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“Good Value” 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 $ 225
Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Good Value”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Stayed Dec 2-8 . Going back and forth bewteen the RIU and this hotel . Very glad we chose Occidental. Great location, great beach.. more than enough chairs even if you dont get down to the beach super early. Food was above average.. buffets for breakfast lunch and dinner (themed dinners) had somethng for everyone. Really impressed with a la carte restaurants relative to other all inclusives we have stayed at .. particularly RIU. Had a steak and lobster and the caribbean restaurant, veal medallions at the Italian and really good sushi and pad thai at the asian . Rooms are a little small as are the bathrooms, but conisdering we are only there to sleep and shower, it was not an issue for us.. still big enough . We ate out for dinner 2 nights and still saved money vs. staying at a regular resort. All around good experience at the Occidental.

Room Tip: book all your dinner reservations for the ala carte restaurants when you first arrive
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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English first
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

It was my first time in Aruba, we stayed in the Occidental with the all inclusive package. The pool was great, the beach was beautiful, the bartenders were extremely nice and enthusiastic. However I was extremely disappointed in the all inclusive food package. Breakfast and lunch is buffet style so there is an unlimited amount of food to eat. Breakfast you really can't go wrong, they had a variety of choices but it was the exact same thing every single morning. To be honest, the Lunch was terrible. I pretty much ate french fries and chicken the entire week, the lunch options at the buffet were very disappointing and boring. The guys we went with skipped lunch every day because they were getting sick of the same food over and over; lunch overall was a big let-down. The all inclusive package gives unlimited alcoholic beverages, which definitely was worth it! Each drink is around $10 so especially if you are a big drinker, it is DEFINITELY worth it to go with the all- inclusive package. Every night for dinner at the Occidental they make you reservations for each different restaurant inside the hotel. They have italian, jamaican, chinese and mexican restaurants. The menu was fixed and we were only allowed to order one of each section (appetizer, entree and dessert.) We were very disappointed in the fixed menus because we all thought it would be unlimited options. The food quality for dinner was not up to par. I have had much better quality food where I live in New York. The best recommendation I have is to eat breakfast in the hotel, drink at the hotel during the day, eat lunch and deal with the same food over and over every day and 100% go out to dinner every night. We were extremely impressed with the restaurants we went to for dinner. We went to Fishbone which was about 30 minutes from the resort an AMAZING FISH RESTAURANT on the water literally, your feet dangle in the water it was amazing!! We also went to EL Gaucho which was a steak/ American restaurant that had great meat. The last night we went to AZZURO in Playa Linda hotel which was EXCELLENT italian restaurant. We were so surprised at how amazing the food was in these restaurants compared to the restaurants in the OCCIDENTAL. It is 100% worth it to eat dinner outside of the hotel every night!!!!!!! Don't settle just eating in the hotel, you will be much happier going out and buying dinner. We also went on the ATV JEEP excursion. I have to be honest, this was not what we were expecting. We ended up traveling up and down mountains in these ATV jeeps, at one point we were scared we would fall over when we were driving down the mountain going to the Natural Pool; That was the scariest part. It is a risk to go on this excursion I would not highly recommend this to everyone, especially children or people who get scared of heights. VERY DANGEROUS. But I have to admit we did see beautiful locations and did get great pictures! We also did some water sports which were fun and worth the money. In my opinion shopping at the expensive stores really was no different then the prices here in the United States. Your only saving tax, so its not that much of a price difference. My biggest complaint next to the food would have to be the hotel reception desk employees. I called room service, who never delivered to our room and getting extra towels was IMPOSSIBLE. I complained numerous times and still did not receive anything in return. The week we stayed was actually the week of HURRICANE SANDY. Our flight was cancelled and we needed to stay 2 more nights at the Occidental, they gave us a distress rate which was still an ABSURD amount of money. After complaining for an hour we got so mad we left and went to the Marriot for the next 2 nights until we were able to leave. The Marriot was BEAUTIFUL and they accommodated us a million times better than the Occidental did. I wish we would have known about how great the Marriot was because it would have been much more worth it to stay there for vacation. I would highly recommend the Marriot even though they don't offer all inclusive, they have great room rates and you can fit 4 people in a room, which the Occidental did not allow. It is a shame that the Occidental has poor desk receptionists and food quality, because their pool and beach is beautiful. If you are a heavy drinker its worth the all inclusive package, but other than that there is no reason to stay at the Occidental, you are better off staying at the Marriot or some other non-inclusive resort. Also the towels in the room smelt BURNT and like cigarettes. The sheets smelt and were itchy. The bedding was not good and the pillows were terrible. The rooms themselves need to be upgraded.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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South Easton, Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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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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
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
33 helpful votes 33 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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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 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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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Aruba

Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Aruba Hotel
Occidental Grand Aruba Hotel Palm/Eagle Beach
Occidental Grand
Occidental Aruba
Aruba Grand Occidental
Aruba Grand
Occidental Hotel Aruba
Grand Aruba
Occidental Grand Aruba Palm - Eagle Beach
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:
#8 Casino Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#11 Luxury Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#17 Family Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Palm - Eagle Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Aruba 4*
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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