My partner and I have stayed at many hotels and resorts around the world and have to say our visit to Catalonia Playa Maroma was very special -- even touching. The staff is absolutely exceptional and made us feel so welcome.
We stayed in a more highly ranked (and more expensive) resort the last time we came to Playa, and really do prefer Catalonia. Here is the honest assessment:
The grounds are pretty, rustic and display more traditional Mexican architecture. You will not get the "knock-your-socks-off" grandeur of a luxury property. The lobby/bar area is open and very comfortable. The check-in area is nothing special. We stayed in a priveleged room and the small privileged check-in area is a woman at a desk, a mini-fridge and sofa-set. Admittedly, I was a little concerned when I saw that was the area for their upscale section. But the rest of the stay calmed the concerns.
The room was great. It was large and recently remodeled. It had Mexican tile and mosaic which was getting a little old around the sink, but still beautiful and what I would expect from Mexico. Bath lovers, beware! We had a large stand-up shower which also featured the mosaic tiles. The maids did an exceptional job cleaning the rooms each day. Be aware, unlike many other hotels, they will move your personal items in the process of cleaning. We hid or put valuables in the safe. Nothing was taken -- that is just common sense for any property anywhere.
The main walkway feels like a path in the jungle. One morning, dozens of coatis were milling around. One stood in front of us with a cute look on its face which leads me to belive some guests feed them. We did not and the creature quickly lost interest.
The walk across the property is really not that bad and helps you burn off some of the food. The pool area is different than we expected. It is a reasonably large pool, but the photographs in promotions are somewhat deceptive. It is not as large as it looks. While segmented, there is also only one pool for the property. A separate "quiet pool" would have been nice.
The beach is beautiful. The hotel offers row after row of beach seating. Of note, there are ramps for wheelchairs and specifically designated seating for people with disabilities. That truly impressed me and shows the resorts regard for inclusion. The water is gorgeous and the sand is soft. Be aware, loud music is playing in the pool area and the sound bleeds over to the beach (no matter where you sit). Also, the brochures give you the feeling of being at an isolated resort. The pictures are outdated. There are now properteis on both sides. However, a short walk down the beach, and very little is around you.
I will go from bad to good with food. We were not impressed with the crepe restaurant at the pool. Also, the buffet area in the immediate pool area is dark and unappealing, but there are decent offerings. Being vegetarians who dieted before our vacation, we ate nachos and pizza. There was a small salad bar, hot dogs on a convenience store style roller, hamburgers and other meats and sides.
The main buffet area is much more impressive. Breakfast was perhaps the best meal there. Thanks to the visitors from France, Italy and other places in Mexico, the baked goods are AMAZING. The breads were very impressive. When ordering an omelette specify that you would like it cooked longer (cocinado por mas tiempo). The first I ordered was not just runny, the eggs were actually raw inside.
Lunch and dinner buffets provided wonderful selections of fruit, vegetables, proteins, pasta, soup and other specialties. Sometimes as vegetarians, my partner and I struggle to find something to eat and are disappointed with variety. In this case, we were too full to even begin to try all the amazing options.
The dinners were also very good. We loved the Italian restaurant. We had two salads and our entrees were penne arabiatta and risotto. Both were perfect and served al dente. Again, perhaps we can thank the many Italian visitors for a high quality. At the Mexican restaurant, we found our only limitation, the main course, and were given vegetable plates. The tres leches dessert was amazing! We also enjoyed the tequila variety.
Dinner at Terrace was included with our room and did not disappoint. The tapas are not served in traditional fashion of the small plates for sharing. They were served in courses with many tastes on a single plate. Everything was amazing. I found the variety and inventive quality pleasantly surprising. Across the meals, you may notice some similarities in ingredients, though. For example, guacamole at lunch and avacado cheese tower appetizer at dinner. Nonetheless, everything is tasty and mixed up a bit.
The one negative thing about dinner was the ticket system. You are given one ticket per person per night for the restaurants. You really do not have the opportunity to try the appetizers at all of the places one night or mix up courses amongst the locations. Though, anyone can eat at the buffet.
The shows every night were a hoot. The members of the animation team work their tails off and we were entertained. Keep in mind, these are the same staff members who work the towel station, exercise classes, activities and kids club.
That brings me to the wonderful staff. Smiles everywhere! Everyone from the maids to servers to animation staff were always on their game. The animation staff eats at the main buffet and we had the absolute joy of sharing two meals with Mariana. We were there for my birthday and Aurelie gave me a big hug, sang happy birthday and ran to the bar to get me a creme de menthe which was lit on fire!
On a different sort of note, it is important to mention the resort does NOT have any marble floors. While marble looks pretty, it is about the worst thing a resort property can add. I actually took a serious fall on a marble floor at another resort last year, so not having to worry about that was a relief.
Overall, I highly recommend Catalonia Playa Maroma. I leave the review with the advice of my mother-in-law: Be careful in Mexico. When you order a drink, they will try to give you the cheap stuff. Make sure you ask for the good stuff.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.