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“Beware of the time share guys”
Review of Occidental Cozumel

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Occidental Cozumel
Ranked #20 of 52 Hotels in Cozumel
Reviewed April 1, 2011

This resort was everything the reviews say it is. My only complaint about it was the way they tricked you into talking to the time share guy. When we arrived we were taken to a large conference room for a flawless check in. We were told our room would be ready around 1 pm and our personal "Concierge" was Deiago who would let us know. We checked back with Deiago who gave us a welcome gift and then offered us a 24 hr Jeep rental for $20. I paid the $20 and then he said I would have to attend a breakfast meeting to learn about the benefits of booking directly with the hotel rather than through a travel agent. I later learned the meeting was 90 minutes and was all about purchasing a time share. I did not attend the breakfast meeting. So beware of the time share meetings. we talked to several Royal Club (time share) customers who said it was not at all worth the money they spent. If your interested in purchasing a time share, do your homework at home! Do not allow these guys to suck you in.

Room Tip: Provide a tip $$$
  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank blusher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AllegroCozumel, General Manager at Occidental Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded April 12, 2011

Dear Guest,

First of all thank you for choosing Occidental Grand Cozumel and your sharing coments. I can assure you coments have been share with all departments involved.

We may apologize for any inconvinience you have encountered during your stay.

JmFiguereo
General Manager.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,118 - 3,124 of 4,784 reviews

Reviewed March 28, 2011

I went on this trip with my husband and 13 year old daughter specifically to relax and scuba dive. We had a great trip overall. Here is an overall assessment and tips for your stay.

To do ahead of time: Contact them and ask them to provide reservations in the restaurants for the time you will be there – or at least some of the times. I contacted Yamile Cruz at (agerenciaogc@mx.occidentalhotels.com) and she was very helpful. When we arrived, we were presented with reservations for four nights at the three “premium” restaurants they have. Also, ask them for your desired location. We stayed in building 18 which is close to the beach. The closest to the beach is building 19, with 18 overlooking the relaxation pool and next closest to beach. If you want a nice view, ask for the third floor – the balconies overlook the vegetation and have an unobstructed view. We were on the second floor and although we enjoyed the balcony, there is a structural accent that blocks half the balcony view (seems to be on all first and second floor balconies). Building 10 is closest to the night activities, restaurants, front bar and spa. I suggest staying closer to the beach.

On diving, they are generally able to accommodate dives by just signing up early that day or the day before, however, because our daughter was completing her certification there, I contacted them early to arrange to have an instructor available right away when we arrived. Luis at the dive shop was helpful ahead of time via email and also helpful when we were there. He can be contacted at luis_frias@divepalancar.com for any diving or other water sport inquiries.

The beach is splendid, but all the chairs are generally taken by 8:30, go there earlier than that and stake out your location in the sun (or shade). Another good reason to ask for building 18 or 19 - you don't have to wonder far in the morning to get your spot.

Rooms were humid as all of Mexico is, but the air conditioning worked well and we were comfortable there. As others noted, the beds were hard – but we slept fine on them. The bathrooms were very roomy and nice with large showers and separate bath tub, marble throughout and with fans and windows. Housekeeping was terrific, cleaned well, left water and beer, left unusual towel sculptures (lobster, ray). Don’t forget to tip them!

Food and drink – hit and miss on this. We love microbrews and fine wines – you won’t get any of that here. The beer was Corona only. The house wines are iffy but the service is good and friendly – tip those bartenders. On the buffet meals, some food is good, most is fairly bland. I was not impressed with the food, but I also found things to eat every day. My daughter is a vegetarian and she had a hard time finding food, beyond fruit and some of the same veggies. The restaurants are as such: Piazza – it’s pizza and I thought it was good. The grill – the steaks were decent, but it’s nothing like a steak you’d get in the USA at a premium steakhouse. Los Olivios was fairly tasty but the portions were miniscule – so it’s like their fine dining platform in portion sizes, but only partially in taste. Overall, you’ll stay nourished, but you won’t rave about the food.

Sidebar on food – one day the establishment down the beach “Alberto’s” offered some coupon to go and eat on the beach there (it’s a short walk on the beach or very short cab). They talked about lobster and crab – and when we got there, they were asking for $65 for a lobster tail. If you want to go to Alberto’s, go to eat on the beach, the fresh lobster prices are crazy – I hear that you can get fresh lobster (and all of it, not just the tail) in town for $20.

