Good morning, loves! Today’s post is highly requested…. a review of our resort in Aruba! Just FYI, this post is not sponsored by anyone 🙂 I’ve included all of my Instagrams from the trip below, read on for my full review of Aruba and our stay at the Renaissance Resort and Casino.
We stayed at the Renaissance Resort and Casino in Aruba. The main reason we chose to stay here is because the Renaissance owns a private island where the flamingos are – and staying at the hotel gives you access to the island any time you want! My mom and I hadn’t been to Aruba before, but we absolutely LOVED it. Let’s get started with the review…
Transportation: We took a direct flight from Charlotte to Aruba, which was really nice! When we landed at the Aruba airport, we were able to pick up our luggage quickly and then headed outside to the taxi stand. Aruba is not like Mexico – you don’t have to arrange transportation ahead of time or anything like that. The taxis are also VERY regimented and they aren’t allowed to overcharge you! The taxi charged $25 for both me and my mom (and all of our luggage), and guess what you guys – the resort was only 10 minutes away from the airport!! I didn’t realize how small Aruba is – it’s pretty small, but that makes getting around the island a breeze. My mom and I both agreed that it was the easiest day of travel we’ve EVER had.
Beach: The beaches in Aruba are absolutely gorgeous. There is a small beach at the Renaissance Hotel but we didn’t spend much time there, instead we opted to take the boat over to Renaissance’s private island. The island is BEYOND amazing – one of the things both my mom and I loved most about Aruba. On one side of the island is Iguana Beach (which is family-friendly) and on the other side of the island is Flamingo Beach (adults only). We spent most of our time at Flamingo Beach! There are flamingos EVERYWHERE on Flamingo Beach – they walk around on the beach, in between beach chairs, in the water, etc. It was unreal to be so up close to one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. There’s also a little vending machine where you can purchase “flamingo food” (definitely bring change with you, it was 25 cents) and feed the flamingos. I don’t think they can see very well so they did bite me a couple of times while they were trying to eat out of my hand (it didn’t hurt, though!). We really enjoyed laying out on Flamingo Beach, besides the flamingos it is just plain BEAUTIFUL with really soft sand and clear water. There were plenty of chairs for everyone, and even a bunch of hammocks that looked really relaxing. When we got hungry, we walked over to Iguana Beach (you guessed it, there are iguanas everywhere) and ate lunch at the little beach restaurant there. I was surprised to find that they offered a lot of different healthy meal options like some amazing salads. One more tip on the private island: it is free for guests staying at the Renaissance Resort and Casino; however, you can purchase a day-pass to visit Flamingo Beach if you aren’t staying there (I think it’s around $100). The only downside is that if the hotel is full, they don’t let anyone purchase passes.
Pools: There are technically two parts to the Renaissance Resort: the Marina Hotel and the Ocean Suites. They are close to each other, but we chose to stay at the Ocean Suites because it’s located RIGHT on the beach. The Ocean Suites building has two large pools with a lot of lounge chairs. We found that the pools were really nice and relaxing (we didn’t ever swim in the pool but we laid out there!). They also sometimes have live music in the afternoons which was really nice!
Room: The ONLY thing that disappointed me about Aruba was our hotel room! My mom and I chose to stay in an “Ocean Suite” with an ocean view (just FYI, the rooms without ocean views overlook a parking lot). Many people who go to the beach don’t really care about their hotel room… they’d rather be out by the pool and swimming in the ocean the whole time so it doesn’t really matter what their room looks like. I just felt that the rooms were old, the carpets were worn and they needed some updated furniture and paint. We could tell that they had renovated the hotel rooms a lot over the years… in our bedroom, there was a random wall with a clear glass panel in it for absolutely no reason at all! However, despite the need for renovation, I will say that the beds were nice and new and VERY comfortable – we got really good sleep on the trip!
Food: We thought the food in Aruba was INCREDIBLE! We didn’t eat at our hotel at all, but rather walked over to the little marketplace beside our hotel for a lot of meals. We ate at an Italian restaurant, Casa Tua, three different nights because it was so good hahah! One night we had incredible salads, one night we split a margherita pizza and the last night we split an amazing gnocchi dish. There are a lot of restaurants located next to the hotel, and we felt very comfortable walking around at night to the restaurants and stores. One night we made reservations at the Flying Fishbone which I would highly recommend. You do have to take a taxi there, but it’s worth it! The restaurant is located right on the beach, there are even tables on the sand where the water comes up to your feet! Definitely take advantage of the fresh seafood at this restaurant (and for dessert, order the baked alaska – mmmmm!). I am really trying to eat clean right now, and I was worried this would be difficult in Aruba, however it really wasn’t – pretty much every restaurant we went to had amazing, fresh salads or lean protein and I was able to eat healthy but feel completely satisfied.
Shopping: I was highly impressed with the shopping in Aruba! If you like high-end stores, they have an abundance – there’s a Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier, etc., located right next to the Renaissance Resort. But there are also all sorts of little island shops selling unique items and clothing. My mom found a beautiful hand-made straw tote for only $30 (she put up a picture of it here!).
Cost: The rooms are pretty reasonably priced, especially considering the amazing tropical location. Although we didn’t love our hotel room, we did think it was worth it to be able to visit Flamingo Beach anytime we wanted! For that reason alone we were really happy that we had picked our hotel. If we decided to go back to Aruba, I might stay at a different resort but still buy day-passes to go to Flamingo Beach.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend Aruba as a place to vacation – I simply fell in love with the island upon arrival (and the flamingos!!!). One thing that is definitely worth mentioning is how safe we felt there. I have visited a lot of tropical places and you are often warned not to leave the resort because it “isn’t safe.” Well that is truly not the case in Aruba! We felt comfortable exploring and walking the whole island (even at night) by ourselves. On the plane ride over, we met a really nice couple who had visited Aruba 15 times, and they said one of the things they loved most about it was how safe it is! I can see myself coming back one day with my kids in tow. 🙂
Let me know if you had any other questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you!
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