Occidental Dominican Republic

Pros

  • Modern, well-designed rooms with large, clean balconies
  • 25-minute cab ride from Punta Cana Airport

Cons

  • Small gym with limited equipment
  • Lots of kids makes for a loud crowd
  • Only generic-brand liquor available

Bottom Line

An 877-room all-inclusive, the Occidental draws mostly young families with its massive, lagoon-shaped pool (one of Punta Cana's best), popular beachside activities, lively entertainment, many restaurants, and all-night pizzeria. Rooms are well-decorated, and even include spa robes and slippers. Reasonably priced, this all-inclusive has bang for the buck.

Oyster Awards

Families stroll along the beachWe investigate in person.
Like your mother-in-law.

Categories

All-Inclusive, Beachfront, Kid-Friendly, Resort, Value, Weddings

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Scene

Families stroll along the beach

At 877 rooms, the Occidental is one of the largest all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana. There are some elderly and 20-something couples that happen by the resort, but families are the focus here. Kids are everywhere - running around the lobby, waiting while their parents are at the bars, and playing on the beach and in the pools.The beach For those without kids, there's a much quieter adults-only pool, but day-long serenity is hard to come by.

Out on the beach, guests and staff get down with dance aerobics or volleyball. Music is everywhere, all the time. Ordinarily this might be annoying, but it's ambient enough to be consistently pleasant. Like the nearby Iberostar Bavaro, there's a predominance of Spanish tunes, which is a welcomed shift from the blaring '80s pop hits found at most resorts. Other guests appreciate this as well, "I go to another country because I want to feel like I'm in another country, " said a Canadian I quizzed. This general joviality was definitely not observed at the Occidental Aruba, so I was very happily surprised here in Punta Cana. But, for a little quieter atmosphere, check out the similarly priced Gran Bahia Ambar nearby.

Map of Occidental Grand Punta CanaLocation

A 25-minute cab ride from the airport

Beach

A pretty broad white-sand beach with gentle waves, clear water, and lots of young children.

The beach

The Occidental's white-sand beach isn't quite as broad as the beaches at Natura Park, the Iberostar or the Gran Bahia, but it's considerable. Still, what it lacks in girth it makes up for in length, skirting up the coast to the Princess Bavaro, the Caribe Club Princess, and the Princess Punta Cana. With all the young children at the Occidental, and the traffic up and down the beach between resorts, it's a pretty active spot. There's a stage for a dance aerobics class right next to a Holey board set which was a step away from a volleyball net. There's also a water-sports center at the far end of the Occidental's beach right next to a strip of stores selling all sorts of colorful handicrafts.

The beach is pretty broad, though you wouldn't know it from the amount of thoroughfare it gets from its own guests, and from the neighboring Princess resorts. But the white sand is powdery, the waves are gentle, and the water clear, as always in Punta Cana.

The Grand Concierge Deluxe Room (Pre-Renovation) A banana boat An evening performance The playground
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