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“A big beautiful resort, child friendly and safe!”

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Occidental at Xcaret Destination
Ranked #70 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 December 2009

Please read all of this! We stayed at the Occidental Grand Xcaret the first week of December 2009, what a great time we all had! The private lagoon, with no vendors on the beach was worth every penny we paid! Tons of fish in the lagoon, very safe for children snorkelling, and I myself spent alot of time snorkelling in the lagoon! The "beach" and bar service was fantastic, plenty of premium liquors to choose from, ask for premium, or you get the house brands, tip your server! Kids club was very safe and awesome, my son loved it! Disco at night was okay, but the nightly shows before the diso were really good! Some nights are better than others, but on the whole, very very entertaining! Plenty of food choices, buffet and several a la carte, I recommend the Seafood restaurant and the Steak house. A huge beautifully manicured jungle throughout the resort. Howler monkeys, flamingos, deer and lots of neat suprises at night on your balcony, but still very safe. We researched many hotels before booking our stay at the Grand Xcaret, and we cannot believe there are negative reviews about this hotel! Sure there were a few minor annoyances during check in, but nothing that could not be handled. The spa at the hotel is very beautiful and my wife says you are treated like royalty, however you can get a massage at Xcaret in a natural beautiful jungle setting for about $50 USD "less" at Xcaret. The private entrance to Xcaret park was very handy, and the gondola was a nice surprise! Shopping in Playa was nice, lots of vendors, good deals. Some vendors set up a flea market at the resort as well some nights. Check out the spray painting artist's at the hotel, they will blow your mind! golfing at Playacar was simply superb! Play a round after 1pm and it is only $65 USD! This includes food and all you can drink! Play a few rounds as the first round will only introduce you to the course, then on the second round you will likely keep the driver in the bag except on the longest holes, and there are plenty! One of the finest courses I have ever played! Bring lots of balls! One more thing, rent a private shuttle when you arrive, instead of taking the bus with the rest of the plane, you will pay approx $70 USD, but it is worth every dollar. You will get to your hotel 2 hrs ahead of everyone else! We used KinMont, book with them ahead of your trip you will not be dissapointed. We also upgraded our Transat seat to OptionPlus, again a very worthwhile upgrade. You get priority luggage when you land, basically it comes out with the clubclass luggage, and you can pick your seats! We were very close to the doors, so we were first off the plane, first through customs, our luggage was on the carousel immediately, and we were out of the airport and in our private van in about 15 minutes! For the extra $90cdn a head, this is a must have feature. Plus on the plane you get free champagne, free drinks, you are first served for food, and they really treat you well! If you are going to spend thousands on a vacation, spend the little extra on the upgrades and really enjoy yourself! You really will feel like a high roller!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
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5  Thank SkiandSunbum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8,819 - 8,825 of 13,046 reviews

Reviewed 27 December 2009

Wasn't sure what to expect - had seen reviews at both extremes. We only payed $462 for two adults for five nights, so we weren't sure what we would get. It was worth every penny - and more!

The rooms were clean and the beds were comfortable despite some reviews saying mattress too hard. Also had great water pressure and plenty of hot water - again, in contrast to another review. Service was excellent. We followed suggestions that we tip early and often, but noticed that many others weren't tipping at all and honestly - we got good service whether we tipped or not. Still, we continued to tip.

Because we got such a great rate on room/board, tickets to the ecological park next door were not included in our stay, but we paid the $40/person and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were approached once by a time share salesperson, but when we mentioned we were not married, the conversation was over. Apparently they don't want to sell time shares to unmarried couples, so remember that if you want a quick getaway.

