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Reviewed March 21, 2012

This was our first trip to Aruba As time share owners, we had chosen an efficiency( a deluxe guest room) for just the 2 of us. It was a great fit. Room was clean We had small frig, microwave toaster and coffee pot. We could eat breakfast and/or lunch in. We ate dinner out We had sofa bed and queen bed. We didn't bother tagging chairs at the pool, that was ridiculous. We had no problem going to the pool or beach, the two of us. I would have preferred less kids around, but there were very few adult only areas We walked everywhere and had a great week

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank bicycledoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 21, 2012

Had a 1 bedroom and lockout room for 4 adults and 1 toddler. Full kitchen, 2 baths soaker tub separate shower. Was great. We only had the cleaning service come in once (as was included) and tidied ourselves. Our room had its own washer / dryer so we were able to pack less clothes than normal and do our own laundry. So all the amenities of home.
The grounds are like an all inclusive resort in that there was several pools, hot tub, lazy river as well as beach area. I had read many reviews saying the seat tagging (up early to reserve, people tagging and leaving all day) was a mess. but we had no issues with it. And we were there during march break. Maybe I shouldn't recommend it, but when we went down with our 2 year old, we would only be to the pool or beach for an hour to 2 hours. So we just took seats whether tagged or not. If people came (and no one ever did) we would just move our stuff.
The plants are well maintained and clean. Pretty to look at. The sand is great, the beach section is nice, but it is roped off due to all the boat traffic (a marina next door) and to separate you from the adjoining hotels and time shares. One thing to note, while you can walk across the grounds of the other Mariott Hotels, you are not allowed to use their pools.
All beaches in Aruba are public and it is a short walk (5-10 minutes) to get to the public beaches where you wind surf. If you rent a car, the island is tiny and you can get anywhere in about a half hour. So lots of different beaches to go to. One thing to note if driving, many roads are unnamed or have no signage at all, the asphalt also gets sketchy and potted in places. Best to rent a jeep if you do rent. While it is hard to get lost due to the islands size, it is sometimes hard to find where you are going.
The weather was windy to gusty almost all the time. Gentle trade winds is what the brocures say, but Aruba is windy. great for sailing, wind surfing, kiting and all, but was constant. It is good when the sun is beating down as it keeps you cool but on the beach it can whip up some sand at you.
It can get sneaky hot due to the wind masking it, so make sure to pack lots of sun screen and aloe.
Aruba is fairly expensive for food. We were paying 40-50 (without drinks) for alot of our meals. There are some Wendy's MacDonalds and Starbucks even. So you can get stuff cheaper. The hotel pricing in the stores down by the lobby is exorbitant. Milk was a 200% markup over what you would pay at the grocery stores. There are several grocery stores between oranjestad and the hotel, so if staying awhile stock up there. You can take the buses for I think $1.75 if you can handle carrying the bags.
We went around Oranjestad and the mall area close to the resort. Loaded with shops and restaurants for all tastes. We liked a place called Taste of Heaven which had a very chatty chef.
The Balashi beer is surprisingly very good. it must be because of the drinking water on Aruba. It is all deslainated so is very clean.
We went on a few trips to the butterfly farm (2 year old daughter loved it) and the ostrich farm (a little scared but eventually liked it). Otherwise was beach, pool, reading and restaurants. overall a good trip. A bit more expensive to get to, but you feel like you can trust people and feel safe even at night.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank nabiclarke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 18, 2012

First, while I've given an overall rating of Very Good, in our opinion it varies from Average to Very Good.

Just a heads up for owners or renters....when you get to your room check cleanliness of the sheets and pay attention to how the room smells as soon you walk in the door...i.e. a fresh clean smell vs. musty or wet order.

I bring this up as an owner as we believe if you are paying good money for the Marriott name and expectations of service and you've given up hard earned money for them to invest, you should expect them to recognize and perform the basic levels of cleanliness and maintenance.

