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“Beautiful Cartagena”

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Occidental Cartagena
Ranked #50 of 159 Hotels in Cartagena
Reviewed 16 August 2017

The resort was all-inclusive. The grounds of the resort were spectacular. However, although the rooms were clean, it resort could use some updating. Food was great, but could have used more variety, especially at breakfast. All around though, it was a great resort. The provided free bus service from the resort (5 times per day) to the old city.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Sara R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 24 August 2017

Dear Sara,

From the general management and all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo we would like to say thanks for your comments, they are valuable for us. We also want to be grateful for you taking some time to let us know about how was your experience with us.

We appreciate you let us know about the breakfast variety, so we can keep working on it. Currently our drinks and food department is working on new designs to our Buffet restaurant menus, so we can add more variety to them.

We are working everyday to improve our service and give to our guest a better quality of them.

We hope have the chance to attend you again,

Best regards,
Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 16 of 1,268 reviews

Reviewed 20 July 2017

I came here for my birthday in May 2015, and hoping to return again this year. My trip was amazing the staff treated me like their own family. The staff helped out with any accommodation that I needed, such as booking a snorkeling trip, booking a photo shoot at the resort, and I even had forgotten my tooth brush and they even helped out with that. I do speak Spanish so it was very easy for us to communicate. Everyone is always smiling. I got the king suite where I had been was very spacious which I liked a lot. The view was nice. Be ware though of the geckos, but those are all over Colombia.The suite had a nice little Jacuzzi out back. They have a quiet pool outdoors and they had a different pool where you could have drinks and be a little more louder. Their own part of the beach owned by the hotel themselves. The only reason why I am giving this hotel four stars is because I was expecting their food to have more Colombian food in the buffet and menu, after all I am in Colombia. I want to taste more of that Colombian food. That is the only thing though, but other than that I can not complain. These guys will take care of you and I can't wait to see them again!

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank JessicaCS517
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 21 July 2017

Dear Jessica

From the general management and all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo we would like to say thanks for your comments, they are valuable for us. We also want to be grateful for you taking some time to let us know about how nice was your experience with us.

We are grateful to know that we were up to your expectation, for that reason we are going to keep working to improve and give the best of our work to our guest.

Looking forward to have you again here, your home In Cartagena.

Sincerely,

Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2017

Off the top we have traveled all over the world. This hotel is NOT 5 Stars. Maybe 1.
The photos are deceiving. This hotel is old and warn. There is no maintenance being done. The exterior walls are all chipped and the landscape is overgrown. The buffet is the same food everyday. Typical Colombian but the cheapest cuts of meat and fish. There is 1 rice dish, 1 meat dish 1 fish dish arepas and pancakes. The restaurants are open except for the traditional one. So there is no AC and fans that barely worked so it is HOT! That was it EVERYDAY! The 3 restaurants are disgusting. They all use the same kitchen so everything tastes like fish. Dogs and cats roaming around. Flies on the food. Birds eating the rice off the spoons. NO ONE speaks English. The water is not purified. Room service food is decent but you have to pay...alot of $ and it takes atleast 1 hour to arrive. There is NOTHING to do at night. The pool closes at 6pm SHARP, regardless if there are people in it. There is 1 small bar open til 1am. Service is horrendous. The staff treats everyone like we owe them. The pool areas are filthy. Dishes piled up all over during the day. My kids found bar cups on the bottom of the pool. There is no kids club. There is no pool side activities unless you want to do yoga in 100 degree weather by the pool with everyone walking around you. The front desk staff roll their eyes and play stupid. WE SPEAK SPANISH and were treated like crap. There is no back up generator - yes we lost power for 1/2 hr. and it was very dark. There were no emergency lights. The room attendant we had was wonderful. She really made our stay the best she could. There are no washcloths or small towels so she gave us extra bath towels. The rooms have a brick flooring so you cannot walk barefoot. She gave us sheets for the floor (my kids feet hurt). Ask for bottled water for the room. ONLY drink this. You have to pay for bottled water in the restaurants. The liquor is the cheapest kind. There is no top shelf of any sorts. I found Anejo rum which was ok. When I asked for this type of rum the bartender had to go underneath the bar in a hidden cabinet - along with an eye roll to boot. This hotel is far from the city. About a 1/2 with no traffic. There is construction on all the bridges going to and from the city so allow for extra time. Restaurants inside the Wall were amazing. We only ate breakfast at the hotel (empanadas and maybe an omelet if the omelet attendant felt like working.- who makes 1 omelet at a time...that guy!). Lunch and dinner we ate outside the hotel. Yes it was costly but we were HUNGRY! A cab is about $15 USD each way. So all in all honestly think twice about booking this. The Hilton and Marriott are 5 stars. No need for all inclusive. It is not worth it. If we were not there for a wedding we would have left sooner.

Room Tip: Choose a 1 bedroom suite. Worth the extra space and nice balcony.
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  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank stacymedina1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 17 July 2017

Dear stacy,

From the general management and all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo we would like to say thanks for your comments, they are valuable for us. We also want to be grateful for you taking some time to let us know about how was your experience with us. That help us to know what we can do better.