Only negative to the trip was getting out of the country and that had nothing to do with the resort - it was an immigration/customs issue. When you enter the country you fill out an immigration form. The large part of the form is kept by the immigration officer and they hand you back the bottom tear-off slip. DO NOT LOSE THAT SLIP. You have to turn it in when you leave. If you don't have it, you will be charged a penalty of 525 pesos (about $42). Just a friendly heads up to anyone traveling to Mexico.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank KimmerBeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2009

We spent 7 days at this hotel from 10th to 17th Dec, We flew with Canjet to mexico, canjet was no better or any less than any other charter airline we flew with before, we had great seats, 16 EF which we paid for , a great investement, plane on time , crew great , no problems , the hotel was just amazing , considering we only paid $ c525 each plus tax , the grounds and staff were delightfull, a few words of spanish and a few dollars a day tips we had everything, I did not pay for a five star but i got a four star plus, the reception staff were marvelous, lovely room and never did we encounter a sour face always bright and cheerfull, clean can not say enough , the lagoon was allways great, the breakfasts, lunch and supper wer more than enough and the drinks were great, having your own consierge was wonderfull we were in 18 and our consierge was great give her her a dollar or two a day and you will want for nothing, go to the park, for us playa del carmen was not a big deal, we visited , but if you are young probably great night life, never seen grounds like this , wonderful, dont be put off by bad reviews , we loved it, BUT as every one says , you can tell the new arrivals , they are the ones drinking the wine, the wine tastes like sherry, but who cares drank every thing else and loved it if you get a chance to get a deal, this is it

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank kiwikidMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2009

After booking this trip several months ago, I began checking "Trip Advisor". I got a bit worried reading some of the "less than positive" reviews, but, with eveything already paid for and arranged, we were going anyway. What an amazing trip!! I'm sorry the earlier posters (OCT/NOV) seem to have had a bad experience, but ours was excellent.

As luck would have it, we were actually up-graded to the Royal Club at no charge as the remainder of the rooms (ours included) were "all booked". As a result, we got one week of paradise inside a week of paradise! The Royal Club rooms were fantastic: well stocked fridge every day, clean, well-appointed. The staff there is also exceptionally courteous and helpful.

The resort is beautiful and yes, really large. But, as others have noted, the walk is good for you after eating and drinking the days away. The grounds are gorgeous, the pools cleaned daily and also beautiful.

The staff was unfailingly polite every time we spoke to someone. I do speak Spanish so that was a bonus. Having traveled throughout the world, I can tell you that having polite and friendly employees is one of the most important parts of any vacation and this place has them in droves!

Not sure why people complain so much about the buffet as there was enough variety to keep everyone happy. Yes, if you have the same food every day I bet it would getting boring -- we chose to try different foods and to experience as much Mexican culture as is possible. El Pescador was indeed an excellent restaurant...the Mahi Mahi is outstanding! La Hacienda was very nice as well as Pacos Tacos. Love that Mexican food!!

Overall this was a great trip. Taking into account the price paid, as well as the free up-grade and it makes it a fantastic trip that will be long remembered.

Be sure to visit Playa del Carmen; take a day trip adventure (Tulum or elsewhere) and see the Xcaret evening show --- all are well worth the investment.

And you know, even a medicore day on vacation beats the best day at work! Have fun!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank HappyTravelers200973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 December 2009

I will try to do the review in sections:

Resort/Grounds - Beautiful.......I don't think anyone can dispute this. The beach was nice and clean, plenty of chairs, water was clear and lots of fish for snorkeling. Pools looked beautiful but did not use the pools (we can swim at a pool at home). There is a lot of walking but you need to walk a lot to walk off all the food and drinks you consume which leads me to food.....

Food -

Buffets were good, some things were great and some were just ok. I didn't find anything that was not edible. I think that there was a wide variety of choices of entrees and sides. I personally did not enjoy the desserts but that is just a personal preference. I prefer the chocolate tamales at Xcaret, YUMMY. The ice cream was good and had a good selection. Although they didn't have the coconut icecream I really wanted. The breakfast buffet at the beach is the best but if you like more starchs like muffins and breads then the main buffet might be best.

El Pascadore - GREAT! I had the ceviche for appetizer, very tasty! Soup was good, I had the Mahi Mahi and it was wonderful others had the shrimp and scallops and they all enjoyed it. My family enjoyed the desserts, but as I stated earlier I did not enjoy them.

La Hacienda - To be fair I had a cold and could not taste anythingbut presentation was wonderful and I think it tasted great and my family enjoyed it. Miguel was our server at two of the restaurants and he was great.

