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“Wedding group. Royal Club + Dive Shop = great! (Rest of the hotel = good.)”

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Royal Level at Occidental Cozumel
Ranked #30 of 52 Hotels in Cozumel
Houston, TX
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Wedding group. Royal Club + Dive Shop = great! (Rest of the hotel = good.)”
Reviewed 24 July 2010

All the nitty-gritty details...hope this helps...

Went down for my sister's wedding. Boyfriend and I upgraded to Royal Club, as did my sister and her fiance. The other 25 guests stayed in the regular part of the hotel. The four of us that stayed Royal Club were SO pleased. The rest of the group were for the most part "satisfied." Bottom line is the upcharge for the Royal Club is necessary and worth it.

We arrived two hours before check-in on Saturday. Other RC couple, same thing two days later. Both of us were allowed to immediately check-in and went to our rooms which were ready for us. No one else in our group (and they all came in over three different days) were allowed to check-in early. I imagine it's the Royal Club v. Regular that is the reason we could check-in early.

Food = Royal Club restaurant is awesome. Tomas waited on us almost every meal and he's awesome. Even when we were initially told reservations weren't possible for certain days, we checked in later that day with Tomas and between he and Landy (the Royal Club concierge) they made it happen for us. We did visit the buffet to visit with family and nibbled and looked and everything was great. Of course the plate service at the RC was superior, but no one in our party was dissatisfied with the buffet. We ate buffet for lunch in the beach club on our last two days to save time and it was great. All the people that post about bugs and birds are exaggerating. Yes, there are bugs and birds that fly into the beach club...you are outside. The staff does their best to keep the birds out and change the food over pretty often. We often saw them using food themometers checking the food temp, ice temp, etc. The food is always beautiful, at the right temperature and good. That said, the beach club opens at noon and stays open until 4:30 - of course the later in the day it gets, the more "tired" some of the food begins to look. However, it was always edible. Even when we got off the dive boat at 3:30, we found something. Royal Club or not, not one person in our group of thirty ever got sick from food. Not one. Eat the fruit, veggies, meat, anything...you should be fine as long as your an average healthy adult.

General/Environment = Yes, the room is damp. It's the tropics. But, the AC blows hard and keeps the room cool. Yes, there are mosquitos. (I'm from Texas where mosquitos are a way of life.) You get your first bite at the hotel and it gets worse. The hotel is nesteld in the jungle. Bring some OFF and you'll be fine. I suggest packing a travel bottle in your carry-on and applying before you step outside at the airport. The hotel does spray everynight to keep them down and it works a little. They're not bad on the beach or pool. They're worse walking through the grounds/jungle and especially bad after it rains. Yes, there are fleas or chiggers or something on the beach. It's sand - that's life. Bring some cortisone cream or some Benadryl, if you're especially sensitive to insect bites. Mosquitos, heat, humidity, dampness and sand fleas aren't anything the hotel has control over. If you don't want to deal with those things, don't go to Cozumel.

Royal Club concierge will do ANYTHING for you. Bring you drinks, make reservations, order dry towels...literally your wish is their command. Again, the rest of our friends and family in the main area of the hotel did not experience the personal service that those of us in Royal Club did. Landy and Nelly learned our names at check-in and greeted us by name for the next six days. The room service waiter and Tomas in the RC restaurant immediately learned our likes and dislikes and started ammending the standard "continental breakfast" they delievered each morning, to meet our preferences.

Rooms have thick walls, and the AC is loud, so you NEVER hear your neighbors; this is for ALL rooms, not just RC. In Royal Club there is a computer desk and computer with internet at the bottom of each building. It's included for Royal Club guests. There is no free internet option for "regular guests." They had to buy internet cards and wait in line in the main lobby bar for internet. Wi-Fi is available in your room (at least in Royal Club) for $26/day or $81/week. We were going to buy it, but never had a problem using the computer below our room, so found it wasn't necessary.

