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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
Ranked #75 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
“the real truth is...”
Reviewed March 7, 2004

I stayed at the Grand Flamenco Xcaret (pronounced Eshcaret) from Feb.
27th to March 5th, 2004. Overall, it was a good trip...starting at the top: upon our arrival, we were able to check in immediately without any problems. We requested and got a room in the Flamenco building #20 because we wanted to be where the action (bars, pools) is. We got some very poor directions to our room and ended up getting lost for quite some time before we found our way there. The lobby area is beautiful and classy although very poorly designed with a river running through the middle. It's a bit of a maze to find one's way through it. At first we were thinking that we should have gone to a smaller resort, but after a day or two we had figured out our way around it. There are shuttles that pick people up at designated stops and bring them to wherever they're going...we didn't use them at all because it's really not that far to walk, and we thought we could use the exercise. The grounds were very clean, beautiful, and well-kept. The rooms were fine, very clean, with lots of shelves and storage space, a little dimly lit, with a coffeemaker, iron and board, and a mini-fridge that was refilled everyday with sodapop, beer, and water. On our first night there we returned to the room to find that our electronic key card no longer worked in the door...and once we managed to get new keys and get inside, our electronic safe no longer worked either. We were told by some other guests that the power had flickered out at some point so we assume that this was the reason. Both of these issues were addressed promptly by the hotel staff and we didn't encounter any more problems of this nature for the rest of our stay. The food in the buffets was top notch, and the buffets were never over-crowded. The beach club is definitely the place to dine for breakfast and lunch as the view is spectacular. The only thing that I can say that was a little bit frustrating about the buffets is that you spend a lot of time looking for things...the spoons are located across the room from the cereal, it's always a guess as to where the ketchup is hiding, etc. We went to two a la carte restaurants during the week. The Italian restaurant was very mediocre. The service was poor, the food was a bit bland, and we probably could have had something tastier in the buffet. The Mexican restaurant was a little bit better--the food was good, the service was better, but we had to wait 25 minutes for our appetizers to arrive once we ordered...and everything just seemed to take forever and a day. I wasn't impressed with the house wine...the white wine was extremely sweet and just overall not very good. The rest of the drinks we had were good and the bartenders were all very nice. The nightly entertainment ranged from good to a little bit boring. On a few nights there was barely anyone watching it, but on other nights the theatre was packed. The entertainment around the main pool during the day was OK...water aerobics, bingo, etc. It was always easy to get a lounge chair at any point during the day. The beach was alright...we knew before we went that it was going to be more of a manmade lagoon and were OK with this. It was a good place for little kids to enjoy the calm water and play in the sand, but not great for anyone who wanted to play in the waves. We solved this problem by spending an afternoon at the beach in Playa del Carmen, which was incredible. We went to the disco a few times, and it was usually pretty quiet in there although it picked up towards the end of the week when some new people came to the resort. We found that the other guests at the resort were couples and familes...this resort is not the place for spring-breakers. We went to Xcaret park one day, which was great. It was very hot out and we got tired quickly, but we did go up the scenic tower, swim through the underground river, and went snorkeling at the beach...it was awesome!
The show in the park was pretty cool...it was a traditional Mayan dance/drama. My suggestion to anyone who wants to do some snorkeling during the trip...bring your own so that you don't have to rent equipment. As far as the tours/excursions, we went on the Maroma snorkeling trip, which was great. We intended to go to on the Tulum trip, but we heard from other guests that it's a bit painful because you spend so much time picking up and dropping off guests at other resorts. So, we opted to take a taxi which cost $65 US roundtrip. This was great except we had to check out the ruins without a guide. If you go to Tulum, you may want to bring a bathing suit so that you can do some swimming at the beach. So, overall, it was a great trip and despite some of the negative things I've said about the Xcaret, there is nothing seriously wrong with the place...just a few minor inconvieniences. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to go there to relax and check out the area. Just don't go there if you want to party hard...but it's a great place for families and couples!
If you have any more questions, please email me at ladonnah at HMDC.

