This review is quite long but I think important for anyone travelling here to read to the end.
Me and my fiance travelled here for our first visit to Mexico and 2nd to the Caribbean. We're working people, not snobby but expect what we pay for. We arrived at the resort and were asked at the front desk would you like to upgrade before anything else. I replied by saying I haven't seen the room yet so no thanks. I thought this was a little odd but when i saw the room i understood why. We walked into our room and it smelt a little damp and the decor was very poor. We're not fussy people but this room was awful. The mirrors had mould and big black spots over them, the doors for the wardrobe where the safe was didn't open unless you lifted them and slid them. They were heavy, everytime my fiancee wanted something I had to open the door and I struggled. The patio looked at a brick wall which was at the back of the kitchens with the cooling fans blowing out hot air onto where we would sit and were very noisy. There was about 8 feet between our patio and the wall and no other view what so ever. The shower wasn't very good and if you wanted to have a bath instead the plug leaked and all the water went out of the bath within about 2 mins. There was huge bits of cracked plaster and bodged job electricals including a hairdryer in the bathroom which had its wires showing and was hanging loosely from the wall. We asked to hire a fridge and were told no standard rooms had them. We had requested a kingsize bed and we got a twin. 2 beds slightly bigger than a single. The beds however were comfy and when the doors were closed on the patio it was quiet so we decided not to be too fussy and stick with it. Deep down we felt that they wanted us in a rubbish room so we would pay the extra £200-300 to upgrade.
We went out for a look around and were pleasantly surprised by the resort. The first pool on the Catalonia side had a swim up bar and this was the pool where the entertainment was held. The pool was a decent size and bar was small but efficient service, but a bit too noisy for us. There was a smaller pool a few meters away with a net for water polo/volleyball etc.
There was also another pool on the Yucatan beach side of the hotel (sister hotel that you can share all restaurants, facilities with) this pool was bigger and was where we spent our time. It was quieter and also had a swim up bar which had the best barman in the hotel, Nazario. This guy was a legend, good fun, efficient on the bar and a genuine lovely guy. All the staff on this bar including Jeremiah amongst others were fantastic.
The Catalonia side of the hotel was nice looking with thatched roofing on all buildings and a nice lobby with a wooden walkway over a small water feature. There were some shops, ATM, burea de change, excursion desks and taxi pick up point. The privelledged rooms (upgraded) were on this side of the hotel near the gym and spa and from what we were told were nice but not really worth the money.
The Yucatan side looked similar but nicer and more tranquil.
The restaurants were good and had a decent selection. The main buffet was next to the noisy pool and offered something for everyone. Breakfast was very same same but there was plenty of choice to alternate what similar things you were having and not get too bored. Service at seating you could at times be a bit slow. Lunch and dinner times varied from really good (Chinese night) to avergae or just below (Mexican night). I love Mexican food but the things we have in England are rich and spicy, here they were bland and tasteless.
There were Al a Carte restaurants including Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Creperie, Steak house and Tapas. We didn't try the Mexican due to our attempts in the buffet failing and other guests saying it was disappointing. The Italian wasn't great, I eat a lot of Italian in England and I felt that it was bland and I enjoyed the starter more than the main. The Japanese was a good experience, fried rice, shrimp, chicken, sushi and an entertaining chef doing the flippin and choppin. Nice bar and great atmosphere. The creperie was delicious and became our favoured desert destination or pit stop for a fantastic shake or coffee. The tapas restaurant was lovely and presented well, some different selections but all very tasty and we had multiple visits here. The best for us though was the steak house which in the daytime is the burger bar next to the noisy pool and after hours is a late stop bar for munchies after midnight, but in the evening was a lovely al a carte serving t bone, fillet and sirloin steaks, grilled fish and pork etc. The fillet was one of the best steaks i've had, melt in your mouth and the service was great in here too. As with all al a cartes you had to arrive quite early to be seated as was first come first serve basis and with our Thomas Cook booking we had 3 tokens per week to visit them.
The grounds and the beach were kept very clean and were quite big to explore many different areas. There were good amenities including tennis court on the roof, 5 a side football pitch, archery area, bike shed (bikes free to hire and can go on bike ride with animation team around the town) sports bar (not manned until 3pm, but if you speak to animation day before they will let you in to watch football etc as due to time difference from UK it's on early), disco/nightclub (this was quite like a proper little club and we went once and it was good, drinks on your all inc). There was free pool/billiards, a golf simulator, free non motorised water sports on the beach including snorkel equipment, catamaran rides, kayak hire and diving lesson in the pool. If you pay extra there's diving courses/trips. The beach was quite nice and the sea gorgeous but you have to walk in on the left side of the beach facing the sea otherwise very rocky with coral. There's also a small lagoon area that you can kayak in and it goes all the way around a small village like community on the waterside. There is also a chill out bar which was very good and is right on the quieter side of the beach on the Yucatan side. Whilst there we were sitting having a drink and a giant turtle came out of the sea and laid her eggs next to us and went back to the sea.
