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Catalonia Yucatan Beach
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Reviewed 5 December 2013

We stayed at this resort from November 27 until December 4 2013 as a last minute vacation booking through Nolti Tours. I would rate this resort a solid 3 star when comparing it to the other Mexico resorts I have stayed at. We had a great vacation and enjoyed the a la carte restaurants especially the steak house. The beach areas were fairly small but had adequate chairs and we never had a problem finding a place to sit. Finding one in the shade was another issue - most people were saving their spots by 7:30 am or earlier. The ocean was beautiful and calm for most of our stay. I enjoyed swimming but you have to be cautious of the rocks in the swimming areas. Once you get to waist deep, then there are some sandy areas that are rock free. I watched numerous people fall going in or out of the water but it was usually within the first 15 feet of shore (bring water shoes). The swimming area isn't very deep and has excellent snorkeling right off shore.

Positives

We liked the location of this resort, the fact it was beach front. It was also only a 5 minute walk to the marina area which had shopping, restaurants, bars and was just a nice walk. Our room had a partial view of the ocean even though we paid for a garden view so that was a bonus. We spent a lot of time relaxing on the balcony which had wicker furniture and was quiet.

A la carte restaurants (Italian, steak, Mexican & Japanese) were really good and had great service. We were given 4 coupons for these restaurants for our stay. You don't have to book any reservations, it is first come, first served. We didn't have very long waits most of the time usually 20 - 45 minutes. We didn't go to the Japanese restaurant just because they had a 2.5 hour wait when we tried to eat there. The steak house was fantastic and we enjoyed the crepe restaurant which was on top of the Riveria Maya resort side's buffet. You could eat at this restaurant anytime you wanted and it had all kinds of ice cream, coffees, desserts and crepes. We went every night we could for dessert.

Hotel staff - were always very friendly and gave us good service. They all spoke English and tried hard to help us out.

Nolti Tour (Air Transat) staff - Helen and Phillip were most helpful and we got a lot of our information from them and booked our tours through them as well. As part of the NoltiPlus package we received a welcome package in our room which included a 750 ml bottle of tequila, snacks, 2 - 500 ml bottles of water, a bottle of pop, hotel key chain and beach towels in our room. This was a nice bonus which was included in our vacation package. We dealt with Helen most of the time and she would go completely out of her way to assist us.

Bars - were well stocked and the bar tenders could make a nice selection of drinks. Water and ice tea was available at the side of most of the bars so you didn't have to wait in line to get them. The lines were not too bad and the bar tenders were very fast.

Library - there was a large selection of books by the pool on the Yucatan side which was a nice bonus for anyone not wanting to take books in their luggage. I would guess there were over 1000 books from every authors you could imagine. I left 3 of my books there when I left.

Spa - we got a great deal at the hotel spa and really enjoyed our experience. We purchased a 50 minute massage (we had the choice of 3 different ones - we went with the Mayan massage), 25 minute body scrub and 25 minute facial for $140 USD. So we got 2 hours of spoiling and an additional hour to use the spa facilities which included dry and vapor saunas, cooling pool, drinks and snack area and a large outdoor pool area with a full length water wall. I did find the water temperatures in both pools too cool. They didn't have a warm or hot pool. We were so relaxed when we left, we actually considered doing it all over again! Going to this spa is a must do if you like spas, you won't be disappointed. They were very professional and the massage therapist are licenced so you can claim the service on your benefit insurance if you have it.

Negatives

Maintenance issues - we were giving a room on the 4th floor upon check-in so I asked if they had anything on the first floor since I was traveling with a senior citizen (75 yrs old). They accommodated but when we got to the room, there was water dripping onto the floor from the air conditioner in the ceiling. The bellman who was delivering our luggage first noticed it and had maintenance there within 5 minutes. We left the maintenance man to repair the leak while we went for supper. When we got back to the room, the leak was still there and seemed to be worse. I went to the front desk and they put us into the original room on the 4th floor. We were offered help to move our luggage but decided it wasn't too far so we did it ourselves. Well waiting for the elevator to come to the first floor, we heard all kinds of water sounds coming from the elevator shaft. When the doors opened we both thought a river was going to be coming out! The elevator was dry but it was a little unnerving to enter. When it started to go up, you could hear water running down the sides but we never saw any water. We made the decision right there and then that the elevator was not going to be used by us again. One of the hotel staff noticed we were always using the stairs to walk our 4 flights and told us that there was water collecting in the elevator shaft but it was safe to use. It didn't make me feel any better about the situation so we continued walking the stairs which was challenging for my travel companion. I walked by another elevator in the same building and saw wires hanging out of the push button area. Obviously not much maintenance is being done on them.

