We arrived at Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport to the rhythm of steel drums, and the beat continued on to a glorious beachside feast at the 411-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino’s pop-up restaurant, Atardi.
This is meant to be a wellness incentive experience, and the Caribbean Sea’s warm lapping waves, fresh seafood dishes and calypso music have us off to a fantastic start.
“We can also host events in different places on the island so attendees can really be in touch with the destination,” says Carolina Voullieme, director of sales and marketing at the property. “We recently introduced a package where they can have a unique, localized reception and dinner at either the Ayo Rock Formation or Plaza Padu.”
Planners have access to 10,450 sf of meeting space at the resort, which includes an 8,000-sf ballroom, offering multiple options for meetings, banquets or receptions.
Experiences for the Soul
It could be argued that the pizza-sized Dutch pancakes—topped with mounds of sweet and savory ingredients—at Linda’s Dutch Pancake House are one of the island’s variations of American soul food. We tried these heavenly pancakes en route to a tour at the Aruba Aloe Farm, the oldest such farm in the world, which also houses a museum and store stocked with natural island remedies. We then headed over to the trendy neighborhood of San Nicolas to see colorful murals by worldwide artists, for a spin around the Museum of Industry and to feast on an authentic Aruban lunch with local artists.
We recently introduced a package where they can have a unique, localized reception and dinner at either the Ayo Rock Formation or Plaza Padu.
We tested out Aruba’s reputation as of the world’s most sought-after destinations for windsurfing during a session with Vela, located next to the resort. And while most in our group were happily expecting a beach-heavy itinerary, a land rover jaunt into Arikok National Park with De Palm Tours for sightseeing, a dip in the natural pool, and a little marine life spotting pleasantly surprised us. Caquetio Indian rock paintings are nearby in Fontein Cave, and an old adobe house at Cunucu Arikok reflects Aruba’s farming past.
Back at the resort, Voullieme says treasure hunts and obstacle courses that “start at Arashi Beach and end back at the hotel on Palm Beach” are popular team building options for groups. They can top this one off with a soothing treatment at the Balinese-inspired Mandara Spa where the aromas of frangipani, Caribbean coffee and botanicals greet them before indulging in one of many massages, including the Aruba massage, passed down generation to generation.
No visit to Aruba is complete without trying the national dish keshi yena, a steam-baked cheese ball stuffed with the most delicious combination of chicken, olives, raisins and spices. This was prepared for our group at La Vista, one of seven on-site restaurants, and our chef even obliged us with his secret recipe to take home. Groups can also experience their own private cooking class to learn how to make the dish.