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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
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Reviewed December 14, 2012

I have just returned home after spending 2 weeks at this hotel.From the minute I arrived until my departure I have nothing but praise for this hotel and the staff that work there. Because the site is so vast it does take a day to adjust and find your way around but that would be true of staying in any hotel.
I stayed in block 14, overlooking the national park. Upon checking in I was advised that this room was in the quieter part of the hotel. How right they were. The only sound I heard was the birds at song in the morning.
Immediately upon leaving the block was a large swimming pool with plenty of available sun loungers.The towel hut manned by Issac (the poolboy) is close by and adjacent to this was the bar, opened from 10:00 am until 18:00 hrs ,serving both alcoholic and soft drinks. All very convenient and again the noise level was very low key.
There are other pools within the complex, catering for the needs of families, with an animation team on hand providing all the usual daytime activities. For those who prefer the beach, there is also a manmade beach, complete with a beachclub providing breakfasts and lunchtime meals. Again there is a towel hut closeby and the bar is also conveniently situated.
The grounds in and around the complex are kept up to the highest standard. Everyday there were a team of cleaners sweeping and washing around the pools and paths. Gardeners could be seen tending to the flowerbeds, pruning back shrubs, cutting the grass etc.
I tried the speciality restaurants including " The Steak House", "The Fish and Seafood" and "the Italian". I had no complaints and I didn't hear of any others. I also had my evening meals in the "Buffet Restaurant" - Spoiled for choice is only how I could describe it.
If I return to Mexico then this hotel would be on my list.

Room Tip: Room 14310 overlooked the National Park and had spectacular sunsets
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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10  Thank Silver5276
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2012

Of all the resorts that we have stayed at throughout the Caribbean and now Mexico, this was by far the best experience we have had. I cannot see how guests could be treated better. From our initial check-in to our final check-out we were treated royally. We did have some difficulty the first couple of days trying to find our way around the twisty walkways that connect all points. Once we mastered this it was not difficult at all to find our way around. We loved the jungle like feel with so much vegitation. With so much room on the resort we did not feel crowded at all, except at the beach. Having the Xcaret Park next door was great and being able to enter and leave at any time during operating hours with the muti-day pass is a great asset. We highly recommend this resort to anyone and have already done so. This was our first visit to Mexico as we were reluctant to travel there due to the news reports of Canadians being killed there. I am so glad we decided to give Mexico a chance and now look forward to visiting there again. When we do go again, it most certainly will be to Occidental Grand Xcaret.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank Colonel_Larry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2012

I would give it between 3 and4 stars, but I am feeling generous today :) Stayed at the hotel for 7 nights, it wasn't really our first choice, but couldn't resist the great deal from Jetblue wih the direct flights. The hotel is nice, buildings are on the older side. We had the very basic room, which was enough although a big issue was a really bad smell that was coming from the bathroom, I guess they were having some sewage problems. We should have asked for another room, but didn't feel like packing our stuff, so we just let it go. Didn't really spend any time in the room anyways, except for sleeping. Speaking of sleeping, they gave us a room with 2 full beds. I guess they don't realize a couple would prefer 1 king bed?Food and drinks are ok, nothing special. Even the specialty restaurants weren't impressive, although Steak House was pretty good. Is you go to Pacos Tacos, they have a great waiter Roman, he is hilarious, made us laugh every time and earned some good tips.
Grounds of the hotel are beautiful, a lot of wildlife, nice lobby with the fountain and a patio, which gets full very quickly at night. Beach is nice, but waaaaaaaay to small for a resort of this size. At 8 am you can barely find a seat (let alone a beach bed). Lots of fish in the water, so we have a lot of fun snorkeling. Be carefull swimming by the buoys, don't stand on any rocks - I stepped on the sea urchin and got 6 needles under the skin of my toe. Very very painfull! The hotel is a walking distance to Xcaret and Xplor parks ( 5 minutes to Xcaret and 20 to Xplor), which is nice since we wanted to attend both of them. We attended the vacation club presentation which is a complete waste of time but at least we got discounted tickets to Xcaret. Entertainment at night is quite cheesy, but I guess that's what you should expect at all AI resorts. Overall I would recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jenna_MRZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2012

Upon arrival we were greated by the staff at the curb and they handled getting our luggage to our room/building and gave us a cold glass of juice. Check in was a breeze. **Tip: if traveling from a cool wheather local, pack a change of summer clothes with easy access and obtain before giving your luggage to the staff, this is helpful if you arrive before the time your room is ready**. Upon departure you tote your own luggage back to the front, this is a downside. Juan at the curb desk was very nice and helpful.

