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“Fun in the Sun!” 4 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 #31 of 57 Hotels in Cozumel
Fort Collins, Colorado
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Fun in the Sun!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

I had read reviews for months before our trip and I was a bit concerned. I turned out great. The reviews are correct both the good and the bad. The good just way outweighed the bad. Yes my safe was tricky. Just remember C#E to enter and C# EC to close and you will be good. Yes the room could us a little work. The windows in the bathroom didn't shut right but it had a screen and it was a small window. It wasn't below zero outside so who cares! We had one night that the room smelled a bit funny. We were in a Jungle. Yes the food got a little old by the end of the trip but it was good food and i always found something good to eat. Take advantage of the restaurants to break it up. They were great. The staff is great!! Every one I worked with was helpful and friendly! Wendy and the other lady at the front were great and I don't think I met Richardo. I never once was asked to buy a time share. Don't talk to the people trying to sell. Work through Apple Vacations and plan all of your excursions through them. Ruben is great and always helpful. All of the excursions were great. Their is a separate room between the bar and the gift shop where you can meet with agents that are not part of the vacation club. That is where you can hook up with people to help with your excursion that are not trying to sell time shares. That being said I had no problem with anyone trying to sell me. Not even the vendors on the beach. The pool area is not hug and no slides but they had activity directors(comedians) who had volleyball and water polo games going all day. My 13 year old and 16 year old had a great time. My 10 year old loved Abby who did the activities for the younger kids. They baked and made crafts. The snorkeling and swimming right off the beach was great and the dive shop was easy to get snorkeling gear for free. The grounds were very clean and attractive. I don't think the pictures I have seen did it justice. A little tip if you like bigger fish. Go to the pier at 5:45 or 6:00 am before the boats start coming in. I saw a 5 ft. tarpon, barracuda and jacks eating the minnows under the pier. They are gone when the boats show up. Too bad you cannot fish there. I might not have left. They have a small rope at the front of the pier saying it was closed but step over. No one ever said anything to me. The security guard would just take down the sign behind me. Drinks were good and I never felt I had to wait too long. Take bug spray there are a few bugs but not bad. Sunsets from the pool and beach are comparable to Hawaii. We loved the fact that all of the excursions we went on picked up at the Hotel. The front for jeep tours and the pier for fishing, snorkeling and para-sailing. Have fun, relax and be patient. I just read my review and realized my use of the word great was a bit overused but accurate!

Room Tip: We were in building 19 that is closest to the beach. We loved the location. Some people traveling...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • 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
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

My husband and I have stayed at several places in Mexico (Riviera Maya, Cancun, Tulum, etc) and Cozumel had that distinctive island-ness about it which was nice for us. We appreciate fewer crowds, the calmer atmosphere, the flora/fauna. And having traveled not just in Mexico, but globally, we have an idea of what to expect and we don't get ruffled over the hiccups that are bound to come when traveling internationally, especially to an economy like Mexico's. So, if you keep that in mind, I think you'll find Occidental Grand Cozumel rather nice.

(just remember, you're in Mexico) It isn't run like a hotel in the states and you shouldn't expect it to- that said, it did seem cumbersome to get anything booked. I really feel for Ricardo (he was at the front desk usually) because while I was sitting across the desk from him- he was fielding calls from staff, grumpy guests, trying to manage check-in/check-out's, and trying to get the reservations down for all the meals/services for our (my husband and I) stay. I am guessing the cost of dividing these roles is too much which is why there's one person doing it- but it's not going to work long-term for this hotel. I waited in line for 45 minutes (only 3 people ahead of me, and I got there within 10 minutes of when the desk opened). And while I was there- I was asked over & over what else I needed and my room number. He couldn't keep it straight between the other conversations he was having (I wouldn't have kept it straight either). It means YOU, the guest, have to know what's included and what to ask for and keep at it- which is kind of backwards, but it is what it is.

