Occidental Allegro Resort

Km 16.5 Carretera Sur San Francisco Palancar, Quintana Roo, 77600, Mexico
(4 star hotel)
#8 of 32 hotels in Isla Cozumel
Pleasant (2.5 out of 5.0) 2 reviews
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una muerte lenta- A Slow Death

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on January 5, 2009

Montezuma now has a crueler revenge- a stay at the Holiday Village White Sands resort (formerly known as the Occidental Allegro Cozumel, which is cleverly marketed under both names to punish as many gringos as possible.) This ambiguous naming is a clue to the chaos and oddities found within the unfriendly confines of this all-inclusive property located on the southwest coast of the island.

Physically, it's a very attractive hotel (except for some mildew, cracked stucco and sloppy caulking in the public restrooms) and the grounds and beach are as nice as you'll find on the island. But scratch below the veneer, and you'll find indifferent management, constant noise and a set of house rules and policies more baffling than the Da Vinci code.

Speaking of scratching, bring a 55-gallon drum of pure DEET or Agent Orange for the bugs. I lost count at 120 bites from sand fleas (also known as No See Ums, which coincidently became my nickname for the bartenders) and mosquitoes¬¬. Keep in mind that we were there during the dry season! To be fair, not our entire group got munched like me but it is a real problem, as is getting stung by jellyfish while snorkeling or diving. All 16 of us got mildly stung.

According to several online sources and poolside gossip, the old Occidental Allegro was a more upscale place but its new owners appear to have shifted their focus towards low-rent Canadian and British families who buy time here via the vacation club and time share deals called First Choice and Signature Vacations, respectively. In fact, you'll be harassed by time share shills every time you approach the lobby, which you'll do every day to complain to the front desk about something new. Hint: Don't fall for the $20 car rental coupon gift that may appear in your room. You have to attend a tour and time share hard sell at the neighboring Occidental Grand to cash it in. It actually costs about $100 a day w/full insurance to rent a jeep, which is well worth it if you tour the uninhabited, scenic east side of the island.

The Canadians were in full force during our stay, comprising about 80% of the guests as evidenced by the throngs of bad haircuts, hiking shoes, pale skin, cigarettes & gold chains (French Canadiens) and tattoos. There was more ink on this beach than at the Library of Congress. They were a friendly enough bunch but I think it's now fair to change the tourist slur "Ugly American" to "Ugly Canadian."

Our group was assigned widespread and totally random room assignments despite assurances that we would have adjoining rooms or some reasonable proximity. Efforts to correct this situation were met with broken promises and even downright hostility by a front desk manager named Freddy. We nicknamed him Freddy Krueger from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" horror movie series. This was particularly baffling, as there were empty rooms all around our area.

This wouldn't have been such a big deal except that some in our party were stuck in rooms located near the "night club" which is an open air stage where a troupe of Disney-like British camp counselors loudly perform awful American Idol-type fare nightly until 12 a.m. to an audience of 10 drunk teenagers who snuck out of their rooms and a few old folks who can't really hear. We were finally able to get these unlucky relatives relocated towards the end of the trip but it took world-class badgering by my sister-in-law to get it done. Who wants to work that hard on vacation?

Which leads me to one of this resort's major problems - noise. From the nightly shows that can be heard even in far away rooms, to the silly pool games, trivia quizzes and loud DJ music during the day, to the weed whackers and mowers, to the laundry carts, to the teenagers running around all night, to the canned Mariachi music in the dining areas, you can't relax anywhere. The worst offender is a foghorn that sounds off every 10 minutes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the kid's Pirate themed splash pool to warn children of an impending dump of water from a giant pirate hat. It's unlikely that London had louder warning alarms during the Blitzkrieg than this deafening horn. I could hear it 500 yards offshore underwater while snorkeling. I think real Somalian pirates would be less invasive.

To settle your nerves, you might think that a nice stiff drink would be readily available - after all it's an all-inclusive package and there are 6 bars. You'd be wrong rummy, arrgh!

The bars keep strange hours with odd gaps (all but one is closed during happy hour!) and the service is very slow due to greedy guests ordering multi-liquor drinks that they hoard because they're free and because the bartenders mix every single drink one ingredient at a time without the benefit of pre-mixes like margarita or daiquiri mix. I'm guessing this is a management mandate to reduce the number of drinks mixed per day or simply poor training. Sometimes, they'll just ignore you and wash glasses and cut limes but if you're a decent tipper (say 20-50 pesos a round), which the Canadians and Euros are not, you'll get a better pour and service with a smile. Sadly, the beer is flat and watery Corona and the wines are awful Mexican varietals.

