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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
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Reviews (14,263)
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9,267 - 9,272 of 14,263 reviews
Reviewed December 23, 2010

I was very apprehensive about staying at this hotel after reading some of the reviews thy were written about it. But I went into it with an open mind, and am very glad I did! I absolutely loved it.

Let me start by saying a few things. This was my first Mexico vacation, so for me there was no standard to compare it to. Meaning I will be telling it like it was, an I will try to
keep it objective. I will also
apologize in advance for an spelling or grammatical errors. I am doing this on my phone, on a bus, and
just had eye survey yesterday. Yay
for Christmas!

Let's also get the bad stuff out of
the way first, so that while reading this you find a deal breaker right away, you haven't wasted too much time. First thing: bein located in Playa del Carmen puts this resort about 50 minutes from the hotel. I didn't take a cab, so not sure on cab price, but it seems about 100 pesos for 10 minutes. So estimate at 500 pesos, or about 50 Canadian. I went down on sunquest and thus got a free ride on their shuttle. That took about 3 hours because we had to stop at other resorts to let people off. Would definately be worth the cab ride. Second: the beds are ridiculously hard. There a few different room designations based on money spent, I was in the elite supersaver room, which I think was in the middle. I'm sure you be able to change rooms if you wanted a softer
bed. Third: most, not all, of the all-inclusive resturaunts are buffet-style, and thus has buffet quality food. If you can, get into some of the al-a-carte resturaunts for dinner. There 5 to choose from. On the topic of food BEWARE FISH THAT IS NOT DEEP FRIED. They have a tendency to not cook the fish all the way through. And fourth: the beach is small. And I don't mean intimately small, but overly small. The hotel has room for maybe 1500 people and the beach maybe 100, if that. I found that to get a chair at the beach I had to put my stuff on it at 7 am when I went to eat my breakfast. If you wait longer you won't get a chair.

