Set amid the pristine white sands of Aruba's famed Palm Beach, the Occidental Grand Aruba offers 380 rooms and suites from which to enjoy all that this tropical island has to offer. This exclusive all-inclusive resort caters to an international clientele seeking an exotic island getaway and includes accommodations perfect for honeymooners and families alike.
Guestrooms include balconies or patios, two-poster beds with damask comforters, DVD players, and compact refrigerators stocked with beverages.
The resort supplies snorkeling gear, windsurfers, small sailboats, pedal boats, and kayaks. Water-sports centers on the beach rent personal watercraft and offer parasailing, banana-boating, waterskiing, tubing, kneeboarding, wakeboarding, snorkeling, scuba, and sailing adventures.
Land sports include tennis on two lighted courts, beach volleyball, and basketball.
The majority of amenities and activities at this resort are included in the room rate; guests will not be charged extra for meals, drinks, activities, gratuities, or use of both land and non-motorized water-sports equipment
based on 28 reviews
We just came back from a week stay at The Occidental and I can truly say it was terrible. first off no casino second they closed down the outdoor buffet, poolside for renovations and substitued it wit a horrible buffet, same food, morning, noon and night. Found out people were making dinner reservations on line which clearly states in their activity flyers you must make in person so when we arrived we were basically forced to eat their terrible buffet all week long. Asked to speak to a supervisor and we got Jackie. she was awful. full of broken and empty promises. Very nasty as well. Even went above her head to Martin and he was of no help at all. Get your act together Occidental or you will lose all your returning guests. Would take a miracle to get me back again!!
If spending 1700.00 ( or under- which is rare for AI in aruba) then it is worth it. It is a smaller resort, clean, buffet is basic but decent choices ( at times- not all). I would be upset if I sent 1800.00 or over for this resort.
Beach is beautiful, lots of shade of needed.
More of a cozier feel than the Rui which was large and more grand (food amazing at Riu).
For what I paid I am very happy with this resort.
the worst food,no pool chairs,no beach chairs the owners of the resort only care about money,wrong rooms for all when u get there food was really bad safe your money dont go there
We thought this was a higher quality hotel and with the Royal Club, we thought the service would be top notch. Instead, we received disorganized staff, poor service, low quality. Staff was ruse, they were short on towels, had to beg to get our water glasses filled at the restaurants, TV problems. Could not even get butter at one of the restaurants. I would consider this to be at best a 2 star hotel. if you are used to getting high quality, service and accomodations you don't want to go to this place
From the moment that we checked in "grand concierge" I might add things went downhill. When you are at the hotel not more than 10 mintues you are told "we have a problem" we will change your room tomorrow because the view you have isnt the best, good idea to run to the Radison next door at that point. Food if you want to wait on line for breakfast was just ok if that. Staff not one bit friendly unless they were trying to sell you Royal Club, if you were part of that club I guess you were treated differently. House keeping dont understand how they can clean and forget to take dirty towels off the floor not just one day but three. Not what I expected or the 4 other couples we met when we were there...............
we just came back from spending 8 days at this resort,our experience was bitter sweet when we arrived they gave us a different room that we have booked which the next day we have and changed it(the staff at front desk was cooperate and polite ) we don't recommended all inclusive breakfeast and lunch menu is all the same.
I must said the staff goes along wait to make you feel at
home the staff in charge of entertainment do a great job (Maydel and kelly with the warm smile and carisma allan y mauricio with their enthusiasm and joy make you forget the other frustations they deserve a lot credit.
also we like to thanks angela at the pool bar for been so kind.
I just returned yesterday from my week in Aruba. The weather was great but the stay at the Occidental Hotel was not...I have to stay I will not return.
If you have an upcoming vacation at this hotel beware now that you will have to get up at 6:30- 7:00 am to run down and put towels either by the pool or the beach if you want a seat. The Occidental sign clearly say's not to place towels on the chairs before 7:15 am but I made it a point one morning to get up at 6:30 and go down stairs and let me tell you there was only two hunts on the beach and maybe 10 chairs left open by the pool. I think that the hotel should enforce the rules they have on the signs and when the security guards see's people down there that early in the morning reserving spots then they should tell people its not allowed. Also the hotel lounge chairs are awful to lay on all day so either ask for extra towel cards or you may want to purchase a float to sit on all day. The hotel needs to update the chairs, towels and the customer service.
