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“A trip to paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Catalonia Royal Tulum

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Catalonia Royal Tulum
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera Cancun Chetumal Km. 264.5, Xpuha 77790, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Xpuha
Norwich, United Kingdom
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“A trip to paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

Let me start by issuing a warning. If you come to this hotel looking for things to complain about, you are going to have to work hard at it. I have read some of the negative reviews and I cannot endorse most of those comments. I will also apologise for a long report but if we had read this early on, our decision would have been much easier to make.

First, location: if you have not visited Yucatan before, it is not the vision of sombreros, tequila, burros and cacti conjured up when thinking of Mexico. Its Caribbean coast to the east and proximity to Belize and Guatemala are much more of a hint to its feel and a still strong Mayan influence lends a more relaxed and somehow genteel atmosphere. The very busy areas around Cancun and Playa del Carmen are in the north if the peninsula. The further south you travel down the excellent highway, the less intense the developments, the more relaxed the atmosphere and a growing Mayan influence which, when you get to know them, is a great bonus. Local people are mostly friendly and courteous and have a full understanding of the importance of tourism to their livelihoods.

If you are minded to be just a tiny bit adventurous, communications along the highway are fantastic with the local 'Collectivo' minibus service running every 5 minutes or so, picking you up and dropping you off anywhere you like and are very inexpensive Taxis are also reasonably priced and a price menu is on display in the foyer. If you plan to hire a car, look very carefully at insurance. The statutory minimum 3rd party cover is only £21,000 and the best you can buy still has an excess of 10% of the value of the car!

There are plenty of attractions and sites of interest within an hour’s travelling. There are no local amenities but we were so well catered for we had no need for them. There are two shops on site offering the usual basics. There are good tourist shops in Tulum and Akumal. Playa del Carmen is much busier with a greater selection.

The concept of the development is to be applauded. Many people will come to the Yucatan without appreciating it is mostly tropical forest or indeed jungle. On this site, only sufficient clearance was made to site the buildings and amenities, the rest of it is not only unmolested but a multitude of tropical plants trees and shrubs are carefully managed to ensure healthy growth. As a result, you get the feeling you are somehow living in the jungle. One of my favourite pleasures was drinking my morning coffee on the balcony and communing with the considerable nature on show.

The management is extremely good with a high set of standards applied through excellent staff training and supervision. The staff are friendly, helpful and courteous to a fault. Nothing, but nothing was too much trouble for them. Cleanliness appeared to be virtually an obsession and a small army of staff worked very hard to maintain that standard.

This was only our second all inclusive holiday and it had one fundamental advantage over the first. On that occasion, a large number of guests were on half board and continually being asked whether we were A-I when ordering a drink, as if that made any difference (and we suspected it did), became immensely irritating. The CRT is totally A-I and not once was there any hint of any reluctance to serve.

With an unlimited choice of 5 a la carte restaurants plus a buffet restaurant, the choice of food was very good indeed. The range of dishes available at the buffet breakfasts and dinners was staggering and I can appreciate how difficult it is to maintain high standards with such a large offering. It is therefore difficult to rate the food. I have given 4 stars for this which is how I see it, being one notch short of gourmet standards. We did, however, eat very well and enjoyed every single meal. Meal service was top notch.

The room was fitted out to a high standard, very spacious, comfortable and well serviced. I cannot comment on the upgraded rooms in blocks 5 and 6 but see my comments on room choice.

For daytime relaxation there is a wide variety of different choices but one area of comment is the availability of sunbeds. Other reviewers criticise the hotel for not policing this. I take a very different view. If guests are prepared to not only ignore the signs prohibiting reserving beds with a towel, bat also reserving 2 lots, one for the morning and one for later when the sun has moved round, then my criticism is aimed fairly and squarely at the guests. What is the hotel supposed to do? Create conflict with guests by removing their belongings from the beds? It saddens me deeply to witness such selfish behaviour. That is my single whinge over but for all that, we always managed to find something which suited us, if not exactly in pole position.

The acid test of any holiday is always would we come again? On this occasion, the resounding answer is absolutely! The area is without doubt one of the most beautiful we have visited and the hotel is not just a great place to stay. It really is a trip to paradise.

Local interest
Wildlife: If you’re into it, it will blow you away! If you’re not, it will enchant you.
5 adjoining cenotes are within 2 miles of the hotel and one really should be on the bucket list
Tulum Mayan citadel about 30 minutes
Coba Mayan city about 1 hour (once a city of 50, 000!)
Tulum itself is a laid back town with limited tourist influence and an hour spent at a roadside cantina offers an interesting (if noisy!) insight into daily life for residents
Akumal beach offers snorkelling with turtles! The dive centre and ecological centre are well worth visiting.
Yal ku lagoon just north of Akumal is a pleasant and interesting visit. You can easily spend quite a lot of time here and if that is your plan, you may want to spend the extra 250 pesos (about £13) for a thatched shelter, which also gives quite a lot of privacy

The furthest we went was Puerto Morellos to take a (mandatory) boat trip out to snorkel the pristine reef. The variety and intensity of the life was nothing short of bewildering. If you like snorkelling, it’s well worth the 1.3 hours travelling each way and the relatively modest cost of the mandatory guides and boat (300 pesos each for boat, guides and 2 hours of snorkelling). All doable on the collectivos for the grand total of 120 pesos, about £6 each way

The massive Sian Kaan wildlife reserve (about 45 minutes to the south) is highly protected and has very limited access - and only with guides and by boat.. However, the opportunity to see crocodiles, manatee and a myriad of wild birds in their natural environment is well worth it if that’s your thing.