Entertainment and fitness – we never made it to the disco, but the entertainment was OK. Dancing demonstrations, an ancient Mexico (pre-Hispania) show that did not make a lot of sense, vendors that come in with jacked up prices and old movies; entertainment gets a C. The fitness center has weights and treadmills, but it’s super hot and has no fan – there is a cold water cooler however. Two much better fitness alternatives: run on the service drive – bell can tell you where – it’s simple, you can cover as little or up to 8 miles and it’s safe – go early in the morning, cause it’s hot. The second and more cool option – swim inside the buoy line on the beach. If you go all the way around the three perimeter sides back and forth twice, you’ve swam a mile. If you go early in the 6am to 7:30am time frame, you’ll see lobster and other cool creatures that will not bother you. What may bother you is tiny jellyfish, I was stung 3 times during the week diving, but they are minor and all signs (looks like a small bug bite) gone within an hour or so with vinegar.

So finally, the reason to go is really underwater! The beach is great, but the turquoise of the water will tempt you. Get yourself into the marine park (you can do this by snorkel or dive) and you’ll know why you’ll always remember this trip. We went diving every day – there are generally four offered daily, sometimes more. Take the resort course or sign up for snorkeling – it will be memorable and amazing. The reefs are beautiful, colorful and full of life. We saw such a variety of fish, coral and activity. Among the highlights were giant turtles, crabs, lobster, giant beautiful tropical fish, stingrays and eels. It is truly amazingly beautiful and offers a lot of variety in the many different reefs around the island. Absolutely sign up for snorkeling or diving – and tip your dive masters or tour guides too. Ahh, I miss it already.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank Ana_Paul_Mara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2011

My daughter and I just returned from our 6th trip to Cozumel and Occidental Grand. We were again delighted with our trip. The staff are very attentive and made every effort to respond quickly to requests. We were glad to have access to the pizzeria and it was great sitting in the open-air on two of the 7 nights of our stay. One night we ordered and pizza and took it back to our room so we could review dive video. Our room was always clean and the showers are the best I've ever experienced in my travels! The food is good and menu varies. Drinks are plentiful and if you feel the liquor is weak, ask for an OMG and they'll accommodate your needs. The beach is beautiful and the only complaint I would have for that area is not about the staff but the other travelers. People start placing towels across most chairs as early as 6:30 a.m. and don't even use them until much later in the day. I know the management cannot control that effort, but just know that you have to get up early to claim property on the beach!!
The beds are firm, but not uncomfortable. After a day of diving and soaking up the sun, my bed provided the rest I needed. The line at the pool bar can get a bit long, but a waiter takes drink orders by checking on guests at the pool/beach.
The diving was exceptional! Dive Palancar group is right there and they are all wonderful.
The turtle area under the bridge has no water, so it is a bit smelly in that area. I'm not sure if lack of rain or what has caused the swamp to transition into a boggy area. Iguanas and birds still use it as their feeding/resting area.

Overall, I love this resort because the ambience, countless positive experiences, and people. Marcela, Nelly, Ricardo, Adrian, Daniel, Manuel, Janquario, Victor, Tomas, Arturo, Alberto, and so many more that I won't recall by name but know them by their wonderful smiles, gracious presence, and willingness to make your stay memorable.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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Thank 1SCUBAMOM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed here for 5 nights from March 14-19 and the stay was pleasant overall. This review might be somewhat biased since this was our first resort ever :) and therefore there is nothing to compare to, however, I should also mention that I am a pretty picky person to begin with!

I have noticed that all the negative reviews come from people who simply love to complain, compare the Occidental to previously visited 5 star hotels, or from those who never read a thing about the hotel before booking the damn place!!! The very things people complain about the most have been posted over and over again on this very site. What a joke!

I had a very clear idea of what I wanted in a resort: 1) a beautiful (non man made) beach and 2) a clean, beautiful property. All I have to say in regards to this is that the Occidental Grand delivered!!

The food was a bit off, my least favorite meal was dinner.
The pizza (served as midnight snack every night) was pretty bad.

