5 * and All Inclusive are incompatible

You can tell a 5* hotel by the quality of the towels and sun loungers.   I am particularly intolerant of cocktails made with banana and strawberry concentrate served up in plastic disposable cups (even though it is on the beach and around the pool) and afternoon bingo that shatters the peace for an hour…  Having said all that, the Occidental Hotel on Palm Beach in Aruba (allegedly 5* and All Inclusive) has a lovely atmosphere.  It has a lot of groups of young people from both North and South America who are here to have fun and are only too happy to talk to you and make friends.  The 4 A-la-Carte restaurants are exceptional and the service is not quite as lethargic as on other Caribean islands.

On the first  morning, my internal time clock clearly up the spout, I went for a walk along the beach  at 530am in the morning.  There was a beautiful, silvery moon, occasionally peeping out behind the clouds, the air was balmy and the sea warm.  Walking along the water’s edge, I became aware of a scurry of activity underneath the sun shades on the beach.   People were already camping out marking their patch!  I was surprised as I had not noticed any Germans at the hotel – clearly this marking of the beds has become a global phenomenon!  On the second morning, all the beds had gone by 7.20am and I realised that the hotel clearly could only cater for a small number of its guests’ sunbed needs on the beach.

Palm Beach is nevertheless a long, sandy beach ideal for walking, running, swimming and water sports with a  turquoise,  warm and calm sea.  And for all its failings, I would recommend the Occidental as good value for money and a great place for a fun holiday.  Off to bed now – must set the alarm for 530am to secure my sun bed…



About www.volunteervacations.co.uk

We send gap year students, university students, families, people on Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and people on career breaks to coach sports, teach and work in orphanages, work in marine conservation, primates conservation, land conservation, looking after rescued jungle animals, animal welfare, women's empowerment programs (sewing/fashions), men's empowerment programs (carpentry, plumbling, electrics, DIY), medical shadowing (doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists), after schools clubs, reaching out to underprivileged children and adults in South Africa, Kenya, Swaziland, Mozambique, Ghana, Ecuador and The Galapagos, Thailand and India. In Swaziland we offer bespoke rugby coaching placements with the charity Skrum where volunteers (18 ) can take their Level 1 rugby coaching certificate and then travel on to other placements and coach rugby. In India, the placements are suitable for families and undeer 18's are accepted providing they are accompanied by an adult. India is also suitable for Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. We also offer building renovation and reconstruction in India in July. India placements can be from 2 to 12 weeks.
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