What a wonderful week we had at this lovely adults only all inclusive. We have only good memories of our week at this resort and although a couple of things went wrong, they were more than made up for!
The check-in was very pleasant and efficient, including a warm welcome and a cocktail. Our rooms weren't ready, which surprised us as it was 2:30 pm but we dutifully went off to the lunch buffet by the beach and started our week-long experience of tropical paradise! Excellent buffet variety and a lovely view of the beach, complete with cooling ocean breeze and sparkling white wine made us very pleased with our choice.
Returning to the desk at 4pm, we were given our keys and sent off to our room. I had understood we would be taken by the bellman, but was mistaken, and after being up traveling for almost 15 hours by that time, was a bit tuckered. We'd pre-requested by email a third floor room, king bed, non smoking. I saw that these requests were noted on our check-in card. However, we were sent off to a second floor room and told that the resort was 95% booked. OK two out of three I thought, as I dragged myself and my carry-on back up the path again.
We arrived at the room to be greeted by a maintenance man in the bathroom, a ladder in the middle of the floor, and an unmade bed. Two cranky Canadians (yes, there is such a thing!) made their way back to the desk, where we were given a (reluctant) apology and...wait for it - an upgrade to a third floor, corner room suite! Sweet!
This resort has a beautiful pool with a couple of amazing jacuzzi hot tubs. The one closest to the beach is nice and hot! The pool is the perfect temp, easy to get into, lots of loungers, great service from the bar. It's also right beside the beach and next to the lunch buffet. The advantage of being at a smaller resort is very apparent at this pool!
The beach is as lovely as everyone says! Soft white sand, easy to get into the water, firm sandy bottom, pretty fish everywhere! Some days were more wavy than others but it was always magnificent! We do not play the towel game although it seems most other guests do. As each guest is provided with 1 beach towel per person in the room every night, there is only one towel per person to use to reserve a spot. No card to turn in for a towel and if you weren't back in the room with your wet ones, you still got a clean dry towel left for you each evening. We generally got to the beach between 10 and 11 and always found loungers. It was just a question of dragging them to our preferred spot in either the sun or the shade. Along with the palapas, there are many palm trees offering shade if you want it.
Off to the left on the beach are the ruins of the old Xpu-Ha resort - it makes for a nice walk but you cannot pass the rocky point. To the right are public beaches and small hotels offering beach-side services if you're into that.
We very much enjoyed the layout of the resort - one long stone path winding through the trees from the lobby to the beach. On either side are three room block buildings. We were in building 2, the first one on the right closest to the lobby. It's a non-smoking building. I'm not sure if perhaps they all are non-smoking. It really makes no difference whatsoever if you are closer to the beach or the lobby as your days will be centered around moving back and forth between the two. Along the way we saw quite a few adorable coatimundis playing in the bush as well as lots of birds, squirrels and iguanas, and also fish and herons by the cenote.
The food was very good everywhere we ate. We were delighted by the Spanish Tapas restaurant under the trees by the cenote. We ate there on our first night and on two consequent evenings. Everything we had was delicious and the house wine is great. We loved the laid back atmosphere, professional service and the ambiance. Not a mosquito or any other bug in sight.
The rhythm of our days consisted of breakfast in the buffet dining room off the lobby, where the staff were unfailingly smiling, welcoming and polite. Then it was a quick stop in the room to don sun screen and bathing suits, and off to the beach, where the loungers were plentiful and the service was amazing. Cudos to all the wait staff there. We really enjoyed the smoothie bar by the beach, serving up a fantastic selection of fresh healthy smoothies. After an amazing, diverse and delicious lunch, beautifully served and well-attended in the beach-side buffet, we usually shifted to the pool for the rest of the afternoon. There was no problem getting wine refills (as we've seen reported here, except by one waiter who I will not name as I don't want him to be penalized, and we took care of that early on, just as there was never any problem getting coffee at breakfast). In fact we were impressed to see the plaque in the lobby naming the Catalonia resorts among the best place in Mexico to work, and nearly all the staff we came in contact with were smiling, helpful and seemed utterly comfortable with their jobs.
It is true that there are a lot of Italian guests and that the animation team are pretty much completely dedicated to working with them. We were never approached to join in any activities other than the poolside bingo. That was the only downside we noticed at this resort, in addition to the fact that the evening show entertainment goes on at 9:30 and is less than an hour long, as then they consequently put on another show strictly for the Italian guests. As we prefer to dine later, we often missed most or all of the show and would have preferred if they had started later, especially as they appeared to be quite professional and well-produced. We caught about half of both the 'Nightmare' show and the 'Black Light' show and wished we'd seen the whole thing.
We booked the couples massage at the Spa because it seemed quite a good deal as compared with two individual massages. It includes a 50 minute massage for each of you, then a half hour in a private Jacuzzi with a bottle of champagne. After our excellent massage we were most regretfully informed that there was a problem with the power to the jacuzzi and we were offered the complimentary service of our choice to make up for it! We very extremely happy to book another lovely service at the Spa the next day, and impressed with the attitude of compensation, although we weren't overly put out by the 'inconvenience'.
Our room was spotlessly cleaned every day with varied and wonderful towel art. The showers were great with good water pressure and plenty of hot water. We loved the casual approach to dressing with no hardline dress code of long pants and dress shoes at the restaurants in the evenings. Shorts are fine for men, which is great as a couple of the restaurants are open air.
All in all, we felt this is a fantastic and pretty resort, very good value for the money, delivering a great vacation experience at a gorgeous beach on a well-maintained property with friendly helpful staff. We loved it and we're very grateful for a wonderful vacation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Adults only all-inclusive resort, located in Xpu-Ha, Riviera Maya, on the Caribbean coastline. It is surrounded by native jungle trees, local plants, mangroves and cenotes - water springs where a diverse variety of flora and fauna can be found in an unspoiled habitat. It is just 25km from Playa del Carmen and Tulum's archaeological site, and 85 km south of Cancun International airport, in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Royal Tulum Xpuha
- Riviera Maya Copacabana
- Copacabana Riviera Maya
- Catalonia Royal Tulum Mexico/Riviera Maya - Xpu-Ha