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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
Ranked #70 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Wilmington, Delaware
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed April 18, 2004

We stayed at the resort from April 10 - April 15. The front desk staff were clueless when asked a questions. We arrived about 1 pm our room was to be ready at 3pm, it wasn't. Our luggage finally arrived in our room about 4:30. Because they don't have elevators (which is not handicapped friendly) the bell boy took forever to carry all our bags up 3 flights of stairs. Once we were settled in it got alittle bit better. While we were waiting for our room you could book a reservation for dinner on the nights you would be there until your name was in the computer and then I was told I'd have to wait two hours. The resort lobby smelled liked a septic tank, and noone could give me a direct answer on what it was. The breakfast buffet out at the beach club was by far the best part. Made to order omelets, cereal, fresh fruit and yogurt and fresh juices were extremely fresh. The restrauants were ok. Nothing extremely gourmet, but decent. The kids club was very nice. My children enjoyed the time they spent their. Activities were well thoughtout. And having the XCaret Park next door was perfect for the kids. That was a beautiful park. Our room was ok, the soap dispenser kept falling off the wall everytime we used it but was put back on by the maid service. Drinks were always ready and cold. The pool activities were fun for all.

Thank maramom16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed April 12, 2004

All in all I can agree with most of the reviews I read here, however there are some things I'd like to add: Yes, the front desk is certainly this resorts weakness. The staff seemed trained to give you a blank, emotionless expression when you are unsatisfied. We were not greeted.
We were not welcomed. We stood at the counter alone for a few minutes before being acknowledged by the four staff members acting too busy.
Asking for a manager is a must but not a guaranteed fixall. Bring tip money. Even though they say it is not necessary it certainly helps. The staff that actually works for you, maids, bartenders, servers, etc...
count on it and they'll go out of their way to make it a better trip for you. Don't count on getting US dollars from this hotel either. They only exchange in Pesos which is not what the staff wants in tips. Also, they only have large denominations which didn't help me. I ran out of small bills for tipping and nobody will break a large bill unless you buy something. Don't count on regular shuttle service either. We debated on bringing the stroller, decided against it. I ended up carrying our small children quite a bit which isn't fun when you are pooped out at the end of the day. Anyone who says this resort is immaculate hasn't stayed at Iberostar. It isn't dirty here but certainly doesn't compare. Don't take this review as a total negative because it isn't intended as such, just pointing out some items that may make your experience a little more pleasant if you know what to expect. I can recommend it, however compared to other vacation destinations I will not return. Hope this helps!!

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed April 10, 2004

This was our sencond trip down to Mexico. The first time was to the Iberostar Paraiso Beach so we thought we would try something else.
First know we our traveling with four children under the age of 11, so our needs might be different then others. My biggest concern with our trip was our room accomodations. Both my travel agent and I emailed the resort with our request 3 days before our arrival. I followed up with a phone call to the resort and was told I was all set and they could meet my needs. We needed adjoining rooms with one kind and 2 doubles looking over the pool for nap time with my 2 year old. Upon arrival we got none of the 3 requests. Two unnconnecting rooms with 2 double beds looking at a jungle. They offered no help until we asked for the manager. The front desk staff needs to know they are the face of the resort and first impressions mean alot. We did finally get connecting rooms a day later but they were is a horrible location and we had to fight tooth and nail to get them. We talked to alot of people durring the trip that had the same front desk experience (about 1 out of 2 need room changes). Also we saw 4 families made to go to another resort because they overbooked the resort. So I guess our situation did not look so bad. But check in beware and also the more you complain they will finally take care of you. But you need to ask for a manager upon check in if you have a problem. No one else seems to want to help you.The resort itself seemed very friendly. Breakfast a must at the beach club.
So much nicer then le buffet. Alec from the fun club made lying by the pool a great time. The kids club was great Patricio took great care of our little ones. If you are trying to decide wether or not to take a stroller. Take it. I loved the walking but my 5 and 2 year old hated it especially in the xcaret park next door. The park itself is only a 3 minute walk but all of the activieites are about a 25 minute walk in to the park. Our rooms were kept very clean and we always got great towel animals on our beds. The food at this resort is alot better than the Iberostar but they could take a good lesson about customer service from the Iberostar. If you are trying to deicide between the 2 resorts I think the Iberostar is a better choice.

3 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed April 9, 2004

We went to the resort from April 1-8/2004. The meals at the buffet restaurants were good. The beach was disappointing (you'd know this if you did your research ahead of time, which we did not). The a la carte restaurants were good EXCEPT the seafood restaurant. Having travelled to other caribbean countries, it was shocking to see a charge for lobster at $20USD per person. Book your a la carte restaurants asap. There are not enough beach chairs for all, so the earlier that you get to the beach or the pools the better. The resort advertised FREE snorkling at the pools or beach. We approached the booth at the beach and were told that it was free for the mask and the flippers, but we had to pay $5USD for the snorkel. This was a surprise considering that the snorkels came shrink wrapped in a package that said FREE...GRATIS on it. We complained to the front desk to no avail.On a totally positive note, you must visit the Xcaret Ecological park next to the resort which is included with your stay at the Occidental. It is amazing and worth the entire trip. It is obvious that a lot of the $$'s that are spent go back to the park.Ther entertainment is top notch. Make sure you attend the "flea market" and also the Pre-Historic show. It is well worth it. To see the Mayan dancers was amazing. Also, the entertainers make sure to have things going on for children.All in all, would we go back again..........NO....chalk it up to a good experience, but we had a better time at the Bavaro Palace at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

1 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed April 8, 2004

My family and I just returned on April 8th from a one week stay @ the OGFX. I was an avid reader of this website and all of the reviews. Much of the information I obtained was very helpful during my stay. We stayed in Building #20, which is centrally located to everything. The resort caters to all ages, which is quite unique. The service in all areas was exceptional. From the barenders to the waiters to the maid service. For being such a large resort, the food quality and selection was superb. My children are ages 6 & 3 and the Kids Club staff couldn't have been more accomodating and friendly. The Fun Club staff, particularly Roberto & Alex, were also exceptional. They offered daily activities that catered to all age groups which kept each day interesting for myself and my wife, in addition to my boys. The grounds were impeccably maintained and you always felt secure when walking around the grounds, whether day or night. The seafood restaurant at the Beach Club is a must, but make your reservations as soon as you arrive because of its popularity. The evenings offered a mini disco for children, a band and show for grown ups and children. The day trip to Xcaret Park was unique and offered a wide variety of options to fill out your day. The show they offer at night is a must see, featuring many aspects of the Mayan culture. There is no need to leave the resort, other than going to Xcaret Park for the day. We ventured to Playa del Carmen for some shopping on one day, but after 2 or 3 hours, we couldn't wait to get back to the resort. Overall, I have been to Mexico 5 times and of all the visits, this one ranks #1 due to all of the above mentioned aspects.

3 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga Ontario
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2004

