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“Grounds are Beautiful!”

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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
Ranked #70 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 19, 2013

Just returned from a 7 day stay. Alot larger than I expected and the grounds are beautiful. The paths are nicely laid out and you can walk everywhere. Wasn't pleased with our first room but was moved to another the very next day. It was very nice and large (building 16) and extremely clean. We preferred peace and quiet and got just that! There are quieter areas to relax. They have party pools and relaxing pools. The beach was fine but get ready for very loud pounding music. No problem. They have another ocean front area (no sand beach, though) where you can hang out and listen to the surf. The buffets had a surprisingly great choice of items. All were very good. The best Ala Carte restaurant was the seafood one. Definitely go! I can't say enough about the staff. Absolutely outstanding. Housekeeping is fantastic. Kept the room meticulous. Day trips are easily arranged at the Hospitality Center. And, a private taxi into town is only $11. This is the first time I have ever stayed at an all-inclusive. I did enjoy my stay but my pace is a little more relaxed.

Room Tip: Building 16 is very quiet. Building 20 is on one of the pools that have music going all day and is v...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Madeline B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,672 - 6,678 of 13,267 reviews

Reviewed March 18, 2013

We just returned yesterday from a 1 week stay at this resort, for which I have a very mixed review. Take from it what you will. Let me first state that 1- negative reviews are generally because of a bad experience, and I didn't have a negative experience. 2- the food is far from bad. Other reviews state "you're too picky if you can't find anything to eat" and I agree. Was it 5-star good? No, it was resort food. 3- This is NOT a beach resort, so if a beach is what you want, you will be disappointed.

Moving on... check in to check out, everything was okay. But yes, just okay. There was nothing particularly wrong, just a lot of sort of short-comings, but I have little in recommendations on how to correct them other than it would have been nice to see some consistency in service; I think that was my only issue with this resort. We traveled in a group of about 50 people for a wedding. It would have been nice to have been in the same building, but that must be extremely hard to accommodate, since we were sort of scattered all over the place. They did do their best. The resort was nice, very well landscaped and clean. It's set in a jungle with a perfect mix of tamed and wild to give you a feeling of being someplace a little more on the exotic side. Our room was in building 20, deluxe king, main floor. Normal wear and tear around the resort, but it is FAR from being run down, in my opinion (not so according to some reviews). The staff works very hard down there to keep it up and it shows. Sometimes the rooms had a bit of a musty smell, but my goodness, with the humidity and the jungle moisture, it's a wonder there isn't mold growing everywhere! So kudos to the maintenance and cleaning staff, because it was clean everywhere I was!

The resort is large. Not too much that walking around is an issue, but it is large. One person in our group had mobility issues and I can't speak for them, however, I would have found it to be too large, and challenging to negotiate as many stairs as there are! As it was, we traveled with a fun-loving group, and most of us left with some type of injury. I managed to wipe out a couple times... but I blame drinking and my own clumsiness...we definitely had ourselves a party week!
They do have the shuttle, but we decided we'd rather walk than wait.

The food is alright. We were always able to find something. But it's just not what we're used to eating everyday. The food is greasy, salty, a bit bland... but there are always fresh fruits, salads, and other healthy choices. We booked 4 a la cartes, but we only went to 3; the Mexican place, the Italian/ Mediterranean place, and the seafood place. (We also booked the steakhouse but didn't go) I enjoyed the salad bar at the Mexican and the Mediterranean places and was a little disappointed that the seafood restaurant didn't have that. The appetizers and entrees at all 3 places were fine, but in my own opinion, the presentation made the food and not the flavors. At the seafood place we both ordered lobster, for an additional 18$ (which is charged to your room) and not knowing that "lobster" in Mexico actually means "langoustines" I was really disappointed in the food we ended up paying for. (I also ended up sick during dinner which didn't help... again, this wasn't from any one food/meal/restaurant, it was just the Mexico-sick; it was all catching up to me.) Regardless, I was looking forward to claws, fresh, clarified butter, and a big, juicy tail...it wasn't that. Instead, it was salty, steamed vegetables that consisted of mostly leeks, overly salty, overly garlic-y, instant mashed potatoes, and over-cooked langoustines. And after noticing that, I also noticed in-town on local menus that lobster wasn't the bright red Atlantic lobster I was thinking of. So in the defense of El Pescore, I'm sure had I not been sick that night, it would have been edible and really not that bad at all, but I was ill, and couldn't stomach too much. The service in the restaurants was very good... very proper. Proper to the point that the waiters seemed shy or something... very good service, but it's nice to still have fun. And Paco's Tacos... OH MY GOSH! Special shout out to Roman... that guy is as good as all the reviews state!! I personally think his mission is to see what we tourists have got... the tequilas come as fast as you can get them down, like it's his own personal goal to see how drunk he can get you before you beg for him to stop! Hahaha! We had so much fun up there and never once was able to stand without a stagger. Thanks for a good time Roman!! Oh and the tacos are delicious up there as well... the pizza... we-elll not so much. (Wieners are "ham" it would seem, so a ham and pineapple pizza is a wiener and pineapple pizza...) And they do alternate every other night between tacos and pizza. Our group also frequented the "swing-bar" (where the swings are situated all around the bar) and whomever the bartender was, he was also great. (Actually, there were two of them) They kept our group hydrated all day long!

