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All reviewsquiet poolmain barfree shuttlenativo restauranta la carte restaurantsall inclusive resortbeach barthe entire resortgreat resortdark sandold citywalled cityboogie boardsnightly entertainmentadult only poolcity tourpools were clean
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Reviewed 8 April 2012

If you are looking for a unique holiday this maybe for you. Great holiday, wonderful weather, yummy pizza and according to my son chicken from the grill was the best he had ever tasted. One great bonus was the complimentary shuttle into Cartagena.

Please message me with any questions.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank BCHSOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2012

Was there from March 26-April 2, 2012
- food was great, although the 4 restaurants were really one dining room and an open air buffet with side grill and pizzeria, although were excellent
- finding lounge chairs at the pool and the beach not an issue all day long unlike DR and Cuba where you have to fight for chairs at 8am
- average beach, mirky waters but it was warm, had to travel to another part of Colombia for white sand and blue water
- shuttle to downtown walled city was a godsend, saves you $20 US each way
- not great for singles since at the time, were mostly couples but good to hang around with for the week
- english was a little bit of an issue compared to DR, Cuba and Mexico but they were responsive, attentive and most of all friendly
- lots of exploration to do in Cartagena for the adventerous, it is not just beach and pool
- you will probably enjoy the walled city, but they mostly sell Italian food there which I heard was pretty good from the other guests, my buddy and I had to travel to Boca Grande for Colombian food

Would I recommend this resort and go back? Yes, I paid $870 but heard some people were getting $700 a few days before...

BTW, if you are buying Colombian coffee to take home, buy it at EXITO grocery store in the Walled City, they charge roughly $5 US whereas the other tourist shops try to scalp it to you for $10-15.

Hope this helps!

Room Tip: Oceanview rooms are furthest away from the ocean - with a view.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank drfeelgood99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2012

Chose the Occidental Grand as a base for exploring this part of Columbia, the shuttle into the old walled city, 7 times a day, made this possible and inexpensive! After years of drug problems, the government has worked hard to make tourists safe, and you find police on every block of the old city. I would recommend taking a tour upon your arrival in the old city, as there is much to see and learn in this historic site. We used Henry Castrillon, who is fluent in English, and provided an interesting in-depth walking tour. He can be reached at snowfull1966@hotmail.com and can meet your shuttle bus.

The hotel is only 20 minutes into Cartagena, on a nice stretch of quiet beach, which is great for walking. The sand is brown, so the water is not turquoise blue, but it was fun to play in, without crazy waves or currents.

The rooms were comfortable, we had a main floor suite with jacuzzi on the terrace. We enjoyed sitting on our terrace in the afternoon and walking a few steps to the bar at the quiet pool. We could open up the living room doors, and enjoy the outside. The room did have a foul odor when we used the living room AC, room 2103, hopefully they figure out what died in the AC unit!! But we just used the bedroom A/C and opened the doors for ventilation.

The hotel is new (opened in July 2011) and the staff are still "in training". They are very friendly, and helpful, but little things, like failing to replace used toiletries in the bathroom, restocking the pool bar with liquor, using flat pop instead of opening a new bottle, need to improve. William at the front desk was amazing in helping organize tours to the Mud Volcano (take a bus to a "mud" volcano about 30 minutes away, take a mud bath and get massaged ... have to try it!!) and Rosario islands, getting our fridge restocked, etc. Few staff spoke English well, but using our limited Spanish and hand gestures got the job accomplished.

The downfall to the hotel was the FOOD. It lacked flavour and was overcooked. I would recommend the pizza, fruit, omelets and french fries. The food in town was great.

Room Tip: We had a problem with odors coming from the a/c in room 2103. Enjoyed the upgraded suite with jacuzzi!
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank reginaski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2012

My husband and I have just returned from this resort and have to say this is by far the best vacation we have had. We were skeptical about some of the negative reports we read but am pleased to say we found none of them to be true. The resort was clean and well maintained by friendly staff who went out of their way to help. The rooms were, comfortable, spacious and well appointed and we had no issues with towels or bedding. The pools were well maintained and the ground staff did a great job of keeping things in order. We ate at all three restaurants and had no issues with the food what so ever. I particularly liked that the entertainment staff kept you busy if you wanted to partake and left you if you wanted to sunbathe. Being a smaller resort of 192 rooms it was more intimate and there were no loud partygoers up until all hours – that said, there may have been but they were quiet and we certainly never heard them!!! I’d recommend that if you were going in to Cartagena that you call Henry Castrillon 321-692-2404 or e-mail him at snowfull1966@hotmail.com to book a trip. Very knowledgeable and friendly tour guide. Both Graeme and I loved our first trip to Columbia and can’t wait to go back again to this resort - OVERALL AWESOME

Room Tip: Tower 3 - floor one - lovely sunset view every night
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Twosharps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2012

If you are an alcoholic you may enjoy, if you like real loud music, you may enjoy, if you like dead fish,dogs, cars motorbikes etc at the beach, you may enjoy, however if you thought to have payed for a 4 star hotel, you may be disappointed. It should be rated a 3 star minus,
Dont consider this hotel if you want to enjoy beautiful Cartagena
A disgrunteled customer
hhoedl@hotmail.com

Room Tip: there is no good room
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Herbert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, Gerente at Estelar Playa Manzanillo, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2012

Dear Customer

First, I want to thank you for the time dedicated to let us know your comments in detail on the problems presented in the last stay.

I´m very sorry about happened, and, in the name of the organization, I present you my sincere apologies. Additionally, I want to say you that I have taken careful note about you mentioned, and we have take corrective measures for issues like this, in order to events like these do not happen again. However, we are not able to control all of it. Although traffic is strictly prohibited on the beaches, some do not respect this rule and we have requested a concession to the Port Authority in order to control our portion of the beach.

Thank you for your understanding be sure that always will be welcome to serve you in this, your home.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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