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Thread: JCurl - All-Inclusive Review Renaissance Marina Dec 13-20

  1. #1
    Junior Member JCurl's Avatar
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    JCurl - All-Inclusive Review Renaissance Marina Dec 13-20

    My newly turned fiancé J and I recently returned from the Renaissance Marina Hotel. We were there from December 13th to the 20th. Overall we were happy with our trip, this being our third time at the Renaissance and fifth time on the island.
    We have a “wonderful” 4.5 hour flight from Toronto with two screaming children – literally the entire flight. Once we got to Aruba we got right through security as it appears we were the first flight to be deplaned. No stamps this trip L
    We booked an all-inclusive package, so we had a bus transfer to the hotel and once we arrived at 1:30 our room was ready. First time ever that our room was ready before 4pm!
    We spent a lot of time rotating between the marina pool, Private Island and ocean suites pool.
    - Lots of construction going on at the Private Island, unless you dwelled on the noise, you really forgot about it once you saw where you were. I found the service the best it had ever been. Less people were eating over at the island I guess, so there was always a short wait for our food. And we found the food fantastic!
    - Near the end of the week, the smell from some of the construction was bothering us – this was one the family side. The adult side was good, but there wasn’t a lot of shade. Also there was a lot of flies over on that side.
    - The boat ride to the island was really bumpy, if you have any type of sea sickness it will be difficult for you to get over there.
    - Ocean suites side – I am very disappointed they got rid of all the shade! I had a hard time every day we had to sit over on the beach huts in order to have shade. There was zero shade in the pools any more either.
    - The service was great at the Sole Restaurant, Jack and Monica were awesome. The one thing we noticed though because we were all inclusive we would leave our tab open all day and when we actually looked at our receipt we were being charged for lots of items we didn’t order. Extra food and liquor shots. We never noticed until were back to our rooms and because we didn’t actually have to pay for anything it wasn’t a big deal – however it seems a little weird. Any server would have been able to add these items.
    - Construction going on at the ocean suites – they were re-doing all the patio stones. Lots of construction noises all day. Again if you didn’t dwell on it you would forget about it.
    - Marina pool, we would normally head over here later in the day. We would usually be able to find a shaded spot. Lots of construction going on at the marina lobby. This one was a little more annoying since it echoed through the building. (not at night just during the day) Also the smokers at the marina pool were a little overwhelming. I can handle it a bit, but when it’s being blown right in your face it gets a bit much.
    - LG Smith Steakhouse – they changed the all-inclusive menu, way more limited and not a lot of options. My fiancés steak was way under cooked and when he mentioned it they just took it back and heated it up – brought it back the same way he got it. He just didn’t eat it.
    - Aquarius buffet – the shrimp and lobster was pretty amazing but the sides were so limited and it stayed the same all week, so we got tired of that pretty quick.
    - Blue – the service here was great and the food was really good. We ate here a lot most nights. Our server Surajey (sp) she was amazing! One of the main reasons we ate here most nights.
    - Overall the menus at Sole, Blue and the island were all the same. And all bar food items so by the end of the week we were over it.
    - For our own curiosity we added up all our receipts for the week and they totalled $2,300 (we aren’t drinkers at all) so that was crazy.
    We couldn’t believe how dead the downtown area was at night – I don’t remember it being that closed down and empty. We went for a walk around 7pm and I actually started to feel nervous. We quickly headed back to the hotel. There was no one in sight except for security guards (they were positioned at every jewellery store)
    Since we are getting married in Aruba we went to see some of the all-inclusive hotels. We walked over to the Tamarijn hotel. I was in shock! I stayed there 4 years ago – wow what a difference. There is no beach front access at all for the entire hotel. The beach area between the Tam and Divi is 1/3 of the size. That quickly ruled out those hotels – for the price they are charging for beach front when it isn’t there. And they are still advertising using the old photos.
    We took the bus down to Palm Beach – we realized how much we missed staying down there. We loved being able to walk around at night. We decided on the Riu Palace Aruba for our wedding. So we did a walk around by there and saw the changes from last year – we are happy with our choice.
    Leaving Aruba – we were really worried we pulled up to the airport we saw literally thousands of people. Everyone on our bus panicked – thankfully the bus driver let us know that it was all people from Venezuela and we were to go to the side, not in line with them. So we quickly checked in with our travel agency, however the line up to just get into security was huge as they were combined. It took us about 30 minutes since there were only two agents. Once we got through them security was a ghost town – we were quickly through there with no issues.
    Then the realization that we were going home sunk in and it was just depressing. After another long 4.5 flight with the same 2 children screaming majority of the way we were back home in Toronto. Already making plans for our return trip and now wedding planning for June of 2017.

    Sorry for the rambling review – just wanted to get it all out there!

  2. #2
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Enjoyed your trip report.... thanks for taking the time to post. Sounds like you miss the nightlife in the Palm Beach area. Good plan with the Rui for your wedding. Have you ever considered going non all inclusive since you seem to really enjoy the restaurant experience..?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Thank you for your detailed review. Sounds like a great week, despite a few hiccups. I think from reading your review Riu will be a perfect fit for your wedding. We love the Palm Beach area. What an exciting time, planning your big day!