The beds- they're hard, but I found they were like plywood in Puerto Vallarta. At this resort I found the beds firm, but not uncomfortable. We both slept well.

Housekeeping- they were fine. Our room was cleaned daily, and cleaned well. We did get a 40oz of Jose Cuervo left for us one day, and an extra beer another day. I guess this was where I found the most inconsistencies... some of our friends got little towel animals daily, others got flowers or rose petals on the beds, some got fruit baskets once or twice, some got a bottle of wine or liquor every day, others had 6 packs of beer left. but most of them had something special each day; a combo of all of the above... Maybe I'm being spoiled... but we were tipping well, like, over-the top-well (20$ is quite generous... so either 20$ or 200 pesos; whatever we had) daily. We had to ask for coffee, because for the first 3 days we didn't have any, sometimes we didn't get all our towels replaced (they give you 3 big ones and some days we got 3 other days we got 2) the face cloth was never replaced and on day 6, we had to use a hand towel for the bath-mat towel. So, while the room was cleaned very well, it wasn't stocked to standard... and the extras... like either do them or don't, but unless we're being cheap blowing $140/week on house keeping tips then I don't know what one has to do to get a towel-swan on the bed just once...

By the way, the wedding that we were down for (and mind you, I had no interaction with the wedding planning team, this is purely just an observation) was very well planned and executed. The setting was gorgeous, the technology was working perfectly (i.e. the microphones, the audio equipment, etc) the catering was very good, the service was excellent. (The food didn't have warming trays and what ended up being a hot meal was more like lukewarm, but everything tasted good.)

And the beach... well, we tried to go to the lagoon and really love it. It's small, it's packed, the sand is so heavily walked on all the time that it's a bit like concrete, and it just wasn't enjoyable. The resort is located on a rocky shoreline, and it is really impressive to stand right on the rocks and watch the waves come crashing in but it's not the white-sand beach, and we knew that, but had we picked the resort, personally, I wouldn't want to go anywhere without a beach. However, we made up for it by going into Playa del Carmen one day and we walked on the beach there and played in the waves and got to see the famous blue hues the area is known for. That, I enjoyed immensely.

The resort also had nightly entertainment and twice while we were there, the market was set up. Both were fun to sort of stroll around and take in; they have a really nice terrace by the stage, a bar, bistro tables...and the hustle and bustle of a night market. It was a nice transition between dinner and getting your night-drunk on.

On the whole, the serving/ bar tending staff are fantastic. The entertainment and the excursions (which we didn't do, but lots in our group did) and just exploring the resort are enough to keep you busy for weeks. The location is a positive in that it does seem isolated and so I found it very relaxing. But it's a negative in that it's very large (7 days and there were still places we hadn't seen) and the lack of beach. And the housekeeping was sort of a thing that left a bit of a mark on the trip. I guess we could have been less expectant of extras and probably tipped half of what we did, but I shouldn't have to ask for coffee if there is a coffee maker in the room, should I?

Also, you should be forewarned; the building designs are very natural and open... people should know that every conversation had out in the hallways is echoed and heard by anyone in their room. So, screaming kids at 7:30 am will probably get other guests annoyed as will slamming doors at siesta-times as will drunken party animals trying to talk over each other at 2 am. Remember to be courteous... I had someone open their door and tell me to quiet down when I pulled that stunt one fine morning somewhere around 2 am, only I'm censoring what they really told me. Yes, I was being an a-hole and deserved it.

I would recommend the resort to people who want to have fun at a resort with all the needed amenities. It's good for all ages with a plethora of activities for the whole family.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Ms_Independent08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

It's such a beautiful place to stay, it's big, but they have a mini train that takes you all around the hotel, all the areas are in very good condition, you can find animals, such as turtles, coatis and monkeys when you're walking through, service is great, they have several restaurants with all kinds of food, everything it's delicious, all the people who works there is very nice and friendly, specially on the First Club, they treated me like a Queen! :) I'm very happy I stayed there, I felt in paradise for sure I'm coming back to this hotel again, just hope to do it very soon!!!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Samantha M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

We just got back from another awesome 10 day stay (7 days is just not enough) at the beautiful Occidental Grand Xcaret! This is our favorite resort!

