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“Better than I had expected” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Aruba

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Occidental Grand Aruba
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 83 | Palm Beach, Aruba, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba   |  
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Rates From $ 195
Ranked #20 of 23 Hotels in Palm - Eagle Beach
South Easton, Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Better than I had expected”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Just got back from a week spent at Occidental Grand Aruba. This was not my first time in Aruba, but it was the first time at the Occidental. I spent a lot of time on Trip Advisor prior to my vacation and went into it very skeptical based on the other reviews posted here. I thought I'd be walking into a dump from the '70s. From the moment I walked through the front door to the moment I left, I was pleasantly surprised! First, understand, I'm a bit of a princess and have high expectations! As an RCI member, check in was a very pleasant process. We sat with Belinda and she gave us all the information we needed. She was so very kind and really set the tone for the week. I was impressed that there were nice snacks, a full (top shelf) bar, and a nice sitting area in the lounge. From there we made dinner reservations and then went to our room. Again, based on the other reviews, I was expecting the worst....I was pleasantly surprised. The room was huge! The king sized bed was fabulous, although the pillows really were awful. Problem solved when I asked for additional pillows. Having 2 full bathrooms with tons of towels (big towels...bigger than most bathtowels at other hotels) was a huge convenience. The shows at nighttime were really enjoyable. For my kids, that was their favorite part of the trip!! The performers are very talented and work very hard to give the guests a good show, even when there is only 50 people in the crowd! Kudos to them!!!!

The food was okay. By the 4th day of the breakfast and lunch buffet, I was done with having the same thing over and over again. It was a little like Groundhog Day, same food....different day. Dinners in the nice restaurants was good. I would say that the Asian restaurant was the best, followed by the Arubian, and then the Italian. We didn't eat at the Mexican restaurant, I didn't find the menu for that one to be too exciting. But by the end of the week, we were ready to go get lunch and dinner off property. Just couldn't eat the same thing one more time.

The pool is rather dated and could definitely benefit from having some tile work done and maybe invest in some new pool chairs, they weren't comfortable by any means. We never had any trouble getting seats, perhaps it's the time of year? We also loved the beach and never had trouble getting a palapa with plenty of chairs. My husband would bring towels down at around 7:30 and it was just fine.

The room itself was very clean. Any sand on the floors was brought in by us from being on the beach and was cleaned in the morning. I've seen reviews where people complained about the view because they saw a parking lot...well guess what....if you turn your head to the right, you see the ocean not the parking lot!! I thought it was lovely. I was also impressed that housekeeping came in every day to replace towels, make the bed, etc. In most time shares, they only come in once/week.

