Flamingos, Beaches, and Private Cabanas: Staying at the Renaissance Resort in Aruba

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In the past couple of years, pictures of pink flamingos chilling on a perfect turquoise-watered beach have been making the rounds on social media. And I'm not gonna lie: those dreamy Instagram photos definitely influenced me to consider Aruba for a vacation.

Because that beach with flamingos is called Flamingo Beach, and it's located on a private island in Aruba.

Flamingos on Renaissance Private Island in Aruba
Flamingo Beach in Aruba

When my husband Elliot and I were weighing where to go for our first wedding anniversary in early October, we decided somewhere in the Caribbean sounded nice. There was one big problem, though: October is prime hurricane season for most of the Caribbean.

So that left us with the ABC Islands to choose from, a trio of islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) located in the far south Caribbean outside of the main hurricane belt.

Thanks to those photogenic flamingos, it's probably no surprise that we chose Aruba.

Flamingos on Renaissance Private Island in Aruba

Where to stay in Aruba

After deciding that Aruba would be our anniversary getaway destination, we then had to figure out where we wanted to stay. There are lots of all-inclusive resorts and nice hotels in Aruba (the island's economy revolves around tourism these days, after all).

But because I had read up on those Aruba flamingos, I knew there was really only one place to stay: the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort.

You see, the flamingos in Aruba live on a private island owned by the Renaissance Resort. You *can* technically get a day pass to visit the island even if you aren't staying at one of the Renaissance hotels, but with passes running $125 per person, you may as well just stay a night at the Renaissance and be guaranteed a free visit to the private island.

Private cabanas on Iguana Beach in Aruba
I mean, you definitely want to go here, right?

We decided to stay at the Renaissance Aruba for our whole trip, mostly because we're kind of lazy and didn't want to have to switch hotels after one or two nights. It ended up being a great base for things to do in Aruba.

Staying at Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort

The Renaissance Aruba Resort consists of two separate hotels, both located in downtown Oranjestad, a few miles south of where most of the island's high-rise hotels are on Eagle and Palm beaches.

The two hotels are the Renaissance Marina Hotel and the Renaissance Ocean Suites. They're both included under the “Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino” umbrella, but you'll want to know which one you've booked at since they're located in separate buildings.

(They're also both Marriott properties, which was an added bonus since I'm a Marriott rewards member!)

I Love Aruba sign in Oranjestad
Both Renaissance hotels are close to this fun sign in Oranjestad.

Renaissance Marina Hotel

We stayed at the Renaissance Marina Hotel, which is a contemporary, upscale hotel that is strictly adults-only. With almost 300 guest rooms, the hotel isn't small – but it didn't feel crowded when we visited. (Though I'll note that we visited in October, which is low season in Aruba!)

The Marina Hotel has on-site restaurants including L.G. Smith's Steak & Chop House and Aquarius, the latter of which has an excellent seafood buffet. There's also a Starbucks on the lower level of the hotel, and a bar called Blue next to the pool in the open-air hotel lobby.

This is also the hotel where you'll find a fitness center, as well as the Okeanos Spa. It's also connected to an upscale shopping center and the casino.

Royal Plaza Mall in Aruba
The Royal Plaza Mall is also just a short walk away.

The rooms at the Marina Hotel have undergone renovations recently and are sleek and clean, with lots of blue and white tones making them feel extra beachy. We booked an “Island Room” with a king bed, and ended up having a nice view of the city, as a well as a partial view of the marina.

Renaissance Aruba Resort Marina Hotel
Our comfy Island Room
Oranjestad, Aruba
Our view of Oranjestad

Lastly, the Marina Hotel pool is a small infinity-style pool that overlooks the marina and one of the main roads in the city. There are some sun loungers around the pool, but it's not a huge pool area. I would actually recommend going over to the Ocean Suites hotel if you want to have a pool day.

Marina Hotel pricing

Their “Resort Rooms,” which only offer views into the hotel atrium, start at $179 per night. We booked the next class up, the “Island Room,” and actually had views of both the city and the harbor; these rooms start at $197. Their “Ocean King” rooms with sea/pool views start at $245 per night. (Expect these prices to be quite a bit higher in high season, though!)

Oranjestad, Aruba Marina
The marina, as seen from our balcony

Renaissance Ocean Suites

A 5-minute walk down the street will bring you to the Renaissance Ocean Suites, the family-friendly hotel of the Renaissance Resort. Here they offer 259 one-bedroom suites, which are perfect for both couples and families.

Restaurant options here include Fresco, an outdoor dining option serving up a breakfast buffet and an Italian menu, and the Solé bar. There's also a swim-up bar in one of the hotel's pools.

