The Occidental Grand, Dominican Republic

The All-inclusive resort

Here we've reached the conclusion of my series about Caribbean travel. I'd like to complete this series with a review of the all-inclusive resort I stayed at, The Occidental Grand in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. If you're looking for travel tips you can check out part one and part two of the series, if you haven't already.

I've broken the review up into three main categories; The Resort, The Room and finally The Food.

Around the Resort

Map of the Occidental Grand Resort. Dominican Republic.
Map of the Occidental Grand Resort. Dominican Republic. | Source
View of the main lobby building from the pool. Inside the lobby is the reservations desk for excursions and a coffee bar. The perfect place to sit and enjoy your morning coffee.
View of the main lobby building from the pool. Inside the lobby is the reservations desk for excursions and a coffee bar. The perfect place to sit and enjoy your morning coffee. | Source
The Occidental Grand is very well maintained. Beautifully manicured lawns & gardens. Resort staff do a great job keeping the resort clean and litter free.
The Occidental Grand is very well maintained. Beautifully manicured lawns & gardens. Resort staff do a great job keeping the resort clean and litter free. | Source
We visited the Occidental Grand during Christmas Break. They did a wonderful job of decorating for Christmas.
We visited the Occidental Grand during Christmas Break. They did a wonderful job of decorating for Christmas. | Source
There are plenty activities available to keep you busy. I even got the chance the try some archery. I was not very good at it. :(
There are plenty activities available to keep you busy. I even got the chance the try some archery. I was not very good at it. :( | Source

The Resort

The Occidental Grand is located just a short 25 minute bus ride from the Punta Cana International Airport on beautiful seven mile long Bavaro Beach.

The main lobby of the hotel is quite grand. Beautiful open concept with a lovely view looking out over thee largest pool I have ever seen. Wonderfully decorated with big comfy lounge chairs and sofas. It was the perfect place to sit and enjoy our morning coffee. The main coffee bar is located right in the lobby and has some of the best coffee I've ever tasted. The friendliness and easy smiles of the staff made it even more enjoyable.

The pool, ahhhh, that pool. It makes me wish I was there right now, sun bathing with a drink in my hand. The pool was HUGE. Separated perfectly with little islands for sunbathing in the middle. The pool was varying depths, with a gradient at one end, so it felt like you were walking into the ocean. It's a perfect family pool, lots of shallow areas for the kids to play, with plenty of deeper spots for the adults to lounge around and float in... And the swim up bar was quite enjoyable as well. All the delicious drinks you can handle and you don't even have to get out of the pool; just paradise.

The resort also boasts an outdoor theatre, with several nightly shows. They had everything from plays, dance competitions and great early shows for the kids. The announcer was very enthusiastic and the dancers were quite entertaining.

There were only two real complaints I have with the resort, one minor, one slightly bigger. Upon arrival, the check-in process took forever. I will concede, that there was a bus full of us checking in at the same time, but the front desk staff didn't seem at all prepared to receive us, as we had to wait in line for about 25 minutes before we even got to the desk. Just a minor complaint.

The only thing that truly bothered me was the vendors. From talking to other people who have been to the Dominican Republic, it seems to be common practice to let vendors on to the resorts, so this isn't specific to our resort, but it was quite annoying. On certain days they even allowed vendors to set up tables with their souvenirs right by the pool. You couldn't walk to dinner, as they were right beside the restaurant, without being harassed by vendors. I expect that if I go off a resort, but not while I'm trying to find a nice place to sunbath right by the pool.

I would give the resort four stars out of five (one star deduction because of the pesky vendors)

The Junior Suite

The room we stayed in was a Junior Suite. Located on the main floor, right beside the pool. The room exceeded our expectations. Huge balcony, clean linens, and comfy bed. You can see the pool through the window in this photo.
The room we stayed in was a Junior Suite. Located on the main floor, right beside the pool. The room exceeded our expectations. Huge balcony, clean linens, and comfy bed. You can see the pool through the window in this photo. | Source
This is the view looking out onto the patio from the sitting area. Overlooking the main pool.
This is the view looking out onto the patio from the sitting area. Overlooking the main pool. | Source
The sitting area in our Junior Suite. Right beside the patio. Perfect for relaxing after a long day out in the sun.
The sitting area in our Junior Suite. Right beside the patio. Perfect for relaxing after a long day out in the sun. | Source

The Room

We stayed in one of their junior suites, located just beside the hotels main pool. The room was very clean and well maintained. A large bathroom with both a shower and tub (of which there was always plenty of hot water, never ran out once),a sitting area, dining room, two TVs (with English channels available) and a very large balcony. The room was more than expected for the price we paid. Having a poolside room was great, however the theatre was located just on the other side of the pool. Some nights the shows ran a little long and it was impossible to escape the sounds of dance music when we were trying to fall asleep. If you're a light sleeper, or will be travelling with kids, the volume might make it hard for you to sleep. If that's a concern for you, I'd suggest booking a room farthest from the pool as you can.

