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Catalonia Royal Tulum
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Xpu-Ha
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Would we go back? Oh yeah!!”
Reviewed 6 April 2014

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.

Room Tip: Yes, corner suites are large and sunny! But they are all conveniently located so don't sweat it.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank jude1369
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2014

Although this is a great destination I would like to sincerely warn future clients of this resort to BEWARE. We booked and paid 3 months in advance only to be told after checking in having a welcome drink, getting a bracelet for inclusions etc that We DID NOT HAVE A ROOM!!
The hotel bundled us off to a resort up the road that was like a small city with 3800 rooms.(no personal touch here, take a number and get in the queue)
We returned to the Catalonia royal Tulum the following day to be told we could not check in until 3pm!!(hang on.....I thought we checked in the day before?? We certainly paid for the day before....) the front office staff we non apologetic it was "like it or lump it" that's it. We were none too pleased.
So future guests please beware, you may be palmed off to another huge resort where you really don't want to be.
I believe it was not only us, I heard another 6 couples experienced the same treatment . We think this could be a regular occurance.

Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
17 Thank Cellito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

Just spent 6 fun-filled and relaxing days (3/23-3/29) at the CRT. It's really all about their beach. The resort is not spectacular, but very solid & the beach area is amazing. Why anyone would want to go away and stay by a pool all day when you have such a beautiful beach blows my mind, but to each there own. The resort is definitely not a party place. It is very low key, laid back and relaxed.

This may be a long review but when searching for a place the longer reviews helped us so here goes!

Food: Food was very good overall. Here's a breakdown:

A la cartes

Italian: We felt it was the best or at least tied with the Mexican. Good menu, very fresh stuff. Pasta can be a little heavy, but hell, what do you expect! Do not leave without having the Lasagna, you will be hooked! Gabriel was our server and he was extremely affable and his smile was infectious!

Mexican: On par with the Italian, again great menu choices, Poblano soup was amazing! Spicy peppers, spicy sauces,...be careful :) Server was Guilermo, what fun he was.

Tapas: Very well presented plates, nothing amazing but solid. Eduardo was our server. Great guy and offered great suggestions which were both helpful and proved to be good.

Steak: Steak portion was on the smaller side, but great flavor, cooked well and again nice presentation. Carlos was our server and he was great. It was our Birthday and he made sure we had a special dessert, etc.

Thai: Very similar to both Steak & Tapas venues, pretty solid. But nothing, which blew your mind or taste, buds.

Overall food was good and we had nothing at all we did not like. Some were better than others in our opinion but they all worked for us. Presentation and flavors was spot on.

We did have to wait a few times but nothing too bad. We just grabbed a few drinks and relaxed. We usually went to dinner on the later side, around 8-830 which we found to be more pleasing. The restaurants usually close around 10pm & 11pm.

It was nice to have choices and not be a prisoner to buffet style.

Buffets:

Breakfast: We had breakfast at the buffet restaurant near the lobby every morning. We usually arrived there closer to 945-10 (buffet ends at 1030am) and it was never crowded. Our last morning before leaving we arrived around 9 and it was packed. They ran out of a few foods, etc, some small lines. Not a good time to arrive at all. Lots of choices, fresh juices (watermelon juice was unreal!) fruits, yogurt, eggs, beans, meats, cheeses, pastries…you name it. You will not go hungry and again, overall very good.

Lunch: We had lunch at the Steak restaurant, which doubles as the lunch buffet. Nice location, near the pool area and beach. Depending on time can get very crowded and there may be a wait. Best to go around 245-3, etc...They had good options, pretty solid. Again you will not go hungry. The service can be a bit spotty there for lunch. Sometimes slow, etc. Just go up to the bar and get a drink yourself, no big deal.

The Thai place doubles as the A la carte lunch venue during the afternoon. They have pizza placed out there pretty much from 11-4pm every day, you can go crazy! No shortage of pizza. The pizza I found to be a little bland and not the greatest. Living in NYC & Boston I expect a lot. But add a bit of salt, pepper and some Tabasco and you will be good to go. It is a great snack to carry to the beach with a nice cold beer. The menu offers your own personal pizza, burgers, wings, fries, salads, etc Pub grub. Not too bad. OK stuff. Again the service can be a bit slower at busier times.

