My friend and I stayed at the Catalonia Riviera Maya for 5 days in October 2012 and it was a perfect vacation. The resort is all-inclusive and has multiple pools, a great beach, many delicious dining options and amazing staff. It is about 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, 30 minutes from Tulum and an hour from Cancun. It is located in a gated community that felt very safe and was up-scale. While the resort was very busy it is laid out in a way that made it seem as if it was only half full.
Arrival: When our shuttle dropped us off we were greeted by many smiling employees and a delicious welcome cocktail. Check in went very quickly and we were upgraded to a Privileged Suite. The bellboy brought our bags to our room and engaged us in conversation the entire time. All the staff spoke at least some English.
Room: The Privileged accomodations are set back from the pool area giving it a very quiet feel. Our suite was on the second floor of a 2 floor building and featured a living room with a pull out sofa bed and flat screen tv, a bathroom with his and hers sinks, a shower with rainforest shower head and a separate toilet area. The bedroom had a comfy king sized bed and a flat screen tv. There was a minibar that was kept stocked with bottled water, sodas and beer. The balcony had a sitting area and a large, deep bathtub. First floor outdoor tubs appeared to be a bit larger. The bedding was comfy, towels were huge and the bathrobes were a nice touch. Each room in the suite had air conditioning controls which kept the room nice and cold.
Dining: There are several dining options. Breakfast is served in the La Brisa buffet. The dining area is HUGE and the selection of food was very good. At breakfast they make crepes and omelettes in addition to the standard breakfast fare. Lunch time could be had at La Brisa or the snack bar which had everything from salad and fish to burgers, Mexican food and desserts. At night the snack bar turns into a very nice restaurant with amazing steaks. Dinner options were plentiful and ranged from Mexican to a Japanese steak house, a steak house, a crepe bar, Tapas Bar (for Privileged guests) and others. Portion sizes in the dinner restaurants were perfect.
Drinking: There are bars all over the resort. The swim-up bar in the pool is open 1000 - 1730 and has some of the best bar tenders (Thank you Gregorio, Jose, Juan and Ariana) who remembered my name and never let my cup go empty. The bar in the Bamboleo snack bar is walk up and also has waiters that circulate around the pool to deliver drinks. Abuelo bar is open at night as is a bar on the opposite side of the main building from the swim up bar.
Activities: The resort has a FANTASTIC group of staff who facilitate activities around the pool thorughout the day. Dance classes, spanish lessons, massage lessons, silly games, ping pong tournaments, water polo and many others. All ages were encouraged to participate and the staff was great with the younger kids, making sure they were included too.
Beach: There is no shortage of beach chairs here. Many people seemed to get to the beach early to leave their towels and kind of reserve their chairs. The beach on the left side of the resort by the lagoon is sandy and the water gets deep enough to be able to swim and snorkle. There are some reefs off this beach with fish of all kinds. When I went snorkling a school of large fish circled around me. It was amazing. The beach on the right side (facing the ocean) is rockier and really calls for swim shoes. There were plenty of people kayaking, snorkling and swimming.
Other things: There is a disco, a spa and a theater with shows. I did not go to the theater but I was told by other guests that the shows were excellent and it was well air conditioned inside.
Bottom Line: This is a fun, well planned out and family friendly resort. The staff is warm and welcoming and it is obvious that they enjoy their jobs. The clientele was very diverse; Russians, Canadians; Americans; British; Australian and more and despite the diversity everyone acted as though they were old friends. I found myself making fast friends with so many people. The age range was little kids to senior citizens and everyone was respectful of other guests. I got the feel that this is not a spring break type resort.
I will absolutely return to Catalonia Riviera Maya as soon as time permits. This was by far my best vacation experience ever!
Hint... A small tip goes a long way. The service is outstanding to begin with but we still tipped our bartenders, house keepers and waiters which got us extra attention and even better service. These folks work very hard.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Catalonia Riviera Maya is situated in the peaceful ambience of Puerto Aventuras, located directly on the beach of the beautiful Mexican Caribbean and in the heart of the Mayan Riviera. The white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, a great marina with restaurants and bars at a walking distance as well as a 9 hole golf course makes Puerto Aventuras a place that stands out, a place for those looking for the authentic Caribbean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Riviera Maya Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
- Catalonia Hotel Mexico
- Catalonia Rivera Maya
- Riviera Maya Catalonia
- Hotel Catalonia Riviera Maya
- Catalonia Riveria Maya
- Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort
- Catalonia Riviera Maya All Inclusive
- Catalonia Mexico