Just returned from 7 night stay in Royal Club section of Grand Occidental Cozumel in April '12. We took our two kids, 6 & 8 and I have some pros and cons. Let me preface by saying we are a very well travelled family (kids included) and have stayed at all inclusives all over the place, so our expectations were realistic and our observations based on pretty extensive comparative experiences!
1. Abbi from kids' club was AWESOME with the kids. She is the #1 PRO from our trip. Our girls absolutely adored her. We aren't ones to leave our kids in a resort's babysitting area and loved that she did daily activities with the kids poolside at the main pool so that we were still together as a family. Bracelet making, t-shirt painting, beach and pool polo and soccer. She seemed so genuinely happy to be there and the girls looked for her daily. Was perfect for our family!
2. Activities crew tried hard to provide lots of things for people to participate in, from water sports and aerobics to the typical nighttime shows.
3. Snorkeling right on the resort's beach was great! A resident barracuda provided daily excitement!
4. "Reservations only" restaurants were nice and the service in these was overall great. Mediterranean one has a very "Vegas" feel. Royal Club restaurant served my husband the best filet he says he has ever had! We are pretty consistent tippers all-around and this seemed to help our overall service as the week went on.
5. The town of Cozumel was lots of fun. We felt safe everywhere we went and loved getting out and seeing some of the island.
6. The humongous iguanas all over the resort were great. Sneak a banana out of the restaurant and some of them will eat from your hand (not for the faint of heart!! Ha!!)
7. Mini fridge in room is basic and is restocked daily. A couple cans of beer, a few soft drinks, some bottled water. They left us extra bottles of water once it became clear that was what we were mostly using, which was nice.
8. The small little RC section pool looked okay, but we never used it since our kids (and the adults!) preferred the louder, more fun pace at the main pool. The design of the main pool is really unique has LOTS of really shallow area for little kids. The entire "deep" part of the pool is only 4', which was great for us.
9. It's a bit of a hike to the beach through a nature/jungly area, which we liked, but I could see how some people wouldn't be crazy about it. Because of this, there are no rooms on the beach and I can't imagine that many even have much of a beach/water view. We were on 2nd floor in RC and could only see green (trees, etc)
10. There are lots of bats that come out at twilight all around the pool, which were neat to watch!
11. We went as a family on a 3 hour snorkeling tour booked through the resort activity desk and saw sea turtles, a big shark, stingrays and more! Gorgeous!
1. Seriously the hardest and most uncomfortable beds we have ever, ever slept on. Honestly like a board with scratchy sheets on it.
2. Room was definitely just average. Screen door onto small balcony wouldn't consistently slide. Air conditioner VERY loud. Housekeeping varied GREATLY depending on which person serviced room - from elaborate towel art on the bed and immaculate cleaning one day to no towels and trash not taken out the next. Had to call for towels three different days because we literally had no washcloths or hand towels or whatever. Pretty stingy with the toiletries. I think we had 2 little bottles of shampoo for our family of 4 over our 7 night stay. I had some from home so we just used that instead of continuing to call over and over again to ask for little things.
3. The buffet food at the only restaurant available for breakfast and the only restaurant available for lunch was definitely just average/repetetive and sometimes even pretty generic and gross. More than once we were given napkins and dishes that were obviously dirty (lipstick on coffee cups, etc.). There were always people standing around waiting on essential things that had run out (plates, glasses, spoons, etc.) and you had to get to lunch early or things ran out and your options became limited. We didn't have a meal at one of these buffets that didn't involve getting up to take things from other tables that we needed and weren't offered.
4. The beach was VERY hard to walk on without sandals. It was absolutely covered in broken shell parts all but our last day there. My husband had to use his doctoring skills to extract a painful shell shard from our 6 years old's heel at one point!
5. One bar during the day to service the main pool and the beach (unless you wanted to go into the one restaurant that served lunch to get a drink). Lines always backed up. No bar on beach, had a guy offer us a drink on the beach only 2 of our 7 days.
6. Beach towels were another thing that were at a premium at times. Chairs by the pool and under shade on the beach get claimed early, chairs in the sun on the beach were always plentiful.
7. I'm sure security was good, but it was a little too discreet for my taste. Nobody ever asks for your room number at the main buffet restaurants. Nobody checked our keys to access the Royal Club section, so any person staying in any part of the resort could walk through there, which definitely took away from the "exclusive" feel I thought we had paid for to stay in that part.
Overall, it was really just average. A decent value for the money we paid. I'm not sure that the extra money to stay in the RC was worth it for us. We heard that the rooms were no different than the regular rooms. The only advantage we really saw was that it provided access to the Royal Club restaurant, which we chose to only use once. We would go back to Cozumel but would probably try somewhere new.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC