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Reviewed 25 April 2006

Stayed at the Catalonia from April 16th to the 22nd.
I will address most of the issues posted on this forum.

Hotel & Grounds...Extremely well kept. Clean rooms. They are not huge rooms as we (2 adults and 2 kids 13 & 14) had 2 double beds, a desk, a 3 drawer small dresser ( where we kept dirty clothes) a large wall closet where we were able to keep everything and a bathroom with a shower. Great room to sleep in, watch some TV or take a siesta. After all if you are going there to stay in your room, don't bother. No power outages, no ants, no bugs. A/C worked great If you want the time and don't have a clock or watch, and you just need to know, you can just turn on the TV where you can see the time.

Staff...Wonderful! Helpful, pleasant, always with a smile and eager to please. Loved Gregorio at the swim up pool bar. Ask him for the special!! The A Team...which is a group of about 8 -10 staff members who always run the activities....were just great to everybody.

Food: As you probably already know there are 3 "a la carte" restaurants where you are served. These restaurants need reservations and you get one meal at each one. I can't stress enough to make your reservations at the Ala carte restaurants as soon as you check in. The reservation can be made at The Bambole' on the way to the water by the pools. The food there was very good one is Italian, one Mexican and a Steak Place. I tend to order food on vacation that I have never had before. Hey sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't!! I was not disappointed at the Catalonia. There are also 2 buffets and a snack bar. Each night is a different theme at the buffet...ie: French, Spanish, Mexican. There was plenty of food and many many varieties. The snack bar is also a buffet with stuff like burgers, fries, hot dogs, chicken, ham cold cuts, nachos GREAT guacamole. So even if you hate what the other buffets have, you can get a snack until I believe 2am. The Creperie is a little hidden gem that you must seek out and try a crepe, milkshake, or some Ice Cream sundaes.. Only open 5 to 10pm.

Beverages: Anything you want and plenty of it. Top shelf too....Stolys, Capt Morgan many tequilas. You get the idea. Have a large insulated mug is a good idea, you should pack one. 1 bad thing.......NO CORONA.....just DOS XX on tap.

Beach: Well this is why I wouldn't give it an excellent. Again it is clean and there are plenty of lounge chairs. BUT.....the rocks you have to maneuver to get into the water ---. No body surfing here unless you want to leave some face on the coral. Once you get about I'd say 15 yards in, it is sandy and you can go out real far and still stand. Bring the water shoes. After you get in, it is great. The water was clear, blue and you can snorkel out there But for me when I'm at the ocean, I want to enjoy the waves.
Only real disappointment.

Activities...They have a different show every night.. Comedy, Dance, Singing All entertaining. The A-Team work their butts off. Sundays they have an audience participation night. On the night I was there they chose 4 men from the audience to compete for the title of Mr. Catalonia. Through different contests the audience voted for the winner.
And I won...Yes I AM Mr. Catalonia.
Anyway after that we headed for some karaoke (Tom Jones). They have a late night dance club that goes from 12 midnight to 2 am
Plenty of water stuff.....kayaks. wind surf, snorkel.
Tennis, golf not too far, archery, darts, beach volleyball. water volleyball, silly games etc.
Personally, I would liked to have seem more live music. One night there was a beach party where they had a band playing like top 40 dance hits and classic rock. The Lobby bar had an acoustic duo a few nights.

Pools..great

So after all that here are my tips:

They have vendors come a couple nights selling Mexican goods. Jewelry, ceramics, serapes, etc. Never pay more than half of what they ask for. Bought 3 items from them. First price is what they asked for second price is what I paid.

Mexican Poncho
$85.00 $40.00

This happened with all 3 items..

Don't take any excursions into Cancun. It is over 1 1/2 hours away. Find out how far any excursions you take are. Xcaret is only about 20 minutes. Playa De Carmen, about 30 -40 depending on the traffic.

If you want to horseback ride, as we did. Make sure you can RIDE! After we got on the horses, we walked for 2 hours. Not trot, just walk. Like a pony ride. OK....the horses did take us into the water where they were up to their necks in water. That was cool. But not even one trot on the beach?

Finally the worst part of the trip. The Cancun airport. Oh my God!!
We went US airways. We had to wait on line over 1 and 1/2 hours to get to the ticket counter. Plus we never even got to the counter until a US Airways guy called our flight number and we could go to the front of the line. It was a nightmare. Even from there it took another hour. United had no line. Maybe because US Airway's fares are less is the reason. Alot of people. In hindsight, I would of paid a little more to avoid that

Overall........The Catatonia Riviera Maya is great if you want a beautiful Caribbean Resort with great drinks, friendly staff, clean rooms, good food, beautiful pools and on the ocean. You won't be disappointed. Plus I met a great couple from the UK Kevin and Rebecca Hare on their honeymoon.

Muchas Gracias...Senor Catalonia

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
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31  Thank Vacationer17206
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2006

We stayed here with our children (ages 3 and 5) in July of 2004 and had a great time! The staff was so friendly and there was always plenty of food. It's mass-produced food so you shouldn't expect Ritz quality food, but it was tasty. I had smoothies and omelettes in the mornings and I often had pasta at night. Lots of Europeans when we were there which was really fun as well since the kids got to play with children from a lot of different countries and backgrounds. Yes, there were topless women when we were there but it wasn't an issue with us or the children. It was all done in a very matter-of-fact, non-prurient way. The kids loved the mini-disco at night and we took the kayaks out on a daily basis. We also caught some of the shows which were fun. It was also fun to just get a palapa on the beach and let the children explore the bay and wade in the shallow water. This resort was really nice since the water was so shallow on the bayside that the children could play in it easily. I've been to this coast quite a bit so we rented a car one day and took the children to Tulum. I wasn't sure they could stand the all day excursion to Tulum and Xel-ha. It's easy to drive in this region and it was easy to get to Tulum. The roads are really good along this region (or were when we were there). Playa del Carmen is a neat city and has really gorgeous beaches as well. We didn't get to do much snorkeling with the children this round since they are so young, but I've gone in the past and there are some beautiful places. We were very sad to leave this resort and will certainly be back soon. We're trying Costa Rica this year though.

  • Stayed: July 2004
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7  Thank erinmom3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2006

We just got back on April 19 and wished we were staying longer. It was my husband, 2 kids (4 & 6) and myself. We were looking for a relaxing vacation in the sun, with the option to do activities if we wanted. That was exactly what we got. Our kids did not participate in the kids club, but many kids did. My kids loved playing in the pool, playing on the beach, snorkeling (saw very colorful fish), and just hanging out. The place was very clean and well-kept. The weather was in the high 80's and sunny every day. But it was a dry heat, so with a little breeze it was very pleasant in the shade. As far as sunscreen, we only used 30 and 45 spf. I brought 15, but never even opened it. And we all got very dark tans. Be sure to re-apply frequently.

I agree that the food was average, but there was always something for everyone. We had hoped for more authentic Mexican food. We enjoyed the snack bar the most. I miss the nachos! We really enjoyed all three ala carte restaurants, but our favorite was the Mexican. We bought 3 bottles of water at the gift shop and kept filling them. There's water machines all over the resort. You don't even need to buy the bottles because they'll give you cups to fill with water, if you just want a drink. You could also bring a travel mug and use it for water or any other beverage. The're happy to fill it with alcohol, as well. The drinks were great. I stuck with the fun, tropical drinks and my husband drank the beer. The kids loved a drink called "Mickey Mouse".
We brushed our teeth with the faucet water and we were fine. As for the showers---4 of us showered once or even twice a day and NEVER had a problem with enough hot water.
We took advice and brought flashlights, but never needed them. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

If I had to complain about anything, it would be that there's no clocks in the room and hardly any around the resort. I know time doesn't matter when you're on vacation, but I just like to know what time it is. I suggest bringing a waterproof watch for the pool and small clock for the room, if you care.
Also, I did get a little annoyed with the few topless sunbathers at the pool. They were supposed to be by the beach only, but when I questioned the staff, they said that it's not enforced. The only reason I cared was because my 6year old son kept asking questions and staring.

