Ratings based on 133 Guest Reviews

Hear it directly from our travelers
3.6 out of 5
70% of guests recommend
4.1 Room cleanliness
3.7 Service & staff
3.9 Room comfort
TRAVELOCITY GUEST REVIEWS
Hear it directly from our travelers
2 out of 5
by schulers3610from From Michigan

Great beach and the ocean was beautiful.

Posted Sep 23, 2013
We booked our trip back in April 2013 and paid for the entire trip and we were supposed to have an "Ocean View" room. After traveling for 12 hours we arrived to be told at the "check in desk" that they did not have a room for us???? After discussing that we would not go to the Hyatt hotel and walk back to our resort to enjoy the "ALL Inclusive" we paid for, and live out of our suit cases until a room opened up, they finally put us up in someone's time share suite. Then they wanted to move us again! They clearly "over booked" with no regard to their customers. They sent sixty customers to the Hyatt. This was our 4th time back in 14 years to this resort and our last time there. Greedy!!!!!
1 out of 5
by PattySPfrom New York, NY

Quality has gone down dramatically!

Posted Aug 30, 2013
My husband and I stayed here 4 years ago for our honeymoon and had the best time.  With the exception of check-in/dinner reservation process (which was a nightmare!), everything was really fantastic.  Clean rooms, great food, excellent customer service.  So when it came time to book another trip to Aruba we didn't hesitate to book at the Occidental again.  I wish we hadn't - it truly tainted our amazing honeymoon memories!  From the start, there were red flags.  Once we booked, I contacted the hotel to see if there was a way to circumvent the dinner reservations once we check in, given the headache it had been the last time.  It took me about 3 weeks, 4 emails, two phone calls, and 7 tweets (yes, I'm THAT girl) to finally get any sort of response from the hotel!  Finally, they told me they would allow the "one time courtesy" of pre-booking the dinner reservations.  Didn't appreciate the hassle or the attitude, but whatever.  I got my reservations, I was a happy lady.  Unfortunately, I should have known based on how long it took me to get in touch with the hotel prior to our stay, that this place has gone DOWN.  When we checked in they instantly tried to do the time share thing with us, but I'm a frank person and have no problem saying "no, not interested at all."  Our "Vacation Planner" Christina gave us her card, telling us we were her "VIPs" during the trip and to contact her with anything.  HA.  More to come on her.     Check in time is 4:00pm.  We arrived early, fully understanding that we wouldn't be able to check in early based on the reviews we read. (Note that this is fine, even though about 90% of the hotels I've ever stayed at DO accommodate early check in.)  We weren't able to get into our room until 5:15.  That's right  -- AN HOUR AND FIFTEEN minutes late.  Do you know what would happen if I checked OUT an hour and 15 minutes late?  You can bet I'd be charged for the day.  Fine, we were about to move on when we bumped into Christina!  Hey, we're her VIPs after all.  When we told her, her response was, and I quote:  "That's terrible!  You should talk to the front desk."  PAUSE.  "Can I talk to you about our vacation club?"  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Fine, Christina was a waste of time, got it.  This point was further proven as we were checking out.  We probably saw her once a day on our vacation.  Each time she instantly approached us and treated us like her best friends.  "Are you sure I can't talk to you about the vacation club?"  No thanks, Christina.  Then, during check out, my husband and I sat in the lobby with our luggage for about 45 minutes waiting for our cab.  Christina was no more than 10 feet away from us the entire time.  Did Christina come over to us, acting like our best friend, to say goodbye; have a safe trip; or thanks for staying?  NOPE.  Christina was done with us.   (The vacation club pushing is a whole different issue of it's own.  It has to stop.  I've stayed at COUNTLESS places that have timeshares/vacation clubs -- Disney World is a perfect example--  and never once felt bothered by it.  Learn how to do it, because you're doing it wrong.)  Overall everything else in the place is FINE.  Not nice, not horrible, just FINE.  The pool area isn't filthy, just kind of.. dingy.  That's a good word for everything here.  Expect to wait 10 minutes for a drink at the pool bar.  And then expect it to be watered down/melted/just generally not good.  Get the beer, that's the best bet.   The Italian restaurant is the best, and actually the only thing I'd say is GREAT here.  Also I need to give a shoutout to our waiter in the Tepanyaki restaurant.  I can't for the life of me remember his name and I really wish I did.  He was THE BEST.  He should teach customer service classes to this entire hotel.   The Caribbean restaurant, desire, is AWFUL.  Hands down the worst.  We almost walked out and went to the buffet.   The last major issue is the palapas, or beach huts.  I get it.  Everyone wants one and there isn't enough to accommodate all the guests.  But you need to come up with a solution!  You can't expect people to lay out in the caribbean sun all day without any shade available.  My husband and I literally set an alarm every morning at 6:15 to wake up and drag ourselves down to the beach to unofficially reserve a palapa.  Without exaggeration, at that point 75% of them are already taken.  We'd then go back to bed for 2 hours!  Nothing says vacation like a 6:15 wake up call!  While there is a sign up saying this isn't allowed, no one enforces it and it's so rampant that it's what you have to do.  Why not put MORE PALAPAS on the beach?  Or even just some rentable beach umbrellas?   I absolutely plan on returning to Aruba.  But without a doubt, would not go back to the Occidental.  This is so sad to me because I have such happy memories from my honeymoon.  Occidental management, if you're reading this - PLEASE!  Do something about the customer service and overall decline in the quality of your resort.  
2 out of 5
by Jbshoofrom Somers, ct

