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“Beautiful property, but very poorly managed” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Cozumel

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Occidental Grand Cozumel
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Km 16.6 Zona Hotelera Sur | Colonia El Cedral San Francisco Palancar, Cozumel 77600, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 57 Hotels in Cozumel
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful property, but very poorly managed”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

We had a great trip, but the resort could make a few easy changes that could have made it much better! The grounds are well kept, full of amazing wildlife, and absolutely gorgeous. However, the hotel is lacking in several areas that would be incredibly easy to fix if someone took the initiative to do so.

I'll start with the great things. The property is stunning, with lots of beautiful plants and wildlife including basilisk lizards, iguanas, turtles, frogs, and many more. The mangroves are beautiful as well. Yes- there are mosquitoes. I came home with many bites, but in their defense I forgot to use bug spray and this can't really be helped. It is the jungle, after all. The fire show was awesome. The food is good, and the staff is very nice and friendly. They have great drinks! The best thing is the snorkeling! We've stayed at many all inclusive resorts in Mexico, and this is the best snorkeling we've ever had right off the beach. We saw cow fish, lion fish, rays, barracudas, lobsters, and more all within the resort's swimming area. You can rent snorkeling equipment, sailboats, and kayaks as part of the all inclusive package, which we really enjoyed. If you love wildlife, you'll definitely love what this property has to offer.

The rooms are pretty nice. I enjoy a firm bed, so I have no complaints there, but the pillows were awful. Our room stayed at comfortable temperature. We set it below 50 and it ran the whole time. A few times I wished I could set it a couple of degrees colder, but it was always adequate. My husband and I traveled with my parents and little brother. While the A/C in their room was similar to ours, we did hear other groups complain of a complete lack of A/C in their rooms. The fridge wasn't what I would call cold, but that isn't a huge deal. I enjoyed the large bathroom even though we had ants. Again, this is the jungle, so that is no fault of the resort. Otherwise, housekeeping kept things very clean.

Now to the cons. Unfortunately, this resort is incredibly poorly managed. To start with the small things: they're always out of everything. The bar was frequently out of lime and mint (a bummer when you love mojitos), and the buffet lines were often backed up for lack of plates/bowls/glasses, etc. Again, this is not a big deal, but it seems that it would be very easy to prevent things like that from happening on a daily basis. A bigger (and probably related) problem: they are INCREDIBLY understaffed. If they hired one more employee at each bar/restaurant, everything would be much better for both guests and staff. We really didn't get any where near the service that we have gotten at other resorts. You see the same employees from breakfast to dinner, and while they don't complain, you know they must be miserable due to the heat (explained later) and the workload. Again, these complaints are no fault of the staff, but of the management. There is no reason why only two people should be running a packed dining room. There is only one bar (not a swim-up) with one bartender to service the pool and beach, so you would sometimes wait in line for 10 minutes just to get a drink. Another bummer that I've never experienced at other resorts is the black out times in food availability. You literally cannot get food anywhere from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM (a reasonable time to get lunch, especially if you sleep in) or 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM. I really didn't like that. Overall: while the staff they have is great and working hard, the experience could be greatly improved if they would just hire more people.

If you're not accustomed to all-inclusive, my previous complaints may not bother you as they're really not deal breakers. If you're accustomed to A/C, you will definitely be bothered by the 90 degree dining areas. While the food was good, eating was miserable due to the complete lack of airflow in all of the dining areas but Los Olivos (my favorite for dinner-by the way) and the beach restaurant that serves lunch. This could be easily fixed by adding fans or upgrading the A/C units that do not work at all. If you've already booked your trip, I highly recommend bringing a handheld fan or something.

Overall we really enjoyed our trip! Occidental grand is a stunningly beautiful property that could be a lot better with better management. If they upgraded their A/C and hired a few more employees, it could be perfect!

Room Tip: Higher numbers are closer to the beach. We had good luck with 18. Bring a pillow if you can.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (688)
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English first
Wildwood, MO
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

Let me set the stage. We got here a week ago and we booked 2 weeks. Two adults and two teenage kids. The reason why we came to Cozumel was the scuba diving not for the beach or the hotel. We have been around the world and at the Riviera Maya three times so we have something to compare against. For example we stayed at the bavaro colonial and tropical south of playa del Carmen and that hotel was two stars better than this one even so on paper they are the same.