Renaissance Ocean Suites pool
The swim-up bar and main pool at Ocean Suites

Rooms at Ocean Suites are larger (after all, they're suites!), but I can't personally tell you what they're like since we didn't stay at this hotel. (Reviews on TripAdvisor are pretty favorable of the Ocean Suites rooms, too, though.)

The pool area at Ocean Suites is large and very nice. There are two proper pools, plus a saltwater lagoon right on the beach. This is definitely the better of the two pool areas!

Renaissance Aruba Ocean Suites beach
The beach and lagoon at Ocean Suites

Ocean Suites pricing

The Ocean Suites rooms are a little more pricey – but that's because they're suites and are designed to fit more people. An “Island Suite” starts at $225 per night and an “Ocean Suite” starts at $259 per night. An “Ocean Front Suite” (with full ocean views) starts at $295 per night.

Read more reviews on TripAdvisor OR Book your room at the Renaissance Aruba Resort here

Renaissance Aruba all-inclusive

You *can* get an all-inclusive package at the Renaissance (which covers restaurants and bars at both hotels), but we opted to go with a special package that gave us a $50 credit each day instead. Since these hotels are so close to downtown Oranjestad, we knew we wanted to eat off-property at least a few times. (Plus, we don't drink enough to make an open bar tab worth it!)

The best part is, though, that any package you purchase is good at both the Marina Hotel and Ocean Suites. Staying at one gets you access to the other, as well, whether its swimming at the pool or charging a meal to your room. This is definitely a nice added bonus.

At the Renaissance Marina Hotel
Cool swings inside the Marina Hotel lobby

Visiting Renaissance Private Island and Flamingo Beach

Okay, okay, so now for the part that I know you're most curious about: the flamingos!

Like I mentioned above, the Aruba flamingos live on a private island owned by the Renaissance Resort. You can access this island for free if you're a guest at either the Renaissance Marina Hotel or Renaissance Ocean Suites.

Flamingo Beach in Aruba

How to get there

Free shuttle boats run from both Renaissance hotels from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, usually running at 15-minute intervals. There's one pickup for the Marina Hotel, and another for the Ocean Suites. When the tides cooperate, the boats pick up from right inside the Marina Hotel atrium, which is pretty cool.

The ride out to Renaissance Private Island takes about 10 minutes. The route takes you right past the airport, and if you're lucky you might even have a plane fly right over your head!

Renaissance Private Island

Once on the island, you have two separate beaches to choose from: Flamingo Beach to the right of the dock, and Iguana Beach to the left of the dock.

Also near the boat dock are restrooms, a small shop, and the stand where you can get free towels and rent water gear like snorkel masks, floats, paddleboards, and even kayaks.

Flamingo Beach

Flamingo Beach is the adults-only beach on Renaissance Private Island. This is where you'll find the private island spa services, a mangrove nature walk, a small beach bar, and a smattering of sun loungers in the sand. This is also where the Renaissance's 6 flamingos live.

Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Flamingo Beach
Flamingo Beach in Aruba
We named this one Kenneth (though I don't actually have any clue whether the flamingos are male or female!)

Flamingos are NOT native to Aruba, and these domesticated ones have been brought in specifically by the Renaissance Resort. (So yes, they're a bit like zoo animals, so there's the ethics of that to think about.) The flamingos have free reign on the island, though, and seem well-cared-for. They honestly don't seem super bothered by all the people, either (and, when they are, they simply squawk a bit and walk away).

If you want to feed the flamingos, there's a small flamingo food dispenser on the bridge before you reach the beach, but you'll need USD quarters to use it.

Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Feeding flamingos is pure joy

If you want the best photos of the flamingos (or especially of YOU and the flamingos), I recommend going early in the morning for both the best light AND the least amount of people. Elliot and I got there before 8 a.m., and there were still a dozen other people vying for the flamingos' attention.

Pro tip: Don't chase the flamingos around. Pick a spot on the beach and just wait – the flamingos meander around (and sometimes move to get away from pushier selfie-seekers), and are bound to wander your way eventually, even if you don't have any food. All my best photos were taken when I went and stood on my own out of the way and waited for the flamingos to come to me.

Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Flamingo Beach in Aruba
If you are patient, they will come.

If you have kids and want to see the flamingos, kids are only allowed on Flamingo Beach from 9-10 a.m. every morning.

Iguana Beach

The other beach on Renaissance Private Island is Iguana Beach, the family-friendly beach. This beach is slightly bigger with more sun loungers (and slightly more shade!), as well as a waterfront lounge area where you can sit and watch planes landing and taking off at the airport.

Iguana Beach in Aruba
Iguana Beach
Plane landing in Aruba
Watching planes land was cool! (Check out the Aruba airport website for all expected arrival times)

You'll also find the Papagoyo Bar and Grill at Iguana Beach, which serves drinks and light bites. Their wood-fired pizza is actually really good!