Caution Hotel Overbooks and sends you elsewhere!

Posted Jul 28, 2013
Booked all inclusive one week stay for my family of four,  arrived at the hotel on the planned check in date, we along with several other guests were informed that they overbooked and wanted to send us to an alternate hotel (Hyatt), which was next to the Occidental.  This was not acceptable as we paid for an all inclusive, and the Hyatt was not, which meant I would need to travel to the Occidental every time my family or I wanted a drink or dinner/snack.  After several hours of escalation we finally got our room (one mysteriously became available).  But wait it gets better.. We were then told that in three days we would need to move to another room, because the owner of the timeshare to which we were staying in was coming in to use the room.  So once again, our search and escalation within the hotel took place again, to finally get another room.  Bottom line.. Way too much stress and anxioty while on vacation.  Not too mention lost time. Staff is ok, but they lack leadership and organization, they tell you want you want to hear at the moment, but customer centricity  does not appear to be a competency widely used.  Would I stay there again? The real answer is maybe.  Food was good, drinks were fine, scenery and beach was awesome. If I was guaranteed a better experience, I would book tomorrow. Will be sending the Occidental corporate office a formal communication on my experience.  I will be anxiously awaiting their response, but will not hold my breath.  On a finally note, pending a formal response from the Occidental company, I am not recommending this hotel at this time.  Our experience was not isolated, it seemed like everyone we talked to, all had a similar story.
3 out of 5
by Dee3471from Virginia

Not worth the $$$

Posted Jul 12, 2013
My first time to Aruba, enjoyed the island but would not stay at this resort again. The Good: Location is great, walking distance of shops and nightlife, staff is friendly and accommodating, beach is great; however bar does not open until 11AM, even for a soda, pool with swim up bar, casino, excursions are easy to book. The shows are great! The Not-so-Good: climate in rooms was warm and humid, it took 3 days to get our ceiling fan working properly, after reminding maintenance daily! Housekeeping wasn't consistent with towel replinishment daily, the buffet food is ok, get tired of same bland stuff. You have to make dinner reservations for the restaurants a few days in advance. Mixed drinks were watered down. The hotel transfers are a rip off, you are on bus with 40 others getting dropped off at various hotels, take a taxi, it is quicker and cheaper.
5 out of 5
Recommended
by Run2Sunfrom Acton MA

The hotel has everything to make your stay enjoyable

Posted Mar 27, 2013
Pros: Free breakfast, Close restaurants, Quiet, beach and pool
Cons: No free Internet
Other than our room being a little tired the hotel and staff did everything to make our stay enjoyable. The grounds are well maintained and the pool and beach are right there. They have four restaurants on site as well as their buffet to choose from. Being all inclusive it's like being on a cruise without the boat. There were not many kids there the week we were there.I would definitely recommend the Occidental All Inclusive in Aruba.
5 out of 5
Recommended
by GQVQfrom Secaucus, NJ

Great place to relax.