The room on the 4th floor was much nicer than the one of the first floor. It had a fridge, hair dryer, wicker patio furniture which the first floor room did not. It also seemed to be a bigger room. We had a problem with the toilet our first day morning there and were told the maintenance man would be there right away (approximately at 8 am we notified the front desk) but it didn't get fixed until after 4 pm which was disappointing. The room also wasn't serviced until late afternoon which was a inconvenience if you wanted to take a nap. We didn't have any further maintenance issues during our stay.

Buffet Food - was not great. The majority of the time they were out of food I wanted or what was there was cold. In the morning, there was a line up out the door of people waiting to get in since they had to wait to be seated. I have never experience this requirement in a buffet before and the wait made the empty trays and cold food even more disappointing. Get there before 8 am if you don't want to wait. I met some people who had been at this resort numerous times and they also said that the food quality in the buffet had really deteriorated since their last trip last winter. I did find the food quality and selection much better in the buffet on the Riveria Mayan side but it was a smaller buffet. We started eating at it instead of the buffet on our side. Don't get me wrong, we didn't starve to death by any means and there was a large selection to pick from for any tastes, they could have done a better job keeping up with the demand and ensure the food items in the heating trays were actually kept warm.

Tours - we went on 2 excursions on this vacation. The first one was to the Chichen Itza ruins which is an all day tour including 2 other stops for $109 USD. I had been on a similar tour about 5 years ago with a different tour company and it was fantastic so I decided to take my travel companion. This tour was through Traffic Tours (booked through our travel reps) and was very disappointing. The shuttle bus that picked us up broke down so we had to stand on the side of the road and wait for the main bus to pick us up. The main bus broke down at the Chichen Itza site which stranded us there. They knew there were problems with the bus when we got there but didn't call for a replacement bus. After a hour waiting outside the broken bus, we were told we could wait 3 more hours for a replacement bus or catch a ride with a different tour company's bus which meant we would not get the last third of the tour we paid for. We were in the Chichen Itza site for 2.5 hours so I don't know why they didn't call for a replacement bus then? We were all just happy not to be stranded in the jungle. Going with the other tour company's bus made for a really long day (14 hours) since we had to stop at a lot of resorts dropping off other people before we got to ours - we were the last drop off. The tour guide was also disappointing. He made it very clear that his only job was to give us a tour at the Chichen Itza site and nothing else and he basically did nothing else. On the other tour I did to this site, the tour guide told us all about the Mayan culture and the areas we were traveling through (its 3 hours to Chichen Itza) so it was a great opportunity to learn about this country. We complained to Helen with Nolti Tours the next day and she immediately completed a complaint form and notified her management and the tour operator. We were given 20% off refund our troubles but our main concern was to let Traffic Tours know they had problems not only with their bus maintenance but also with their tour guide's attitude so other travelers wouldn't have to experience the same issues. The cenote we visited on this tour was really beautiful and you could go swimming in it during our stop. They also had a very nice buffet lunch included except for your drink. The washrooms were also spotless at this stop. Chichen Itza was still as beautiful and mind blowing as I remembered. Definitely visit these ruins if you get a chance. You wont be disappointed. There is probably over 100 vendors on the site that sell everything you can imagine for the best prices I found so if you want to do some shopping, this is the place to do it. Plus most of the crafts and carvings are done by the locals which supports their economy.

The second tour we went on was actually free. Matis jewelry store provides bus transportation to a Mayan priest at a Cenote located close to this resort. He provides a Mayan cleansing ritual for all participants which was really interesting and the location was beautiful. He did accept donations. Then the bus took us to the Matis Jewelry store so we could shop. They had a large selection of silver, gold, precious diamonds and gems, area rugs and other odds and ends. Their prices were good and the quality was exceptional. You are given about an hour in the store and then the bus takes you into Playa Del Carmen for 2 hours of shopping on 5th Avenue, after which it will take you back to your resort. We decided to stay longer in Playa Del Carmen so we just let the bus driver know and took a taxi back when we were finished which cost $25 USD. 5th avenue was a great place to shop with stores on both sides of the street for as far as you could walk. We really enjoyed this excursion especially for free. We booked it through our travel reps.