Beware that your toilet will probably clog up more then once a day so you will be calling maintence. Also make sure you have clean towels to get a shower. The one day I came up front the pool around 6:15 pm and I was about to get in the shower when I notice I did not have any towels so I called housekeeping and they said they would be right up. I waited a half hour no one showed up. I called back they operator said I'm sorry let me connect you, then no one answered. I then sent my husband down stairs to the front desk where he waited in line for a 25 minutes and no one waited on him. I then called back again bc my husband was not coming back and I wanted towels to get a shower the operator said let me connect you with it Housekeeping Supervisor the lady answers the phone and she say's I'll be right up. No apologizie, just hands us four towels. I was pissed. No one apologized for this inconvenience and it did not seem like a big deal. I'm just glad we did not have dinner reservations that night bc we would have never made them.
My time in Aruba was nice as always. I will return to the Island just not the Occidental Hotel. Check in was confusing and the lady at the vacation club I thought was very rude. She did not tell us where anything was located within the hotel. All she did do is give us room keys and said you can't get in your room until 4 pm. We had arrived at the hotel by 1:15pm. She gave us no info or map of the hotel so we just left. She knew we were staying as a guest of a vacation club owner but continued to be rude. I have to say the hotel was clean and having maid service every day was nice other then that thumbs down for everything else at the hotel.
If you are thinking about staying here and its your first time in Aruba I would pick a different hotel. The past two years we have stayed at the Divi Phoenix and that is where we will return. It is the first hotel the starts the high-rise but you can take the bus down to the mall/restaurant area's or just walk. Its not that far but if your not a walker then renting a car or taking the bus would be best.
I thought the ocean water was cooler then when we were there last May/June. Bring water shoes for the beach bc its a little rocky.
We tried two new places to eat this visit:
Salt & Pepper for breakfast and Lunch- awesome
Tony Romo's- awesome
Was not happy with Gianni's service this time around.
Just returned from a week's stay at the Occidental Grand Aruba. Loved Aruba and would definitely go back again, but NOT to the Occidental. Food was average at best, drinks were watered down and most bartenders didn't know what they were doing. You have to make a reservation for all restaurants - good luck! Best we could get one night was for 8:30 and when we got there they had lost our reservation and kept us waiting another 15 minutes or so. Wasn't even worth the wait either. That was at the Italian restaurant. All we heard about was how great the Italian restaurant is. Obviously the people who said that have never had good Italian food. We did like the Asian and Mexican restaurants and would have liked to have gone back to the Asian but were told the only reservation we could get would be at 9:30. Very frustrating. Rooms were decent, but hotel staff kept forgetting (or maybe purposely neglected) to leave clean towels. Many little annoying things that shouldn't happen at a four star resort. This is also not the resort to go to if you are looking for peace and quiet. It is a family resort and there were many kids running around crowding the pool, throwing balls and hitting other guests that were just trying to relax. If you are already booked for a vacation at the Occidental, just go into it knowing that this is definitely NOT a four star resort; I would give it a three at best. Whatever your expectations are, lower them and you should be okay. If you are planning a vacation in Aruba and looking for an all inclusive, I don't recommend the Occidental.
My husband I spent our 10 year wedding at the Occidential Grand Aruba and had a fabulous time. The staff was vert attentive to our needs and we would definately come back again.
My new hubby and I spent our 10 day honeymoon at The Occidental.
First, let me start by saying that the hotel itself is very nice....the rooms are nice and big...the bathrooms are really nice....everything is kept really clean. The pool is great....really cool pool bar.
There are 5 restaurants in the resort...and as far as the food goes...this is where is will give my warning to anyone who thinks they are going to get their moneys worth out of an all inclusive resort. Other than the breakfast buffet at The Palm....the food is HORRIBLE! The first restaurant we had reservations for was Zen....the hostess greeted us....sat us at our table....and we sat there for 15 minutes and not one person came over to even acknowledge we were there...NO menus...no water....NOTHING! Meanwhile we watched about 4 other tables sit down...and get drinks and order...before we even got acknowledged. We finally asked the hostess for menus so we could at least look at what there was to eat...and she informed us that maybe the server was "a little busy".
The 2nd reservation was for The Mexican restaurant. This was so-so.....but for a mexican restaurant....very HOT...and they didnt have any specialty margaritas on the menu.