Royal Club rooms/amenties v. Regular = Royal Club has beach towels in your room and at the Royal Club pool. Everyone else has to carry a towel card to the beach and exchange the card for the towel and then keep track. Shower is huge, bathtub is regular size. Tubs in RC have jets, tubs in regular do not. Bathroom size amenities between RC and regular do not differ, except for jets in tub. Showers are beautiful, huge and have great water pressure and temp in every room. Rooms are decorated well and large. Differences between RC room and regular room include: RC has a slightly larger TV (only two channels in English), RC has a large armoir providing more space to store your clothes, RC has bath robes, RC has "elegant" decor, while regular has "mexican" decor - both are beautiful. All beds in all rooms are hard. All beds in all of MEXICO are hard. If you've never been to Mexico, begin to prepare yourself now for a hard mattress. That said, I slept better there than I do at home. RC includes room-service all day, everyday if you want. Room service in regular is for an additional charge.

Beach and Booze = Beach chairs were always available. Beach bartenders Carlos and Santos were awesome. Santiago (the manager) was also often on the beach to help reduce the line, pick up dirty glasses and bring drinks to guests, if time allowed. Yes, a line forms and yes, you will likely have to get up and go get your own drink. No, it's not a long line or a big deal. The longest I ever waited for a drink was maybe four minutes. Name brands include Smirnoff, Stoli, Canadian Mist, Cuervo Gold, Bacardi and Bacardi Anejo. They typically pour house liquor but will pour whatever you like, just ask. Beer on the beach was Pacifio. Beer in the lobby bar was Corona, Pacifico in cans. Beer in the restaurant was Modelo. Pacifico cans in your room. Pepsi products only. RC restaurant had a couple better liquors than regular bars including Don Julio, Red and Black Walker and Jack. The red and the white in RC was good. Not great, but good enough that I drank too much wine. :) The red in the regular restaurants is very very bad, the white is drinkable. If you are a wine snob, you'll need to pony up the cash to buy a bottle from the extensive wine list. A guy walks by about five times a day selling silver and cubans. Offer half of whatever he initially asks, you'll get it. Snorkel ALL the way out to the ropes, there is a resident barracuda and some huge schools of fish out there. DO bring your own glass (or thermal cup) from home. I read this in other reviews and thought, really? But do it!!! Not only is it bigger, your drink will stay colder. The cups at the beach bar are 12 oz. hard plastic cups. The bartenders fill your own cup without a second thought, lots of people had their own.

"Nightlife" = Disco open everynight with different activities like Black Jack, Name That Tune, Karaoke, etc. Entertainment on the plaza was not every night, this is because we were there in the late season. Lobby bar open until 1:30am, so is the disco. Late night pizza buffet from 10:30pm - 1:30 am.

Gym and Spa = gym is good. Heavier free weights than American hotel gyms, three treadmills, TVs, a couple ellipticals and a stairclimber, plenty of benches. Spa has a couple treaments rooms and one small room for hair, nails and make-up. Maria did the bride's hair and nails and she was pleased. There is a sauna and jacuzzi, but it's located inside the spa. It's avialable as part of your all-inclusive, but you'll have to call ahead and ask them to turn them on, it's not available for walk-in. Spa treatments, massages, etc. are obviously extra.

All-inclusive activities = wind surfing, catamarans, kayaks and snorkeling off the beach. Additional cost activities are parasailing, jetskis, snorkel tours (boat takes you to the reefs) and diving.

