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“Great Place for Kids”

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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Ranked #11 of 278 Hotels in San Diego
Oak Park, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great Place for Kids”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

I didn't pay for this stay so I can't really comment on its value/affordability.
Hotel is on Mission Bay and there is plenty to do for those inclined to athletics and/or water sports. In addition to plain old running or swimming, you can rent bicycles, kayaks, paddle boats, sail boats, paddle boats and more. There is also a swimming pool for those not interested in real water.
Hotel is only about 1/2 hour from the airport. The Pacific ocean is about 2 blocks away. Sea World and the San Diego Zoo are within easy reach. There is an amusement park of sorts - another kid activity - about 1 1/2 miles south, but family who went there weren't impressed. There are nightly fireworks from Sea World that can be seen across Mission Bay (they end about 10 p.m. PT).
Two things to pay attention to: a) the only lodging in the facility that has an elevator is the "Tower" - all others are two-level with steps so be careful what you pack and b) if you are driving, do not bring a full-size or bigger car - the parking facility has some of the smallest spaces I've ever seen.
We were there for a family reunion - 20 of us - and although I didn't do any of the planning, I can say that we were treated well and, from observation, I can say that their special event (catering and Audio Visual) crews are second to none. There were two weddings, a reception, a wedding shower, a movie on the beach and a Luau for 680 people while we were there.
Again, absent information on the cost of lodging, I think it's a great place to stay, particularly if you have kids.

Room Tip: The south side and the upper floors of the Tower have a view of Mission Bay. Only the Tower has an...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Rheinhold F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Where to start.....
Quick sum up- Hair in food, spiders, hair and other stuff in rooms, broken doors, mould smells...

Upon arrival we were impressed by the landscapes and the water fall in the lobby. We then realized how rude the staff were and how they looked at us differently before and after they were tipped (decently too). Before exploring the hotel we went downstairs for lunch. We got half way through a pizza to find multiple long black hairs though the dough and toppings. We did the right thing and didnt make a scene and told a staff member. The only discount we got was not a full bill....

We were upgraded to a "penthouse" (loose term) in the tower. All other bad reviews state-stay away from the tower for good reason. We asked for a standard room and had paid for it. We concluded we were forced into the penthouse as a wedding had the hotel booked out.
With two small children, a room with a broken sliding mirror that almost fell on them, a broken sliding door lock on the thirteenth floor and mould, spiders and 1960's kitchen was not safe for us or our children. The blanketts and towels smelt dirty and even some like urine..

The next day we moved to a room on the floor out of the tower.. the staff were rude and werent happy about moving us to what we originally paid and asked for.

The new room was better... still smelt, the room had spiders in the corners, there was food and clothes left from the last guests, the bathroom shower curtain was putrid too.
We couldnt wait to leave the hotel, we even left our privacy sign on our door so the staff wouldnt come near our room.

Definately not a four star hotel or safe for children.

Room Tip: Avoid the whole place if you have expectations and standards. the hotel is very noisy with street cl...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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1 Thank e g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 July 2014

I don't usually write reviews, because my experiences typically fall in with the crowd and I don't feel like repeating what already've been said. This time it is different.

We stayed at the Catamaran July 11-15 in room 403. We booked this hotel based on the class 4 stars rating. Before booking, I read negative reviews and I did saw one about the smell in the room and the management response that the problem was fixed. My thought process was that this is 4 star hotel with responsive management who pays attention, they had a problem and they fixed it. I couldn't be more wrong.

The biggest problem is that the hall in front of the room smelled so bad, we had to run in and out of the room, so as not to let stench inside. Thankfully, it wasn't that hot and we slept with balcony door open. We complained to the front desk twice, in the evening we arrived and again the following morning. I guess, they tried to fix it, but the smell was there to the end.

The room itself was dated, as many reviews point out before. We were on the 2nd floor and their 2 story buildings don't have elevators. Not a problem for us, but it would be if my mother would be traveling with us. Nothing about it was mentioned on the hotel website. Bed was uncomfortable, with pillows which felt like $9.99 pillows from Wal-Mart. By the way, for the price they charge per night, they don't guarantee king size bed. So, be careful at the time of booking.