Sonora Grill - Steaks tasted good and were plentiful. The presentation was great and Miguel was great.

Pizza place - Did not enjoy at all - I thought the pizza's were undercooked and just didn't really have any flavor.

Paco's Taco's - Great! Loved all of it and Roman was still there and great service as expected.

Rooms - We booked two of the Grand Concierge Deluxe rooms and we got a Junior suite and a deluxe room that connects. It worked out great and I was very thankful that I got the upgrade. The rooms were cleaned daily, the fridge was not stocked every other day but there are bars every where so who cares. I will say that the grand concierge level is just a regular room and if you get the extra amenities that are supposed to be included, than consider yourself lucky. I had to ask two times and we still did not get the things that were suppsoed to be included. These things were not important to me except for the slippers and only because I didn't pack mine form home and I as running out of socks. I was told I could make an appoinment with the room services manager to discuss it but like I said it wasn't all that important to me and I wasn't about to waste my vacation time on explaining to the room services manager what was listed on their own website as the amenities for the grand concierge rooms. I also had an email correspondence with Ricardo Argiles( the Director of the hotel at that time) that spelled out exactly what was included. These things weren't worth fighting for but it is irritating to pay for something "extra" and not receive it. Just be aware if you book this level.

Service - I do not think I encountered any staff that was rude. Some were more pleasant than others. They do call women "Lady " and that is strange to me but not offensive. I felt that the service was what I expected, granted I am not the type of person who needs to be waited on all the time. We got lounge service at the beach but there were times we got our own drinks.

Front Desk - check in was fast and pleasant and check was equally efficient.

Tipping - we tipped, I didn't ever feel pressured to tip but we tip according to the service - the buffet was ok then a dollar or maybe two - if service is great then five dollars. The bars- couple of dollars every few drinks, more when they made special drinks like a dirty monkey or smoothies for my children.


In summary, we loved our vacation and the resort. We will return and I would absolutely recommend it to others.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
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6  Thank mweathers07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 December 2009

I stayed at Grand Xcaret (supposedly pronounced “Ish-Caret”) with my wife for a week in December 2009. Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Grand Xcaret and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

I write this review mostly for the travelers who might be unduly influenced by the negative reviews here and also to give further tips beyond the condition of the hotel. It is rather long but I tried to be organized.

I recommend this resort without any hesitation to those looking for a quite vacation, away from the noises of tourist groups, springbreakers and frat boys. This resort is not the best there is, but it is not your average motel either. This hotel far exceeded my expectation based on the price that I paid for. The ground this resort sits on is very expansive so we just couldn’t visit every little corner in 6 days so this review is solely based on my personal experience.

Transportation:
We took a private transfer (USA transfer) from Cancun airport by booking online via entertainment-plus.net before leaving U.S. It was $105 round trip for 2 persons. I thought it was reasonable for a one hour ride each way for 2, and I like the assurance of knowing that my ride is waiting for me at the airport so that I won’t have to waste any time and effort arranging transportation in a foreign land. We were off to the resort in a minivan within minutes of clearing the security. Entertainment Plus was great as so many other reviewers here have noted. I particularly liked how prompt the emails were (once we booked online, got an email with all the details I needed as to what to do for the arrival and departure).

Hotel Room:
We stayed in a standard room, nothing noteworthy but clean and comfortable. It certainly is not Bellagio, W, or Intercontinental but it is not some motel room either. You don’t get 32 inch flat screen mounted to a wall or fancy paintings illuminated by a museum light. You get 19 inch tube TV and your standard hotel amenities, but we did not stay in the room all that much. Bathroom was good and bad. The water pressure was very good (on par with Heavenly Shower at Westin) and the temperature ranged from cold to piping hot. Only problem was that water splashes from the tiled shower booth to the bathroom floor. Oh! and there is no tub. There is free mini bar that is replenished everyday with 4 bottled waters, 4 sodas, and 2 Modelo beers.

