Ritz Cayman or Marriott Aruba

Jan 5th, 2008, 12:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 176
Ritz Cayman or Marriott Aruba

Using points to go on a family vacation in March. We are a family or 4 (kids ages 6 and 9).
Trying to decide between Ritz Cayman Islands or Marriott Aruba (we are using Marriott points and Continental miles). The points at the Ritz are actually less than the Marriott.
Any thoughts/suggestions?

YouGoGirl is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 02:50 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 13,216
What type of island vacation are you looking for?
Aruba Marriott (I stayed there with my kids in 2004. They were about 10/11 at the time). Lots of pool areas, beach can get crowded but is nice, large scale resort with lots of water sports available. The water is very green and the sand is white. Dining on the island is very good. Gambling is available. The Marriott had a kids club for the dinner hour that lasted from 6-9pm. We did this once and the kids had fun. We dined on the beach right at the hotel and then tried our luck at the casino (Didn't win!)
We had a fun trip and enjoyed our stay.
Cayman islands. We stayed at the Marriott resort here as well. It is a smaller resort than the Aruba one. It is much quieter and has a small pool. (went this past summer june 07.
We dined at the Ritz and it is maybe a year old. It looks like a fabulous hotel and grounds. The dinner we had was our best on the island. Service and food was fantastic. Grand Cayman was more low-key of an island. I have never met friendlier people. The nightlife is beach bars and very quiet. We found the food to be very good and the island to be very family oriented. Lots of watersports available here as well. Snorkeling will be much better in the caymans than Aruba.
We loved our trip here and would highly recommend this island.
Both islands were fun and we liked them for different reasons. I hope this helps.
girlonthego is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
I wouldn't pick Aruba over Grand Cayman for any reason on earth.
ginnyfrye is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 04:52 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 176
Is there more than one pool at the
Ritz Cayman? If so, do any of them
have waterfall or slides?
Thanks for all of your information.
Seems like all of the flights to Aruba are booked when we want to go anyway.
YouGoGirl is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 111
We used our Marriott points two years ago for the Renaissance Aruba - it has a private little island that you take the boat to. Good fun for kids (but mine don't like waterslides much. go figure!) If you pick Aruba - I'll give you my run down on where we went (our kids were 3 and 6).

We did go to see the Marriott Aruba and didn't like it (the beach or the pool area) - it was packed and keeping an eye on the kids would have been difficult for us (our little one tends to stray). But we were there @ Thanksgiving so perhaps it's less crowded in March.

I looked into using my Marriott points for a Ritz stay but couldn't find that you can use them for the Grand Cayman Ritz. I'm curious (as we're planning our stay for this Fall)...did you call Marriott directly on the Ritz exchange?

Thanks and good luck!
travelhappyfamily is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 06:42 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 176
I guess I should make certain I can use the points. I haven't made any reservation yet but it doesn't appear there are any restrictions or blackout dates. I went onto my Marriott account and went to "partner hotel rewards". There are two Tiers, 1 and 2 that list the different Ritz locations that participate under each tier. Ritz Cayman Islands is Tier 2, 200K points for 5 nights, 250K for seven nights. Hope this helps.
YouGoGirl is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 07:27 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
We're not a family, so know nothing about what makes a "family" vacation enjoyable. However, I've been to both and would recommend Ritz over the Marriott. Another poster mentioned the Ren. which I've stayed at as well. I did not care for the hotel itself as it's not on the beach and I felt it could use a facelift, but the private island was pretty decent and I would imagine kids would find it entertaining.
mjz_kc is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 111
Found the Ritz redemption information. Thanks. I'm not sure why you're finding that the Marriott points are more than the Ritz though. On my account page, I find that an Ocean/Island view is 150,000 at the Aruba Marriott and 250,000 at the Ritz Grand Cayman (for seven nights each).

And I would agree with mjz_kc that the rooms/hotel at the Renaissance are dated. But the location was perfect for us - walking distance to kid-friendly shops/eateries which we couldn't pass up. Plus they got to watch the cruise ships come and go. We stayed in a pool/ocean view with a sep. bedroom. The kids slept (very well) on the pull out in the living room (keeping 'em separate from us). The room also had a little kitchenette. We used the fridge to stash our drinks we bought at the market (and avoid the $$$ drinks at the pool bar). The little cove is fun for kids too, if you don't want to go to the island every day.

At any rate - Aruba has some great places to explore if you're willing to rent a Jeep and get off the beaten path. Also, the little "sub" tour was a highlight for my kids.

Best of luck!
travelhappyfamily is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 176

We are going over spring break when there are blackout dates for the Marriott. To use points when we need to go is 260k vs. 200k at the Ritz for 5 nights.
YouGoGirl is offline  
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