Stayed for 2 weeks in January. The resort was mostly good. Check-in, front counter service, not so much. Got to Grand Occidental after a very long day of travel. Arrived late at night and just wanted to get our room and get to sleep. Oops, room was occupied. Not a great start. After another 20 or so minutes, found a room. We had requested a quiet building with king bed. This was not a quiet room, had twin beds. Ok, we have 13 more nights. We can accept this for now. We'll just see front desk in the morning and ask if their are any upcoming vacancies so we can move. No rooms. Check back tomorrow. Ok, we're seasoned travellers, game on. Next morning, same person, said they are doing maintenance in building 18, but a room is opening. Ok, just leave a message and we'll switch. No message, went to front desk, spoke with same person..room taken. Ok, we'll try again. Same person, no results. Asked to speak to Manager. Spoke with her the next day, explained our situation and what we had been told, she was a little suprised. She advised us that there was no maintenance in building 18. She promptly moved us to a quiet building with a king bed. We asked for and she gave us late checkout as our flight back was at 10:00 P.M. She also offered us a dinner at the Royal Club Restaurant and when we got to our new room, there was a bottle af champagne and a generous plate of fruit. Nice touch.
Okay, now it's vacation on.
First building was 12..a little off the path, but noisy at night from the entertainment. Second building was 16. On the path, but much quieter at night. We are early to bed and early to rise, so, quiet is important to us. Good central location. The rooms were a good size with some drawers, a luggage stool, a good sized closet, large bathroom and a bit of a deck. The A/C worked just fine and there is a fan. The beds are hard. We requested a topper and received one that day. The pillows weren't great, but there are larger, softer pillows in the closet.
Housekeeping was awesome. Ana was our housekeeper the first 3 days, then when we switched rooms, Marisol was our housekeeper. Always had face-cloths and towels. The sheets were changed when we requested. **On a long stay, they are changed every 3 days**. We mentioned what we liked in the fridge, and both accommodated our requests. There was always hot water and pressure. No problems with drainage.
The grounds were always being cleaned. There were quite a few local inhabitants, some usual, like iguanas (big orange one by the relax pool) geckos, and turtles in the lagoon, and some not so usual..hogs in the forest-like gardens of the resort. Interesting.
The beach was nice with plenty of palapas and comfy beach chairs. Not the hard plastic ones. Nice to walk the sandy beach to the north, but going south, the beach has lots of broken shells which are jagged. Recommend water shoes or sandals. Snorkelling was good (will get to diving later). Generous swimming area. Plenty of fish. Large and small barracudas, yellow stingrays, etc. A bit of coral, a few placed concrete slabs, and grassy parts. A good combination of areas for sea creatures to swim into, hide and feed. Going back to the room at the end of the day, you will be serenaded by what sounded like hundreds of birds in the trees by the relax pool.
There is a local vendor on the beach with a variety of souvenirs. You can also create/paint your own keepsake like bowls, spoon holders, mugs, candle holders, etc. Once you are finished getting paint all over yourself, she puts the finishing touches, details on it to perfection and glazes it. Everyone becomes an artist. She also made a custom necklace for our grand daughter as she did not have one in the requested color.
Note. The in-resort souvenir store is reasonably priced and has lots to offer as well.
Not pool people, but the pools were clean and had plenty of chairs and umbrellas.
The food was very good. Could always find something. Found bacon every breakfast, the coffee was hot and fresh and the fruit was tasty and fresh. Breakfast and Lunch buffet were a little repetitive, but just switched it up. No problem. Dinner buffets were themed nightly per usual with lots of variety. Fridays, there is a clown blowing up balloon figures. Adds a nice touch and some fun for kids and adults alike.
There are 2 a la cartes (3 if you include Royal Club). The 2 are Mediterranean and Mexican. Both were good. Beware the chicken plate at Los Olivos..huge portion of breast. Not usual for Mediterranean portions. Both resataurants had good menus with a choice of soup, starter, several entrees' and desert. Los Olivos offers a salad Bar. The Mexican offered specialty coffees prepared at your table. Good show.
The bar staff were very friendly..shout out to Franklyn and Armando. Not big drinkers, 3-4 per day, but great service all the same. My wife likes a different blend of margarita, they always rememberred.
The activity team was mostly friendly and active. Marcelino was always smiling and energetic..One was disrepectful, carried on too much for it to be funny/playful. Was not impressed.
Excursion-Jeep Tour of the Island through our vacation rep. Tour company was Franks Tours. Our guide Pancho was on time (even early) and he was an amazing guide. There was only us and a family of 4. They had their own vehicle. It was nice as a small group, we were able to spend extra time at all the stops. Started at Punta Sur Eco Site where we observed some ruins dating back to the 1500's. Went over to the lagoon to see crocs, only one with its head poking above the water. Then off to the lighthouse, where en-route we saw a croc laying on the side of the lagoon. The lighthouse was built in 1934 and is in really good shape. We climbed the 123 steps to the top. Great views. Then it was off to the beach for snorkelling and relaxing on the hammocks. After that, it was back up the "rodeo style" road (you'll know if you go, it's about 10 minutes) to the highway and off to Andales beach bar on th east side of the island for lunch. Great food. Then it was off to the Mi Mexico Lindo Tequila, Chocolate and Mayan Village tour. Lots of interesting info,artifacts and a few tequila samples. An 8 hour excursion turned into a 10 hour day, but was worth it.
Diving..great. Did my diving with Dressel at Iberostar. Did a night dive, that was pretty cool.
On-site Dive Pro was not overly accommodating or friendly. I spoke with another diver that used Dive with Martin and was told his company/divers were also very good. No such thing as a bad dive, though. Some are just better than others.
Hope this helps and Happy travelling.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.