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“Best location in Mexico”

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Catalina Beach Resort
Ranked #35 of 79 Hotels in Zihuatanejo
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Best location in Mexico”
Reviewed 16 November 2011

If you're looking for a big corporate hotel on a crowded beach don't come here. Catalina is authentically Mexican in a natural environment on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The service is excellent, the food is unbelievable, and the location can't be beat. I've been there twice now and already have reservations for next year. Many people you meet will tell you they have been coming for 15, 20, or even 30 years. This place is special. Multiple buildings are nestled into the coastal jungle along a hillside overlooking the beach and bay. Stone walks and stairs wind through the landscape connecting the various buildings including an open air restaurant and the Sunset Bar. The included breakfast is so large you won't be hungry until mid-afternoon, then I recommend shrimp tacos served to you at your chase on the beach. But don't skip the margaritas. Samuel makes the best I've ever had (check out the video on Youtube). This place is great for couples, friends, or families. The beach is clean with many activities. The water is warm and there are relatively few vendors that will take no for an answer. I highly recommend it.

Room Tip: I like the bungalows. They have a private balcony that overlooks the bay and a shared sundeck where...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jeff W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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188 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2011

They say this was the first hotel in Zihuatanejo and that explains the superb location. The property has amazing views from various levels. The restaurant, bar, infinity pool and beach area are all wonderful. You could prop your elbows on the edge of the pool and look at the view for hours (with enough sunscreen of course). Enjoy a drink at the "Panoramic Sunset Bar" for sunset at least once. The hotel lobby was undergoing a facelift at the time of our stay, so the check-in area was not that impressive. The new lobby looked like it was going to be big, bright and airy, however. The rooms could probably use a facelift themselves soon, but they had local flavor and were comfortable. The service at the hotel was wonderful and our accommodations seemed like a great value. Would definitely recommend this for families. The extra bonus was the baby sea turtles hatching on La Ropa beach when we were there.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank skypdx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 May 2011

We spent our 2nd wedding anniversary at the Catalina during the last week of May 2011. To sum up our experience, I will simply say that we have no reason to stay anywhere else when we travel to Zihuatanejo in the future, and will absolutely return to this fantastic property.
The ambience, as you may see in other reviews, is definitely that of a place that saw its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s - some of the decor, and the slight fraying around the edges, hint at that. But that is a large part of its appeal and beauty. If you want to forget that you're in Mexico, then travel a little to the north and stay in a glitzy high-rise in Ixtapa with all the other package tourists, you won't be able to tell it from any other hotel room in Vegas or Anaheim or Orlando. If you want a much more authentic and uniquely Mexican experience that is still clean, comfortable, and relaxing, then stay at the Catalina Beach Resort.
We had the "Linda Vista" Suite, and it lived up to its name - a shaded private balcony almost as large as the room itself with a built-in sofa, a coffee table, 2 lounge chairs, a standard chair and a large hammock. Native plants and a ceiling fan (yes, a fan on the balcony) made this a very comfortable 2nd living space. The room itself is large and clean, with built-in sconces and recessed lighting providing a nice ambience. The king-size platform bed sits on a huge masonry platform with built-in nightstands and headboard and lovely Mexican tilework throughout.
The room included a television with DVD player (and you can check out a limited supply of movies in English y Espanol from the front desk) and a fridge, although the latter would "pop" when the coolant started up so we had to turn it off at night to get any sleep.
The one pleasant surprise was the presence of an air conditioner (with remote control!) in addition to a 2nd cieling fan. This made the evenings more tolerable, especially when one has been sunburned on the beautiful Playa La Ropa and spent the entire day in 90-degree heat and 90% humidity :)
The bathroom/shower were perfectly appointed and clean - my only complaint here is that acquiring really hot water was a hit-and-miss affair, lukewarm water was much more common...not that we wanted really hot water in the aforementioned heat and with red skin, though! That could have been just my general inability to figure out how to manipulate the knobs on hotel showers around the world, though (seriously, can't they just come up with an international standard for that??)
Others complain about the large number of stairs on this property, and I will agree with the general consensus that this is NOT the hotel for you if you have trouble walking/climbing stairs. I'm a fit and energetic 42 and my wife is a gym nut, and we both would be a bit winded after a climb from the beach up to our room, which was all the way at the top of the hillside almost at street level. However, I did not see this as a detriment, but one more aspect of the property's charm, and a way of maintaining the extreme sense of privacy and exclusivity one feels when wandering the grounds here.
A short trek downstairs from our room and we were in the Catalina's exclusive beachside palapa area, with more than enough palapas and beach chairs for everyone and friendly and attentive staff providing towels and bringing micheladas o cervezas o margaritas o..... ;) One thing I appreciated, though - and maybe this was more a result of it being the cusp of the rainy season and the number of guests being rather small - was that while the palapas were clearly only for guests of the Catalina, the occasional passerby who inquired about sitting there would be shown to a palapa and served just like the rest of us who were official guests. Some (those who have less of a "live and let live" attitude) might be upset by this, but I thought it was an authentically Mexican thing to do. Again - this flexing of the rules might have been more motivated by profits than people, but I would like to believe it was a mix of both :)
The Restaurant, Sunset Bar, Beach Bar and Pool were all fabulous and staffed with extremely friendly employees who were quick with a smile and a recommendation. I had no problem piling on the "propinas" for the service we received.
Best yet, the property is situated on the northern end of the gorgeous Playa La Ropa, and from almost every vantage point - our balcony, the restaurant, the bars, etc. - we had fantastic views of the bay.
The Catalina is nicely situated close to el centro and it's an easy walk down La Ropa to many fantastic palapa restaurants, especially La Perla, where we drank agua de coco and hired a few musicos to play love songs for our celebration. It was also a short walk to the wonderful (and expensive) restaurant at Casa Que Canta, where we had our actual anniversary night dinner.
The taxi ride to town cost about $4 one-way from the Catalina, and the taxi drivers were always very courteous and professional, even if their Nissan Sentra taxis looked and sounded like we should be driving to the local auto shop :)
The only minor grievances I have with the Catalina were, in addition to the hot water issue - towards the end of our trip, construction workers who appeared to be repairing or building on to the property started up with their hammers at about 9:00am (but why sleep in when the sun is shining and the surf is calling? You can sleep under a palapa!) And - not an issue with the Catalina itself - the neighboring Tides restaurant hosted a few nighttime parties that got a bit loud for my wife and her bat-like hearing, but it was nothing a little white noise from my Droid couldn't handle :)
I have always been one of those travelers who has preferred to spend the least amount possible on accommodations and consequently spend the least amount of time possible in the room, but in this case the $149/night (pre-tax) we paid was money well spent...I estimate we spent at least half of our week on the property; in the room, on the balcony, at the bar, and mostly on the beach. I also am the type who doesn't like to return to the same spot a 2nd time - but in this case, I will break that rule and definitely stay at the Catalina again when we return to Zihua!