The air conditioning in the room worked very well; I woke up quite chilly in the middle of the night at few times. All the outlets are the same as North America, which is quite convenient. The mini bar was restocked daily with Pepsi and bottled water and the cleaning staff did a wonderful job keeping our room tidy for us.

I would rate the room five stars out of five.

More photos from the Junior Suite

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Washroom was big and very clean. Lots of counter space, both stand up shower and bath tub.Stocked with all the little extra goodies. Shampoo, Conditioner, combs, soaps.. In case you forget to pack some.The Junior Suite comes with stand up shower and bath tub. Very clean.. Plenty of hot water.Lots of closet space in the Junior Suite and a mini fridge stocked daily with bottled water, Pepsi and Sprite. (at no extra charge!)View from the bed. The bedroom and sitting room are separate from each other, with a nice passageway between the two.. And two TVs. One in each room.TV number two. Located in the sitting room. I wanted to give a sense of just how big the room was. This is standing against the patio doors, looking down towards the entrance.
Washroom was big and very clean. Lots of counter space, both stand up shower and bath tub.
Washroom was big and very clean. Lots of counter space, both stand up shower and bath tub. | Source
Stocked with all the little extra goodies. Shampoo, Conditioner, combs, soaps.. In case you forget to pack some.
Stocked with all the little extra goodies. Shampoo, Conditioner, combs, soaps.. In case you forget to pack some. | Source
The Junior Suite comes with stand up shower and bath tub. Very clean.. Plenty of hot water.
The Junior Suite comes with stand up shower and bath tub. Very clean.. Plenty of hot water. | Source
Lots of closet space in the Junior Suite and a mini fridge stocked daily with bottled water, Pepsi and Sprite. (at no extra charge!)
Lots of closet space in the Junior Suite and a mini fridge stocked daily with bottled water, Pepsi and Sprite. (at no extra charge!) | Source
View from the bed. The bedroom and sitting room are separate from each other, with a nice passageway between the two.. And two TVs. One in each room.
View from the bed. The bedroom and sitting room are separate from each other, with a nice passageway between the two.. And two TVs. One in each room. | Source
TV number two. Located in the sitting room. I wanted to give a sense of just how big the room was. This is standing against the patio doors, looking down towards the entrance.
TV number two. Located in the sitting room. I wanted to give a sense of just how big the room was. This is standing against the patio doors, looking down towards the entrance. | Source

Restaurants Abound

View of the main dining hall. Located next to the pool, attached to the beautiful main lobby. There was a ton of different foods to try. Buffet style for all main meals.
View of the main dining hall. Located next to the pool, attached to the beautiful main lobby. There was a ton of different foods to try. Buffet style for all main meals. | Source
My husbands yummy cheeseburger at the sports bar. Located right next to the main pool, it was the perfect place to grab a quite bit and duck out of the sun for a bit.
My husbands yummy cheeseburger at the sports bar. Located right next to the main pool, it was the perfect place to grab a quite bit and duck out of the sun for a bit. | Source
This was the view from the sports bar mentioned above.
This was the view from the sports bar mentioned above. | Source

The Food

The food at the Occidental Grand does not disappoint. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style and they have everything your taste buds could want. Fresh fruit, seafood, pastas, delicious desserts, you name it, they have it. You certainly won't go hungry at this resort. They even have a cheese station with all the best cheeses you can think off, and their breakfast buffet includes a smoothie station. Their banana smoothies are beyond delicious. The only complaint about the buffet was one morning while reaching for a piece of french toast, I noticed that a few slices had mould on them.

The resort also offers four options for a la carte dining. La Reses, a steakhouse with many menu options to choose from. La Hacienda, a Mexican restaurant, which was themed and decorated perfectly, with wonderful tacos. Via Veneto, fine italian dining, which is perfect for a romantic dinner. I recommend their lasagna. The fourth restaurant is D'Oriental, Chinese dinning, of which we didn't try as our vacation package only included three a la carte reservations.