Oh and yes, there are iguanas all over this beach, too!

Iguanas on Renaissance Private Island in Aruba
Yes, those are 100% real.

Renaissance Private Island day passes

Like I mentioned before, you CAN get a day pass to visit Renaissance Private Island if you aren't staying at the hotel. You used to only be able to get these in-person on the day you wanted to visit, but now there is an option to purchase day passes online in advance.

Island day passes are limited, and not available every day. Passes are $125 per person, and include lunch and one drink on the island.

But honestly, if you want to be guaranteed a visit to Flamingo Beach, I would just book a room at the Renaissance Resort for at least one night. That way you don't have to stress about whether you'll get passes or not!

Renting a private cabana on Renaissance Island

Since Elliot and I were visiting Aruba for our wedding anniversary, we wanted to do something special; splurge a little bit. So we decided to book ourselves a private cabana.

Private cabanas on Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Private cabanas on Flamingo Beach

Renaissance Private Island offers a handful of private cabanas – 4 on Flamingo Beach and 5 on Iguana Beach – that can be rented out for the day. Seven of the cabanas can hold 4 people, which the other two are slightly bigger and can accommodate 6 people.

All of the cabanas come with a cooler filled with water and a bottle of sparkling wine; free towels; snorkel masks and water floats to use; a fruit plate; an over-water hammock; and butler service throughout the day so you don't have to walk to the bar to order drinks or food.

And they're all shaded and usually breezy all day long.

Private cabanas on Flamingo Beach in Aruba
And the water is amazing, too!
Private cabana on Flamingo Beach in Aruba
Inside our cabana
Private cabana hammock in Aruba
Private cabana treats on Renaissance Private Island in Aruba
Cabana treats

We booked one of the smaller cabanas on Flamingo Beach, and whiled away our anniversary day by swimming, sipping bubbly, enjoying cool breezes, and watching the flamingos further down the beach.

This is the ULTIMATE way to relax on Renaissance Private Island, and I think it was worth every penny.

Renaissance Private Island in Aruba
10/10 would do again
Private cabana hammock in Aruba

(Speaking of pennies, the cabana we rented runs $425+ tax during the low season. In high season, though, prices do go up for some of the cabanas. They can all hold 4 or 6 people.)

Booking a private cabana

You used to only be able to book these cabanas if you were staying at one of the Renaissance hotels. Now, though, it appears this may not be the case – you can reserve cabanas online now.

If you want to book a cabana with kids, remember that Flamingo Beach is adults-only, so you'll need to book one of the Iguana Beach ones.

These cabanas do sell out in advance, so I recommend booking as early as you can!

Start by booking your Renaissance Aruba Resort room here.

All in all, we enjoyed our stay at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort. The hotels are laid-back and clean, and the service is good. The on-site restaurants are quality (though I do recommend exploring a bit of Oranjestad for food, too!), the beds are comfy, and the pool areas at both hotels are nicely laid out and clean.

I like that the hotels offer an experience for everyone, whether you're traveling with kids, friends, or maybe on a honeymoon or anniversary trip.

And the private island is wonderful in so many ways; the flamingos alone would convince me to stay at this hotel again!

READ NEXT: The Perfect Aruba Itinerary: 5 Days on One Happy Island

Have I (and the flamingos) convinced you? Would you stay at the Renaissance Aruba Resort?

Pin it for later:

Renaissance Aruba Resort review + visiting Flamingo Beach

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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36 Comments on “Flamingos, Beaches, and Private Cabanas: Staying at the Renaissance Resort in Aruba

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  1. The detailed insights about the amenities, dining options, and especially the unique Flamingo Beach experience are very helpful. It’s great to have a firsthand perspective on what to expect, from the rooms to the private island access.

    Renting cabana for two people staying a week in one bedroom suite

      You need to contact the hotel! This is just a blog post; I’m not associated with the resort at all.

    Thanks for sharing! We will be visiting flamingo island this time around. Which cabana # did you choose? Is there any wrong one? We chose the first one closest to shore. Did you find it busy on the end? Or are the cabana areas private? Everyone says yo stay on Iguana island. I also believe you can only book a cabana if you have a reservation. I booked an Ocean Tower Suite room, but trying to use points for my room since we would have access to the both pools. We are only staying one night to get access to the island. Do you think we will have early access to island before our room is ready?
    Looking forward to it!

      I don’t remember which cabana we booked, but the cabanas areas are fairly private so it shouldn’t really matter. They all basically have the same view, too. As for island access before your room is ready, I would imagine that could be arranged, but it’s a question you should ask the hotel!

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