However, this was taking place in an outdoor courtyard in Mexico, where I wore only a bathing suit & cover-up and I could bask in the sunshine while I waited--- far far away from the 20 degree weather back home. Perspective.

If you keep in mind what the staff is likely going home to- these really are pretty nice rooms. We had a king size bed on the 3rd floor (please note-- I wasn't paying attention when I booked it, not sure I would have chosen differently, the rooms are set up in buildings (about 24? rooms per building) and they each have 3 floors, the rooms are set up around a courtyard and there are no elevators- think about that if you're planning on heaving your bags to your room yourself- just suck it up and tip the staff and have them haul it up). The bathrooms were quite nice- and the throwing the TP in the trash is common in many places the world-over, so it didn't bother us at all. They have a lot of lime in the water so the drain in our tub looked a bit beat up, but it wasn't dirty- quite clean- just looked bad. The shower did fill up while I was washing up but it drains quickly after the water is off- just part and parcel of bathrooms in Mexico- in my experience.

One afternoon- I think it was a power failure? I was all soaped up and the lights flickered & the water stopped. Died. No more water. I ended up rinsing with the melted water from our champagne bucket. The water & power (generator assisted) were back on in 15 minutes but I'd given up after 5. It happens sometimes.

The beds were seriously hard, but apparently it used to be worse. Perspective! I can't comment on bed comfort very objectively anymore since we have a memory foam mattress at home and we are 100% spoiled. We managed. It's a vacation- I was away from my kids, alone with my husband. We could live with it.

It's so-so. If you're a foodie it is definitely so-so. But they sure do try! Great pico de gallo and guacamole (which I could eat all day, every day). It gets a bit repetitive, but I was on vacation- I didn't have to cook or clean up, it was hot & ready when I sat down. No real complaints. Loads of fruits. Lots of veggie choices. Some new salad combos I hadn't tried before- one I'll be trying out this summer w/ cucumbers & cilantro.

I will offer a word of warning though. With as many times as I've been to Mexico- I thought my days with "Montezuma's Revenge" were over. Not so much. I was using bottled water for my teeth, drinking. And still- I had one day that leveled me. It could have been a standard stomach virus- hard to tell- but I'm just putting that out there because it could happen to you.

My husband loves scuba diving and he was wary of this location & the pro-dive group. He's used to a little more autonomy & better conditions. But to be fair- our first few days- the water was turbulent, to say the least. The boats were rocking side-to-side. By mid-week his tune had changed and he finally understood the hype. He still liked Cayman Brac better but he gave Cozumel his thumbs-up. His biggest beef was that the groups of divers were so varied that the more skilled divers were limited by the newbies. He felt there should be more division so the skilled divers could get more out of it.

The pools were clean & always busy. The chairs were still plentiful right after breakfast (around 8am for us) but by 10, they were all spoken for. So if that's your goal- to be beachside/poolside- claim your territory early.

There were activities planned for most days, all day long, but that's not my thing. And they didn't seem highly-attended so, I think this is not the resort for that- BUT the activities staff does their darndest to make it enjoyable & appealing. My hats off to them because they work hard at it.

The biggest problem I had with the outdoor stuff was the smoking. I can't understand how in 2014 there are still so many people smoking, but it is what it is, and people who smoke take vacations too. However, it meant that if you didn't smoke- and you chose your spot early and a smoker sat down after and upwind of you- you either dealt with it or needed to move- or, like some rude & ballsy guests did- you confront the smokers. Not my style. Another related note to this- there are a lot of children at the resort- and if my kids were along it would have bothered me a lot more.

I am always in awe of staff in places like this. They are there from the wee hours of the morning until late at night. They have to juggle more than just English, but German, Swiss, French, and a host of other languages that aren't their first. They are constantly confronted by grumpy vacationers and they (for the most part) handle it really well. And at least our housekeeping woman was extremely compassionate & helpful as I struggled to explain in Spanish that I was sick, it was my stomach, could I have more toilet paper- and she brought a ton of bottled water in and really helped me out. She doesn't HAVE to do that, but she did. And it was not a case of over-tipping.

