Hi! I am really hoping someone can help me pick a hotel!! I am surprising my DH with this trip for our anniversary.. he thinks we are going to FL. He has never been to Aruba and I fell in love with it when I went on a girls trip with my mom. We stayed at the Westin and got a great deal through Hotwire. The same deal is online now.. I thought the rooms were outdated and kind of gross.. but we paid $700 for 5 night. With that being said.. I currently reserved a garden view room at the Marriott (we are Plat members so hoping for an upgrade). I emailed the concierge and they were so rude about me booking just a garden view room and gave the "availability" lecture. I am worried about hearing the construction noise on the beach when we are trying to relax (since we are leaving our toddler at home). Also, I heard the beach there is dirty and people that work the boat shop in the front will harass you. We didn't have that at the Westin (but the Westin beach was really windy). I will pay for the Hyatt -- but it didn't get that great of reviews.. So.. Please help. I am beyond lost!! We like to walk around at night - so I prefer Palm Beach, if that helps!!
I can't imagine you wouldn't get an upgrade being platinum, and it sounds like you're paying rather than using points. We always get an upgrade at the Stellaris, and we use points and have stayed during very busy weeks (Easter, winter and summer).
We've never been harassed by anyone in Aruba. We've stayed at the Stellaris several times and have never had the people at the boat rental say anything to us except to talk to us when we've approached them about renting something.
The beach is very clean. There have been a couple of times that the sand in the water has green algae in several places, and it seems to me that it accumulates there more than up the beach where the Hyatt is located, but that's only my observation. I can't say that for sure.
Construction is really moving along at the Ritz, at least from what I've seen in the pictures. We were there this past February, but stayed at the Hyatt. We walked to the Marriott area and beyond several times to the wind surfing area and didn't notice the construction noise, but that could be different now. Hopefully, someone who has been there more recently can give you their impression.
As far as the Hyatt, if you like the mall area, the location is great. You walk out the front, and you're right in the middle of it all. I think the Stellaris has the better resort overall though, but it's a close call. I think they're both beautiful resorts.
It's been several years since we've stayed at the Westin, and it was the Wyndham when we were there, and prior to that, it was where we stayed for our honeymoon, and it was under a different name back then. It's a very nice resort, but in my opinion, it's a step down from the Hyatt and Stellaris, but, again, that's only my opinion. I sure wouldn't turn down a free trip there, but especially for an anniversary, and if the budget allowed, I'd go for the Stellaris or the Hyatt over the Westin.
That was ashame you got a rude response from the concierge. I understand that they don't want people to be disappointed because their expectations aren't met for an upgrade (better to be happily surprised than to be promised something that isn't a guarantee, but there's no reason for you to get a less than polite response to a question, and a valid one at that).
It's a little walk to the mall area, I'd say close to 15 mins depending on your pace. You walk behind the Marriott timeshares and up the beach to close to the Holiday Inn. There's not a board walk the whole way, so you have to walk through the sand a little bit. Sometimes, we just cut through the Holiday Inn and across, but there's also another easy way to go. I think it's the alley beside Moomba Beach Bar, but it's been a couple of years since we stayed at the Stellaris, so my memory is fuzzy on that. You can catch a cab too, for, I think, $6 (there's a set fee, but I forget how much). We actually like to walk a lot, so it's not bad, but, no doubt, the Hyatt is more convenient.
We haven't stayed at the Marriott since they opened the adult only pool. We did walk by it on our last trip, and it looks lovely. We're staying there next February, and although we usually stay on the beach, I'm looking forward to the pool. I love kids, and they're generally not a problem, but the adult pool was inviting.
Oh, and I meant to tell you I hope you have a wonder trip and a very happy anniversary! What a wonderful surprise for your husband.