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“Great Hotel - Mind the Holiday Club”

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Catalonia Royal Tulum
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Xpu-Ha
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 7 August 2014

First off, this was a great hotel, the staff were helpful and friendly and the accomodation was top-notch. Adults only, the atmosphere was relaxed and peaceful, but with plenty going on.

It was my wife & I's first trip to Mexico and we enjoyed the food, although to my taste it was a bit bland compared to what I was expecting. The service in the bars and restaurants was excellent, even by the poolside.

The pool was lovely and the beach beautiful if a bit loud on the music front.

Activities were fun, I don't normally join in, but the laughter coming from the pool volley pool crowd drew me in and we had a great time.

My only warning was the holiday club sales pitch. Straight off the coach and while we were checking in (at about 10pm!) you are being softened up by what sounds like a briefing on the hotel, it is actually a way to get you to commit to an appointment with a salesman the next morning. If you go to the appointment you are then subjected to a slow and steady build up to the sales pitch, by which time you have wasted half a day before you've even had a chance to start your holiday. IMHO avoid this at all costs!

It was a shame as this left me fed up for a while and the Hotel is really too good to let this spoil your holiday.

Would I go again - maybe, would I recommend it? Yes, but don't get involved with the holiday club.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank FastJerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,997 - 2,003 of 7,325 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2014

My wife and I were at CRT from July 26 - Aug 2. It was our first time at an all inclusive, but between the two of us, we have been to resorts in Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, and other resorts in Mexico. We had a great time at CRT and would recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting. We wanted a resort with a good beach, clean and comfortable rooms, laid back atmosphere, and easy access to explore the ruins. We got that and more.

Check-in: We arrived about 11:00 in the morning. During our check in we were told that we could not check into our room until 3:00, but could get our room key right away if we wanted to upgrade to the "premier" room. We stayed with the standard room, and they were very strict about the key not being ready until 3:00. Check-in was smooth, and then you are greeted by your personal concierge, in our case we had Alex. Alex sat us down and explained the amenities of the resort, and made sure we were comfortable. We told him that we were up early for the trip and were hungry, and he walked us to the pool area to the lunch buffet. We were traveling with another couple that would be arriving later, and told Alex that we would like a room close to them if possible. He pulled off his magic and had us in adjoining rooms. After lunch we got a cocktail from the lobby bar, and our vacation was started.

Room: We stayed in building 4 which was about halfway between the main lobby and the pool / beach. Our room was very clean, comfortable, and the a/c worked very well. I read some reviews regarding a damp, musty smell in their rooms, however ours was not that way. The staff cleaned our room around 1:30 everyday, and did a great job. We had a standard junior "suite" and did not upgrade. It was more than adequate for our needs. We were celebrating our anniversary, and we had a banner across our door with a fresh fruit tray and bottle of champagne waiting for us inside. Lot's of critters roaming the grounds, but none got in the room. No issues with bugs or misquitos, but I would recommend misquito repellent, just in case.

Food: The food was what I expected from an AI resort - good, but not fantastic. I have no complaints, however the best ceviche that I had was not at the resort. In general, there are better food options available off resort, but the convenience of eating on resort is why we stayed in. I recommend the Tapas bar and the Asian restaurant. Go early if you want to eat at the Asian restaurant - they open at 7:00 and there is limited seating which goes fast! Breakfast was always great, and lunch was very good at the buffet by the pool.

Bars: Great selection and great service. You have the choice of top shelf liquor at both the lobby bar and the pool bar - Bombay Sapphire Gin, Stoly's vodka, etc. In the evening, make sure to see Francisco at the lobby bar. He has a large number of unique shots that he can make to spice up your evening. There was only one waitress that I saw at the beach, Aremy, and she was really hustling, but you will probably be walking up to the pool bar to get your margarita or pina colada. It's just faster. No swim up bar.

Pool: Very nice. Starts to get more use in the later afternoon. You typically can find a lounge chair if you are looking for one.

Beach: I have heard that the beaches of Jamaica are stunning, but I don't know if I will find one nicer than the one at CRT. Deep blue water, sugar white sand, swept well each night to remove any seaweed. I was told by the dive instructor that the second largest coral reef in the world is only 250 yards from the shore. I snorkeled twice and scuba dove once, and it's something to not miss! There are also many sea tortoises that come on shore at night at different points up and down the beach. We didn't go out to try to see them, but the tracks and the holes that they were digging were impressive. Also, since CRT is adults only, it's pretty quiet when you are sun bathing. Make sure you get down to the beach by 8:30 in order to get a couple of lounge chairs. If you are looking for a resort with a great beach, this is the one.

Excursions: We saw the ruins at Coba and Tulum. If you are going to CRT this year, see Coba. They travel agents all said that this will be the last year you will be able to climb the main ruin (120 feet to the top), and it's a sight to see. We also ziplined, had a mayan dinner, swam in a cenote, walked Playa Paraiso beach, and shopped in Tulum and Playa del Carmen. If you are going to Playa del Carmen to shop, use the collectivo. They pick up and drop off right outside the resort, and it's $3 / person per ride. It's what the natives use and you need to experience it at least once. I highly recommend the scuba diving.

