Overlooking the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, the Occidental Grand Aruba is located on the exclusive Palm Beach, just minutes away from Queen Beatrix Airport. This resort is filled with luxurious European flavor, from the charming rooms to the beautiful beaches. Spend the days enjoying a variety of fun filled activities. Bask in the sun on the sandy - white beaches while the trade winds of the clear blue ocean cool you. Watch the sun set into the ocean as it illuminates the sky with its wondrous colors. Try your luck in the Casino or dance the night away in the nightclub.
This elegant oceanfront hotel has 380 recently renovated rooms and comprises of two nine story buildings with two whirlpools and one free form fantasy pool with cascades. All rooms feature private balconies with breathtaking Caribbean views of the hotel and its surroundings.
The Occidental is one of two all-inclusive resorts along the high section of Palm Beach. The lobby is modern with marble floors and contemporary fountains. There are several shops in the lobby as well as the guest services desk (The place where you make dinner reservations), a tour desk, the lobby bar (with nightly live entertainment), and the entrance to the casino. The Occidental has 398 rooms in two twin nine story towers.
The rooms at the Occidental are nice. The beds are surprisingly comfortable and the decor is tasteful contemporary. The main differences in the regular room categories are the views. A garden view room will be on the second and third floor and face either the interior of the resort or the surrounding hotels. The ocean view rooms are on floors four and five and can be facing the interior of the resort or an exterior view of the surrounding hotels. The Royal Club comprises the top three levels of the hotel and has ocean views, private check in, free internet access and business center, a private Royal Club only restaurant, 24 hour room service, robes and free meeting space. All rooms have a 30 inch television with English language channels, DVD player, and minibar (stocked every other day with soft drinks, bottled water, and 2 cans of Balashi Beer). The minibar in Royal Club rooms get re-stocked every day. The rooms are about 350 square feet with a contemporary feel. All rooms receive continental breakfast room service and safes large enough to store a laptop computer. Royal Club gets 24 hour room service and a DVD library.
The Occidental has 4 a la carte options for dinner (Royal Club guests have an additional restaurant option). Zen is an Oriental restaurant with 2 hibachi tables, a traditional tatami room (you eat on the floor with no shoes), sushi bar, and table service. The food was excellent, but the restaurant was very loud. Olio is the Italian restaurant with elegant white table cloths, thick chairs and white glove service. The food was very good, and there is an upgraded wine list available for a charge. Desires restaurant serves as the Beach club during the day for lunch. In the evening, it is a casual Caribbean Fusion restaurant. It is open air and not air conditioned. El Olivido is a Tex-Mex restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to eat here, but is seemed lively with a mariachi band, and they advertise that they have an authentic Mexican chef. The Palm is the buffet restaurant serving your typical breakfast buffet, international lunch buffet and a theme night dinner buffet. The food was very good. No reservations or dress code required (except they expect you to wear a cover up and shirt over you bathing suit). The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining.
The Occidental has dining restrictions for dinner. Zen, Olio, Desires, and El Olivido require a reservation. You receive 4 reservations per 7 night stay, 3 reservations for a 5-6 night stay, 2 reservations for a 3-4 night stay, and 5 reservations for a 8-9 night stay. These reservations are made at the guest service desk located in the lobby. You can make all of your reservations at once upon arrival. You can also make reservations the day of, based on availability.
There are six production shows per week (all of which are different). I didn’t go to any shows, but I heard mixed reviews. There is a full service casino on site, however it is operated by an outside company (therefore drinks are not included in the casino unless you are gambling). The casino is open 12 Noon until 3AM daily. There is live music at the lobby bar, and there is a trendy club named the lounge (live music and dancing after 11PM). There is a full activities program at the resort with a low key animation staff. There is a kids club for ages 4-10 years old The Occidental has a very small gym and no spa. They do have massages performed on the beach. I was not very happy with the alcohol selection at the Occidental. For beer, they only offered Balashi (a pilsner beer brewed in Aruba) draft. The liquor selection is “top shelf”, but I didn’t see it. I primarily saw generic liquors.
Overall I really like this resort. The food and variety was good, the pool is very nice, the beach is awesome, and the rooms are nice. I typically hate resorts with meal restrictions, but at least it is straight forward. The beer is awful (in my opinion), and the liquor is average. The resort would be great for honeymooners looking to avoid hurricane season, and families.