Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is a culinary dream destination for the whole family, located less than twenty minutes away from Queen Beatrix International Airport, Aruba. My daughter and I had the pleasure of visiting the resort for three nights in mid June. Awaiting us was a culinary extravaganza set in a picture-perfect scene of palapas (umbrella-like roofs) and sparkling turquoise waters on beautiful Palm Beach.
The resort boasts the largest accommodations on the island with ten restaurants and bars including a pop-up beach restaurant, Atardi, and every water sport imaginable in addition to tennis. As Aruba is famously known as One Happy Island, there are endless opportunities for every family member, from exploring the nightlife and nearby shopping destinations, to adventurous off-road treks, windsurfing, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, SUP yoga, boating, and more. All of these activities mixed with unforgettable culinary discoveries await you in Aruba.
A wave of dining options await you at Aruba Marriott. Select from internationally focused fare, a premier steakhouse, seafood, and an adult swim-up pool bar. Their pop-up beach restaurant Atardi, for example, focuses on fresh seafood paired with the most majestic sunsets over the Caribbean. There is also an adult pool bar, gelato bar, and Starbucks®.
For our first evening, Sarah and I enjoyed a lively Carnival Show and Buffet Dinner at La Vista, paired with the most breathtaking sunset views one could dream of whilst basking in the Caribbean. The grand buffet features a variety of local cuisines, including a full pasta bar, raw bar, sushi, freshly baked breads, salads, fruits, juices, and a wide array of desserts. We spend a few hours watching the La Vista Carnival show with colorful performers. The performance takes place on Thursday nights and encourages guests, especially the youngest ones, to come up and dance along, as well as to have photo opportunities at mid points throughout the show. The vibrant color and splendor truly reflected the jovial people of the island.
For breakfast, there are multiple options that await guests. If you worked up an appetite after a brisk morning swim, you may take in the morning views at La Vista for a full buffet breakfast. The buffet includes a variety of fruit juices, smoothies, eggs, an omelet station, waffle bar, pancakes, fresh fruit, hot and cold cereal, and many more options. If you are in a hurry as we were our second morning (we did eat at La Vista once for breakfast during our stay and loved our experience), grab something quick at Starbucks in the lobby. A full Starbucks menu is available including breakfast pastries, bagels, fresh fruit cups, egg sandwiches, and more in addition to their famous coffee and tea beverages.
We began the next day with a half-day snorkel catamaran cruise with De Palm Tours where we explored the island’s best snorkeling spots while soaking up some sun. On board we enjoyed a lunch buffet that including red snapper, chicken, salads, and a delicious pineapple coconut cake, and a full open bar that served specialty drinks including the famous Aruba Ariba rum punch. Breakfast the next morning was at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes, which served local cuisine from the Netherlands. The pancakes can be served a variety of ways with dozens of topping options. My daughter topped hers with peanut butter and banana slices, and I chose honey, papaya, and pineapple.
Upon our return to Aruba Marriott Resort, we indulged our sweet tooths with gelato pops from Gelato & Co. store in the lobby. Our favorites were the strawberry with rainbow sprinkles and Oreo. In the morning, we would stop by Gelato & Co. for either smoothies, açaí or chia bowls.
We then joined the resort’s Executive Chef Ever de Peña at La Vista and learned how to make a local favorite dish, Keshi Yena. Keshi Yena is a traditional Aruban and Curaçaoan dish made with chicken, vegetables, and spices stuffed in melted Gouda cheese. A perfect dish to make as a family, where the children can choose the ingredients, and mix everything together.
Below, find a recipe of Keshi Yena, courtesy of Chef Peña.
For the chicken filling, rub with the juice of several limes:
- chicken breast
Season the breasts and thighs with:
- Salt and pepper
- Poultry seasoning
- Minced onion
Let them stand for several hours. Then either arrange the pieces in a shallow baking dish, and after browning the chicken under the broiler, bake it for one hour at 350°, deboning it when cool enough to handle, or choose this more frugal method of preparation. Brown the chicken in three tablespoons butter, and then place it in a heavy kettle with:
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tsp. salt
- 12 peppercorns
- 1 or 2 onions
- 1 celery stalk with leaves
- bay leaf, bruised
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes, or just until chicken is tender. Strain and reserve the broth, discarding the vegetables, debone the chicken, and set aside.
After the chicken has been prepared by one of the above methods, sautéed in two tablespoons butter or olive oil :
- 3 cups Tomatoes diced
- 3 cups Onion diced
- 3 Cups Bell Pepper Diced
- 3oz Chopped Garlic
Add and stir in well:
- 5oz Cocktail Onions
- 5oz Green Olives
- 4oz Raisin
- 3oz Cashew Nut
- 1 Tbs. parsley, minced, or a few drops Tabasco sauce
- 12oz Catchup
- Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer until the tomatoes are reduced, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the fire and permit mixture to cool. If Keshi Yena is to be baked, preheat oven. Add rest of ingredients, stir well and place in 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Top with 10 oz Dutch Gouda, sliced.
Bake covered loosely with tin foil, 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.50°, if it is to be steamed, begin heating water in the bottom of a double boiler.
To learn more about our trip, discover #OneHappyFamilyAruba to see our shared content across our social media channels.
http://www.arubamarriott.com // +297 586-9000