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Thread: First of many more Trips; Stayed at Occidental

  1. #1
    Member arubanewbie's Avatar
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    First of many more Trips; Stayed at Occidental

    We just returned from Aruba on July 9th! We had an amazing time!!! Our flight there was smoother than any other. From the time we landed and checked into our hotel it took a total of 1 hour! Immigrations and Customs was a complete breeze, which was totally unexpected. Getting back through on the way home was much more time consuming and there were large crowds. Luckily we were picked up 3 hours before our flight, because it took us 2 hours to get to our gate!!!

    We stayed at the Occidental. We were very skeptical of this hotel based on some of the reviews we read, but it was fine. It could use a little updating, but we are not super picky, so it worked for us. We woke up each morning at 7am and were able to get a palapa everyday we were there. By the time we got to the beach at 7:15am, many were already taken so we weren't right in the front, but it was fine. My only complaint about the beach is the people who smoke and put their cigarettes out in the sand. There were butts everywhere and it was disgusting. I noticed a lot of smokers and I hope in the future they start to work on limiting that to certain designated areas. I truly believe anyone who puts their butts on the ground and in proximity to the ocean should be fined for littering. I did not enjoy walking on butts Needless to say we didn't go to the casinos because of the smokers as well.

    I've read a lot of complaints that towels were hard to find/get....no issues here at all. We tipped our housekeeper $2 each day and had no problems whatsoever. You get cards for your beach towels so we had fresh beach towels at all times. We had the AI for breakfast and lunch only....can't complain about the food...a nice variety and the quality was fine.

    We enjoyed leaving the hotel for dinner each night...Senor Frogs, Daniels, Texas de Brazil, Passions (AMAZING!!!!), Madame Janet's, Salt & Pepper, & Buccaneer. We walked to all our dinners except for MJ's which was a $9 cab fare. The walk to Passions was a little long, but we enjoyed it....how can't you when you have the amazing views on the way. Passions was by far our favorite with MJ's being 2nd. Passions had live entertainment which was top notch and it was one of the most romantic dinners we have ever had...and we got there right as the sun was setting....it was spectacular!

    Most of our time was spent lounging on the beach, but we did do an Island Tour with Cerry on our first full day. It was GREAT! We went to the lighthouse, National Park, Arikok Caves, Natural Bridge, Donkey Sanctuary, Rock formations. The tour was great and we spent 4 hours with him. What a great guy...he took us to all the spots we wanted to see!

    On day 3 we went to the Divi Village Beach & Golf Resort and I am happy to say that Aruba will now be a yearly trip for us as we our the proud owners of a timeshare there, can't wait until week 22 next year to bring the kids!!

    Day 4 we spent the morning snorkeling with Kent. It was one of our favorite things we did. We saw a sea turtle and it was amazing.

    The hotel had nightly entertainment which was pretty good. We saw a Cirque de Soleil type show which was impressive and another night they had the cast lip sync to Greese the Musical, it was high energy and fun. Occidental is in a great central location, close to shops, food, it has a great walking trail along the high rise hotels as well. They had planned activities each day, beach volley ball, beach stretching, darts, and some poolside activities, but we spent our days on the beach!!! I didn't go into the pool one single time. We used the kayak and the floats which were fun. You just need your credit card the first time you check them out for a security deposit, but it is free and they won't charge your card unless you damage the items.

    Occidental is a perfect budget friendly hotel. It's not a 5 star, but does the job, I slept like a rock all 6 nights we were there. The walls are thin, but luckily we were on the 8th floor and I don't think many people were up there because it was pretty quiet most of the time. We had an amazing pool and ocean view from our balcony. That's another thing the reviews complained about no views....our room 2807 had an amazing ocean view...but we were hardly in there except when it was time for bed!

    Aruba stole our hearts, and we are counting down to next year and so are the kids!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Great report! Welcome to "AA" (Aruba Addicts!) I think you did the right thing with AI for bfk and lunch. You chose some wonderful dining spots! How was Daniel's? Haven't tried them yet?

  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you for posting your Aruba Story.
    Glad that all was good for you beginning with your SMOOTH flight to aruba.

    god only knows why some smokers use the sand as an ash tray.?!?!
    there are plenty of other options for smokers to use to dispose of their butts. i don't get it.
    it is rude and very irresponsible.

    so, you'll be back next spring?
    the divi is a lovely property and i have friends that own numerous
    units there.
    congratulations on your purchase.


    Quote Originally Posted by arubanewbie View Post
    We just returned from Aruba on July 9th! We had an amazing time!!! Our flight there was smoother than any other. From the time we landed and checked into our hotel it took a total of 1 hour! Immigrations and Customs was a complete breeze, which was totally unexpected. Getting back through on the way home was much more time consuming and there were large crowds. Luckily we were picked up 3 hours before our flight, because it took us 2 hours to get to our gate!!!

