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Reviewed 10 August 2012

Group of 4 (2 adults, 2 teens) – July 21 to 28. We were upgraded to Royal Club upon arrival and enjoyed ocean view rooms in 647 and 654. This is the smallest all-inclusive resort we have ever stayed at however we really enjoyed the size and the exceptional service. As other reviewers have mentioned, the hotel has been recently renovated and although there was no balcony, our rooms were very comfortable with king size bed, flat screen tv, coffee maker, fridge that was refilled every second day. Although the forecast indicated rain every day, the weather was very hot, no daytime rain but we did have a few late night/overnight storms. Special thanks to the concierge staff at the Royal Club for all their help. As a travel agent, I was able to arrange a hotel tour one day.

Food/Drink: we ate many meals at the Royal Club restaurant. Breakfast and lunch we were served by Ulysses; and evenings our waiter was Daniel. Service was exceptional and the food was great. We also ate at the beach snack bar and the food and service there was fine. We had one meal at the Italian a la carte restaurant; it was not air conditioned but the food and service was very good. We also enjoyed the lobby bar; Carlos was a great bartender and we found out that he is Daniel’s brother. Both Carlos and Daniel have been with the hotel for more than 14 years.

Beach: we had no problems finding chairs at the beach during our stay. We usually had breakfast and then arrived at the beach around 10:30 am. The beach was very wide with soft sand and mostly gentle waves. There were a couple of days when jelly fish and small rays were spotted; several people we met reported being stung by jelly fish however we never had a problem. The vendors were persistent but we politely said no and they generally left us alone. The girls bought a few bracelets and got henna tattoos. There were a couple of companies that had parasailing operations on the beach. We struck a deal with Chayan for 750 pesos for both and they were up for about 10 minutes each.

Pool: there was a nice sized pool between the hotel and beach. It was very clean and generally quite busy. Although there wasn’t a pool bar, there was a bar right next to the pool and we frequently had beach/pool waitress service.

Excursions: we took a taxi into Puerto Vallarta one afternoon and spent a few hours at the malecon. It was very hot that day and we found a couple bars with $1 beer or margaritas then had a wonderful dinner at the River Café. My husband is a diver and he booked a 2 tank dive with PV Sea Dive in Puerto Vallarta; the girls and I went along to snorkel. The water is definitely not as clear as the Caribbean sea, but we saw some interesting fish, etc. We were picked up and dropped off at the hotel. They also provided lunch and soft drinks/water on the trip.

My only complaint about the hotel is the lack of free wifi. Otherwise, I would rate this hotel as one of the best we have enjoyed in Mexico. The hotel was at full capacity during most of our stay but service did not suffer in any area. I would definitely recommend this hotel and we would certainly return.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank TravlinMann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2012

the location is perfect, 15 minutes away from puerto vallarta. the hotel has just been remodeled, and the staff is great. you can relax and do nothing or join in with the staff for many poolside or beach activities. get up and head down for breakfast, there is a chef waiting to make your custom order, or just choose from the many premade items. make sure you get lots of fresh fruit. there are always plenty of options as far as food goes. there are two bars where you can order whatever you want, or ask the friendly bartenders for a sugestion. there is a gym if you feel you need it, but your on vacation! make sure you make reservations for the two specialty restaurants, they are included in your cost. a tip for the waiters there is well worth the meal you get. something that makes a nice souviner is to paint a piece of pottery poolside. the vender will make huge improvements on your artwork, don't worry it will be perfect when he is done with it. we have been going to this resort since 1997, and will continue to go back. we have gone on other vacations but this is the BEST! one warning don't use the teller in the lobby that says U.S. dollars the exchange rate is BAD on it, use a your credit card, most places take them, no problem. if you have to get cash go to a bank and just get pesos. if you select this resort you will not be disappointed!

Room Tip: if you request a ground floor room you get a small patio.
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank sbeachgrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2012

This is a great resort with very helpful staff. From Bam Bam at Beach Club To the great waiters in the Italian Restaurant. Manny, Juan and everyone first class!! All the guys and girls that worked the buffet to make days and nights very special. Lobby bar was great, our boys with their friends love the pool bar especialy late night doing shooters and sampling the exotic drinks. Breakfast in the Buffet was great with the omelettes, Burgers for lunch at pool side restaurant...Dinners at Olive, Italian was awesome.
walked the beach to check out the other neighbouring resorts....Occidental was small but intimate. had the best beach front by far. Our boys and their friends spent afternoons playing volleyball and soccer on the beach. The ocean water was warm.The weather, sunny everyday with some evening showers.
Will be back soon
Stan The Man, Q boys Smitty family and Nana!
Vancouver BC

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Stan_Quon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Occidental Grand from July 21-28.

The resort was very busy as expected. I would say it was probably 85% locals occupying the hotel, and yes- LOTS of children as well.

I originally booked a 'superior room' which I have been told is the same as a 'deluxe room' this is NOT part of the Royal Service club. Our room was 651, facing the front of the hotel - So it wasn't a great view but we were on the corner so we could still see the a little ocean view and the resort beside us. All of the EVEN numbered rooms were facing the ocean so try to request that if you can. Our room was very spacious, clean and the modern decor was a great touch. There was an iPod docking station and bose sound system on the alarm clock which was great since I love listening to music while getting ready for dinner etc.The beds were quite hard, my bf loved it, I hated it. lol I would suggest bringing your own shampoo/conditioner/body wash. The mini fridge is stocked with 4 bottles of water, 2 cans of pop and 2 cans of beer - it gets re-filled every other day. We didn't have an issue with this at all. We tipped $5 and had 4 beers every other time it was stocked.