Food:
It is not as bad as some posters have noted here. We stayed 6 nights so had an option to book 3 reservations at the a la carte restaurants. Only went to 2 of them since I didn’t like the idea of having to fix our daily schedule so that we can make it to the reservation. The Asian place was sub-par. Sushi was terrible and the main entrée was only as good as your garden variety Asian take-outs places in America. On the other hand, the steakhouse was excellent. It is not your prime steakhouse (e.g. Morton’s) but it is far better than my neighborhood Outbacks or Long Horns IMHO. There are two buffet places. The main one is close to the Lobby and the one with less selection next to the beach/lagoon. The buffets were good in that they open early and close late so you can go at your own schedule (other than their mid-day closing). Again, IMHO, the buffets are not what you get at a 5 star Vegas resorts but it was better than your local Ryan’s and Golden Corral. We usually set up at the lagoon early (yes, I played the towel game) in the morning and mostly ate at the buffet next to the beach/lagoon. The dining hall overlooks the sea and you get to dine under a huge thatched roof dining hall, feeling the sea breeze. As many other reviewers have said here, make your own Omelet for breakfast was great (put the ingredients on the plate and hand it to the griddle cook). Overall, not great, but not bad either since I always found something that I liked at the buffet.

Drinks:
House red and House white wines were terrible (this seems to be the consensus among the reviewers here). Beer and cocktails were good. I frequented the bar next to the beach/lagoon (drink server brings the drink to you or you can go up to the bar) and in the evenings, usually went to the lobby bar and sat in the lounge chair next to the fountain to read (the huge lobby is down to a mood light at night but I read by the candle light). I occasionally went to the bar next to the theater but didn’t really stay for the shows. Also went to the sports bar once and left since it was deserted. I didn’t hang out much by the pool so only had one drink at the swim up bar which was fun. Bottom line is that there are bars conveniently and strategically located throughout the resort so that the patrons would have an easy access to refreshments.

Excursions:
We went to 2. 1) Chichen Itza – Not much of entertainment value but quiet awe inspiring. We went because it would be a shame to be only 3 hours away from one of 7 wonders of the world and not see it in person (like going to NYC and not seeing the Statue of Liberty in person). It was 3+ hours to get there since the tour (a big tour bus with 20 or so people) stops at a Cenote, a souvenir shop, and for a lunch (for no additional fee). Bus ride was boring, but it was nice to see real Mexican countryside outside of the tourist zone. We booked the tour through Entertainment Plus, the same company that we purchased our airport transfer. I was told by the others that the price that we paid was good in comparison to booking it directly through the hotel. 2) Isla Mujeres – Had a blast here. Some travel agency (Barracuda?) sales person sold it to us at the towel station by the lagoon/beach within the resort. Paid $79 per person and thought it was worth every penny for this all day trip. The trip included 1 hour each way minivan ride to Cancun(via hotel zone) from the resort to catch a ride in a sailboat to the Isla Mujeres, booze cruise back and forth, AWESOME SNORKELING (coral reef, sea depth 35 meter), lunch, lounge by the beach, and sail to the shopping district of Isla Mujeres.

Gratuities, Shopping, Time-share sales:
Even though All Inclusive means inclusive of gratuity as well, tipping helps especially to Bartenders and restaurant staffs. Also, the drivers and tour guides should receive gratuities as well – they purportedly earn most of their income through gratuities and work very hard (at least in my eyes) to please the patrons, their source of income.

Also, when shopping, haggle like you have all the time in the world and test the product’s authenticity (especially silver jewelries). Case in point – I bought a souvenir item and paid ¼ of what the flea market merchant initially asked for. Next day at the resort, I saw the same exact item being sold by the kiosk merchants at 4 times more than what I’ve paid for. When shopping, just throw out some ridiculous numbers out there. Like if a merchant says something is $50, say that you will pay $10 cash or you walk out. The merchants almost always counter-offered.

Finally, contrary to what many other reviewers said about this resort, we were approached re: the time share only once. All it took was, “I am not interested, I traveled around, and you will never get me to be interested in joining a time share club.” Be firm. Don’t say “I will think about it” or “maybe later.”

