This is our second stay at Gambrinus Mare and we will definitely return again. The owners Lisa and Gianni, and all their staff, made us feel very welcome in their comfortable and modern hotel, which is just a few steps from the spotlessly clean sandy beach of Cattolica.
We have two young children and I'd say the hotel was particularly suited to families, as the Italians love children and are very tolerant of noise and play. The hotel has two dedicated play areas for the kids and often there are activities for them to take part in. The hotel also provides a lot of the bulky items like buggies, highchairs, cots, etc., which cuts down on the amount of luggage you have take.
The food is excellent and is served buffet style, so you can have a taste of everything. There is always a great choice at every meal and even my fussy kids found plenty of food they enjoyed. The dining room bustles every mealtime as Italians enjoy chatting loudly, but it all adds to the atmosphere. Every evening Gianni dresses up to sing and entertain the children (and adults!), which is always a hit, especially the "Grab the Chicken" song!
The hotel is situated at the quieter end of Cattolica, although it is on a fairly busy road. There is a lively pedestrian area about 2 minutes walk from the hotel, that has plenty of shops, cafes and entertainment in the the evenings. The Italians enjoy promenading after dinner, often along the boardwalk behind the beach.
We hired umbrellas and loungers at Malu Beach 93 (the beach is divided into different areas, all with their own facilities, which you normally pay for separately from the hotel, direct to the beach staff, although this is included if you go for the all-inclusive package at the hotel). I'd also recommend this beach area for young families, as it has a nice play area, a small, shallow pool, toilets, showers and changing areas.
The resort is within easy reach of Rimini airport by taxi, or Bologna airport if you hire a car. We have done both and would probably choose Rimini again if possible, as the public transport in Cattolica is good enough to allow some trips without the need for a car.
Overall, this hotel is highly recommended for a family who want a lively but relaxing holiday somewhere away from the usual tourist hot-spots. The owner Lisa is Scottish, so you won't be stuck if you don't know the language, but otherwise I would be surprised if you hear much other English when you are here as it seems to be mostly Italian families and older people who holiday here. They obviously enjoy it!