Three times a charm...the 3rd reservation we had for our ten day honeymoon...was Desire...the carribean restaurant. For an appetizer, we ordered the crabcake and the shrimp cocktail. When the appetizers came out...the crabcake was without a doubt....a microwavable crabcake. Breaded....chewy...and definitely out of the freezer...and popped in the microwave....yuck! The shrimp was dirty...not deveined....and chewy. Moving on to the 2nd course.....
I ordered the specialty dish...which was supposed to be breaded chicken breast...stuffed with spinach and some sort of cheese.....and my hubby ordered surf and turf.
The chicken...again...definitely microwaved...and was not STUFFED in any way...and not with spinach. Instead....it had a tiny rip off of cooked lettuce inside..and no trace of any cheese...again....yuck!
The surf and turf...
as for the surf...again...chewy...dirty lobster tail....
and the turf....which was supposed to be filet mignon....was more like a tiny piece of pot roast...filled with fat.
Needless to say....this was the LAST attempt we made for eating at the hotel for the rest of the vacation.
We ended eating 7 out of the 10 days...in the city of Aruba....and spending ALOT of money doing so.
My gripe here is this...its not just that the food is bad.....but usually people pick all inclusive resorts....b/c they dont have to worry about spending much money elsewhere eating/drinking/etc; This is the point of an all inclusive....the price is already built in to what you spend. This is my first time choosing to stay in an all-inclusive...and I will have to say...I probably will NOT do so again.....
I feel like you lose quality...
We have stayed at the Occidental Grand the last 2 years and are leaving soon for our third stay. This time, we're taking 3 other couples with us. We've always had a wonderful time. The food is average, but good. I've never gone hungry. The beach is beautiful, the pool-fantastic, the swim up bar-marvelous! We do wish they would up-date their casino. The rooms are comfortable and clean. We love, love, love Aruba!
When we initially arrived at the hotel we went to make a reservation for dinner. Because the restaurant we wanted to was booked, one of the guest services people hooked us up with the Royal Club. We had top shelf booze and some of the best food I have had in my life. It was very exclusive and classy meal. However we did not stay with the Royal Club, just the Grand romance package all-inclusive. The food was always good. I would recommend making reservations at all of the specialty restaurants. they re all so good! I adored the Zen restaurant, it had wonderful sushi and was a fun-theme. Also the Mexican restaurant was very good. It helped to break up your days to not eat at the buffet everyday, all you have to do is go to the lobby and make a reservation for a restaurant and it is really delicious!
We loved all of the worker, in general most Arubans were VERY friendly! We felt very safe in Aruba. We drank water right from the tap, and ate all different sorts of foods and didn't have any problems. It truly was a wonderful honeymoon! I would recommend doing a few excursions, especially towards the end of your stay. We went ton the catamaran and snorkeled, which was very fun, but I heard good things about all of the other excursions like the Jeep tour of the Island or renting ATV's. We never left the resort, there was so much to do! The shows in the evening were a little hokey but often entertaining. Plus the greatest part of the entire Aruba experience is a little diddy by the name of "THE WIPER!" It's basically the Aruban version of the Macarena, cheesy but so much fun!!! I would also recommend joining thew old ladies in the pool for Aqua Gym... lot's of fun! We also had complimentary 30 min. massages on the beach with our Grand Romance Package, it was awesome, very relaxing!
The hotel grounds/pool/beach were lovely..breathtaking. The staff was accommodating as well.
There were too many things that we didn't like though.
As soon as you get there, they try to sell you a timeshare in the hotel. They wanted to put us in a room with double beds..but did "upgrade" us after one night.
It was impossible to get a reservation for the restaurant we wanted on the night we wanted and the food in the Italian restaurant was terrible.
The buffet wasn't too great, and thats all that there was for breakfast and lunch.
I would go back there eventually maybe but not expect as much as I did! We were really expecting a little more for our money.
