by Lisa A. Grimaldi | March 01, 2014

Local Update

• The 320-room Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, recently opened with more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa with 13 treatment rooms, a casino and four restaurants.

• The Renais­sance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad, the Aruban capital, is updating the guest rooms at the Marina Hotel, its 287-room adults-only half; the other half, Ocean Suites, will refurbish its 269 units later this year. The resort has a private island for guests, accessible via boat transfer.

• The 411-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has completed the newest component of a four-year overhaul -- a $1.5 million revamp of its 8,435-square-foot Grand Ballroom. The upgrade is part of a $50 million project that began in 2009 and included the addition of the Tradewinds Club and the adults-only H2Oasis pool in 2012. The ballroom can host up to 800 attendees.

• The Aruban government has introduced a $3 per-room, per-night environmental fee for hotel stays.  

Meeting Hotels: Properties in Oranjestad include the 556-room Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino.North of the capital, resorts in Palm Beach include the 481-room Westin Aruba Resort; 411-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino; 360-room Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino; and 354-room Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa.

Airport Transit: Queen Beatrix International Airport, six miles from most hotels. Transfer cost by taxi, US$18 to Oranjestad, US$22 to Palm Beach/Eagle Beach

Taxes: Room tax, 9.5%; a hotel service charge varies per hotel; sales tax, 1.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 9.5% plus hotel service charge and $3 per-room, per-night environmental fee.

Group Venue: Take over De Palm Island, a coral-reef islet just a seven-minute ferry ride from the southeast Aruban coast. Groups can enjoy a barbecue, snorkel in delightfully beautiful waters and more. De Palm Tours can organize an outing. (297) 522-4600;

Contact: Aruba Convention Bureau, (904) 534-2877;