Just say, this is your first time to visit Cartagena, Colombia. Be prepared, Imigration is very slow, it's gonna take at least an hour right there till you get your turn and after you done with it, you look around and can't find taxi counter, well it's just right there outside, the taxi line, and will cost you 40,000colombian pesos (1USD=1700colombian pesos as of now of course), to this hotel/property.
So if you are not an adventurous travelers, please skip this destination, you will say to yourself what the heck is going on here. If you fly with certain airlines, make sure you check all the bags fee etc so at least you can figure which one is the best one that matches to your interest.
Ok now let me show you around...
None greet me when we arrive, that's for sure and first, we must face unfriendly guard that stares at your face like you bring some dangerous items with ya then to open the gates.
Receptions, not all of them but most of them are more like reserved kind a person. You just feel like, okay.. I'm here.. Hello.. I'm here, I need attention now. No personal touch, that's the words.
Room, I have double room this time, it's just good for 2 people, with LCD TV but most of them are in Spanish Chanels, it's so contemporary kind a style which I believe called Deluxe, good lightning, nice working AC, has safety box, big walking closet, minibar is included but has no variety tho. Great telephone system, you have your sink outside your bathroom, and it's shower and no tub in the room which is ok. I think need more pressure on shower also hot water is not hot really and must look after the drainage. Toiletries and towels are limited but nice (make sure you bring toothbrush and tootpaste), has hair dyer hangs on the wall. The only thing that I miss is a pair of sandal to walk around property since this is more resort type and beachfront. And the bed, prolly for some peeps are great but I'm not a hard mattress person, I feel like sleeping on the brick. So I feel pain when I wake up. Too soft is not good either so I'm just expecting an ordinary one. Variety of pillow from soft to firm, so great. My first nite, I heard this bird chirping out loud the whole nite till 7am, from outside and that's killing my ear and can't sleep at all. I told reception and the answer that you are staying in this kind of nature environment which is true, so hopefully hotel will have soundsproof soon.
The Swimming Pool, oh God, I love all these swimming pools, I wish they have pool bars to get drinks tho, especially this is an All Inclusive property. Spa and Gym is available and they are not bad tho.
No gift shop. I can say this place is more secluded from such a busy town. So if your choice is to stay away from craziness, this is a right place, as Hotel has free shuttle to Cafe Del Mar / city, back and forward even till midnite time which is awesome. So don't forget to have your sunscreen or some painkiller ready. I hope this hotel has shuttle to airport, and that makes a big different because none of the hotels in this city provide airport shuttle.
And no tour desk either.
Restaurants, for couple days I'm here, the menu are different every other days and I don't feel bored and the food are so great and delicious. The choice either the buffet style or they have table dining as well. And the people that works in restaurants...they are amazing. They speaks english by the way, they have smile, they make you feel so welcomed and try to accommodate you in anyway. So to say, you can order mimosa when breakfast ok. I love this part, it's very enjoyable. Since they named as a French restaurant for table dining, I hope they have more French cuisines serves, adding some more of salad bar and dessert variety, then would be so perfect.
The bar, only one person works there and sometimes none attends the bar so you will think that you gonna mix your own drinks...lol. And not much a big of musics play. And I seen no entertainment either like other all inclusive property. But again, I want to emphasize that people who works in this department ( Bar & Restaurant), they are so friendly.
By the way, it's free WiFi everywhere in the property, this is really awesome and a big plus.
The beach, they have the space, the venue whatever you wanna named them, it's soft sands, nice waters, clean and your water sport are included in the package too. But this beach looks so empty like cemetery. I really hope that hotel will work on this to make it merrier. For example put some activities, musics, restaurant or bars, oh boi..that would be awesome. And the beach boi that take care the waters sport, he doesn't speak English at all so, prepare to speak at least little Spanish or just use your International Language which is sign language. And it's all set. And this is awesome, there are ladies in Colombian costumes from hotel that goes around from pool to beach brings some fruits to taste or offer. This is really cool and I love it.
This place is an LGBT Friendly and the only thing that really needs to work it out is the mosquito, oh Lord has mercy, that's all I need in this place, bug repellent, bug spray.. All about bugs killer. I'm running out of blood now since all these Mosquitos sucks my blood, you will find lots of the fat ones...lol. No, seriously, they need to do something on this issue. My leg and hands at least has 10-15bites each of it and they are so itchy too. If other resort can do it, I am positively sure this place can. I love this place so much but this issue drives me nuts really.
For the price, I hope they can be competitive with others, if they can be cheaper than those hotels out there in Down Town or Boca Grande Area, this hotel I believe will be booming and steal people's heart just right there. I rated this hotel as very good because I see lots of things that can be upgraded since this hotel has everything in place already.
This hotel is suitable for family, solo, couple, or traveling with friends, not for business for sure.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Occidental Grand Cartagena Resort***** hotel's objective is to provide luxury, all-inclusive services on the seafront on the beautiful beaches of Manzanillo Bay. It is close to the cosmopolitan city of Cartagena de Indias. It has a contemporary design and a very calm ambience, and our guests' first impression is of an idyllic resort to relax and unwind in. Have a dip in the pool, stroll around the beautiful lush gardens or enjoy the 24-hour drink and snack service. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Occidental Grand Cartagena Hotel Cartagena