Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Page 2 – Mayan Riviera, Mexico Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel & Resort Reviews

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Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret – Mayan Riviera – Reviews Posted – 5

Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Leemay

July 2003

We went on our annual family vacation to Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret from June 29th to July 6th, 2003. During our 8-day stay, we discovered certain aspects of our vacation services had changed.

First off, we have been Allegro Platinum Vacation Club Members since 2000. Not only have we vacationed once or twice a year, we’ve also referred a friend of ours to also become Allegro Vacation Club Members. This was due to our vacation experience at Allegro Bavaro in Punta Cana.

In these past years, we have stayed at the following: · Allegro Bavaro, Punta Cana – February 2000 Total: 2 guests · Allegro Bavaro, Punta Cana – August 2000 Total: 6 guests · Occidental Grand Flamenco Puerto Plata – August 2001 Total: 8 guests · Allegro Rio San Juan – May 2002 Total: 7 guests

· Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret – June 2003 Total: 8 guests

To ensure that all our vacation plans went smoothly, I contacted our Allegro Officer at Bavaro and was promptly informed that someone from the Xcaret resort would be contacting me. True to form, Lorena Romo from Occidental Xcaret contacted me via e-mail and answered most of the questions I asked.

Perhaps we were just accustomed to the way Allegro treated its members, but some of these requests were not beyond belief and they were not met. Our complaints are mainly:

1. I requested Junior Suites and was told that they were only on availability basis. 2. I requested rooms in buildings 18, 19 or 20, or as near the main pool as possible. We were given rooms directly upstairs from the check-in counters. 3. I requested transportation from the airport to the hotel and agreed to pay the $80 USD for a van. I was given a confirmation e-mail from Lorena on June 19th that our transportation was confirmed, but when we arrived at the airport, we waited for nearly 40minutes and still no van to pick us up. We ended up having to acquire our own means of transportation in which a van driver offered to take us for $17 USD per person. 4. At check-in, we were given regular red bracelets. We were told that the Miguel Angelo guests received gold, regular guests received red, blue for honeymooners and blue-green colored bracelets for children. Correct me if I am wrong, but are we not considered your guaranteed repeat guests year after year? If this is the manner in which Occidental intends on treating their Allegro members, perhaps all Allegro members should also re-think their decisions on their packages! 5. Not only are Allegro members not acknowledged in any way, shape or form, Lorena seems to be the only “semi-dedicated” person available to assist any Allegro members. There is no designated Allegro guest services desk or Allegro VIP Bar. 6. Assistant General Manager ************ attempted to appease us by agreeing with us that there were a few things different from Occidental than that of Allegro, but offered no real solution. 7. In all the vacations that we have taken so far, this is the first one where our children came up to us more than once and complained that it wasn’t fun and that they wanted to go home. Our children our 8 and 6 years old, they usually enjoy the mini disco at night. However, being that they only play games at night (why call it a disco?) and depending on the emcee for the evening, there could be anywhere from 4 or 5 winners. One evening, it came down to my 6 year old and another toddler-aged child playing a freeze game. Rather than awarding both of them winners, the little girl won even though she had clearly lost (this was most likely due to her age, which I had to explain to my son later). My son returned to his seat with us in the audience and said, “I did bad, didn’t I? That’s why I didn’t win.” Granted that each child is different, but let us remember that that is exactly what they are CHILDREN! That was the only evening in which they chose one winner rather than the usual 4 or 5. I am doting on this subject a little more only because I am a mother and do not wish any other child to possibly develop an inferiority complex just when they are developing their individualities.

8. There were many times in which my husband requested Martel (cognac), and once or twice he would get it, but some of the bartenders would just deny him of it and tell him they didn’t have any more, even when the bottle was clearly displayed out in the open. This was probably a ploy to get tips.

It was nice to be on vacation, but we could have had a much better time had we had the “Allegro level” of service from years past. I would sincerely suggest that if at all possible, the Xcaret entertainment staff be cross-trained with their counter-parts in Dominican Republic. In D.R., the entertainment staff were truly entertaining and genuinely friendly to all guests. They seemed to really like their job, not just doing it because they had to, and they stayed at the disco till wee hours just to liven up the atmosphere for the guests.

