My husband and I just returned from a week at the Occidental Grand in Punta Cana, staying there from November 2nd thru 9th. Overall, we would give it a fair rating. There were a lot of pros and cons. When we read the reviews on here, they were mixed, so we weren't sure what we would find when we got down there. As we had found, it was an older resort, but very clean. My husband and I are not too picky when it comes to 4+ star resort, not like what I believe a lot of people are looking for on here. Having a clean room, clean resort, good food, friendly service, and nice pools are important to us, and yes, the Occidental had it for us.
We were late checking in, but they were fairly quick getting us thru. We had never requested certain rooms, and from what we had read on here prior to getting there, there is good buildings and bad ones. Once we had checked in, we were driven to our building on a cart......all buildings are pretty nice, the grounds are unbelievably clean and well kept, and the paths are beautifully lit. As soon as we opened our door to our room however, we found we were one of the unlucky people who ended up with a smelly room, and we do mean smelly. Very stale. It was room 25-127. We DID have a nice view of one of the pools......but what a smell. There was also a door between our room and the one next door....which wasn't an issue until we were in bed, and the drunk neighbours came home....and loud they were. We heard every word they said....and at least we knew we didn't have the only smelly room, because they commented very loudly how horrible THEIR room smelled as well. And all night. Needless to say, our first night at the resort was not a good one.
The next morning was the Transat Air tour orientation.....we were very impressed with Transat on this trip. The plane coming down was brand new, with touch screen TV's in front of every seat.....which allowed you to choose from many different programs. The only bad thing was the seats on the plane were uncomfortable. But the Transat rep at the Occidental was very helpful....it was a quick, informative meeting, we recommend you attend it. We explained how awful our room was, and were told to go to the front desk and ask for Marcus. We explained the smell was horrible and our neighbours unbelievable..... Marcus was very helpful, and within half an hour, he had given us a new, huge, 2 room suite overlooking the swim-up pool bar, room 14-303. This room was MUCH better, vaulted ceilings, very clean, NO SMELL, and a huge 2 length balcony. Very impressed how the room switch was handled. The maids seem to come early in the morning to clean, and we had not even left the room yet. And the coffee must be an expensive item to replenish, we had to ask for it a few times......they did end up bringing it up to our room after we had called, but I would have thought to replenish it every day would have been a standard.
Few of the pros of this resort......unbelievable beach!!! The sand is pure white fine....and incredible to walk in. A TON of palapas for shade....lots of beach chairs......lots of beach space......and beautiful blue water. This has to be the nicest beach we have experienced yet. The waves are rough....we would never let children go in the ocean that's a given. But we enjoyed it....and the Transat guests have a private small beach with their own bar......we alternated between spending time at the beach and at the pool. With the pool, this is the first time we found it was hard to get a drink. Many resorts have waiters come around and offer drinks....none here. And if you are not in the pool, by the swim-up pool bar, you can't get a drink. The bar is closed by the stage until evening.....not sure if this is a big deal with a lot of people, but some it might be.
Food was actually pretty good.....although disappointing that there was NO seafood. We were surprised with that....but the rest was pretty good. The Steak A-La-Carte was closed the entire week we were there, we would have enjoyed that one as well. The other 3 A-La-Cartes were good...Mexican, Oriental and Italian......they do not open the doors until exactly 6:30, or 8 or 9:15 to allow people in on the designated times....and I witnessed them turning people away if THEY were late. The Pizza was very good...we ended up taking them back to our room to enjoy. The buffet was good.....the omelette lines (there are 2) are pretty quick. Surprised there was no ice cream at all, this is the first resort we have been too with none?? But the food selection is pretty good. We were given 2 bottles of rum in our room, which was a pleasant surprise.
A few of the cons.....the very irritating, all over the place people ON this resort trying to sell you something, ANYTHING. It's actually quite sickening. People had commented on this on here, and we read it pretty much in every review, but until you are there, and see how badly you are harrassed, you have NO idea how bad it is. And it's bad. We were very sick of people by the end of the week. Usually you are not bothered to buy anything while on the resort at all the others were have been to, and we prefer it. Every time you even LOOKED in someone's direction, they were onto you. How frustrating. In fact, we usually buy trinkets for family and friends on all our trips, by the end of this week, they had so turned us off, we bought NOTHING. The resort should tell them to back off, because had we known it was THIS bad, we would have never gone. We are not sure if the majority is time share people trying to sell, or the people selling their wares.....the good thing is, the wares people are only there 2 days a week. The time share harassers, and the picture taking harassers are everywhere.
Another con.....the resort filled up on the weekends with Dominicans staying there. And yes, this happens at most resorts, but we have never encountered the long lineups like at this one. The buffet lineup is really bad......we sat back and waited, watching, hoping the lineup one evening would go down, and after an hour and a half by the pool waiting, and not noticing it go down, we gave up. The pool is full, all the lineups are long.....not a good time on weekends. We couldn't wait for the peace and quiet that came with monday. Thankfully we were out of there by the next round on friday.
The resort is nice and close to the airport.....that's a bonus with us, but yet we don't want to be UNDER the flight path, and we never noticed it with this one. We can't comment on any tours here, as with this trip is the first one we never left the resort. It was all in all a quiet, peaceful week....less the harassing sales.
Would we recommend this resort to anyone to stay.....yes, as long as we also gave you fair warning of all the cons we found.
Our final room 14-303 was nice, clean, smelled good, but the air conditioner was very loud, and cons...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.