9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Paradise with Planes
"We toroughly enjoyed Aruba as the weather was predictably great. The people were very cordial and the place in general was safe - including the drinking water.
The Renaissance is a very large complex proximate to the center of the city and while it offers numerous amenities, it is somewhat hampered by its close location to the airport.
The place has an outstanding private island but this private paradise is often invaded by the sounds of incoming or outgoing jets - including the rumbles...hence paradise with planes.
My wife and I found the staff very accomodating and the rooms were in very good condition as it has been recently renovated. However, if you are seeking Ritz-Carlton-like accomodations this is not the place. I would place their rooms on par with a very good Marriott or Hyatt.
If you are seeking waterfront views, I would recommend staying at the Ocean Tower as this will provide greater proximity to the water - keep in mind that it also offers less action than the main hotel at Marina Tower. But that is the price for being near the water.
The shops, restaurants, casinos etc. are all great and you have "one stop shop" amenities, however, if you are seeking the true away in paradise experience this is most likely not the place for you. I might suggest a place ouside the immediate city and away from the airport.
The L.G. Smith Restaurant - the former L'Escale - was good but not a 5 star experience. Typical steakhouse fare. Our waiter was a bit green and the air conditioning was a challenge throughout our meal. Great decor and alot of potential but not on par with the island's "big dogs" as yet.
All in all a wonderful experience but the planes just seemed to overtake paradise. There are probably better choices if a secluded paradise-like experience is what you are seeking."
- Travel date: Sun 2nd of May 2004
Rewards Service Charges
"We are planning a trip to Aruba at this hotel using Marriott awards in June. When we booked the room, the $26.04 daily service charge is indicated on Marriott's website. If you booked by phone and were not informed of the charge, then it would appear to be a problem with the Marriott Rewards cusomer service rather than the hotel. We have only used Marriott Rewards one other time outside of the US and we were informed that there would be a service charge."
- Travel date: Sat 1st of May 2004
Nice time but had issues with the hotel
"We had a great vacation Feb 14th to 22nd, 2004 in Aruba! The restaurants were awesome, scuba diving was very exciting, and the "Carnaval" parties in the street were never-ending. The pools, the workout areas, and the private island at the Renassiance were really great. However, upon arrival at the resort (4:30 p.m.) we were told that our room was not yet ready. After waiting and sweating for about 45 minutes we were able to go up to our room. The room was very nice and we had a nice view of the town. We used Marriott Reward points on this trip and paid an upgrade fee of $20.00 per night for our view. Mid-week I checked my bill and found a daily "service fee" of $26.00 was being charged. I asked at the desk if this was a mistake, because I'd never been charged a service fee before when using points. The desk clerk said that all rooms were charged the fee and that my reward certificate stated that outside the U.S., fees could be charged. I contended that it was okay to charge the fee, but I should have been told in advance of any fees. I showed him the confirmation notice which only listed the upgrade fee. We went back and forth and after he talked to the manager, he told me that I should contest the charges on my VISA bill. I told him that was unacceptable, but I would pay the fee if they dropped the upgrade fee. He finally agreed, but I was not happy by then. Also, be sure to lock your room when you are inside. We were walked in on (after a quick knock) every day and night by a guy who wanted to take inventory of the mini bar and later a maid to turn down the sheets. I would probably opt to stay at the Marriott Ocean Club Resort if I went to Aruba again. I toured that resort and it seemed to be much better run."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of April 2004
"My husband and I just returned on 4/23/04 and stayed at the Renaissance. We stayed at the beach tower I cannot say enough about this hotel. The staff was absolutely incredible. They catered to our every need. We basically went to the private island everyday and its magnificent. We drank alot of champagne and when they ran out they went back to the mainland and got us more. Marishka was our server the whole time and was incredible. The food was great and the snorkeling was also wonderful. We met a couple there that we will now know for the rest of of lives, they were the best and we had the best time with them. So if anyone says anything bad to say about this hotel, do not listen! Say hello to Marishka for us. Paul & Dee"
- Travel date: Mon 26th of April 2004