13th October 2008 till 27th October 2008
The hotel could have made better use of all the wasted space, ie., the lobby although it was impressive could have been made much better and more streamlined and even more impressive with better useage of space, and a larger reception area. The evening entertainer (he was excellent by the way) had to sing near to the Lobby Bar, where there was also a T.V. playing and some of our American friends wanted to watch a base-ball game, and proceeded to turn the sound up, much to the misery of the people who wanted to listen to the entertainer, this was the fault of the hotel proprieters as they should have located the T.V. in a more suitable place, needless to say things got rather frought and a small argument developed which could have been avoided. The meals at the hotel however were excelent and so was the service both friendly and efficient,and the specialised dining was also second to none really excellent and was worthy of 5 stars, but alas that is where the 5 star end. Unfortunately our room was situated near to a stairwell and the door was banging to most of the evening and in the mornings as hotel guests were leaving and returning which disturbed most of the guests in the area. We usually stay at the Iberostar chain of hotels which are excellent and deserve the 5 star rating given by First Choice, but the Occidental although classed as a 5 star hotel was sadly lacking I would say more like a 3 star plus, I wish I could have a free reign to re-design the hotel I could make it into a 6 star palace as there is plenty of scope there, maybe someone in authority in the Occidental Hotel should visit an Iberostar Hotel (possibly the one in Mexico Playacar, and take a look at their facilities, activities and ameanaties and then they would see what a 5 star hotel should be like. Overall though both my husband and myself are glad we went just to see Beautiful Aruba, and would gladly go again to this lovely Caribbean island.....
My husband & I have owned a time-share at the Allegro Occidental or as it is now called, the Occidental Grand, for 7 or 8 years. When we bought, we made sure that it was written into our contract that we did NOT want the All-Inclusive as part of our time-share agreement.This has still caused controversy several times during booking, especially when we are also using our bonus weeks that we were given when we became owners. It seems that record keeping should be a primary concern so that the same problems and issues are not repeated over and over. The All-Inclusive 'controversy' has never been rectified without our 1st faxing a copy of our agreement to headquarters every time we use a bonus week!
Over the years, there have been ups and downs, including waiting for rooms, poor service, and having to change rooms mid-visit, among other minor issues. The management staff of the Vacation Club has often been difficult to contact or to deal with when someone is finally available. The worst year we have had was in July/Aug., 2006. That year we were not able to use either cash or room vouchers to enable us to use the restaurants, bars, etc. of the hotel!! To say that we were astonished, disappointed, and somewhat angry would be an understatement. No former notice of this new "policy" had been sent to us prior to our visit, or we probably would have traded to a more accommodating setting that year. We seriously considered selling our timeshare after that experience, and our vacation was a disappointment, to say the least. We heartily agreed with other hotel visitors and/or Vacation Club owners that this all-Inclusive rule was ridiculous. This time, however, everyone's displeasure seemed to be acknowledged and changes were made. Business had to have suffered...
We continue to return to the Occidental every year, despite the obstacles we have encountered. Last year, summer 2007, we were happy to see that once again, club owners were able to use the food and entertainment establishments without having to be all-Inclusive, which was great! My husband & I have had great times while staying at the Occidental, often bringing our children and our grandchildren with us. The check-in service this year far surpassed any we had had in the past. Our refrigerator was well-stocked, and we received a nice fruit basket soon after our arrival (as always). Our daughter, her spouse, and their two young children were booked into a regular hotel unit with which they were quite satisfied, as well. Staff service has always been good to excellent. Everyone is friendly, willing to help you, and efficient in their duties. The breakfast buffet has a good variety of foods and is not overly expensive. The addition of the covered sleep huts around the pool was a big improvement, especially since we were traveling with 2 young children. As always, the rooms were always clean and in good repair. Staff responds promptly if there is any problem. We have a Jr. Suite, and we usually receive our request for a poolside unit, which affords us a great beach and pool view. The Occidental Grand is located centrally within the high-rises on Palm Beach, so visitors are within short walking distances to many great restaurants, shopping venues, and other hotels. We never would have bought our timeshare in Aruba if we had not been pleased, overall, with the Allegro-Occidental-Occidental Grand Aruba. Hopefully, it will just continue to improve. You'll love the poolside fun, the beautiful beach, and all the water and beach activities and gambling casinos Aruba has to offer. We always feel very secure staying at this hotel. This hotel is great for all ages, but perhaps should relax some of its dress requirements and all-inclusive policies.A kiddie-pool would also entice more families with smaller children. Forgot to mention,there are many good shows and other entertainment right within the hotel. We will keep coming back, and hope that the vacation club management, in particular, continues to consider the policy that" listen to your customers- the customer is always right".
