> Destinations > Aruba > Trip Reports > Trip Report
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
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 ...