Boca Catalina, Arashi Beach Manchebo Beach, Eagle Beach
Both are in Palm Beach, which is the most crowded part of the island. Have you thought about having your wedding at Eagle Beach? It has beautiful, wide beaches, great lodging and less crowds. There are some great restaurants, casinos, and is only a few minutes away from Palm Beach and downtown restaurants and nightlife. Bucuti and Manchebo both do weddings, and I think there are some more also. I've also heard that Rennasance does nice weddings. I've heard mixed reviews about the food at Occidental.
I'm planning my destination wedding in Aruba and my fiance and I are down to two resorts. Has anyone been there? or had their wedding in either Rui or Occidental? Does anyone want to share their experiences and tell me if you liked the place or not and why.
Thanks in advance.
I will be getting married at the RIU in June. Our last trip to Aruba(when we got engaged BTW) we stayed at the Occidental Grand. Although the location is great and the hotel pool and beach were great, there were a few things that made me choose to not have my wedding there. The food at the buffet restaurant was not great, but the specialty restuarants were pretty good. When you stay at an all inclusive you can not expect top notch food. It was sometimes difficult to get a drink at the pool. There is no drink service at the pool, which they do have at the RIU. They only came twice within the 6 nights we stayed to re-stock the fridge with water, and beer and when calling to ask if it could be restocked they would never show up. They also did not come clean our room one night, and showed up while we were getting ready for dinner. We asked if they could return during dinner, but they did not. Now these are little things and I am not overly picky about them myself, but I would not want my guests to have to experience anything like that as they will be spending alot of money to share in our special day. Also know that at the RIU they do not have a private area outdoors for a reception- if you would like a private reception you will need to use their ballroom, which is not included in your wedding package, otherwise a semi-private reception dinner is included at no extra cost. If you want a private dinner you can pay a little extra, I can't recall how much but it was reasonable. Since we are having a reception at home, we chose to go with what was included. I personally thought that All inclusive was the way to go in Aruba as food and drinks are quite pricey. Another great option is the Westin and they do offer an all inclusive package, but the restaurant and liquor choices included are not the greatest and even if your guests are staying all inclusive the drinks and food for your reception will all be a la carte. If you want to give guests the option to do all inclusive or not this could be a good choice for you. All of the hotels on Palm Beach are great. We booked the RIU for all of our guests through Liberty travel... I worked with a few different travel agents and they had the best prices, then they ran a carribean sale in Jan- Feb which saved my guests on average $500 per couple.. depending on how long they were staying. Since Liberty is such a big agent, they automatically have group rates as a starting point which were lower than the group rates other agents were offering, polus with another agent in order to get the group rate all guests had to arrive and depart on the same days. This was not the case with Liberty Travel. If you have any questions at all please feel free to shoot me a message. Aruba is a beautiful island so your wedding will be fabulous no matter where you do it, you just need to find what works for you and your guests. Good luck and happy wedding planning!
Consider working with an independent wedding planner. It will safe you a lot, they can choose the most beautifil quiet beaches (like Eagle Beach) without a whole bunch of resort guests in bathing suites standing around you, and are more flexible when it comes to dinner/reception locations.
As an photographer I took pictures at all the high rise resorts on Palm Beach, but nothing can beat quiet Eagle beach.
Watch for specials onthe RIU. I ended up paying less to saty there for my next rtrip than I did for my previous trip when we stayed at the Occidental,a nd it is definitly an upgrade fromt he Occidental in my opinion.