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“Return visit to Occidental Grand Cozumel -October 2012”
Review of Occidental Cozumel

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Occidental Cozumel
Ranked #20 of 52 Hotels in Cozumel
Reviewed November 1, 2012

My husband and I returned to the Occidental Grand during 10/13-10/20/12. It was "different" to say the least.

Pros: Very little people (maybe 75% less than during Christmas time when we were first there). This meant plenty of open seats by the beach and the pool. We received more of a personal service like the workers bringing us drinks poolside vs us having to walk to get them! There was never a wait for any of the meals. Also, housekeeping left us "towel art" everyday. It was a fun game for us to guess about what kind of animal they would make out of the towels for when we returned to our room. Each evening, housekeeping would also bring us fresh towels, chocolates and the next days "agenda". This told us the weather, where the meals would be served, the daily & nightly activities, etc.

Cons: The full buffets were not available. Some meals were buffets, just not as large as they were during Christmas. Some meals were a-la-cart. You were given a menu and could choose anything off of it you wanted. Sometimes, you had to make reservations at the restaurants for the a-la-cart meals. However, you never went hungry!!!

All of this is expected since it's there "low season" and they have a substantially reduced number of guests.

Overall, I guess my Pros could be Cons and vice versa for some people. I guess it just depends on what the atmosphere is you're looking for. For us, we enjoyed both visits. We are adaptable to make ourselves enjoy our vacation.

All of the restaurants and shops in town were open and seemed to be just as busy as ever.

Room Tip: The lower number buildings are towards the front of the resort and the higher number buildings are t...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kathy1211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 29, 2012

This was our first time to Mexico and for the most part I did enjoy the friendly staff and clean grounds. Was not pleased with the extremely slow service and cold food (it would of been fantastic if it was HOT). Saw several iguanas, pigs, ferro cats, & trantulas! YIKES!! Also ended up getting sick the last 3 days (not fun). I had the best cabana boy named Freddie he was wonderful! I will miss him. I guess we were told it is the slow season in October and boy were they right! When there was night life it was at 10-11:00 and then noone showed up it was mainly just my boyfriend & I. They had a DJ, Kareokee,bingo that was about it.

Im jus glad to be back on American soil & will never go to Mexico again...been there done that

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jenny S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2012

Dear Jenny S,
Thank you very much for sharing your comments with the TripAdvisor community. I’m happy to hear you that enjoyed the beauty of our hotel and our friendly staff. I shared your compliments with Freddie, who was very pleased. I was, however, disappointed to read your feedback about our service and food. We hold our staff to the highest of standards and to hear that they fell below them is upsetting. I have met with the Manager to ensure that our staff remains fully attentive to our guests, going beyond their requests in a timely manner. I have also met with our Food & Beverage Manager to guarantee that all food is served at the appropriate temperature.
Regarding the wildlife at the hotel, we are located in an environmentally protected area home to native fauna, which many guests enjoy as they provide an authentic experience. I assure you that they are all harmless and we have never had any issues with them. However, I do apologize for any discomfort they caused you. I am truly saddened to hear that you are turned-off of Mexico as it is a beautiful country full of colorful and warm culture, which we strive to embody in our hotel.

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Reviewed October 29, 2012

I think every vacation is about your expectations. Our goal for this vacation (October 24-28, 2012) was to relax in the sun and enjoy the warm water. We thoroughly enjoyed and achieved these goals. If you take each of the good and bad reviews, I would say they are each accurate! The food is mediocre, the alcohol is lesser quality. Although top shelf bottles are displayed, they are also empty. The beach side buffet was open each meal, a restaurant was open for dinner on two evenings. The website boasts 7 restaurants, but we were told that is only in high season. Even with low season, our room was not available for 2 hours following our arrival. When you are introduced to you "personal concierge" begin the following mantra..."no, thank you, no thank you, NO, Gracias." no matter how good the give a ways are, I promise they will still make money. We were way too nice....our 30 minute presentation (with breakfast in the same buffet you would have eaten anyway) turned into 2 1/4 hours of my vacation. Yes, we knew it would take more than 30 minutes, but breakfast is with your new best friend while he fishes for information about you personally and professionally. (to be used later) took 90 minutes alone!! At 2 hours, we finally forcefully voiced our frustration and that we did not see the service and quality they were boasting at the resort. Believe me! If you are interested in purchasing a timeshare, enjoy the sales pitch and invest. We told them from the beginning we were not interested in owning a timeshare, but that didn't stop the hassle.

The ground are beautiful!!! The beach is well maintained and very nice. In low season there are plenty of chaise lounges with umbrellas! We didn't spend time near the two pools but they looked very nice.
The wait staff is prompt and helpful. Although breakfast is available until 10am, the buffet is not replenished after about 9am. The food is mediocre and I was thankful I brought some easy snacks with to have between these light meals.
The room was cleaned daily and replenished often with fresh towels during the day. The room is dated and is in tremendous need of new linens. The beds in our room were extremely hard and my husband had a difficult time sleeping.
The buildings with rooms are a fair distance from the beach or the front desk. Just know that you will have a bit of a walk to reach either. I would estimate the walk from Building 15 to the beach/bar/meals/diving to be 8-10 minutes.

