Occidental Grand Aruba Reviews – Aruba Hotels – Occidental Grand Aruba

My husband and I went to Aruba for our honeymoon, stayed at the Allegro and had a fantastic time! Aruba is a wonderful island! The people were friendly, it felt very safe, it’s out of the hurricane belt (which is key in october), the weather was great (only rained once that we know of, and we were there during the rainy season)–hot, but with the ever present breeze, which makes it bearable.

Rooms: -The common rooms of the resort (lobby, casino, public bathrooms, restaurants) were very nice–well kept, clean, modern. -The bedrooms, however, were not so great. They were decorated in a 70s sort of style–forest green carpets, white wicker furniture, and everything just looked old. The bathroom needed renovation also, as the tub was peeling. We were put in a smoking room the first night, and then switched to a nonsmoking room thereafter, so we saw 2 rooms, and they were both equally in need of renovation. BUT, the hotel staff did say that they planned to renovate the guest rooms within the next year or so, so they are aware of this problem. All that being said, the rooms did not bother us really; we got used to them right away and it’s not like they were completely gross.

-The water in our rooms was odd. Again, this is nothing that spoiled our time there, but we weren’t able to adjust the temperature of the shower, nor were we able to get cold water out of our bathroom sink.

Hotel service: -The people at the hotel were pretty accomodating, and, as I mentioned, they did switch our rooms when we were first placed in a smoking room. -The wait staff at the various resort restaurants was great. A lot of the servers seemed to work at several of the restaurants, and they were extremely friendly and helpful. We were all-inclusive (as almost everyone was at this resort–in fact, I never saw anyone who wasn’t) and we still were treated very well. It was NOT one of those situations where the all-inclusive people are treated worse than the non AI people (but like I said, I never saw any nonAI people).

-Our maid never gave us new shampoo or soap for 5 days in a row, until I called and asked for it! That was a little odd, because even though we weren’t using much (I had brought my own also), at most hotels they will give you new toiletries every day regardless. But this wasn’t a big deal to us at all, as they did give us the items when we asked for them.

Amenities: -On the AI plan, the resort offered free "non-motorized water sports." We were told this included a whole long list of things from our travel agent, but it ended up being pretty much 1) floaty things for the pool or ocean 2) snorkel gear. We did check out the snorkel gear, but note that there isn’t anywhere you can go with your snorkel gear to see anything unless you have a car. We went in a jeep with another couple and snorkeled on our own out near a lighthouse, so we were able to utilize the equipment, but otherwise, there isn’t much to see on the beach near the hotel. -There was free Bingo at the Casino each night. I played with some other people we met there, and that was fun. The casino has the regular gambling games, but also has nickel and penny slot machines. We don’t gamble much, but did play those for a little bit, which was okay. -The resort offered daily activities that would be posted around on buildings. They didn’t put these up until the day of the events, so you could necessarily plan for a morning activity, unless you asked about it, or you got up early to see what was going on. They had scuba clinics in the pool, they gave water massages, they had dart tournaments, water volleyball games and lots of other things. -Every night, there were shows in the ballroom at the resort. The dancers were from all over, a few from Aruba, many from latin america, some from Bulgaria and other places. They had 6 nights of shows and on Sunday, it was live music–so a different show every night. My husband and I went to 3 of the shows and enjoyed them. It’s basically lip synching and dancing to music. They have a Moulin Rouge show, a Greece show, a Best of Broadway show, a Las Vegas Show, a Circus in the Sky show (amazing acrobatics!), and a few others. Some of the people were very good lip synchers and had great emotion and expression, others not so much. But the dancing was pretty good and the Circus in the Sky night was very impressive. it was fun to go to these shows and have dinner and drinks during them.

–The pool was great, waterfalls, swim-up bar, windy–very nice. it had 2 jacuzzis, which didn’t seem that clean, but they were passable. Still nice.

All of the restaurants were pretty decent. We were there for 8 nights, 9 days, and actually never even ate off of the resort! Even when we went away during the day, we always managed to eat back at the Allegro, and we did not get sick of the food. I got a little tired of feeling so full all the time, but other than that, it was fine. The food was nothing spectacular, but there was more variety in choosing restaurants than some AI deals, so it was pretty good. The pizza shop was some of the best, most healthy tasting pizza I’ve had in a while.

Outside activities: -We ran into a time-share salesman who set us up to have a tour of the time shares at the Allegro, and we were so happy we did this! We talked to a woman for 45 minutes, and basically told her upfront that we were not interested in a time share, but we just agreed to do it because the salesman told us about a free activity gift we could get for it. We could choose from horseback riding, a jeep tour, an ATV tour, parasailing, a night time cruise, and several other things. We chose to go parasailing and we cashed in on that prize right that afternoon! We had to walk down the beach a little to a different hotel and went out parasailing from there. It was so much fun and we saved $80 by listening to the 45 minute time share demonstration (and we got 2 free t-shirts). -We went with another couple who rented a jeep and explored the desert one day. This was a lot of fun, because one might forget that Aruba is, in fact, a desert. We saw goats, donkeys, lots of cactii, an old gold mine, and lots of other cool natural landmarks (like the natural bridge). Many companies also offer tours, if you don’t want to go out on your own, but this is a really neat thing to do. -We went on a snorkeling boat tour with Red Sail Sports (it is the company that is affiliated with the resort). This is where we met several other couples who were very nice, and it was a fun boat ride, as well as the snorkeling. There aren’t any reefs that they take you to, but we did see some fish and other creatures. Most of the tours take you to an old German ship. The water here is a little choppier, but it was still a lot of fun and very cool to see the ship underwater. I am NOT a diver at all and had never been snorkeling before this trip, but I was totally fine in the water, and since it is so easy to float in the salt water, it wasn’t scary at all, even though it was deep at this point.

-We took the bus into town one day (it is only about $2 round trip). It was basically all shops and restaurants, but we went mainly to get souvenirs for family, so that was okay with us.

The Allegro was located in a main strip of other resorts and hotels. Palm beach is said to be the nicest and it was very nice. We were in an area that felt "alive", as there were a lot of active people around, but it wasn’t so busy that it was annoying. We loved our location.

Airport: The airport in Aruba was fine. there is not a lot to do there, so don’t expect many shops or restaurants. I traveled with American Airlines, and the line to check is was extremely long (the other airlines were not), so allow time for that. My husband’s bags were searched, but everyone was still very friendly and it wasn’t a problem at all.

All in all, we had an ideal honeymoon and vacation. It was incredibly relaxing and if you don’t let the little things get to you, it can be amazing! Aruba seems to be a little pricier than the other islands, but to have much better weather (no possibility of hurricanes, and also the constant wind to make the humid weather bearable), feel safer, it was worth it to us. I would probably stay at the Allegro again (unless we wanted to try something new), although I’m guessing that they might raise their prices once they renovate their bedrooms… regardless, I would definitely go back to Aruba. Loved it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *