More about Occidental Grand Cozumel
The Occidental Grand Cozumel - a nice resort
My husband and I stayed at the Occidental Grand Cozumel in March 2003. We had a nice time. We have stayed at various resorts in Aruba, St. Lucia and the Mexican Mayan Riviera. If I had to compare this stay with our stay at the Bahia Principe Tulum resort in the Mayan Riviera last November, I would have to choose the Bahia. The Bahia is a larger resort, you have a better chance of actually being able to see the ocean from your balcony and their buffet has a much larger selection. The Bahia also has a huge pool with a swim up bar. In my opinion, there is no category in which the Occidental dominates over the Bahia.However, the Occidental is still a cute little resort. From what we've seen by driving around the island and talking to others staying at different resorts there, it's one of the best available on Cozumel.Before I speak of the pros and cons, let me describe what my husband and I consider a nice resort (since everyone has their own likes and dislikes). We think a 'nice' resort should be clean and well landscaped. The food selection and quality should be good. The rooms should be clean and not smell mildewy. You should be able to see the ocean from your balcony. The drinks should be of decent quality and the beach should be nice.What did I like about the Occidental? The resort was clean and beautifully landscaped. The food was decent enough. The staff was friendly. There were two nice pools: a small, quiet pool and a larger pool where they played music and hosted activities. The safe in our room was the best I've seen so far at a Carib resort. You punch in your own pin code on a numeric keypad. They also keep the mini fridge in your room stocked with pop and beer. We tipped the maid, even though we didn't have to. She folded the towels up into animal shapes. Also, instead of buying your snorkeling excursions through either the Apple or Funjet desks near the front lobby, try booking through the dive shop near the beach. You'll get a better rate (about $30 USD pp inster down to $10 to take us into San Miguel (the main town there). We couldn't find anyone to share a cab with us at the time. We went through 3 cabs that stopped in front of the lobby before one would take us at that price. Normally they want $17 USD. Our angle was 'if you're going to San Miguel anyway.'. Worked for us. It's worth a try. I recommend renting a car for the day and driving around the island. You can rent one right there at the Occidental. Stop off at the popular beaches along the eastern coastline. They are the most beautiful on the island ! Much prettier than at the resort. Our checkout time on the last day was much earlier than our departing flight. They offer a hospitality room for you to take a shower, which was neat. That way we could play by the pool until the last minute.Now that we have been to a few resorts and have something to compare to, let me tell you what I did not like about the Occidental. You know how you're supposed to be greeted with a glass of champagne when you get there? Well, there was a table with champagne and glasses, but no one waiting to hand us one (naturally we served ourselves). In fact, no one showed up to trolley our bags to our room for about 20 minutes. A little anti-climactic, but oh well. The buffet selections could have been larger. Don't plan on gourmet food. Plan on things like grilled chicken, rice, pasta salads, fruits, mixed vegetables and various desserts. The buffet didn't open until 6:30 for dinner. It would have been nice if it opened earlier. The two a-la-carte restaurants were a nice change of pace, so be sure to arrive at the reservation desk as early in the day as you can because you can only book reservations for that calendar day. By the time 10 am came, we could only get reservations that night for a 9 pm seating. The beach bar closes daily at 5 pm. It would have been nice if it stayed open for drinks until 6 pm or even 8 pm. The first room we received was a second floor room and it smelled mildewy. We have notasked for a new room on the top (3rd) floor and that took care of the problem. You can't really see the ocean from any of the rooms at this resort due to the a short patch of jungle that sits between the rooms and the beachfront. By the 4th day or so we noticed a sewer smell. Apparently there was some kind of back-up since a truck with hoses was parked next to our building all that day. You know, we've caught at least one whiff of sewer smell in the air at every Carib resort we have ever been to. Now we simply expect it. There is no swim up bar in either of the swimming pools, which was disappointing (especially after having one at the Bahia resort). A waiter setting up for the noon beach bar buffet got a little snippity with me he scolded me with 'buffet not open yet'. The food was out, he could have let it go but for some reason felt compelled to say something. We're talking an outdoor, serve yourself systemnot some high class joint. Oh well, I thought I was the paying customer.All in all, if you're going to Cozumel, the Occidental is a good choice. If you're choosing between the Mayan Riviera and Cozumel for the same price, choose the Bahia at the Mayan Riviera.
