Hi @RS521: Aruba and Antigua are both nice islands… but vastly different from one another.
Aruba is one of the ABC Islands (Aruba – Bonaire – Curacao) of the Dutch Antilles found off of the Coast of South America, while Antigua is an island in the Lesser Antilles in the Southeastern Caribbean.
They also have vastly different climates…
Aruba is an arid Island, and lies outside of the Atlantic Hurricane Zone. Temps in March will typically be in the HIGH 80s F.
Antigua is an more tropical island, and lies right within the Atlantic Hurricane Zone (only an issue tho June 1st to November 30th). In March Temps will typically be in the mid 70s.
Both islands are quite clean and safe, and the people are friendly. I would not hesitate to visit either… so much so, that these would be Islands that you could skip out on doing an AI and actually stay at a regular resort / hotel.
I personally haven’t been to Aruba, but I have been to Antigua, and Mr TTR & I loved it we would most definitely go back. We have friends who have been to BOTH islands, and they say they are 2 of their faves.
I suggest that you do some reading & research to find out which one you’d be better suited to (vacation style) and what you are looking to do there.
Wikipedia is always a good place to start for a general overview:
Aruba = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba
Antigua = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigua
Then there are the Countries / Islands Tourism Websites:
Aruba Tourism = http://www.aruba.com/
Antigua Tourism = http://www.antigua-barbuda.org/
As well as TripAdvisor where you’ll find awesome info on BOTH Destinations… Travel Guide – Reviews (Accommodations – Attractions – Restaurants) – and their great Forums where you can post Questions for TA Destination Experts & Locals to reply to
TripAdvisor – Aruba (Travel Guide) = http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g147247-Aruba-Vacations.html
TripAdvisor – Antigua (Travel Guide) = http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g147242-Antigua_Antigua_and_Barbuda-Vacations.html
As for the Resorts you have in mind, I checked out their Listing / Reviews on TripAdvisor.
The Riu Palace is rated as a 4 Star Property (based on facilities / amenities) and has 4 Circles (out of 5) for TripAdvisor Satisfaction
TripAdvisor – Riu Palace Aruba = http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g147249-d151277-Reviews-Hotel_Riu_Palace_Aruba-Palm_Eagle_Beach_Aruba.html
While the Sandals Grande Aruba is a 5 Star Property that has 4 Circles for TripAdvisor Satisfaction
This should get you started on your research,
PS… Sounds like a fabulous Honeymoon. Mr TTR & I were in Antigua for ours, as a stop on our Caribbean Cruise, and we had an amazing day sightseeing.