Occidental Grand Punta Cana: getting past being disappointed

Occidental Grand all inclusive resorts come with a promise of the finest beaches, vivid selection of a la carte gourmet restaurants and a wide range of included activities topped with warm, attentive staff. A few years back I was able to live through such experience in Occidental Grand XCaret, Mexico, which left a pleasant memory in my mind and a soft spot for the Occidental chain.

Naturally when booking a vacation this winter I wanted to share that wonderful experience with my family making an assumption that one resort in the chain could be taken as an example for the rest and so we ended up in Occidental Grand Punta Cana.

To list the problems we’ve come across during this one week visit again would be a painful reminder of how small things can come together into an avalanche of issues that might make you cry while trying to figure out how to get conditioner out of your hair because the water in the shower seems to have reached the bottom of the barrel.

Getting past the rusty tub, missing pillows, non-existent beach towels, and feeling like a lower class citizen next to the Royal Club beach bar (which we were not allowed to come near) we found a way to make the best of this vacation. I made a solid effort at learning how to windsurf, traveled to Catalina Island with some of the coolest tour guides you could find, ate a lot of various (not always incredibly salty) meals, got a healthy tan, and met some interesting people to drink Mama Juana with.

But all things considered there is something wrong with having to talk yourself into making the “best of it” while being on vacation apologizing to your family for the multitude of things wrong with a highly recommended resort. One of my least favorite feelings is being disappointed and this Occidental is a 3-star patched up vestige of what quite possibly once was a luxurious resort.

Instagram feed for this trip is #XOBavaro