Beautiful Peaceful Resort
My husband and I stayed at the Occidental Grand Cozumel for 10 days, April 3, through April 13. The resort was brand new and beautiful. The rooms were very large and the bathroom was spacious and the shower had the best water pressure that I have ever experienced and there was plenty of hot water. The maid service was also superior and our room was always clean and the refrigerator was always well stocked. The maid was very appreciative of the tip we left her each day and she would make pretty designs with our towels and decorated them with fresh flowers. The resort itself is brand new and is beautiful. The landscaping and archeticure are very interesting and very well maintained. The pool area is very nice and it was never overcrowded. The walk from the beach and pool area to the front desk is at least 1/4 mile, so be prepared to walk. We were very disappointed with the beach at the property. We didn't sit there once in out ten day stay. You would have to sit on a slopped area of sand that was not what we are use to at Carribean resorts. The sand is not white and powdery. The beach was very shelly and you had to wear water shoes to enjoy the water. There was an abundance of small jelly fish in the water, so we hardly went into the surf. From what I am told that if you scuba dive, this is the place to be. Neither my husband or myself scuba, however, we do snorkel and we didn't see much right off shore, but the snorkel trip to the reef was much better. The resturants were very nice and the food was very good. Ther are two formal resturants, with one of them changing their theme alternating nights from a Steak House to Mexican and the other resturant was Continental. The men must wear long pants and closed shoes, otherwise they will be turned away. There was also a beautiful outside pizza parlor and a buffet resturant, which was informal shorts and sandals excepted. The system of making reservations needs improvement. You could only make reservations the day that you were goingt desk between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to make them. They would not accept a phone call from the room. The staff in the resturants were very accomodating in anyway they could be as far as service. I wasn't feeling well for 2 days with my stomach and they prepared the food for me very bland with no problems. Make sure you bring immodium with you. Quite a few people had stomach problems.There was not much night life at all. The extent of night life was sitting at the lobby bar and socializing, with other guests, which was fine for us, but if you are looking for excitement...this is not the resort. We had no children with us, but this is definately a family resort. The had a nice kids program and the staff tried to get people to participate in the fun and games around the main pool. All in all, our vacation experience was a very pleasant one and I would reccommend this resort to anyone looking for a peaceful relaxing vacation, with beautiful weather and nice people.
More kudos for the Occidental Grand
We just returned from a 5-day stay at the Occidental Grand. I agree with almost all of the previous reviews. Hotel is brand new, rooms & baths are large. All facilities (common areas, restaurants, etc.) are new & clean. Landscaping is beautiful. Housekeeping staff is excellent (except why don't they empty the trash every day?!). Bartenders are very friendly. Only complaint about the staff is the front desk folks were a little gruff. Everyone else is very friendly and want to teach you a little Spanish (and ask you to help with their English).Food was okay, not excellent (breakfast was our favorite meal). We ate one night in town (at Prima - very good!) and one night at Los Olivos (the onsite ala carte restaurant). I would definitely recommend making restaurant reservations for both Los Olivos and the other restaurant (either Mexican or Steakhouse - it rotates) as you will get tired of the buffet very quickly. You cannot get into these places without a reservation - even if the restaurant is empty! The pizza place is good for a snack, but they only serve personal size pizzas (and drinks) and nothing else. But it is on a cute roof-top patio - a nice place to catch a breeze and enjoy a beer.The guests seemed just the right mix - not too many children or college kids. This is definitely not the place for spring breakers, as night life on site is very quiet. We enjoyed the beach and snorkeling (booked onsite through their dive shop). We recommend the two-reef tour.If you want to spend most of your time in town, I would recommend staying closer to town. It is $15-20 (+tip) one-way taxi.We would definitely stay here again. The perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the beach, ocean, and pool.
A Perfect Week!!!
My husband and I stayed at the Occidental Grand from March 10-17. We had a great time. The resort was beautiful. We spent a lot of time relaxing at the pool and the beach. We thought the rooms were adequate. The bathrooms were huge!!! All in all the resort was very nice. The food was okay. We enjoyed the Medditerranean restaurant and the noon buffet in the main restaurant was usually better than the beach buffet. Don't expect spectacular food and you won't be dissapointed. It was certainly nothing that you couldn't eat, but nothing to write home about either. We would recommend staying at the Occidental to our friends. Rent a car and spend a day on the other side of the island! It was so amazing - miles of beach and very few people - great margaritas at Playa Bonita! We had a great trip and can't wait to go back!!!
A wonderful surprise!