Here is now my review for the first week. I wil update it after the second week.
After we arrived here from the airport we checked in and were hunted down by people that wanted to sell time shares asking us to book through them as opposed to through Funjet as we did. I asked them whether it was about time shares and they claimed it wasn't so we spent 30 minutes before they wanted me to sign something for an appointment. That's when I walked away. They wear hotel uniforms so you might not recognize them. Watch out.

Rooms: we are staying in building 19 which is the one closest to the beach. Rooms a pretty large and nicely appointed but they show their age. Some mold can be found and the AC can't keep up. Not a big problem for us since we spend little time in the room. A night the AC is running constantly which makes a lot of noise. That is annoying.

Food: the food is not that great as many reviews have pointed out. The restaurants are not better than the buffets.

Service: rooms were cleaned very well. I tip a few bucks every day. Service in the lobby was not that great. When trying to reserve a restaurant we were told we should hAve gotten up earlier and had to wait three days. But if that happens, it is not a big deal since they are not that great.

The beach: the beach was surprisingly nice. Sandy and right off the beach one can find small rays, octopus, a lage barracuda and many other fish when snorkling.

Diving: that is why we came here and it has not disappointed so far. The dive operation at the hotel is great and everybody is very friendly. Our dive instructor Chaki was great when the kids did their PADI certification.

So come here for te diving not the food or the hotel.
We are staying another week so I will post an update

Dan

Room Tip: I don't think it matters much. Either you a close to the beach (building 19 or 18) or you a clos...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We just returned from 5 nights with an all adult family trip to the Occidental Grand Cozumel.

The Pros:
Beautiful Location -- The property had two very nice pools, and the landscaping was lovely. Common areas were beautiful, and they work hard to maintain them (new paint and varnish while we were there).
The Beach -- There was a very nice beach, with plenty of chairs, located right off the back of the property. Snorkeling and fishing are available right off the pier and there is a nice dive shop on the property. Lunches were served outside on the beach, which was nice.
The Staff -- For the most part, the people who worked there were very polite and friendly.

The Mediums:
The Food -- Not fabulous, but certainly not awful. It's sort of typical hotel food, but there was plenty of variety. The specialty restaurants were OK, but nothing too exciting.
The Rooms -- They were clean, and fairly large and cheery. Furniture was a little old, but in good repair. Plenty of hot water in the shower. Beds were hard, and not very comfortable, but I was able to sleep fine.

The Cons:
The lack of air conditioning. The most noticeable problem was that there was no air conditioning in the common dining area where breakfast and dinner were served. There was a large commercial kitchen in the dining area, contributing to the stifling heat and it was miserable to eat there. Certainly air conditioners break, but looking at reviews on this site, complaints about the absence of air conditioning date back at least a month.

In addition, a number of the rooms had poor air conditioning as well. Ours actually did work OK, but that may not have always been the case, as evidenced by the mildew smell of our bed linens. Yuck.

We still enjoyed our trip, in spite of the heat, but I really think management needs to take these complaints seriously. Air conditioning is a pretty basic amenity, and there's just no excuse (other than poor management) for a resort to not fix their air conditioner in 4 weeks. My review would have been higher, except for this one fairly significant problem.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gabriela S, Social Media at Occidental Grand Cozumel, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Dear WSJAB99

Thank you very much for your time to write your review on TripAdvisor. We sincerely apology for the inconvenience you may suffer during your stay with us. Rests assure that each comment has taken into consideration from our management to improve our service.

Hopefully give us the opportunity to host you again in the future.

Sincerely
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Missouri
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

I have been on many all inclusive Caribbean vacations and this was by far the worst. The very first thing we were greeted with was a time share set up. I knew exactly where the conversation was going so we cut her short and said no thank you! We booked the royal club expecting to have use of the private pool and restaurant which was not the case. Royal club has 4 buildings, only 2 of the 4 have use of the private pool and restaurant so we were extremely confused on what perks we were getting by paying extra to stay in the royal club. After waiting 2 hrs past check in time we finally got our room. No air conditioning at all!! No hot water coming out of shower just cold. Safe didn't work luckily I had luggage locks so we locked everything up in our luggage. Went and complained and they finally gave us a new room which was better but safe still not working. Buffett dining was like eating in a sauna, by the time you got done you need another shower. Food was tasteless, not a big selection, down right horrible. We ended up eating out the whole time. Then came the rental car issue. Right next to the lobby check in sits a desk with people wearing occidental get up and name tags so we didn't think anything of it. They showed us a pic of a nice new jeep, sweet! Not so, it was an early 1980's model junker, whatever, we're gonna try to make the best of it. The guy brought us the jeep, which we had to walk to the main road to pick up. Main thing he was concerned about was that we brought it back with a full tank of gas as it was full when we got it, no problem. We drove south to head up the east coast as it is a beautiful drive with nice beach side bars. We drove about 10 miles then the jeep runs out of gas, wtf!! Still reading full tank and if the tank had been full we would have made it 10 miles without running out. So we got a jeep with a few gallons gas and a broken gauge. We were stranded on the east side of island, not good considering its a local area, not a tourist area so no taxi's to wave down. With our luck a nice local helped us out, which cost us. We get back to hotel to be told that the people wearing occidental name tags that rented us the car had nothing to do with the resort. I will say the grounds are gorgeous and the pools and beach beautiful but I can find that at other resorts with better customer service and accommodations. Please do not waste your hard earned money here.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gabriela S, Social Media at Occidental Grand Cozumel, responded to this review, August 1, 2013
Dear Peggs311

