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“Occidental Grand Xcarat & Barrakuda Watersports”

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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
Ranked #70 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 9, 2013

The hotel is very well kept. Repairs needed a done quickly, and rooms are being consistently upgraded. I did not get the room I requested on check-in, but the desk quickly changed my room to the one I needed, and moved my bags for me. The attendants will walk you around the property and show you the resort. The food was good, even though they had the same thing on the buffet every day. Making reservations in "other" restaurants was kind of ridiculous, but wasnt a complete waste of time (skip le Hacienda). The hotel is a short $12 cab ride to fifth street in Playacar, where you SHOULD buy all of your knick knacks and take home goodies... plenty of bartering to be done. And YOU MUST MUST MUST eat at Karens in Playa... I had the biggest, best, and most beautifully prepared lobster you have ever seen.

Now the bad part: Barrakuda Watersports. They are a vendor ON SITE at the Occidental that offers diving trips, et al. They offered a catamaran trip to Isla Mujeres for my family, billing it as a family affair where they would snorkel, swim, pet a shark and parasail, and then enjoy a typical mexican meal while getting the chance to shop. When my two younger children got sunburned the day before the trip, they begrudgingly returned the money for my wife and I but happily charged me extra for my two older daughters to continue on the trip (21 and 17 years of age). For the record, they told me that if I still wanted to go, the catamarans were covered where I could keep my younger two in the shade; I declined. Anyway, when my two daughters arrived, they were greeted by "welcome to the booze cruise!" Yes, I sent my two lovely young daughters on a booze cruise, replete with open bar, etc. I WAS NOT TOLD OF THIS! I digress: they did NOT snorkel, swim, petting the shark was ridiculous (it was a nurse shark kept in a tank... they were allowed to touch its tail, take a pic, NEXT), and since they could not do any water sports, they were kept on the catamaran, in open water for over two hours WITH NO SHADE. The mexican fare was boiled chicken and rice, and Isla Mujeres is a dump... dirty, and crowded. Needless to say both my daughters got badly burned, and advised they were miserable, having the opportunity to do NOTHING they were promised.

I brought this up to the manager of Barrakuda at the Occidental; he casually escorted me away from his stand (and paying customers) where he offered to give my daughter a free diving lesson for one hour in exchange for the BAD experience. I asked for two hours (two daughters), but he scoffed, saying this was "too much". I will add that they gave diving lessons FOR FREE every day in the pool, so I really dont see where this was a fair exchange. Anyway, BUYER BEWARE. Barrakuda is a rip off.

Other than that, decent experience. Beds are somewhat uncomfortable, but Im a light sleeper. Internet is $12 USD per hour, so dont plan on doing anything internet related. Also, I will go further south next time to get away from the MONSTROUS crowds of Playacar. I hope this helps.

Room Tip: Stay as far away from the reception area as possible. The macaws WILL drive you nuts.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank terrym592
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,603 - 6,609 of 13,267 reviews

Reviewed April 9, 2013

The resort was grand in every aspect, large grounds for exploring, several nice pools, a sort of windy water canal that gondolas shuttle you from the main resort lobby to the adjacent property Xcaret. The actual beach area was a bit of a disappointment as there was just a small protected cove obviously man made with some sand to swim at or lay around, no nice walks on the beach here lots of rock bluffs. The buffet food was great with lots of different ethnic choices. The rooms were spacious, and clean, (HOWEVER) because of the age of the place and not having clean central air conditioning the smell of mold and mildew were overpowering, during a rain storm I had water come under my door and in my room, I was on the third floor. When I complained about these things they did try to go above an beyond to fix and re accommodate me. Great staff! I very much enjoyed this place and was grateful that it was a ways off the beaten path and very quiet place, relaxing and right next door to Xcaret theme park.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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2  Thank Leegoodwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

This hotel could not do enough to make our holiday perfect. We booked through virgin holidays shop in shoreham holmbush centre. From start to finish this was great. The rep at the hotel was perfect and made sure we had everything we wanted and understood transfers, tipping etc. The bell boys were very efficient with dropping off luggage and picking it up. The buffet dining area provided a most wonderful choice of food for all tastes or if you wanted a special evening the hotel consierge could book a restaurant at no extra costs. A bus was available every 10 minutes for pick up and drop off around the resort. Lots of animals living in natural habitat as an ecological area in the middle of the resort provided a lovely quiet area. Rooms were cleaned regular. The man made beach although small provided a lovely safe snorkling area. This also had a loud bar but there was a quiet area to sunbathe if so wished. Mayan ruins still exist on the site. Plenty of entertainment and events. Quite a big resort on the flat with something to suit all. Staff are wonderful and friendly and we could learn an awful lot from their waiter service.

Room Tip: Our room looked out onto the ecological area so was very quiet. Cannot say what the others were lik...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank dittyannie123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I recently stayed at this resort for 7 days.. Good points are that its part of Xcaret Park and you can easily get to the park. The bad news is that they take you there, but you have to walk back. Kind of strange! The resort is beautiful and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We took one day and spent the afternoon in Playa Del Carmen which was fun and one day in the park. We go to Mexico a lot so I love to try new places. If there was a down side it was the food. Not that it was terrible but it was always the same at the buffet and the restaurants just weren't that good. However all in all it was a very nice trip and I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank vance628
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We visited this hotel as part of a Cruise and Stay holiday with a Virgin holiday package in March 2013. I can only speak highly of this hotel.