That's it for the bad. Pretty short list if ya ask me. So now to the good, or unobjectively, the truth. This is a family resort. Unless you are in the sports bar from 10pm-2 am, there will be kids running, playing, yelling, and jumping in pools. However, there are 3 very large, separate pools, one of which is a "quiet pool"(there were still kids but it was pretty quiet) and a lot of grounds to
walk if you need to escape. Don't like kids? Bad resort for you. Keeping on with the pools theme, as I said there are 3. All have an accompanied bar, and the "party pool" even has an awesome swim up bar that seats (I think) ten people, with a waterfall you have to swim though to get in and out. Because of the family aspect of the resort, and the drink everywhere idea, the pools are Only about 4 feet deep. Safety first people. And trust me, after partying with some Americans at the swim up bar I agree...20 ounces of liqour in about 1 hour, while sitting. Not a safe swim back haha.
Let's move on to the drinks. I'm not sure what others mean by saying the drinks are weak (I assume you are/have read other reviews here). Perhaps it makes a difference between peak and off-peak travel seasons, but it didn't matter what bar I went to, they never measured the drinks (not even straight shots, and they had very few real shot glasses). I don't think I ever had a drink with less than 2 ounces of alcohol in it. Maybe just because I was all inclusive? All I know is they were definately strong enough. And the beer was always cold, and EVERY bar had a corona tap, and it flowed more freely than water. Excellent. And most of the bar tenders made awesome drinks I had never heard of, especially serge at the swim up bar. He was excellent. Oh, if you like mojitos, I would recommend against them here. They are All very sugary and not very strong alcohol wise.
Let's do food next. As I said before, most of the normal resturaunts are buffet-style, unless you have al-a-carte reservations, or are willing to pay. My vacation came with 5 evening of al-a-carte dining included so I don't know the cost, but they were pretty fancy, so I would guess pricey enough. My favorite was the Oriental, which offered us complimentary sake & orange juice on walking through the door. Very tasty. And kids ARE allowed in the al-a-carte resteraunts, however a semi-formal dress code is in effect for all diners, even kids. But they are pretty lax on it, as long as you don't show up in sopping wet clothes or your bathing suit.
For clarification, for those who don't understand the term al-a-carte, it refers to the fine dining resteraunts where you sit down, are served by a waiter/waitress, and actually get to order off a menu and have your food cooked just for you. A note about these al-a-carte resturaunts, you MUST make your reservations on your first, at latest, second day!! This is imperative. They are fairly small and the tables do not move very fast (expect dinner to take about 1.5 hours). This is even more importan during peak travel season. Don't risk disappointment by not booking in advance.
As for the buffets, there are two, And there is good and bad for both. The main one is in the hotel proper, and opens around 7. I say around because that's what the posted hours say, but some times it's a little late. You can wait, don't worry. Bfast is pretty decent really. They have all the norms: bacon, scrambled eggs, sausages, list of fruits and veggies, sometimes even fried ham. Toast, buns, and muffins a plenty with REAL butter and cream cheese available. Some stranger things, such as salad and steamed veggies, if you want them. Also some very tasty, but not breakfasty, nachos!! Of course. They even have someone making fresh sunny-side-up eggs for oh eggs Benedict, if you want. Juice and milk are self serve, and be warned that milk in Mexico is actually rice milk not cows milk. Tastes fine, but not what you expect. They even have waiters to seat you, clean up your plates, and get you drinks (if you dot want juice or milk). The menu doesn't change much, but very good regardless. The buffet the closes from 10-11:30ish to clean and prepare for lunch. Lunch runs much the same way, only now you can have alcohol (full bar of all mixed drinks and corona tap available) however ALL drinks are served to you by a waiter/waitress. Side note, at risk or not being politically correct, I'm gonna stop all this gender thing.. It's hard enough to type on my phone, I don't need to type more. Ok so back to food. The lunch menu brings the same standards every day, including salads, fresh veggies and fruits, soups, hamburgers and hot dogs, nachos, and a selections of breads, rolls, an buns. But every day they feature a new 'culture' of food for their special creations. This affects things like the soup offered, the cooked vegetables, rice combinations, and also the way and types on fresh meat cooked. One day the even had a whole cooked pig on a platter that someone cut a piece off for you!! But be fast because they don't make many of these, and when yet are out they are out. Dinner runs along the same line, only with more meats, a few different 'heavier' options, as well as more potatoe options. There was definately enough different options that you could go back for 3 or more plates before you got everything...but please don't do that. Yuck. Oh and AWESOME dessert bad with different deserts every day, including a small ice cream bar with differen flavors and toppins depending on the day.
The other buffet is the Beach Club, also open at 7ish, but way better, for a number of reasons. This one is right u the beach so you can reserve a seat on the beach on you way to eat (which I said before, and did most days myself). This resturaunt is totally open-air weather you eat in the building or on the deck. It also over looks the ocean and distanty the island of Cozumel. And at 7am, the ocean is pretty nice. Food options at this buffet are all te same as at the main buffet, but the difference lies in the person there to cook you fresh eggs of any style, or a personal omlette with a variety of students, including veggies, meats, and cheeses. They were amazing and had them often. Also, some of the fruit (papayas and coconuts) are farmed right on the resort and served for bfast. Some times you even see them picking them. Cool eh? The Beach Club doesn't actually had a supper buffet. At night it become one of the al-a-carte resturaunts, the seafood one (I hate seafood and didn't eat here, so I do t remember the name). I'm sure that is is awesome food, with fresh caught fish on the menu, as well as a sunset view of the ocean while eating. Or sea rather. That area of water is actually the Caribbean sea.
I'm not going to go into huge detail about the sit down resturaunt as I didn't go to all and you actually need a reservation to get in. I also don't know if you can get in without being all-inclusive. I'm sure they can charge your room, but who knows. Besides why aren't you all-inclusive? Makes little sense. But an overview I will give. There is the Mexican resturaunt, La Hacienda, which of course is authentically Mexican themed and as authentic Mexican food options. But this is a fine dining resuraunt, so don't expect tacos or the nachos you get at a bar. Next is the Oriental, and it's obvious what they serve. Like I stated before, they had some sake and oj ready as we walked in. It was tasty and also very thoughtful. This resturaunt on has about room for 50 so it is very intimate. Very excellent oriental food, and still a full service bar. Ther are only 2 waiters here, so be prepared for a little longer wait. Up next is Sonara, the steakhouse. Only one chicken option (no vegetarian) so be cautious on coming here. Tge menu here is visual, so they start by bringing you a tray with 5 different cuts of meat to choose from, including your chicken and fish option. Don't fret germaphobes, they are all Saran-wrapped and are not served to you. The are just for show. Fourth is Los Olivos, the mediteranian resturaunt. I'm not sure what to make of this one; it's not really Greek, or mediteranian, or anything really. More Italian than anything I guess. But still very good. This resturaunt features a full and extensive wine menu, as you would expect from a mediteranian/Italian place. Food was good, but this is where we got the not-so-cooked fish. So watch for that one. I had chicken lasagna which was amazing and the portion was huge. I can't believe I ate it all..and an appetizer..and dessert. Lol. Last resturaunt is the seafood resturaunt by the beach: El Pescador. I remembered the name!! Makes sense if you understand Spanish. Like I said before I didn't eat there, but expect the standards of a seafood exclusive resturaunt. Fishes, lobster, crab, clams and mussels, probably some scallops. It's all about the view here anyways. There are a few other food options if don't have reservations and are sick of the buffet. The swim up bar has snacks in a returaunt, featuring things like nachos, hot dogs, fries, chicken nuggets, fresh sandwiches, and desserts. Great kids place and no waiting as most of it is in individual carry out containers waiting. And you can go in there wet, but not to wet that someone falls in hit drippings. There is also a small pizzeria that serves you individual sized pizzas in verging styles, as well as some other items. Both places have a full bar for the adults too, haha.
That's it for food. Some side notes here. All menus can be viewed at the reservations desk or in front of the resturaunt during supper times. But remember, they all require reservations, and all have a dress code. So don't think you can just show up straight from the beach and get in. Also, don't be too drunk. They may not let you in.

