resorts and timeshares

Aruba Travel: All-Inclusive or Regular Resort?

Dark Palm Beach-strip, except Riu Palace
Luxury all-inclusive: Hotel Riu Palace

When you decide to travel to the Caribbean, at one time or another perhaps you’ll struggle with the question whether or not to stay at a regular resort as opposed to an all-inclusive.

You’ll find people on both sides of the equation. Some don’t travel to a resort unless it’s all-inclusive, while others find all-inclusive resorts to be overpriced.

Let’s take a closer look at both and see what the truly difference is.

Hotel or Resort

First let’s define the difference between the two terms above. The difference in use of the terms ‘hotel’ or ‘resort’ has virtually vanished during the last decade or so, at least in Aruba that is. Under the term ‘hotel’ it was widely understood to offer rooms that with a bed, bathroom, a view, TV, phone and a couch. Room service is available at a hotel.

A resort on the other hand offers the same amenities as a hotel, with the difference that there is a kitchen available in the room. Due to the presence of a kitchen, room service isn’t available.

Bear in mind that above terms used to be old terms. In the present ‘hotel’ and ‘resorts’ are used without any distinction.


An all-inclusive is an all-you-can eat and drink resort. Expect the rooms to be similar as the rooms of a hotel, as described above. There are certain things that aren’t included in an all-inclusive however. Products such as premium/imported beverages, retail, casinos and off premises activities.

Bottom line

What’s the difference in price? Let’s put two random high rise resorts side by side to make a comparison. Occidental All-Inclusive and Renaissance Resort.

Occidental Grand Aruba All-Inclusive
Stay: June 1st, 2008 – June 7th, 2008
Price per night per couple: $456
Price per week per couple: $2736

Renaissance Aruba Resort
Stay: June 1st, 2008 – June 7th, 2008
Price per night per couple: $223
Price per week per couple: $1338

The difference between the more expensive all-inclusive and the regular resort for the week is a grand total of $1398, which comes to average $200 a day.

Do you think you are going to consume less, equal or more than $200 dollars a day in food and beverage? If the location and service of the two resorts is left out the comparison, which one are you going to choose?

Do you think a couple is going to spend $200 a day on food and beverage? If you visit an outside, even a fancy, restaurants for 5 days, the regular resort is cheaper.

If you think to consume above the sum of $200 dollars worth of food and beverage, than naturally all-inclusive is for you. How can you measure if you are consuming above $200 dollars a day at an all-inclusive resort? That’s not easy to do.


All-inclusive pros: unlimited food and beverages;
All-inclusive cons: excessive consumption; if not consumed enough, waste of money; pricy;

Resort pros: cheaper; you get to visit the island top restaurants as opposed to in-house exclusively; ability to visit Aruba on a smaller budget by eating cheaper;
Resort cons: pay for all food and beverages;

Decisions, decisions. Hopefully I shed some light on the differences between the two forms of accommodation. Perhaps when it’s time to make a decision this post will help a little.

By Gabriel

Informing travelers about Aruba since 2007, and trying to provide value to Aruba visitors.

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