When I read the reviews on this hotel I was optimistic but having staying in a large variety of all inclusive hotels through out Europe, I was skeptical it would fulfill our hopes.
We were met at the airport by David the Virgin rep for the hotel and welcomed on the coach and he had a very tired bunch of people to try to up lift. The transfer took about 45mins and the arrival at the hotel was organized well with a quick and efficient check in. The main lobby is open plan with a small river running through it which is the theme within the hotel; you will find waterfalls, pools and ponds to feed the fish in. We did find it a problem to locate our block (22) as we were not given a map and the complex is huge, but there was always a member of staff on hand to advise you along the paths. The complex is made up of about 30 blocks set in wonderful gardens, rivers, pools and tropical rainforests. There are sports facilities, children’s play parks and clubs, animal enclosures, ponds, hammock areas, and discreet bars set in tropical styled huts and restaurants surrounded by pools with a swim up bar underneath. Walkways will take you to the Mayan ruins within the complex surrounded by beautiful greenery which is diverse and yet wild, covered with beautiful butterflies in the early morning sun. The beach area is private with a lagoon styled area manmade but with access to the open Caribbean sea. The sand is white and clean and a variety of sun beds available. The lagoon is safe for most swimmers and wonderful for the morning aqua aerobics enjoyed by all ages. One of the most unusual features we encountered was the wild animals within the complex. This area of Mexico is an ecological area and the birds and smaller wild animals co-habit the area and the large XCARET Park near by. We were greeted each morning with a variety of birds, all colours in the trees outside our room, viewed spider monkeys in the trees being chased by lemurs, and iguanas were in all sizes.
The rooms were large, with super king size bed, and all was of a high standard. Food and drink also kept up the rating. Meals were available from the main hotel buffet restaurant, the beach buffet area, and the large pool restaurant. They also offered five a la carte restaurants, Mexican, Seafood, Steak, Mediterranean and Chinese, which you could book a table with through the concierge at your hotel block. We had the opportunity of four meals and enjoyed each one immensely. The bar services were also brilliant with major brand drinks and a large and varied cocktail list to suit all ages and nationalities.
Entertainment was on offer through the day, no one was ever under pressure. The evening shows were varied with guest artists as well at the entertainment staff. There was also a disco but cannot comment as we did not venture there.
One of the drawbacks was that the Sports Bar closed early about 10pm and as this was indoors, was a refuge on a cool evening. There is not enough seating in the downstairs bar/lobby area in the evening following meal times if you do not wish to view the show.
We were offered the opportunity to visit the XCARET PARK as part of the package free and did so, it is a vast ecological park, with animals, a vast array of plants, ( grown from their seedlings within the park) waterways, Mayan history and sea creatures. We loved it and especially the two hour show depicting the Mayan history and culture in costume, song and dance.
In conclusion (I am sure you have had enough) we enjoyed our stay and would recommend and visit again (if possible). I only wish we had stayed here and not continued on the cruise (NCL which we did not enjoy due to a poor ship and poor weather). We met and enjoyed the company of lots of nationalities and a terrific staff.

Room Tip: As we a Virgin customer I think block 22 is allocated, however, on our final night (returning from a...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank FrecklesNIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We were two families in a group of nine, with kids ages 20, 19,17 and 15. The resort was absolutely fantastic and had something for everyone. The staff especially Wilson, Alfredo, Jesus and the waiter from Paco' Taco/La Piazza were excellent. Our best day agents Tatianna and Victor were very helpful as well. The pools were quite busy so we spent our days at the beach (not sure why more people didn't) and it was absolutely beautiful. The food at the buffets was very good and the a la cartes especially the Senora Grill and Los Olivios were awesome. We would all definitely go back!
The Inksters's and Marta's

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank inkster499390
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013 via mobile

Even when we upgraded to "unlimited luxury" category, this hotel can't compare to the worst one I've stayed in. The ocean was a small, nasty looking lagoon with huge black hoses all around it. Food just terrible from all angles with lines for it too. Air condition preset to almost none. No ventilation in bathrooms. I will never stay there again. Here's why: no beach, no room service, no food and unpleasant service. Yuk!!

  • Stayed: May 2012
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1  Thank Jackievanessa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental at Xcaret Destination, responded to this reviewResponded April 9, 2013

Dear Jackievanessa,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your comments concerning your stay at Occidental Grand Xcaret. We genuinely strive to provide exceptional service and I am deeply sorry that your experience did not reflect this.

We am sorry to read that our man-made beach was not to your liking. We are located on open sea, which is very dangerous for swimming. We created the beach to provide a safe location for guests to swim and observe the aquatic life native to the area. Also, please allow me to express my most sincere apologies for the shortcomings you encountered in your room and restaurants. Please rest assured that we have already taken the appropriate measures to address the problem with our teams in order to prevent any future occurrences.

We hope for the opportunity to welcome you back and show you our high standards of service.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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