This is written for guests of the above but I think it contains some good info for all tourists to Cartagena.
In no particular order:
1. In Colombia the hotel is know as the Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels and Resorts. In North America it's called the Occidental Grand Cartagena. I'm not sure why the two names but make sure your cab driver (if you use one) knows it's the Estelar that you want to go to.
2. There are a lot of Spanish speaking guests. There are a few staff that speak/understand French and English. But only a few. Having said that, would it kill you to buy a 6 dollar Spanish phrase book? The staff (and people in Cartagena) love it when you make an effort to communicate in Spanish. I have only a few phrases/words in my Spanish repertoire. Combined with my phrase book and some funny hand motions, my wife and I manage to get by just fine. The reason I mention this is I have seen elsewhere, complaints about lack of English/French speaking staff. Consider this.... In the summer, Price Edward Island (Anne of Green Gables specifically) receives planeloads of Japanese tourists. Do you imagine that hotel and restaurant staff on the island speak Japanese? They don't. The tours have their own translators. Something to keep in mind when you visit a foreign country.
3. There is a money exchange in the Arrivals hall at the airport. Unlike Canada though, you cannot buy pesos with your debit card or Visa. You must have dollars (Canadian are fine) in hand to exchange. However, if you mosey up to the Departure side (1 Minute walk) and enter the first door you will see 4 bank machines across the hall. They give you the option to use English. When you leave of course, after checking your bags, mosey down to the Arrivals Hall and change your pesos back to US/Canadian dollars. We were going to spend our pesos on duty free in the departure lounge but it was closed and there are no stores in there after security. Good thing I decided to change back to Dollars before going in.
4. If you smoke, bear this in mind, a couple checking out ahead of me charged two packs to their room and it cost 25 US dollars LOL.
5. After spending a week in a beautiful city with hot weather, don't end it by complaining about the check in process at the airport! You aren't in Toronto or Montreal. They have printed out the boarding passes ahead of time and have to look through the basket to find yours. Then all luggage is recorded with the owners name. Not that big of a deal. Why ruin a great week? Enjoy the tiny time you have left.
6. When you are in the departure lounge, after security, there may well be another flight there waiting to board as well. If the flight is to a US destination (not sure about Central/South America) and they are called before you, you will see full body pat downs of all passengers as well as a physical search of the carry on luggage. Don't get all upset at the perceived delay to you. There is none. You are not subject to that process (on CanJet flights). We were called shortly after and walked right out to the plane.
7. The departure tax is covered by your Package.
Hopefully there is some useful info in here. I will post a review of the hotel in the next day or two.