Be prepared.. this is a long review but worth the read if you want details. My husband and I stayed at Grand Flamenco Xcaret from April 1-8, 2004 and had a fabulous time. I have travelled throughout the Caribbean to over 25 different resorts and the Mayan Riviera is absolutely beautiful. You cannot even begin to compare the quality of this resort and the Mayan area to other Mexican tourist places like Manzanillo, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Los Cabos or even Nuevo/Puerto Vallarta.
The Mayan Riviera is upscale and newer. Unlike Cancun where hotels are squashed together and commercialized, this resort is large enough to have beautiful landscaped gardens and ecological pathways, but small enough so that buildings, beach and pools are only a city block or two apart. The resort has 700+ rooms but you wouldn't know it because everything is close enough, but spread apart enough so that you don't feel crowded. Maps are provided throughout the resort so that you don't get lost. The night we arrived, we walked around the entire resort in less than an hour and saw the beach, pools, all restaurants, buildings and we were able to find our way around. This resort keeps the beauty of the Mayan area with Mayan ruins, a temple by the ocean and local plant life and wildlife (deer including 2 baby fawns, flamingos, monkeys, birds) but includes all the amenities of home. I have an extremely sensitive stomach and have been sick on many vacations, but I did not get sick at all at this resort and I ate the salads, had ice in my drinks etc. The food is excellent. Breakfasts include waffles, donuts, french toast, a chef who makes you eggs/omelets any way you want, various fruits, yoghurt, cottage cheese, cheese, meats, bacon, sausage, mexican dishes, variety of freshly squeezed juices and breads and danishes. Lunch includes hamburgers, hotdogs, rench fries, onion rings, chicken, various hot dishes, fruits, vegetables, nachos, meats, cheeses, pizza, pastries and desserts. There were many children at the resort and they had no problem finding things to eat. Buffet dinners were themed (Mexican, Italian, International, Oriental, Seafood). They did serve small cuts of sirloin steak, had lobster one day, pork loin, fish (white & salmon), chicken etc. They tried to have a variety. Keep in mind that this resort is feeding 1400+ people a day and the resort did a good job. It was prepared fresh daily for each meal. Remember that you are in Mexico and things will taste different than home and will be prepared differently. Put it bluntly, if you find the food quality poor at this resort, then you are extremely snobby and should just stay home or go to a resort that charges $5000/week/person because there is no all-inclusive in all of Mexico that will ever please you!!!! I ate well and I gained 5 pounds!!!!! The coffee is a bit strong and a far cry from Tim Hortons, but regular coffee in Mexico is bad to begin with compared to Canadian coffee, but they have cappuccino and expresso. YES, you can wear shorts & t-shirt to buffet dinner!
There is no need to dress up if you don't feel like it. For the a la carte restaurants, there is a dress code: long pants for guys, no shorts, no tank tops for gents but ladies can wear sleeveless shirts/dresses. There are several a la carte restaurants to choose from. We only went to Steak House (very good) but I've heard that all of them were good. Different people liked different ones, so try them all if you are interested. (If you don't like what you ordered, you can always grab something at the buffet afterwards.) Like everyone mentioned in their reviews, the beach is small but great for small children and kids. No waves and very safe to swim and play in. There is a lifeguard as well. If you want to go to the beach/shopping, a taxi ride is 80 pesos or $8 US one way to Playa Del Carmen. Exchange rate was 7.5 pesos for $1 Canadian dollar and 10.5 pesos for $1 US dollar.
US was preferred currency. The rooms were very clean and mini-bar restocked daily (as opposed to every second day with 2 cans beer, 4 cans pop and 4 or 5 bottles water. Bottled water in 500 ml bottles is provided in your mini-bar and water coolers are at all bars and restaurants. Drinks are not watered down. If you want more alcohol, all you have to do is ask! Service was excellent. As we walked through the resort, you were always greated with "Hola" by staff. Yes, it took them awhile to clean up all the glasses etc, but they did their best considering the number of people and size of the resort and grounds/pools. The resort was kept clean. Workers are constantly fixing grounds, working on pools etc. As everyone else has mentioned, Xcaret park is next door and a must see. It is only a 3 minute walk along the river from the lobby to the park and you can come and go as you please through out the day. Don't rent snorkel equipment - get it from the beach or pool before you leave to save $. Come back to the resort throughout the day for meals. Be sure to catch the evening show (7pm).
It is over 2 hours long and excellent. They have animals, arials, play various mexican sports, singers, dancers etc. The Nightly entertainment at the resort is very good (9:30pm). There is a variety of shows put on by entertainment staff. Some are better than others, but a nice way to end the day and relax with a drink. There is plenty to do for kids which other people have included in their reviews so I won't repeat them. This is an excellent resort for families and couples. I would not recommend it for singles who are out to party - for that, go to Cancun and party your brains out all night. If you go shopping, don't pay the original price. Cut the price by half and work from there. You should only pay 50-60% of original price. They will chase you down and keep dropping their prices. Only buy jewlery at actual jewlery stores.
Silver is more expensive in Mexico than in Canada. You can buy stuff cheaper at Walmart, Sears etc. But they have a large variety and it does make a nice souvenir. Stuff on beach or roadside is only silver plated, if that so be careful. Even stuff marked "925" can be fake!
Activities are abundant for young and old... poolside games, volleyball with a large inflated beachball, actual volleyball by beach, bicycle tours, walking tours through ruins, bingo, archery, water aerobics etc.
(too much to mention). In each building, there is a notice board which contains all the activities for the next few days, the theme for dinner and evening show. Over the Easter weekend, the resort was over-booked.
They were offering people a 2/3/4/5 night stay at Occidental Allegro Cozumel, at no extra charge with transportation to Cozumel included.
For those who wanted to be closer to Playacar reef for snorkling/diving etc, this was a great opportunity. Someone mentioned that if you accepted, they were giving you one week free in return at Flamenco Xcaret. I don't know if it was true, but if it was, that is a great offer. There is a banking machine on site by stores. The lobby is huge (3 sections). Some people commented that the lake stunk, but it did not when we were there. They are pumping fresh water into the lake constantly. It is very humid so it is feasible that it could smell during certains time of year. It does rain at night (2 times on our trip) but an umbrella (golf size) is provided in your room along with an iron and small ironing board, as well as shampoo and soap. There were many Canadians, Americans, Brittains and some from Italy and Spain. Only a few native Mexicans. At the shows/activities, the staff repeated everything in Spanish and English only. My biggest recommendation... take comfortable walking shoes and wear sunscreen. I wore 30 UVA/UVB and still managed to burn after 5 days even under cloudy skies!!! We had a great time. We might return back to this resort, or explore another resort in the area. This resort is value for the money. The only thing lacking is a beach to walk along, that's all.
If the resort had a long beach, it would be a 7 star!!!!!

