Formerly the Occidental Grand Aruba, the Barcelo Aruba is a solid all-inclusive option, especially for families. Prices are often a little high here for a hotel of its class and Overall Beach Resort Rating, and higher on average than rates at Barcelo properties on other islands; but the food is better than it is at most sister all-inclusive resorts elsewhere, and this general type of hotel is less common in Aruba than in other destinations (such as the Dominican Republic, for example, where large all-inclusive chains are plentiful). The fitness center is lackluster (especially for a large resort) and it can be difficult at times to reserve lounge chairs/palapas on the beach; but the property offers excellent dining variety (there are six on-site restaurants with various cuisines), a very good swimming pool area (with two whirlpools and a unique swim-up bar with boulder seats), bikes for rent, a kids club for ages 4-12, and a babysitting service. Rooms come with furnished balconies or terraces, room service, elegant wooden headboards, marble flooring, ceiling fans, and desks and reading chairs; most have ample space. There’s a good beach volleyball court and a water sports center on-site – offering scuba diving, snorkeling, banana boat rides, and jet-skiing, among other activities.
On-site COVID-19 testing is offered prior to departure, but it isn’t complimentary. In the event of a positive COVID test before U.S. re-entry, the island’s mandatory COVID-19 insurance will cover designated accommodation costs until recovery.