Went to the occidental in July 08 and quite frankly it was the best holiday I have ever had. The service both in there hotel and around the island were fantastic, the people cheerful and very helpful. The rooms were clean and well set out with all the mod cons you expect in good hotels. The food was excellent, particularly in the zen and Italian restaurants, and the palm buffet offered something for everybody and had a different theme every day. Wonderful country and hotel highly recommended.
My wife and I stayed at the Occidental from 5/14 thru 5/20/2008. It exceded all our expectations. It could not have been any better. The staff, food, pool, bars, restaurants, beach were all outstanding. Our room was absolutely beautiful and cleaned everyday. We can't wait to go back again. Put the Occidental on your Aruba vacation list.
Lets start with the positives....the restaurant staff is excellent. The bartenders at all bars, and casino dealers were also very friendly. Overall, Aruba is an absolutely beautiful place, but we will never stay at the Occidental again.
Negatives....we got there for our HONEYMOON and they gave us two double beds overlooking a parking lot when my reservation said ocean view and king size bed, champaign, private beach dinner. None of that happened...they told me if I looked around the side of my balcony that classified as the ocean view room and they never changed us to a king size bed. The staff told us nothing was available, but we met several couples on the trip who had no problem changing rooms. In addition, our luggage was lost which was not the hotels fault, but the restaurants all have a dress code, so they would not let us schedule "reservations" at any of the places, which we thought at an all inclusive resort was insance to begin with. Finally our luggage came, and by then all of the normal dinner times were taken so we were stuck having to beg our way into the places every day.
The main thing with the resort is NOTHING is consistent and nothing is organized. They treat one couple completely different than the next which makes some peoples stay great and others yet to be desired.
One last thing, there is no service elevator...so the staff is always taking up the two elevators per tower with their carts etc.
Make sure you schedule the ATV tour, snorkeling tour, party bus tour, and tubing. All of them are a BLAST!!
My husband and i spent two weeks at the Ocidental grand in August 07 and has the most amazing time. The staff were all very attentive and couldn't do enough for us.
The food in the restaurants and the buffet was fantastic ,above our expectations.
The hotel itself is beautiful and kept to a high standard ,as was our room which was cleaned every day.
Will will without a doubt return to the beautiful friendly island of Aruba and this fantastic hotel.
We spent 7 days at the Occidental Grand Aruba Jun 21 to 28 and will never return. The hotel is beautiful, with a nice beach and newly renovated rooms. But, the service was horrible. I have stayed at many all inclusive resorts and 6 times in different hotels in Aruba. At check in, we waited over 2 hours in line. There were 2 people working the desk and they honestly seemed surprised that we were there. On Friday, only 1 person was working the desk and it took over 3 hours to check in. The hotel is horribly understaffed. We asked on many occasions to speak with a manager and there was never one on duty. On Sunday, I set up a meeting with the manager and food and beverage manager for Monday at 10:30 to discuss the issues that we had, when I returned to my room Sunday night there was a message that the manager was unable to make the meeting. I tried to re-schedule, but they would not meet. On 2 days the pool bar ran out of rum and beer by 2:00. Everyday the beach bar closed down for 20 to 40 minutes so that the bartender could re-stock. The restaurants are about 40% full, but you cannot get a reservation. To quote the food and service manager "we have the buffet for the overflow." I didn't pay $2,000 to eat at a buffet for the week. The buffet was adequate, but service there was abysmal, no one filled water glasses, left napkins, cleaned up broken glass on the floor. Stay away.
My friend and I visited the Occidential 10/26/2006 - 10/30/2006. It was a 5 day 4 night all-inclusive trip. When we arrived we got the runaround checking in. First our room wasn't ready, so we waited. When we finally got a room, it had 1 king size bed. (We are 2 single females and wanted separate beds). I called the desk and was told that they could move us and that a room was ready. We got to the desk and proceeded to wait in line again. Eventually, we got another room. When we got to the room, it was under construction. (Don't you think they should know this before they give out the room??). We returned to the front desk, where we proceeded to get the runaround before finally getting a room. It took almost 2 hours to get a room. (It was after 4:00pm and we were dragging our luggage around with us from room to room). This is ridiculious, and not how we wanted to start off a short vacation. The sad part is that we were not the only ones getting the runaround checking it. There were others that were just as upset and that had also been to 2 or 3 different rooms.