Dive shop = Dive Palancar is the on-site dive shop. They take cash, Visa and MC only. We had never been diving before and wanted to try. You go down to the dive shop at 8:30 am to get some equipment and meet at the pool at 9:00 am for the free "dive lesson." This is basically a time to learn a few simple rules and try on the equipment. Then, make sure you can breath under water and not freak out. If you "pass" the free lesson, you can pay $58 and go on the resort course beach dive. This is right off the hotel beach and lasts about 35 minutes. It's again, more like learning, there are some fish to see and the resident barracuda, but it's just to practice some more. If you "pass" that, you can pay $68 and go on a resort course boat dive. That's when the diving starts and you will love it. We learned from Alfonso and did three boat dives with him. We're addicted and he's amazing. Spends as much time as you need to make sure you're comfortable and shows you some really beautiful reefs. I suggest you ask which day he is teaching and learn from him. For already certified divers, they offer at least five dives a day, plus extra charter trips. They're awesome.

Misc. = Everyone takes dollars or pesos. Changing money before leaving the US is never necessary. Two ATMs on site; one does dollars, one pesos. Gift shop on site with ok prices. Underwater camera is five dollars higher at the gift shop, than at the dive shop. Hotel brought in some jewelry vendors one of the nights. Check with the concierge about this, before buying your gifts at the gift shop. Tips are NOT necessary for good service, but WILL bring you GREAT service and maybe open a reservation for later in the week. :) A smile and a little spanish at the bars and buffet restaurants work just as well as a dollar. That said, everyone speaks plenty of english to meet your needs.

Wedding site = Now...if you're thinking of a wedding here...you should really visit ahead of time. Ricardo is the guest services person and he at times seemed "annoyed," which annoyed me. I was the maid of honor and doing my best to facilitate certain things and I didn't like that he seemed put out. Santiago is one of the managers and he is AWESOME. The flowers ended up great, the reception tables were beautifully set, the dinner was awesome. Arturo and Alejandro were like the "head waiters" and they did anything and everything that was asked of them. So, basically everyone but the wedding coordinator/guest services person will meet your needs. That's why I suggest you visit ahead of time. It was a beautiful ceremony and beautiful reception, just VERY stressful dealing with Ricardo. He doesn't always return emails/phone calls in a timely manner, which left a TON of stuff to do after arrival, which added to the stress of it all. But the reception was great. Flowers were beautiful, cake was OK. Dinner was good. DJ was subpar, but continued to try to make us happy. :) You do have to walk past the pool full of drunks in your dress. It was fine, they clapped, we laughed..just be aware of that. There's also no full-proof way to keep the groom from seeing the bride until she hits the aisle. The loud partiers in the pool were very, very loud during the ceremony. So, be aware of that you're planning your wedding here. The ceremony site and pool are very, very close. You'll have to walk past the pool again (they will clap again) to get from the ceremony site to the beach club for the reception.

I know that was a lot, but I hope it helps you!!

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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6 Thank texasgirl521
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Irving, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2010

I love Royal Cub, this is my third time that I visit the hotel and like always this has been a great expirience. The people is so wonderfull, the installations are great and restaurants are excellent the best food you can find around. Do not miss the opportunity to go there.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank rgr2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southbury, Connecticut
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 4 July 2010

This was a fun 10 day trip. The staff at the Royal Club was great. Nelly and Landy continued to make sure we were all having a wonderful time. Tomas and Aerostle in the restaurant were the best. Top service and paid attention to make sure everyone in the party was happy. Rent a jeep and see the island, it is well worth it. Just don't fly DELTA...a 4 hour flight turned into 26 hours. Things happen but the service that Delta offered was below par!

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank sunsetCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
73034
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 July 2010

Nice resort at the southern tip of the island. Great for scuba diving.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank JACK77766
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tremblant
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2010

We are a couple in our 50s and have been to many all inclusives. We chose the OG over the Iberostar as we stayed there our last trip to Cozumel. The OG is a smaller resort with no nightlife or evening show to speak of. Used to complain about the shows but at least it was entertainment while digesting dinner. The OG rooms are far superior to the Iberostar as the thatched roofs were dark, not soundproof and leaked. OG rooms are large with a fabulous shower for two with tons of hot water. The (yes loud) air conditioning unit drowned out any noise so were never woken up and could not hear the neighbours.