We may return to Occidental, but I will keep my mantra, no, no, no.

Room Tip: lower your expectations so they might be exceeded
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Lv2CSun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

First let me start off by saying this is my first visit to an all inclusive so I do not have a ton of experience to compare it to. That said, I will try to be as concise and fair as possible.

THE GOOD:

The grounds were very lush and beautiful. The flora and fauna on site were enjoyed by almost everyone we met. There are several large resident iguanas that roam the property along with turtles and birds. Its quite the tropical jungle experience. The beach is beautiful with a lof of tropical fish to view while snorkeling. Beware the 6' resident barracuda that lives just off the beach. Bring cheese whiz if you want to feed the fish, they go crazy for it. There are tons of coral and rocks on the waters edge so it is not the most desirable walking beach but this didn't bother us. I only mention it because I overheard others complaining about it.

The service was above average and bordered on excellent. Its worth noting that my group was tipping which obviously enticed the staff to be more helpful. Room service is about an hour even though they say 30 min but otherwise no problems.

The rooms were pretty nice and for the most part clean. We especially liked the large tiled shower. I will mention more on the rooms below.

If you want to rent a car they have them on site, although I'm not sure if I would recommend it. we did and cars are beat up and certainly wouldn't pass inspection here in the states. Also, they charge mandatory insurance which really is cash that goes into the service agents pocket.


THE BAD:

We arrived at the Occidental early October 19th - Friday afternoon. We learned later that this was a big change over day but at first the resort was completely dead. We were walking around confused wondering where everyone was at including the staff. We had to complain to the front desk to get the bar tender back to the bar to make us a drink. It was a little odd walking through the resort at first not understanding why it was so quiet and why everything was closed. On top of that nobody ever told us all but 2 restaurants would be closed because this was the "slow season". The disco was also closed so all and all over half of the advertised activities and restaurants were closed for the season. This was pretty disappointing but because we went on this vacation with another couple it wasn't that much of an issue. We entertained each other but I would imagine if this was my honeymoon (as it was for some others we met) I would be extremely disappointed.

The rooms were fairly nice at first, but they smelled very moldy from the humid tropical weather and had we had several issues with things not working and breaking while we were there. The phone we had had a connection problem and would cut in and out. The tv was old, small, and did not have many channels. The few it did have were in spanish. The safe we had stopped working halfway through our trip. Most of these issues were called in and fixed within the same day so I can't complain too much. The only other thing worth mentioning is that none of the rooms have beach front or views available. They are too far away and the jungle is too thick to see the ocean no matter what floor.

The food was below average. All 4 of us agreed that the food was more of a "we have to eat" than wow I really enjoyed that or it tasted great. I think the lunches were the worst and after 3 days of eating them we actually passed a few days and ordered room service. For whatever reason the room service seemed to be higher quality than the restaurant buffet. Overall the food was a huge disappointment.

As mentioned above the service was good, but a lot of that was due to our constant tipping. There was very limited service on the beach and pool area. We had to hunt down a server and tip him to have him bring us drinks on the beach and pool.

THE UGLY:

When we first arrived at the resort we were greeted by this very kind gentlemen who claimed he was our personal concierge. He brought us drinks and gave us a nice Cozumel coaster. He then proceeded to hard sell us on everything from activities to timeshares. It was very high pressure, misleading, and very uncomfortable. This continued for several days and we were constantly harassed by different staff members no matter where we turned. We would literally avoid walking places due to the time share salesmen. Personally, this alone was enough for me to never visit the resort again.

To add insult to injury the very first night we stayed at the resort our building fire alarm went off constantly all night. Nobody in our building (12 rooms) got any sleep. This continued for the first 3 days making the first 3 days of our vacation absolutely miserable. It was also mentioned to us that other buildings were having the same problem. The office staff gave us every excuse under the sun as to why it was malfunctioning. At first it was the humidity, then it was because someone was smoking in the building, then it was back to the humidity. The finally fixed it after day 3 but by then half of our vacation was over. After complaining over 5 times to various staff members they finally offered us "an upgrade to the royale club". The problem was they didn't have any king sized beds and only offered us 2 doubles. They also only had 1 room available which would have split our group up. On top of all that packing all of our stuff and moving would have been quite the hassle. We passed.

BOTTOM LINE: After discussing this trip my my wife and other couple that went with us, we decided we would never visit this resort again. The food was not very good, service was good but sporadic, and the explanation I made under "THE UGLY" is self explanatory. I rated this 2 star strictly because of the fire alarm issue. If it had not been for the fire alarms and the staffs lack of attention to it, I would have rated a 3 star. For the money and time there are many other resorts which are far superior.

