Have you ever said "I just came back from vacation" to justify your unhealthy diet or lack of exercise while traveling? For guests of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, "vacation weight" excuses just might be a thing of the past.
Helping guests stay healthy and stick to their wellness routines is part of the resort's new initiatives.
"We have seen that over the past couple of years our guests have become more health-conscious," said Tom Calame, general manager of the 411-room property on the island's Palm Beach, northwest of the town of Oranjestad. "People are more aware of what they eat, especially if they have dietary preferences or restrictions, and how much physical activity they do, even on vacation."
Want the Baja fish tacos but are vegan and gluten-free? They will cater to dietary restrictions at no additional charge.
On Sundays there are 95 to 110 items on the resort's brunch menu, with fresh fruit, smoothie and gluten-free stations and an extensive salad bar.
Miguel Garcia, the resort's executive sous chef, said he gets special requests all the time.
Garcia said he once went back and forth via email for a month with a guest who was going be honeymooning at the resort. The guest needed to adhere to a strict calorie count and a gluten-free menu. Together they designed a weeklong menu including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that were under 700 calories and gluten-free, too.
In addition to sticking to a nutritional routine, guests can stay active with beach tennis taught by professional tennis players and paddleboarding offered by Vela Aruba, located on the resort's beach. Stand-up paddleboard yoga is a favorite activity, said Calame. "There's no better shavasana than when you're floating on a paddleboard on the gorgeous, calm waters of Palm Beach," he said.
Of course, the resort didn't forget about mental well-being and honors it with a designated area referred to as the Happy Zone. The space features two hammocks hanging between palm trees.
"It provides a place for guests to unwind and relax in a comfortable and cozy setting," Calame said.
The wellness initiatives aren't finished. On the horizon is a total makeover of the resort's health club. The space will take up an additional floor where it will provide cardio equipment that overlooks the pool and the beach. At this rate, your beach body will end up better than when you got there.
Rates at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino begin at $239; for more information, go to www.arubamarriott.com.