Thank you very much for your time to write your review on tripadvisor. Received our apology for any inconvenience you may suffer during your stay. Rests assure that each comment has taken into consideration by our management to improve our service. Our main goal is our guest satisfaction.

Once again thank you for your time.

Sincerely
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Arlington, Texas
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

Upon arrival, our family was greeted by what we thought was a concierge since we were staying in "Royal Club." We thought the conversation was taking a strange turn when we were invited to a special separate breakfast where we could just "get up and leave" if we didn't want to hear more about "the property" as they hoped to get us back time and time again. After we made the reservation I had misgivings and cancelled only to get offered a free jeep for a day for each of two families. That's when we knew it had to be the same high pressure time-share pitch we had suffered through years ago. Such a fraudulent way to greet your guests!
On to the Royal Club for check in where we had to wait long past the usual 3pm...got our rooms at 5:20 but no luggage. 3 of us called for it to the front desk, bell man, and to the Royal Club reception. Finally found all our luggage at the front of the hotel where it had sat for 4 hours, so we lugged it ourselves (up 3 flights).
The restaurants served fine food but there was no A/C in any, and all doors and windows are closed for the most part. Fine food consumed in a sauna! My theory is that open-air dining won't work because the resort is built on a swampy refuge--a mosquito factory.
Guest rooms are nice, but again very hot, AC completely out for a day and a half. No AC vent in the bathrooms.
Evening entertainment was weak and not entertaining. No show on Saturday night. The theatre is a round concrete area with no cover, not elevated. There was a vendor's night on Friday where you could buy goods before the show right in the theater area all around the edges. But the vendors were still selling when the entertainment ran. It was multiple Broadway dance tunes well performed but surrounded by vendors which was a disrespect to the performers as well as distracting to those watching the show.
This is the only resort I have rated this low, as generally I consider myself easy to please, having been to Cancun, Playa del Carmen and to Cozumel more than 20 times with no major malfunctions such as we experienced here.

Room Tip: ground floor, many are on 3d floor with no elevators
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gabriela S, Social Media at Occidental Grand Cozumel, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Dear spunkydad

First of all thank you very much for your time to write your review in TripAdvisor for your recently stay with us. Rest assures that each comment is taking into consideration by our management to improve our service.

Sincerely
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Missouri
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

This trip was exactly what it was. This island and the resorts on them are targeted more for the scuba divers. The dive shop, dive masters, and all of the dive shop staff were very helpful and always willing to lend a helping hand. The rooms were average and so was the food. Not much to choose from when you eat at a buffet for every meal. They kept the eateries very hot in temperature and the mosquitoes were crazy unless you were on the beach. The beach was very nice and always clean. For myself being a beginner diver, I suggest doing one shore dive before you go out on the boats. It's free so why not. We also found out pretty quick that if we tipped we got better service. I love vacationing in mexico and I will stay here again.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

I'll get to Manuel in a moment, but the Occidental Grand was just as disappointing as the other poor reviews on this site says. If you've never been on an all inclusive Mexican vacation, then this resort may be acceptable...but this is really poor compared to some of the other choices.

Rooms - The rooms are a decent size but never seem to get cool (due to there only being A/C vents in the room but not in the large bathroom). The beds are hard as a rock, so sensitive back people look elsewhere. The concierge Manuel said he would correct the hard bed by putting down " sponges" on the bed. "Sponges" really means a folded up bedspread...not effective at all. We had the staff bring in a roll-away bed that my wife used and it was much softer. The lock on our room "broke" three times while we were there. "Broke" means that anyone could open the door from the outside, with or without a key. Eek! None of the drains worked well and we were never ever able to get any hot water in the bath tub. The maid (Geida) was very attentive and helpful.