We are planning our 10th anniversary trip for October and because of this experience at Xcaret, we have decided to visit D.R. again. There we are guaranteed a pleasant vacationing experience.

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Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Nicole — USA

June 2003

Excellent!We arrived at the resort on Saturday, May 24th and left May 30th. We checked in around 6:00 PM. Our rooms were on the 3rd floor in building 20 right up from the Club Royale. My husband and I went with another couple. We are all in our lower to mid 30’s. Our room numbers were #20 and #21. We had a view of the ocean – BEAUTIFUL!The facility was excellent! The food was great! The help was so great. We had some minor problems, but nothing major.I read the post about the safe and I was concerned about the safety of our cash and our travel documentation. We had no problems with anything vanishing from our room or safe.Although we didn’t feel it was necessary to tip, we did. I don’t think we received "special" service because we tipped. The workers were so friendly and from what I’ve heard, not making much money. A couple of bucks meant a lot to them.The show "Celebrity Mole" was being shot at the resort while we were there. A little extra excitement. We saw Tracy Gold at the pool one day with her family and Dennis Rodman at the beach restaraunt. We had our picture taken with Marc Curry, star of "Hanging with Mr. Cooper". I guess Stephen Baldwin was there as well, but we missed him. Also heard Pam Anderson was around, could have been a rumor (?).FOOD: The buffet did get a little repetitive, but many things to choose from. The Italian and Seafood was pretty good. We all loved the steak joint and went there two nights in a row.MY ONLY GRIPE/SUGGESTIONS IS IT WOULD BE NICE IF THERE WAS ANOTHER CHOICE OF BEER, LIKE MILLER LITE! 🙂 The choices were Cerona or Modela.Seriously though, I would recommend this resort to anyone. We paid $80 per person per day (not including airfare) and it was worth every penny.If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me: Nicole-Louvar@uiowa.edu

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Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Kim Golding — UK

June 2003

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret from 13-27 May 2003. I have to disagree with most of the reviews on your page and say that this was the most enjoyable and relaxing vacation we have had.

On arrival at Cancun airport the "admin" side of things took quite a while but once we were on our way it took about an hour to get to our hotel as there were a few drop offs on the way.

From the moment we arrived we found the staff to be helpful and considerate. On arrival our room did not have a balcony, I just went to reception straight away and they sorted out another room in a few minutes and it was no problem – they were more than happy to help.

We arrived at night and spent some time wandering round the resort totally gobsmacked! It looks lovely when all the pools/pathways and beach are lit up at night and everywhere seemed so peaceful. It did not take us long at all to find our way round as all the pathways from the beach lead to the same place (i.e. the main lobby or the pool area (which is just a short walk away from the lobby in any case)). All routes are signposted throughout the resort and it takes approximately 10 mins to walk from the main lobby to the beach, but there are buggys which will take you down there if like us you felt lazy sometimes!

We spent most of our days lying by the pool. You can hire yellow rings and floats for the pool free of charge if you wish but its best to get them early. There was always sunbeds available and the hammocks that surround the pools are a nice place to crash for an afternoon nap! The beach is lovely but man made and a bit rocky in parts. However lots of people seemed to be enjoying the snorkelling or just crashing out on the sunbeds of which there are loads! The buffet at the beach is lovely with a very fresh and varied menu and of course a great view

The food was definately 5* quality, we tried all the restaurants and found the service and food excellent throughout – our wine glasses were never empty! We would definately recommend the Italian. All the restaurants are air conditioned and kept at a nice temperature. Also, unlike many other all inclusive resorts the alcoholic beverages were international brand names.

In the evening the staff put on a show which was always good to watch after a meal and for all ages. The bar close to the stage had very good service and the barman was always asking if there was enough drink in the glass! After the show we would move on to the Sports Bar which again had good service and included a pool table, dart board and numerous TVs. A nice feature was a boxing ring in the middle of the bar. We can definately recommend the cocktails!