My phone won't let me look back at what I already wrote so I hope I don't miss anything. I covered food, bars, and pools..service next I guess. Staff is plentiful and very friendly. Always saying hello, asking if you need anything. Every bar has at least one waiter servicing their nearby area. Almost all of them speak english, and most speak it well. I do recommend learning some basic Spanish before you go. You will encounter a few people who don't speak English well or at all, but they still seem to understand it when you speak it. Don't worry, you don't need to master the language, just learn a bit. It's actually quite easy. There are consierge people everywhere whose job is just to show you around and answer questions. The cab driver (not hotel employee but whatever) loaded and unloaded our bags when we used a cab, the consierge guys took out bags from us and delivered them to our rooms, check was fast and try served us an alcoholic beverage while there. We then got a short tour of the resort and area, as well as a guide to the building we were staying in. The resort is big and can be cofusing. You might wanna wander with a map for an hour or so. It's good exercise that you will need with all the food and alcohol you'll be consuming. If you really don't want to, there is a cart that drive around the while resort every 10 minutes (so always because it takes that long to drive around it) that will ferry you where you wan to go.
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WARNING there is a time share at this resort. They will try to sell you one. They are very friendy and don't take up much time. You also get some sweet deals if you go through it with them. I did and got into the attached Eco park for 25 Canadian (2 tickets) where it was normally 50 a ticket. The lady was extremely nice and they were absolutely no pressure at all, no matter what time share people are normally like. And no we didn't buy in, so don't think this a plug. Just tellin it like it is.
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Upon leaving, you can request that consierge transport your bags from your room to the check out area, but this is not automatic; free, but you still have to ask. The trip back is still the same amount of time, so be prepared if you don't have a prebooked ride back. Cabs are not allowed in the resort area but are very near by (5 minutes) so don't worry. Again, it's about 100pesos for 10 minutes of driving. But make sure you agree on a price BEFORE getting into to the cab. Otherwise you might get over charged.

I'm not sure what else I can write, this is long enough anyways. I doubt many will even read the whole thing. So a summary then you skipped down to the end.
I was extremely impressed on every front. The food, while not a ton of variety, was always good and plentiful. There are bars everywhere and the hours are decent. (2am is the latest you can drink on resort, other than in your room.) They are pros at makin drinks and I never found a problem with drink quality or alcohol content. Maybe you will have an unblended ice cube in your piña colada sometimes, but that happens here too. There are lots of pools and pool space, so not bad for over crowding. The beach is small. Includng the swimming space there. Howerver the snorkeling is awesome with plenty of tropical fish that are not afraid of people. I even touched one that didn't move fast enough. And there are some spots as deep as 8 feet, so beware of being drunk in that water. There are animals everywhere on the resort, some wild and some domestic, all safe. Deer, iguanas, salamanders, flamingos, some weird ant-eater like things that will walk right up to you looking for food. Birds galore, including 12 or so mackaws from the park that are brought in every day. NO TOUCH. Tell the kids. And the attached Eco park makes for a great outing full of jungle and exotic animals. It is day on it's own and requires a lot of walking. Go prepared. And if you are inclusive, that means nothing there. No free food or drinks. Nice thy, though. But I loved this place and am glad it was my first resort. I want to go back with the whole family, nieces and nephews included. But I would probably not go back just me as it is very family oriented.
I hope this helped anyone reading it.

  • Stayed: December 2010
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10  Thank Buddha4Life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2010

It's hard to overstate the beauty of this resort. I am quite well travelled but this resort had every thing. Several pools to choose from, some for kids, some for adults only, some for a mix depending on your mood. A natural lagoon/beach, tons of walking areas, animals, paths, ruins to view, several restaurants, and every thing was well kept, clean and new appearing. The main building was fantastic, and they really did great things with the Mayan theme. The food was good, and the entertainment was fair. The location was IDEAL.

Were there any downsides? Yes.
1) Try to get a cup of coffee outside of the breakfast buffet and you can't, unless you want to pay for it (at an all inclusive resort!).