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JMGinPDX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 March 2011

I just returned from a 10 night stay at the Catalina, which was wonderful! The hotel is on Play la Ropa, which is a beautiful beach. It's a great location because it's on the beach, but close enough to walk/taxi to town and near by restaurants. The hotel itself is a little older, but it was comfortable and clean. I see that other reviewers have made negative comments about the hotel, but for the price, I think the hotel was perfect. The grounds are well maintained and very green and lush. The staff at the hotel could not be nicer...every single person working there was friendly and helpful. We ate in the restaurant for breakfast and the food was fresh and well prepared. The sunset bar was incredible - the view is amazing and so were the margaritas! I would love to return to the Catalina for another vacation and would recommend staying here.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gillett400
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2011

The location of this hotel is ideal and the views are breathtaking. The staff is wonderful. We stayed in a suite that was about 1/2 way between the beach and the lobby which was a good location. The "Panaramico Bar" was only a few steps away and the restaurant was only one flight up. The breakfast was wonderful with bread and fresh jam, fresh squeezed oj, coffee, tea, fresh fruit, and plenty of breakfast selections. The french toast was my favorite. Our room was huge with a king size bed, sofa, chairs, tv (CNN was the only English channel I could find..but who needs tv when you can watch the ocean?), phone, mini fridge, telephone, and a/c. The beach was wonderful and Samuel (bartender @ the beach bar) was really great.
A few things just to know and think about ahead of time if you are going to stay here. There is no elevator and there are 288 (yes we counted them) stairs from the lobby to the beach. That is a lot of stairs! We work out regularly and are in pretty good shape so it was not that big of a deal to us but I saw several people stopping to take a break as they were using the stairs. I also have to admit that twice I was on the beach, forgot something and decided against going back just because I didn't want to climb the stairs up and back. If you have trouble with stairs this is NOT the place for you. The windows on the back of the room were covered in plasitc (I am presuming to preserve the a/c in the room). It made the rooms a little less private as you could hear others around you (not real bad but more than a typcial hotel). No tub, only shower and it is not well designed. There was always a lot of water all over the bathroom floor after a shower. Annoying but not a huge issue. The mattress was hard and not real comfortable but the sound of the ocean waves at night lulled me to sleep without a problem.
All in all I would go back again, and again, and again. It was truly a lovely place especially for the money. There are more expensive hotels on the beach but this one is truly charming. They were building a new lobby that should be open now. It looked beautiful. The property could use some attention but still has a wonderful charm to it that I think most would enjoy.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JulesHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Watertown, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
102 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2011

What a fantastic view from our room - too bad the windows hadn't been washed in such a long, long time (ever?). This is such a beautiful place! The food at the hotel restaurant was awesome and the staff was the most friendly and helpful that I have experienced. It could have a better beach but the pool was pretty nice. This could be a 5 star place if the owner would put a little effort into keeping up the grounds and making needed repairs to the buildings and rooms. Very obvious that the owner and the manager (whom I talked to quite a bit) are not interested in keeping this property in good shape for their clients.

Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
7 Thank makwa55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2010

Stayed at Catalina the week before Christmas. I am not generally a picky person at all and have traveled all over the world and stayed in many different types of places... so take this to heart.

Pros:
Location is great - right on the beach.
Breakfast (and the service at breakfast) is good
Good guac
Bar is nice... and 2 for 1 drinks at sunset

Cons (there are many):
Our room was horrendous - graffiti, dirty bed spreads, fraying mattresses, a shower that leaked all over the bathroom... I swear it had not been updated since their opening day 30 years ago.
When the neighbors used the shower, it sounded like a jackhammer in our room. There was NO soundproofing - the neighbors sounded like they were literally IN our room.
MOST of the other rooms looked better....

When we brought up our problems with the front desk staff - they assured us several times that things were going to be fixed. They were lying because absolutely nothing was done. In the end, I got a tiny discount but I'm sure there were many quieter/cleaner places to stay in Zihua for MUCH cheaper. If I ever go back to Zihua - I would never stay at Catalina.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank oaktownowl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Catalina Beach Resort

Property: Catalina Beach Resort
Address: Calle Playa La Ropa s/n, Zihuatanejo 40880, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Guerrero > Zihuatanejo
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#16 Top resorts Hotel in Zihuatanejo
#20 On the Beach Hotel in Zihuatanejo
#22 Romantic Hotel in Zihuatanejo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Catalina Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
spectacular sunsets are seen from the comfort of your hammock ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catalina Beach Hotel Zihuatanejo
Catalina Beach Zihuatanejo

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