    We had a similar experience on our night downtown this year, with it just feeling dead. My husband pointed out that there really are only 2 hotels right there so maybe that's part of the reason.

    After reading your review I did a quick check from our most recent 10 night stay to see how our food and drink costs compared to your receipts. Turns out we spent about $2100 for our stay, and we are big drinkers. We had 3 nice meals, and the rest casual. I included our duty free and grocery store purchases in the total. And we should probably add about $120 in taxi fares since we used those to get around. Maybe next time you stay there you can go non all-inclusive and try out some other restaurants. I think the savings on the room costs, you may find that you spend less since you are not big drinkers.
    Not sure when, but we will be back

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks for sharing.

    i too suggest non all inclusive.

    re: the tamarijan; the higher numbered buildings up at the other bar has good beach access.
    the tamarijn advertises their rooms as oceanfront as their beach front status changes often at the whim of mother nature.

    it is indeed depressing having to go home,isn't it?

    happy wedding planning.
    are you actually getting married in aruba or just having the beach ceremony blessing there?


    Quote Originally Posted by JCurl View Post
    My newly turned fiancé J and I recently returned from the Renaissance Marina Hotel. We were there from December 13th to the 20th. Overall we were happy with our trip, this being our third time at the Renaissance and fifth time on the island.
    We have a “wonderful” 4.5 hour flight from Toronto with two screaming children – literally the entire flight. Once we got to Aruba we got right through security as it appears we were the first flight to be deplaned. No stamps this trip L
    We booked an all-inclusive package, so we had a bus transfer to the hotel and once we arrived at 1:30 our room was ready. First time ever that our room was ready before 4pm!
    We spent a lot of time rotating between the marina pool, Private Island and ocean suites pool.
    - Lots of construction going on at the Private Island, unless you dwelled on the noise, you really forgot about it once you saw where you were. I found the service the best it had ever been. Less people were eating over at the island I guess, so there was always a short wait for our food. And we found the food fantastic!
    - Near the end of the week, the smell from some of the construction was bothering us – this was one the family side. The adult side was good, but there wasn’t a lot of shade. Also there was a lot of flies over on that side.
    - The boat ride to the island was really bumpy, if you have any type of sea sickness it will be difficult for you to get over there.
    - Ocean suites side – I am very disappointed they got rid of all the shade! I had a hard time every day we had to sit over on the beach huts in order to have shade. There was zero shade in the pools any more either.
    - The service was great at the Sole Restaurant, Jack and Monica were awesome. The one thing we noticed though because we were all inclusive we would leave our tab open all day and when we actually looked at our receipt we were being charged for lots of items we didn’t order. Extra food and liquor shots. We never noticed until were back to our rooms and because we didn’t actually have to pay for anything it wasn’t a big deal – however it seems a little weird. Any server would have been able to add these items.
    - Construction going on at the ocean suites – they were re-doing all the patio stones. Lots of construction noises all day. Again if you didn’t dwell on it you would forget about it.
    - Marina pool, we would normally head over here later in the day. We would usually be able to find a shaded spot. Lots of construction going on at the marina lobby. This one was a little more annoying since it echoed through the building. (not at night just during the day) Also the smokers at the marina pool were a little overwhelming. I can handle it a bit, but when it’s being blown right in your face it gets a bit much.
    - LG Smith Steakhouse – they changed the all-inclusive menu, way more limited and not a lot of options. My fiancés steak was way under cooked and when he mentioned it they just took it back and heated it up – brought it back the same way he got it. He just didn’t eat it.
    - Aquarius buffet – the shrimp and lobster was pretty amazing but the sides were so limited and it stayed the same all week, so we got tired of that pretty quick.
    - Blue – the service here was great and the food was really good. We ate here a lot most nights. Our server Surajey (sp) she was amazing! One of the main reasons we ate here most nights.
    - Overall the menus at Sole, Blue and the island were all the same. And all bar food items so by the end of the week we were over it.
    - For our own curiosity we added up all our receipts for the week and they totalled $2,300 (we aren’t drinkers at all) so that was crazy.
    We couldn’t believe how dead the downtown area was at night – I don’t remember it being that closed down and empty. We went for a walk around 7pm and I actually started to feel nervous. We quickly headed back to the hotel. There was no one in sight except for security guards (they were positioned at every jewellery store)
    Since we are getting married in Aruba we went to see some of the all-inclusive hotels. We walked over to the Tamarijn hotel. I was in shock! I stayed there 4 years ago – wow what a difference. There is no beach front access at all for the entire hotel. The beach area between the Tam and Divi is 1/3 of the size. That quickly ruled out those hotels – for the price they are charging for beach front when it isn’t there. And they are still advertising using the old photos.
    We took the bus down to Palm Beach – we realized how much we missed staying down there. We loved being able to walk around at night. We decided on the Riu Palace Aruba for our wedding. So we did a walk around by there and saw the changes from last year – we are happy with our choice.
    Leaving Aruba – we were really worried we pulled up to the airport we saw literally thousands of people. Everyone on our bus panicked – thankfully the bus driver let us know that it was all people from Venezuela and we were to go to the side, not in line with them. So we quickly checked in with our travel agency, however the line up to just get into security was huge as they were combined. It took us about 30 minutes since there were only two agents. Once we got through them security was a ghost town – we were quickly through there with no issues.
    Then the realization that we were going home sunk in and it was just depressing. After another long 4.5 flight with the same 2 children screaming majority of the way we were back home in Toronto. Already making plans for our return trip and now wedding planning for June of 2017.

