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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
Ranked #71 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 24, 2005

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.

  • Stayed: May 2004
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56  Thank Garnoth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10,251 - 10,257 of 12,914 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2005

My husband and I just returned from a one week stay and I couldn't be happier! It upsets me to read the bad reviews because it is obvious that these people did not do any research on the resort first! Before we left I knew what to expect for a beach and was actually pleasantly surprised! I also knew that it was a large resort but found you could walk anywhere in a couple of minutes and if you're to tired to do that then a shuttle comes around every 5 mins. There is enough space in this resort to find the kind of vacation you want, quiet, go to the smaller pool, more excitement, anywhere around the large pool. Tennis, ping pong, archery, or if you just want to lye in a hammock in the shade there is always one available! I come from the service industry and if you are rude then be prepared to not be treated well. We had to talk to the front desk a couple of times and we were always greeted with a smile and helped as quickly as possible. I was sickened by the way some guests treated the staff here! All in all, do your research before you book and you won't be dissapointed! This resort also convinced me that we can bring our young children and still have a relaxing, great vacation so we're doing that next year! Please email me if you have any questions! I truely believe that the people who have posted poor reviews did no research and just figured they wanted a good deal on a 4.5 star resort! Everything that I have read I found out by researching and there was nothing that surprised me when we got there. So once again, if you want the amazing beach that goes on for miles, thats not here, if you want a small more personal resort, thats not here, if you want goumet food, stay home and hire a personal cook! If you go with an open mind you will enjoy your vacation!

  • Stayed: March 2005
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28  Thank lazymom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2005

my husband and i have been traveling to mexico for a few years now at 5-6 star resorts. xcaret is one of the nicest places we've stayed besides the iberostar playa paraiso. the resort is absolutely beautiful. it is extremely spacious so it is not noisy, but a lot of walking is required (i didn't mind that). the buffett food is good but the reserved restaraunts are gerat. the bar is really good, the bartenders will make whatever you want and if you ask will use top shelf. the shows are entertaining and the pool w/ bar is huge. the beach is very small but suited us fine especially since a bar and buffett were right next to the beach. we have been here twice and the only complaint i have is the last trip we took in january 2005 the hotel was extremely crowded so checkin took one hour and we requested to have all 5 rooms together, but everyone was in a seperate building. i guess no big deal except one room smeled so strongly of bleach that we didn't want to stay there, but the manager said they could not move us. besides this little room mishap, the xcaret is fantastic and i would recommend to anyone to visit it. Furthermore, staying at the hotel you get a free pass to the park which is actually a great place for snorkeling and riding dolphins. definately xcaret is a 5 star hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2005
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24  Thank Alexia703
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2005

We came to the Riviera Maya last year and visited the Xcaret Park which we loved. We booked the hotel this year as an 'add on' to a USA trip wanting a few quiet days at the beach. My husband is a keen snorkeller and was looking forward to days in the sea.

We arrived very late due to our pre-booked transport having people to drop off at other resorts on the way (get a private taxi - you should pay $40 each way and travel a lot quicker). We had booked a sea view suite with a balcony. The rooms were fine but - no sea view, in fact no view at all, we were looking out to another wall - and the balcony was barely big enough for 2 plastic chairs.

Had a very poor meal at the pizza place as it was the only place open after 10pm (unexpected for an all inclusive) and then walked down to the beach. The beach is tiny; man made and opening on to a lagoon, you cannot swim into the open sea and you are warned not to walk down the shore and enter the sea as the currents are dangerous.

We only had six nights booked and we were so disappointed, we went to the hotel reception next day and asked if it was possible to move to another resort. We were offered another room (no better than the first) but told that we could not go to another resort as they were not overbooked, and we could not get a refund of our remaining nights - we were so disappointed we wanted to leave.

After speaking with our travel agent, they arranged that the hotel would refund us the money for the nights we didn't take, minus a small commission which we were happy with.

Don't misunderstand, the hotel is beautiful, the grounds are incredible and the rooms are perfectly adequate, but it wasn't what we had booked and paid for and with only five days to spend at the beach, we were not going to spoil our holiday with a resort we didn't like.

We felt that as we had not come with a big tour group like most of the guests, we were given a poor room and not taken seriously when we complained.

We moved to the Sunscape in Puerto Aventuras and then to the Omni in the same resort. Neither of these are to the same scale or rating as the Xcaret, but both had great beaches, sea views and a happier and more relaxed 'feel'.

10  Thank Joanne1y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2005

My family stayed at the Occidental in Nov. 2004, and found that the service was excellent, the grounds very nice and the room lovely. However, the "beach" was a huge disappointment. It is a man-made area that is far from the real coast (which is rocky all along that area). The water at the beach is quite still, people were packed in at the beach, and it just felt yucky! When we go to one of the most magnificent coastal areas in the world, we want to be on the gorgeous white and beaches with the waves and the breeze - the Occidental does not have this. If you want a beach vacation, DO NOT STAY HERE. I also found that the immense size of the place made it difficult to get around. I have a small child, and just getting a meal was an ordeal because the area is too large to just walk, (you take shuttles around the grounds.)