Dinner: We never attended the dinner buffet so do not know. Always seemed fairly busy. I feel one buffet a day is plenty. We are not big into buffets.

My wife is a food snob and she enjoyed this resort so I am certain the food will be the least of your issues here!

Again overall the food was very good. We stayed at the luxurious Blue Diamond in Riviera Maya last year and the food there was below par and not even close to as good as CRT. What CRT may lack in luxury it certainly makes up with other aspects.

Bars:

By far the best is "Margaritas" which is just off the lobby and next to the Disco and Mexican restaurant. There tequila selection is great. All the infused tequilas are a must try! They have the best bartenders. Seems there are better/fresher ingredients, mixers, etc at this venue. Go before and after dinner. Great and fast service as well. They also have live music there...great one-man band and fun mariachi band.

Tapas/Martini Bar: This is located in the Tapas restaurant. Some nice, but very sweet martini selections. Nice area to sit and relax while you wait to be seated. Good ambiance. Loungy and laid back.

Beach Juice Bar: Freshly made juices near the volleyball area on the beach. Everyone loved this place! Funny thing is many people would get a fresh juice concoction and bring it to the bar, grab a shot of their favorite alcohol and pour it in. Read below.

Beach/Pool Bar: Clearly the busiest during the day servicing both the pool & beach areas. Although never really a long wait. However the “tropical” drinks were very sweet, poorly made with sugary fake mixers (not using any real fruit) and of course they were using bottom shelf liquor. If you could taste the liquor at all. Only good for cold beer or your favorite libation on ice. They have a decent liquor selection, ask for them instead of the crappy well liquor. They made by far the worst drinks at the resort. Again as I said above, go get a fresh juice and a shot, or stick to beer, much better!

Corona and Negra Modelo were the beers at the resort. Only draft no bottles/cans. Which was a bit disappointing.

If you are a wine drinker you will not be disappointed with the house offerings. We can be wine snobs and at every A la carte they had pretty good and drinkable wine. Which was surprising since most of the resorts we have been to the house wine has been HORRIBLE!

Disco:

Not very busy at all. We went up and no one was in there. But we heard after some shows the dancers head there for a while so it can get a little busy from time to time. Again the resort is not a party place.

Entertainment:

We caught some ends to shows. They seemed fun enough. Certainly some are catered more to the Italians staying at the resort. But the shows seemed fun if that is your cup of tea. Not Broadway or Radio City but again, looked fun nonetheless.

Rooms:

Rooms were very very basic, no frills. We upgraded to a deluxe room with a hammock on the balcony and in building 5, which is closest to the beach. Buildings 5 & 6 are the last buildings before the pool/beach area. Buildings 1& 2 are closest to the lobby, etc. Everything is very close and there are no really long walks. The resort is small enough and you do not need to hitch a ride or use a bicycle, etc, which is great! We found our room to be very quiet and were nice to sit out on the balcony for a bit after the beach. You can certainly hear other guests if they are also sitting outside, and you can hear guests walking back to the main areas, but in the evenings it was very quiet as were the mornings. The rooms are fine. The fridge is stocked with bottles of water, soda and a couple of cans of Modelo beer. Very basic but fine.

Pool area:

Big area, pool was very nice. However forget about getting a chair unless you want to wake up at 6am and place your towel on a chair or 2. Kind of ridiculous. We were up pretty early each morning and headed to the gym around 8-830am and there were never any free chairs by the pool. Either people were already there and sitting or had left their towels to reserve chairs. Truly not sure what time people wake up to do this but hey, if that is your thing go for it. Could be a large annoyance to some no doubt.

Beach:

As I stated at the beginning, very beautiful, clean and relaxing. They do have a couple of activities during the day. You may want to sit on the opposite side of the beach volleyball court if that would bother you. There seemed to be plenty of chairs at the beach. The later you got there you may have to drag chairs down from the shady areas to the sunny areas, but seemed to be plenty for all. There was the same “reserving” policy as the pool with people placing their towels early in the AM, but like I said plenty to come by. Some days were a bit windier than others and there was some good surf for body surfing. You have miles of beach to enjoy...you can drag your chair away from the resort area, or walk on either side and enjoy complete seclusion. All in all it was the best part of the resort!