Hotel has a convenient location on the Mission Bay and it is 5 min walking distance from the ocean, 15 mins drive from the zoo, museums, downtown, and SeaWorld, has nice grounds with ducks and parrots. The room was clean and staff was generally friendly. Night cruise was a nice touch (take one around fireworks time 9:50 PM or you can see fireworks from the hotel beach). But it was all overshadowed by the smell in the room and the fact the room was substandard to the 4star class hotel.

Catamaran has all the amenities required for the 4star hotel and I guess this is how they got their 4 star rating, but for us, the most important thing in the hotel is the room quality and comfortable bed. They certainly didn't have that. So, if you decide to book this hotel don't believe their 4 star rating, treat is a solid 3 star with all the pitfalls, that go with it.

We found this hotel on the TripAdvisor using search criteria: luxury & class 4 stars and above. Unfortunately Catamaran is neither. I honestly can't understand how they obtained their Certificate of Excellence for 2014. I would love to learn how to initiate hotel class rating assessment reevaluation, so that other travelers would not make the same mistake as we did.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4 Thank Natusik_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Olympia, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2014

We came just as a couple but will probably return with the kids at some point! The resort has all the rental you'd need to enjoy the boardwalk or mission bay. It's also nice and centrally located between La Jolla and downtown San Diego. Cool things for kids, movie night, exotic bird show, and of course the pool.
Speaking of the pool, Jake at the pool bar was awesome! Great service there and a great attitude! Mai Tai heaven!
It was a great trip - thanks all!

Room Tip: Get the tower if you can. The higher levels will either have a Mission Bay view, or Pacific Ocean v...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank mdmortenson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
2 reviews
Reviewed 26 July 2014

The food was fantastic (and plentiful), the drinks were tasty and the show was amazing. I would do the luau at the Catamaran every night if my waistline could afford it.

Thanks for the invitation Charlotte and Tommy Corvi.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orange, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

We just returned from the Catamaran today and had a wonderful time. We have two kids ages 3 and 6 and stayed for three nights in a room with a kitchenette. It was well worth it. The resort caters to families and is very inclusive. They offer all kinds of rentals right on Mission Bay so we rented a boat and bike and had a great time cruising around the Bay. They have bikes with kid seats so I took my daughter to Pacific Beach and got her some ice cream. She loved it.

If you go to Mission Bay, go in the morning at 8:30am and get an umbrella and chairs. They are free and go fast. The water is perfect for small kids because it lacks waves and is perfect for building sand castles. My daughter loved swimming in the water even though it was cold.

There is a luau on Tuesday nights which was great. It was a lot of fun for all ages. There is a bar at the event but the drinks are not as good as the atoll which is right outside the entrance. The hula dancing was really fun to watch. There were over 400 people so it's crowded festival seating. Lines start to form at 5:30 for seats. If you have small kids, you should know that there's a volcano in the show and it booms once loudly and may scare them.

If you have a little girl who likes hula, take her to the hula lessons by the pool. One of the hula dancers from the luau teaches the class and she is super nice. She was so patient with my little girl. Bring your camera cause they wear a hula skirt and its adorable. Also, if you like drinks, Derek (?) the pool bartender was very nice and makes a good mai tai. If you like tacos go to the taco stand right outside the resort. Its a five minute walk and worth it for some of the best tacos in San Diego.

Although, we loved our stay, I have to take a star away because we did encounter a few difficulties in the room with the air conditioner not cooling properly which made it difficult to sleep. We also had a leak in the sink that flooded the kitchen floor. They gave me a small credit for these problems but I expected more from a resort with $300/night rooms. The only other thing that I have to mention is that the beds here are not the best. They are very soft and have very little support. I woke up this morning with a sore back which lasted all day. Between the AC and the bed, it wasn't the most comfortable night of sleep I've ever had. Otherwise, our stay was great and we will definitely be back again.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank sunpike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014 via mobile