This is the first AI I've stayed at that didn't include tipping. It was difficult to figure out how much to leave and when to leave it and to whom. It's not like there's a price list, you're just guessing. And we were told that a day's salary for ye average worker was about $6/day. Anyhow- it was awkward and inconsistent and I think there needs to be a better way to sort that all out.

The vacation clubs
Oy Vey. The bane of my AI existence. I tried hard to steer my husband away. I could have easily passed them by and I know several guests who managed to escape them, but my husband is a deal-seeker and couldn't help but get lured in. That said, we actually enjoyed getting to know our guide (not sure what their official title is) and we learned a lot about the island/resort and that part of Mexico from him. We turned it all down in the end but it's the first time I haven't had my eyelids flapping from all the eyeball rolling that usually comes during a presentation. That said... they had an amazing technique. Anytime we showed hesitation or disinterest (I mean the slightest inkling) they'd redirect. They'd stop. Offer us a drink. Talk to us about something completely unrelated (something of interest to us) & then they'd weave back towards the goal. I was impressed.

In summary
We liked it, a lot. I loved being in the "jungle". I loved being able to sit out under the huts on the beach. I liked the pools-- the quiet pool isn't beachside or I might have liked it more-- the activity pool was always, well, active. I was glad that there were things to keep my husband busy (he hates sitting around) and that there was plenty of nothing for me.

Room Tip: If you're in a room where the second two digits begin with 2 or 3, you'll be climbing stairs...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Backnang, Germany
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

We had a lovely time and enjoyed our two-week vacation there.The staff was always friendly and helpful, so we felt very comfortable. The food was fantastic and varied. The waiters were always attentive and friendly. The Beach, the sea and the pool were beautiful. Due to the many sports packages and annimation it could be a never a dull moment at the beach. It was also easy to learn new people to know. The Place it`s for diving and snorkeling a dream. We would come back anytime. :-)

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Dallas, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

I guess our biggest complaint was the quality of the food. All meals seemed to be on a schedule. We ate the same thing three out of the five days we were there. The first day we were there they had no water for showers or air conditioning. The place is beautiful, just overbooked and unorganized.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

Let me first start out by saying that we purchased a Groupon for an all inclusive deal at their sister resort, located down the beach, The Allegro. However, when we approached the check-in desk at The Allegro, we were told that there were no available rooms left for us (despite having paid full price in advance, Groupon or not...). The desk associate assured us that we were actually getting an upgrade by being sent to The Occidental. Not having much leverage (or the proper Spanish knowledge) to argue, we were quickly handed 70 pesos for our cab ride and sent away.

Upon arriving at the OG, we instantly knew we were indeed receiving an upgrade. The grounds were absolutely beautiful. Though after arriving to this 2nd resort, we were anxious to check in, drop our bags and begin our vacation.

When we got to the check-in desk (well after 3PM at this point) we were told to speak with Ricardo, the Guest Services Manager, who would be handling the Allegro overbooking mishap. We waited at his desk for about 20 minutes before he acknowledged us, as he had a tendency of leaving his desk frequently, disappearing behind the office walls. He finally broke the silence with "a situation", telling us that there were no rooms available for us. Silently freaking out that we're in another country with no place to stay, Ricardo told us that he did have a room for us, but we would have to be out the next day. Umm, ok? Again, not much leverage to argue here, so we had no choice but to take the room.

Here's where it starts to get annoying.

Despite a check-out time of 12PM, he told us we had to be out by 9AM. I thought this was odd. Why are you asking us to leave 3 hours prior to the check out, when you know we have no other room to go to? By 9AM, it was already 85* and blazing sunny, and I was nervous we wouldn't have a shaded place to stay in case we needed to take refuge.

