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“First Time - Wonderful!”
Review of Occidental Cozumel

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Occidental Cozumel
Ranked #19 of 53 Hotels in Cozumel
Reviewed 23 June 2013

My husband and I have always stayed on the north end of the island but we decided to try somewhere new this time. We stayed for 10 days - June 13 - 22. The grounds were beautiful - very much like being in the jungle. Be prepared to do a lot of walking, which we enjoyed. The rooms are not on the beach but we knew that before going. They were well kept and spacious. We were surprised that there was a bathtub in addition to the shower. The staff was wonderful, accommodating and hard workers. We only did the al la cart dining. The wide selection of food was good. The main buffet restaurant is La Posada. Although there is AC, it was always very warm. Ceiling fans would be great.

The biggest complaint we had was the wait at the bar. Although there were three bars, the beach bar always had long lines (sometimes 10 minutes) to get a drink. The bar in the beachside restaurant was only open during lunch hours which helped a little. The other bar was at the front of the resort and was too far away during the day get drinks from. The beach however was fantastic. Very clean and no rocks to go over to get into the water. They also have a life guard which was nice.

We are divers and absolutely LOVED Dive Palancar!!!! They have boats going out all day. They are just minutes from most dive sites. The dive masters are fantastic and the staff was just as great! We tried the valet service with our dive gear and was not disappointed. They took it to and from the boat each day, cleaned and dried it, and stored it for us. I bought a video of a wreck dive we did and the photographer and the video were excellent! This is a top notch operation! We will be using them again when we go back.

TIP - The hotel is on the very southern end of the island. If you don't rent a car, it is pretty expensive to take a taxi to town.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Love2Dive2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 June 2013

We stayed at this all-inclusive for 2 weeks, so I will try to hit all the high and low points of our stay.

Check-in: was easy but our room wasn't ready until later in the day so we parked the bags and headed to lunch/beach for a few hours.

Room: we had requested a top floor with king bed but only got the top floor part. Talked to the lovely Margarita at the front desk who was very accommodating and offered to move us 3 days later when a king room opened up. We declined since once I unpack, I want to stay that way! No big deal, just meant hubby and I had to snuggle a bit more. The room itself (1737) was clean and tidy, with decent space, storage and lighting. Beds were firm. The balcony looked across to another building and over the jungle. AC was great, easy to adjust. Washroom was spacious with no problems except the one time I tried the tub only brown water came out so I guess nobody uses it. The safe worked but had to be careful as some numbers didn't work as easily as others. Housekeeping did a great job although some days it was well after 3 PM before the room was done.

Food: there was always something good to eat and decent choices for all meals. I would call the food average - not fantastic but not bad either. Posada at the main building for breakfast every day had made to order omelettes or fried eggs along with fruit, breads, cereals, salad bar and a few hot options. I especially liked the chicken tamales when available. Lunch at the beach restaurant was always nice. Hamburgers were great, nachos and salad bar ok but our favorite was the ice cream! Awesome! For dinner we were able to make 3 reservations for each week for the specialty restaurants. We definitely liked Los Olivos over Sonora, which is weird since Sonora is Mexican food and you'd think they would be able to do good Mexican!

Grounds: the place is nicely laid out long, narrow strip with the main building at one end and the beach at the other end. Very lush and well maintained. We saw lots of critters in the resort like iguanas, pigs, scorpions, tarantulas (ick), frogs, turtles and even a Jesus lizard. There is a mangrove swamp you have to cross in order to get to the beach so that explains the animals. It did rain for the first few days we were there, so the mosquitos that hatched were awful. Even though they fog the grounds, be sure to bring plenty of high-strength bug spray!

Service: I have to say the staff at this resort were the most friendly of any place I have been to. Crystal at breakfast and lunch was wonderful, she even found my husband's cellphone and made sure it got back to him. Freddy at the pool bar was fantastic, always saying hello by name and eager to chat or give me a new Spanish word to practice. Same with Victor at the lobby bar in the evenings, warm and friendly, knew exactly what we wanted. The staff is over-worked though, often long lines at the pool bar and the relax bar was never opened (I think because the resort wasn't full). Sometimes hard to get server for re-fills on drinks during meals because they are sooo busy!

Diving: Ah the diving... We dove with the on-site dive op Dive Planacar and have no complaints. Can't comment on gear since we brought our own, but there are lockers available (bring your own lock) for storage or you can use their porter service to keep all your gear/transport to boats. The three boats we dove from were all good, easy to get on/off and decent amount of space for everyone. The op divides groups up by experience, with only 8 divers per DM max. making for easily managed dives and max 16 people per boat. The op offers 1 deep and 1 shallow in the morning, same in the afternoon, and a night dive 3 times a week with min 5 divers. The DMs were all very friendly and eager to show everyone all the critter's hiding places. Lobo was our favorite, but the others were all great too. We have no problem recommending these guys and will dive with them again in a heartbeat.

