This was my first stay at Hotel Catalonia and in Puerto Aventuras altogether. It was a girls' trip and we wanted a good beach, good snorkeling from the hotel, and decent food. This resort turned out to be a GREAT choice for us! The beach options here are terrific. One section has chairs down on the sand that goes right into the ocean. Another section has chairs along a boardwalk that is above the ocean, and another section has chairs along a lagoon just off the ocean, where it's extremely safe and easy to swim, snorkel, and feed the fish that are numerous there. One area is all 'ocean noise' and another is closer to the pool where you can hear the music and the staff offering activities. The pools are very nice and have safe, shallow areas where children can swim and adults can lie in the shallow water. The activities staff do a fabulous job of providing plenty of optional games and entertainment, and they stick to the activities schedule, do everything on time as planned, and have a great variety of options. We took archery lessons one day, did water aerobics, salsa and merengue lessons, and played in a ping pong tournament. They also have free water activities such as kayaks you can take out for an hour at a time in the lagoon (which is a much cooler water tour than it would appear from standing on shore at the hotel - I highly recommend it), a captain-led catamaran ride for up to 2 or 3 people at a time, which is 20 minutes out into the ocean, and the only cost is an optional tip to the captain. This was REALLY fun and a great way to see how gorgeous the Caribbean is up close. You just have to get on that day's schedule first thing in the morning. The lifeguards are friendly and helpful if you are nice to them, and one of them took me out snorkeling three different times. This was a highlight for me, and I definitely would not have gone out as far or as long as we did by myself, but felt very comfortable doing so with a lifeguard by my side. The current was strong and the waves were a little challenging, but even with my mediocre swimming skills and no life jacket, I managed to have three wonderful snorkeling excursions right from the hotel beach. You can also take out bikes from the hotel and ride around the gated community of Puerto Aventuras. There's a marina there, and they do 'Dolphin Adventures' that you can watch from right in the middle of town. It's extremely safe to walk, run, or ride a bike around Puerto Aventuras. I felt safer there than I do in my own neighborhood in smalltown Kentucky. The nightly shows range from decent to terrific, but it's always impressive to see the activities staff giving it their all on stage at night after working out in the sun entertaining guests at the pool all day long. They are truly amazing. The International Show, Mexican Show, and the Lion King show are all definitely worth seeing! The disco on the property is open every night at 11pm, and if you just want to dance and have a drink, it's fine. If you want a big-time club scene, you can cab it to Playa del Carmen ($22 USD each way). The food at the hotel was better than expected, based on our stays at other All-inclusives in Mexico. The buffet was extremely varied, offering Mexican food, sandwiches, seafood, chicken, and pizza everyday, among other special dishes. The fresh fruit was delicious - some of the best cantaloupe and watermelon I've ever had. Everything I tried was very good - even the pizza! They have fresh guacamole and homemade tortilla chips at all meals and in the 'snack bar' near the pool at all times. I'm not a big drinker, but the few drinks I had tasted just fine to me. I didn't hear anyone complaining about the bar or the drinks. The sit-down restaurants were a nice change of atmosphere from the buffet, but I honestly don't believe the food was of any higher quality or better prepared in the sit-downs than it was at the buffet. If you eat at a sit-down, be prepared to wait for a table and for the service to take a long time. It's not the thing to do for dinner if you are in a rush for any reason.The Creperie (an ice cream/crepe outdoor table-service restaurant upstairs near the sit-down restaurants) is a must-visit for dinner and dessert - it's wonderful and rooftop dining over the ocean is just really cool. There are two Catalonia resorts here technically (Riviera Maya and Yucatan), but they are on the same property, and we checked into one and were given a room in the other. It seems like RM is the nicer one nad Yucatan is the more low-end one, from what we could tell. They definitely operate as one single property. We booked the least expensive room available on CheapCaribbean and they put us in what had to be the lowest-end room they had. We walked past all these nice rooms and suites in the 'upgrade section' and then got to our room, which was in the hotel section with the broken elevator, so we had to walk one flight of stairs to get to our room. The room itself was just okay - not new or fancy AT ALL. The bathroom fixtures and walls were old and worn out, and the room was very basic. But it was clean and everything was functional, so we were fine with it. If we had paid any more or had I needed to spend more time in the room, I would have been dissatisfied with the room. The cleaning service was terrific (as it always is in Mexico - they are so much cleaner there than we are in the U.S.!) and our housekeeper left us an animal made out of towels everyday, even in the 'low-rent' section of the hotel. :-) Two recommendations: 1) Don't buy excursions AT the hotel - buy them in Playa del Carmen or online before you go if you want to get a decent price. All the bus excursions are on the same busses - they are just sold by different tour salespeople who mark them up at their own discretion. We paid $60 for an all-day bus trip to Chichen Itza, and if we had bought the exact same tour from the guy in the hotel lobby, it would have been $109. 2) Buy your airport shuttle service online before you go. Cancun Shuttle is the airport's official service and I strongly recommend it. Buying it online BEFORE you go on your trip will ensure that you get a much better price and that you aren't forced into some crazy high-priced shared transportation once you land and get into the chaos of the ground transportation area at the Cancun Airport. Our experience proved them to be very professional, they provided detailed documentation and instructions, the vehicles were very nice, it was private (not shared), and they were right on time. It was WAY better than any taxi service I've ever had in the U.S.
