All inclusive resorts

Old Jan 13th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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All inclusive resorts

Hi,

I am making vacation plans for Aruba, and want to stay at an all inclusive resort. The four resorts that I have found are the Occidental, the Holiday Inn Sunspree, the Divi Aruba Beach Resort, and the Tamarjin Aruba Beach Resort. At first I was leaning toward staying at the Occidental, but after doing some research I found that this is the most expensive resort. The least expensive one is the Holiday Inn Sunspree. As far as price is concerned the Divi is the second most expensive and the Tamarjin is third.
I don't know anyone that has been to any of these resorts, but I have talked to people that have been to other all inclusives and what I am hearing is that some of them are really great, and others of them are not so great. The biggest complaint that I am hearing from others is that at some resorts the wait for food or a drink is quite lengthy. I would rather spend the extra money and stay at the Occidental if the others aren't adequate.
So my question is has anyone stayed at any of these all inclusives and what was your expreience like.
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Old Jan 13th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Having said that....I don't like AI's. Sure, it is great to have what you want to drink 24/7, or at least when you are awake....been there and done that. If you like breakfast, lunch and dinner it is a great deal to go AI. DH and I just eat a light lunch and dinner with drinks from lunch and on...... So, we have learned to go to the local market and stock up on lunch stuff, beer, wine, bourbon(sp?) and soda and go for a really nice dinner! Just a thought. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris in Aruba and did just fine eating lunch there and dinner out. Have fun!
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Hi,
iw thanks for your thoughts. That is something I will consider. Part of the reason we wanted to go AI is so I will know what this vacation will cost before we leave. Also I've heard some good things about the AI's in Mexico and Jamaica.
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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If you're not a heavy eater and/or drinker, sometimes you'll end up paying more for an AI vacation than you would if you were just paying as you go along. Just something to keep in mind. Also be aware that many AI places, especially those in the lower price brackets, tend to rely heavily, if not entirely, on buffet-style presentations. Which is great if you're not particular about your food so long as you can have as much as you want. But with AI buffets, the chefs have to cater to the lowest common denominator in terms of diners--nothing too spicy, nothing too exotic or "foreign", etc.

My most recent vacation happened to be an AI at a fantastically low price point. Overall I received my money's worth by eating breakfast there each morning and having drinks there every evening, but even spending money for lunch, drinks, and dinner out most days the costs didn't add up to a ton of extra money. But I digress--the food at the AI was completely edible but entirely bland or otherwise inoffensive. As far as the hotels you're considering, from what I've read, the Sunspree and the Tam are similar in quality to my recent AI vacation. Only you can decide whether or not it's worth it to stay at one of them or not, or to go in an entirely different direction.

If you're concerned about cost, why not try one of the many places in Aruba with kitchenettes? You could prepare your own breakfasts each morning and put the money you save toward the many excellent restaurants on the island.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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On the other hand, my husband and I enjoy the AI vacations.....as you said, you do know your cost up front. I do travel on a budget,even if I don't necessarily need to, and I do not want to spend my vacation worrying over how much I am spending for dinner, or food in general...or going easy on other meals in order to "afford" my main meal of the day. And I definitely do NOT want to cook!!!

That aside - people tend to forget that they are in the Caribbean when they complain about the wait time for food and drinks. It IS a different pace, so when you accept that as a fact, the rest doesn't matter. Slow down and relax.

My main suggestion to you is to do your home work on all 3 resorts - find out what the dining options are, how many restaurants on site. If you are in a huge resort with only 1 or 2 restaurants, don't expect great service or food. Generally, the more options you have, the better your experience will be.

Many AI's are changing their dinner options these days - restaurants that are buffet for lunch and breakfast turn into a la carte restaurants for dinner. This way you have more of an option in your dining choices.

Eventually, I will switch to non-AI's for vacations, but it will be tough to convince my husband. He really enjoys the "one stop shopping".
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Hi - My dh and I went to Aruba for our honeymmon in Sept 04', we stayed at the Occidental! It was great- i think the rooms have been updated since(they needed it), other than that...the food was very good and a wide variety to choose from (buffet and a la carte).There is a little pizza bar that is open till about 2am-great for a midnight snack on the beach! We spied out the other hotels you mentiond, the Divi looked very nice, but maybee a bit pretentious for us? The Holiday in was just getting a new pool-I think this is a good budget choice and would stay here if I wanted to save a few bucks. I would definatlly splurge on the Occidental though- it is worth every penny. Staff are great- especially Paris the pool bartender!I have been to many islands and Aruba is one of my favorites ( Barbados 1st),Make sure you go snorkeling!
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