Overall, the Occidental Grand Aruba exceeded my expectations. The negative comments I have are: (1) please make this optional all-inclusive, not manditory all-inclusive. We are not drinkers and definitely did not get our money's worth out of the all inclusive part; (2) offer free wi-fi!!! Seriously, charging $20 something a day for wifi access is ridiculous when your guests are paying a fortune for all inclusive!; (3) do something with the parking lot....way too small, and way too overcrowded. Had to park on a curb one night, not good; (4) update the pool area. We went to another resort during the day to use their pool because they had a kiddie pool and it was just much nicer.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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NJ
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Before I travel, I do alot of research and to say that I needed a relaxing vacation is the understatement this year. I always read both good and bad reviews and take each with a grain of salt. So here is my review, I booked through a travel agent, I was there for 8 days and 7 nights, and I upgraded before I went to the Royal Club. I usually only go to Adults only resorts which this is not. The property is well maintained and cleaned constantly all day every day. I agree with other reviewers that regular check-in, guest services and bellman areas need serious revamping, as the people that work at these first stations and first interactions with guests which give the FIRST impression of the resort get failing marks from me for the following reasons: Bellman, non-existent except on Saturdays high turnover day. Guest services, too busy on their cell phones, texting. talking behind the front desk (where you can't see them but can hear them) and on the internet and never in the eight days I was there were they visible at their respective desks serving guests, so if you don't upgrade to the Royal Club expect to deal with this nonsense. Even if you do find someone, they are kinda rude and not helpful. Not what I look for in a first impression. When they realize you are in the Royal Club boy does the attitude change, sorry too late. The Royal Club Concierge mine was Veronica is just lovely, our room was lovely and clean, our view was fabulous (no complaints). She made all of our specialty restaurant reservations right there on the spot. The Royal Club restaurant food is fabulous they have amazing food and services were excellent except for when they had a male server there, then it was just simply chit chat and not the level of service we recieved at other times, but again, the food was fabulous. It was Gordon Ramsey quality if you know who he is..... Specialty Restaurants, we ate in all but the Mexican. Carribean Fusion, view and location get high marks service was good, food average. The Palm, food was the same pretty much everyday for breakfast & lunch, soups changed and salad bar changed everyday. I had good service except for twice and I just refused to sit with those servers again. Hibachi or Zen food was average, Chef excellent, go here for the fun not the food. Italian (run for your life) unless you are having the lamb chops which I heard from 20 or more people are excellent, service and view were lovely though. Bars & Bartenders: Of course our days were spent mostly at the pool, bartenders Quntina, Eric and Luis are excellent, as are Freddie in the Lobby Bar and his daughter. Some other bartenders can't be bothered and some will do anything for you. The one thing we did not like was they kept moving them around, it would be preferable if they kept the same bartender in the sam location when they worked. There is not pool side/beach drink service except Royal Club members and not really visible or available. Security all I can say is they were always visible, always around and extremely nice and helpful. Perhaps they should go work at the front desk and guest services. The Beach.. we did go two or three times and the water is warm and the beach is well maintained. I went in low season resort was only at 50%, I never had a problem getting a chair or towels, or anything else, but I could see that you would have a problem in High season n all areas as there does not see to be enough room for 100% full. This is a vertical Hotel as they all are in Aruba and I am use to horizontal sprawling resorts it is like building after building on a NYC street. Entertainment: oh brother.. The lobby entertainment nightly from 7 to 9 pm is good, the shows are horrific, terrible, don't bother and they need to seriously improve as well as the events that go on during the day need improvement. Aruba Airport make sure you alot at least 2 hours to go through immigration and customs at least twice for each country being Aruba and USA. Weather was gorgeous and if you want to know anything else, please ask....

Room Tip: My room was lovely #1708.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middletown, Ohio, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

This propery wass amazing. The food was excellent, and so was the service to go with it. This was our 2nd time there and we will be back again. The facility was clean and well maintained. The only problem we had was with the hot water in our shower and as soon as we told them it was fixed. We loved the Rolyal Club beach bar. Jessica, who worked at that bar, took excellent care of us. She even helped us with our activites off the property.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

We were at the occidental the last week of November. This is about our 18th or 19th all inclusive vacation. It’s our first to the island of Aruba. This is a wonderful and safe island. The resort is 30 plus years old. If a bit of caulking and a cracked tile are a problem, stop reading and find someplace else. The place is not perfect. Remember you’re on holidays. Unless a tile falls on your head what’s the problem. It’s not so bad that you can’t have a great vacation. We had a very good holiday.
The airport and transition to our resort went smoothly. Check in was quick and smooth.
You will find time share personnel at this resort, they were polite and once I expressed I wasn’t interested they left us and our friend alone.
The resort
With the resort being older, the staff on the resort is as well. They have, a mature well trained and experience staff. This makes a big difference in how well your vacation will go. We had 3 experiences that proved they not only do their jobs but go well beyond.
The food
This resort had one of the smallest selections of food (at the buffet) I’ve seen. I was thinking this would be a problem. They proved me wrong. They are more worried about quality them quantity. Try the smoked salmon, it’s about the best I’ve had in a long time. It left me with memories of British Colombia. This may in part have to do with a large number of time share guests on the resort. They can eat on the resort or the many, many restaurant just across the street. We did have a minor issue at the sea food restaurant. I spoke to the restaurant manager and he completely corrected the problem. We also had a concern with one of room services. I spoke to the girl at the front desk and went back to the beach. An hour or so later I went to the room to change and everything was corrected. My hat off to the entire staff. The resort is slower in November. I think it was about half full. We were always able to get a drink at any of the bars in less than 2 minutes. I found the entire bar staff to be quick and friendly.
The beach
This may be the reason I will not go back to one of the resorts on this stretch of beach. The beach is nice white sand. The first concern is the small drop off about 2 feet in. it drops about 1 ½ - 2 feet. This may not sound like much but try to walk out. This didn’t prove to be a problem for any of my group.
During the week I had to help a couple of older people out. If you have smaller kids it may be a concern. The second and a larger problem for me is I like to snorkel. My wife is not a good swimmer and we will stay closer to shore. This water was murky. You will lose sight of your hand once it goes down 12 inches. In only 2 feet of water I could not see the bottom. The big boats, jet skis, banana boats, and sail boats will not allow you to go out any further than 30 feet. The water is still murky at that point. Maybe this is an isolated time of the year.
Off the resort
This is a must, walk across the street and see the vendors, turn left and go past the Starbucks to a plaza and just behind it a 3 story mall. The Starbucks has free WI Fi.
If I missed anything please contact me.
frank