My wife and I stayed here for our honeymoon 10/25-10/31/2011. This was our first time staying in an 'all inclusive' resort. We didnt know what to expect after only having seen pictures and reading reviews. We chose this resort because of the reviews truthfully. We were blown away by the kindness that we met in the olympus tours representatives that shuttled us from the airport to the resort. They were so kind and helpful. We were comforted by them as we were in a strange place. At the resort, ALL of the staff were so nice. We were not hounded or pressured to leave tips, it was even discouraged. The food was good. There was plenty variety to choose from. However, even with being very careful, we both still had bouts of diarrhea throughout the week. However, it was never bad enough that some anti-diarrhea meds couldnt handle. It also never kept us from leaving th room and enjoyinh ourselves. The water served in the restaraunts is bottled water so dont be scared to drink it. Just keep in mind that they cook with different spices, foods, etc than most americans are used to so expect your tummy to disagree a bit. The other vacationers there were couples and families, not very many young college partiers as we expected. The atmosphere was very laid back and calm. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves the entire week. Hurricane Rina stopped in for a visit during our stay and we were astonished at the level of planning and professionalism the staff had during the preparation before her arrival. You could tell that they have been through these several times and are pros at handling it with all th guests. We felt very safe and cared for. DO ABSOLUTELY stay in the priveliged rooms! I promise you that if you really do the math, you will see that it doesnt cost much more to upgrade. It is absolutely worth every penny. We stayed in the suite and 'wow' was all we could say on our arrival. We heard from other guests that the standard rooms are very subpar. The resort is about 20-25 minutes from Playa Del Carmen, the closest large city. They tell us its only 15 buts its not. Theres a very popular place in the city that they call 5th Avenue. Its their version of New York City. A truley must-see. Its a great place for souveneir shopping. But keep in mind, its all very over-priced and there is hasseling. The resort is located inside Puerta Aventuras which is a gated community and very safe. You can feel at ease going anywhere inside the community. DO eat at the Japanese restaraunt in the resort. DONT eat their dessert though. DO eat at the Italian restaraunt. DO snorkel and kayak at the resort. If you get the priveliged rooms, you get to do these for free everyday. DO bring some water shoes with you if you plan to swim in the ocean. It is very rocky once you leave the sand and begin entering the water and more than likely your feet will get cut without them. I highly recommend this resort. We had a wonderful time and are already planning our next visit and bringing family with us. You wont want to leave!
