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!!
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Club At Occidental Grand Cozumel Hotel Cozumel
- Royal Hotel