Thank you so much again for all of your insight. We have eliminated Bucuti since they do not have our preferred date of May 6, 2011. We are now stuck between The Westin and The Marriot Stellaris...
I love all of the rave reviews for The Westin, although their rooms are a little boring. How was the layout? Did you feel it was trendy and upscale? The Marriot's pics are gorgeous, but again more expenive for the reception. They did however offer us a fantastic group discount for room rates!!
I checked out your blog and wedding photos with Scott Hayne and we had our first call with him last night. They are fantastic! Your blog is great, you are so creative with all of your DIY! Your wedding was perfect, just what I envisioned for my own.. (I cant wait) Just out of curiousity, what was the ballpark total cost for travel and collection for Scott Hayne? We're trying to get a better understanding of what we need to budget for. Also did you work out an airfare deal for your guests? Sorry so many questions, I am new and cant send PMs yet
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You really can't go wrong between either the Marriott or the Westin. I had the SAME dilemma trying to choose between the two. In the end we chose Marriott and had an amazing time.
I'm surprised you're having trouble getting menus, etc from Westin. They were the best when it came to communication. Awesome follow through. I've heard of other wonderful Marriott weddings and Westin weddings. I think Jing and I were VERY fussy brides, attentive to every detail and were both so happy with our choices. At the time I was doing my research I just couldn't seem to find as much information about the Westin as the others and I was sold by the Marriotts gorgeous renovations - super contemporary (we also did a site visit). Had Jing's review and some other recent Westin reviews been available my decision would have been much more difficult.
Jing mentioned my blog (ourarubawedding.com). Coming soon are a Renaissance Island review from one of my guest writers (super classy girl from NYC) and a review from another recent Marriott bride who is on her honeymoon. (My Marriott bride has given me permission to share her initial photos which I've been meaning to get back to! Maybe today.). And you'll find reviews from VERY happy Westin brides. Jing's blog is even better! She is a perfectionist - super positive, ambitious and creative!
And the buffet!?! I wanted classy, but I also wanted to have a set-up that was easy and 'organic' in feel. I felt a plated dinner would be a little 'stuffier' than the buffet. The Marriott set up a stunning buffet and the food was amazing - my husband, guests and I are still talking about it 8 months later! I have no doubt Westin will have amazing food too.
As far as some pros and cons of each? I liked Marriott's rooms better - they felt more 'tropical' with splashes of green and bright pink. All rooms have large balconies and our gorgeous suite had wood floors and a huge walk in shower. Granite counters, 'bowl' sinks... Westin's balconies aren't as large but the rooms on the end have TWO balconies giving you two slightly different views to choose from. However the rooms didn't feel very 'bright and cheerful' to me. They are beautifully decorated - sage and beige but I wanted more light coming into the room and cheerier decor. I wanted to feel like I was on an island.
Westin and Marriott are on opposite ends of Palm Beach, however now a Ritz Carlton is being built next to the Marriott. I had liked that both hotels were on the end, meaning less 'traffic' and less crowded beaches than 'in the middle' by the Radisson. I don't know how much traffic the Ritz is going to introduce.
For wedding spaces, Westin's terrace is beautful -- we LOVED that. They also have a great 'gallery' back-up location in case of rain (though everyone will tell you it won't rain!). However we didn't like the pool area very much - very 'exposed' - not much shade. And thought it was big there was no swim up bar. But I thought I heard they are doing a pool renovation. That pool was my biggest hang-up. We did a pool side & lawn reception (beach cocktail hour) at Marriott and absolutely loved those spaces. However their 'back-up' location is a 'ballroom'. I hated the idea of the ballroom (with no windows!!!!). That was the toughest part of my decision - Westin - great reception spaces including back-up, Marriott, better pool area and prettier, brighter, cheerier rooms. But like you see - Marriott will cost you a bit more. I'm guessing 10-15% more.
Finally I feel they are separated by communication. Our initial communications with Marriott were painful. Inge at the Westin rocks! She was prompt and friendly. When we went for our site visit we absolutly adored her. The Marriott can be slow in their communication til the wedding date gets within a few months. It's very frustrating. In the end they were amazing but I do feel Westin is more attentive.
While I would still choose Marriott again, I'm confident my wedding would have been just as amazing at the Westin. I think you have narrowed down to the two classiest hotels. =)
Without question, the Aruba Marriott! Juney is an amazing wedding coordinator. My daughter just got married July 3, 2010. It was perfect!
Originally Posted by agraz0213
My fiance and I are looking to be married in Aruba in May 2011.
I have read alot of other posts and am still left unsure on what venue I would like for my wedding. I need some help.
Our options have been narrowed down to the Marriot Stellaris, Radisson, The Westin, Renissance Island and Bucuti Beach. We are looking to have approximately 40 guests. Ceremony and reception, I would like a dancefloor area and maybe a lounge area for people to mingle.
Here is my dilemna...
Marriot looks incredible, prices are a little more than the others but may be worth it. I would like to keep room rates reasonable for our guests and their rooms are much more than others.
The Radisson has great pricing but I feel it may not live up to my expectations. I want the venue to be chic, trendy and elegant. Im worried the Radisson may not have that to offer???
I love the idea of Ren Island, the privacy, flamingos etc. But I dont like that the hotel has no beach. I feel our guests may find that to be a hassle. I also feel that the interior of Ren Hotel is a little lackluster. Any insight?
The Westin seems to be great, but I have had trouble getting info and menus, any insight about their facility?
And lastly Bucuti Beach, I love the rooms at Bucuti and they have a great planner that responds very promptly to my emails. My only concern is that it may not be lively enough for my guests and far from the rest of the island. But I like the idea of a less crowded atmosphere.
Our guests will range from 26-65, mostly friends and family in their late 20s and early 30's.
One more question... What are everyone's feelings on a buffet dinner? I have never been a buffet person myself but I feel like it might be nice for people to have the option of eating as they wish and to be able to dance and drink* without having to sit for a dinner. Tacky? I dont want people to think we went cheap on the reception and they spent so much money to go to our wedding..
I would also like to arrange to take our guests for a private sail and have drinks and apps as a welcome party, do we do a rehearsal dinner, and how about a going away brunch? Any suggestions on venues or who to contact?
Any insight is appreciated, I am a little scatterbrained right now and need to make some decisions to relieve some stress. LOL
I am getting married on Renaissance Island in August! Can't wait! Choosing the location was a no-brainer for me. I knew I wanted a private wedding and the Renaissance is the only place that can give you that. I also knew that not all my guests were beach people so having it at the Renaissance would give everyone the best of both worlds. Easy access to shops and restaurants so people can walk around town if they want to or take a ferry over to the beach if they want to.
Whichever you pick, I'm sure it will be great as all of our weddings will be on a beautiful beach in Aruba! Good luck with everything and let us know your decision!!!