    Sorry for the rambling review – just wanted to get it all out there!

  5. #5
    Junior Member JCurl's Avatar
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    Hi All! Thanks for reading my review The main problem is a flight to Aruba from Toronto is about $1200 CAD each return. Then considering even if we could book a hotel room for $100 a night with our exchange we would have less then $1000 for all meals, drinks and transport. (Based on the all-inclusive budget)
    I also do not want to step foot into a grocery store on vacation aha This is why we continue to do all inclusive - we have ventured out to see about some of the restaurants but I am an extremely picky eater and not a foodie by any means.
    Funny point we met a lovely family that was non all inclusive and I was able to tell them about restaurants based on my Aruba.com forum knowledge ahaha my fiance thought I was crazy.

  6. #6
    Junior Member JCurl's Avatar
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    For the Tam we walked up and down the entire boardwalk and no rooms at the tam could you walk into the beach, there was a very small section on the other side of the bar where a chair could fit, but you wouldn't be able to walk out to the water. you could possibly climb over the rocks. We couldn't believe how wavy it was on that beach and the water surrounding the Ren.
    I was looking at my pictures from 4 years ago at the Tam and that darn mother nature - I cant believe how different it is.

  7. #7
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    really!!!
    i have friends that were at the Tamarijn over Thanksgiving 22 - 4th and their building was twentysomething. (just on the other side of the bunker bar) and the photos that she posted on FB did not appear to be rocky. i do not want to copy and paste them without her permission.

    mother nature= bah humbug.

    years ago (maybe 2003) when we stayed at the Tamarijn, the waves were so huge they were splashing onto the pool deck.
    that whole stretch of shore from the Tam to Costa Linda is always changing.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCurl View Post
    For the Tam we walked up and down the entire boardwalk and no rooms at the tam could you walk into the beach, there was a very small section on the other side of the bar where a chair could fit, but you wouldn't be able to walk out to the water. you could possibly climb over the rocks. We couldn't believe how wavy it was on that beach and the water surrounding the Ren.
    I was looking at my pictures from 4 years ago at the Tam and that darn mother nature - I cant believe how different it is.

  8. #8
    CK1
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    Senior Member CK1's Avatar
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    Thanks for your trip report. I enjoyed read about it.

    Sad to hear that downtown is so dead right now. When I first went to Aruba in September 2006, it was lovely, great atmosphere, people walking and dining, nice little stores at the Seaport Marketplace Mall, live music. Just lovely!

    Then the Paceo Herencia Mall opened at Palm Beach which I love as well. Plus, all the additional restaurants like Smokey Joe etc. IMO, this had a huge impact on downtown Oranjestad as many tourists from the Palm Beach area would be and stay there as it had so much to offer now.

    I have been three more times to Aruba: in February 2008, February 2009 and April 2010. During Carnival time in February, there were still many people everywhere, including downtown. On my last visit, it seemed a lot more quieter.

    I believe in 2011 or 2012, a lot of improvements were done downtown, including revitalizing Main Street and adding the street car.

    Downtown is still one of my favorite places to go for a stroll and spend some time there. I hope it will find it's old glory again.

    Enjoy planning your wedding! It sounds awesome that you will get married in Aruba!

  9. #9
    Senior Member WaltVB's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. There are a few here on the forum that do all inclusive, and I always enjoy reading those reports. We are not the all inclusive types, so it's nice to read another perspective of visiting the island. Yes, it seems as though downtown Oranjestad is losing it's appeal and although many still stay at the Ren, I guess it will mostly cater to the cruisers now. I think it's great that you will be at Riu for your wedding, in my opinion Palm Beach is the place to be. Please keep us "in the loop" as your plans progress. We are hoping to celebrate our 40th anniversary in Aruba during June 2017. Thanks again for a really nice, detailed report.

  10. #10
    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCurl View Post
    We couldn’t believe how dead the downtown area was at night – I don’t remember it being that closed down and empty. We went for a walk around 7pm and I actually started to feel nervous. We quickly headed back to the hotel. There was no one in sight except for security guards (they were positioned at
    Really? When we were eating at Wilhelmina's on a Saturday night in October, the surrounding area downtown was thriving... to the point where we had to watch the streets pretty carefully as people were running across in and out of bars in the area. This was between 7:30 and 11:00 pm though.
    Last edited by act1966; 12-27-2015 at 11:35 AM.

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