So we asked Ricardo if he could possibly reserve a shaded Tiki Hut for us on the beach, so that we'd have a home base until our room was ready (our luggage is being held out front like we haven't even arrived yet, mind you). Ricardo looked at me like I just asked him for World Peace. "Umm, we don't do that here. No", he replied. Dude, you couldn't make an exception? We weren't even asking for anything that required a comp or a void! He didn't even apologize for the situation we were in, let alone say thank you.

He told us to come back at 2PM as he PROMISED us an early check-in for the new room. My BF asked him before leaving the desk: "OK, so we'll see you at 2PM, right?" And Ricardo goes "Well, you know, like 2:30PM-3:00PM" What? You just said 2PM, why do I get the feeling that you're full of hot guacamole?

We even gave them time to get their thoughts together, by NOT checking back in until around 3:30pm-4pm...We finally get to our new room.

Ahh, our new room. Where do I begin? The room was about 90* since the air conditioner was broken. The glass window in the bathroom wouldn't close, the entire place was sticky. There were mosquitoes everywhere. Our ceiling fan, AC and TV were all broken. To top this off, the curtain rod was completely hanging from its hinges, with half of the parts left on one of the beds, careless. The refrigerator was unplugged, and all of our bottled water was steaming hot. We called the Guest Service Manager...and what do you know... he's gone for the day.

I called the front desk and was told a maintenance guy would be up "right away". TWO HOURS and three more phone calls later, still no maintenance guy. Then, our entire unit went black with loss of electricity! All of the rooms lost power AND water. Unbelievable. Grabbing my BF by the arm, we marched down to the front desk and demanded answers.

Here we met Wendy, who was nothing shy of awesome. She was super sweet and attentive, and actually listened to our concerns. Poor thing was working by herself, dealing with a ton of unhappy customers, all in similar situations as us. When she finally grabbed hold of a maintenance guy, we literally followed him to our room, but he somehow disappeared. WHAT? How the... He completely vanished into the night. We thought then maybe he might have been Superman who, while on his way to our room, actually received a more important call that required immediate, 1 hour response time, attention.

Another two hours go by, and finally another maintenance guy who solved our problems showed up. Everything was working again, thank god. Wendy was super sweet, following up with a phone call to make sure we were OK before turning down for the night.

The next morning, we were hoping to be in better spirits. Before going to breakfast, we put all of our stuff into the safe, followed the instructions carefully, and locked it up.

The safe was broken. Completely broken. All of our stuff was inside and wasn't reading our 4 digit code.

We needed to call maintenance again...By lunch time, we had our things.

Ricardo didn't care about this one bit. He didn't care that he gave us a completely broken down and busted room. He didn't care that we were bounced around like cattle. He just, didn't care about anything, for anyone. I witnessed multiple guests sitting with him before and after us, completely ticked off at his attitude and demeanor. I don't understand how this guy is the Guest Services Manager. GSM's are supposed to portray a sense of compassion and hospitality for their guests, right? You know, making sure all hotel services are up to par? Every couple or person we spoke to had nothing but ill things to say about this guy, so we knew it just wasn't us.

Wendy was more of a Guest Service Manager than anybody in that place, and she was just a front desk associate. She's amazing. Wendy, if you're reading this, you're way too qualified, sweet, hardworking and good for this place. Get out of there. I'm sure any Marriott would love to have you.

Also, avoid the tour guides at the front. Ricardo kept throwing them on us, I'm sure to distract us while he figured out which room to put us in. The tour guides, in reality, are shady salesmen that will attempt to trick you into going through a 90 minute time share pitch. Horrible. They want your credit card number, up front. They will wait for you outside of your hotel room! They make up prices on the fly, and then "discount" them for you. There's no pricing sheet for any activity, taxi, excursion, nothing. Some of them will even say openly that they're looking for commission. "Just book a taxi through me so that I can get my commission", one of the guys said. Just...avoid them.

Look, I don't want to bash this place because we did wind up having a great time (laughing through our misfortunes). Wendy, The bartenders, the servers, the pool MC, towel boys, house keepers.... the entire staff is so friendly and nice and hospitable! They really do go out of their way to ensure you're having a great time. They made up for the lack of service we were getting from higher management. Ricardo, take a lesson from your staff members! You could learn a thing or two.

