I stayed at the Occidental after booking through Bavaro Resorts. My stay was only for a night (thankfully).
Let me just begin by saying this hotel is FAR from the city center and therefore far from all the fun.
Check in: I arrived at approximately 6:30pm. Check in took over 45 minutes and I was the only one checking in. I had already provided all my information in the pre-check in. I was asked to forward my reservation e-mail to a resort's email address because "they couldn't pull up reservations." Next they said their copier wasn't working so they had to take a picture of my passport. I was not happy about this but they wouldn't let me check in unless they had a "copy" of my identification. They did not give me any information about the resort. I had to ask about wifi, restaurants, bars, etc. Also, they didn't have any property maps so it was up to you to go and explore. I waited 10 minutes after finally checking in, they didn't have anyone to take my bag to the room so they said to go to the room and they would send my bag in a few minutes. I waited over 45 minutes for my bag. I called them numerous times and every time they said it was on its way.
Room: The room was great. I booked a suite so it was very spacious with a double balcony overlooking one of the pools (which was apparently closed to the public) and near the adult pool and lobby. There is a weird kitchen area, that is not really a kitchen. Long counter and a bunch of cabinets. Beautiful bathroom and super comfortable bed. They had a bottle of champagne for me in the room which was a nice touch. The refrigerator did not work.
Food: Not good. I'm Colombian and I had been in Cartagena for about a week prior to my arrival so I know the food in that area. I ate at the italian restaurant for dinner and the buffet for lunch. I had room service for breakfast. They have no one to check you in at the italian restaurant. I had to walk almost all the way to the kitchen to grab someone's attention. The buffet was terrible. I've stayed in numerous all inclusive resorts and the food has never been this bad.
Bars/Entertainment: There is nothing to do at this place and it is far from the city. The only thing was the dance show which was great and the dancers did their best. They have one bar open at night. Drinks are decent but only 1 bartender. The other one is at the adult pool which is only open during the day. The bartender controls the music from a laptop, all through youtube. No pool service. In the "active" pool, you have to literally leave the pool area and go through the restaurants in order to get a drink which is annoying. There is a bar by the "quiet" pool.
Service: The entertainers were great and extremely friendly. I did the relaxation class at the active pool which was amazing. Service at the restaurants was very poor, even after tipping. Service at the Spa was okay, not friendly at all.
Overall, the hotel falls below what I expected and what the Barcelo brand stands for. It wasn't worth the money and I wouldn't return.
- 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