    We stayed at the Occidental. We were very skeptical of this hotel based on some of the reviews we read, but it was fine. It could use a little updating, but we are not super picky, so it worked for us. We woke up each morning at 7am and were able to get a palapa everyday we were there. By the time we got to the beach at 7:15am, many were already taken so we weren't right in the front, but it was fine. My only complaint about the beach is the people who smoke and put their cigarettes out in the sand. There were butts everywhere and it was disgusting. I noticed a lot of smokers and I hope in the future they start to work on limiting that to certain designated areas. I truly believe anyone who puts their butts on the ground and in proximity to the ocean should be fined for littering. I did not enjoy walking on butts Needless to say we didn't go to the casinos because of the smokers as well.

    I've read a lot of complaints that towels were hard to find/get....no issues here at all. We tipped our housekeeper $2 each day and had no problems whatsoever. You get cards for your beach towels so we had fresh beach towels at all times. We had the AI for breakfast and lunch only....can't complain about the food...a nice variety and the quality was fine.

    We enjoyed leaving the hotel for dinner each night...Senor Frogs, Daniels, Texas de Brazil, Passions (AMAZING!!!!), Madame Janet's, Salt & Pepper, & Buccaneer. We walked to all our dinners except for MJ's which was a $9 cab fare. The walk to Passions was a little long, but we enjoyed it....how can't you when you have the amazing views on the way. Passions was by far our favorite with MJ's being 2nd. Passions had live entertainment which was top notch and it was one of the most romantic dinners we have ever had...and we got there right as the sun was setting....it was spectacular!

    Most of our time was spent lounging on the beach, but we did do an Island Tour with Cerry on our first full day. It was GREAT! We went to the lighthouse, National Park, Arikok Caves, Natural Bridge, Donkey Sanctuary, Rock formations. The tour was great and we spent 4 hours with him. What a great guy...he took us to all the spots we wanted to see!

    On day 3 we went to the Divi Village Beach & Golf Resort and I am happy to say that Aruba will now be a yearly trip for us as we our the proud owners of a timeshare there, can't wait until week 22 next year to bring the kids!!

    Day 4 we spent the morning snorkeling with Kent. It was one of our favorite things we did. We saw a sea turtle and it was amazing.

    The hotel had nightly entertainment which was pretty good. We saw a Cirque de Soleil type show which was impressive and another night they had the cast lip sync to Greese the Musical, it was high energy and fun. Occidental is in a great central location, close to shops, food, it has a great walking trail along the high rise hotels as well. They had planned activities each day, beach volley ball, beach stretching, darts, and some poolside activities, but we spent our days on the beach!!! I didn't go into the pool one single time. We used the kayak and the floats which were fun. You just need your credit card the first time you check them out for a security deposit, but it is free and they won't charge your card unless you damage the items.

    Occidental is a perfect budget friendly hotel. It's not a 5 star, but does the job, I slept like a rock all 6 nights we were there. The walls are thin, but luckily we were on the 8th floor and I don't think many people were up there because it was pretty quiet most of the time. We had an amazing pool and ocean view from our balcony. That's another thing the reviews complained about no views....our room 2807 had an amazing ocean view...but we were hardly in there except when it was time for bed!

    Aruba stole our hearts, and we are counting down to next year and so are the kids!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    New Aruba Addicts! welcome

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the review- it relieves a lot of my anxiety.

    Did you check in using the time share desk or the front desk for checkins?

  6. #6
    Senior Member mgenestra's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. I will be arriving next saturday July 23rd for my third visit to the Island but first time staying at the Occidental. I really hope I get a good view. Were you in a one bedroom room or just a hotel room?

  7. #7
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    i would be interested to hear from arubanewbie, as to how they came to the decision to buy in the lo rise?

    what i hear often is that folks visit aruba a couple of times, start out in the hi rise/palm beach area and then make their way to the lo rise.

    arubanewbie, what did you like about both hi and lo rise and dislike about both?

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    arubanewbie, i also departed on july 9th, and stayed on the 8th floor, very end of the hall 2825,2826. glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay, love the occidental, great beach, hotel right on the beach, and a great staff. wonder if we spoke? i'm from rochester new york.
    truly my 2nd home, was looking to purchase a home on the island, why buy a house when everything is at the hotel. glad we didn't buy! large a hotel with a boutique atmosphere..
    next trip october 8th

  9. #9
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    Do you mind saying how much the tour was? Staying at Occidental in October, honeymoon and first trip to Aruba!

  10. #10
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    the tour is from
    www.pitaruba.com
    (private island tour aruba)

    the fee is $45 per hr

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyC View Post
    Do you mind saying how much the tour was? Staying at Occidental in October, honeymoon and first trip to Aruba!

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