The good:
- Beach was beautiful!!
- Grounds were beautiful - I was shocked to see how beautiful the surrounds were. You always here birds, plenty of iguanas walking by, the rooms are tiled, the fountains, decor, marble floors. Very picturesque!!
- Staff was nice and hardworking
- Rooms were spacious with big bathrooms
- Stocked refrigerators
- Safe in room

The bad:
- Food: NOT a fan of the food :(, in fact my stomach felt funny often, although I must say that there is something for everyone!!! I never left any meal hungry - and i am a picky eater. Most foods are heavily fried!! Not a good match for health conscious individuals!!
- Plates - Ran into alot of dirty plates and silverware :(. Sometimes it takes 3 tries to get a clean plate. Be careful!
- Shower water - smelled gross!! Felt like I was taking a bath in a smelly swamp
- Mattress was hard, blanket smelled like wet laundry :/, sheets were clean
- Room smelled funky sometimes
- Los Olivos - the only specialty restaurant we went to.... AWFUL food from the appetizers to dessert. During the dessert I noticed specs of something reddish sitting at the bottom of my water cup, observed same specs in my boyfriend's cup. gross!

My boyfriend and I rented a scooter for a day and went around the island and to the lighthouse! Super fun! Also stopped at a downtowm supermarket and bought some good snacks for cheap.
All in all, the staff/ grounds/ beach were amazing :)) - the food and shower water can use some improvement!

I really liked it ! !

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank peachymangos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2011

This is not your typical review as we did not actually stay here overnight but visited for a day with friends who were there for a week!
We were very impressed with our arrival at the reception desk, the staff were very helpful. Took my DH out to try and find our friends, while I waited at the front desk. While waiting I was offered a cool refreshing drink and treated just like a paying guest!
We paid a small fee for a day pass, got our bracelets and off to visit!
DH went for a dive with our friend, he had a great dive, well run operation and the dive was wonderful. In the meantime I enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the Royal section at a lovely little AC restaurant, fine dining in our bathing suits and cover ups!!! We spent some time at the beach, enjoyed that. Lovely beach with lots of chairs.
The drinks were wonderful, very strong, no watered down alcohol here!
We also enjoyed the quiet pool area as well. That iguana was huge!
Our day ended all to soon, I think we would have enjoyed staying there! The rooms were lovely in the Royal section. We are definitely considering a trip there in the fall.
Thank you to the staff who made our brief visit so enjoyable!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank DiveDivaOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2011

We stayed 7 nights from March 12-19th. I felt most of the reviews were exaggerated. The downside was our check in. We arrived in darkness, no one took us to our room. We were sent with a map to find our building. We had an electricity card that none of us experienced before and had to figure out where to put it, in the dark! Room did smell musty upon arrival, but after leaving the patio door/window open during our stay, the smell went away. The rooms were a good size with walk in shower and separate tub. The fridge in room, was always stocked with bottled water and other beverages. Food was good and we had no problem reserving the restaurants on site. Senora Grill's specialty was steak. I would recommend ordering something else on their menu. Los Olivos was very good. Staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. Grounds were pretty and well maintained. Our building was close to bar and food, but the farthest from pools and beach. No big deal as you pack up necessities to spend the day by the water anyway. Weather was perfect - 80's daytime, 60's nightime. We didn't need to use the AC, which was nice. The entertainment wasn't as good as we anticipated, but the wonderful new acquaintances we made during our visit, made up for it. All in all, I would recommend this hotel. I felt some of the previous reviews were rather harsh.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank TranquilSea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2011