The pool and grounds were kept clean and most of the staff was friendly. (except for the front desk.. which unfortunately is the first impression of the hotel, and not filling our mini bar).
The buffet was repetitive, and served the prior days leftovers. One night we had reservations for the Italian restaurant. We got there about 30 min late. They would not seat us, however we could see plenty of empty tables.
All in all, this hotel lacked FUN. There was no music by the pool, the bar and night club had no activities, no lively music and nothing to do. (they said the hotel was totally full.. so it wasn't lacking people). People were sitting in the chairs by the lobby and hanging out. It was an indication to the hotel that they are bored!
I liked Aruba and would definitely go back. (El Gacho's was fabulous). However, I would look elsewhere before booking this hotel.
I think we paid too much money for what we got.
We traveled to Aruba from Dallas on 10/16/06 and returned on 10/23/06. Stayed at this property but upgraded to the Royal Club level. This vacations was absolutely perfect; the accommodations were strictly first class as well as the food. The staff at the hotel couldn't do enough for us! Thanks for a wonderful 25th wedding anniversary!
Date Of Stay- Aug. 26th through Sept.2 2006
History- Bought timeshare in 2001, Mandatory All Inclusive.
I would like to begin this review saying that we are Midwestern (Wisconsin) residents who frankly do not need or want to many frills. We just want what we pay for and do understand that any business can have a bad day or you can have a bad experience on any given day at any hotel or resort. My wife and I both travel for work and have eaten at many fine restaurants for business; from the Four Seasons in Paris France to some of the top exclusive restaurants in Greece. We know what a 5 star restaurant is and we know what good down home cooking is. We have been around as they say. With this in mind I will try to be fair in our review of our trip and the Occidental.
This was our 4th time to Aruba in 4 years. We had my mother in law with us and I wanted this trip to be very nice as she had never been there.
We flew United out of Chicago. It was a good flight and on time. I had e-mailed our taxi driver and he was waiting for us when we arrived. He is a nice man and provides very good service and is also very knowledgeable about the Island.
We arrived at the Allegro and I was really looking forward to the glass of champagne that we were supposed to receive. Not that I needed champagne just that I thought it would be a nice touch. It never happened and I was told later that the bellhop couldn’t serve everyone as he also is delivering luggage. Do you not think that they would maybe have things a little better organized than this? I though so but I let it go.
We waited in line to check-in, as there was no special area for vacation club members to go to as we have been told there would be. As we approached the counter we gave our name and he pulled our paper work. On top of the paper work highlighted in Yellow were the words mandatory all-inclusive. This was no surprise, as we knew it. The person checking us in then asked if we were going to buy all-inclusive?? I said do we have to? He said no and that we could do just the drink package for 45 and if we decided to eat at the resort pay for a meal ticket and go to a restaurant. I said sure- I would do the drink package for myself my wife and my mother in law who was staying in our banked unit from the previous year. He took our credit card and ran it through. We signed it and we were ready to get our wristband. The guy goes into the back office to find out what color wristband we get and comes out with time share rep. She is the rep from the vacation club. She is probably the hardest working, most concerned individual that works there. She should be running that place- it would defiantly be better. Anyway- she in forms us that we have to buy all-inclusive as per our contract and I said no problem. So they run our credit cards through for the balance and we receive our black wristband.
The bellman was standing near patiently with our luggage and now is gone and our luggage is sitting there on the cart. I ask another guy there if he will bring it up and he says he will when he returns so we head off to our unit. We go to the unit my mother in law is staying and I want to show her how every thing is all inclusive now and that her fridge will be full and there will be a liquor cabinet on the wall. We get inside and the liquor cabinet is empty and so is the fridge. I tell her I will call and we head for our room. We get inside and we have liquor and inside our fridge we have 2 cans of Pepsi, Balashi, Diet Pepsi and Seven-Up. Also 2 bottles of water. I thought I will have to call to have them fill it up later. I am paying all-inclusive and should have what I want where I want it I thought. (I did end up calling numerous times for this and they never got filled. I don’t know why but they only stock what we got. 2 cans and bottles of each. This is a rip-off- how can they charge you all inclusive and limit you?) Also, my mother-in-law never got water until the third day, when finally, after she had called down twice, I went to the front desk and demanded it. The ice machines weren’t working either – until Wednesday when they finally stocked the coolers with little bags of ice.