This resort is excellent for the money !! Upon arrival in Cancun the transfer company was easy to find after the long walk from the gate.(Olympus)Check in was very easy and we got the room we desired.(Two Queen Beds) Our room had a balcony overlooking the pool and a little far away the sea. NO refrigerator with the standard room.!!! Ask for hangers as soon as you arrive if more are needed. The buffet food was delicious and the bar service was great. Try the steakhouse, we went two times. The beach does have many rocks so PLEASE take shoes to walk on the beach and in the water. The pools were clean and the staff always cleaning the pool area. A lot of walking as any big resort. The staff was friendly and always willing to please their guests. This hotel is located with in walking distance to the Dolphin Discovery (swim with the dolphins) shopping, (drug store, gifts etc) restaurants and day fishing cruises. If any items needed you can save money by taking the 15 minute walk instead of paying the high prices in the hotel shops. The hotel offers NO transportation to Playa but the cab is only $20.00 each way or take the local bus for a few dollars which you can catch outside the compound. Very good security getting inside the compound area, all cars are checked upon arriving.( A little walk to the compound entrance so we took a cab and then got the public van/bus to Playa) The grounds are beautiful, the room was clean and the food as mentioned very good. The shows in the theatre were very good, try at least one.
-very attentive staff -detail-oriented housekeeping -well-kept grounds and amenities -amazing food options: japanese, ilatian, multiple buffets, dessert-only buffet, and so on... -very close to: dolphin encounters, parasailing ventures, jet-ski rental, etc. well worth the price, amazing experience overall.
First vacation with my wife. we had a great time and would definately recomend this to anyone. food was great service was great just everything about this resort was great. we just escaped the hurricane which is probably the best part. all staff members were friendly. definately worth the money, upgrade to a suite!!! it is very nice. there were many options for food, japenese, mexican, steakhouse, italian, spanish and then the buffets. i think there were 7 bars a night club all around this was something that i would definately recomend you to try.
The resort was great and I can't say enough about the staff! From the front desk check in to the bars and restaurants (all of which were very assessable), we were greeted warmly and helpfully! The rooms were comfortable and clean and we found upgrading your room to the midrange was well worth it! The beach beautiful with soft white sand, plenty of chairs and crystal clear water! There were also really pretty fish swimming with you, so I recommend brining a snorkel! We did the Chi Chenitza excursion and had a fantastic time! The guide was engaging, knowledgable and entertaining! Don't be discouraged by the length of the trip it's well worth it! My only warning is that you double check the airline included in your package! DO NOT FLY SPIRIT AIRLINES!! My husband and I as well as everyone of our fellow travelers, renamed this joke of an airline 'Break Your Spirit Airlines'! The worst customer service I've ever experienced; canceled flights, $100 carrie-on luggage fees and seats so close together my 5,10' husband was kissing his knees!
My husband and I decided to do something special for our 5-year anniversary. After searching cheapcaribbean.com, which was highly recommended by many of our friends, we came across the Cantalonia Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. When we arrived, we were greeted with delicious drinks. The hotel management encouraged us to upgrade to a honeymoon suite for only an additional $25.00/night. After reading other reviews, we thought this might be the best option. With the upgraded package we had access to all of the restaurants in the resort for each night of our stay. In addition, we received a 25-minute couples massage, wine and chocolate delivered to our room, breakfast in bed, a 5x7 couples picture taken by a professional photographer, a romantic dinner for two with a special menu selection of surf and turf, a stocked minibar with bottled water, soda, and Corona and a suite! The minibar was restocked everyday too, which was nice because you don't want to drink the tap water! This upgrade was well worth the money and I would highly encourage anyone to do it! The staff workers at the resort were friendly and helpful. Although, there was a communication barrier they did their best to help us with any questions or concerns! The restaurants served 3-course meals with a variety of menu options and choices! If you did not like something that you ordered, the restaurant staff would take back the course and get something else for you. Although we only ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch, they served a variety of different choices every day. Some of the food was bland, but other than that it was good. The drink menu and selection was amazing. Try the Baby Monkey with banana liquor in the evening! It's delicious! The bars and bar staff were friendly and upgraded your glass to a larger size if you were friendly and tried communicating with them in Spanish! Even if you can't speak a lick of Spanish, give it a try! It's fun and the staff appreciate it! We decided to relax at the resort and did not do any excursions. However, if you are looking for something free to do in the early morning or evening, visit the marina. It is a short 5-minute walk and you will get to see dolphins, manatees, sting ray, and other sea life. There are also a variety of bars and shops to explore. The entertainment at the resort was decent. We went to the shows every night. We enjoyed the International Show, the Black Light Show, and the Comedy Show. Overall, the shows were entertaining! The pool towels were provided and you could exchange them at anytime during the day. The beach chairs were comfortable and the umbrellas provided a lot of shade. We had beautiful weather when we visited and spent a lot of time in the ocean and on the beach. The beach is rocky, but I did not wear water shoes and was fine. We went snorkeling for an hour everyday, which was free. We saw some pretty amazing fish and sea creatures such as an eel, stingray, octopus, and a barracuda. The catamarans and other non-motorized water sport equipment was also free and worth the fun in the sun on the ocean! Book at this resort and you will not have any regrets!
