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Though there are other higher category Marriott properties on the island of Aruba, this Category 6 property offers something that the others do not—a water-taxi in its lobby and its own private island. More on that in our “what makes it special” section—because that is the main reason to stay at this hotel.

The Renaissance Aruba stays on brand with other Renaissance hotels. Chief among those is their navigator program. As Marriott explains: “Whether you want to find the best bar for craft beer, mix with locals in an evening street food market, or simply kick back and see some live local music, just ask a Navigator and you’ll quickly find yourself plugged-in to the what the locals are talking about.”

Renaissance Hotels is a luxury hotel brand of Marriott International. It was founded in 1981 as Ramada Renaissance, an upscale brand of Ramada Inns. In 1989 the brand was relaunched as Renaissance Hotels. It was bought by Marriott in 1997. As of June 30, 2020, it has 176 hotels with 55,501 rooms, in addition to 29 hotels with 7,613 rooms in the pipeline.

This hotel is unique among the Renaissance brands boasting its own private island. Formerly, the Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort & Casino was a Sonesta property, but it was sold and redeveloped in 2002—and it has been renovated and reimagined from that point forward.

To really enhance your stay, we highly recommend joining Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program. As part of the program, you automatically have access to free in-room wifi, member rates, mobile check-in and mobile key. You can even book with a combination of cash and points. And the best shortcut to Gold Elite status, is the American Express Platinum Card. With Bonvoy Gold Elite Status, you will likely receive a room upgrade when you check in, so can feel comfortable booking a lower tier room. In addition, you will receive 25% additional points for your stay, complimentary enhanced in-room wifi, 2pm late check-out, and more.

Join Marriott Bonvoy




The Renaissance Aruba is technically two properties combined into one—the Ocean Suites (Beach Tower) and the Marina Hotel (Marina Tower). The Marina Hotel is adults-only and very much feels that way—it contains the property’s premier restaurant (L.G. Smith’s Steak & Chophouse), is connected to both an upscale shopping area (Renaissance Mall) and the 24-hour Wind Creek Casino. The lobby bar transforms into a jumping bar in the evening. There is a live-DJ regularly—sometimes throughout the day, poolside. Mixology classes are even available (and we recommend!) in the lobby bar. Note: the lobby is not ground level, which adds to the exclusive and yet city-centric feel of the hotel.

For couples traveling without children, we highly recommend staying at the Marina Hotel, especially since this is where the water taxi loading spot is located. And if you are not heading over to Renaissance Island, then spend most of your “pool time” at the Ocean Suites.

Renaissance Island is also divided between Adults Only and Family Friendly. More about Renaissance Island in our “what makes it special” section of this review.


The Renaissance Aruba is technically two properties combined into one—the Ocean Suites and the Marina Hotel. The Marina Hotel is adults only—as is the pool. The pool is located on an elevated deck overlooking the city—we were lucky enough to score edge-view seats for one of the Carnival parades as it trekked and celebrated down the main drag (L.G. Smith Boulevard).

This is quite a change from the feeling of a standard beach-front hotel.

The Ocean Suites pool (which allows children) is much larger and has a swim up bar, and I alongside their Italian restaurant Fresco.




The rooms are fairly standard for a Category 6 Marriott—and though we suggest the Marina Hotel over the Ocean Suites, we would consider the Ocean Suites the better rooms (they are larger and have better amenities). Do not expect a balcony, necessary, for al fresco in room dining—and depending on where you are in the hotel, you may not have the most majestic of views.


This is quite important: do not purchase the all-inclusive package if given the opportunity. This is not because the food is bad at the Renaissance Aruba. In fact, it is quite good–and there are plenty of options available on property. However, simply stated: Aruba is known for its chef tasting menus and specialty dinners. We highly encourage you to venture off-property for many of your meals. Sure, enjoy a poolside lunch or an on-property buffet breakfast—but enjoy most of your dinners elsewhere around the island. The Renaissance navigators can help you secure some of the finer specialty dinners across the island. But reservations on OpenTable are easy, too, and uber is readily available. Some places that we recommend: Kitchen Table by White, SENSES, Atardi (at another Marriott property), Wilhemina, Fred, and Screaming Eagle. Whatever you do, make your reservations VERY far in advance.