Posted Dec 26, 2012
Pros: Quiet, friendly staff
Cons: No free Internet
The value is good. The staff is friendly and Aruba is a very relaxing place to visit. Plan to go back next year.
1 out of 5
by acertaintravelerfrom Manhattan, New York, NY, USA

Not what they want you to think...

Posted Nov 26, 2012
Cons: No free Internet, Noisy, Poor breakfast
I just came back from a vacation at the Occidental Grand in Aruba, here's what I think: the location is great, the beach and the natural resources of this island are incredible. Rarely I have seen such clear waters and wonderful weather and although the land is not very lush, its deserted quality is not to be dismissed. Now, what they have done with this island, it's a completely different story! After asking, I was told that this hotel was built more than 20 years ago and it's apparently owned by a big company who owns 86 hotels around the world. I don't think they care much about maintenance or proper staff training. To address a few aspects of this hotel: CUSTOMER SERVICE - This is the lowest point of all, the staff is not trained at all to receive customers, the workers might be overworked and perhaps not paid enough, as a result their interest in the customers is non-existent. They are not bad people, but most likely unhappy workers who have to deal on a daily basis with disgruntled customers. This is not a good combination because as a result you will encounter problems non-stop everyday, all your requests will be almost ignored and nothing will happen unless you'll raise your voice a bit. It's very tiring having to fight over small things all day especially when you pay money to be on vacation and relax. FOOD - When advertising, they should explain that all the restaurants are not open at the same time! This is very disappointing because your choices become suddenly very limited. On top of this, you will have to book each restaurant for the whole week at once, and perhaps do it very early in the morning.. We were told to book our dinners right after checking in and it all became quickly a comedy sketch: - Annoyed receptionist, chewing gum: 'Would you like to eat at the Italian restaurant tomorrow? We have a table available for 6pm'. - Us: 'Well, actually 6 is a bit too early, how about 8pm?' - Annoyed receptionist: 'No, 6pm is the only time available'. - Us: 'Ok, how about we eat at the Asian restaurant instead?' - Increasingly annoyed receptionist: 'No, it's closed tomorrow' - Us: 'How about we have some Mexican food then?' - Fed up receptionist: 'Yes, but only if you eat at 10:30pm' - Us: 'Is this a joke?' - Receptionist: 'I don't make up the rules and it's annoying having to deal with upset customers all the time' Going on with my review about the food: stay away from the 'Oriental'. The miso soup was not made with miso, but a dark gravy-like substance that reminded me of my military service, the sushi was made with long-grain rice and smelly fish, the sake was good, but was coming from a brand bottle and they charged extra for it. The Italian restaurant 'L'Olio' is where things got interesting. For a moment we thought that we were being too demanding before we ate there, and it felt good for at least one meal, to taste normal food again. It seems like they made a little extra-effort with this restaurant, although the furniture and decor will make you wonder if Dracula could jump out from one of the drapes singing like Pavarotti before you get bitten. The food there was good, and so was the service. The only problem is that the all-inclusive deal won't allow you to eat at the same restaurant for more than one night in a row. Ouch... Enjoy the Fettuccine with Truffles because you won't be able to eat many of them in a week. The buffet restaurant food quality was close to hospital food on bad days and leaning towards airline food on good days. I guess breakfast there could be called of average quality, but all things considered, being on such a nice island in the Caribbean, the hotel management could have gone the extra mile and serve local produce and food specialties. Not one freaking coconut in sight! THE FREAKING BRACELET - They should let you know before you pay for this vacation, that you are forced to wear a plastic bracelet at all times. They will really get upset if you take it out or lose it, you will be charged $45. This to me was the biggest flaw in their weird system: why not give each customer a card, since the whole complex has all-inclusive customers? Why having to walk around with a piece of plastic at all times? I wonder how honeymooners deal with wearing a bracelet for their whole romantic holiday. Holding hands with a shiny bright yellow plastic bracelet watching the sunset? As soon as they put the bracelet on our wrists, we took it out and told them we couldn't wear it. After several upsetting remarks from more than one staff person at the concierge desk threatening to kick us out if we won't wear it, we had to agree to at least keep it loose so we could take it off at night. A small victory... If it wasn't for the... ROOM SERVICE - We had to fight literally every morning to have any type of room service. We even offered to pay, but it was always a minimum of 15 minutes on the phone getting close to a one-to-one meeting with the manager to get a pot of coffee and two croissants in the room! We were upgraded to the Royal Garden (fancy name!) but couldn't still get a cup of coffee in the morning. My final thoughts: I have seen people enjoying their staying there, it was also very loud and there were lots of outdoor 'activities', like Bingo, aerobics in the water, DJs at night playing commercial club music. This wasn't really what we expected but perhaps if you have lower expectations and don't mind being treated like they're doing you a favor while they're taking your money and treating you like a prison inmate, you might find something good in all this. I honestly enjoyed spending time in Aruba with my girlfriend but only because we took a lot of daily trips around the island (go to Arashi Beach, it's beautiful) and the all-inclusive experience became a joke between us more than anything else. I would recommend checking out other hotels on the island, if you like the same type of accommodation they have a Hyatt Regency next door and other high-rise, or there are also smaller accommodations on the other side of the island. I hope this review helps!
1 out of 5
by Acertaintravelerfrom Boston, MA, USA

