I booked this vacation extremely last minute, but still read many reviews before I made a final decision. All the stuff people have said about the standard rooms being bad - it's pretty much true! I have stayed at many 4 and 5 Apple resorts in Mexico. I would rate the Catalonia's standard room more like a "2 Apple". It was mostly clean and the bathroom looked like it had been updated, but I didn't feel safe as we were on the ground floor and the locking mechanism on the sliding door looked like it had been tampered with. The safe costs extra (only $4/night) and there is no fridge. I'd compare the Catalonia's standard room to a Motel 6 - and that's being generous. We immediately returned to the front desk where I inquired about an upgrade. They said they did have a nice room available in building 4 and we could come back in an hour or so and check it out once it was clean. Wow! So glad we upgraded for an additional $30 night. Our room was very nice and exactly what I would expect at a 4 or 5 Apple resort. We had a lovely view of the pool area and the sea. It was super clean; the fridge (stocked with water, soda and beer) and the safe were included. Some other people we met had upgraded to a suite and also said it was fantastic. I definitely think there's a bait and switch tactic going on because everywhere you look there are signs suggesting an upgrade. Had I been here with girlfriends we may have tried to tough it out, but I was looking for safety and comfort; my husband could not come along due to work, so it was just me and my 8-year-old daughter.
Americans are in the minority at this resort; my daughter loved hearing people speaking various languages and seeing how people from other countries dress just a bit differently. People were there to have a good time, but no one got out of hand. The pool with the swim up bar had more of an adult/party atmosphere, but we were on the other side of the pool area and it was never an issue. While there were children at the resort, it didn't feel like the place was overrun with kids. My daughter would have liked more children to be there as she sometimes was the only child in the pool. We never had trouble getting a lounge chair at the pool or on the beach, but if you want an umbrella or some shade you might be forced down to the beach area. I loved the smallness of the resort because I could keep an eye on my daughter without having to get off of my chair, so in that respect it is great for families!
The reef just off of the beach and the lagoon area were awesome! We used hot dug buns from the snack bar to feed the fish...very exciting to see the fish up close. Some reviewers complained about the beach. It's not the kind of place where you will be able to go for a run or LONG romantic walk - but I thought the beach area was great for me and my daughter.
The food was just okay. We are somewhat picky eaters, so take this with a grain of salt. I lived off of breakfast - I found that to be the best meal of the day - and crepes (at night above the buffet - awesome!). We ate at the steak restaurant the first night and then decided we should stick to the buffet. I didn't find the drinks to be anything special, but I was not there to get drunk as the lone parent. Very watered down when I did order a cocktail. Otherwise I was drinking Pepsi light by the mugful. When we returned to the US, we made a stop at a restaurant and ate like we had been starved for 4 days.
The "Animation" (entertainment) staff were great. They definitely get people up off their chairs and having fun. I was never bothered or harassed when I politely refused to participate. The staff are very humorous and kept us laughing. We were pretty exhausted after being in the sun all day, so we did not make it to any of the evening shows.
We found the service overall to be very good, from the front desk to the bartenders to the restaurants and buffets. We were always greeted warmly and treated well. I would definitely return to this resort with my spouse, other couples and/or families.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Caribbean Sea's turquoise waters can be seen from this hotel-paradise. Come and get ready to spend some unforgettable days in the heart of the Mayan Riviera, surrounded by marvelous landscapes and seductive, white sand beaches. The hotel is located in the wonderful Puerto Aventuras development. This is a tourist development which boasts a marina for yachts, a golf course, restaurants and dolphin tanks, all within easy reach of the main Mayan Riviera attractions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Riviera Maya Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
- Catalonia Hotel Mexico
- Catalonia Rivera Maya
- Riviera Maya Catalonia
- Hotel Catalonia Riviera Maya
- Catalonia Riveria Maya
- Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort
- Catalonia Riviera Maya All Inclusive
- Catalonia Mexico