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Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

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East Coast, USA
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746 posts
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Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

We're considering a trip to the Occidental Grand b/c we are OVC members, which means we can get a ridiculous deal to stay at the Royal Club there. I know Aruba AI is not popular on this forum but for those who have done it at the Occidental ... Did you tip? If so, how often and how much? We've been to the Grand in MX but not sure how this one compares. I've seen various reports on the view from RC rooms. Are they or are they not all ocean view? Is the beach in front of the Grand exclusive to the Grand or is it public? How casual are the restaurants (particularly the RC restaurant)? Are airport transfers included?

Would like to do a Jeep safari to see the highlights of the island. Recommendations along with prices?

Thanks for the help!

Englishtown, New...
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1. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

How much is a ridiculous deal? The Hotel is 2 stars at best. Plan on eating out a few nights. The beach is always crowded even for RC members. My suggestion, go to Aruba, but stay some where else.

Once there you will see only a few people deserve a tip

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

I just read some reviews of the hotel and many that stayed there liked it. It is likely a 4 star hotel. I stayed at the Riu AI and loved it but walked by the Occidental and it looked very nice, pool and beach both, although smaller and older than the Riu. If you are getting a worthwhile deal I'd take it. If you didn't like the restaurants then you could afford to eat out often. As for the palapas on the beach, the same problem was at the Riu. You had to reserve one at the beach by 7 a.m. It was not a problem for us as we didn't come to Aruba to sleep in and waste a beautiful day. The palapas on the beaches are a limited number so with many guests at each hotel they can't all have one. The early bird gets the worm.

There are many great restaurants in Aruba but we like the convenience of AI even though I'm probably losing money as I don't drink alcohol. It's all a matter of personal choice. I'll bet those that say not to stay at AI have never been to one.

Connecticut
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3. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

Occidental Grand Aruba is not at all like Occidental Grand Xcaret. We just returned from week there. (OGX)The Royal Club at Xcaret has three private buildings, two private pools and a private restaurant with the ocean to one side and the jungle to the other. The beach there is sad and the grounds are enormous.

Much better beach in Aruba. RC at the top of one tower. Easy to get around. Lots to do in the area. Not sure if all rooms are oceanview, but could be. No transfers. Standard tipping for maids, servers, etc. Beaches are all public but palapas and chaises are not. While we liked the private facilities in MX, we prefer Aruba.

Boston...
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4. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

The occidental is not my speed but its certainly not a 2 star hotel.

East Coast, USA
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5. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

I have no doubt that the Occidental is not a 2 star - that's kind of absurd, no offense to the poster. It was completely refurbished in 2006 and is one of the most expensive Occidental resorts with all rooms being "first club" rather than deluxe. As for the deal - OVC members only pay for the AI portion. So, for our family of 3, we could stay RC for about $2900 for the week. We've decided to just do first club though b/c we wanted to forego the upgrade fee for RC. It will be less than $2200 for us, so I would call that a ridiculous deal compared to anything I could get on any travel site. We love the OVC (we bought ours dirt cheap on Ebay - I'd never pay retail for it). Anyhoo, we've booked our trip but I'm still wondering about tipping at the resort. In MX, people generally left $1-$3 at dinner and the waitstaff was thrilled. I have no idea what the economy in Aruba is like compared to MX. So that's really my question. I also found out that airport transfers are not included.

Connecticut
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6. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

The economy in Aruba is much better than MX and $5.00-$6.00 is a better tip in the ala cartes. $2.00-3.00 in buffets.

(I believe Aruba has second highest per capita in the Caribbean.)

East Coast, USA
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7. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

Thanks! :)

jl
Waltham...
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8. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

I agree - the Occidental is in no way a 2 star hotel.

East Coast, USA
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9. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

Just wanted to follow up now that we're back and say that we LOVED the Occidental Grand Aruba. So much so, we're thinking of upgrading our membership to make it our "home" resort. This means we won't have to pay upgrade fees to stay there because it's a higher level than our current home resort. At any rate, a far cry from a 2-star hotel - in fact, that's laughable. We were very fortunate to receive a free upgrade to a 2-bedroom First Club suite with 3 huge balconies (2 direct oceanfront), and it was simply amazing. Drink service was excellent. We never had trouble finding shade on the beach and never had trouble getting a chair by the pool (and we were never out until well after breakfast). I don't know if it was a slow week but it was great. We enjoyed the Italian restaurant very much, as well as seafood night at the buffet. None of the food was bad - quality varied depending on what we ate and individual taste. Drinks were always good though. Same went for the desserts and their very creamy ice cream. Ate off property at a barbecue place one day and it was good but not really any better than the resort food. I might go offsite again and try something local next time, but I certainly won't hesitate to return to the Grand.

Connecticut
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188 reviews
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10. Re: Occidental Grand - Tipping etc.

Glad you enjoyed it there. We will be back on 7/20. Have rented a one and a two bedroom suite for the whole family. We enjoyed OGX in Mexico, but are really eager to return to OGA.

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