Other: we rented a car from the on-site provider Fiesta. It was a crappy car and it was infested with ants, but we made due and did our island touring all in one day for $50. Other reviewers complain about the time-share guys, so we were for-warned. Said a nice hello and then declined everything! No real hassle if you stay away from them, don't accept their offers of coupons or tours. We didn't go to the disco (early dive mornings) but the evening shows were ok.

Overall we had a wonderful time and will definitely be back!

Room Tip: Third floor if you don't want iguanas or tarantulas possibly wandering into your room. Building...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank dawnvip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2013

We had a great time at the hotel! The staff went out of their way to celebrate my birthday with special dinners, champagne, and cakes. Our room was also by the beach and pools so walking back and forth was enjoyable. It did rain while we were there but the hotel had umbrellas for all the guests. The dive shop is right on property and dive boats pick up twice a day.

Room Tip: I liked the rooms closer to the beach especially if you dive early.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Summit1153
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2013

This hotel has some great features, the beach is wonderful with a dock and many activities close by. The pools are very nice and there is a great atmosphere. There are a few things that the can do to make it a great trip however instead of just ok.

The biggest problem was the lack of A/C in the rooms and in the restaurants. A lot of people were complaining. The food is less than average and the staff is not very friendly.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Tamiflock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabriela S, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 June 2013

Dear Tamiflock
Thank you very much for your time to write your review in trip advisor.
We offer our sincere apologies for any inconvenience you may had during your stay with us. Our management and maintenance manager are working to improve the air conditioner in the property. Your comment is very important to us as it helps us to improve the service.
Hopefully give us the opportunity to serve you again in the near future.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2013

This was our second visit to this resort, and. once again, the Royal Club is definitely worth the extra cost.

We were on the ground floor in Building 21 and, although the room and bathroom are large and clean, it is kind of dark due to the trees and vegetation close by.
Our king size bed was very comfortable but the pillows however were quite hard.
The separate shower always had great pressure and there was no shortage of hot water nor clean and fresh towels.

Being the end of May, the resort was not too busy so there was no problem to secure beach chairs and palapas for shade.

With seemingly less guests, the food at the main buffet restaurant (La Posada) was not as good as the last time we were there and seemed to be much the same for dinner with limited choice.
Lunch at the Beach Club was slightly better but much the same kind of food every day.

Fortunately, we ate dinner most nights at the Royal Club private dining room and avoided the La Posada. The menu changes every few days and offers a good variety so you are not eating the same thing every time you go there. Appetisers are good and varied and the entrees such as the beef filet (cooked to order and quite a hefty serving), the salmon, pork and chicken are good. Vegetables are hit and miss and much the same with every entrée.
The wines are a much better quality in the Club and there is wide and excellent range of premium spirits and liqueurs.
Service throughout is attentive and not overbearing so one can enjoy a leisurely dinner.

We ventured into the two a la cartes and were very disappointed with the quality and taste of food at both.
Our previous visits to Sonora Grill in 2012 were rated highly but this time the food lacked in both taste and spicing. The main course of chicken fajitas was almost inedible and appeared to come from hot plate at La Posada next door. The coconut shrimp were regular deep-fried shrimp and were equally as bland and tasteless.
The highlight of the meal, however, was the pepper soup.

Los Olivos (Mediterranean) was equally as poor and the main dish of chicken stuffed with spinach and goat cheese lacked both spinach and goat cheese, and was cold and tasteless.

While the staff at the Sonora and Los Olivos are friendly, they lack a sense of purpose and direction with servers rushing around all over the place with no-one particularly assigned to serve you.
The can be somewhat frustrating and spoils what should be a pleasant dining experience.

All the bar tenders are kept busy throughout the day and night but keep their friendliness and willingness to serve you with a smile.

In fact, the best experiences with this resort are the friendliness and helpfulness of all the resort staff.
There is always an infectious and welcoming smile from them and they really seem to enjoy looking after their guests. That makes ones vacation even more enjoyable and relaxing.

Overall, we enjoy staying at this resort and will certainly go again but only if we can stay in the Royal Club.

Room Tip: Avoid the ground floors in the Royal Club but you may have to be there as that is where most of the...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank nolikewinter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2013

I have been to the Grand Cozumel five times in the last eight years. I look forward to every visit and will continue going. However, this time around, the hotel has begun to look a little tired. Small things don't appear to be taken care of as they once were. For example, a globe was missing over a light in the common area of my building. It was never replaced. The floor mats on either side of the bed were worn and dirty. The air conditioning vent in the main dining room - La Posada - spews droplets of water and has either dirt or mold on it. There are other examples, but these things were not apparent during past visits.