The resort boasts 5 restaurants but you really only have access to the main buffet above the lobby for dinner and breakfast and the pool lunch buffet. The mexican and the oriental rooms are reservations only and you can only go once per week, according to their “rules”- that is if you can figure out how to get a reservation. The mediterranean room is for “Royal Suites” guests, which as far we could tell were the exact same rooms that we were in, only more costly. I’m sure this limited access is a cost-cutting measure, as these restaurants offer table service and made-to-order food, but we were turned away several times and told there were no tables or reservations available even though they were always nearly empty. Like the room relocation issue, we wore down management with daily arguments and after escalation to the food & beverage manager, we were finally granted reservations to the Mexican restaurant, which was quite good.

Overall, the day-to-day buffet food was well prepared, but a bit heavy on bland meat and potatoes, which is probably exactly what the target audience wants. I guess they have to ingest as many calories as possible to steel them for the cold winter up north. The chefs are gruff and unwilling to accommodate requests for things like salsa (go figure- no hot sauce in Mexico) and one time when I requested salsa, the chef replied, "No salsa but we have guacamole", as if I wouldn’t know the difference. To make matters worse, the guacamole is bland and cut with some sort of extender like cornstarch and is the color green of Laura Ashley designer paint. Annoyingly, the fajita buffet ran out of tortillas every day for 11 days in a row by 11:30 a.m. The desserts all looked good but were strangely devoid of flavor, as if they left out key ingredients. Maybe they’re made by the same process as the varnished fake food you see in the windows of Chinese restaurants. That being said, the fish was consistently good and the churros (fried tubes of dough with sugar and cinnamon) on Mexican night were fantastic.

The wait staff was outstanding at all meals, and honestly, most of the Mexican staff (besides management and select bartenders) were extremely friendly and helpful.

As noted earlier, the grounds are quite nice and the beach is one of the few sand beaches on Cozumel. You can snorkel right off the beach but the underwater visibility and wildlife is nothing like the reefs off shore. A dive shop which runs snorkel and dive tours is located on the beach and you can take off right from their pier but the downside is that they have 8 cattle-call dive boats coming and going all day long and it makes for a busy scene on what should be a quiet, peaceful beach. Snorkel gear is free for 3 hours but the catamarans and kayaks are not, despite the web site and brochure stating otherwise.

Speaking of sports, there is a peculiar bar next to the nightclub that is called the Sports Bar. Actually it’s called Sport Bar but their English is better than my Spanish, so I can’t criticize. What is noteworthy about this bar is that they only have one TV and there is never any sports playing on it- even during the busy college football and pro football playoff season. The décor is actually quite elegant but is not sports themed at all. Maybe this is why it’s always empty. Maybe they could stage live bull or cockfights for an authentic Mexican sports experience.

If you’re looking for a cruise-type experience complete with piles of food, non-stop entertainment, kids activities and nice weather, this may be your place. But it comes with a price tag that isn’t seen in the rate book or brochure- compound stresses from daily annoyances and compromises that make you wish you selected a quieter and better run location.

I suspect that if Mexicans owned and ran this place, vs. an absentee foreign corporation it would be for the better. Rise up and take it back hermanos and hermanas- Viva la Revolucion!

Unique Quality: Nice beach, good location. Awful service , bland food, unbearably noisy

Directions: Cozumel, 12 miles south of main port on main road

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Great Family Value on Cozumel

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on March 12, 2008

Great Family Hotel. Allegro pays attention to the "family" therefore the kids can have fun, leaving more fun for Mom and Dad
The hotel has had some damage from a couple of hurricanes, and renovations from the same. They are rated a three star in most circles, and from my experiences - the stars equal the quality of the food. Three stars = buffet service with some specialty restaraunts, usually with the same food, prepared slightly differently. Presentation is better, and you are served rather than "buffing" it!

Unique Quality: Great activities at the pool including all guests. Kids have the opportunity to go to another "quiet" pool and kids activity club. They are quite accomodating to the children as are all Occidental properties (in my opionion).
The best quality about this hotel is the snorkling on site. The best beach in Cozumel (in my opinion) is the San Francisco beach and is near the Palancar Reef. which the Allegro sits upon.
I have seen many things right off the beach, that I didn't even see while diving. Make sure you put sun screen on your back and on the back of your thighs because you will lose track of time watching the marine life on this beach.....(Been there, done that) They also have a dive center in house, as most Cozumel hotels do, which makes diving convenient.

Nearby Occidental Allegro Resort

Occidental Allegro Resort

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

  • Occidental Allegro Hotel
  • Occidental Allegro Resort All Inclusive
  • Occidental Allegro Cozumel Hotel Cozumel

Address: Km 16.5 Carretera Sur San Francisco Palancar, Quintana Roo, 77600, Mexico

Amenities at Occidental Allegro Resort

  • Restaurant
  • Swimming Pool
  • Fitness Center
  • Free Parking
  • Spa
  • Business Services

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