We were told upon check-in that we could make dinner reservations for 4 nights, but had to wait until 9:00 a.m. the next day. When I went down to make reservations, I found out that certain restaurants are closed on certain nights, and tried to make a reservation at each of the 4 specialty restaurants: Mexican, asian (Zen), Italian (L’Olio) and Desire (steak and seafood). The first night we ate at the buffet and the buffet is a buffet. It is the same thing just about every day and night the food was the same. They do use the food over and over and over. Mexican scrambled eggs are the previous days scrambled eggs bacon sausage and peppers mushrooms etc from the omlet station. Not 5 star or even close in my books but we ate it. It was good the first couple of days but to be truthful it got old after 2 days.
Sunday night we ate at the Zen which was the Japanese specialty. They seat you around a hibachi table (7 people) and the chef does his thing. We had the three of us and another couple married for 50 years. They were very nice. The show the chef puts on is very nice but I wish the food was just as good. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t spectacular. They charge 70.00 for this per person if you didn’t have all inclusive and I don’t think it is worth it.. The food was very similar to what we would get at a Japanese buffet here in Wisconsin for 11.99.
During the day my wife lounged by the pool and I walked around and visited some casino’s. Made some and lost some. I also walked around our resort being nosy. There are a lot of things not finished and some things missing such as some glass doors missing, painting not done etc. I also spoke with some staff I hadn’t seen in two years, How can I say it – they are down in the dumps. The place lacks fun now. I am not going to mention names but they told me that all they hear are complaints. People are pissed off. I thought maybe it was just us Americans- but I spoke with people from England, Spain etc who could not believe the place. Most everyone I spoke with who did not own a timeshare said they would not return and regretted being there. The people with a timeshare want out or changes made- especially to the all-inclusive part.
We also ate at the L’Olio’s on Thursday night. The service was very good. Our waiter was from Colombia- very nice guy – worked hard and deserved a tip which we left. The bread was very good, the salad was good but when it comes to the main course it sucks. It is bland and lacks something- when you are done eating it seems like you just left a fast food Italian place. It’s hard to describe but it all just lacks any spark. After this meal, we decided to cancel our reservation at Desires and went downtown to eat Iguana Joes (see below) instead.
Wednesday night they had a Managers party or something to that effect. They never told anyone we found out walking by. It was a nice gesture, I met the Hotel General Manager . We spoke a little but I will tell you right now. They do what they want and no matter what we as guests or as timeshare owners say they are not budging. It is like they cannot see there hand in front of their face. Of course the time sahre manager was there. Talking to him is like talking to a wall. All he does is talk around things. His answer to everything was to upgrade. More money yada yada yada. I also work in sales and I hope to God I don’t sound like him. We were told that the reason the dress code was put in place was to preserve furniture and because the A/C was cold. Gimme a break. Then the General Manager stepped in to say it was to create ambience. Aruba has a great ambiance already and it doesn’t need Occidental trying to refine it.
There was just a sense of uneasiness while we were there. I think it was coming from the staff. I really feel for the workers. Not the people in white shirts but the workers. They are not happy- I think you had to be there before Occidental to understand.
We had some great meals but unfortunately they were all off the resort. We ate at Texas De Brazil. I love it there – although a bit pricey- 170.00 for 3, we had deserts and drinks we didn’t have to have but the food and salad bar are great. We also ate at Iquana Joe’s downtown. I had a native Aruban dish called keshi yena. It is chicken and gouda cheese. It was so good. The best. The lethal Lizards are also great.
All in all it was a great time. It is just sad that the Occidental didn’t contribute to it other than the friendly I mentioned earlier.
I told the time share manager that the best compliment anyone can give a business is to recommend them to family friends or fellow travelers. I cannot honestly do this. There are much better places to stay than the Occidental such as Radisson or the Wyndham I believe.
There are people that have posted negative reviews and I thought boy- how can things be that bad. I have now rethought my position and yes they are. The worst ripoff the Occidental is doing is the all inclusive. It just doesn’t seem to sink into these people that they are making a bad situation worse by making people eat substandard food at a resort that is going through growing pains. I, like a lot of others regret being at this resort now where before we loved it.
