Aruba All Inclusive Resorts | Aruba Resorts | Islands

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive

Islands contributing editor Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon is an all-inclusive princess. Pampering is her beat. She thought she’d seen it all till she checked into the Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club. Here she shares her top 10 reasons why this unique all-inclusive offers alternatives fit for a queen.

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Entrance
  1. Exclusive Entrance

The first sign that my hotel stay is off to a good start: Instead of having to line up in the lobby I’m whisked to the top floor of the 388-room Palm Beach resort to be checked in privately at the members-only Tradewinds Club. I already feel special (and just a tiny bit smug).

Courtesy Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Pampering
  1. Personalized Pampering

The Club is touted as a “resort-within-a-resort” luxury experience for discerning guests who crave the individualized attention you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a big-box resort. Sure enough, as I’m being checked in I overhear one of the concierges stationed in the lounge offering to make a home-cooked dish for a guest enquiring about places to try the local cuisine. #impressed

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Club
  1. Club Comforts

The elegant ocean-view lounge also functions as a hub for 8th-floor folks, with a compact-but-comfortable reading/TV room and balcony, and a spacious dining area with complimentary food and refreshments six times a day. Instead of trekking downstairs to one of the restaurants I find it much more convenient to simply stroll down the hall for a quick bite and some friendly convo with the concierges, who already know me by name.

Courtesy Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Proposition
  1. Value Proposition

The buffet-style presentations in the Club (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, “Discovery Hour” cocktails, dessert and an open premium bar from 6pm to 9pm) are tasty and abundant. While I’m no big eater, I know that even my greedy gourmand of a husband would be satisfied by the unlimited complimentary eats alone. (Not to mention the damage he could have done during the three nightly hours of open bar!) Which makes the Tradewinds Club premium – around $200 more than a comparable room elsewhere in the hotel – an impressive value.

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Details
  1. Delightful Details

Rooms on the Tradewinds level are spacious, with walk-in closets, laptop-sized safes, mini-fridges, and views of the white-sand Palm Beach strip below. Locally manufactured Aruba Aloe bath products, slippers, robes and a pillow menu are thoughtful touches but I’m most grateful for the included in-room Wi-Fi, which means that social media junkies (who, me?) can Instagram, Facebook and tweet with abandon.

Courtesy Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Exclusivity
  1. Endless Exclusivity

The general manager tells me that the 49 Club-level rooms are almost always sold out, and they’re “not upgradeable” – meaning that you have to actually book a Tradewinds Room to get a Tradewinds room, and there’s approximately zero chance of scoring a free upgrade. Membership really does have its privileges.

Courtesy Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Perks
  1. Privileged Perks

Other Tradewinds niceties include reserved parking spots for your rental car; exclusive use of palapas, “bimini chairs” (canopied deck chairs) and floats in a reserved area at one end of the hotel’s beach; and packing, unpacking and ironing services. So luxury-lovers like me can feel as if we have a personal Jeeves, minus the payroll. Sweet!

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Pool
  1. Child-free Chillin’

The Marriott is popular with families so there are tons of little ones running around. But my tolerance level for boisterous tikes is notoriously low, so I appreciated having access to the adult-only H2Oasis pool area. Here the vibe is grown-up, laidback and blissfully quiet, with no sounds other than the rustle of the famous Aruban tradewinds through the fronds of stately palm trees towering overhead. Yes!

Courtesy Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Pool 2
  1. Canopied Cloisters

What’s better than a beachfront cabana? A beachfront cabana that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg. Tradewinds Club guests pay just $30 a day (the regular rate is $50) for a canopied hangout that comes with bottled water, juices, a fruit plate, and my beloved Wi-Fi. When I compare that to the hefty $100-and-up prices charged by resorts in my Miami hometown … well, there’s really no comparison.

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

Aruba's No. 1 Alternative All-Inclusive | Best All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba | Aruba Marriott | Resort Main
  1. Best of Both

At a regular all-inclusive you may feel committed to dining and hanging out exclusively at the resort because essentially you’ve already paid for your meals there. At a traditional hotel you might feel nickel-and-dimed because you pay individually for everything from breakfast to booze to beach chairs. What I loved about my Tradewinds Club stay was that it hit that sweet spot between both types of resorts: I enjoyed many of the inclusions synonymous with a luxury all-inclusive experience, but because the premium charged is relatively reasonable I also felt OK about spending on excursions, decadent dinners (don’t miss Ruth’s Chris in the hotel lobby), and souvenirs. In short: The Tradewinds team looked after me, and the Tradewinds rates looked after my budget.

Courtesy Aruba Marriott & Stellaris Casino’s Tradewinds Club

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