We have checked every single detail you’ve mentioned before, and we have made the corrective actions for them. Our idea of customer service is to make them feel so happy that they want to come back and stay with us again; in your specific case we did not make it.

We apologize for those facts that make us didn’t full fill your expectation. We are working everyday to improve our service and give to our guest a better quality of them.

Best regards,
Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2017

We just came back from 3 nights at this hotel and had a lovely time. We came here after spending a few days in the Walled City to have some beach and relaxation time. Up front, I will say that the only thing keeping it from being 5 stars in my opinion is the noise you can hear between the rooms. It seriously sounds like the person in the next room is in the room with you. That's not really anything the hotel can "fix", per se, but it was a little tough because we had a 16 month old toddler with us and she definitely got woken up a few times but people yelling in the corridors or (oddly) singing karaoke in the next room at 2 AM... I get that people are there to have fun, but marginally better noise insulation would make this place perfect.
That being said, everything else was great!! The staff is incredibly friendly (especially Andres at the front desk, who went out of his way for us). I speak good Spanish so the language barrier wasn't a problem, but I could see it being one for some folks, though I'm sure you could find someone who spoke English easily if you really needed it. The food was really good for an all-inclusive. Lots of options, variety, and very delicious. The toddler loved the ice cream available all afternoon mostly! The poor guys in the bar have to contend with some bees who like to fly around the sugary drinks, but the bees seemed relatively docile, and the bartenders can make great caipirinhas, so I was happy. Beach was gorgeous, waters were calm and warm. A wonderful, relaxing place! Thank you!

Room Tip: Try to avoid a room by the elevator if you can
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  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Betsy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 20 June 2017

Dear Betsy

From the general management and all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo we would like to say thanks for your comments, they are valuable for us. We also want to be grateful for you taking some time to let us know about how nice was your experience with us.

What its relate it to the noise inconvenient, we are working on contingent measures which help us to reduce the volume of the sound between rooms, this design can take a while but we are hoping to have as soon as will be possible. About the speaking languages of our employees, 60% of them speak a second language, and the other 40% is taking some courses to learn foreign languages and give to our guest a better service through an excellent knowledge on a new language.

Once more we appreciate your remarks, it helps us to improve.
We hope to have the chance to have you again and give you the best of our work.

Sincerely,

Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2017 via mobile

I give it a 3.5 stars. Cartagena is a vacation spot for South Americans. If you're looking for 4 stars hotel that is at par with American standards then you might want to consider Mexico.

Overall, the hotel was clean, maintained, the people were helpful and friendly. Don't expect a bar with a large selection of liquors or to have various food selection during meal time at the buffet. The food and service was good. There are three a la carte restaurants, which requires you to make reservations the day of.

This hotel is about 30 minutes (without traffic) from the old city. The hotel offers free shuttle services at different time intervals, last shuttle from the old city is at midnight.

My family and I enjoyed the hotel. We took advantage of the shuttle and explored the old city.

Stayed: May 2017, travelled with family
1  Thank StitchRN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 22 May 2017

Dear guess,

From all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo thanks for taking some time to let us know how was your experience with us and what can we do better to give to our guest a fully experience.

Right now, we are glad to inform that our A&B department is working on a new selection and design to our menus for all of our restaurants, and give more variety to currently 15 cyclical menus. Add to this, our bars department is taking some courses related to drinks and cocktails.

What it comes to the traffic things. We apologize for that because there is something that is goes out of our control, since is the local government the one who is behind the construction on the road because those are part of the improvement plan and ways from the city, but usually take just 30 minutes as you have said from the hotel to downtown. We offered to our guest the shuttle commute without any cost so they can use it to get to the historical city at the schedule they have set.

We are glad to hear you and your family enjoys your staying with us. We hope to have the chance to have you again and give you the best of our work.

Best regards,

Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2017

CONTEXT: I am a 22-year-old American woman, and I went with a female friend to visit Cartagena for several days during May. We both have college student budgets and working knowledge of Spanish.

OVERALL: We had a great experience here. The people were friendly, transportation was easy, and we felt like we could relax once we got back at the end of activities and sightseeing.

PROS:
- VERY SAFE--we felt very much at ease throughout the hotel and on the private beach. Staff are readily available and very attentive if you need anything.
- Plenty of food/drink options--as Americans, we were a little wary of the water, but we didn't have any issues eating most of our meals at the hotel. There are a lot of options available for food and drinks; most aren't worth writing home about, but the all-inclusive option is worth it--filling, satisfactory, economical, and safe.
- Beautiful views--the pools are gorgeous, and they overlook the sunset and parts of the beach.
- Transportation--the hotel offers bus transport to and from the Old City throughout the day and evening, making it really convenient to get back and forth (the hotel is ~30 minutes' drive from the Old City).

