Aruba – Our Happy Island

photo 2-45If you read my blog regularly, I’m sure that you noticed that I haven’t posted in almost a week. For the first time in almost two years, my husband and I took a “real” vacation. By “real”, I mean no phones, no computers, and no social media. In determining where we should go to escape, we wanted to stick to a place that we had been to before (so we wouldn’t have to do much planning) and we could ultimately blow through all of the remaining Marriott hotel points that I had left from public accounting.

IMG_1093Aruba it is. We have traveled to some pretty amazing places, but there are a few reasons why Aruba stands out to us.

  • Direct, affordable flight + a clean airport (it is hard to find a nice airport in the Caribbean)
  • English speaking, friendly natives
  • US currency is accepted everywhere – Yes, no currency exchange!
  • Gambling is legal – there are some really nice casinos, and I’m talking Craps, Roulette, and Black Jack (not just slots)
  • It doesn’t rain here – Average rainfall is 16 inches a year. Yep, pack the sunscreen; you will be in the sun A LOT!

Leaving our daughter for several days while we went away was the hardest part about the trip. Thankfully, my parents moved into our house to watch her while we were gone. Since we have been to the island before, we knew that we were going to be overwhelmed with some amazing (even healthy) food choices, but we also packed our workout gear because we knew that there were some great outdoor running areas. Over the next few posts, I plan to share with you some pictures and reviews of some of our amazing meals, plus our fun workouts.


Let me start by saying that we were lucky to have stumbled upon the Marriott Stellaris Tradewinds Club. On our first trip to the island we decided to stay on the club level, and we enjoyed it so much, we decided to come back. Here are the details. To stay in the Tradewinds Club you have to pay a premium on top of your nightly amount. However, the premium includes all of the following that a regular room does not:

  • Complimentary breakfast – see pictures of my typical breakfast compared to my husband’s breakfast.  Like I said, you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want to!
My typical breakfast.

My typical breakfast.

My husband's typical breakfast.

My husband’s typical breakfast.

  • Complimentary lunch

photo 4-23

  • Afternoon snacks
  • Complimentary bottled waters (big time advantage in the heat), soda, and beers during the day.

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  • Evening happy hour (including a taste of specials from the hotel’s restaurant dinner menus, plus cocktails – wine, beer, and liquor)
  • Free internet
  • Private adult pool
  • Private beach area with optional beach hut and chairs

IMG_1102We did the math and we definitely won out here. Not only are the breakfast and lunch options good, but you can make both meals extremely healthy (or not). There was always a significant amount of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Not to mention whatever type of cold beverage that you wanted to take back to the beach for the afternoon (or morning).

IMG_1094The private beach in front of the hotel is pristine with little to no waves. You can literally pull a raft out into the ocean and not float away. In fact, I think the ocean might even be less choppy than the lakes surrounding Charlotte!

Since we hadn’t gone on a real vacation in years, we even took advantage of the spa and got massages. I will be the first to tell you that I don’t get massages often. I think they are awkward. Should I talk? What if I fall asleep? What should I wear? Yea, it’s not my thing. This place blew my mind. I set up a Bali (relaxing) massage at the Mandara Spa. Everything about this place is calming and somewhat euphoric. Even the smell when you walk in the door makes your shoulders drop (if you are someone who sits at a desk all day hunched, you know what I’m talking about). Relax. I felt like a different person when I left this place. This was exactly what I needed to force myself to settle into a day of doing nothing.

The transition area.

The transition area.

The selection of scents and scrubs for massages.

The selection of scents and scrubs for massages.

With my introduction of the island and our hotel, look forward to details about our meals and workouts throughout the next several days. While I enjoyed our time away, it does feel good to be back!

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2 thoughts on “Aruba – Our Happy Island

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