We got a great deal for this resort and thats why we chose to stay here. I was thinking about upgrading to the Royal Club and I asked someone at the front desk to show us what would be available if we were to upgrade. On the Occidental website - it says you can upgrade for $35 US per night, per person. Once we had the tour she told us it would cost $55 per person/per day and then worked out a 'deal' with the manager for $45. The royal section is nice - but I chose not to upgrade. The rooms seemed smaller - the only advantages to upgrading were - Exclusive access to a very small royal service bar as well as a separate Royal Service restaurant, wifi, separate beach area and unlimited reservations at the a la carte restaurants. I chose to spend the money on excursions and souvenirs instead. I know a lot of people have said that the Royal Service is the only thing that 'saved' their vacation at the Occidental but we had a great time without it.

I usually spend most of my vacation time in the pool. This time I spent most of it at the beach. The pool is actually quite small for the size of the resort and since it was so busy not once did I find a lounger by the pool. There were a couple times that I just jumped in to play around a but but it really was the most crowded part of the resort. The beach is HUGE and BEAUTIFUL we only had an issue finding loungers on the last day. There is a small section of the beach that is 'reserved' for Royal Service guests and they have their own loungers and bali beds. I only saw 4-8 people in that section daily. So IF you decide to go with Royal Service, take advantage of that. The beach vendors don't really 'hassle' you, they only ask you if you would like to see their stuff, if you say no - they leave you alone. I know a lot of people complained about that but it didn't bother me. I would suggest bringing a insulated cup for beach days only because I liked filling up my drink and not having to go back to the bar for a while - lol.

The pool bar is really the only place to get drinks during the day unless you sit down at the buffet or snack bar to eat. The pool bar is usually pretty busy, but just be patient as those guys work really hard. We tipped a lot more then I expected to on this vacation, not because we felt like we had to but because the bartenders really had to hustle. Sometimes it took a while to be served - so please don't expect the bartenders to give you extra special service just because you slip the guy a $5 bill. Some people were tipping and complaining that it took to long to be served... I tipped them because they were working hard, and treated me well.

The lobby bar was open from 5pm - 130am. It was a really beautiful place to watch the shows at night. Although the lobby bar is big, again - because the resort is so busy you might want to get there a little early just to ensure you have a spot to sit. Carlos at the lobby bar was amazing.

A lot of people had said that the shows at night were awful. I actually quite enjoyed them. I don't know why people go to all-inclusive resorts and expect 'cirque du soleil' standard entertainment... Again, it was more entertaining then any of the other resorts that I have stayed at previously in Mexico.

The food at the Buffet was actually the best I have had on vacation in Mexico before. It is a smaller buffet but they do have a great selection. We ate at the Italian place one night and the food was very good as well. I felt bad for the servers in there that day though. They had the doors open with no AC and I am pretty sure they only had 2 servers working the whole place - So they were really racing around all night.

We booked the Los Veranos canopy tour and it was a blast. It was about $75 each through our sun quest rep but totally worth it. There are people of all ages on the tour. I think there were 14 zip lines, it was a BLAST. If you do anything while you are there please give this tour a try. After the canopy tour you get to do a tequila tasting and they even have a small zoo, restaurant and swimming area you can enjoy after.

We also went into Puerto Vallarta for one day and that is also a MUST while you are staying in Mexico. Our taxi was about $17 each way. There is so much to do and see there so def. try to make it into town if you get a chance.

I wouldn't recommend this resort to people who want to party.There really were a lot of kids(not that I'm complaining - I just want people to be aware) Sometimes they change the snack bar into a disco at night and the bars shut down at 130. It is def. a fun place to be but there are other resorts that would be better suited for people who want to party like its spring break.

We booked our vacation through Sunquest and I really can't complain about the value you get for your money at this resort. The only thing I was really missing was a spa. They have a small cabana on the beach for ocean side massages.

* bring bug spray for the night. It wasn't too bad but def. worth bringing some spray. lol

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank Courtney_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2012

We booked this property last minute and felt we got a great deal. Requested a room location via email a couple days before arriving and we surprised that it was filled to our request (main floor with balcony - it even had a pool/ocean view so that was a great bonus). This resort is the smallest we have stayed at. The pluses are that you get an amazing ocean view anywhere you are - rooms, pool, restaurants, lobby. The down side was limited restaurant choice and not too many places to explore. The beach was decent here. The water is not nearly as warm or rustiness as the Mayan side of Mexico but you could walk on the beach seemingly forever. This hotel was about a $20 cab ride from puerto Vallarta but we used Vallarta adventures a lot and that was just a $5 cab ride away. We enjoyed the food - again it was small and somewhat limited but the lines were short and the food stemmed fresh. I did get sick the last night there but really think I just overdid it on their amazing guacamole. Best ever. This resort is old but definitely has been freshened up. The odd time you could smell sewer but I think this is a general Nuevo Vallarta issue, not just at this hotel. There is a mall half a block away with a decent selection of stores. The best thing about this resort for us was that the pool was heated. Sounds stupid to heat a pool in Mexico but it was amazing - spent hours in the pool each day - made up for the fact there was no pool bar! Travellors we met along the way complained bitterly about the Time share people but we had no issue in our hotel or Nuevo Vallarta. More pressure at the malecon but not our hotel. Overall great holiday, great price, friendly service. This was our first Mexico west coast trip - usually go to the Caribbean side. I would go again - more development, more shopping, loved the sun sets, shorter flight.

Room Tip: Request a main floor - balconies seemed few and far between.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank ColdInEdmonton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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