This is a great resort whether you are a Vacation Club Member or not. The food is great and so is the service and the people everywhere. The resort is very clean and just a lot of fun and a great place to relax! We always come home relaxed and counting the days until we can go back. Looks like we won't have to wait long...hope to go back this October.

Everyone is so nice throughout the resort, but we favor our First Club Family. The men and women that work at the First Club are first class. We always feel so welcome. We just love Marycarmen, Katy, Eva and Gaby. These ladies go above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel special. You are always greeted with a smile! We always enjoy chatting with them and sharing some laughs. We also love and had great fun with the bar staff...Cezar, Ernesto and Carlos are wonderful! They know how to mix-up some wonderful cocktails and even introduced us to some new ones. We shared quite a few laughs and jokes with them and the other First Club members. We meet so many wonderful people and make new friends each trip. We miss our new friends from NC and CA...hope to see them again soon! We were so excited to see two couples we met last year, return the same time we were here this time. Everyone loves this resort!

I also have to give kudos to the people that handle our luggage, especially Oscar. They are so helpful and so accommodating. We are taken care of from the time we get there to the time we check out. Everyone at the resort, the hotel staff, housekeeping, bar staff, restaurant staff, etc...are wonderful. Everyone is so helpful and accommodating. There is a lady who is part of the bar staff, and I didn't get her name (but I will next time), that has been at the resort for years (we've seen her the last 3 years) that works the adult beach area and works at some of the pools...she is amazing. She is so nice, very attentive and always smiling. Very quick in getting your drinks brought back to you...she really hustles.

Thanks so much Occidental for another wonderful time! Can't wait to see you later this year!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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8  Thank Sara C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

My husband and I arrived Feb. 21 for 2 weeks from Saskatchewan celebrating a 40 yr anniversary with my sister and brother in law from Nova Scotia who arrived 3 days later. We arrived at night and the only plane in so that was wonderful and of course fast departure from the airport. Getting to the resort late like 10 p.m., and hungry the buffet was closing but they have pizza upstairs to order fresh and hot. Our room was on main floor in main building, and the musty smell was too much for me but I politely asked to be moved because of this and 2 days later they moved us to the 3rd floor looking out on the canal.It was beautiful. My sister was in building 19 and we did request to be closer so again they moved us to building 20. They took our luggage and moved it each time. So accommodating. My husband and I have been to Mexico 3 times now, first was at a Riu, which are amazing, and when friends ask me to compare, you cant, every resort has their own uniqueness..and what i loved about this resort was the jungle, the animals and birds that i have not seen on the other resorts, the friendliness of staff and sense of humor..I found this resort to be the friendliest..The food was good, and the a la cartes wonderful, especially the steak and Asian. Never had a problem booking them..Get a multi pass for the park, its worth it, and see the show..Husband and I went to explore, also worth it, zip lining 10 towers and more if you want, underground river and quading, big buffet which is included. Never did 2 weeks before but there was so much to see and do...We always missed the Mayan performance canoeing thru the canal in the main building...they come at 7 oclock..we got to see them the night before we left, very nice. Nice little bar downstairs from the main floor, you must check it out, always went there for a nite cap if you could find a seat. My sister and I like our coffee, and really didnt mind what was served. My sister has her review on here and she loved the resort their first time to Mexico. We saved our chairs at the smaller pool and never had our towels removed, met lots of nice people and heard no complaints. The weather was a heck of lot better than home and all in all a wonderful vacation. Please check out this resort and no we did not book the royal club, and didnt get hassled with time share people, just a no thanks works. I read so much negativity about the time share people that i was worried. Yes everyday they ask but so what, not a problem. The people that work at this resort are wonderful, please treat them with respect, they are trying to make your stay amazing, which they did for me and my family. Would I come back to this resort...In a heartbeat. Oh yes another thing, i was told bring mosquito spray, well i did and didnt see one..and I also read reviews about the liquor not being good quality, ask for brand name, if they have it you get it..and i read couldnt take drinks to your room, what is that about, nobody is policing that..we always took a drink or two back to our room..if no beer in your fridge, ask...Problems with the safe, just call the desk, they fix it..People quit complaining, others go have a wonderful time..lots of aguanas, geckos, baby owls, birds of every color, fish, monkeys, and lots more to see on this resort.
Thanking Occidental for making this an amazing 40th anniversary stay for me, my husband, sister and brother in law.

