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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
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
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 SuiteClick thumbnail to view full-size
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!
The Occidental Grand Flamenco is located on Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, DR