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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 6, 2004

We stayed at the Xcaret the Feb 28th though March 6th, 2004. We read all the reviews about the hotel before we went. We checked in after 10:00 pm the first day. We had asked for a room on the top floor and were disappointed when we received a room on the first floor. We were told they could not do anything then but to come back at 1:30 the next day. We had to be a little persistent but did get a nice room on the 3rd floor of building 12. One of the things we liked the most was the size and the variety of things to do. Walking around the hotel was a pleasure finding different ways to get to the beach or the pool. We booked the a la cart restauants the first day mid morning and had no problems getting the ones we wanted. The meals were all good at each.
The Buffets had a variety of foods each day and were of good quality.
One of my complaints was the wine or lack of choice. We enjoyed the Beach club for both breakfast and lunch although there was a fair breeze. The beach front was nice as it was sheltered. Our favourite lunch spot was the Snack Bar above the pool bar. Service was great at all times. Xcaret Park was nice to tour. The show at 6:oo pm was very good but about half an hour too long for me. The shows at the hotel were all very good and much better quality then we had seen at other all inclusives. We enjoyed the pre-show with the Canadian singer. She had a great voice. This was our fifth trip to Mexico and was the best resort we had been to.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2004

We stayed at the Grand Xcaret Feb. 24-March2/04. I must say that both my husband and I were disappointed in the resort and will not be returning in the future. The communication with the guests and the customer service left a lot to be desired. We arrived after dark and were told to go to the front desk and check in, then to return to the bellhop and advise our room number. We checked in, and were given only one key. When we asked for a second we were told the key card machine wasn't working well and could we wait a few days. So, we went to the bellhop to advise our room number. At this time a large bus arrived. We were then told that our room wasn't all that far away, and we could go there by ourselves. There was no discussion, we were on our own. We were not impressed! So off we went dragging our luggage after a long day of travel, trying to find our room. We finally found it, only to realize that the key did not work. My husband had to leave us in the hallway while he tried to find his way back to the main desk to get help for the key. After some convincing, he managed to get someone to escort him back and help us out with the new key. Once in our room (by the way, this was FAR from deluxe!) we searched for hotel info., ie restaurant times, Kids club times etc. There was NOTHING to be found.
So we ventured out, followed some signs and found our way to the buffet. The food was pretty good. The next day we were told to be at the hospitality desk for 10am. It took almost 40 minutes to find the desk, as the employees kept thinking we were asking for the hospital. I finally forced someone to escort us to the hospitality desk, only to find out that this was not a hotel orientation, but a hard sell on the tours. After the 1 hour presentation (zzzz...) I went to the front desk and asked for a hotel map. I was given one in Spanish. When I asked for an English one, I was told there were none left, and could I wait 2 days.... This was a theme throughout our holiday. We ended up having to change our room key 7 times during our stay as they kept malfunctioning. This is a BIG resort, and everywhere you turn there are bridges, and rivers, and sometimes getting aound could be complicated and a little frustrating. There was often a really foul odour in certain areas which was pretty gross. I wasn't overly impressed by the waiter service in the retsaurants. I guess if you're not being paid tips it's a little more difficult to get motivated. As far as the rooms were concerned, 2 beds a TV a chair and a bathroom with no bathtub is STANDARD, and not deluxe. We had a view of the back of another building, nothing special. Our air conditioner did not work, we needed to have the ceiling fan on all night. Luckily the weather was quite cool during the evenings so we wree able to sleep pretty well. The room was kept clean. The staff at the Kid's club was great. They took very good care of my son, (8 yrs old) who really enjoyed himself. They are very gentle and kind with the children and get them involved in a lot of different activities. Patrick and his staff are to be commended for the doing best job in the resort. The weather was great, no complaints there. I think our biggest problem is that we were expecting too much fromt his place and were left wanting... We'll be going back to Club Med!

2 Thank Tysmom8535
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 6, 2004

We just returned from the Xcaret Grand March 3rd, 2004. My husband and I went there hoping for a relaxing and romantic getaway for two (we are both 40 and have a young child, whom we left at home with gramma). We got what we had hoped for and so much more! The Yucatan Penninsula "Mayan Riviera" is stunningly beautiful, user-friendly and surprisingly exotic! A modern, four lane highway connects Xcaret (and all the Mayan Riviera resorts) to the Cancun airport. All the people we encountered were friendly, extremely accomodating, polite, and spoke at least some English. The whole area is relativley new, and totally geared towards international tourism, so we never felt unsafe or found ourselves in seedy surroundings.

The Xcaret Grand Flamenco was beyond our expectations! The lobby area takes your breath away, and is dimly lit at night with soft music to create a romantic, almost hushed atmosphere. The buildings and grounds are themed even beyond Disney standards, with pueblo-styled buildings mixed with native Mayan grass-rooved structures that reminded us of the exotic islands of the South Pacific! Quiet paths and primitive rope and bamboo-clad boardwalks glide past lagoon-style pools, dense tropical vegetation uplit at night, and to scenic vistas of rivers, ocean and even Mayan ruins! Unlike the resorts of Playacar, which are back-to-back along the beach, the Xcaret Grand is completely surrounded by tropical jungle, and has kept a significant jungle in its center where they keep monkeys and peacocks.

