I'll get to Manuel in a moment, but the Occidental Grand was just as disappointing as the other poor reviews on this site says. If you've never been on an all inclusive Mexican vacation, then this resort may be acceptable...but this is really poor compared to some of the other choices.
Rooms - The rooms are a decent size but never seem to get cool (due to there only being A/C vents in the room but not in the large bathroom). The beds are hard as a rock, so sensitive back people look elsewhere. The concierge Manuel said he would correct the hard bed by putting down " sponges" on the bed. "Sponges" really means a folded up bedspread...not effective at all. We had the staff bring in a roll-away bed that my wife used and it was much softer. The lock on our room "broke" three times while we were there. "Broke" means that anyone could open the door from the outside, with or without a key. Eek! None of the drains worked well and we were never ever able to get any hot water in the bath tub. The maid (Geida) was very attentive and helpful.
The grounds - surprisingly, the is the best part of the resort. I am usually not terribly concerned about the landscaping as long as it is not awful, but these grounds are incredible. It felt like we were in a tropical rain forest. There are a number fairly large iguanas and some cats that roam the grounds. The swamp that you walk across to get from the resort rooms to the pools and beach was not expected and a breeding ground for enormous mosquitos...they said they sprayed for bugs every night at 6pm but we never saw it and if they did, it was not effective. We used insect repellant the whole time and got eaten up.
The pools - there are two pools on property and both are good. The relaxation/quiet pool is located in the middle of a lush courtyard with comfy chairs and some shade. The activities pool is located down by the beach and was large and nice. (Loved the daily water polo and water volleyball games) It is common for them to run out of clean towels throughout the day.
The beach - there was a moderate amount of seaweed trash and rocks on the beach (not clean) which I did not expect. There is a pier and dive shop here for the scuba divers. You can snorkel right off the beach and see a lot of sea life.
The food - this was one the worst parts of the trip. I do not expect all-inclusive resorts to have great food...but I do expect it to have some flavor and not be dreadful. Breakfast was the best of the three meals while dinner was the worst. The "reservations only" restaurants were so lousy that we cancelled our subsequent reservations. Plus the buffet dining room is stifling hot...no open windows and non-functioning a/c.
Our concierge, Manuel - our experience with him was by far the worst part of our trip. I don't normally single out any poor-performing employees, but this man was deceptive and should not be working in this role. He was quick to greet us with a friendly invitation to their time share, err "vacation club" in exchange for a $50 discount coupon for excursions. He told us to "play the game" and pretend to be interested and to come as a family so he gets more credit. He told us to plan for a 60 minute presentation and took a $20 reservation fee. The reality is that the vacation club presentation was almost 2 hours and the hard-pressing sales guy used lots of sample pricing savings that I couldn't validate (like a discounted flight to Madrid that sounds great but can't be proven). Manuel had to activate my $50 coupon but then tells me it was only on excursions that the resort offered and had to be spread across 3 excursions. Talk about the classic bait and switch! The only excursion that I wanted was a jet ski, but that wasn't offered by the resort so he refused to allow me to use my coupon. I complained to the resort manager, who forced Manuel to stand by his original offer. Manuel booked a jet ski for us from another vendor and he told us to meet the jet ski out by the resort dive shop. When no one showed up, I called Manuel from the resort dive shop. In reality, the jet ski was at the Alberto's beach club that was south of the resort ("50 meters" according to Manuel) We walked at least a kilometer over to the beach club just to use the jet ski and then walked another kilometer back...just another deception. This single man ruined way too much of my family's vacation time.
In closing, don't stay here...choose ANY other place!
- 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