My husband and I booked our first trip to Cozumel the week of March 3rd. Having read about numerous resorts, I was expecting a nice "beachy" vacation ... what I got was quite unexpected! The Occidental Grand is an absolutely beautiful resort. When we arrived at the hotel, I was quite taken with the beautiful entry ... gorgeous use of color, tile and furnishings, large mirrors and a friendly man waiting for us with champagne! The architecture is beautiful. I hadn't expected anything quite this elegant. We were shuttled to our room on a mobile cart by the bellmen. Everyone was quite helpful and friendly. Our room was on the upper floor, and was quite spacious and nicely decorated. The bathroom was large, all marble and had an ample closet with a safe for valuables. The room was equipped with a hair dryer and a small iron / ironing board, a ceiling fan and a mini-fridge stocked with water, beer & sodas. Our room overlooked the outer edges of the resort, which was jungle-like. Listening to the many varieties of birds in the morning was wonderful! Housekeeping kept our room very clean, and even surprised us one day with some fresh flowers and a beautiful swan made from folded bath towels. The grounds of the resort were beautiful. They've tried to leave many of the natural trees around the resort, and have tropical flower gardens everywhere. There are two pools. The one nearest the beach is the activities pool ... very large, overooks the beach, lots of activities for everyone. It's also close to the bar and pool restaurant which serves a lunch buffet. The smaller pool is a relaxation pool ... very quiet, you can listen to the wind rustle through palm branches at this one ... completely serene and relaxing. The beach was small but nice. There was a good distance between this resort and the next, which made the beach nice for a walk. The Occidental Grand has a buffet restaurant in the main building where we had breakfast and a couple of dinners. The selection is huge Because of the vast selection, it's hard for the staff to keep every item up to it's best quality. The heat lamps tend to dry out some of the items. Since the resort is new, perhaps they're trying to figure out which items are the most popular and will pare down the selection later. The pool restaurant is set up in a similar buffet style. There are two a-la-carte restaurants for dinner. These require reservations, so be sure to make yours early at the front desk if you want to dine at a particular time. They fill up fast. These restaurants do have a dress code (nice casual clothing, no shorts, flip-flops), and it is enforced. I give the staff credit for this since it makes the experience much nicer for those wishing to have a fine dining experience on their vacation. We went to each of these restaurants ... one a Mediterranean, the other a Steak House. The Mediterranean restaurant was excellent and offered a very nice selection of entrees, salads, appetizers and desserts. We were a little disappointed in the Steak House as the cut of meat each of us received was a bit below average. The wait staff at all of the restaurants is wonderful ... very friendly and efficient. There is a Pizza Parlor upstairs in the main building which is open til 1am. Unfortunately I was never hungry enough to make it up there, but heard very good comments from other guests. There are 3 bars ... the pool bar overlooking the beach, a bar in the main building complete with sitting room to one side and the disco. All the drinks we had were great! There's something for everyone, whether you want a quiet place for an after-dinner drink or prefer to party at the disco. There's not major entertainment at this resort, so this is probably not the place for you if you want to see a lot of shows and nightlife. This resort is much more for the vacationer who wants to decompress for a while and enjoy the tropical breezes, touches of elegance and wonderful Mexican hospitality. The service we got from the hotel staff was excellenot expected, but is definately appreciated. Many of the staff really went the extra mile to make our stay so pleasant and our vacation so memorable. I can't wait to go back to the Occidental Grand!