14 Thank Blackbelt_Girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bethel township, pa
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2004

Where do I begin? This place is magnificant. I had read a review about this hotel in the sunday paper last year and it sparked my interest. The hotel is beautiful and very large. Like a little city. There is a quite a bit of walking to do to get from one place to another but we did not mind the walks at all because you were able to enjoy the beauty of your surroudings and also to walk off the calories. The food is very good. The breakfasts buffet are very good with a big variety. We enjoyed going to the Beach Club for breakfast because of the view. The Club overlooks the ocean and it is beautiful. There is a nice variety of restaurants to choose from for dinner. We ate at Los Olivos, Sonora Grill, El Pecatore, L'Oriental. They were all excellent. The staff and service is very good and friendly. Communication was a little difficult because not everyone understood or spoke english but it was enough to get you by. There are some shops there and they are all nice, however, I felt that the shop that sold jewelry was a bit overpriced and you needed to bargain with the gentleman there. Although I purchased quite a few items there, I felt that I was overcharged. I would say that all of the shops were a tad pricey but I did not find much of difference in Playa del Carmen. We stayed here from April 2 through April 7,2004. I read a lot of reviews from this web sit prior to going and I was a little concerned because some of the review had a lot of negatives. I found none of negatives to be true. As far as the odor, I found none. In my opinion, whatever odor that these people are talking about is probably a tropical smell (you are in the yucatan peninsula). As far as the sheets and pillows having a mildew smell, I found none. In my opinion, who ever is writing these negative comments, they are being too picky. No place is perfect but I must say that the Grand Flamenco is very close to being perfect. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously and we would even consider going back again sometime in the future. As far as the park goes, it was very nice, alot to see, alot of walking. If you are into nature, this is a must to see. Beach is very nice. Lots of water activities for everyone. I know I am not writing this review in any kind of order but as I think of things I am writing them so bear with me. Check in was quick and very efficient. Calling the US from our room was easy. Suggestion - make your restaurant reservations as soon as you get there so you can get the time that you want. Also, men and children from 12 and older need to wear long pants to the restaurants, no shorts are allowed. The atmosphere at the hotel is very relaxing. No matter where you walk, you here music playing which is very nice. They have activites for the children during the day and night. My one son is 12, he had a nice time but was a little bored since the activities are geared towards younger children. My 18 year old had a nice time, he was able to go to the disco at night and also the sports bar. If you are looking for an enjoyable family vacation, this is one place you should consider. You will find mostly families, some seniors, some young couples but no spring breakers. I guess I could go on but cannot think of everything and it is too much to write but feel free to email me with any questions.

3 Thank joannet412
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:
#39 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#46 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#47 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#51 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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