Room Tip: You can ask for a room but doesnt mean you will get it...building 19, 20 and 21 are great but so is...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank SIDNEY H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Just spent a week at the Occidental Grand Xcaret. The best part of this hotel is the natural surroundings and the park next door. The rooms are spacious but in need of some refreshing. Overall we did not find the staff (with the exception of a few bartenders) all that friendly. Mexican a la carte was not good, the food at Pacos tacos was much better. We did enjoy the steakhouse and the seafood restaurant but were disappointed to find you had to pay $18 USD for lobster. Buffets and snack bar had a variety of food. Could not believe you had to pay for specialty coffee and the price almost doubled halfway through our vacation! The setting for this hotel is beautiful however the beach is man made, finding a lounger was a bit difficult. Xcaret park next door was great, definitely worth getting the multi day pass. We sat through the "vacation club" presentation to get discounted tickets. Overall, our stay was okay but likely would not choose this resort again nor recommend it to others.

Room Tip: We were in the main building great for a la carte and nightly entertainment. Pools were closer to bu...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank WhitbyLovetotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a 9 day stay at the Occidental (Mar 8-16). We are well travelled in this area and enjoyed the resort. We stayed in building 18 and saw monkeys outside from our balcony. If you have small kids, upgrade to the Royal Club, otherwise, it's not worth it. Xcaret - not for us. Take your snorkel gear and grab a cab to Akumel beach instead. See my review on our day there.

Pros: very clean, exceptional service, top shelf liquor, many pool choices, tons of activities. The lobby bar is a blast for people watching. Bring a game and play on the tables you will meet tons of new friends. There is a 'theme' bar in the lobby every night (vodka, martini night, tequila). Best breakfast is the beach bar. Didnt like the pizza restaurant, never made it to Paco Tacos. Lots of food available. There is a beach food event daily. One day they made paella on the beach, another day they served drinks in pineapples and coconuts. So fun! Don't miss the magic show or Michael Jackson in the theatre at 9:30. Check in and out was very smooth. One interesting thing, I didnt feel the need to tip to get better service. I tipped because I wanted to, but unlike some hotels, I didnt feel I had to.

Cons: I didn't love the food, however the buffets are to be expected for this type of resort (repetitive, repurposed), saying that, hubby loved the food. The steak house and Japanese were excellent. If you don't like walking don't stay here! We need the exercise to compensate for the drinks so we liked it.

The beach: while it's not a long walk-along beach, we loved it. I snorkelled every day and we floated on our chairs for hours. We always got chairs, but we are up at 8. My husband and I love to people watch and we loved the action at the beach. We met the best people at the beach (hello Wisconsin, North Dakota and Hollywood!). If you walk over the rocks to the left of the beach you can actually walk to Playa (took us 2.5 hours). Wear runners as its a hike over rocks. Get up and watch the sun rise then hike to Playa. We really enjoyed it.

Tips: bring Baileys it's very hard to come by. Need extra towels? The Royal Club has them out all night. Bring a floatie chair, we were the only ones that had them and received many "oh what a great idea". This hotel has tons of water to enjoy, we floated at the beach and at the swim up bar.

We had NO issues with time share people. A pleasant 'no gracias' worked just fine. The hotel was also full however we didnt feel crowded.

Overall we would go back as we had an excellent time.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
6  Thank BCShel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km. 282 | Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Occidental Grand Xcaret All Inclusive Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#39 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#47 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#50 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#77 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $163 - $689 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Occidental at Xcaret Destination 4.5*
Number of rooms: 764
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 5-star Occidental at Xcaret Destination in Riviera Maya is a perfect combination in a natural setting with preserved cultural landmarks and an all-inclusive resort with a unique array of rooms, services, and state-of-the-art facilities. Choosing among the many possible activities is the most complicated part of a stay at this resort in Playa del Carmen. Swimming with dolphins, attending a Mayan Indian ceremony, enjoying all types of water sports at the beach club or sailing down the beautiful rivers and canals that surround the hotel are just a few highlights. The Xcaret eco-archeological park offers one of the most unique and exciting park, especially for families, by guaranteeing over 40 cultural attractions and expositions on art and traditions in Mexico. However, as people normally say at the hotel: "Do it all...or simply do nothing." Choose from a list of diverse activities such as strolling through the lush gardens at the resort, enjoying the sun while lying on a hammock, or taking a refreshing swim in one of the resort's five pools or private beach. Anti-stress remedies at the resort are endless. Regardless of how you plan each day at the resort, the hotel's choice of culinary selections is designed to satisfy the demands of every kind of guest. With 10 bars, including the one at the club, and 11 restaurants, guests have the freedom to choose a snack, an informal meal, a gourmet feast or a candlelight dinner, among many other options. The key to this resort is balancing between modern facilities and the marvelous Mexican rainforest that is filled with stunning local wildlife. Entertainment, relaxation and nature coexist at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Xcaret Hotel
Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret
Grand Flamenco Xcaret
Xcaret Grand Occidental
Occidental Xcaret
Hotel Xcaret
Xcaret Playa Del Carmen
Grand Xcaret Occidental
Xcaret Hotel
Grand Occidental Xcaret

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