On the positive side, the food at breakfast and luch was excellant. Dinner varied from good to very good. The wait staff, entertainment, and customer service rep's were great. I cannot ever say enough about how nice they are. A plus this year is the return of sea life to the beach area. While snorkeling, I was able to see an abundance of fish, rays, and even a lobster. It is finally recovering from hurricane Wilma.

Dive Palancar is great as always. I would highly recommend them for any kind of diving or snorkeling trip. They are very competative and the guides are very good.

All in all, I would still recommend the Grand Cozumel very highly. I hope that my experience was an exception and may be in part because I was there during low season. All in all, I am very pleased with my experience and am planning on returning. As member of the Occidental vacation club, I have the option of visiting any of their properties. I have been to several others, but the Grand continues to be my favorite.

Room Tip: When booking, ask for building 14 or 15. They are right in the center between the beach and the main...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank nileviper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2013

As you drive to the entrance of this resort, you are immediately mesmerized by the beautiful greenery and the bright coloring of the decor. Though we paid for the 'concierge' package, we got "welcomed" by the time share people. Disappointing and pushy. All we wanted to do was get to our room and start exploring the resort. The gal caught up with us again to offer us a better incentive, we did not bite.

When you get to a resort under a tropical depression, you see flaws you probably wouldn't see or care about. Like musty smelling room, non working refrigerator, sinks that won't drain, DVD player that doesn't work. We were moved to a different room which cured all those ailments. We were put in building 18 (one of the only perks we saw to paying for 'concierge' level). With a nice short walk to the pool and beach, it was overall a fairly decent room. When the rain stopped though, and the sun got hotter, so did our room. We left on the day the massively huge mosquitos came out. Thankfully because wow those things are bad!

The food; overall it was mediocre buffet style food. It did have more flavor than your typical buffet, but PLEASE would you keep the food hot!!! Don't even waste your time eating any of the desserts, they were all awful. We got to enjoy the beach side buffet lunch only one day. When it rains, EVERYTHING shuts down. It was rather disappointing. And only one day was there more than one bar open. It is very disappointing to have a resort boast that they have 5 bars, but only one of them was ever open. And why only one lonely bartender to take care of an entire resort? The 'specialty' restaurants were very good and we enjoyed them, especially since they were air conditioned! Come on Occidental... why no a/c in the main buffet restaurant? We were sweating our @sses off every morning trying to enjoy breakfast! None the less; you don't have to go hungry here, and there is enough variety to change things up. The drinks were good and heavy on the alcohol if you wanted them to be.
The staff was great, very nice and helpful as they could be. The resort itself is beautiful, it was nice walking through all the greenery, seeing crabs, iguana's (posting a pic of the huge iguana that lived in our tree right outside our window, we named him Fred) and the local resort black and white cat. If we had to do it all over again, we would not pick this resort, but then again, maybe it was better than the rest???
We used the travel agent through 'bookit' to schedule our snorkeling and jeep adventures. Again because of the rain, and a windy day our snorkeling was not perfect, but they did take us to three different places, and we did get to see a variety of variety of things. Don't forget to bring crackers! Yes it may be a challenge to keep them dry, but put them in a zip loc bag. You won't be disappointed when you sprinkle the crushed crackers into the water and the fish graze by you as they scramble to eat the crackers, it is one of my most favorite things about snorkeling! The jeep excursion, took us to the lighthouse, mayan ruins, a tequila factory, and snorkeling. It was our most favorite thing to do. Our guide was great, and we really enjoyed this full day of seeing things outside the resort. Because of the wind and currents that day, we were taken to 'Monibar' to snorkel. Oh how I wish we could have stayed there longer, and the current was not so strong. The water was crystal clear, the fish were plenty, and again with crackers I got really close and personal with the fish! So if you ever go to Cozumel, make sure you take a day to go to Monibar... so worth it!
On a personal note, never forget to tip. These people work for hardly anything a day.
Next up to try... Cancun!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank MLMSC23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Occidental Cozumel

Address: Km 16.6 Zona Hotelera Sur | Colonia El Cedral San Francisco Palancar, Cozumel 77600, Mexico (Formerly Occidental Grand Cozumel)
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
#11 Spa Hotel in Cozumel
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Cozumel
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range: £122 - £227 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Cozumel 4*
Number of rooms: 247
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Only the Caribbean’s most famous reef system could match the beauty and splendor of the Occidental Grand Cozumel, which is exactly why the two exist side-by-side. Located on Cozumel’s gorgeous San Francisco beach, just above the bottomless blue paradise of the Palancar Reef system, you’ll find an authentic-style state that delivers all the luxuries of a private oceanside hacienda. Gourmet dining, bright and airy rooms, nightly music and entertainment, daily sports and beach activities and an on-site spa and salon make the Occidental grand Cozumel the jewel of any Caribbean experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Cozumel Hotel Cozumel
Occidental Grand Hotel Cozumel
Grand Cozumel
Grand Occidental Cozumel

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