We have just returned from a two night stay and did not want to leave! I can't recommend this hotel highly enough. We stayed in the tower on 6th floor (ask for as high a room as you can so as to get a good view of the bay) and were blown away by the location, resort and its staff who couldn't have done more for us. When we checked in we told the staff we were on our honeymoon and returned from the beach to find champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a card - such a lovely touch. The location is amazing, right on Mission Bay so you step onto the beach from the hotel. What we loved too was that Mission Boulevard had many cafés for brunch/lunch so you didn't have to eat at the hotel (as in every hotel their prices are higher). Just a short walk away was Mission cafe and Swell cafe - both serving beautiful food for lunch. If you like Mexican food there's a place right next to the hotel called La Playa taco shop (I think) which is a take away/cafe - also gorgeous food. We'd love to return to San Diego and will definitely look to stay here again; I will probably look at other alternatives purely because there were a lot of families here and my husband and I would, if possible, prefer fewer children around. However, I doubt we'd be able to beat the Catamaran for its location and staff. On a final note I have just read a very negative recent review and I can't believe it's been written about the same place, particularly its criticism of the staff as it is entirely the opposite to our experience.

Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
1 Thank SAELBU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Property: Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Address: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109-6959
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > San Diego
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#4 Spa Hotel in San Diego
#5 Luxury Hotel in San Diego
#55 Family Hotel in San Diego
#70 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#94 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 315
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One of the few resorts on Mission Bay to not charge a resort fee! The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa is a paradisiacal destination located on the shores of Mission Bay and mere steps from San Diego’s famous Pacific Beach. With features including lush tropical gardens and private beach, this Polynesian-themed hotel offers an ideal blend of fun and tranquility all year-round. Established in 1958, the Catamaran is a paradise featuring more than 1,000 varieties of exotic plants and animals from around the world. Palm trees, bamboo, waterfalls and koi ponds appeal to the senses, while playful parrots delight and intrigue guests. The Catamaran’s architecture, reminiscent of the traditional Colonial Hawaiian style, boasts accents including totem poles handcrafted in Bali, art pieces such as tapa cloth from Vanuatu and a beautiful front desk constructed of Black Koa wood imported directly from Tahiti. At the Catamaran, guests are checked into one of 310 guest rooms, studios or suites, each with a private balcony or patio that opens to stunning views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Beach neighborhood and coastline, or the hotel’s lush tropical gardens. All guests are provided a full range of amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. On-site dining options include Oceana Coastal Kitchen, rated by Zagat as one of San Diego’s most anticipated restaurants of 2015 and featuring chef-driven surf and turf dishes. Next door to this signature restaurant is Moray’s, where guests can sip on a signature Moray’s Mai Tai, savor a local craft beer and enjoy daily happy hour specials. Both venues feature a blend of indoor and patio spaces, the latter lined with tiki torches, fire pit tables and lush palms. Guests may also choose to grab a bite poolside at the Catamaran’s full bar and grill which serves up barbecue favorites during the spring and summer months. Another standout summer special is the Catamaran’s signature luaus, featuring live performers that guide guests through the cultures of the South Pacific as they enjoy a Hawaiian buffet. Those who prefer to spend their time on the water can opt for a cruise on the Bahia Belle, a replica of an 1860s-era sternwheeler that tours around Mission Bay. Step back in time and enjoy a colorful sunset from the top deck, or kick up your heels as the vessel becomes a vibrant nightlife destination with live entertainment and a full-service bar. The Catamaran Spa—the only beachfront spa in San Diego—offers a South Pacific-inspired menu of treatments including massages, facials, body wraps, hydrotherapy treatments and more—carried out with all-natural marine and botanical elements. Additional wellness amenities include an outdoor pool and hot tub, beach cabanas, an open air fitness center, seasonal outdoor yoga classes and more. Further vacation activities include rental paddleboards, sailboats, kayaks, surfboards, bicycles and Segways. The Catamaran is also located within the beach towns Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, where guests can stroll the boardwalk or the iconic Crystal Pier, play at the beach or experience a variety of cafes and boutiques. The resort is also within 10 miles of major San Diego attractions such as SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Downtown’s Gaslamp District and the San Diego International Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catamaran Resort & Spa San Diego
Catamaran Hotel Mission Bay
Catamaran Resort San Diego
Catamaran San Diego

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