"my wife and i just got home from our vacation and it was great!! the renaissance hotel was super. we can't say anything negative at all. the staff from the top down were so nice and helped to make our vacation one we will never forget. the private island is awesome! it is nice to go to the island no matter if you want to lay in the sun, sit under palm trees, or go swimming and snorkeling. we enjoyed the island in the morning to early afternoon and then would head over to the pool. we enjoyed being "down town". we found that this was the best place to shop and the best restaurants are here as well. our room was ocean front 5th floor and had no problem with noise from the street below at all. we did venture to the highrise hotels and although very nice reminded us too much of hotels at ocean city md. or virginia beach va. we are already planning a return trip next year and will stay at the renaissance!! thanks to all of our "friends" at the renaissance for making our much needed vacation more than we imagined.Jim"
- Travel date: Fri 23rd of April 2004
We loved Aruba
"We loved Aruba. We stayed in an Ocean Room at the Renaissance Marina Hotel. The accomendations were great. Everyone was so helpful and friendly. The hotel was centrally located downtown which was great for shopping. Hit out door market around the cruise ship ports before going to the malls. We scuba dived a couple of wrecks. The visablity was approx. 100 feet. Fantastic. We also took the ATV tour. It was the best tour of the island. Well worth the money paid. We had the best seafood I have ever eatten at Madam Jennettes and the best steak at El Gaucho. We will definitly be going back. The people were extremely friendly and made you feel glade that you were there."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of April 2004
be careful using points for a reservation
"with regard to the latest post from the person in New York City, i have a reservation at the Renaissance for June using Marriott points. When you get your confirmation it clearly states that the reservation needs to be gauranteed with a credit card prior to arrival. more and more hotels appear to treat point reservations differently, including bumping and offering the least desirable rooms. this makes absolutely NO sense because point people should be your valued customer due to brand loyalty. I think in the case of Renaissance they probably still view you as a Marriott rewards person and not a Renaissance customer.
Too bad, i hope the management in Aruba wise up and treat us with the respect of a valued brand loyal customer. I also find this post's comments about the Island disturbing as most of the previous posts were complimentory. More comments about the island would be welcome."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of April 2004
Renaissance - hellish nightmare
"The vacation nightmare come true - "sorry sir, your reservation has been cancelled" Really, why? because you didn't give a credit card.
Hmm, then how did I get a) a confirmation # and b) a faxed confirmation from your hotel? Don't know, but the system cancelled you out because you didnt give a credit card. Oh, OK must be MY fault. ...No assistance, no apology for what was a bumping from an overbooking (I was told that later that night by another person behind the desk) no manager ("in training session" really, for what, customer service and proper booking procedure?) To suggest the cancellation was MY fault was insulting, and utterly ignorant - to essentially say good luck, you're on your own or sleep 4 to a room in room with one bed, take it or leave, was the very height of poor, uncaring, non-existent customer service. Plus, the boat to the island is a pain, the island is boring and manufactured, the "mall" around the Marina is noisy - this place is a colossal mistake - why come to an island not to be ON a beach? I was dumb to pick it (I DID have a confirmed BEACH tower room) and they were unforgiveably nasty. I'm a million-miler frequent flyer, and will never, EVER stay with Renaissance again."
- Travel date: Fri 16th of April 2004
"My husband and I just got back from Aruba and absolutely loved it. I have to second all of bizzyboy's comments as well. Initially, I was concerned about booking the Renaissance but decided to take a gamble.
Also, everyone has a different perspective as to what they like and what they don't like. We had no complaint's about Aruba and/or the Renaissance. We have been to St. John, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Bahamas and Punta Cana. Aruba is in class by itself! Our room was on the fifth floor and faced the atrium. The only noise I heard at night was the waterfall from the atrium, which I loved. The best two things about the Renaissance are the location and the private island. The private island has everything you need. I did not find the planes bothersome at all. On Sunday, it was a little busy but not enough to be a pain. I've been to Palm beach and I actually think the island is better. On Palm beach there are so many boats and water activities going on right off the shore. Also, it's usually roped off where you can swim. We also rented a jeep and cruised around the island which is a ton of fun, especially the Natural Pool. Definitely go there but only drive if you are of the adventuresome sort! The road is horrible but worth the work. Also, eat at the Driftwood which is behind the Renaissance. They have amazing food...I had the biggest piece of Wahoo!
We also went on the sunset sail by Depalm tours. It was very nice as well. We will definitely be coming back. Aruba is very safe, very American/family friendly, and the locals are some of the most genuinely nice people I've met anywhere in my travels. ENJOY!"
- Travel date: Sun 11th of April 2004