All in all, we loved it and can't wait to go back. All week, we kept saying that we were going to get some friends and/or family to come back with us next time.

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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12  Thank DayTrip21759
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2006

Hola! Thats what you will hear from all of the amazing staff from the time you walk through the archway. We stayed at the Cat from the 13th through the 20th of April. This is the first time I have been to mexico and I had a VERY hard time leaving. I only speak poquito spanish but if you try they appreciate a simple Hola, Gracias and Por Favor. At least give it a shot, its fun. and after all you are in their country, have some respect. I have to thank Louis and Jose from Funjet for their help booking Xel-Ha (which is AMAZING, you'll love it) and the Capitan Hook dinner cruise (most fun evening we had). I have to agree with some of the reviews that the bed was a little hard, but I have back problems and enjoy a firm mattress. The food was good, nothing GREAT but we never went hungry and there was plenty of variety. The servers were tremendous at all three of the a la carte restaurants, Arturo, Jesus and I wish I could remember the third- Great job guys! Take the advice of others and bring along a cheap insulated mug. We bought some at Speedway for 2$ in the states and they never went empty. We gave them to our new British (and Irish, Helen) friends when we left and they were extremely grateful. Helen, Lesley, Carol, Dean, Colin, John and the kids- THANKS FOR THE LAUGHS!! You old 'dog-tossers", always talking "bullocks". we'll talk to you soon. Thats another great thing about the Cat, we met people from Toledo (where we are from) and people from all over the world. We made some great friends from the U.K. and it seemed like everyone there was overly-friendly. We never had any problems with the air conditioning or the water. We left two dollars U.S. every day for the maid and never got any towel animals, but the rooms were always made up quickly and very nicely. I want to thank Monica from guest services for her help with the iron, you're the greatest! I will definitely be back to the Cat, its truly a piece of paradise.

feel free to contact me with any questions.

  • Stayed: April 2006
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9  Thank Dball11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2006

We just returned form our trip to Riviera Maya 2 days ago. Needless to say I'm ready to go back!

The Catalonia was wonderful. The grounds and facilities are immaculate. I was shocked to use one of the restrooms near the pool and find it so clean that it even smelled good. Any pool bathroom I've ever used in the US has been disgusting and filthy and extremely wet.

The rooms are not luxurious by any means, but they are attractive clean and functional. Unlike others who have written here, we did NOT experience any loss of power during our stay. I only had to take one lukewarm shower during my 5 day stay. Otherwise the water temperature was fine.

Staff are friendly and helpful.

The food was good. We especially enjoyed the Bamboleo (the snack bar). There was always plenty of hot foods (rice, beans, chicken, ham, french fries, beef, vegetables, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza) and fresh fruit, chips and salsa and guacamole....very good. As for the buffets, again there was a nice selection, seating was plentiful and service was good. We didn't even bother with the ala cartes since our kids are very picky eaters and the buffet was a better choice for our family.

We took the advice of others here and took insulated cups with us. The cups that are used at the resort are very small (maybe 4-6 oz.) cups, so it was helpful to have a larger cup that would keep drinks cold.

The pools were clean and refreshing. I loved that the kids pool was surrounded by the larger pool. it was very easy to watch the kids while also enjoying some pool time for myself. I never had trouble finding a chair at the pool and I never went out early in the morning to save a chair either.

There is an Alamo car rental desk at the resort if you are interested. We paid about $50 USD for a 24 hour rental.

We used the hotel shuttle for an evening trip into Playa del Carmen. It was a very nice evening. I would recommend a visit (especially in the evening when it's cooler and the town really comes to life).

We used kayaks and bikes while we were there. Again, staff were helpful and equipment was in good supply.

I would highly recommend this resort to anyone, without hesitation.

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
18  Thank DrueB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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