Upon arrival there was definite confusion and eventhough we did pay the upgrade to the Royal Club, we were not treated like royalty right away in fact I poured myself a glass of champagne!! Is it worth the expense?? Still not sure. We arrived at 5pm and were totally looking forward to a fine dinner in the Royal Club only to be told that it wasn't possible and the buffet would be our best choice. Not what we wanted after a day of travelling. We were able to prebook the a la carte restaurants any night we wanted. Both were excellent and in fact the shish kabob in the steakhouse was so fabulous I had it twice!

The staff were always friendly and helpful and we did not find the timeshare hustlers any problem at all. Once you realize who they are and where they are located, just ignore them. Yes you may wait for a drink, fend off the occasional fly, but relax, you're on vacation in a tropical location. Grab your snorkel and spend time in the beautiful crystal water right off the beach and check in with the resident barracuda and tons of marine life-you won't be dissapointed!

Even after so much rain that the area under the bridge to the beach filled up with water and attracted new life, the pool filled to capacity and our flight delayed due to a storm, it was so sad to leave it all behind. Our next all inclusive will probably be a little bigger with more choices.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank suzieqTremblant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2010

We stayed at the Occidental Grand Cozumel, and this is the second time we have stayed there. I have read many negative reviews about it on here but both times I have stayed there it has been wonderful. The staff there is absolutely amazing. Both my partner and I are vegetarians, and they went above and beyond making sure we had plenty of options. The chef even called us to set some things up, and one night at the buffet he came out and talked to us to make sure we were finding enough things. Really amazing! Usually when we travel we expect to pretty much eat just salad for most of the time, but at the Occidental they made us some very delicious vegetarian meals. Most of the staff there remembered us from our last stay as well. I know that I have seen alot of complaints about the service there, and here is just an observation I have made about it. I think the way you treat the people working there goes along way towards the service you will receive. On the last Saturday we were there, the hotel was pretty full and had at least two different wedding parties staying there. There were a lot of very obnoxious guests in these parties. They were very rude and acted like they were "above or better" then the people that worked there. For example, at dinner that evening it was very crowded. There were these people behind us in line and were pretty much complaining about everything. Not only that, but the called every male person that worked there "Pablo", if that was his name or not. There is also a rule that at dinner the male guest must have sleeves on their shirts. Not an unreasonable rule if you ask me. Anyway the guys behind us were all in t-shirts with no sleeves and then were screaming at the staff because they told them they needed to change. So the guys left to change...in the mean time the women with them bypassed the line where everyone else was waiting to be seated and went and just took a table. This is just one example of what I saw of other guests. I have never in my life seen such rudeness, and meanness, and then people wonder why the service is not good? I thought the staff treated them pretty well for how they were treating them. Anyway, I just think that if you go there or anywhere for that matter, and you treat everyone with respect...like you want someone else to treat you, I think you will find the service there is excellent. I would definitely stay there again.

An extra special thank you to Nelly who always makes sure everything is just perfect when we stay there. Also Landy and Magie were also very nice to work with. Also I would really like to thank the chef....I am very sorry that I don't remember his name but he always made sure had wonderful vegetarian meals.

Again don't believe all the negative reviews, I have stayed here a couple of times and will definately stay there again. I am not sure what people really expect. I thought the staff here have always gone above and beyond when we have been there!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank GoBroncos-Cubs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fairfield, CT
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2010