In conclusion, don’t be taken aback by the negative reviews. The resort itself is great but anyone can have a bad experience at a great place right? Doesn’t mean that you will too.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank backyardtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 December 2009

Royal Club Upgrade is absolutely worth it! We were 6 adults and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I have been checking with TA for about 2 months for what not and what to do... well, here it is folks: Go for the Upgrade.
We loved the service, room and for dining.....lovely ocean view. Food was exceptional. Try the tuna sushami & coconut shrimp..... marvelous! Wine is better on the Royal side too!
So, if you have booked on the regular side of the resort, don't worry, all is well too.
We did do a lot of walking, but it is so very beautiful, go for it. Blue butterflies here and there, exotic birds serenade you as you walk, there is always a trollery around if you choose to wait a few minutes. Yes, the beach cove is small, but it is a real treat to snorkel with the fish. The snack bars are just fine thank you. The drinks (Royal Side) are x-cellent! The staff everywhere courteous, willing to help and thankful for tips. Beach bar and pool bars are just fine and all staff members are aiming to please.
I happened to meet the General Manager for all of the Occidental Resorts and a very nice fellow. Job well done in taking care of this place.
Erika in Royal Club reception - top notch. A real sweetheart, works hard and with the other girls really try their best to make your stay memorable.
Waiters in Royal Club - we loved Rudy, Wilbur, 'Dag'-high class, and others too, keep up the good work. We had fun with you all and miss you already!
The Night Shows: Lots of fun, good entertainment, they do work hard to please the eyes.
The Day Entertainment Staff: good and fun and fair, did the Aerobics (water)... good workout and appreciated the gesture of washing the hands before participating in group activities-good initiative.
Lobby bar: really nice! Try the Cucumber Margarita and feast on hot popcorn. Dry Martinis not bad either.
Photo Shop: one of the gang got pictures done there, ... very professional.
Xcaret Park: great fun! Loved the Cenote cave experience (included in your ticket). The Turtle exhibit is amazing - huge turtles oh my!
Tried the Spa (included in your package) and enjoyed the steam room and whirlpool.
Spa staff is very clean and efficient. Nice products in the washrooms.Staff willing to please.
Yes, would definitely recommend this hotel. I think I left a little piece of my heart there.
I have some amazing pictures, but can't seem to upload them to this site.
Thanks Occidental Grand Xcaret.... we will recommend you to everybody!!!!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with friends
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6  Thank Cris-60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km. 282 | Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Occidental Grand Xcaret All Inclusive Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#39 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#45 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#50 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#77 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £111 - £497 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Occidental at Xcaret Destination 4.5*
Number of rooms: 764
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 5-star Occidental at Xcaret Destination in Riviera Maya is a perfect combination in a natural setting with preserved cultural landmarks and an all-inclusive resort with a unique array of rooms, services, and state-of-the-art facilities. Choosing among the many possible activities is the most complicated part of a stay at this resort in Playa del Carmen. Swimming with dolphins, attending a Mayan Indian ceremony, enjoying all types of water sports at the beach club or sailing down the beautiful rivers and canals that surround the hotel are just a few highlights. The Xcaret eco-archeological park offers one of the most unique and exciting park, especially for families, by guaranteeing over 40 cultural attractions and expositions on art and traditions in Mexico. However, as people normally say at the hotel: "Do it all...or simply do nothing." Choose from a list of diverse activities such as strolling through the lush gardens at the resort, enjoying the sun while lying on a hammock, or taking a refreshing swim in one of the resort's five pools or private beach. Anti-stress remedies at the resort are endless. Regardless of how you plan each day at the resort, the hotel's choice of culinary selections is designed to satisfy the demands of every kind of guest. With 10 bars, including the one at the club, and 11 restaurants, guests have the freedom to choose a snack, an informal meal, a gourmet feast or a candlelight dinner, among many other options. The key to this resort is balancing between modern facilities and the marvelous Mexican rainforest that is filled with stunning local wildlife. Entertainment, relaxation and nature coexist at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Xcaret Hotel
Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret
Grand Flamenco Xcaret
Xcaret Grand Occidental
Occidental Xcaret
Hotel Xcaret
Xcaret Playa Del Carmen
Grand Xcaret Occidental
Xcaret Hotel
Grand Occidental Xcaret

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