Specific example: Don't know if they rectified this correctly since our visit last year, but if anyone gets room 7723 in the Compass Tower, check the ceiling of the bathroom and around the vents in the living room over the kitchen counter. I have a very sensitive nose and can pick up on things quickly. When we walked into this room I immediately noticed a damp feeling to the room which is unusual (we've been going to Aruba for six years now). Granted the Compass Tower is one of the older buildings, but after looking around I noticed black marks in the ceiling of the bathroom, lightly visible and it looked like they just tried to wipe it off/or sand it. Around the vanity and baseboard it looked like things were not in line (base board) and ceiling vent was out of place. Then we noticed the visible mold around the vent and obvious attempt to cover it up with paint. It appeared there was a leak in a room above (maybe someone let the tub overflow or something), but anyone who does have asthma or other respiratory issues especially (as we happen to have) should not be exposed to this at all. Based on past experience, I went into action right away and went downstairs and asked for a manager to come up stairs. I had to be persistant and he did come up with someone from maintenance. Basically, they should have cordoned off that room and made some major repairs, costly to them, yes but your customers should be #1. They tried to deny there was anything wrong until I pointed it out to them and they shook their heads and agreed that the proper way to fix it would be to cut out the bad wallboard and replace with clean. Needless to say we did get another room to our satisfaction but it took away four hours of our day. We purposely planned our flight to get in early because of past experiences like this. However, and as we expected they would do, they put someone in that same room that week. Disgraceful to me.

The sheet situation occurred about two years ago now. I'm not going to go into detail but we found dirty spots on the sheets and the floor as well like someone had changed a baby...if you get my drift.

In both these situations, after pointing out the evidence, they did turn around and rectified the situation.

While we do enjoy our stay at the Aruba Surf Club, I'd say that 50% of the time we've found something that didn't meet the standards that they say they meet. I'm not a princess....far from it but I expect to receive the same quality as what I provide for my family at home. We've been trading one of our weeks and have gone to other non Marriott resorts and so far have had good experiences there....St. James Club, Antiqua and Royal Resorts in Curaco. Granted they've only been one time experiences and you can always find an unsatisfied customer at these other places, but we especially enjoyed St. James Club Antiqua.

Overall, if you do have an issue that you feel is important to address take care of it right away and don't rely on calling from the room phone to get a response. Go downstairs to the desk and make yourself known in as pleasant a fashion as possible.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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7  Thank TDNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 11, 2012

We bought our Timeshare last year and we are very satisfied of the amenities of this club. E beach is great, food is awesome, people are friendly BUT we bought a Premium week oceanview 6 th floor or higher and got the 3rd floor this week!! View of palm trees...NO OCEAN!! We were told that there is never a garantee but another timshare owner had it written on his contract!!!!!!

Plus, 4 days prior to our arrival, we got a call from the salesteam to ask us if we had a special demand so we said that we wanted a high floor and she said she would write it down in the system. Upon arrival, No notes whatsoever....so there you go guys!

Room Tip: Of course anything higher than the 6 th floor!!
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Sloyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 10, 2012

This is the third time I had been to Aruba and the first traveling with my almost one year old. We stayed with my in laws in a 2 bedroom unit that has a kitchen,dining room and washer/dryer. All of these things make a family vacation SO much easier. The room was pretty nice and very clean. They were able to provide both a crib and a high chair, so that was really helpful.
The pool chair situation is a bit strange. People waking up at 4 am to go sit on chairs till the 7 am reserve time?! My mother in law went down at 6 or 6:30 everyday and sometimes we ended up with chairs with no shade, which doesn't work so well with a baby. Other than that it was nice, kind of crowded. The beach has palapas that you can reserve as well. The food at the hotel was alright. We ate at Ruth Chris which was very good, the pool bar was pretty decent and Champions to watch a basketball game one afternoon.It was nice that you could walk between the Stellaris, Ocean club and the Surf Club. The adult only pool at Stellaris looks really beautiful with all the open air cabanas. All in all if I was just with my husband I doubt we would stay here, lots of families with kids and/or older people but it works really well if your traveling with family.
If you say you want an Ocean view room, they will say they have it but every room is listed as ocean view apparently, we overlooked the parking lot, but if you stood on the balcony and looked to the left you saw part of the Ocean. Be specific if you want a full view, or pool view otherwise you will end up overlooking the parking lot!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Amy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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