Staff: I leave the best for last. The staff at CRT was outstanding. Alex, our personal concierge, was extremely helpful and took great care of us. Zoe, another concierge, went above and beyond the call of duty to help me get a birthday cake and candle for another guest who was traveling alone and was celebrating his birthday. Miguel waited tables at the breakfast and lunch buffets, always had a smile, and gave us a great recommendation for dinner in Playa del Carmen. Finally, Francisco at the main lobby bar and Consuelo, one of the cocktail waitresses at the main lobby bar, became part of the family. I can't say enough good about these two people. Francisco is quite a character and will keep your evening lively with the variety of shots that he can concoct. Consuelo went out of her way to take care of us and is truly an angel. We will miss them both. To all of the staff at CRT, we say thank you!

Since it's quite a ways from Cancun airport, I recommend the non-stop transfer. It was 80 minutes even with the non-stop.

Just say no to the timeshare pitch. We didn't do it, and everyone we talked to said to avoid it.

Don't hesitate. You won't have the nightlife of Cancun, but you will be treated like royalty!

Room Tip: We had room 4110 and have no complaints. It was on the middle of 3 floors, but the a/c worked great...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
13  Thank Cheesehead48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

My husband and I were guest at CRT from July 26 thru August 2. We had a wonderful time and plan a return soon! Let me break it down:
Trip Planning
I found an incredible deal on Bookit.com. It was 2400. For two all inclusive, Including airfare for the week. Working with Bookit was easy and turned out fine.
Check In and room
Was a breeze. We were well received with a cool drink and cool towels. We got a standard room on the third floor of Palmas building, which is building 2. Wonderful room. Air worked great! We liked the location just fine. Hub is 66 and I am 60. We are in good shape and did not mind the stairs. We had two queen beds, spacious balcony and lovely bath. The room was kept clean and replenished daily. Only problem was the beach towels. If they clean your room during the day while you are out, they either don't replace your towels in the evening or you must find them to get new towels for the next day. Sometimes they knocked on the door at nine to replace them. Must be a better way...
We understand that at the price you pay you will not be getting 5 star cuisine, but we were satisfied with the many choices we were given. We ate at the breakfast buffet each morning. We had omlets each day. Love the Bloody Mary and mimosa station! For lunch we ate at the snack restaurant near the pool bar. Favorite was the club sandwich with fries. The al a cart lunch buffet was fantastic! We love the tapas restaurant for its selection and beauty. We also ate at the Mexican restaurant which was very good, the Italian restaurant which was very good too! We were not fond of the evening buffet. The offerings did not appeal to us. We had bad food at the Steakhouse. The menu looked great, but my beef tenderloin was overcooked, sent back and the next one was just the same. The service in all restaurants was outstanding! These folks work so hard for you! We tipped everyone well. Drinks were always terrific! My hub loved their sparking lemonade as he does not drink alcohol. I had nice wines at all restaurants. We never had room service.
This place is very beautiful and kept immaculate everywhere! Our favorite place was the beach. There are no rocks, just soft smooth sand. We snorkeld the reef beyond the ropes and found it pretty good. Go down the beach to your right, past the boats and try this area too. Very good! There are no large crowds on the beach. Lots of chairs and shade. The beach makes this resort better than those costing more... The pool is clean and beautiful. Notice shade and chairs. Must mention the wildlife, the coatis are adorable! Also we saw a raccoon,large iguanas, a capybara, and interesting birds.
The people who work here are so wonderful. They want to make you happy. They will remember your preferences. They will joke with you if you will with them. Smiles and good manners go a long way here. This is an internationally represented resort with guests from everywhere. We were an older couple by far! Lots of beautiful young folks come here. There are many smokers, and topless is very acceptable here. Hubs found this amusing...special thanks to Fernando of guest services for his determination to help us with departure boarding passes, Marco from the dive shop for coming to my rescue in fixing my snorkel mask, Suzanne also from the dive shop for friendliness and information, and all the hard working staff that gave us cherished memories for years to come.

Room Tip: I think any room would be great, but those away from stairwells would be more peaceful.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank molliecolllie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

This was our third time at the Catalonia Royal Tulum. I usually give 5 stars, but this time there was differences in the resort, not to my liking: Time Share Sales and Lack of food choices on buffet.
Pros: Recreation Activity Team (this is also includes Vera Club) Rosa, she is full of sunshine and happiness. The team has so many activities for each and everyday.
Bartenders and Waitresses on the beach, excellent drinks and service.
Juice Bar: The regular juicer, who has been there for years, excellent.
Waiters and Waitresses: The treat you like Royality.
Concierge: Fernando, what a great guy, he talked my wife and I into taking our daughter to the Catalonia Playa Maroma in August for a return trip, good sales job. :-)
Grounds: Excellent, beautiful, and clean
Beach: Perfection!
Rooms: Clean and great

Cons: Timeshare Sales: Why?! The place is always pack.
Buffet choices: The choices the past two years were huge and excellent. This year, less choices and not up to par.

Will I go back, probably YES!