This could be featured in a MONTY PYTHON episode!!!

Posted Nov 26, 2012
Cons: No free Internet, Noisy
Where to start!!!! my boyfriend & I booked this trip for thanksgiving. When we got to the hotel we were given yellow plastic bracelets and told to keep them on for the whole trip NO MATTER WHAT! This way they could see that you were of a certain level and an all inclusiver. They told us that we were special and given a room upgrade, but before going to our room we had to sit with a restaurant reservationist for about 45 mins (nightmare!) and told that the only times to eat dinner were 6pm or 10pm as the other times were booked and the other restaurants featured were closed-FUN! The girl doing the reservations apologized and said the felt bad that she had to deal with angry people dissatisfied at this service. They dont let people know about this in advance. We finally got to our revolting room overlooking the car park with old furnishings and an overwhelming smell of mould. We called the receptionist and after another 45 mins finally got the go ahead to move to another room-our beach day was quickly disappearing! We got to the garden level but no extra services were offered and we were treated like criminals! Customer service is NON EXISTENT ! everytime we called someone, they were rude and condescending to the point of me having to scream at such insult-never have I been treated in such a way after paying a good amount of money-it felt like Jail and that's free! After a day of wearing my bracelet I got a rash on my hand and had to cut it off, so I called to let reception know and again they were incredibly rude and said you cannot stay here without a bracelet-its the rules! please do not cut off your bracelet again or we will charge you $45--and what crime did I commit again?? oh, I got a rash and took it off. I dont like to complain and actually like to see the good in most things but it makes me sad to think that hard working people save to go to a place like this and get treated like idiots. The daily banter of house music blaring from the pool is enough to make one go insane let alone the super auditorium loudness of a woman screaming bingo numbers...for HOURS! make it end!!!!! the drinks are mediocre and not top shelf at all--more lies. They are one brand that is local and all generic drinks...and mixes are super sweet and fake tasting...the only saving part of the holiday was the beach and not the one by the hotel BECAUSE in such a place of paradise you have more boats than a marina speeding in shallot waters so you are literally swimming in oil! it's incredibly dangerous and would not be at all surprised if some moron got drunk on the cheap stuff and decided to steer into the beach--even some of the staff said it ruined the beach and water, so we did daily trips to another beach about 2 miles away which was empty and not boats allowed. Did I even go into detail about the food? the sushi was beyond AWFUL! when we told our waiter it was gross beyond, he smiled and walked away and lastly said, do you want strawberry sushi? how mad! and my boyfriend got sick...hhmmm! not so fresh sushi, beware! I could literally go on and on, but I think this is enough. We walked by the Hyatt and I almost cried at not being able to move there...such a difference...lovely staff, stunning grounds and rooms...looks like a 5 star hotel and probably should be. This all inclusive is a joke and I wouldnt bother. NO FREE INTERNET EITHER!
1 out of 5
by Dandawg71