From there most people ventured to the disco which had nice decor and a good size dance floor to party the night away to various music, mainly American/English groups.

Another good feature of the hotel was the free pass to Xcaret park which is adjacent to the resort. They have their own accessway in to the park which is about 5 min walk from the main lobby and is exclusive to the hotel. The park itself was lovely and when it got too hot you could always pop back to the hotel for a break or a bit of lunch. If you use your day pass and then decide you want to do an additional activity at the park, if you book this activity through the Xcaret agency at the hotel then you get a visitors pass for a few hours free.

As I said at the start of my review I felt the reviews given do not justify the hotel. We found no fault with the hotel and staff and considering it has only been open for a short while it is a very professional establishment. The staff spoke good english and were asking us questions in spanish to try and improve our spanish which we appreciated. We did say that next time we go we would like to learn some more phrases so it would not seem like they were the ones have to make all the effort.

I would give this resort 10/10 and will be returning next year.

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Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Angela & Dave — Alberta, Canada

June 2003

Travel dates: March 31st to April 6th (review is a little late, but better then never)

A little about us. Myself, female 25 years old & my boyfriend 27 years old. Not the partying type. We prefer adventures, sight seeing and relaxing. This was the first time to Mexico for the both of us. Vacation was booked through Signature Vacations with Air Transat.

This was an AMAZING resort. It was immaculate from the first time we pulled up to the time we had to wave goodbye.

We arrived at the resort around 9:00pm. There were bellhops that took our luggage as soon as we stepped out of the van. Check in was flawless and quick. The staff at the front desk were very warm and friendly. However, the luggage did take a long time to reach our room (45mins). The lobby area is spectacular.

We stayed in building 17 (on the first floor) which we though was the perfect location. The room was very spacious and very clean. At first I was a little leery about the safety of being on the 1st floor, however, at dusk they have security personnel that stands watch over the buildings outside. I was feeling very comfortable and very safe after the first night. The mini fridge was stocked daily for us. In some vacation brochures it says that you have to pay extra to use the room safe but this is not the case, it was free. The shower was awesome, complete with a little bench!

The grounds were absolutely beautiful. Lots and lots of nice landscaping. I didn’t find the resorts walking distances to be so huge as others have reported. It only seemed to take us about 5 minutes to walk to any point on the resort. Plus it gave us a bit of exercise in order not to gain any weight from all of the delicious food that we ate. There were so many beautiful walkways, which were perfect for romantic walks. We noticed that the staff were constantly cleaning the grounds and taking care of the lawn and flowers.

The beach is small width wise, not great for walking, but perfect for swimming. You weren’t getting drowned by the huge waves and there were quite a lot of cool fish that had come into the cove.

It took us no time at all to make our A-La-carte reservations with Guest Services. We decided to eat late suppers and had no troubles at all getting the times we wanted. We chose the Italian restaurant, the Sonora Grill, the Mexican Restaurant and the Oriental. All were very very very delicious and the service was excellent. The Buffet was wonderful. I am an extremely picky eater and they had so many choices there was tons to eat and everything you could possibly think of. We chose to eat breakfast at the beach club on a few days and it was great to sit in the open air, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, listening to the waves crash on the rocks as we ate a tasty breakfast. I was warned ahead of time to watch what I ate and drank due to the possibility of becoming ill. However, we both ate everything and didn’t once hesitate to drink the water or have ice cubes and we both were fine. The little pizzeria has good pizzas. We ate at Paco’s Tacos but we didn’t find it very filling so we made a stop at the buffet on our way back to the room.

We found all of the staff very friendly and we were able to speak to them fluently in English all though it was fun trying to communicate in Spanish. No matter when or where, everytime we passed a staff member there was always a big smile and a "hola". My boyfriend surprised me with a floral arrangement delivered to our room, that he had the Guest Services staff arrange for him. He said that they were very helpful in getting a place in "Playa Del Carmen" to put it together and put a rush on it.

The pools were large, numerous and never packed. We played a fun game of water polo. The swim up bar was the best. It was under a waterfall. Also, the pools were open 24 hours, you could go swimming anytime you wanted to.