  • Stayed: November 2004, traveled on business
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4  Thank MountainJade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2005

We stayed at the OGFX Feb. 20-27 & will not recommend this resort to anyone. This was our third vacation to the Riveria Maya area & we thought we would upgrade this trip. We paid for nothing but headaches! We arrived at 11:30 pm to find they had overbooked & didn't have a room for us. They upgraded us to the Royal Club for the night, but made us be out of the room by 10:30 the next morning.(Even though check-out time is noon for everyone else.) No one showed us to our room that night they just told us to head down this path & follow the signs. This is a very big resort & after a full day of traveling it would have been nice to at least had a bellboy show us how to get to our room. Once we finally found our way we had to call the front desk because our luggage hadn't arrived 30 minutes later.
The next day we didn't get our actual room till 3:00. So our first day was shot waiting for a room.
We found the front desk staff very rude & unhelpful. If you had a problem they didn't want to hear it.
The food & intertainment were quite good. The beach club was very nice.
We & several people we talked to, developed rashes on our bodies while stayed at the resort & have no idea what that was from?
I know many people have had nothing but good things to say about this resort, but we were very disappointed & we really are not that hard to please.

  • Stayed: March 2005
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2  Thank Iowan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2005

I loved this hotel. I don't understand the bad reviews that were posted at all. I was a little worried, but if you're thinking of this hotel, just go. The ambiance is wonderful. We arrived late Saturday night and were placed in the main building, 10. Our balcony overlooked the river running through the hotel. There was a slight smell that could be construed as sewer, but to me it was more of a wet earth smell. The door opened for 5 minutes fixed that fine. The bathroom had a huge walk-in marble shower with a bench. Room was large enough for three grown women with plenty of closet and drawer space. I thought I would miss the beach, I love to walk along a long stretch of sand, but the hotel is so large and picturesque that walking was a pleasure anyway. There are genuine ruins right on the hotel grounds, as well as howler monkeys, flamingoes and peacocks. I have never in my life been to such a beautiful hotel.
We brought some bread from the buffet, got some free snorkels at the beach and literally had a hundred fish all around us within seconds. The food was average buffet style, but there was lots to choose from. Breakfast was the best, especially the sausages. If you're like me and you think buffet scrambled eggs are wet and gross, they will make you some fresh (non-wet) at the omelet bar. Didn't care for the Sonora (steakhouse) grill. Loud and smoky and well...average. Liked D'Oriental best, the Teppan Yaki with the beef was the best I've had. La Hacienda (Mexican) just had great ambiance. Stay away from the Jell-O.
Clean...we could learn a thing or two from this hotel. There is literally always someone sweeping or cleaning. They actually clean the bottoms of the couches and chairs every day. I'd like to take some of these people home to help me with my house.
I did get heatstroke and had to spend a day in bed, but it was okay, with the door open and the breeze blowing through the trees and the birds singing...best sick day I've ever had. I wonder how many people mistake Montezuma's Revenge for heatstroke. It was my own fault it happened, take care of yourself, it's REALLY hot there.
A couple people who came at the same time as us did get bumped, but this happens at any hotel in Mexico, standard practice. I don't know how rude you have to be to get put in a really substandard hotel, the people I saw got put in an equivalent hotel just down the road, and did get a transfer there, as well as a free stay later in the year. I did meet people that just don't know how to behave. I actually saw one woman berate a waiter because the butter was cold. I can't even make that up. The staff are wonderful, just treat them that way.
The night shows were great, especially the pre-hispanic show with the same performers from the X-caret night show. Really top quality. And you could meet them afterwards.
Things we did:
Xcaret next door, went twice and still didn't see it all. Saw the night show there and it was absolutely fabulous. Also did the dolphin swim, if you book after you've used your free pass you get another free pass to the park. Dolphins were amazing and well worth the money.
Playa Del Carmen: Went to shop, but the stores in the hotel were just as cheap (but I'm no good at bartering). We did go to the beach there and it was beautiful and fun with lots of people to watch.
Tulum: We went on our own, $35 cab ride (one way) $3 to get in. Glad we didn't go with a tour because the most amazing beach in Mexico is there. If we were with a tour we wouldn't have been able to spend so long there. The ruins weren't as big as Chichen Itza but far less crowded and much more pleasant. If you do go to Mexico the hotel advised us that this is probably the last year you'll be able to climb to the top of Chichen Itza, you might want to keep that in mind.

TIP: The gift shop in the XCaret park is loads cheaper than the gift shop in the hotel, my sister got a nice shirt almost $20 cheaper there. Also, if you're nice to the people in the tour office and you tell them you want to run next door to go to the gift shop, they'll give you a pass.
TIP: If you eat off the resort (and we did, and it was fine) in Mexico it's considered rude to bring the bill without you asking for it. This might be construed as bad service. It's not. The pace is also slower here, these are happy and relaxed people. Relax.
TIP: Cab fares are preset in Mexico, tell them where you're going and they'll tell you the price. Tipping is not expected. Also, they drive like maniacs, very fun. I'm sure there is a speed limit in Mexico, but I didn't witness it.
TIP: You can smoke everywhere in Mexico. Including this hotel, stores and parks there are ashtrays everywhere, kept extremely clean. Very rarely did I see more than one butt in the sand. If this bothers you, best that you don't go to another country.
In sum: I would go to this hotel again. I can't imagine going to another hotel. I wish I could go back, right now. Vacation is what you make it and I'm just sorry I didn't have 2 weeks there.

If you have any questions, email me. I'd love to talk about this hotel to anyone who will listen!

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
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211  Thank KikiTee
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
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:
#38 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
#50 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#77 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $159 - $632 (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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