Beautiful Hotel, Terribly Managed!

Posted Sep 26, 2012
We checked into Occidental on the September 17, 2012 for our honeymoon. We paid more to be in the so-called Royal Club package.Check in took forever, part of the royal club was that check in was supposed to go more smoothly and much faster.... We finally get to our room after well over an hour, and our luggage isn't there. But there was a half drank bottle and 2 double beds pushed together instead of the king we had reserved. Everything in the room was unplugged. Our luggage was not in the room. We went up and spoke to the concierge, their response "Oh really? Ohh". This became standard to hear from them as apparently they either have no authority to change anything or more likely they just don't care at all. They tell us the rooms are full, but we can have a king size room tomorrow. They called down for our luggage. It never came. I finally just walked downstairs and found our luggage sitting by the front door, exactly where we left it. I picked it up and walked away with it without anyone even asking me about it. So, we go the next day to get the new room, taking close to 2 hours of time that we should have been trying to enjoy at the beach and pool.. They show us a room over looking the parking lot with men working. No good. So they give us a room on the 6th floor, doesn't sound like a problem until you realize royal club is only on the 7, 8, & 9 floors. So now we don't have the upgraded linens and tv ect that we paid for, but we also get a hard time everytime we call room service. "What color is your bracelet? You are on the 6th floor". We scheduled dinner reservations for the italian place and the hibachi place. They never put the resevation for the hibachi through, so we showed up and they wouldn't seat us. We complained, my wife ended up crying. Later that night they offer us a 30 minute massage to compensate.... We're sunburned, and personally we don't want to be touched by strangers. That was more of an insult than anything in my opinion. Last night there we ordered chicken fingers and fries from room service, the chicken was RAW. Not just a little pink, but clear and pink on the inside. I ended up sick. I won't talk about the food really, as with all-inclusives its not going to be great. Caribean place was horrible, Italian was ok, Hibachi #once we finally got a reservation# was great. Buffet was in-edible. On a good note, the pool and beach were amazing. Pool bar and beach bar were great, really good drinks, a little too strong at times but at least we know there was alcohol in them! We were not the only ones with problems, every couple we spoke to #at least 6 couples# had problems too. We hear the RIU Palace is great though, do yourselves a favor and book there instead!
4 out of 5
Recommended
by Arubaarrribafrom Boston, MA, USA

Loved this hotel!

Posted Sep 7, 2012
Pros: Free breakfast, Close restaurants, Quiet
Cons: No free Internet
I loved the Occidental Grand. The food was really great, the bartenders made great drinks(best mojitos ever! and definitely try the Aruba arriba) and we upgraded to the Royal club so we got a personal checkin from the concierge. I would definitely go back there. One thing that they need to change or update there is they definitely need a kiddy pool. The swimup bar is in their one beautiful pool, but there were kids jumping off the bridge into the pool and crowding the bar. It was not always like that, but in the afternoon there were definitely alot of kids in the pool. I also thought they should have more lunch options. We upgraded to the royal club so we were able to eat in their restaurant, but I was not a big fan of the buffet options they had there for lunch. Other than that I felt very welcome there and would definitely go back tomorrow!