May 28th – June 7th 2010

We traveled to the Occidental Grand for a 10 day vacation of diving and relaxing in late May/early June. We have been to Cozumel before, as well as the Grand. It is located at the far south end of the island. Perfect for scuba diving as the best reef and wall dives are down south.
We’ve traveled to Europe many times and have been to about 25 all inclusive resorts over the years. Like all of them there is a buffet breakfast and lunch as well as dinner buffet with a theme, ie, Mexican night, Italian, Bar B Q … Also several dinner restaurants requiring reservations and a dress code. This resort has 2 specialty restaurants along with an additional restaurant reserved for Royal Club guests. The resort was not full (probably 40% occupancy). We had no problem booking the specialty restaurants. If you make your reservations in a timely manner (soon after check in), there is no problem getting what you want during the week. Lunch is also served buffet style but the location is at the beach. It’s a beautiful view and has a nice breeze.
Food at the breakfast buffet was awesome…they made to order omelettes and eggs ,as well as a full buffet of fruit, cereal, waffles, potatoes, pancakes, bacon… Really even the pickiest eaters will be satisfied. The lunch at the beach was good as well. There were many items to choose from. We enjoy making tacos from some of the selection…just ask the cook to throw a few tortillas on the griddle for you. Plenty of variety. We were never bored with the food…there was always something you can find to eat. All restaurants served with cloth napkins and silverware. No plastic or paper plates. By the way we went to town several times and I have to say the guacamole at the Grand is as good as anything we found at the local restaurants. We always rent a car for the week while we are there. We do this online and pick up the car across the street from the airport. We chose Thrifty this time. We rented for 11 days...cost INCLUDING LIABILITY insurance was $300.This gives us the flexibility to go into town whenever we want and tour the island at our leisure. It also eliminates the cost of the transfers to and from the airport for 2 people.
We stayed at the Royal Club. The privileges you receive there are a nice touch. Some of the things included are: Free internet, a large hot tub on the grounds, and the ability to eat at the Royal Club restaurant. They also serve all three meals. The restaurant at the Royal Club serves off a menu - not a buffet. Dinner is a four course meal (Soup, salad, entree and dessert). The service is excellent and the food and presentation is wonderful. We ate here a few times and were very pleased. Our favorite entree was rack of lamb.
The Royal Club has an added benefit of having its own internal manager and concierge. Nelly is the Royal Club manager and Landy is on at night. They make sure your every request is fulfilled.
The grounds at the Grand are wonderful and rooms are clean and roomy. They are constantly grooming the plants and trees. The staff is very friendly, from the maids and bartenders all the way up to management level.
The beach is one of the best on Cozumel. It has sand that is raked and cleaned every day.
The Grand has three pools. One large pool for activities such as polo and volleyball. There is a second small pool attached for small children. The third is one for relaxing quietly. We enjoyed the quiet pool. The relaxing pool never had more than 5-10 people at a time using it. The quiet area has frequent visits of harmless iguanas. They are amazing creatures one to three feet long that sun themselves around the pool deck. If you want a drink it’s a short walk over a wooden bridge to the other pool that has bar service.
We never forget that we are in Mexico….on their land and in their culture. Things just don’t work the way they do at home nor do we expect them to. We are happy to be enjoying their country and hospitality.
We have a thought about all inclusive resorts. The people that serve you everyday are just like the service people where we live. All inclusive does NOT mean gratuities included. We tip like we are home. A few dollars after every meal or at the bar and a couple of dollars for the maid means a lot.
I am always dumbfounded when I read negative reviews of this resort. We were there at the same time that they were fixing the bridge. Was it an inconvenience…a bit, but they have to fix things at some point in the season. Yet you could hear some guests saying “I can’t believe blah blah blah”. Low season is when they do repairs and so be it. We don’t go on vacation to nit-pick a place apart.
The diving in Cozumel is terrific and this is why we continue to come back to Cozumel. We use the house operation, Dive Palancar. They are safe, knowledgable, and organized. We would have a tough time changing our accommodations as well. For the price point we will continue to return to the Grand.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank HarryCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Royal Level at Occidental Cozumel

Property: Royal Level at Occidental Cozumel
Address: Carretera Costera Sur Km 16.6, Cozumel 77600, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
#14 Spa Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Level at Occidental Cozumel 4*
Number of rooms: 39
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Also Known As:
Royal Club At Occidental Grand Cozumel Hotel Cozumel
Royal Hotel

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