The grounds are gorgeous, lush, exotic, full of animals and beautiful plants. For the most part the grounds and buildings are very well kept and you can tell staff are always working to keep it that way! Keep in mind that many travelers are smokers and litterbugs and this is difficult for staff to keep up with at times, I would have liked the cigarette butts to be cleaned up quicker on the beach, it's not horrible but this is a BIG pet peave for me.

The beach is lovely, fun and peaceful at the same time. Go here knowing you are getting a lagoon and not a traditional wavy ocean beach and you will not be dissappointed. You don't even have to snorkel to enjoy watching all the beautiful fish swimming in the lagoon with you. The water is crystal clear and less salty than the sea itself, someone told us this was because it was also fed by freshwater as well as water coming in from the sea.

Activities abound, the "Fun Club" staff are full of energy and personality, Avril is a sweetheart. There are activities off and on at the beach and constantly throughout the day at the Fun Club pool. In addition there is archery, air rifle a couple times a week, shuffle board, ping pong, sand volleyball, tons of hammocks for relaxing, multiple pools (the quiet pool was my favorite), the beach, all the excursions your pocket book can buy, nightclub/disco, bars, plenty of restaurants, themed nights in the hotel lobby (which itself is gorgeous), you can feed the fish in the lobby river area, a family friendly movie each evening at 630pm, Pueblo del Rio (river running through hotel with several nice shops on its walkways), XCARET park next door...the list goes on.

Night life: you can make reservations for ala carte restaurants (we only made it to one because we always had things going on we didn't want to change to make a reservation, others said the ala carte restaurants were delicious though), every evening you can hang out in the lobby area with cocktail service and about every other night a theme like vodka slushes, tequila night, martini night etc, each evening there is a traditional Mayan ceremony on the river infront of the lobby seating area, again you can take in a movie each evening and afterward every evening there is a different show (we especially enjoyed the Latin show, Michael Jackson show, the acrobat (the show that went with this was a bit odd) and the magician. We didn't partake but there is also a sports bar with pool table and a nightclub/disco. Sincerely, one of our fave activities in the evening was to sit in the lobby area, drink and read and chat or people watch.

For families with children the kids seemed to have a great time in the Kids Club, at the beach, at the movies and during the evening shows. Also XCARET park next door caters to family fun. We did go to the park, we enjoyed it but don't think it was worth the total cost and walking. It didn't have it's highlights that we appreciated: the Jaguars were very cool, swimming in the underground river and the show was fabulous. Wear tennis shoes, it's a lot of walking and you can always bring your water shoes with you if you feel you need them.

The food: was good and plentiful, at times odd. Granted the resort caters to a very diverse international crowd so I can't be harsh about it because that is a hard job. El Lago (poolside "snack bar" that really serves a full meal) and Paco's Tacos were our two favorite places to eat. The female hostess at El Lago is so very nice and helpful, I'm sorry I can't recall her name. Just be on the safe side, although we saw many people drinking glasses of water, stick to bottled water. The appetizers at D'Oriental were great! The cocunut icecream they serve in many of the resorts is DELICIOUS!

Drinks: are plentiful and they offer top shelf liqour at no extra charge. "House wine" is included but special requests are at a charge; house wine offers a red and white, I enjoyed the white.

Shuttle: the property is large, you can walk it and most people do most of the time but when you are tired or hot this shuttle is a blessing. Juan Gomez and Joel were kind and professional shuttle drivers, we appreciated them greatly! Plan on 10-25 minutes between shuttle pick up but it's okay to start walking and just stop when the shuttle is headed on your path and they will let you hop on.

Beach: helpful hint, get up early and leave your towel on the chairs you want, if not you won't get a spot unless someone decides to leave the beach early. Please go knowing this is a lagoon with a sandy beach, it's manmade because the resort is set in the jungle on a rocky beach, it is gorgeous and the waves crashing on the rocky shore are lovey but understand this is not a typical Playa or Cancun resort.

