Located in the bustling cruise-ship center of Oranjestad, the modern, upscale 556-room Renaissance hotel (a Marriott property) offers an exceptional casino (one of Aruba's best) and its own private island (an alternative to a beach). It might not feel exotic -- it's attached to a shopping mall -- but it has great food and retail fun.
A giant, Arabian-themed castle on the beach, the Riu Palace feels less than authentic. Couples-heavy, the resort has two huge pools, a rowdy casino, a 24-hour sports bar, huge buffets, and a bustling beach. But service is lacking, and most rooms have outdated technologies.
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