Occidental Grand Punta Cana Reviews – Dominican Republic Hotels – Occidental Grand Punta Cana

I went with my wife, daughter and grandson (age 10) for our first time in the Dominican Republic. I tried to weigh the previous reviews thinking that it couldn’t be that bad and that every resort would have its’ critics.

Room Number:
311 and 312

Room Block:
26

Arrival:
We were assigned adjoing rooms in Block 26, rooms 311 and 312 in one of the Air Transat Preference Club blocks.

Rooms: Initially, As expected, on arrival, the rooms were not ready but within an hour, one room was ready so my daughter and grandson were able to hit the beach. The cleanliness of the room was definately borderline. Luckily, I had brought some Clorox wipes and proceeded to wipe the dust and dirt from the coffee area (I decided against using the coffee maker as I was too grossed out). At least I could use the area for pouring drinks. Looking at the inside of the Fridge, it was disgusting and glad that everything in there was properly sealed. The fridge was properly stocked each day but as to the maid service, it was often 5 o’clock or so before the rooms were made up. Sometime it was just when we were returning from our day in the sun and wanted to wash up so had to sit on the balcony while the cleaning that he had all day to do got done.

Restaurants and Bars: Food at the buffet was ok but I must admit that I found the food at the 3 resorts in Cuba more appealing. In the 7 years that I have been going south, this is the first time that I did not have fresh squeezed orange juice. All juices were from syrup. Food was inconsistent. Some mornings there was bacon and some not. There were a lot of Russians in the resort so maybe a lot of menu items were to cater to them. Trying to get bookings at the a la carte restaurants was difficult as they were full on many evenings but once we were seated, I noticed a lot of empty tables. Why not fill these restaurants to capacity? While we were entitled to 5 nights of a la carte, and 2 reservations were made for us before we arrived, we were only able to secure another 2. We had 2 nights of Mexican, which were excellent, 1 night of Italian which was ok and 1 night at the steak house which was awful. The service at the steak house was terrible. We were seated a half hour and still did not have something to drink. The folks at the table beside us went out of the restaurant to get their drinks from the bar and brought them to their table. The party of five on the other side of us did not receive their orders as listed in the menu and when they complained, they received a shrug. They all got up and walked out leaving their meals almost totally untouched. As mentionned on many previous reports, the drinks were inconsistent depending on which bar was making them. When I asked for a Mojito, I was told that it could not be made! The barmen, particularly Alexander was excellent and always smiling; whether or not people tipped or not.

The menu for the New Year’s Eve gala was the same for everyone with no consideration for children or people who don’t like seafood. Smoked Salmon entree, which neither my grandson or I ate, Scampi, which my grandson did not eat and I managed to get a quarter of it down with the help of a lot of lime juice. Like the family at the table beside us, we headed directly to the pizza bar after in order to feel satisfied. If this resort presents itself as a family resort then it should consider various tastes at such events.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: The Air Transat section of the beach is ok if your purpose is to drink yourself silly however as this area is in front of a boating area and not the swimming area, it was not practicle for watching my grandson in the water so we never used it. Beach chairs, both on the beach and beside the pools were in very short supply. Although I staked my chairs before 7 each morning, on 2 occasions, I had my chairs stolen from me. Luckily with the Air Transat bracelet, towels were not an issue.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
My wife and daughter took the Dr Fish spa excursion while my grandson and I took the swimming with the shark and sting ray excursion. Both excursions were fabulous however they both returned late. If my wife and daughter had not ordered for us at the Italian restaurant that night, we would have been out of luck as we were 45 minutes late.

Other Comments: I took this vacation to relax and to shed the stress of a busy job. The constant hustling on the resort for Vacation Club membership, and buying trinkets caused more stress than I was escaping from. My wife has difficulty saying no so I was constantly "rescuing" her from some agressive sales person. It is like the purpose of everyone on this resort is to fleece each tourist of every available dollar.

I am not sure if I will ever visit the Dominican Republic again but I can say that I will never return to this resort.

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