My friend and I stayed at the OGC during the week of Apr 19-27th. First the good stuff: The resort is truly beautiful. It is plugged right in the middle of a jungle, a very well maintained jungle!. During our 8 days we saw a variety of creatures including, large and small lizards, exotic birds, scorpions and one big tarrantula! Yes it was as big as your hand, but they only seem to come out very late at night when all the lights are off. The staff was very friendly especially since they work 12+ hr shifts at the resort. The buffet food ranged from average to very good. The lunch buffet was your standard chicken nugget, hamburger stuff. Breakfast and dinner were more creative. The dress-up resturants are good, but make sure to get up early to make a reservation or you will be visting the buffet. The rooms were large and the bathroom was huge. Probably the nicest bathroom/shower I have ever seen in a hotel/resort with marble, a seperate bath and glass shower. The pool was a fun place with activities like water polo, volleyball and water aerobics. Drinks were good with higher end alchohol if you asked for it. Ok now the negative: The ongoing joke for the week was "if you are looking for answers you wont find them here". Although the staff is very friendly, they seem to give fuzzy answers. For example, we read that you can visit the Allegro next door when staying at the OGC, so we strolled across the beach (15 min walk) to check it out. We were there no more than 5 min when we were asked to leave becasue we did not have a day pass, yet we had our OGC wristbands, plus the daypass is free!. No one told us that, until we asked at the front desk after the fact. The maids come at different time from 8AM-3PM, so you never know what time someone will knock on your door. For the first 5 days, someone or something would move furniture in the room above us. This started early (which usually woke us up) and continued until the afternoon. Why!! I am on vacation and would like to sleep!!!. Ah they say thest to stick to bottled water, but I was hampered with "stomach" problems the entire trip,as was my friend. Actually about 90% of the people I spoke with complained of "problems". Some worse than others.By now you probably have read about the time share people that promise you a discounted rental or gift if you sit in on a presentation. Well, we needed a car so guess what, we did it. Since there are no nightly shows at the resort, this "comedy act" is as close as your going to get. If you have a free 2 hours, I recommend sitting in and watching the magic. First you sit down with the rookie, asking if you have about 30 min of time. Then after answering some basic questions, she then turns it over to the next level of saleperson. His job is to become your best friend and make you feel comfortable before he hits you with the 25,000+ bill. The next level is the manager which with a smooth handoff procedes to brag about his many trip and lavish lifestyles! Wow!, I would love to be him!!!. After we went back and forth for about 2 hrs, we were given to the cleanup guy who offered us a final deal, which of course we turned down. Last but not least we were told (by the first person) that there was no gift!. Well we made sure we got what was promised the next day. Ok, here is what we feel is the worst part of the trip...absolutely no nightlife. If you are single and looking to have a good time after dark, DO NOT STAY IN COZUMEL!. This is a resort for couples and families. The singles we did meet were far and few, and even the typical downtown hotspots like Senior Frogs and Carlos and Charlies were filled with 17 year olds shaking their stuff (watch out parents!). The La Mission Disco didnt attract more than 8 people on any one night. Hey but the pool table worked!. Everyone seemed to be in bed by 10:30 PM every night. In conclusion, if you are looking for a relaxing vacation with a loved one or family this is an excellent resort. If you are a young couple or single you will be banging your hefor my summer cruise!.
Not bad, but needs improving.
Here's a list of things we liked/didn't like:LIKES 1. It's a new resort, so everything's clean. Great landscaping. Rooms were smaller than I expected, but still comfortable. Great shower! 2. Great staff. Very friendly--whether you tip or not. 3. THE FOOD & DRINKS! 4. The mini fridge was a nice touch, but the drinks were never cold enough to my liking. I would've liked to have seen some candy bars and other snacks in there, too.DISLIKES 1. Our biggest complaint above all others, and what knocked our rating down from a "4" to a "3", was the ON-SITE time-share jerks. We, as well as other guests we spoke to, were conned into listening to a "1 hour presentation" (which actually took 2 hours). The con? You are lured in by a helpful "resort staff member", who assists you with information on sight-seeing and souvenier-buying. Then he hits you with this: "How would you like to see the island in a free rental car?" He told us that all we would need to do is visit the Allegro resort next door "just to see the facilities" so that we would "tell others to come and stay at the resort". I specifically asked, "is this presentation ONLY to see the resort, or is it a time-share deal?" His reply, "Oh, no, sir! We don't do time-shares here!" After promising us that we would receive a free rental of a convertible VW bug (circa 1979, by the way), we agreed to "visit the next-door resort". Can you guess what happened? It WAS one of those RTI time-share deals, they didn't show us the resort next-door (only the resort we were staying at, and the same room we were staying in!), another HIGH-PRESSURE salesman entered the discussion, gave us the "dirty look" after we repeatedly told him that we weren't interested, and (surprise, surprise) the VW convertible wasn't available. Plus, we had to pay $10 extra for the "free" rental.2. (Whew! It's taken a little while just to get to complaint #2, hasn't it?!?)the