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

I have to admit based on the previous reviews I was scared to go but pictures were enticing. My trip was Nov 24-Dec 1st and I enjoyed every minute of it.
We didn't hit beach much because we did alot of excursion such as horseback riding, sunset sail tour, onsite spa on the beach, party bus guided tour and some sightseeing in walking distance of the resort.

The entire beach stretch was public but still manageable to walk along however you really had to reserve spot by placing item on chairs or you wouldn't get seat.
There was extra seating but additional charge from local vendors.

The food on speciality restaurant were good but the best for us was the carribean and the Oriental Hibachi side. Benjamin was very amusing cook ,funny and culinary skilled.

The only gripes were the variety in the buffet restaurant, the no pressure timeshare which manager made me want to punch him, i had excuse myself to restroom because he clearly needs sales refresher training. Overall Vincent the presenter was pleasant and respected my opinion of what I want in vacation unlike his manager.

We are use swim bar or someone walking around to ask if you want drink along water areas but here wasn't option.

The rooms were good except the cleaning sponges they kept leaving in room instead of actual wash rags but that too me was disliked by many guest and the shampoo soap & washing gel stank more on cheap side, I did bring body wash & my loathe rag so I made out well.

The Tv lost reception at night kept saying on the screen lost signal.

The casino went in on my last night but didn't stay long it was cool but not like Vegas setting.

The restaurant staff and the cleaning staff was very accomodating and helpful even the excursion desk.

My checking was My Time which I like everything was schedule but at times felt our dinner was often late and we waited awhile to even be seated in restaurant but on vacation you learn patience.

Overall I gave the resort 4.6 because despite some minor things we really had good time, loved location and meet some really interesting staff and vacationeers.

I loved my first time visit to Aruba:)

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

First of all, the staff was generally excellent. But who goes on vacation to interact with excellent staff?

The facility itself was merely average. The pool was rundown, the rooms were so-so and nothing was to the level one would expect from 4-star hotel. Food was okay. I've had worse, but a whole week of this food would make me go bonkers. The liquor was also awful. What the Occidental considers "rail" tastes like gasoline (no-name alcohol), and their top shelf is what we call rail. For example, they have basic booze like Malibu and Bacardi hidden down below and will serve that if you specifically ask for it, otherwise you're getting crap.

This complaint is beyond the Occidental's control, so I don't fault them, but I want readers to be aware. Maybe it was just the time of year, but we were overwhelmed by white trash at this hotel. I mean, it was shocking. Everyone had shaved heads, mustaches, barb wire tattoos and chain smoked while talked loudly and obnoxiously. I know this sounds crazy. Turns out, Jet Blue has a cheap direct flight from the place where all of these people came from.

I wouldn't stay here again. That said, this place would be fine if you're low maintenance and don't set your expectations too high. I had high expectations since travel sites call this a 4-star resort. It is not.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Aruba, responded to this review, December 20, 2012
Dear wx8,
Thank you for taking the time to write your review. We’re glad that you enjoyed the service that our team offered you; however your review is concerning.
Regarding our food and beverage service, please know that we have several restaurants open; The buffet, which offers a large variety of salads, fruits, and different Aruban main courses and the Beach Club, that offers fresh sandwiches and salads. For dinner we have four a la carte options serving several types of cuisine, which we hoped provides our guests with options each day to meet their own tastes., your feedback is very important to us and will be shared with our executive chef for consideration on opportunities to improve offerings at the hotel. Also, please know that our team typically uses local brands for cocktails. Of course, we also carry premium brands which are available upon request.
Our goal is to provide guests with an incredible experience, and we want everyone to enjoy themselves at our resort. Our staff and security are always on hand to assist in situations when guests may be inconvenienced or disturbed. I’ve also addressed your comments with our head of security to ensure the peace of all our guests is respected.
We do hope to have the pleasure to welcome you back to sunny Aruba!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

