When most people think of Aruba, they envision white sandy beaches and clear waters. They’re not wrong, but some people assume that’s all there is to the destination, like Dude-Who-Swiped-My-Window-Seat on the flight there. He apologized and asked if I’d ever visited this “little piece of Heaven.” I had not, so he informed me that there wasn’t much to the island, just “a strip and some casinos.”
I played along. “Like Vegas?”
“Yeah,” he answered. “Exactly like that.”
I was pretty sure he was full of crap, especially when he switched on his in-flight entertainment to that Vince Vaughn movie about couple’s therapy in paradise.
Needless to say, Dude’s assessment of Aruba was a limited one, which I already knew as part of a group bound for “island exploration.” There must have been more than beaches to explore. Of course, Aruba beckoned to me under the usual pretenses — rest, relaxation, and warmth — which prompted me to leave my icy neighborhood at 4:00am one morning to get the hell out of dodge.
I also left with a desire to escape the current American political climate. Everyone’s social media feeds are (still) full of unyielding ugliness, but after covering the election for 18 months, I pounced on the opportunity for a getaway. All of the hatred left me shivering, inside and out, and this lady needed a break from America.
It goes without saying that I had high expectations for this Caribbean jewel’s scenery and climate, all of which were easily met. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the Aruba Marriott Resort, too. The accommodations and service were so personalized and unexpectedly friendly that it felt like a boutique experience that happened to carry the benefits of an all-inclusive property. Exactly what I needed.