There was also a theatre with a show on virtually every night. They weren't bad despite shows not really being my thing, we watched the lion king. They had fright nights and lots of choice with a quite professional production. Certainly better than most hotels i'd seen shows in.
All in all the resort was good for the money, was certainly not more than a 4 star resort and although i've stayed in better looking resorts had lots to offer, good food choices and pretty good entertainment. Most of the staff we encountered were nice and helpful and Nazario was a diamond. Our problems kicked off when I realized i'd had things taken from the room. I wore my football shirt on the plane over and put it into the wardrobe ready for the match v Man City at the weekend. I went to get it and it wasn't there, I asked my fiance had she moved it and no. We looked everywhere and it had gone along with another sports vest. We informed the front desk and were asked to stay in the room and security would be down in 5 mins. We waited well over an hour and nobody came. Fed up my fiance went to the desk and complained. She didn't get an apology, just told security had been and noone answered. She was then asked to go and wait again and she said no, I've reported it and wasted some of my day already. We were informed they would do a check of who'd been in our room and let us know by monday. This with the fact that our room was way below par was the final straw and the concierge girl asked us if we wanted to move rooms. We got moved to the Yucatan side and the room was clean, great pool and partial sea view, no mould or damp, plaster intact and everything worked. We noticed there was a fridge and despite being told no standard rooms had fridges this one did.
It'd become a case of principle more than a couple of footy shirts as we still hadn't recieved any apology or acknowledgement of what had happened and the concierge girl seemed a bit begrudging to move us like we were complaining over nothing.
Monday came and went and noone contacted us. We went back to the front desk and were told that because we refused security into our room no search had been done. We couldn't believe it, we knew it was just a couple of shirts but it was the fact that somebody must've routed through our stuff in the wardrobe to get them. We locked everything else in the safe that was valuable and i said to the woman should I put my clothes in the safe then? My fiance said to the concierge girl (different from one who moved us rooms) we paid nearly £2000 to come here and at the least I expect my things to be safe and if there's a problem for someone to try and help us with it, to which the girl replied "you didn't pay me £2000 did you". We stood there in disbelief. We asked to see her manager and she said they're busy, we asked to see the general manager and were told no and then she refused to talk to us and said because we were rude to her she would only talk to our Thomas Cook rep. My fiance nearly punched her but we walked away and spoke to our rep who said she would sort it out the day after tomorrow for us as it was her day off. We booked an excursion with the rep and went to the pool. We sat there and worked out that we'd been over charged by approx £30 for the excursion as we paid in pesos but it was priced in dollars. 2 days later we went to see the rep to find out about our complaint with the theft and she hadn't done it. She said leave it with her and she'd get it done and we told her about her over charging us. She said bring the receipt tomorrow and she'll sort it out. I went back the next day and she didn't turn up. She was on in the folder to be working that day. The following day my fiance went and she was there, she argued with my fiance that she was sure she hadn't overcharged us and eventually said I might've charged you for the wrong day out. She agreed to give us £25 back and gave the remark of I hope you're right otherwise it's gonna be a hard weekend for me isn't it. My fiance stood in disbelief again and the rep then said the hotel have said they can't track who was in your room but wil send a bottle of sparkling wine to your room. My fiance told me this and I replied we're going home tomorrow and staying in an all inclusive resort where you can get wine anytime of the day. There had still been no apology and the rep trying to rip us off and then giving us grief for asking for it back was the icing on the cake.
Needless to say the wine never turned up anyway.
We had a great holiday in regards to the people we met and excursions we did, including some of the loveliest staff i've met, but due to this service or lack of it and the fact that noone from the hotel seemed to care that their guests suffered theft was worrying. We weren't the only ones, out of about 6 couples we met there 3 had things stolen, one of them had a camera stolen, one a watch and one a football shirt also. Just look back at some of the reviews and see for yourself the others who have had this happen. For these reasons I will never return to the Catalonia and wish to send regards to all the lovely staff who treated us so well whilst there. It's a shame your management doesn't work with the same dedication as you guys and this problem would be irradicated.
- 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