The resort is huge, and offers something for everyone. Seeking a romantic and private getaway, we stayed at the Royal Club, and gravitated there for most meals and for the private pool and whirlpool.
Meals there were presented in truly gourmet fashion and we never needed to make a reservation (unlike the other a la carte restaurants on property) It was nice to have the ammenities of a much larger resort - excellent entertainment (the trumpet player and dancers were world class!), several pool areas, several bars and restaurants, special events and activities, and lots of natural beauty to explore. The resort was filled to capacity most of our stay, but it never felt crowded, as the resort is spread out. We noticed lots of families with small children and sometimes with grandparents, and lots of young through middle aged couples like ourselves. Children would love the calm, lagoon-style beach, the zero entry pool, planned activities, iguanas, parrots, monkeys and deer on property, Xcaret Park, multiple buffet restaurants with kids' favorites, and starring in the nightly kid show. What you don't here is a rowdy spring break crowd.

The absolute best surprise about the resort is its proximity (5 minute walk from the lobby) to Xcaret Eco Park (where a one day pass comes with your stay at the resort). We had the time of our lives gliding down the underground rivers (there are two, about 45 minutes long, both stunning, if a little dark at times for little ones!) The natural beauty of the coastline and inlets here is undescribable. Chairs and hammocks dot the landscape, and there are multiple places to get a snack or drink (though we returned to the resort for lunch). The 6:00 PM show at the park is reportedly the best folklore show in all of Mexico, and I believe it! Of course, there are the many animals to see while here as well! All are in a natural, pristine setting. (Tips for visiting Xcaret Park: borrow free snorkeling gear at the resort before heading to the park (you can keep the gear until 4 PM). At Xcaret Park, they'll charge you around $10.00 to rent a set. The park opens at 9:00 AM and is less crowded in the morning than in the afternoon when most of the tour busses from Cancun and Playa Del Carmen arrive!)

Playa Del Carmen is just a quick $8.00 cab ride away, offering a colorful, friendly, laid back setting riddled with shops, restaurants, bars and a beautiful walking beach. Playa del Carmen supposedly has some of the best tourist shopping in Mexico, and we found numerous bargains, up to 75% less than the prices at the hotel gift shops. If you are American, there is no need to exchange your money, as US$ are very desirable and always accepted. Bargaining is almost always expected in the shops.

In short, we highly recommend this resort to thoe seeking a relaxing, romantic, exotic vacation with excellent service, food and surroundings!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 4, 2004

Where do I begin? We had read the bad reviews about the Flaminco Xcaret and I have to admit that I was almost terrified when pulling up. We checked into the hotel quite late (our plane had been delayed) and were served immediately. When I walked through the front lobby, I was speechless. Upon entering our room, I was delighted to find no odor. We had brought our own sheets and pillowcases (a tip from someone else who had left a review on this page). I was glad that I did because the sheets did have a slight musty odor to them, but thats what you get for traveling to a resort where on one side of you, theres miles of jungle and on the other side, miles of ocean. We were pleasantly surprised. We found NONE of the negative feedback to be true.Heres a run down of how we found the resort:The food amazing. Theres always plenty to choose from. We tried to switch up our locations every day we ate breakfast at the beach club every other morning. We planned our dinners so that we could have a special dinner every other night. The service everyone was always friendly. There were times when we didnt have to ask for a refill on our drinks the waiters would notice an almost empty glass and bring you whatever you were drinking. Sometimes the wait was a bit slow at the front desk, but we didnt have to wait for more than a few minutes.The beach we loved it! We planned a day trip to Playa del Carmen and visited the beach there. It was boring compared to the beach at the resort heres why. At the resort, you can still wade in the water. There are no huge white caps to jump over, but then again, theres no risk of losing your balance and swallowing a mouthful of saltwater (and for the females out there, theres no risk of losing your top either). We were able to snorkel in the lagoon we saw numerous types of fish and we didnt have to worry about being carried out by the current. We took some amazing underwater pictures too! At night, we would often walk to the beach and sit on the coral side and gaze at the stars. Magnificent!The grounds there were always staff sweeping and tidying the grounds. We never saw garbage laying around and the gardens were kept amazingly beautiful. We liked to walk around in the morning and explore the grounds (p.s. there are secret pathways that you can use that lead into the trees in these pathways, you can see monkeys, deer and birds. Try these out!). For the rest of the day, we would simply hop on one of the golf carts which would take us to our destination. Yes, you do have to wait for the golf carts, just like you have to wait for a bus at a bus stop, but if you dont like the wait, you can always walk. We were never more than a five minute jaunt from the rest of the resort.Complaints:Our 13-year old son accompanied us on our trip. Unfortunately, theres not much for a teenager to do once the sun goes down. There are a variety of things for them to do during the day and the resort has a great mini disco and kids club for kids 2-11, but nothing for the young people aged 12-17 (you have to be 18+ to get into the disco and the sports bar). Also, no one informed us of the show that occurs at 6:00pm every night at the Xcaret park, so we missed it when we used our free passes to the park. I was disappointed about this, but Ill be able to see it the next time we go back!You can see some of our pictures at http://sjawilliams.smugmug.com/gallery/73436Just remember, no matter where you go, expect the worse and hope for the best (no matter which review you read) - tastes differ from person to person. I hope you like the Xcaret. We found it amazing!