2) Our room's AC and fridge were broken, and we didn't get any water/drinks refilled for 4 days. Repeated requests to the front desk reaped promises, but never a solution. Fortunately I had some pocket tools and was handy enough to fix the AC myself or we would have melted.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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4  Thank JoeyJoeJoe10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2010

We just got back on the 18th. We have been to the Cancun area 10 times, always at the mid-range hotels, so we know what to expect. I really don't understand the scathing reviews given to this resort. The phrase "champagne taste on beer budget" comes to mind.
The rooms were nice. I enjoyed the nice, hot shower. We were on the third floor and had a wooden vaulted ceiling. The down side is the birds were VERY loud from about 5 AM to 6 AM. There was no way to sleep through it, at least for me. The pillows were rock hard, but it has been my experience, they always are in Mexico. You can always bring your own or go without like I did.
The grounds were simply gorgeous. All the buildings had easy access to the pool areas. The main pool was awesome; with islands, a swim-up bar, shallow areas to lounge in, all surrounded by beautiful vegetation. It also had shaded areas for when the sun gets to be too much. The inner tubes were a nice touch.
The beach/bay area was always crowded. Snorkeling there was not impressive, but it looked as if the kids were having a great time of it. This was the only place I saw lines at the bar. Besides feeding the fish, we didn't spend much time there. The saltwater pool area was interesting. It offers a close-up view of the fish.
The walk from the main lobby to the beach is about a half mile. No big deal.
The staff were perfectly nice and very hard working. We did not have any bad experiences like previous posters. I did get the feeling it was a bit understaffed though.
As for the time share people, I was very rude to them when we first arrived and they left us alone after that. Sorry, but I have found that down-right meanness is the only thing that gets them to back off.
The food was just not the best and repetitive. Guacamole was always empty. Oriental and Mexican restaurants were both good as were the Taco and Pizza places (up the stairs in front of the Mexican restaurant). If you like French fries and onion rings the snack bar above the swim-up bar is the place for you. The drinks were hit and miss. We watered the plants with a few and then tried a different bar and got a better drink. Again, all typical of a mid-range Mexican resort.
My husband's main complaint was the lack of organized activities. There was an activity board with different activities listed throughout the day. Most of these activities never materialized. The activities crew didn't work very hard to get people involved.
The highlight was definately the beautiful grounds and pool areas. Would recommend this resort to families (even with small children). Would also be great for people who just want a nice, relaxing time. Oh, and Xcaret Park is worth every bit of $50 and I'm pretty cheap.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank nolaneroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2010

We just returned from 2 weeks at Occidental Grand Xcaret. I've travelled to Mexico on and off for 20 years now and I really enjoyed the resort. There were 4 of us with 2 kids 10 yrs and 7 yrs. Very friendly staff, service was beyond great. Our toilet plugged at 9pm on a Saturday night and someone was there to fix it in 10 minutes. Try getting that done at home! The food was good but when you are feeding the masses it is hard to keep the food hot and fresh. The choices were great. My only negetive experiences were the many smokers on the beach with plenty of children around. I would prefer to have a designated smoking area. Rosario at the Naturama booked us for activities and nailed our requests. She was great. For the overall cost this resort is an "A" plus.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank VanIsle50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2010

My husband and I stayed here in 2006 and returned this year with my brother and his girlfriend.

They have made improvements since our last stay (finished the lobby, new entertainment area, more landscaping, more chairs) and they have also maintained the resort nicely (I was worried that maybe the bathrooms would be showing their age but they were gleaming).

This is a nice resort for a laid back vacation. Lots of families and couples. A $10 cab ride to Playa del Carmen makes for a cheap day trip and a great place to buy souvenirs and internationally known brands with no sales tax. The Xcaret park is next door to the hotel and offers in-out privilleges and another reasonably priced day trip ($49 for adults).

We had no problems getting reservations at the a la carte restaurants. In fact, the concierge at our building approached us to see if we had made reservations yet, and when we hadn't, he set us up with 4 reservations for 4 people.

They do offer a timeshare option but unlike what others have suggested, they don't harass you about it. A simple "no thank-you" does the trick nicely.

The staff are very friendly and accommodating. Lots of smiles and greetings wherever you go.

My only complaint is that we had to change rooms twice due to noisy neighbours - but that is not the fault of the resort and the front desk staff were totally friendly and nice about it.

The food is decent - I'm vegetarian and I found there was lots of choice between the buffets, the a la carte restaurants, the pool snack bar, Pacos Tacos, and the Pizza restaurant. The drinks are fine - the red wine is table wine so its not so great but everything else is average.

Don't believe the naysayers! This is a nice resort with lots of area to walk off all those all inclusive calories, nice pools, good location, friendly staff, and good value.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank brinley82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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