. Here are 5 ways to experience the stylish side of Aruba.
1) Follow the Flamingos
Before heading to the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino where I’d meet the rest of my group, I spent a night at the Renaissance. Also a Marriott property, the Renaissance is located right downtown where all the shops are located and accessible to a slew of local restaurants. Since my stay was a short one, I planned on taking full advantage of the hotel’s private island. Unlike the Aruba Marriott, where the beach is located right on property, the Renaissance owns an island that is about a 10 minute boat ride away. Shuttles are free for guests, of course, and they run every 15 minutes during operating hours.
Even though I was staying in the adults-only section of the hotel (as opposed to the more family-friendly side), I was definitely the only guest flying solo. How fitting that I’d meet some other fine-feathered friends! The Renaissance has two sections of their island: Flamingo Beach for adults and Iguana Beach for families. Words cannot express how excited I was to be enjoying my first sunset in Aruba with a gang of vibrant pink flamingos! They stroll through the beach like they own the place (I guess they kind of do?) and I made sure to spend my morning there, too. Maybe it’s just me but I felt instantly more stylish with my new crew around.
2) Take a SUP Yoga class
As mentioned in my earlier post, SUP Yoga class was a huge highlight of my Aruba getaway. I’ve been incorporating more time into my schedule to stay healthy, opting for Yoga classes and Pilates workouts at home in San Francisco, but attempting sun salutations on a Stand Up Paddle-Board took things to a whole new level. After all, travel is about stretching (pun intended)outside your comfort zone and reaching new heights.
The great thing about the class, taught by Island SUP, is that it’s truly suitable for all levels. In our group of five, we were all at different skill levels. On one end of the spectrum, we had someone with knee problems while another was a Yoga newby. On the flip side, we had a girl who could literally do headstands on her board, and did so during the duration of our class. Talk about #lifegoals! That said, nobody fell off their boards and we finished class with a feeling of accomplishment.
3) Order Brunch with a View
During my stay at the Aruba Marriott, I was spoiled silly but to be fair, so are all of their guests. My room was part of the Tradewinds Club, which is basically a hotel within a hotel. Some of the perks of upgrading to this level of service include a private check-in, a room on the 8th floor and complimentary food and drinks in the lounge throughout the day. If you think about the additional expenses you might have on a trip like this (for example, ordering a-la-carte items at a restaurant), it’s worth the splurge.
The Marriott pulled out all the stops for us, even inviting us to the Governor’s suite for a special brunch. Having lived in New York for 5+ years, I was beyond thrilled about bottomless mimosas. Even better, Chef Miguel was there to greet us and share a toast to the lovely view from the balcony. Even though our brunch was planned as a special treat for our group, the same food is served at the resort’s La Vista restaurant. You can’t go wrong with a little indulgence, especially when fresh smoothies, Eggs Benedict’s and chocolate croissants are involved. That’s a serious score.
4) Sport the Local Wares
While I didn’t have time to do any serious shopping in Aruba, I got a lot of ideas from walking along the beach. Our SUP Yoga instructor’s hat immediately caught my eye. It’s from a local company called Tangerine Aruba and they sell hats and other outdoor apparel with the #wethebeachpeople branded hashtag. All items are made right there on the island, so if you’re on the hunt for a cool souvenir or a gift for friends back home, I recommend checking this store out. I really wish I did!
Another brand I’d recommend is Aruba Aloe. They sell everything from Aloe-infused bath gels to lotions, including travel-sized kits. As someone with very fair Irish skin, the sun is both my friend and foe. Having Aloe at hand is essential. Plus, it’s native to the island and a good way to support the local economy. Right now, their products are sold at 16 different retail stores on Aruba, including the Marriott Ocean Club’s shop, located beside the main Aruba Marriott property. Don’t wait until a bad sunburn; swing by their shop upon arrival!
5) Appreciate the view
Ok, I didn’t take this picture but this is the view I had from my room. The Aruba Marriott property is very large, with the majority of rooms facing the main pool (not pictured) while some rooms face the adult pool, featured below. I really enjoyed this view because the adult pool was rarely crowded, even though we were visiting at the beginning of high season. Plus, I had a perfect view of the sunset over the ocean.
Despite my slight fear of heights, I’ll never turn down a seaside view. During my free time, I found myself gravitating toward the balcony, whether it was to answer emails or snap photos of the grounds. I liked that the sun glistened during the day until the stars took over at night. If traveling with your special someone, the balcony is the perfect place to open a bottle of Brut and toast to your new surroundings. Bubbly makes everything more stylish.
What’s your favorite Caribbean island (or island in general)? Tell me in the comments below!
This post is in collaboration with Diamond PR and the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. All opinions are my own.