Pros:

Beach

Food

House Wine

Beach

Beach

Cons:

Basic Rooms

Lack of Pool chairs/Towel reserving

No bottled beer

Not luxurious

CRT is a great place for an adult’s only vacation. The resort caters to Italians since they hold the majority. Seemed to be about 60-70% Italian, 15-20% other European nationals and 10-15% North Americans. Everyone was very friendly & you will not have any issues with guests. It is actually fun to see everyone having such a grand time. The resort in a good solid 4 star. If you are looking for more luxury, or 5 star amenities, look elsewhere. If you are searching for a fun, relaxing and great vacation with an amazing beach I do not think you will be disappointed with CRT! I would recommend it.

Sorry for the long review and hope it helped.

Room Tip: Buildings 5 & 6 are closer to beach & pool area and very very quiet. Highly recommended!
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
33 Thank P A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, BC. Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

We just returned from 14 days of relaxation. The resort was spotless. Amazing beach. Hands up to Rosa, (entertainment ), we can still hear your laugh! Sonia (beach/service) and Ingrid (pool service). You girls work so hard and made our days that much better! Thanks . Not to forget Carlos (buffet). Rooms were always spotless. Any problems were take care of immediately. Food was good. You always found something at the buffet and al a carts mexican was our favorite. Day time activities were fun if you wanted to join in. Vera club staff did zumba and dance lessons which i enjoyed. Snack bar great for lunch and snacks. Yes towel games happened at the pool. Beach does get windy and the pool is a nice wind break. Would have liked to have sunned by pool but chairs were usual taken in the early morning..we had done our sightseeing last trip to the mayan and didn't leave the resort after check in. We just didn't find the need to leave. Snorkeling right out our beach. You can walk forever on the beach. We helped on our last (earth day) with beach clean up. Met more amazing people. Love the fact of different languages spoken. You would sometime forget where you were!!! So yes we would return in a heart beat. We paid extra for late check out and were able to enjoy every last minute.

Room Tip: Don't think there are any bad rooms. We were top floor block 5.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank ktbwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014 via mobile

I visited here a while ago and it wasn't until visiting other all inclusive resorts that I was able to really appreciate how wonderful this place is. I wouldn't hesitate to call this the best couples resort in the area. It's quiet, service was amazing and food was very good. But the crown jewel is the beach! I can't wait to go back!

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank PickyWI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
calgary
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2014

we are in our 50s. this place was perfect .stayed end of feb. for 2 weeks .great beach,quiet clean pool,great food and friendly staff. if you want to relax this is the place! its a small enough resort to walk easily everywhere.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank twocalfolks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lexington, Kentucky
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2014

Pros
-beautiful beach! Catalonia is the biggest resort on about a 1.5-2 mile stretch of land. The other hotels are very small or abandoned which means more seclusion
-love ALL ADULTS. took a snorkeling trip and saw what some other places had to offer and it was kid crazy. We are in our late 20s, most other people were a little older, there was no spring breakers and no little kids. It was perfect.
-Lots of people but the resort never felt crowded. Lots of areas to hang out in - cabanas, beach, pool, hot tub, bean bag chairs on the beach, resturants, bar. We spent all day bouncing back and forth and had a great time.

Cons
-Food was OK. I've been to better. There were a few standout options- The asian place and the pizza was awesome. There is a beautiful tapas bar but the menu was non appealing to us and we didn't eat there even after being seated. The mexican place was bad. Can we get some breakfast near the beach??. I wish there would have been a better selection of tea. RIPE fruit. some fondue. HIGHER quality and more selection. I'm on vacation. I'm looking for LUSH not cafeteria. ROOM SERVICE?: oh its bad, really bad.
-Everything closed early. We arrived at 7:30 PM and hopped in the hot tub and got immediately kicked out.
-Excursions booked from the hotel were very commercialized.
-Entertainment: the one night we saw a show it was pretty horrible. The day activities were good my favorite. I WISHED they would have had a fun latin band play near the pool area so that everyone could dance to. **hinthint**

All in all I liked this place and had a great time and will always remember the time spent here--lots of room to make this place a top notch hotel though!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank JaiSpy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Catalonia Royal Tulum

Property: Catalonia Royal Tulum
Address: Carretera Cancun Chetumal Km. 264.5, Xpu-Ha 77790, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Xpu-Ha
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Xpu-Ha
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Xpu-Ha
#2 Spa Hotel in Xpu-Ha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Catalonia Royal Tulum 4*
Number of rooms: 288
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

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