Room Tip: It depends. I like quiet, so we get the building 4. If you don't like to walk, get building 5...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank sweenman85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

We recently got married (a week ago). Came down to CRT to celebrate our honeymoon. It was truly the best of both worlds for us. On one hand we had a jungle feel to it and then the beach and rest of the amenities were great. The music was a bit outdated. (I'll make sure I bring some music for the staff next time, lol). We enjoyed the food, the pool area, the beach and the attention that was given to us. We also became Club members and would like to thank "Edson" for his attention and helping us become Exclusive Members so that we can continue our yearly vacation plans each year. Great Job Edson!! We were in love with the hotel and we are already planning a vacation again for this year in December. Can't wait!!!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank Adam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

My thoughts on CRT:

- If you are english speaking you will be the minority, this resort largely caters to Italians. We had no problem with this, but I feel its worth mentioning as the staff's English can sometimes be weak and entertainment and activities are largely conducted in Italian. This did not effect my rating just a tip to other travelers.
-Food is mediocre. The buffets seemed pretty stale, the restaurants with menus were better but slow service, small portions and long waits. Only exception to this is avoid the breakfast menu, that food was terrible, stick with the buffet. The best meal we had was the romantic beach dinner, which costs extra, that was actually really good. Beyond that try the tapas or the asian place were our favorties.
-drinks were up to par with an all inclusive of this price range. Nothing too fresh mostly syrupy mixers and domestic alcohol. The bar tenders were happy to make double strong drinks, give you two at a time, and even add shots to smoothies from the smoothie bar or sodas from your mini bar if you prefer. They do have drink service at the pool and beach but we found it was too slow most of the time, don't expect them to come around more than 2 times in day even with tipping.
-Service was generally kind of slow, from check in to check out, dinner, and assistance with our room everything moved at a glacial pace. This was especially frustrating the three(!) times we had problems with our room, eating up a large portion of our beach time.
-amenities were good, the pool is spacious, and they have two ambient temp soaking pools overlooking the beach. The pool chairs were very nice and comfortable and plentiful. The beach chairs fill up fast and good shade too. So snag a spot early if you can. The water activities offered (kayak, catamaran, snorkeling) were actually pretty good and each guest is allotted 1 hour per day. You can see some decent stuff snorkeling in that time as there are some small active reefs just off the beach.
-beach was great, probably best thing the resort has. The water is very clear and beautiful shades of blue and green. The sand is very soft and smooth. Very few rocks. They have bouys marking off a swim area but many venture off the sides of it too, just be careful of the nearby water sports.
-rooms are hit or miss. we had quite a bit of trouble with ours; our keys, safe, hairdryer, and toilet all failed us at certain times. The big one was water came leaking through our ceiling and the staff acted like this was pretty routine and normal. I'm talking about a large amount of water here too. I had to request to moved to another room (they seemed surprised for some reason i didn't want a room with an inch of water on the floor??). This is a big problem too as I mentioned it took a long time to get help from the staff and wasted a large portion of our trip. So much so that we decided to just live with the minor stuff rather than waste time trying to get it fixed. All the rooms are really far from the beach (the lot is very long and skinny with just a slice of beach at the end, although very nice beach).
-the grounds of the hotel were kept pretty well for its age. there is a nice jungle with friendly wildlife (little racoon things, lizards, iguanas, tons of birds, and we saw some other weird piglet type thing) which make the walk kind of enjoyable. This could be a marjor problem for people who have mobility limitations. The big problem with the grounds is their pool and beachside bathrooms, these were never well stocked and ran out of hand towels etc at the start of the day and NEVER refreshed. Same with a lot of the restaurant and lobby bathrooms.
- staff was pretty friendly and helpful but a lot of stuff seemed understaffed as well. When i finally complained about all the problems we had with our room and especially the water leak the manager did give us a free romantic beach dinner which was nice but he also wasn't very forthcoming with solutions or compensation I have come to expect from most hotels.

bottom line CRT was pretty average, we have stayed at nicer all inclusive resorts in mexico and would choose them or try a new one over this one. Come here for the nice beach and maybe for value.

Room Tip: all the rooms seem about the same but it is considered an upgrade to be closer to the beach/pool, so...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank adammoo0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2014 via mobile

My husband and I stayed for a week towards the end of July, to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We enjoyed it very much.
The staff are amazing always helpful and smiling. The food was ok at the buffet but the best in my opinion was the Tao Cat- Asian restaurant. The food was so good there we went twice!
The beach is the most amazing part of this resort, white sand and beautiful blue water that is so warm it's like your bath tub. The waves were very strong at times and this was difficult for me as I have bad knees... And the walk to the beach although beautiful was also difficult at times.
The walk to beach often meant seeing Coatis and iguanas.
We would return to this resort in a heartbeat.
As others have stated watch out for the vacation club people! Just say NO!

Stayed: July 2014
4  Thank Trish T
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

Address: Carretera Cancun Chetumal Km. 264.5, Xpu-Ha 77790, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Xpu-Ha
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 Spa Hotel in Xpu-Ha
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Xpu-Ha
Price Range: £214 - £479 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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