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“All I want for my Holiday is A BUG SPRAY!!!”

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Occidental Cartagena
Ranked #47 of 158 Hotels in Cartagena
Reviewed 24 May 2012

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.

Room Tip: Ask Reception to explain what kind of room you will have and what floor, they have elevator too. Ask...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank W0rldTravelAdvis0r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 May 2012

We stayed at the Occidental Grand March of 2012. We had an ocean view room which was very nice and kept clean. Floor was tile which was a little uneven in certain corners. There are 2 pools, a quiet pool by the rooms, and the party pool by the main bar and restaurant area. Food was good every night. Some people were complaining about the lack of variety but every night there was fish, beef/pork chicken and pasta. Salad and desserts were there as well. A grill set up for burgers and steaks and fish.
The loud bar wasn't staffed enough for the amount of people at that end of the resort. The portable bar at the quiet pool was great.
Free shuttle into town 5-6 times a day . The walled city is a must, we walked it for hours, even ventured out into the real Cartagena, felt very safe at all times.
There are some issues with the cleanliness in the dish/silver ware department.
A very nice relaxing week.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank JohnMLisaM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2012

My husband and I went with friends in Feb 2012. Overall it was a good experience. We found staff friendly, good service in the restaurants, liked the food choices as it was all good, just not loaded with options like other buffets, but good quality. Bar service was slow at times, not enough staff and needed another location. It would be nice if there was a sheltered facility for evenings as it is very windy, and really no place to hang out. I found the beach fine, not a white sandy beach with blue water, more like Lake Huron, but you could walk it and enjoy. Had a massage on beach for $25 it was great! There does need to be more shade around the pools. Rooms were ok, but I don't think you can get a king without a suite, so it is 2 doubles. Found the rooms even with the air on very humid, as it is the type of a/c, as well as a noisy a/c unit! I didn't like the brick work floor, hard on the feet and impossible to clean. Didn't mind being outside of the city since there was a shuttle, nice to have a quiet spot when not exploring the city. There are toothbrushes available for sale at front desk (dropped mine on the floor!) so that is a relief since there is not a store on site. If the price is right, and you want to try a different spot, as well as knowing it won't rain or be cool temperature, this is a good option.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank trishiepooh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2012

We (my wife and I, both in our late 50s) spent a week at the Occidental Grand Cartagena in early March, 2012. We found the hotel very clean and the staff exceptionally friendly and always trying to please. We had no complaints about the food and were especially pleased by the nice selection of delicious Colombian fruit. The shuttle service between the hotel and the walled city was excellent. It's about a 20 minute ride. Our main complaint was a limited amount of shade around the two pools and that people continued to "reserve" the shaded areas by leaving their towels there - and this, despite having being told not to do so. People also need to be aware that because of the communicating doors between the rooms, you can hear what's going on in the room next door, especially if your neighbours are inconsiderate and don't keep their voices down. I think the staff needs to tell the guests about keeping noise to a minimum.
We had an exceptionally good guide for our visit of the old city and for a trip the following day to the mangrove in La Boquilla. His name is Henry and he not only speaks excellent English but is smart, funny and charges a very reasonable amount for his services. I can provide contact details upon request. Email dmonkman1@cogeco.ca

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Monkmaga P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2012

I have traveled extensively. I am fairly laid back but have stayed all over. Lets face it does not matter where you stay its the experience and what you make of it. Place was gorgeous, totally relaxing, pools were breath taking over looking the ocean, steam room was fantastic. resort is small but it made me realize how much i love small resorts. Beach was OK, great for walks.

I read through all the reviews and the only major issue was sand flies and mosquitoes. We got killed and had welts that itched and burned for a week after we got back. But the rooms were awesome we got this enormous upgraded suites. Nicest I have stayed in just gorgeous. Cartegena is stunning and fun.

Food was great, Never sick. Would come back. Again the only issue was the bites, am I the only one who noticed this. We even lathered on mosquito repellent.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank JackLifeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, E-Commerce at Occidental Cartagena, responded to this reviewResponded 4 May 2012

Good Morning Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your experience from your recent stay at Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo Hotel. We are very pleased to read your review and learn that you enjoyed your time with us. We appreciate your comments which are very important to us. We certainly look forward to welcoming you back next time.

Kind Regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Occidental Cartagena

Address: Anillo Vial Via Manzanillo del mar Km. 4 | No. 9-85, Cartagena 985, Colombia (Formerly Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo)
Phone Number:
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#13 Family Hotel in Cartagena
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Cartagena
#17 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#37 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range: ₹ 10,013 - ₹ 22,577 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Occidental Cartagena 3.5*
Number of rooms: 190
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 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Cartagena Hotel Cartagena

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