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!
- 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