Pools: less crowded than the beach, refreshing and fun. The adult pool is a salt water pool, it has green plant life (algae) growing on the bottom which grossed me out but it may also be there to keep it healthy...no one really swims here much and we did only once, that was disappointing because I was really looking forward to it, you can see lots of fish here also.

Our room: we booked through Apple vacations (who were lovely and professional-especially Cinthia our Apple rep at the resort), we were in building 21. Most buildings are close to something so there doesn't really seem to be a bad spot to be in. Our room was super clean and welcoming. Our housekeeper(s) did a great job, I wish I knew their names; we were there 12/5/12 to 12/12/12, in rom 21224. Mini fridge is stocked with bottled water, soda and Modelo. Shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in the shower. Amazing shower, roomy and great water pressure. Flat screen tv we never used. Fair sized balcony. A/C didn't work as cold as we like but we like it freezing so don't think I can really complain. We used the in room safe and everything was kept safe the whole trip. Bed was a bit hard but we are spoiled at home with our tempurpedic mattress, lol.

Flora, fauna and animals: if expereiencing a more natural outdoor environment is your thing but you want the security of a large all-inclusive resort then this is resort is for you. Lots of animals: iguanas, coati, spider monkeys, all kinds of birds, white tailed deer, fish in the beach area...it is a beautiful place.

Building concierge: this is the staff at a desk in the entry of your building. We were in bldg 21 and Tony was our concierge, he was friendly and helpful. You can ask them for assistance with making dinner reservations and other helpful tips. Beware, your concierge also sells the timeshare tour and will continue to offer great deals to get you to do it, some people appreciate this and if that's you go for it!

BE WARNED! You will absolutely be hounded by invitations for discounts, free gifts (Tequila, sarongs, beach bags etc) in exchange for going on a time share lecture and tour. Be prepared to say "no gracis no" over and over or give up right away and get it over with. We said no time and again until literally our last morning there. This is something that needs improvement, I don't mind the offer once or twice but after that it is rude, it's my vacation and I will spend it the way I want to. It's also rude to "guilt" the guest into it, eg. "my granddaughter won't get Christmas presents. Most folks were very polite when given a no, there were only a couple that pushed the limits. Also, at the airport go directly to your ground transportation, you will walk through a sea of timeshare invitations, just keep going! They are slick, it will seem they are a welcome to Mexico greeting service, keep going and say "no, gracias, no" with a smile, it's their job and who can blame them for trying to do it well.

Excursions: plenty to choose from, if you go through a travel service like Apple you can book with them and know you will get what you pay for and have someone to go to if something doesn't go according to plans.

Play del Carmen: 11.00 USD taxi fare each way. Bargain, bargain, bargain, don't pay full price, get through the first 10-20 shops and you will get better deals. The beach there is gorgeous but you should go to the beach without valuables on you, it's a public beach and harder to keep track of your belongings. You can catch the ferry to Cozumel here right at the beach. We didn't go but heard from other visitors that Senor Frogs is a great place for beachside fun and drinks.

Tulum Express excursion: great trip, included shuttle to and from, trolley from parking area to ruin entrance, guided tour and time for walking around ruins and swimming at the beach on your own. Loved this excursion and the beach was phenomenal. Would go on own so could have more time at the beach. Could rent car, take taxi (expensive) or take public bus-"Collectivo".


Would I recommend this resort? absolutely
Do I feel we got what they promoted? absolutely
How were the staff? friendly, professional and they go above and beyond
Did we get a god value? absolutely

Room Tip: Second floor, less noise than first floor, can have door open more without concern of animal visitors and not third floor because some third floor balconies are not covered.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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17  Thank Dawn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

My husband and I went to Playa and stayed at the Occidental Grand for our 10 year Wedding Anniversary. We had such a wonderful time there and are already planning on going back! The service was great and we were impressed with the restaurants on the resort. I am an avid runner and I've got to say that the gym was extremely nice as well. It had everything I needed for my workouts. The resort is extremely large, yet so beautiful and natural. I would highly recommend visiting the resort if traveling to Playa.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank joanjeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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