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“great time” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Cartagena

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Occidental Grand Cartagena
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Anillo Vial Via Manzanillo del mar Km. 4 | No. 9-85, Cartagena 985, Colombia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #67 of 124 Hotels in Cartagena
London, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“great time”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

we just returned from a one week stay at this hotel. Great location and distance from both the airport and the city.
Weather was unbeatable. Hot everyday..and windy in the afternoons...thank goodness!! If planning water activities in the ocean would recommend morning hours!!
Staff were friendly and helpful. There is a definite language barrier at times but from past reviews this is improving...and remember we can try to learn their language as well.
Activities through the day at one pool and R&R at the quiet pool. Water aerobics were tough but fun. Spin classes pool side!
Food was OK with lots lots of variety. They would run out on the buffet and were not quick to replenish but that just meant it was fresher and not sitting somewhere waiting!
A la carte dining was good, always a themed night with good variety and we had no troubles booking the time we desired
Rooms were average but clean, but really we were there for warmth and sunshine so we did not upgrade to a suite which were much larger. Beds are firm but comfortable.
staff friendly and helpful..not over bearing. we fell in love with Richard at the beach bar..whom works all day and attends night school every evening! Good for him!! Jackie and Adi at the activity pool kept us entertained and made everyone feel special! Honestly, all staff were great though!

Free shuttles ran on time to the city, however book ahead at front desk because they fill up!
we did a Segway tour of the old city which was very fun, and walked up the beach to a small town for drinks/ Always felt safe, but were also smart about when we went and what we did.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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572 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (114)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

We spent a very pleasant week at this resort interrupted by a medical situation for two days. The management of the hotel came out in the middle of the night with staff and had me transferred from the emergency clinic to a full service clinic geared to visitors. The costs were covered initially by the hotel until our out of country medical insurance was activated. The general manager arranged taxis and English speaking care for us and went far beyond any normal duty of care. The resort is enjoyable with no crowds of rowdy drunks and our accommodation was apartment sized with a jacuzzi on the patio. The food and drinks were excellent and my little Spanish helped with the staff. The managemant have programs for their staff to improve their English. Cartagena is excellent for tourists, safety is absolute with armed police and soldiers very visible. The free shuttle bus from the hotel to the old walled city is a big plus. Would I visit again? Yes.

Room Tip: Pay the little extra for the jacuzzi suites.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chelsea, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Once you've been to Cuba / Dominicain Republic /Mexico.... and you are looking for a different area to spend your winter vacation... Well the occidental Grand Cartagena, is a great place to go! The food was good, buffet different from day to day, the Nativo à la Carte restaurant was just GREAT! (one weird thing... some people got sick, but all were womens.... and I was part of them! but still I would go back to this hotel!) Personnel at the hotel is mostly friendly! your rrom gets cleaned in the morning! Really great you don't have to wait as we sometime had to in various holidays! The room were also well cleaned, not only quickly! The gym is also really wel organized! you have free access to the sauna and truck bath, witch was fun to try ! Small resort, so good for traveling with other people you bumped into each other often! You can pick the "noisy" or the "quiet" pool depending on your preference... althought the noisy one the animation people are not too mutch! if you are not interested, they leave you alone! if you want to play with them, there are available! A place where your choice will be respected!

Was there for 1 week (Januaray 18-25, 2013) with my husband in my in-laws. Don't think you will get the nice white sand and clear blue wather, but the sea is just GREAT, lots of waveand it donesn't get deep quickly! so fun times! you can walk on the beach for quite a lot! you can even go visit a little village by that beach route and come back!

The shuttle is th BEST option offered by this hotel! As you would not travel to Colombia for a first trip probably, and you may want to explore more, well they offer a free shuttle that you can reserve the day before to go downtown Cartagena ! and come back! that would probably be a 25$ cab ride... for free! Lots of time option (one every 1h30 in the morning - a little less in the afternoon) and back is the same thing... so you can go in town for shopping exploring, visit museum, at your choice, but even if you want to go every day of your trip, you can!

I recommend this place to not first time travelers to the winter south vacation!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

The rooms were great. We had two adjoining and interconnected rooms because we were a family and it was great. I loved this place. I was looking to relax with two small children and I was able to do that. The rooms are great particularly the one with jacuzzi. The resort has great pools and a very relaxing atmosphere. I thought it was great that the hotel had transport to the old city if you wanted to spend a couple of hours there. The food was good. What I liked the most is the mojitos that were prepared by the barman at night- they were amazing. Best ones I had tasted. This a very worthwhile experience. I really did not want to leave.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stra, Italy
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

Spent 7 days April 2012- had a great time- as it was the end of the season the hotel was not too busy which i really enjoyed. Our room was quiet faced on the pool. We took the mini bus into Cartagena a number of times, went on a city excursion( very busy as was Easter week end) but the music from the churches was wonderful and went on a boat trip to one of the small islands. the emerald dealers in Cartagena were pretty pushy so be prepared for that. I found the staff fine but again the hotel was not too busy. The hotel really needs a small store to buy personal items that a person might require. as it is a new hotel the landscaping is still new and small but overall i have no complaints. I have travelled a fair bit and dont expect things to go perfectly so dont get too bent out of shape when i have to wait at check ins etc,