We would stay at this resort again especially for the price we paid ($329 CAN plus tax for a last minute booking). If I had to pay full price, I might consider another resort just to try another one out. Overall, we had a great time and met people from all over the world which kept us entertained. We were just looking for a relaxing beach vacation and we got it and more. I don't expect 5 star service and amenities at a 4 star hotel especially in Mexico.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank JustHangingOut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2013

we stayed a week in July 2013 and our stay was to short..... we enjoyed our suite block 10 we had a nice bath in our terrace and our own long chairs, staff was friendly, rooms wr clean, the grounds wr very very well kept the food was wonderful as well.The spa services wr also great. We would most definitely recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: up grade to privileged
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Dominique S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
catrivieramaya1, Director General at Catalonia Yucatan Beach, responded to this reviewResponded 23 April 2014

Dear Dominique S

Thank you for taking the time to write a review about your last stay with us and for such nice comments.
It is great to know that you had a good time and enjoyed our facilities and services. We feel very proud of the impression you had from the hotel and our lovely country.
We definitely hope you will decide to visit us again in the future, it will be our pleasure to welcome and pamper you once again!

Sincerely
Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2013

Travelled as a group of four female friends for a 40th birthday. Took a private transfer from airport as it shaved considerable time off the transfer so was worth the extra.

Check in was great - we were given a drink and we discussed upgrading which we all agreed to do. Me and my room mate got a superior suite and it was well worth the 35 dollars a night fee. Huge bed, minibar, lounge area etc. we loved it. We saw the honeymoon suite as our friends got that for 25 dollars a night and it was nowhere near as good.

My biggest annoyance was the policy of not reserving sun beds which is in no way enforced. Get down any later than 7.30am and they're gone. Sun beds are quite close together all over the resort so if you don't like smoking you may not like this hotel.

Pools were fab with nice shallow ledges to dip in. Beach was lovely too - it does need water shoes and they are expensive in resort. but ignore reviews slating the beach - it is beautiful and i cant understand why someone would mark down a place for having a reef just off shore!

Room was cleaned very well each day and if we called asking for something it was done immediately. Whoever we encountered from the staff we were met with a smile and an 'hola'.

I had a massage, facial and scrub at the spa and it was superb. Very disappointed the hydrotherapy pool was freezing - if it had been warm it would have been lush but it was colder than the sea! Gym was small but adequate and again clean and well stocked with towels. They could do with a 20min max usage time as some people were a bit selfish with the time they were spending on the cross trainers and treadmills - there are only 2 and 3 of them respectively.

Food was really nice always plenty of choice. I was disappointed with the Mexican offering as id expected a bit more but occasionally there was a gem at the buffet. The a la carte I wouldn't bother with other than the Japanese - give it a go as its an experience as well as a nice meal. We didn't get to the Italian but we tried the others. Was funny listening to people moan they couldn't get in when they walked into the a la cartes at 7.30 - there is a first come first served policy so expect to have to go for a drink if you walk in after the 6.30pm opening time.

Drinks choice was good if you like cocktails or spirits - I asked for a sparkling wine and was offered white wine with seven up! House wines were not very drinkable - that was a disappointment.

The local marina is a 10 minute walk at most. It has a dolphin experience place if you like that kind of thing, I just felt sorry for the poor creatures! Puerto Aventuras is a gated, secure area so it felt totally safe walking around. Also at the marina there are bars and gift shops - check out the ones at the hotel first as they are comparable prices but much nicer.

Trips wise one of our group went to visit some Mayan ruins and a Mayan village and loved it. She booked it through the hotel. Three of us went snorkelling through Aquanauts down at the marina and it was totally amazing. Speedboat to ourselves which was an adventure in itself for a 20 minute fast ride up the coast, then snorkelling for 45 mins on a beautiful reef - loads of fish, turtles, eels and nice corals. They pulled the boat up on to the nearby beach and gave us a much welcome beer - it was like paradise - pristine sand and a cenote bubbling up just along from where we were sat. We paid 200 dollars for that - worth every penny. In contrast the organised groups were 25 people who swam across the reef far too close to each other and must have been kicking each other in the head. Highly recommend Aquanauts.

Entertainment staff were fun, especially Olga who has more energy than anyone I've ever seen! It was tiring watching her but she was so lovely. I'm not an 'organised fun' kind of person but she was so pleasant. Evening entertainment was a lot of dancing in a very dark theatre but it was ok - just don't go there every night! With a truly international audience it must be difficult to arrange much to entertain all.

This is two hotels but in effect you can't tell where one stops and one begins. I suppose strictly speaking we actually stopped at the Riviera Maya!