Things they could do:
Do not require all inclusive
Do not force people to wait in line to make reservations for restaurants that they leave dissatisfied
If you want to call it 5 star then provide 5 star amenities- such as ice and a stocked fridge
In Aruba formal wear is not the norm but an exception- change the policy
Lighten up- we want fun not a morgue
One last thing, we went to Radisson to gamble a little, and the general manager of the casino approached us because he saw our wristbands. He asked how the Occidental was doing and at first we just said “okay”. He then stated he had lived in New York for the past several years and after chatting with him a bit we wanted to tell him the truth. We were very honest about our likes and dislikes. He just shook his head, and told us that the past 11 people that he has spoken with that were staying at the Occidental had the very same problems and were also very dissatisfied. His exact words were “the Occidental is in trouble”. He said it is well known all around the island and he felt really bad for the timeshare owners.
We also had the same experience with our cab driver. He didn’t want to say anything before we had the chance to experience it ourselves, but when he picked us up on Saturday to take us to the airport, and we told him how we felt, he said it is so well known that people are very unhappy about the changes at the resort.
We stayed at the Occidental Grand Aruba All-Inclusive late May 2006 on the advice of our Travel Agency. They were told the renovations were complete. The hotel is still under construction. Jackhammers would start at 7:00a.m. The hotel does not have the capability to handle their guest. The buffet is the only consistent restaurant and it was the same food everyday. During our stay, one other restaurant was open. You could not get reservations because they would only seat so many people per evening. They would turn you away from the restaurant when it was less than half-full. We did not have a fire exit; the two floors below us were under construction. The ice machines were nonexistent. They were out of bottled water. Room service was not available. Clean towels were a problem. There was a $5 cash charge for floats per day per person. No nightly entertainment. The only evening lounge was the lobby bar. Managers would not address any of the problems and were very rude. We defiantly did not get what we paid for.
We have traveled to Aruba for several years and have always stayed at the Allegro Occidential. The staff has been great and they hotel is also alot of fun! They said they were renovating 2005 seen the plans looks great. Can't wait to see the results.
Where to start, stayed March 5-12, 2005. This place was great. Nice clean lobby. Our room was clean and had a great view of the pool area & ocean. Pool and beach awesome awesome awesome. Great pool bar say hi to Quinlatina (runs the pool bar, great lady). Food was great at the restaurant & buffet breakfast & lunch (we ate out for dinner).
Once again the beach was white sand super clean great beach bar. Lots of water sports just a hundred feet away. The pool is huge with waterfalls & hot tubs. I would stay again in a heart beat just over all a great place.
Also try out a bar/restaurant called Smokey Joe's. It's a couple hundred feet north of the resort. Ask for Danny & Giovanni & Andrea. (Giovanni the funniest bartender ever, had us rolling) I cant say enough had a great time better than I expected.
Aruba = Heaven Well, Hot Heaven
After reading mixed reviews about the Allegro, we were just alittle apprehensive. But we are so glad that we stayed there the week of March 6th 2004! From the front desk to the beach, the staff was very friendly and helpful. The gardens and beach area are beautiful, clean, and well manicured. The swimup bar has a different drink every day. My wonderful wife got a big kick out of what the "tropical drink of the day" was going to be! The beach was crowded. Because I sunburn easily, I needed to have some shade every day. In order to obtain a palapa, we had to tip the towel shack man, & he made sure we had the same one every day. Any room above the 4th floor (palm tree line) had a breathtaking view. The rooms are not "brand new" and could use alittle touchup, but everything worked just fine & was very clean. I believe they are refurbishing in 2005.
The breakfast & lunch buffets were very good. I do not like a dinner buffet, but I went with an open mind. Even my wife, who likes buffets, thought it was bad. They have two other sit down restaurants: The Papaya & Caruso's (which is an upscale Italian Rest. which you can only eat at once). Every morning you can make reservations at the Papaya, until it fills up. We did every AM and loved this restaurant!!! It is located near the beach and they specialize in grilled entrees. It was delicious! They also have a Pizza Shack that is buried in the tropical foliage. Make sure you try it for lunch or a snack. They make pizza's with whatever toppings you want. They also serve great hot dogs there.
My wife and I also looked forward to the nightly entertainment. Yes, a lot of the shows are lip-synced, but the dancers give it their all. We enjoyed their zeal and the music. Also they had acrobats from Cuba that were fantastic.
We enjoyed are stay at the Allegro, and would highly recommend the resort.