Room Tip: We were on the top floor of our building so had a nice view- over pool well as could look out towar...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
176 reviews 176 reviews
131 hotel reviews
Reviews in 132 cities Reviews in 132 cities
382 helpful votes 382 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

My wife and I stayed here for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Years. We came as part of an all inclusive plan. Our main goal was to have easy access to the old town of Cartagena. We found that the price we paid for this all-inclusive was a much better deal than booking a hotel in the old town and flight separately. Overall we were happy with our stay but we also quickly realized that the daytour options for a 2 week stay were limited by the distances involved to various places we would have liked to visit. We enjoyed exploring the old town of Cartagena and the very unique tour to the mud volcano. We skipped the Rosario islands as we had heard and read unflattering reports of that excursion. We spent much more than usual time around the pool than we are used to doing. The first week was very quiet around the resort as it was running at less than 40% occupancy. The tranquility around the premises was actually kind of nice. The second week saw many Colombians arrive to celebrate New Years and things got a whole lot busier. We met some interesting people and had a good time. Now for the positive and negatives:

Positives:

1) the resort has a mainly Colombian clientele (at least while we were there)
2) the free shuttle to the old town worked for us but book a day ahead as the bus does get full
3) the food is generally good and varied
4) our room was great (we had a jacuzzi ground level floor room); definitely more spacious than the regular rooms
5) Miguel, at the buffet restaurant, was so helpful and cheerful- every server should strive to reach his level of service
6) the drinks were of good quality and definitely not watered down (delicious beer)
7) excellent bartenders and poolside waiters/lifeguards
8) management seemed genuinely interested in guests' feedback and experience
9) staff, although not fluent in English, were accomodating and respectful

Negatives:

1) being near water, the resort should offer more grilled fish and seafood dishes
2) after a while, the buffet became repetitive (emphasis on meats and heavy sauces)
3) the a la carte restaurants just serve the same things at the buffet restaurant
4) the reception needs to be a little more attentive and, well, receptive ( a simple request for water in our room took 3 calls before someone arrived)
5) on our last day, we had to cancel a restaurant reservation in town because the shuttle was full even though we were giving them 24 hrs notice of our intention to go to town; more spaces on the bus would be nice
6) pushy people who don't know the ettiquette of queuing
7) very average grey sand beach not tempting to swim but nice to stroll on
8) no sea views from the restaurants
9) no gift shop
10) tired of hearing Gangnam style; bring in more local talent to give feeling of place

Overall, we had a good time but if you like to stay active like we do, I'd say a week is enough to enjoy the resort and see the nearby attractions. Our rating of this resort is just in comparison to the many others we have been to in the area of the Caribbean. But for Colombia we are sure this is one of the best. After conversations with other tourists about their hotels, the Occidental Grand Cartagena seemed to us the right choice

Room Tip: suites are worth the extra living space with or without jacuzzi
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sorocaba, Brazil
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2012

The hotel is very new and clean, but the staff is not really prepare. The most part don´t speak english and don´t make any effort to understand even portuguese. The recepcionists are slow and confused. We made a reservation for a tour in Isla del Rosario in the hotel, to Playa del Sol. I made sure if the island and the tour had structure for my baby (she was 14 months) and the concierge (if I can call her that) told me that I could take my baby for sure. They told us that the tour cost 100.000 colombian pesos each person, and we arranged to take the hotel´s bus the next day at 8h00, because the tour included lunch and they would bring us back to the hotel.
At 8h00 we took the bus and when we arrive at the bus stop the driver asked us for the voucher of the tour, but nobody gave us any voucher. He let us with Miguel and said that Miguel would take us to the tour. Big mistake. Miguel charged us 100.000 pesos each to go to Playa Blanca (the price to Playa Blanca was 50.000 each - we discovery later). We had to pay 25.000 pesos to go into the water, than 1.000 pesos to use the bathroom, and 10.000 pesos to use the tent. And the boak broak in the way back. We arrived in the pier and we didn´t know where to to to catch the bus back to the hotel, so we spent more 50.000 pesos for the taxi. I complained to Willian and he told me that somebody would call me to see what happened, but I didn´t get any call or any apologize. I was so desappointed and felt like a idiot. All because the concierge didn´t give us the voucher and the driver of the hotel let us with this guy that made us stupid. And the hotel doesn´t have any structure for babies or kids, doesn´t have a playground or any place to warm a bottle.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Cartagena

Address: Anillo Vial Via Manzanillo del mar Km. 4 | No. 9-85, Cartagena 985, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#20 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#34 Family Hotel in Cartagena
#42 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Occidental Grand Cartagena 3.5*
Number of rooms: 190
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
190 Rooms All inclusive resort directly on the beach. Located 22 minutes from the historic walled-city on the northern side of the city. The Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Cartagena Hotel Cartagena

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