My husband, myself and our 2 kids, ages 8 and 5, stayed at Occidental Grand Cozumel the first week of March 2010. We were well aware of the timeshare harrassment at the airport but we found that if you ignore everyone at the airport after you collect your luggage until you get outside you’ll be fine. Once outside find a cab or your shuttle bus and youre off! Be sure to get confirmation for your transfer from your travel agent if it is included with your package. OG is about ½ hour drive from the airport, upon arrival we weren’t offered a drink or warm cloth or anything. We didn’t get to check in right away we had to wait until 3:00 and when we asked where we could change into swimsuits so we could sit at the pool they directed us to the small single stall lobby washrooms to change. We didn’t get the building we requested either, they told us hotel was overbooked. Anyhow we were in building 17 which was the second best location cuz we were right in the middle and central to everything. We were very tired and irritated from our long flight so we decided to just check in and rest. We had a bottom floor room so we had no stairs to climb and a little patio space looking out into the gorgeous jungle. It was very beautiful and extremely quiet! Upon first entering the room it was very musty smelling due to the humidity, nothing a little Febreeze wouldn’t help and within a few days we didn’t notice it as much. The rooms were very clean and large and the huge bathrooms had both a huge glass shower and a separate bathtub! Lots of towels, hot water and good water pressure, air conditioning, stocked mini fridge and free electronic safe. A place to hang wet clothes or even wet towels would be nice, there were no towel bars or railing! The maids were awesome and left a new towel animal every day which the kids got a huge kick out of. The mini bar was always stocked with free beer, soft drinks and bottled water. The resort was gorgeous, the buildings are spread out within a jungle-like atmosphere. Walkways lead you around the resort, and a bridge takes you to the main activity pool and beach. There is a mangrove that the bridge crosses and there are little turtles swimming in the water under the bridge, spectacular viewing! The beach is awesome! Very clean and nicely laid out. You can walk the beach for miles, there were very few vendors on the beach as this resort is farther out on the tip of the island. The resort was busy due to the Canadian spring break but we always found a spot, people ‘saved’ chairs and beach palapas first thing in the morning but I got up early and did the same as the mornings were the best time to take a walk and experience the beauty of the resort before everyone was out and about. There are only 6 shade beds on the beach and these were amazing!! You had to be up early to nab one of these but they were worth it! The staff at this resort were the friendliest bunch of staff we had ever encountered and you were never made to feel like you had to tip but we did anyways! We didn’t find the timeshare harrassment to be all that bad, just a simple no was all that was needed. We didn’t find this to be a problem whatsoever! The resort felt very safe and friendly and even the people we met were friendly and nice but then again the resort was full of Canadians! The resort had several bars including the main lobby bar in the lobby, the bartenders were great and the drinks were good. There was a concierge desk in the lobby, internet service and tv’s and a small store which we found quite expensive! My flip flops had broke and I spent $30 on a new pair that were plain black nothing fancy, they do not barter on prices at the store. Sunscreen was $15 or something so be sure to bring plenty!
The pools were very nice, very clean but not that warm, the ocean was warmer. There was a smaller relax pool with a quieter atmosphere, there is a huge resident iguana that hangs out there it is magnificent! There is no hot tub except for the private one in the Royal Club which was enclosed within a separate part of the resort but who wants to be gated away in there when you can be oceanside at the beach! Didn’t think much of the Royal Club and would not have cared much for that upgrade.
The kids club girl, Melicia, was awesome with the kids however the only downside is that the kids club building was tucked way back in by the lobby building and we spent most of our time by the beach and activity pool where most of the action was and we weren’t comfortable leaving our kids that far away from us. We only participated in the kids activities when Melicia was by the pool doing stuff with the kids, however more things could have been offered for the kids by the pool/beach. For $10 you could paint ceramics at the beach and my daughter enjoyed that.
The food was ok, there was a large selection and always something to eat. La Posada the main buffet restaurant by the lobby was where we ate most, they had wonderful breakfast and supper buffets. They had a different theme every night and my husband absolutlely loved BBQ night! Lunch and snacks were served at the beach café, an open air restaurant that served grilled burgers and fries, hotdogs, nachos and an assortment of buffet choices. Desserts were my favorite part and the kids loved the self serve ice cream bar! Don’t eat late and expect the buffet to be fresh. I wanted to walk over to Albertos along the beach for fresh seafood one night but our kids are picky eaters and we had also heard that it’s at least $50 for lobster.
The entertainment at night was pretty good, there was a show at the outdoor plaza every second night. The fire show was really cool! The only thing we didn’t like was before the shows what they called the mini disco where they tried to force all the kids to go up in front of everyone and participate in games, my little boy is so shy he didn’t want to even go to the shows for this reason of being picked on. The kids really liked the spray paint artist that sets up at the resort a few nights during the week, watching him paint with spray cans was awesome! Vendors set up shop a couple nights at the plaza too. One night at the disco they had a name that tune contest, it was really fun and I ended up winning second place! First place prize was a free certificate to swim with the dolphins at Dolphinarius within Chankanaab Park! Nights ended early and the resort was very quiet, not a party spot at all. We found it fairly cool at nights and never needed bug spray as there were no bugs, I was maybe bitten by a mosquito once.