CONS:
- Proximity to actual Cartagena--if you want to be in the thick of things, whether in the Old City (more touristy) or the modern city (more people and less navigable for foreigners), the Occidental is a little far.
- Language--as with pretty much everywhere in Cartagena, there are very few people who speak English, because the vast majority of visitors are tourists from other Latin American countries. We had a few interactions in English, but we would've had a much harder time getting by without some basic Spanish phrases.
- Cleanliness--there wasn't anything terribly gross or dirty about this place, but cleanliness standards here are different from those of American hotels. Expect a very basic room and setup, and don't eat anything that you think might've been out too long or something. Not too bad, just not the same as what we were used to in the States.

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank bbunny3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 23 May 2017

Dear Guest,

From all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo thanks for taking some time to let us know how well was your experience with us and what can we do better to give to our guest a fully experience. We are glad to know that we did give you a great time during your staying in the city.

Right now, 60% of our staff speaks a second language, and the other 40% is taking some courses to learn foreign languages and give to our guest a better service through an excellent knowledge on a new language.

We hope to have the chance to have you again and give you the best of our work.

Best regards,

Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2017

this is our 2nd return to the same hotel (03/2015), then 05/2017.

- The small reception will give you the impression that the hotel is a not a lavage and 5 star as Barceló claims. It is not for sure a 5 or 4 or even 3 stars in my own ratings. The friendly front desk staff ( the only one that speaks any English), will accommodate to the best of their ability. The new Manager does not speak fluent English & does not understand it. Columbian are very warm people. Make sure you ask for Angie or Ednis Or Jennifer they are great. Definitely the property went down in my rating from service to amenities than 2 years ago.

- Property= is located about 15 munites drive from the airport, with light traffic. Taxis run about $8 each way & they are plenty waiting. Always kept clean from the beach to the hallways, housekeeping is doing their job. Maintenance is very poor & undependable. Rooms are cleaned & done every day with fresh towels. Free WIFI, that is very pool on the beach

- Beds = Mattresses are laid on a cement slab. all rooms are the same but it is worth paying extra to get a suite with ocean view. Rooms that have ocean front are 1301, 1401, 1501, 2301, 2401, 2501. We had both 1501& 2501. The suite Deluxe has 737 ft2. Plenty of room

- Pools, 2 large. one quiet & the other has all the activities. Plenty of chairs, only few umbrellas. Not enough for the 192 rooms they claim they have.

- Restaurants, 4 of them. within few steps of each other. Same cook, and the same kitchen provides all the foods. Mediterranean, Italian, buffet, then the steak house. Few limited menu in all but food taste good. Not enough workers.

- 2 Bars, one per pool. They do not have the license to have one by the beach, so that is shut down now. Long walk back & forth to get water in the hot weather.

- Nightly entertainment; very poor now & they do not speak any English.

I will definitely go back. Do not pay a lot for the hotel & you will enjoy it.

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Raouf S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 23 May 2017

Dear Raouf,

From all the employees who Works at Hotel Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo thanks for taking some time to let us know how was your experience with us and what can we do better to give to our guest a fully experience.

About some facts that you mention before, we would like to cheer with you some information as a shown we really cares about our guest comfort and how much we work every day on their suggestion to provide them a better service. 60% of our staff speaks second language fluency; the other 40% is currently taking some courses to learn one different than the native. The hotel has made a few agreements with some institution so they can have access in an ease way to study and learn foreign languages.

What it comes to our restaurants, we are glad to inform that our A&B department is working on a new selection and design to our menus for all of them, and give more variety to ours 15 cyclical menus. Add to this, our bars department is taking some courses related to drinks and cocktails too. Add to this, the beach bar is closed by now, not because we don’t have the license to put it work, it is because the hotel occupancy rate. To open it we must have a minimum among as a requirement to give the service. But since attend to our guest it’s a priority for us, we offer the bar service at the place that is located in the right side next to the pool, and near to the beach. We apologize if you feel it in a different way.

Your suggest related to the shows and performances that are recreating in the night to entertain the guest, are already submit to the corresponding area for their knowledge so they can work on it. Right now, our dancers are working on new shows better thought out.

Improve is something we do every day, because we want to give the best of our work and make feel our guest comfortable. We really hope have the chance to have you and your family again, so you can enjoy the improvement we are working on and as usual being attend by our friendly and dedicated staff.

Best regards,

Alonso Giraldo
General Manager
Hotel ESTELAR Grand Playa Manzanillo by Occidental Hotels & Resorts

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Occidental Cartagena

Address: Anillo Vial Via Manzanillo del mar Km. 4 | No. 9-85, Cartagena 985, Colombia (Formerly Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo)
Phone Number:
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#13 Family Hotel in Cartagena
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Cartagena
#17 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#37 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range: $194 - $413 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Occidental Cartagena 3.5*
Number of rooms: 189
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Occidental Grand Cartagena Resort***** hotel's objective is to provide luxury, all-inclusive services on the seafront on the beautiful beaches of Manzanillo Bay. It is close to the cosmopolitan city of Cartagena de Indias. It has a contemporary design and a very calm ambience, and our guests' first impression is of an idyllic resort to relax and unwind in. Have a dip in the pool, stroll around the beautiful lush gardens or enjoy the 24-hour drink and snack service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Cartagena Hotel Cartagena

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