We enoyed our 15-night visit to the Catalonia Riviera Maya very much (good food, nice room (suite), nice, but very cold pools, etc.), but most of all we want to thank the entertainment staff for their amazing energy, friendliness, and talent. They make your stay most enjoyable!
We just returned from the Catalonia Riviera Maya. We spent 5 days and 4 nights. We upgraded for free on a vacation website to the honeymoon sweet, in which we received quite a few additional free ammentities. The room we had was great. It had a king sized bed, the bathroom was all updagraded with marble throughout. The shower had a rain-head and handheld fixtures. Our patio area was huge which consisted of a sitting aread with a table and four chairs outside of the first set of sliding glass doors, the other side consisted of two lounging chairs along with a private large tub/small pool that was a very nice ammenity to enjoy in the evening. The hotel had activities going on everyday, which we already were busy and didn't get a chance to enjoy. (hopefully when we return we can take advantage) We received a free couples massage. We also received a free steak and lobster private dinner on the terrace which we just didn't have time to take advantage of. We ate at the buffets for breakfast and lunch. For dinners we ate at the Tapas Restaurant (it was different, not what we are used to - which is ok - we are on vacation to experience new things!), we also ate at the Japanese Restaurant, which we didn't really care for ( we are just used to the ones in the US) and we also ate at the Steak House, which was our favorite. Everyone at the hotel is very accomodating, a smile and an "hola" to the staff will take you a long way. We had a pillow menu in our room, which we took advantage of the first night, and they were at our door with out requested pillows within 10 minutes. I must say, this is the first time I took advantage of calling the front desk with requests, and they fulfilled all of my requests without any hesitation. All of the hotel grounds were just beaufiful, very well maintained and clean. The complex consisted of 5 pools and many chairs on the beach. We never had a problem finding a couple chairs on the beach with an "umbrella". I would recommend bringing a pair of water shoes. If you go into the water there are some rocks. Unless you have some tough feet - it's a good idea. The hotel is in a beautiful and safe area which really relieved us (knowing what is going on in certain areas of Mexico). It's in a gorgeous beautiful "village" called Puerta Adventuras. I just can't say enough - it was an amazing vacation and we couldn't be the value! If you visit the bars, request a "Tequila Boom Boom!" - (It's great!) Room Tip: If you have the opportunity, try and get a honeymoon suite.
We went on this trip for our honeymoon for 7 days, and we loved it! It was our first all inclusive resort style vacation, so this review may not have the best perspective. There was a lot to do, and always was something going on, so we were never bored, but we were also able to relax and enjoy the sun as much as we wanted as well. We loved the resort's spa. The employees were very courteous and professional. The spa was kept very clean. We thought the pool in the spa would be warmer, but it did not seem to be different than the pools by the beach. I have read a lot of reviews about resorts watering down their drinks. They did not do this here! The drinks were GREAT! Here are some of our "complaints", but none of this really upset us. The rooms we stayed in were the "privileged" suites. There were hallways that seemed to resonate the noise. Doors closing and cleaning crews seemed loud inside the rooms. The rooms were equipped with air conditioners and dehumidifiers which were also noisy. The beach is short. Most of the water was full of shells, coral, and rock. Take water shoes!! There was a nice spot that was pure white sand, but lots of people were always there. The dinning seemed to have weird hours. Also the places seemed to open late, or were slow right at the start. We never had much of a wait, nor were they crowded. This was organized very well. If it rains, do not loose or break your umbrella! Ours broke, so we turned it in for a new one, and never got a replacement! We called several times, and all we were told is that they knew about it. We would definitely vacation here again! The crew was great, the place was kept very clean, and was a great overall experience for us.