menu in the "nice" resort restaurant. Since I didn't pack any, they would not allow me inside. They didn't have that many guests to begin with, and I thought I looked pretty good in my "nice" kahki shorts and buttoned-shirt, so I didn't see what the big deal was. Too bad for the servers--I tip very well.3. The Front Desk and Management people need to be more friendly and accomodating, I think. Also, they would only exchange US traveller's checks for pesos. They gave us a rate of 9.7 pesos to 1 US dollar, while everyone in town gave us rate of 10/1.4. The mattresses were too firm. It's hard to sleep on when you're sunburned. Also, bring a pillowcase from home--unless you love inhaling that bleach smell.5. I have been to a true, "all-inclusive" resort where EVERYTHING was included (i.e. food, drinks, activities, rentals, personal services, etc.). The only thing inclusive at the Grand is the food and drinks. I think they should offer more amenities to their guests, such as free rental equipment, or at the very least, make other services so inexpensive that one would think that they are free.6. If you are staying at the Grand, request a top-floor (3rd floor) room with a view. 2 reasons: It should be quieter since there isn't a floor (and noisy guests) above you, and you won't be stuck with a first floor view of some bushes. In case you haven't figured it out, we were on the first floor. Just so you know, the air conditioning unit is pretty noisy--even on the lowest setting.7. If you like snorkelling, there's not much to see at the resort's beach. Also, it's cheaper to buy and bring your own equipment from home. For what it costs to rent 1 set of snorkelling equipment from the resort for just one day, we were able to buy 2 sets from home for the same cost.I think that's about it, if you can believe it. Obviously, we won't be staying at the Grand if we visit Cozumel again. Here's a couple of more things to consider: 1. Want a car with air conditioning? Be prepared to pay much more. Theo it is next to impossible to get lost. Don't forget to buckle up your safety belt! The police will pull you over and issue you a ticket if you don't. 2. Taxis will charge you about $9-$10 per person to and from the airport, and pretty much anywhere else you want to go. 3. When you step off the plane at the Cozumel Airport, you will see people holding up signs with your hotel name on it. Just keep walking, because they are more time-share people. 4. If you bring traveller's checks, try not to bring anything larger than $50 increments. A lot of places couldn't give you change for a $100 check, and don't forget that the hotel only gives you change in pesos (at .30 less on the dollar). 5. Don't forget the sunblock AND the "after sun" lotion! 6. Bring a pre-paid calling card to make long-distance calls from the hotel. 7. Stop by "Coconuts" for a drink, and eat at "Acuarios" for steak and lobster at a good price.
New Hotel, need improvement
The hotel is very beautiful. The room are very pretty and spacious.The breakfast was good but lunch at the beachside buffet wasn't appetizing. The food wasn't covered and the flies were enjoying the food more than the guests. The main hotel restaurants were ok.The only other problem was, there wasn't an alarm clock in the room, which is fine if you could depend on a wake up call. When you called the front desk and ask for a wake up call, you never received a call the next morning. If we didn't have our cellphones with us and set the alarm clock, we would of missed our planned activity.Otherwise our stay at the hotel was good.
A wonderful family trip
We had a truly wonderful stay. The staff was very friendly. The buffets were average to above average depending on what one chose. The reservation only restaurants offered above average tasting selections - the best was the steakhouse. Our children celebrated their birthdays one evening and the hotel staff went out of their way to make it a special evening for our family. The grounds are well kept and the rooms fresh and clean. Of our party of eight, eveyone agreed that this would be a repeat place to visit. The children loved the kids club. Unlike other reviewers, we never encountered a time share salesperson nor were charged for anything other than dive & snorkling trips off hotel property.
An Amazing property that still needs improving
Okay heres the good the bad and the uglyHere the good stuff: The best part of the resort is thats its very peaceful and quiet. The rooms where very nice and clean. The bar fridge was always well stalked up. We had a nice room with a peek a boo view of the water and close to the pool. We are avant snorkelers so if you want to get to the good reefs its 15 minutes away by boat. There really isnt any snorkeling off the resort beach but you can hop in cab and go to Dzul ha beach really terrific snorkeling and only 10 minutes away. The restaurants have great food and service for dinner. I would highly recommend booking into it for your evening dinning.Heres the bad:The rooms have extremely noisy aircondtioning units which we found it hard to sleep it would be great if they could fix this up. On a scale of 1-10 I would give the buffet food a 6 it was okay average food. The beach needs some improving it had some damage from a hurricane last October. I am not a big drinker but when I am away I dont mind a drink called a Seabreeze. The drink contains cranberry juice which they ran out of our second day of the trip. I had put in a request about getting some more in but no one including the front desk clerks where able to meet my request. Heres the ugly:The buffet at lunch was good except you had to eat the food right when they served it at noon otherwise it was a free for all for the flies. Overall our vacation was great we might stay at the Occidental again. If you want a quiet place to stay this is it.
Decorated for Christmas 2007
Are any of the lights from a lighthouse?
Shopping mall area at the end of the dock