We were with Signature Vacations and decided to take a tour through them called Santa Cruz. If you are the adventurous type, can swim and are not claustrophobic then this is a really cool tour. The first half of the tour you travel to a farm where you get to go underground through caves and cenotes with hard hats & flashlights. Sometimes you have to swim and sometimes you have to walk like a duck to get through. If you go on this tour, make sure that you wear a bathing suit and strap on sandals, keeping in mind everything will get wet! A BBQ lunch is provided at the farm and it was very delicious and we even got to help make guacamole and salsa from scratch! The second part of the tour includes snorkelling at a lagoon. It was really awesome with lots of fish and we even got to swim with a turtle, a few stingrays and a barracuda! It was an extremely fun day! We also took a tour to Tulum and Xel Ha and both were fabulous.

Included in your stay at this resort is a free pass to the Xcaret Park. We weren’t overly impressed with the park itself. We found the maps & signs very confusing. We were done the park by lunch time. We went back to see the night show and thought it was great!

The both of us would go back to this resort in a heart beat! If you have any questions or would like to share your comments my email address is angelamacneil@hotmail.com Please put Occidental Grand Flamenco as your subject as my junkmail filters out any email addresses that aren’t listed in my address book.

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Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Opie

June 2003

Aboslutely a great Resort!
The resort is about 45 minutes from the airport which if you are only staying 3-5 days I would stay in cancun common which is alot closer to the airport. But 7nights 8 days its okay. Air service was first rate (charter from Cincinnati non stop to Cancun)

Hotel Check in was quick and easy. The person at the desk spoke English pretty well, which really helps.

Swimming pools were unbelieveable; most are in the caribbean. we spent most of our days at the pool sitting at the swim up bar where we partied everyday with a bar tender named JOSE. Slip Jose $20 at the very first encounter and believe me he wont forget you! Jose kept us very warm and fuzzy the rest of the week, occassionally I would give him another buck or two not because he expected it but because he was so very nice and entertaining! If you ask Jose for a "Boom-boom" it gets really wild! The one thing we really liked was the main swimming pool had activites planned all day everyday and we love volleyball so we played for hours everyday. There was many activites to choose from.

The rooms were very beautiful and very clean. We talked several times with our maid and she was very nice and always kept our mini-bar fully stocked everyday!

The entertainment was very good and they had a nice variety of acts.

The hotel and grounds was so wonderiful.

The man made beach was very pretty and the water was a beautiful aqua blue.

There was so many resteraunts that we couldn’t eat at them all! But this was the first resort that we absolutely loved everything we ordered! Most of the time even at 5+ star resorts the food usually doesn’t suite me I am a very fussy eater, and I actually love this hotels restraunts! That was a big surprise to me.

The sports bar and Disco was top notch! Absolutely first class service all around. The lobby bar was nice to sit and relax before dinner or while waiting for friends to join you.

Even the grounds keepers were friendly.

Xcaret Park which is attached to the Hotel property is amazing. So its all in walking distance. You can swim with the dolphins, tube along the man made river, swim in underground tunnels, lye on the beach and tan! If your fearless you can explore the underground caves! I get a little scared of that but you might love it, I need to be out in the open, no under ground caves for me! And everyone gets a one day pass included in your hotel stay.

Wonderful Spa with messages for only $30 . . . . . total relaxation!

Our hotel was located only 5 minutes by taxi to playa del carmen where you can shop and drink at senior frogs then take a jet express over to Cozumel for a super shopping trip and don’t miss a fun spin down to "Carlos and Charlies" one of the world most famous drinking and party stops!

Now The only thing we didn’t like: we travel with Apple Vacations and Have many many times I think they are a great company, but they hired a representative that was very hateful and nasty. I am the kind of person that always has something nice to say and if you give me lemons I make lemonaid, I dislike complainers and people that just can’t be pleased no matter what! So for me to say she was Nasty. . . . boy was she nasty! Apple use to be very selective in who they hired to deal with the public, but I am seeing a change in that! I hope Apple is not setting a pattern! So over all I have to give this property a Superior Rating

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