The resort also has a taco and pizza bar for snacking, as well as a snack bar by the pool. The pizza bar makes the best calzones I've ever had. Stuffed with so much fresh mozzarella it was the perfect evening snack. The snack bar, located above the swim up bar is the ideal place to seek refuge from the sun and enjoy a drink and nachos (with nacho cheese on tap no less!)

I would rate the food four stars out of five.

Four stars at a great price

The food was great, the room was beyond anything I could've imagined and the staff were always friendly and courteous. The beach was well maintained and very clean. I would gladly recommend this resort. If you're looking for a well priced resort in a beautiful location, the Occidental Grand is a wonderful resort for couples or families. If you'd like more information you can check out their website.

I hope you've enjoyed my Caribbean Travel series! If you have any additional tips, comments, critques, other travel ideas, etc. please feel free to post them below!

Thanks for reading and happy travelling!

A markerBavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic -
Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic
[get directions]

The Occidental Grand Flamenco is located on Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, DR

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Comments 7 comments

JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 2 years ago from Canada Author

I have never been to the Virgin Islands.. It's definitely on my travel bucket list.. My boyfriend (now fiance!) and I got engaged last summer and I've been obsessing over honeymoon ideas ever since. lol. Funny how the actual wedding I have no clue about yet, but I've got a list a mile long of honeymoon ideas. The Virgin Islands is definitely on that list. It looks soooo beautiful there. :)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 2 years ago from Iowa

I've never been to the Dominican Republic but, as I mentioned in my comment to your other hub, my neighbors were in Punta Cana last week and loved it. They stayed at a different resort, however. Have you ever been to the Virgin Islands? My husband and I got married in St. Thomas. We keep saying we need to go back but there are so many other islands to explore!


JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for the insight about Cuba! We're booking tonight, so I'll be sure to post back and let ya know where we're going! I'm sooo excited!! :D

I'm from Cornwall! I won't be offended if you haven't heard of it. lol. A lot of people haven't.. It's about 45 mins west of you in Ottawa!

Isn't it crazy how cold out it is?! It was so mild for a bit there, now bam! Crazy cold snap! ...I'm just hoping my car starts later.

Keep warm.


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

In Cuba, we went to Cayo Coco once, twice to Varadero and once in Santiago de Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba was the best with the lovely tiny place we went in. The hotel had about 20 rooms. We had to walk down about 300 steps to get to the beach. It was a private beach... just lovely! The only thing not so positive.... it was not a place to swim...there were a lot of corals and it was easy to hurt yourself. You had to be in shape to go up and down to the beach but that was OK with us.

I love the Mayan Riviera as well. We went to visit the Xcaret Theme Park with a show at the end of the day (dance from different part of Mexico and they also show ancient games); excellent. We went to that park the two times we went to Mexico!

Enjoy your next trip in the sunny Caribbean!

Where are you in Ontario? I live in Ottawa.... and it's still really cold today! I don't mind the cold when it's not too cold and that I can go for cross country skiing! On the other end.... a nice beach with turquoise water....is really tempting too :-))))


JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada Author

Where in Cuba have you been? My fiance and I are actually planning to go down south next week... we're booking it tonight. We're hoping to get another good last minute deal... We're thinking either the Mexican Riviera (depending on the price... it seems to be a little more expensive than other places, but I'm leery about travelling to too many places in Mexico) or somewhere in Cuba.. Santa Lucia looks beautiful, as does Cayo Largo... I guess if all else fails, Varadero will be our fall back.


JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada Author

Hey thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate it! I definitely agree with you that it's such a nice treat to be able to get away from the winter cold & head to a warm destination... Especially this winter! It's was -39 where I am last night and it's not much warmer today. :(


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Thank you for your great review.... I hope that you can go back for free for your review ;-)

I never have been in the Domenican Republic. I went to Cuba (several times), Aruba, Margarita, Cancun and Mexican Riviera. I must say that living in Canada it's always nice to be able to leave for a week or two during the winter. When my husband and I take those kind of holidays, for several weeks, I am looking forward of the time I will get on the beach with the turquoise water and the palm trees. And when I come back, that feeling stays with me for a little while until the Spring. So those short holidays go a long way :-)

I didn't go last year and will not go this year because of other travel plans in the summer. But I don't complain because I feel really blessed of being able to travel!

Looking forward of reading other reviews....that will warm me up for this winter :-) Brrrrr it's so cold today!

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