We returned to the Grand March 5-12, specifically selected dates to coincide with Carnival. We also picked this time because we could fly nonstop from Detroit, which unfortunately limits time of year and length of stay (February-April, Saturday only). When traveling with a large group (8) connecting flights are a real pain and to be avoided at all costs. Our group also includes a wheelchair/life support user (think Christopher Reeves-but smaller). Initially we booked into the Allegro due to availability but were able to change to the Grand which was our first choice. I would still like to try the Allegro at some point when we can get First Club accommodations for everyone. After reading many of the reviews over the past several months I was wondering what changes were occurring at the Grand, as the reviews did not reflect the Grand that I remembered.
Unfortunately prior to our departure a virus made an powerful appearance in our group. Some of us seriously considered canceling, but in the end all decided to go. The flight was fine but it would sure be great if the Cozumel airport had carts/porters to help carry large groups bags through customs. Once through we were able to get transportation arranged easily and were to the resort quickly, and upon arrival the resort was as well kept as previously experienced. One change, however was check in. We are First Club and knew that the vacation club was being incorporated at the Grand but were unsure of the change schedule. I approached the front desk and was redirected to the new First Club facilities located on the second level near LaPiazza. All I can say is WOW! Private concierge, free internet access, private lounge with awesome bartenders and very top shelf liquors. Only open for a week and a half and many more improvements to follow. Definitely not handicapped accessible but staff was more than willing to offer those amenities to my daughter and nurses by greeting and serving them on the main level.
We have stayed at this resort before so we know that it is humid and "musty" but we know that it is in the tropics and don't really notice the "smell' until we are back in the arctic clime of Michigan. We know about the king bed arrangements and the "hard" mattresses and so request foam pads for those that require them. I really didn't notice the firm bed most of the time as fatigue from the sun, water and fun took over. As far as king beds go, I guess I don't get it. If you want to cuddle you can do that comfortably in a full, and if you want some space why not have your own bed? I will say that the water temp during the shower with hand held units did vary and took some getting used to. The pressure was awesome and bathroom size was also very generous. Maid service was also excellent-please make sure to tip as these ladies work so hard for so little. Internet service was spotty but the resort comped the rest of the week for free when the day you paid for had issues.
As always the staff made us feel like family. Greeting us by name and inviting us to activities, and rearranging beach/pool games to participants requests. The 20 somethings in the group truly did not want to leave. Everyone looked forward to the competitions, and friendships and teamwork shared with other guests. No problems finding seats around the pool either. Bar service at the pool was fine-if there was a line I felt too long then I would just walk over to the bar at the beach buffet-can't say I didn't get enough to drink. If you want a strong drink just ask for it- the bartenders are more than happy to challenge you!
Don't quite get the complaints about food. Breakfast was great and I am pretty much a protein/fruit person, but if you like carbs there is plenty of opportunity for pancake, fresh breads, waffles. toppings,etc., must say never felt pressured to leave a tip to the omelet person. Personally I enjoy more exotic offerings so flautas, spinach and fajitas at breakfast are welcome. Lunch at the beach offered plenty of variety. Fresh grilled ribs, fish, along with salads, guac, picco de guillo, chips. Not to mention some great paella with huge prawns mussels, scallops. etc. If you don't think the desserts in the fridge are good then get the ice cream-to die for. Dinner buffet always had some authentic dishes. AlaCartes varied. Los Olivos was the best-the chef cooked our fresh caught tuna to perfection and service was stellar. Wine not good. Steakhouse service was poor-don't understand why different than the other but very noticeable. Food ok and occupancy low (Los Olivos near capacity) Most pleasant surprise was La Piazza. This restaurant has NEVER been open in the past but was the last couple of days of our stay and food was casual but very good, setting was lovely. Hopefully this a change for the good.
Nightlife here is quiet. The shows are entertaining and last until about 10-10:30. Then the disco is available to make your own fun. Bartenders are great and DJ is accommodating. The stars and beach are always out. Had a great time the last night with beach staff and good bye celebrations-felt like family.
First time checking out the spa. It is small and on the second floor above the disco. As mentioned before we had some illness issues. My daughter(wheelchair/life support) was not well and spent much of her time in room. Maids were very accommodating, room service available, and spa staff excellent in massaging the "ocean" out of her lungs. She definitely was improved after her visit and staff helped her to access the second floor location. Wish we had done this earlier in the trip. Wish list would be for elevators to make everything accessible at this resort but we live in reality and even the U.S. based vacations(especially airports/airlines) are really far from ADA friendly. Bottom line is that she loves this resort because it is eco and human friendly. First Club concierge ,Miguel, was helpful in getting necessary meds. Looking forward to returning soon without the illness.
Since return we have found out that H1N1 is alive and well in spite of the flu vaccine. Spent the next week in hospital with pneumonia. FWI- if you have fever, chills, body ACHES and have gotten the flu shot- you probably have the flu. Get Tamiflu-it might help. Lots of H1N1 in the Midwest amongst the vaccinated-don't know why the word isn't getting out.
Bottom line - nice vacation- can't wait to go back healthy!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Catherine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Cozumel

Address: Km 16.6 Zona Hotelera Sur | Colonia El Cedral San Francisco Palancar, Cozumel 77600, Mexico (Formerly Occidental Grand Cozumel)
Phone Number:
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
#11 Spa Hotel in Cozumel
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Cozumel
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range: $149 - $373 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Cozumel 4*
Number of rooms: 247
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
Grand Cozumel
Grand Occidental Cozumel

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