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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 27, 2004

Spent a week at this resort with my husband in January, 2004.

This resort is only about 2 or 3 years old now and it is beautiful, very luxurious and clean. The grounds are impressive. Nice rooms, a little dimly lit, iron/board, coffeemaker and blowdryer (albeit a weak one) in the room, also a mini-fridge stocked every other day. Great staff, all polite and most were helpful. The food is great for an all-inclusive both at the buffets and the a-la-cartes and we had no problems booking our reservations, just did it all on the first day there. And I loved the fact that there's 2 buffets to choose from for breakfast and lunch, one indoors in a nice restaurant atmosphere and the other at the beach, very nice. Nightly entertainment ranged from good to kind of boring. It's a big resort but no complaints here about that, big enough to get good exercise walking and there's lots of trolleys if you're feeling less energetic. The beach is small and man-made but that's okay, we knew about it going in; had what we wanted, water and sand. It's true what others have written about an sewer-like smell at times at certain places around the resort but it was something you smelled in passing and not at all times, didn't really bother me. We encountered no bug problems during our stay. You get a free day admittance to the Xcaret park right next door, it's interesting but very big, we got tired and came back in the afternoon to the hotel to hit the pool but returned for the night show, a historic and folkloric Mayan show.

If you need a long stretch of beach I would say pick another resort but otherwise I have no hesitation in recommending the Flamenco Xcaret, it's first-class and I wanna be there now, at this moment, as I write...a girl can dream, can't she?!?

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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 26, 2004

We spent 7 nights at the Grand Xcaret. There were four of us traveling together. Our flight was non eventful. The Apple reps were at the airport and showed us 'the way'. Good job.We sent an e-mail to the hotel prior to going requesting the 3rd floor, double beds, non smoking, quiet area. Don't know if they got the e-mail but we got just what we wanted.Our rooms were in Building 20 (30310 &311). They were great. We were on the backside of the pool and had a view (be it distant) of the sea. Our beds were just fine - not too hard or too soft. Our maid service was outstanding. We brought several small gifts and left a few dollars each morning. Our mini fridge was always filled with several bottles of water. The room was always looked great when we returned from our day at the pool, beach (lagoon) or where ever. The grounds are beautiful. The resort is massive. We definitely got our walking in but we also used the golfcart shuttle occasionally. The food was wonderful. We ate at the Mexican (I had outstanding lamb), Seafood, Steak and Med Resturants. We had breakfast and lunch out at the beach buffet resturant most days. Service was great. The only bum service we had was at the (ironic) guest service desk when we were making our dinner reservations (make them as soon as you can for all nights). The guy didn't seem to care whether we came or went, so Frederica waited on us and was quite nice.One of the travelers did get sick (chills, vomit) right after breakfast on the 3rd day. She spent the day in bed and felt better the next day and perfect the day after. We ate alot of food so its not too surprising that one of us would get 'it'. We went the the Xcaret Park on Sunday (good day to go) and had a ball. We floated the underground river trip when we first got there (about 9:30 a.m) and were pretty much alone the whole trip. We did some snorkeling, walked the botantical gardens.... If we had more time we would have gone back and spent a day in the hammocks overlooking the sea.Our favorite was the adult pool - although by day 7 the the waves took over the pool and no swimming. But it was awesome to watch.The lagoon is especially good if you bring kids (we didn't).The evening shows were okay. The MC got on our nerves but the dancing was pretty good. I've seen better in the DR.We did some shopping in Playa as well as at the resort. I really didn't see that big of a price difference in several things. Buy your boose at the airport - $8.50 or $9.00 for a big bottle of Kaluha.Yes, we did miss not being able to walk the beach and not seeing the sunrise each morning but like I said most everything else was great.

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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

Property: 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
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:
#40 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#45 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#47 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#77 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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