This isn't the lap of luxury but it is lovely and the price is fabulous. For the week we were there the guests were from every corner of the globe and no single nationality dominated at all. Would recommend as cheap, cheerful and wonderful.

Room Tip: Upgrade to a superior suite - it's well worth it!
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank jlf77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

Usually your vacation is what u make of it but it was impossible to have a good time here! It started with check in when Pedro ( who has horrible customer service ) tried to allocate my elderly parents a room on the third floor even though we all booked ground floor rooms, I gave my parents the only ground floor room and paid $300 to upgrade my room in which I still had to carry my double stroller up two flights of stairs. The basic rooms where out dated run down and don't even include a fridge with water or a safe but sorry every other four star resort includes these things. The first whole day we were there my son went to the kids club and was punished by the ladie that works there ( not ita) by being locked in a dark room when I picked him up he was curled into a ball in the corner of the room do not leave your children with these people!! The resort staff where rude and condescending except the sports bar bartender and my bell boy the food was horrible except the steak house and Japanese restaurant this resort does not appreciate children are not accommodating to them! A 2.5 star not a 4 star!!! U are expected to walk around refilling your water bottle ( one per room) all week what a joke! A different family we checked in with checked out on day two and went to the Barcelo and we wanted to as well to top it off my two year old daughter has a terrible chemical burn all over her body from the pools and needed to go to the dr as soon as we got back

Room Tip: Go to the Barcelo
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank Mandy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
catrivieramaya1, Director General at Catalonia Yucatan Beach, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2015

Dear Mandy J,

Thank you very much for your feedback. We deeply apologize if your stay with us was not a perfect experience

Starting with myself and all my colleagues and managers, we are disappointed to have not met your expectations during your stay with us.

I hear all your comments, and certainly we will take seriously your feedback and see possibilities to improve and make sure your next visit will exceed your expectations.

Yours sincerely,

Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 29 November 2013

We arrived at catalonia on the 14th of November for 2 weeks and arrived home this morning. We can honestly say the holiday we had was absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe the setting of the hotel when we arrived. The pictures/descriptions do not give this hotel justice. Every room in the hotel was out of this world! When we arrived we was taken to check in at reception and was seen to straight away baring in mind there was so many people waiting to be seen. Our suitcases were taken up to our room and every single one of Catalonias staff waited on us hand and foot throughout our stay. The room we stayed in was a superior privelidged room but was marked as standard. The bed was giagantic and there was so much room and storage! Everything was so clean and very welcoming. We had our own balcony which overlooked the pool, gardens and the sea all at the same time. At first we thought it could be abit noisy in the daytime but as soon as you closed the balcony door the room was silent. We was given 10 restaraunt reservations at reception to save us booking a table every night. We was also given free 40 dollars for spa use. The mini bar and room service was completely free and the bar was topped up every day with bottles of water, fizzy drinks and beer! The food in the hotel was stunning, however there wasn't a great amount of good choice, it was the same in the buffet every day but there was so much food it didn't really matter. The beach was gorgeous however was even nicer and less rocky on the other side of the hotel! Drinks was amazing, the barmen could never do enough for you. Constantly making sure you was ok for drinks. The staff at catalonia was faultless. They could never do enough for you and was so polite throughout our stay. The only thing that we was mithered about with the holiday was the constant mithering of tips. To us, we found it extremely irritating that every trip we went on/taxi we went in we was constantly being pushed into giving tips. In the end we didn't tip atall because it got so annoying. Also, you need to make sure that when you leave mexico that you pay your tax fee! We was told different prices throughout our holiday, we flown with Thomas cook and the REAL price was 665 pesos which is 40 pounds. However out friends we made flown with thomson and ended up paying 800 pesos! So make sure you are sure on how much you need to spare before flying home! Overall our stay was absolutely outstanding and I couldn't fault anything with our stay apart from the little things listed which weren't a big deal! Please do not listen to anyone's negative feedback. This hotel is to dye for and anyone who had left negative feedback obviously are never happy with anything! Trips I would reccommend would be x-caret, coco bongos, pirate trip (if you like boats!!!!) and x-plor! I would advice you to take already 800 pounds for 2 people for 2 weeks if you are thinking of doing a few trips. We took 600 but needed to take an extra 200 as trips were coming up to 3,000 pesos a go between you! Thanks again to catalonia for making mine and my boyfriends holiday amazing! I would definatly reccommend to anyone!!!!!

  • Stayed: November 2013
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5  Thank Leannedb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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