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First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

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Burlington, Vermont
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86 posts
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First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

Hello... i'm hoping someone who has visited the Occidental Grand recently can help clarify a few things. we are NOT staying as part of the royal club or what ever it's called! We've visited many AI's all over carribean and mexico. We have a few questions:

1) we have a transfer provided by DePalm tours - usually we request a "direct" or "Private" transfer so that we don't have to endure 6 stops at other hotels before we get to ours - we're coming in on a saturday - would this be recommmended?

2) bedding - how is the bedding - soft and comfy, nice pillows or hard and flat pillows?

3) room number - we've paid for deluxe ocean view - any suggestions on a good room or area?

4) Beach or Pool? we are normally pool people, full sun - but there appears from the pics to be a lot of trees around the pool area - and if it's a fight to get a chair - whats the preferred?

5) buffets - is there plenty of seating at the buffets so we don't have to fight for a table at dinner, lunch, breakfast?

6) are the restaurants by reservation and how easy is it to get a reservation or get into the restaurants if no reservation required

7) drinks - how are the drinks - will they "top it off" if i find it's a little light?

8) we're coming in Saturday 4/6 - saturday 4/13 - how much time is customary to allow to get back to the airport and through customs, etc... on our return? how is customs at this airport? we just returned from Jamaica and they have changed things now, you don't need to clear in Jamaica on your way out - they do spot searches before loading the plane, but no customs lines to deal with.

9) it appears from the Occidental that there are many restaurants and shopping all within walking distance - is this the case ? is walking at night and are shops open in the evenings? I think i read someplace that they are closed on sundays?

thank you very much for any and all input - i'm a bit concerned as the occidental reviews haven't been stellar of late - i'm not a high end resort or hotel girl, but i like good service, good food and a comfortable stay for my money!

Minneapolis...
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for Aruba, Palm - Eagle Beach
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1. Re: First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

1. Quickest, easiest way to your resort is via taxi. Plenty of taxis right outside the airport doors and the fares are set by the gov't.

8. Saturdays are the busiest days at the Aruba Airport. You will clear U.S. Customs at the Aruba airport and will also go through Aruba immigration and 2 security checkpoints. Arrive 3 hours prior to your flight.

9. Alot of shops and restaurants right outside your resort that are walkable. Some shops are open at night and most are closed on Sundays.

Englishtown, New...
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2. Re: First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

1) take the taxi. It is approx $25

2)the bedding is alright, not 4 star

3) since you are not a timeshare owner expect a room overlooking a parking lot or ac. Complain right away for a new room

4)no problem getting a chair by pool. You will need the shade , it gets hot. Watch out got swim up bar, I never see those people 1) take the taxi. It is approx $25

2)the bedding is alright, not 4 star

3) since you are not a timeshare owner expect a room overlooking a parking lot or ac. Cplaon right away for a new room

4)no problem getting a chair by pool. You will need the shade , it gets hot. Watch out for the swim up bar, I never see those people ever go to a rest room. Forget getting a palapa by the beach unless you get up at 5am

5)the buffet is packed with long lines and the same food day after day. Plan on eating across the street a few days. Overall food is 2 stars at best

6)the only decent restruants is the Italian. Eat there as many times as you can and book your reservation early, or you will not get in at all

7)the drinks are not top shelf. Always ask for top shelf brands sometimes you get lucky

5)the buffet is packed with long lines and the same food day after day. Plan on eating across the street a few days. Overall food is 2 stats at best

6)the only decent restruants is the Italian. Eat there as many times as you can and book your reservation early, or you will not get in at all

7)the drinks are not top shelf. Always ask for top shelf brands sometimes you get lucky

8)you will need at least 3 to 3.5 hrs to get through customs. Airport is ridiculous

Extra)plan on eating out a few nights and enjoy the island. Rent a jeep and drive to the other side of the island? It is beautiful

The whole island and its people and food are great. Next time try it w /o the AI and enjoy

Edited: 9:15 am, March 02, 2013
New York
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3. Re: First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

Most people recommend not going AI when traveling to Aruba, too many places to eat, too many places that you can easily get to outside of your hotel. It's not Mexico or Jamaica where it is unsafe to venture outside of your hotel area.

Niskayuna, New York
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for Aruba
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4. Re: First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

Sunseeker, I hope you have a great trip. I've never stayed at the Occidental, but our first three visits were to the Tamarijn, another AI on Eagle Beach, and we loved it. I would never discourage anyone from staying at an AI--there are a lot of pluses. If you are courteous to the staff at the Occidental, I'm sure they'll do what they can to make your trip special.

Please post a trip report!

Connecticut
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5. Re: First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

Many folks prefer A-I and Occidental is in a great spot to go out and explore after dinner. You do not have to do A-I in Aruba, but many love the convenience.

6. Re: First time in Aruba - Occidental Grand

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