We just arrived home form the Catalonia Yucatan.
Flight: Canjet; No complaints. Upgraded to Canjet Select and glad we did. Seat selection. Three drinks and snacks on plane. Free blankie, headphones and other goodies. No line up at check in. Extra 10 kg. (They ding you $15/KG and there is NO grace even if you are .5 KG over)
Bus Ride: About 1.5 hours. Comfortable bus. Beers on board $3 each. Water and pop $3 each
Check in: Hard sell to upgrade. Couple before us was checking in and not really interested in upgrade, but I asked some question about it and he totally dumped the other couple (they weren't checked in yet) and paid all his attention to us. I finally had to redirect him back to the poor young couple that were wondering what the heck had happened to them. We did upgrade to a suite and it has "half price" and cost $210. This is apparently common for this hotel. If you are thinking of upgrading.. wait until you get there. |By the way, if you keep a standard room, the cost for the safe is $3/day and free with upgrade.
Room: Really nice. Balcony on 2nd floor is half the size of the first floor. I never want first floor, but in this case, I would go for that. There is a pretty private garden giving the first floor privacy. There is nothing for the 2nd floor, so never used the outdoor tub.
Pillows were really hard. I did find some more pillows in the closet. I tried that one and it was better.
Housekeeper: We tipped $2/day and service was what I expected. Basically, the bed was made and the counter in the bathroom cleaned and towels changed. Our friends (there were 3 in a room) tipped $5/day and had like 6 extra beach towels and generally better service. So, money does count.
Drinks: Watered down grain alcohol. No lie. We took a large bubba mug type container and my husband ordered gin tonic. He asked for Tanqueray gin and a "new" bottle was opened, but there was no deal. My husband said by the amount of "alcohol" that he saw poured, he should have been on the ground after finishing his drink. Not even the slightest buzz. He tried an experiment and ordered Bacardi dark straight on its own. He took a sip and our friend that works at LCBO also took a sip. NOT rum! Very disappointing. The wine at dinner was OK and expensive. The house wine at lunch was OK. I discovered on our last day that I could get espresso at the buffet and it was delicious.
Beach: Varied. There is a sandy section and a boardwalk and a rocky section. All in all very pretty. Decent snorkeling. Being slow season, I never had an issue finding a palapa for shade.
Grounds: Well kept.
Spa: Very nice. I wanted a coffee scrub (value $60) and was offered a massage $80 and free scrub. I took that and spent 4 lovely hours in the spa. I went an hour early and used the sauna and cool plunge and relaxation area. I also had my kobo and enjoyed reading in that space after. Really enjoyable and well worth the money. My massage was also discounted. Not sure why. Always ask if there are any specials and see what they offer, I guess.
Restaurants: Japanese was favorite followed by Italian and Mexican least favorite. The Creperie is a nice touch. Super fattening haha. Always good selection in buffet.
Extras Offered: The Terrace Restaurant is only accessible to those that upgrade. Otherwise you have to pay $15pp. Nolitours has a "special" night there for their guests on Tuesdays. This sounds like an exclusive thing. We went there expecting that we would get to enjoy the restaurant. No. They had tables set up with appetizers and colored sweet water in champagne glasses. We had the stand outside while people entered the restaurant. It was weird and uncomfortable. We had tickets to get in, so we did go in. It wasn't worth the hype.
Nolitours Tours Suggested: Our representative, Edith suggested 4 top tours; Ek Balam, Rio Secreto, Whale Sharks and can't recall. We went to Rio Secreto and Whale Sharks. They were both fantastic! Rio Secreto was amazing. Whale sharks are pretty much over so it was a little odd chasing after these enormous creatures from a boat and then told JUMP!! but the weirdness paid off. We had a 2 hour bus ride and a 1.5 hour boat ride to get to them. We were in the water a total of 3 times for maybe 5-7 minutes each time. We did get to see 3 different whale sharks and even some manta rays, which were amazing. The lunch triip to Isla Mujeres is basically standing in water at a beach while served delicious ceviche and guacamole rafted on top of life jackets. It was fun at first, but an hour in the water was a bit much. I headed for the beach and was yelled at to come back. I found that odd. I was told that some people had taken off to town before, so they didn't want people going away from the boat.
BEWARE: Edith, our rep told us that there are many places that tell you they are selling silver when in fact it's not. She strongly suggested that we go to the "reputable" jewelry factory, Matise. They even gave us $50 vouchers (only to be used with fine jewelry, not silver and watches). They would pick us up and drop us off again. My husband and I spent over $900 there. We purchased a watch supposedly valued in Europe at $1800 for $600. When we went back to our room, we searched the watch and found we could get it for less than half what we paid on line. We were duped! Edith did phone them and they did refund us almost the difference. This took up another 3 hours of our precious vacation.time. I would NOT believe this place at all. If you do go there, try to talk them down 75% and you might get close to the real value. Basically, be very aware.
Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras: We took a $23 taxi to go shopping. 5th Ave is the place to be and it was a lot of fun. It comes alive at night, so best to go then. We had a lot of fun there. You can walk to Puerto Aventuras and spend an hour shopping. Some cute shops.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.