The grounds - surprisingly, the is the best part of the resort. I am usually not terribly concerned about the landscaping as long as it is not awful, but these grounds are incredible. It felt like we were in a tropical rain forest. There are a number fairly large iguanas and some cats that roam the grounds. The swamp that you walk across to get from the resort rooms to the pools and beach was not expected and a breeding ground for enormous mosquitos...they said they sprayed for bugs every night at 6pm but we never saw it and if they did, it was not effective. We used insect repellant the whole time and got eaten up.

The pools - there are two pools on property and both are good. The relaxation/quiet pool is located in the middle of a lush courtyard with comfy chairs and some shade. The activities pool is located down by the beach and was large and nice. (Loved the daily water polo and water volleyball games) It is common for them to run out of clean towels throughout the day.

The beach - there was a moderate amount of seaweed trash and rocks on the beach (not clean) which I did not expect. There is a pier and dive shop here for the scuba divers. You can snorkel right off the beach and see a lot of sea life.

The food - this was one the worst parts of the trip. I do not expect all-inclusive resorts to have great food...but I do expect it to have some flavor and not be dreadful. Breakfast was the best of the three meals while dinner was the worst. The "reservations only" restaurants were so lousy that we cancelled our subsequent reservations. Plus the buffet dining room is stifling hot...no open windows and non-functioning a/c.

Our concierge, Manuel - our experience with him was by far the worst part of our trip. I don't normally single out any poor-performing employees, but this man was deceptive and should not be working in this role. He was quick to greet us with a friendly invitation to their time share, err "vacation club" in exchange for a $50 discount coupon for excursions. He told us to "play the game" and pretend to be interested and to come as a family so he gets more credit. He told us to plan for a 60 minute presentation and took a $20 reservation fee. The reality is that the vacation club presentation was almost 2 hours and the hard-pressing sales guy used lots of sample pricing savings that I couldn't validate (like a discounted flight to Madrid that sounds great but can't be proven). Manuel had to activate my $50 coupon but then tells me it was only on excursions that the resort offered and had to be spread across 3 excursions. Talk about the classic bait and switch! The only excursion that I wanted was a jet ski, but that wasn't offered by the resort so he refused to allow me to use my coupon. I complained to the resort manager, who forced Manuel to stand by his original offer. Manuel booked a jet ski for us from another vendor and he told us to meet the jet ski out by the resort dive shop. When no one showed up, I called Manuel from the resort dive shop. In reality, the jet ski was at the Alberto's beach club that was south of the resort ("50 meters" according to Manuel) We walked at least a kilometer over to the beach club just to use the jet ski and then walked another kilometer back...just another deception. This single man ruined way too much of my family's vacation time.

In closing, don't stay here...choose ANY other place!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OccidentalVC, Community Manager for Occidental Vacation Club at Occidental Grand Cozumel, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
Dear GaryinOK,

On behalf of Occidental Vacation Club and Occidental Hotels and Resorts, I apologize for the experience that did not meet your expectations, and for not being treated the way you deserved.
The description you give about the behavior of the Concierge does not represent in any way our philosophy when it comes to Customer Service. I will forward your comment to the corresponding department, so that proper measures are taken on the subject and this situation does not happen again to any other Occidental Hotels & Resorts guest.

Best regards,

Ignaura Tejeda
Community Manager for Occidental Vacation Club
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Cozumel

Address: Km 16.6 Zona Hotelera Sur | Colonia El Cedral San Francisco Palancar, Cozumel 77600, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Cozumel
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Cozumel 4*
Number of rooms: 251
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Only the Caribbean’s most famous reef system could match the beauty and splendor of the Occidental Grand Cozumel, which is exactly why the two exist side-by-side. Located on Cozumel’s gorgeous San Francisco beach, just above the bottomless blue paradise of the Palancar Reef system, you’ll find an authentic-style state that delivers all the luxuries of a private oceanside hacienda. Gourmet dining, bright and airy rooms, nightly music and entertainment, daily sports and beach activities and an on-site spa and salon make the Occidental grand Cozumel the jewel of any Caribbean experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Cozumel Hotel Cozumel
Occidental Grand Hotel Cozumel
Occidental Cozumel
Grand Cozumel
Grand Occidental Cozumel

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