We stayed at this resort in May of 2004 and all I can say is that anyone that is complaining about this resort did not do their research. Is this resort unique for the area? Definitely. There's a lot of natural jungle, trails animals and even a couple ruins on the propertly. Does it have a small man-made beach? Yes. Did I know about that before I went there? Of course. It was never busy and we preferred going to the beach area rather than the pools anyways. Why linger around a pool when you can explore the grounds and float in the ocean?
Anyways, the food was much better than we had expected. The grill restaurant was fantastic, get the filet mignon. The mediterranean was much better than I thought. The cream sauce on the pasta was the best I've ever had anywhere. The salad bars at these restaurant include things like giant serving dishes of smoked salmon and such. Top notch service and never once did any waiter ask for a tip and they are certainly discreet about receiving any tips if you do choose to give it to them.
The room we had was great, although I would have liked to have 1 king instead of 2 doubles, but it was a corner room looking over a nice part of the resort near the front so we chose to stay anyways.
We took 3 excursions that were great, jeep tour of cozumel that had snorkeling, beach lunch and some free time. We went to chichen itza(sp?), that was a very long excursion but we had a very nice tour guide and the private van is the way to go on this one. Finally we did the dolphin swim next door at Xcaret park, which is right next to the resort, you literally walk over to it and entrance is included for free from the hotel.
If you go, you have to try their signature drink, the flamenco, very tasty.
I would recommend not eating at the snack places, unless you like burgers, fries and hot dogs. The swim up bar has a burger place above it and there's a place called paco's tacos near the main buffet. I'd rather eat at the beach club where at least if you want to snack there's much better and authentic selection. The main buffet is great, they have theme nights every night and the nightly entertainment was 'ok'. There's a disco, but we never went in. We were always too tired from our daily activities to stay up too late.
The shops on the resort are the better priced and valued than anywhere we saw in playa del carmen and cozumel. It's actually real silver and amber and you won't get taken for a ride. No fear of using your credit card here. We bought the best little statues right from the tabaco shop as well.
The vendors that come into the main display area every couple nights are annoying, they want to charge you much much more than what things are in the resort for the same item and are very pushy, but at least you know they are not even part of the resort staff.
I found it amazing that if anyone spilled a drink or slipped, you would find that the staff came out of nowhere to assess the situation, bring a manager and then rope off the area and clean it up within minutes.
The beach and trails were raked every day, the grounds were cleaned regularly and you saw divers using a pressure washer to clean the sides of the river that flows through the hotel too.
All in all, fantastic place to just relax and do nothing or do go on adventures and experiment with activities. Food was great, much better than I thought.
I must say, I'm so happy there weren't many Americans there. I found that it was mostly Europeans (Spanish mostly), Mexicans from Mexico City and Canadians. You knew when there were Americans there. They complained a lot, left a lot of trash and generally stuck out and annoyed people when they were there. As you can tell, we're definitely not the type of people that enjoy the Cancun party/drinking scene so if that is what you are into this is NOT the place for you.
Oh yah, there's a huge amount of lizards here, every night you will see gecko's all over the buildings, they are cute. Iguana's are all over the place during the day and there were some flamingo's just outside our room.
We almost chose to go back there this year but we selected the iberostar paraiso beach to try something new down the road, but along the same lines.
Please be aware that this is an archeological resort and is very clear about that up front. So if you don't like jungle and some walking, go back to Cancun!
I thought I'd post this review, even though it's so late, because we have used this site a lot in the past and wanted to share our own views.
- 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