I stayed with a large group of friends at the Catalina earlier this month (January, 2006), spread out over many rooms -- so I feel I have a large enough sample to assert that this hotel is terribly managed, with many rooms in poor shape... despite the hip decor attempt. You could have an okay stay here -- but from our collective experience, it's highly unlikely.
Trouble started at check-in, when they kept asking us to come back after another half hour, and then another. Once I got to my room, the chlorine fumes were overpowering -- but they had no other room for me. So they sent someone to wash it down, after which the odor largely vanished. Someone else in my party (easy going, not high maintenance) was actually placed in four different rooms before he found one with a working telephone, without used towels laying all around, etc. Another friend had to fight not to wrongly be charged for every item in the mini-bar (they used nothing from the bar); by the end of our stay, we were all competing to produce the best/funniest story of how bad the hotel is.
I think I won because (a) my shower would only produce scalding hot water on the second morning of my stay, no matter where I turned the dial, and (b) when the front desk staff were utterly unable to get the loud house music being played outside my window at the vacant pool turned down at midnight on a week night (it was way too loud even with all windows closed), I had to eventually confront a bartender to get it done. Did I mention that a buddy found the biggest cockroach he'd ever seen? And the glass shower partitions result in flooded bathrooms, since they only halfway separate the shower area from the rest of the bathroom?
The decor is hip, and I get what they're trying to achieve. But their hoped-for ambience was (in our collective experience) overwhelmed by the incompetence of the management, the seedy way everything was run down, etc. -- bathroom tiles missing, bathroom shelves hanging precariously by a single screw, the screen in the bathroom window repeatedly falling out and hitting me on the head, hip red shag carpeting in the hallways matted down and filthy, etc., etc.
I've stayed at the ultra-hip Hudson in New York, and loved it -- the Catalina's attempted hip-factor is not the problem. At Hudson, form and function work together to provide a great experience, combined with excellent customer service. At the Catalina, form utterly triumphs over function. Half the time here they don't seem to care, and when they do, they seem utterly unable to help. Bottom line: Look elsewhere, unless you enjoy living out a Saturday Night Live skit.
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- Also Known As:
- Catalina Hotel And Beach Club
- Catalina Hotel Miami