Para Los Ninos

The 252-room Occidental Grand Cozumel Hotel, of the Allegro Hotel & Resort chain, opened its colonial-style doors last month.

By: Richard Carroll

The 252-room Occidental Grand Cozumel Hotel, of the Allegro Hotel & Resort chain, opened its colonial-style doors last month.

Ensconced on the southwest part of the island on San Francisco Beach, the hotel is only a short ride from San Miguel, the island’s only town, and minutes away from some of the world’s finest diving.

Besides its location, the hotel offers numerous amenities. There are 252 rooms (220 deluxe) spread among 11 tile-roof colonial-style buildings, each with either a balcony or a terrace. Rooms include minirefrigerators, hair dryers, irons and safes.

The all-inclusive package includes a welcome cocktail, a weekly cocktail party, all meals and snacks, unlimited alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, and wine with dinner.

Plenty for Kids

The Occidental Grand makes it easy for parents to keep their children busy. The daily activities program by the pool or beach includes an aerobics workout, a volleyball game or water polo. More independent offspring can test their skills sailing or windsurfing in the offshore breeze.

Kids can hop into a kayak, snorkel until they are water logged and be challenged by a daily beginner’s scuba clinic in the pool. An on-property dive shop is manned by experienced islanders who know their coral reefs.

The Kids Club, designed for children 4 to 12, has adult supervision from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Baby-sitting services can be arranged with 24-hour advance notice for parents who desire a little nightlife. The cost is approximately $10 an hour.

There are three swimming pools, one for the kiddies, one for water play for older kids and one for grown-ups.

For exercise on land, a gym with extensive workout equipment and two illuminated, hard- surface tennis courts are available.

Kids aside, clients who desire some exclusivity can be booked into the 32-room Royal Club (a special key permits entry) and offered VIP amenities such as premium beverages, a private breakfast and 24-hour room service.

Clients can lounge in Jacuzzi-style bathtubs, with concierge and business services close at hand.

The Royal Club rooms come with dataports, minibars, DVDs and coffee makers. Six junior suites have living rooms, while one two-room master suite offers two bathrooms, a living room, a dressing area and a Jacuzzi.


Dining choices at the hotel are extensive and diverse. La Posada, the main restaurant, offers an international buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is ideal for kids on the run who don’t want to sit through a lingering meal with their parents.

The Sonora Grill is a dinner-only room, featuring steak and other meat dishes.

Los Olivos serves Mediterranean cuisine, while La Hacienda offers Mexican fare.

Reservations are required for all three dinner rooms, and a dress code applies (no beachwear allowed and long pants for men are required).

Other dining choices are Pizzeria La Fontana, a snack bar, a lobby bar and a pool bar for cocktails and soft drinks, and La Mision, a popular bar and disco. There is a boutique, a beauty salon and a full-service spa offering a variety of massages. Numerous treatments, including wraps, facials and hot-stone treatments, are designed for men.

Nearby Attractions

The setting is a major selling point. Cozumel, Mexico’s largest island at 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, hovers off the northeast tip of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, separated from Cancun by a 12-mile wide channel that is crisscrossed by famous coral reefs.

Another important selling feature is the array of nearby attractions for clients who dive or snorkel. The hotel has 18 dive boats that carry clients on five-minute rides from the hotel to the legendary Palancar Reef. Beneath the sea’s surface are a variety of sea fauna, crevices, caves and multihued coral embellished with thousands of fish. Clients also can snorkel in Cozumel’s Chankannab Park, a large lagoon and natural saltwater pool, teeming with hundreds of swarming tropical fish.

Land attractions include tours to ancient Mayan ruins on the mainland such as Tulum, the only coastal ceremonial center that the Maya are known to have constructed; Xcaret, an eco-archaeological park; Chichen Itza and Xel-ha, a water park built around an ancient Mayan lagoon. Cozumel also has some reconstructed Mayan ruins and ceremonial areas in the center of the island that make an easy morning outing even with a stop in San Miguel for shopping.

Rates, Etc.

Rates for the all-inclusive plan, per person, double, are $149 to $203 for deluxe rooms, $180 to $234 for Club Royal rooms, $211 to $265 for junior suites and $442 to $495 for the master suite. The rates for children 2 to 12 are $54 to $146.

Rack rate commission of 15% applies. A special introductory rate for agents at $30 per night is valid until Jan 15, 2003, excluding the holiday season, Dec. 22 to Jan 1, 2003.

Call 800-858-2258.

Web site: www.grand

Other all-inclusives in Cozumel: Iberostar Cozumel Hotel (011-52-987-29900), Web site: www.iberostar. com; and Paradisus Cozumel All-Inclusive Beach Resort & Country Club (800-336-3542), Web site: www.