The green salsa is extremely hot. The raspberry ice cream is ridiculously good. Stay away from the "Italian/Mediterranean" restaurant all together. Check out the pizza on the rooftop after 7:30PM. Claim your beach/pool chairs by 7AM or prepare to sit in the sand. And if you can swing it, avoid the guest services manager at all costs.

Again, service from higher management is extremely poor. I will not be visiting an Occidental resort or hotel ever again.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Nevada, Missouri
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

As a loyal tripadvisor person I will try to do my best to give all the insight I can in this review:

1. Check-In: We originally booked at their sister resort the Allegro but when we arrived they told us we moved to the Grand due to overbooking. We were a little worried but everything worked out great. They do sell timeshares here but the sales people were very low key. If you can avoid the gentleman with glasses at the front desk do it... He was rude and not helpful at all. We quickly found out we wanted to work with Wendy. She is a sweetheart and very helpful. Check-In was smooth overall. We had a long wait for our room but we walked around and had a drink.

2. The room: Room was really nice. The beds are super firm but we use a firm mattress at home so not an issue for us. Huge glass shower and tub. The rooms are older but have great character and ours was spotless. You will notice a little musty smell but hey, you're in the tropics. You should expect it. If it is really hot I would recommend keeping your bathroom door shut. It took about 24 hours for our room to really cool down. Overall the room was great. We tipped the first morning and asked for more water bottles and housekeeping brought us six bottles. One thing we did notice was that at certain times the hot water was not real hot. It was never an issue, just sometimes you had to turn on just the hot water.

3. Dining: There are two buffets and three nice restaurants. We ate at the buffet most of the time and the ala cart twice. They make a big deal about getting reservations but don't worry about it... If you go to the nice restaurant they will seat you if they have an open table. We had a great time at the senora. Super duper service... Food was outstanding also. All the buffets are great. Plenty of good food and they rotate the menu. The first day, find Cristal's section and always set there if you want great service.... She speaks good English and is a great waitress. In the mornings they have an omelet station that is really nice...Lots of authentic dishes on the menu.... I recommend trying a little of everything... Pool side restaurant also had hamburgers and hotdogs but I never ate them.. I can eat that in the states!

4. Bars: There are six.. Always good... Bartenders are very nice and know what they are doing. I waited in line for a drink only one time. They have about anything you want. They don't display the top shelf choices, but ask and if they have it they will pour it for you.

5. Pools: There are two... both are nice.. Look for the iguanas by the relax pool

6. Beach: It is amazing.. clean, white sand and shallow water. You can check out snorkel gear or kayaks for free. I saw lots of sea life while snorkeling right at the resort. Plenty of chairs with huts for shade. Very low key. Beach volleyball too.

There isn't really anything I can find wrong with this resort. It is wayyyyy down south and a little costly for transportation to the resort. I would recommend that when you get off the plane you walk across the street from the airport. There is a blue tarp with a taco cart called Diego's. Here you can get some super food for cheap and just tell them you need a taxi to your resort. Taxi cost me 25.00 from Diego's. I would recommend you offer them 20.00 haha!

If you are reviewing this resort, please feel free to message me with questions... I will do my best to respond and help!

Room Tip: Try to get a room away from the central square if you like to go to bed early... Music is really lou...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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St. Catharines
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2014

We had a great time during March Break. The resort staff were exceptionally friendly and accommodating, remembering us from day to day. The food was fantastic, although there was only one option for lunch. It is a small resort which we really liked because we ran into the same people and became friends with many. The beach was terrific and very clean. Rooms were wonderful, but the beds were extremely hard (our only complaint). It was very humid while we were there and the AC ran continuously. Wonderful experience!

Room Tip: Three-story units with no elevators so if stairs are a problem, make sure you ask for the bottom flo...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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
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:
#8 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
#12 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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