Kitchen Table by White





The Renaissance Aruba is located right on the main drag—but outside of the Hotel Zone. This means you will likely need to travel a bit (but not far at all) for your dinner reservations off-property. And though we do recommend exploring the local food scene, the truth is, with everything the Renaissance Aruba has to offer—you don’t need to leave. In fact, right next to the Ocean Suites is the Renaissance Marketplace with live music/entertainment and a movie theater, not to mention additional shopping and dining opportunities (like Sushi Ya).

One item of note—be sure to bring a higher-strength sunscreen than you normally use. The sun over Aruba is intense and you will surely burn the first day (even if you are a regular “tanner”) if you are not careful.

what makes it special

The crown jewel of this property is the Renaissance Island. Because the property doesn’t really offer a beachfront experience that you would likely find at most of the other properties on the island, the Renaissance owns its own 40-acre island. The boat launch is in the lobby of the Marina Hotel. The water taxi for the island leaves pretty regularly—though be sure to allow enough time to get your wristband to access the taxi and island, and purchase a Starbucks coffee at the taxi stand.

The ride is complimentary and quite short—though you may get splashed depending where you sit on the water taxi. The taxi path crosses with Queen Beatrix International Airport’s runway landing path. This means you will have amazing views of planes landing overhead—and your taxi skipper may just pause in the sea for you to have a unique view of a landing.

The island is divided between adults (the Flamingo side—yes, real flamingos, though not native to Aruba) and families (the iguana side—yes, real iguanas, though they sometimes cross over to Flamingo beach). And we highly recommend staying on the adult side. Though there is a sit-down restaurant (Papagayo Bar & Grill) on the family side (and you should venture over there to enjoy it!), the quiet oasis feeling is really on the adult side. And the food at the Mangrove Beach Bar is scrumptious (and the fantastic staff will walk up to your chaise, take your order and bring you your food, too).

A Beechcraft 18 and a Convair 400 were both deliberately sunk about 50 yards (46 m) offshore to create a diving site right aside the island–it’s supposed to be some of the best diving in the region.

Unlike the need to “towel reserve” your spot early in the morning at the pool(s) at Ocean Suites, there really is plenty of room at Renaissance Island.

We would also not suggest reserving one of the cabanas (although if you want the thrill, you can spend the night alone on the island). If you really want to splurge, sure, go ahead—it is a special experience for a couple. But the surrounding beach is quite serene and you will still love the experience. What we would suggest is getting a massage in the Spa Cove. But be sure to do it before the day at the beach (so you are not covered in sand) and before you are sunburnt (because we know from experience—it is quite painful).

Of note: it is true that you purchase a day-pass to the island if you are not staying at the Renaissance; however, it’s important to note that the only sells day-passes if the hotel occupancy is very low. There is no guarantee that a day-pass to Renaissance Island will be available to non-overnight guests—and even still, “outsiders” do not ruin the experience.


The staff at the Renaissance is exceptional and friendly. The bartenders will remember your drink and your order, and will happily accommodate your needs. And if you find yourself with a staff member who is not to your liking, we guarantee that you will be taken care of by Chanteau Ogilvie (Director of Rooms Operations).

spa & Fitness

Okeanos Spa is your typical Category 6 Spa—though sometimes the treatments and pricing offered do not reflect what is available on time. Be sure to check in at the spa next to L.G. Smith’s Steak and Chophouse, in the Marina Hotel. They will let you know when to do so.

Unique to this hotel are treatments available on Renaissance Island (in their private Spa Cove). In addition, there are modest-sized fitness facilities, but also special fitness facilities on Renaissance Island.

And there is great exploring and hiking on Renaissance Island–and of course trekking around the city exploring the area, too.

Book Okeanos Treatments


Oranjestad (the capital of Aruba) has a hot semi-arid climate. Temperatures are high year-round, the air can be humid year-round, and rainfall is very low (though those brief, but hard, Caribbean rains do happen). There is a short rainy season from October to December.


getting there

You will want to fly into Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). Most major US airlines (we prefer Delta) either fly direct or get there via one-stop. There should be a $10 shuttle available for the ride from the airport—and though it is only a 2 mile ride, it may be an actual 10-15 minute drive. Cabfare is about $20, but uber is readily available, too.