My husband and I recently returned from a beautiful honeymoon in sunny (and always breezy) Aruba. We stayed at the all-inclusive resort The Occidental Grand. At first sight the lobby seems sleek and modern with tile floors and straight-lined furniture and accents. We were prompty greeted and told our room was available. Upon hearing we were there on our honeymoon the staff was extra kind and helpful. We immediately went to guest services to schedule dinners for the week, as well as our honeymoon massage. We were told you could only schedule 4 dinners at a time. This was fine since we planned other activities for the week and only needed to schedule 4 out of the 8 nights. On Thursdays (or the week we went) the resort hosts a Beach BBQ we found the food to be good and experience worthwhile.

Room:
Our room was beautiful with a view overlooking the pool and beach. Balcony is enclosed which we found safe as well as practical. Tile floors are VERY slippery be cautious when coming in from the pool, beach, or coming out of the shower. We used our towels to line the floor to the bed as not to slip... we are both in our 20's mind you! Bathroom: small and somewhat awkward the door opens and you must close it to get by to the toilet which is tucked in a corner. The stand-up shower is half tile and half-glass door. This design causes some spillage of water (mind the tiles as mentioned previously), also the tile is very high and difficult to step into. I am somewhat short and had to practically climb in. I could see this being difficult for kids especially to try and bathe them since the shower handle and bath nozzle is behind the tile part you would need to reach awkwardly constantly... prepare to get wet! Beds: absolutely heavenly ...like falling into a cloud. Fridge filled daily with beer, soda, and delicious water. I kid you not Aruba water is better than any US spring water. Have no fear we did not get sick once from it. Room features a safe, closet, desk, chair, and some drawers. However we found there was not enough drawer space and needed to use our suitcase still. Housekeeping does a wonderful job!

Dinner:
We planned late dinners 8/9 at the Italian, Mexican, Beach-Front Caribbean, and Hibachi Japanese. Overall we had good experiences with service especially at the Japanese hibachu which was more like a show. If we had to rate them 1) Japanese 2) Italian 3) Mexican 4) Caribbean. Downfalls: Small dessert @ Japenese, Caesar Salad @ Italian left a lot to be desired, no fresh Maragaritas @ Mexican and Guacamole tasted bad, Rock/Caribbean Lobster @ Caribbean tasted pre-frozen.

Breakfast/Lunch Buffet:
We were unhappy that the lunch buffet close to the beach and pool was closed most of the week. Instead we needed to go inside to the regular buffet. This is inconvenient to the guest. The resort should consider having the beach front lunch buffet open each day for lunch. The food itself was delicious. I am a sucker for good tortilla chips... the resort has heavenly ones! Great with the fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and ice cold sour cream. Breakfast is monotonous but good. Lunch has a pasta station each day and American burgers and fries among other things.

Spa: Very small. Limited services. Left a bit to be desired.

Pool: Loved the rock swim-up seats. Great pool bar. We loved pool bingo, dance classes and other events!!

Casino: Small but fun! Free bingo two times every night!

Location: Great spot! In the high-rise hotel area. Directly located on a boardwalk within walking distance of other hotels and restaurants on beach. Also hotel is directly across from shopping area and mall.

Beach: Beautiful!!!!!!!!! Enough said! bring you sunscreen though!! The resort down offer a beach bar and tiki huts for shade.

People: From the staff to the other patrons what we loved most were the people. We met so many other nice people vacationing, many of which owned timeshare at the resort. This is something the resort will sort of BEG you to check out. We opted not to however they give out tickets and restaurant passes and things to those who do so it could be worth it!

Overall great place we hope to return someday!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Aruba

Address: J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 83 | Palm Beach, Aruba, Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Aruba > Palm - Eagle Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Casino Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#10 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#12 Spa Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Aruba 4*
Number of rooms: 368
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the legendary island of Aruba, the Occidental Grand Aruba is an all-inclusive luxury hotel on beautiful Palm Beach. The Grand Aruba Resort features a casino, dining, bars, nightlife, water sports and elegant event space for meetings & weddings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
Occidental Aruba
Aruba Grand Occidental
Occidental Hotel Aruba
Grand Aruba
Occidental Grand Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach

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