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.
- 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