Cozumel is beautiful and overall we still enjoyed our vacation, but I don't think I can directly attribue that to the Occidental Grand Cozumel.

Room Tip: I've heard the ac doesn't work well on the 3rd floor and the lower level has mold problems...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Jared B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2012

Dear Jared B,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us, please know that your feedback is invaluable as it helps us enhance our service. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed our beautiful grounds and beach and our excellent service. However, I am concerned by your feedback about the Vacation Club staff. They are there in order to offer personalized service to guest and information on the hotel and area. I have met with their manager to discuss how they can best approach guests and avoid negative encounters in the future.

I sincerely apologize for the disturbance with the fire alarm and for the miscommunication in relaying the problem. We had a technical programming error in the system. Our maintenance team has since fixed the issue and put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.
I am sorry for the inconveniences you experienced with your room. What is most concerning is the issues you mentioned with the safety deposit box. Our maintenance team has since checked on all our safety deposit boxes to ensure that they are fully functioning. Regarding the smell from the humidity, we try to prevent it by providing dehumidifiers in every room. I have meet with the head of housekeeping to see if we can find other solutions.

I was surprised to read your comments about lack of things to do at the resort. Every day our activities team invites guests to join in on various games and classes, including volleyball, water polo, streching and dance classes. Every night we offer a different evening show that includes a traditional Mexican dance performances. Regarding our à la carte restaurants, we have five at the resort. During low-season, we open three of the restaurants each night for guests to dine at. I am sorry if this was an inconvenience to you. I am also sorry to hear that you were disappointed by the food. Our Executive Chef works to offer guests with top quality culinary options, providing different daily dishes at the buffets made from the freshest ingredients. I have shared your feedback with him.

I sincerely apologize for falling so short of your expectations. I hope you will visit us again so that we can show you the wonderful time we accustomed to providing. Sincerely,

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Reviewed October 25, 2012

We stayed one week at the all-inclusive Occidental Grande 5-11 October 2012. The place was excellent, the food as good, all the employees were excellent. Access to the hotel is well controlled. The dive-operator that I used picked me up at their pier each morning but they also had Palencar Dive on site providing all types of scuba and snorkel services. We are definitely going to return!

Room Tip: The only tip I can give is to reject the effort on the part of a sales person to sell you a time-sha...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Jay W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2012

Went to Cozumel for a family holiday and to do some diving on the 30th of June until the 10th of July 2012. The diving meet our expectations.
Reasonable diving and the reefs apparently have improved since they were struck by a hurricane a few years ago. We saw turtles in every dive, beautiful green and hawksbill, some quite big and very few morays, only one Nurse Shark and that's it for sharks.
The hotel is very nice, it is set in beautiful grounds and I for one do not like those huge hotels. The rooms are spacious and reasonably appointed, they could improve on the decoration and contort, very spacious bathroom with large shower box and separate tub. They really need to solve their air-conditioning problem. If you stay in the last (third) floor the air-conditioning isn't strong enough to have your room cool, so if you are thinking of staying there get a room on the second floor. The first floor rooms some have a smell of mould that can be somewhat unpleasant but remember you are in a tropical climate.
The beach must be the best in Cozumel. It is a great beach with an amazing sunset that I enjoyed while seeping a cocktail in the water, just great. The hotel also has two pools one being the quite pool, very nice pool were you can laze and relax the other by the beach. I personally haven't used any of the pools, only the beach and it was just perfect.
Food is good, they could improve a little as far as lunch and even dinner is concerned but especially lunch, not much of a variety, one could have more choices of food, and since we are in Mexico, some Fajitas are appreciated among other specialties.
Every one is very helpful and pleasant from the housekeeping to the waiters and reception, the bartenders in the beach bars do try to mix your drinks just as you like them. A very good family environment and great beach.
If you want to relax and enjoy diving and a good drink while appreciating a great sunset siting in warm clear sea water them you will like the resort. I did.environment

Room Tip: Chose the second floor rooms.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank cgbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2012

I have been attenting this resort for 6 years now. The concierge is very accomodative, and the staff in general is very friendly. In fact if you ever need any help, or if you have questions the staff will alway be available to answer your questions.
Its located within a nicely landscaped jungle theme with entertainment every other night. It also has a nice lunch buffet located on the beach with lounge chairs and an additional pool. Also if scuba diving is your thing they have a nice dive shop located right behind the lunch buffet on the beach.
Honestly you can not go wrong when choosing this resort. In fact the only time I have really heard people say something bad about this place it's generally from people outside of the U.S or Europe. I guess they expect more and complain more or so I've noticed while I was their......

Room Tip: Honestly if you like the ocean front try to pick a room located in the quadrant area of 14-16. Also...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank sacj80
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:
#9 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Cozumel
#11 Spa Hotel in Cozumel
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range: $157 - $391 (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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