Photo courtesy of Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
Instead of beachside palapas on powdery white sand, this hotel has a small pool in view of a busy boulevard. But the 556-room resort, situated in the capital city of Oranjestad, more than makes up for its city location with its own private island, a mere eight-minute water-taxi ride away. The 40-acre tropical oasis, dotted with pink flamingos and iguanas, is separated into two distinct beaches, one adults-only, the other designated for families. But because this is a private island owned by a large hotel chain, expect more lures here than just a few hammocks strung between trees (though rest assured, there are those as well). A beachside bar and grill has burgers and wood-fired pizzas on the menu; an open-air spa just steps from the water offers Swedish massage, cold stone massage, and reflexology; and an extensive water-sports program includes activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and ocean kayaking. A more comprehensive spa, a steak house, and a casino await back at the main resort, whose rooms are separated into the family-friendly Renaissance Ocean Suites and the more plush adults-only Renaissance Marina Hotel, where a recent renovation saw upgrades totaling more than $35,000 per room.