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Home > Destinations > Aruba > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Aruba - Trip Reports

Aruba Allegro Resort

We (Wife and I) visited the Aruba Allegro the 2nd week of Sept; this was our second trip to Aruba (we had stayed at the Bushiri on a trip in May, 1998) so I'll throw in a few comments / comparisons, as well as comparison to other resorts we've been to.

This was a 'last minute' trip, with only about a week from reservations to departure. I had done some checking and it sounded like the Allegro should be a good choice. It had recently been renovated and taken over by the Allegro chain. Once we had made the reservations, I saw a number of comments (on the net) about somewhat severe service problems at the Allegro. Other people reported no problems, so I went with a open mind. (Some might say 'empty'?).

This was a Thur - Thur schedule and used a 'package' deal with American Airlines (from Atlanta, connecting thru Miami). The flight out of Miami was delayed about an hour (mechanical) so we arrived in Aruba about the same time as another flight. While the airport has opened new departure facilities, the incoming customs area was a bit overwhelmed by the two flights. (New facilities are under construction.) This also caused more people than usual to arrive at the Allegro at the same time (we took the transfer bus). One of the reported problems had been check-in, especially the 'creation' of the required photo-IDs. They were right... while check-in took 'only' 20 minutes, the line for the IDs was about 60 minutes long! Against the staff's wishes, we took our bags to our room, settled in, relaxed a bit, then went back for the IDs. Only took 20 minutes now. They still need to do something about this. Another common complaint was that people didn't get the room they had reserved/paid for. We got what we asked for, but probably >50% of the people we talked to did have this problem. Other complaints had been about a lack of beach towels, lack of room towels, and lack of beach lounges/shelters. We did not see any evidence of these problems.

Now, with all of that out of the way, on with the 'review'...

Facilities: The buildings and grounds had recently been extensively renovated and it showed. Everything was clean and bright and modern, although the normal rough edges did sometimes show through. The room was nice, and we had a view over the pool area. Nothing special, but nice. Most hotel facilities were similar, public areas were well kept. The pool was free-form and nice, with several 'hot-tubs' integrated into an 'island' and waterfall. All very pretty. The pool also had a swim-up bar, which was handy. As with all the larger resorts, the Allegro had a Casino. It seemed nice enough (we don't play) but the Hyatt next door was considerably nicer. There were several bars, including the swim-up bar and a beach bar. It was not easy to get beer and wine with meals at the two main restaurants, however. Drinks were ok, but they did seem to go a bit light on the booze on the mixed drinks, but you could get anything 'straight' if you want.

Meals: Most meals were in the main dining room, buffet style. The dining area was open-air, which usually would be pleasant in Aruba, with it's (almost) constant winds. However, the week we were there, there was essentially no wind! (Hurricane Floyd had caused a change in the trade winds, and we had NONE.) Selection was reasonable, but after a week, it was getting a bit repetitive. Also, since most guests were American, I think they tended to go easy on the spices, making some foods somewhat bland. (We do like our foods SPICEY!) In addition to the main restaurant, there was one other open-air that was menu based, but tended toward sandwiches, hamburgers, and relatively standard American type foods. There was also one 'fancy' Italian restaurant with priced menu and each guest was 'allocated' one dinner there per week. It was nice, and a cut above the other restaurants, but the prices were inflated for what you got. I doubt that it could compete with the local restaurants if it really charged those prices. You could find something to eat almost anytime, if you got hungry. Food was generally better than the Bushiri, about the same as Breezes (Jamaica), but falls short of Club Meds.

Entertainment: They put on 4 'shows' a week (one a repeat) with local talent. Each show as proceeded by a dinner in the ballroom and the food here was similar to the main restaurant, with perhaps one 'headliner' dish that was special (rib roast, fish, etc.). The shows were about an hour of dancing and singing (and quite a bit of lip-syncing). They had a troupe of about 16 dancers, with a couple of 'stars'. All were energetic and pretty good, but there is only so much 16 dancers can do and, although the styles of music were different, the shows are much the same. One night a week they have a 'beach party' where they cook and serve on the beach and have a very entertaining limbo dancer 'perform'.

Beach/recreation facilities: the Allegro is on Aruba's Palm Beach and you can walk about ½ mile to the left and over a mile to the right (past the Marriott to Fishermans Huts). The beach itself is, of course, very nice. There is a walkway (sidewalk) along the beach area, which makes for a nice after-dinner walk. The beach is eroding somewhat in front of the Holiday Inn, but you can still easily walk by. The Allegro advertises 'Free non-motorized water sports', but this is really a joke. The single SunFish available is so badly rigged that we considered it dangerous. (We are experienced small boat sailors.) We sailed it once. You could use snorkel equipment one hour per day... but there are no interesting places to snorkel within an hour (walk/swim) of the resort. The 'kayaks' were OK and I was able to surf some (rare) breakers one day, in spite of the wrong type of paddles. 'Archery' was a joke; the one time I saw it offered they had 'toy' plastic bows. In other words, for people really interested in participating in sports, they have a long ways to go. Again, similar to the Breezes we went to, but nothing like the typical Club Med.

Aruba, away from the Allegro: A lot has been reported about Aruba, but I'll add a couple of comments/suggestions based on our two visits. Make sure you take a 'snorkel trip'; these generally stop at several sites, including the sunken German ship. (The reefs along this side of the island are essentially dead, but I understand the area along the southern beaches is nicer.) I suggest anyone on first visit to take one of the half-day island tours one of your first days. This gives you a good idea what the island is like and what other activities you might (or might not) want to participate in. 'Jeep' tours are popular (of course they are not really true Jeeps, but you get the idea); most people liked them, but some said 'never again'.

If you go to Aruba, you really should try windsurfing. It's (usually) the ideal place because of the (almost) constant winds. One of the main reasons we went was to windsurf; but as I mentioned earlier, this was one of the rare times when there was no wind. This created another problem.... without the wind, it got HOT. It was humid, almost 90 degrees, lots of sun, and HOT. This is seldom a problem, but keep it in mind... On our first visit, the wind never dropped below 30 knots until the last day, when it dropped all the way to 20 kts. If you do try windsurfing, I'd suggest Vela (adjacent to the Marriott) for beginners, or Sailboard Vacations (other end of Fishermans Huts) if you're intermediate level or better.

Departure: the departure facilities at the airport are much improved, with US Customs clearance available there. They were still working out some kinks (new facility had only been open 2 weeks), but it was much better than on our previous visit.

Thanks to Mike Hammock for this trip report ...
September 1999

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