We had a couple really windy days so sitting near the ocean or poolside was difficult to enjoy. Water sports were cancelled on these days also. So we took a cab to Punta Sur to see the lighthouse and alligator/turtle park. Rent a car if you want to go here! It costed us over $50 to go by cab and you can rent a car for 24 hours for that! It costed us $30 to enter the park. It is a natural park very spread out there is no way you could walk and see everything and there is nothing to see in between areas of interest. As for the alligators, we didn’t get to stop and see any but from what we saw you walk out onto a lookout tower to observe a large swamp area where you might see an alligator. There was also turtle nesting area but apparently turtles only lay eggs at a certain time of the year (May I think?) and so there was nothing to see there either. We got the cab to drop us off at the beach and after a long bumpy winding one way road we were at the beach. It was a really nice beach that had hammocks and beach chairs. We were greeted by some guides there who explained what Punta Sur all had to offer, we had forgotten our towels at the resort and a guide gave us a clean towel of his own to use! They had snorkeling gear to rent, kayaks and other rentals. There was a small palapa covered bar and restaurant as well. The water was calm and crystal clear, the beach was beautiful! My 8 year old daughter and I went out snorkeling in the swimming area and we seen some fish and large starfish but my daughter was getting tired and so a guide came out to us with a kayak and offered to take us out to the reef (10 mins away?) It was great! The most beautiful snorkeling I ever seen! My daughter sat on the kayak while the guide snorkeled with me showing me the reef he was so nice. On our way back we stopped at the lighthouse and climbed it. There was some little shops there that the people begged you to come into, we thought their prices were quite expensive! We finally decided to rent a car as it looked quite safe to drive around the island. There is 1 major highway that goes around the island and you can drive all the way around the island and through town including stops in ½ day. You can rent a car almost anywhere but we rented at our hotel, of course they asked if we’d do the ‘promotion’ which means the timeshare presentation to get the car rental for free but we declined and rented a small car for $55 for 24 hours. For an extra $10 they let you use the full tank of gas without having to fill up before you return. I had read that it only costs $15 to drive around the whole island so instead of filling up before we returned we just paid the $10 and drove the car back when we were done with it without having to stop anywhere to fill up. We drove to San Miguel the island’s only town and did some shopping at Punta Lagosta Mall and looked around uptown, it was fairly easy to get around and very clean! We ate at Margaritaville, it was really good but not cheap of course but the kids enjoyed it. We heard Wednesdays are the worst days to go into town due to all of the cruise ships that stop and town fills up with a million people. We drove on outta town onto the other side of the island. The scenery on the other side of the island was very nice but it was very windy and rough. Chen Rio, another beach sight to stop at, was nice you could stop to swim at the knee deep ‘pond-like’ lake there or buy a drink or louge in a hammock, or shop at the vedors set up there. We bought a coconut and they cut it open so we could drink the ‘milk’ out of it. We thought that was really cool. We drove on sightseeing the island until we got back around to our resort where we had started. We didn’t make it to Chankannab Park but heard it was awesome and very close to OG, maybe a $10 cab ride.
We brought our own snorkel gear and so we spent a lot of time in the water which was warm and clear and mostly calm unless it was an extremely windy day. We swam and snorkeled often within the swimming area and there were plenty of little fish to see, little tiny baby jellyfish some corral and plant life and I even seen the huge resident barracuda! Breathtaking! If you want even better scenery the much bigger magnificent reefs are farther out about a 5 min. boat ride. Dive Palancar, the dive shop on site sits at the edge of the resort on the beach right beside the beach café. They were a very friendly and helpful staff catering to beginner divers. You could get snorkel gear to use or any other water activities there like kayaks, hobie cats etc. Then there is the scuba diving which I was very interested in being a first time diver, I first had to take the intro to scuba pool course which was basically trying the equipment on and learning to breathe underwater while swimming around in the pool. Then the Discover Scuba Resort Course which is the next step takes you for a dive in the resorts swimming area of the ocean, first you have a bit of classroom stuff to go over and then the actual dive lasts about 40 minutes. It costed $58 and a wetsuit rental was an extra $6. They take cash only! My private dive master was Gustavo and he was excellent, he was very patient with me and made sure I was safe and comfortable at all times. The next step towards certification was the Discover Scuba Reef Dive Course $68 but we ran out of time. Apparently it isn’t recommended to dive within 24 hours of flying so my scuba diving had ended there as we had to fly home the next day. If you are certified it is $32/dive and they stop back at the resort in between dives. On our last day we rented a private glass bottom boat for our family, I think it was about $29 per person. It was remarkable, they took us out to 2 reefs Columbia first and then Palancar. Being I was the only one who wanted to snorkel, my family stayed on the boat and viewed the reef through the glass windows on the bottom of the boat. They provided snorkel gear, a snorkel guide, lifevests and drinks on the boat. The captain and snorkel guide were very nice and friendly, the captain even let my kids steer the boat. I seen a huge stingray and barracuda and I even got to feed fish as they swam around me while my family took pictures from the boat! Amazing experience!
Cozumel was wonderful and we found the people of Cozumel to be generally very nice and hospitable!!! We are the type of people who would rather try a new place then go to the same place ever again but I would definitely go back to OGC because it was absolutely gorgeous and I never got to do everything I wanted to do in Cozumel including more diving with the wonderful Dive Palancar!
- 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