There are plenty of livelier attractions towards and around Playa del Carmen (about 30 minutes north) if that’s your thing. It isn’t ours so can’t comment on them

Room Tip: All rooms face inwards towards the jungle gardens. None offer sea view. Ground floor looks out on th...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (524)
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Erin, Canada
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

This is a really great resort - the design of it makes it very quiet and private. The pool is really beautiful too and they have really great loungers. The spa was a really great experience as well. You don't need any reservations for the a la carte restaurants which I thought was really great. The staff are incredibly friendly too.

There are a few downsides to this place though - the food in the a la carte restaurants is not that great (The food in the buffets is better). The Italian and steakhouse is just downright terrible. The Tapas food restaurant is a really beautiful setting but the food is just okay. I never made it to the Thai restaurant because it's close to the ocean and it was a bit cold. The only restaurant that I would probably do again was the Mexican - the portions were big enough that you don't need to order multiple appetizers (unlike the other ones).

One thing we were really surprised by was travellers cheques! We have NEVER had any issues taking travellers cheques with us (especially to Mexico). But this hotel will absolutely not take them. They even have a currency exchange location on site but they won't take them either. The shop has prices posted in USD and pesos but they won't accept USD. We tipped all the staff with USD though. If you have to cash travellers cheques you have to take a cab to Playa del Carmen which is about 20 minutes away - although all the shops there will also take USD. Just a word of warning which I wish the hotel had made clear on their website .

But the resort itself is beautiful, the rooms are lovely and it made for a relaxing vacation.

Room Tip: Building 6 is the closest to the pool which is convenient when you have to pop back to your room for...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

This Hotel is excellent with great amenities. The wonderfully private balconies overlooking natural jungle setting are a really nice change of pace from an ocean view that normally includes a view of everyone else's room. Grounds were well kept and clean; as were the rooms. Service was excellent throughout the hotel. Good booze selection - not just the bottom shelf - with Corona on tap. Staff were friendly and attentive. Suite rooms were spacious and inviting. We had a great time with a large group of couples. Many other guests at the hotel were on their second or third visits. No advance reservations were necessary for the a la carte restaurants and no restrictions on how many times you could visit them. There is a night club – it was usually sparsely populated, but chic and refined with a DJ spinning tunes and a big dance floor. Young couples and groups may bemoan the sedate nightlife. But, the bars do continue serving until 2am.

A few minor issues:

Snagging a spot by the pool can be a bit tricky as people tend to come down early and stick their towels down to reserve seats - but this is an issue everywhere.
There are no ocean view rooms in the hotel; however, the privacy of the balconies more than made up for this - my wife and I would request this view everywhere!
Some a la carte food was mediocre: the Italian restaurant and the Steakhouse. But, the Mexican restaurant was fantastic and the buffet really isn't bad. The Snack bar by the pool is the place to be for lunch with wood oven fired pizzas and sandwiches.

Overall a fantastic experience, highly recommended.

Room Tip: Jr. Suite upgrade is well worth the $$. No elevators in the hotel, buildings are all three stories
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We visited the CRT in December 2012 for our 4th consecutive visit. There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said about this wonderful resort. We received with a cool cloth and mimosa, hugged by staff that remembered us, and treated like royalty. We are Expedia VIP members and received a junior suite on the 3rd floor. We had a great view over the jungle. The staff at CRT goes above and beyond to make everyone feel welcome. The food is delicious, the drinks are plentiful and the tranquility is to die for. We will definitely be returning for #5. We met many, many people from all over the world. Snorkeling is great in either direction from the front of the beach. Take a catamarand (sp?) ride with Marco and go fishing with Tacho.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a 7 day holiday where we stayed at Catalonia Royal Tulum. I do not think I can do this resort justice but will do my best. The property is so beautiful and unlike other resorts that lack character or personality of the country you are visiting, Catalonia is set within its natural environment, where a spectacular path takes you through a jungle like setting with Mayan features throughout, where wildlife will peak out at you along the way. The pool area is huge with a ton of chairs or beds to choose from. The wonderful staff who walk around the pool area ensuring you are never without a drink make you feel so spoiled and very relaxed. Your biggest concern is what drink to try next! The beach is pretty much all yours. You can walk in either direction and be utterly alone and bask in the beautiful white sand and crystal clear blue water.

The food at the resort is AMAZING. I read the reviews too and thought, it is all inclusive so I won't expect much in that department...Well do not listen to anyone who suggests that the food is anything less then fantastic. I can only assume that these individuals are simply impossible to please. The Tapas restaurant's ambiance is right out of a Hollywood movie, so completely romantic. I honestly cannot say I had one bad meal while there.

The rooms are basic, we upgraded to a Deluxe room on the 3rd floor. The reason was to be close to the beach and the lower 2 floors would offer no light and that would bother me. To be honest I do not go to sit in my hotel room so if I had to compromise on something this would be it. The bed was the most comfortable bed that I have slept in outside of my own. The pillows were also incredibly comfortable. The room and bathroom were kept immaculate, so all things considered...I did not mind the sparse room.

The only less then perfect thing was the quality of liquor/wine. Not the best but that is not surprising at an all inclusive either. We did opt to buy a bottle of wine one night off their select menu and it was not much more then if you purchased it from the liquor store at home.

And finally, the location is superb. If you want to take the local transport (Collectivo) you simply walk about a minute from the front of the resort and you can go to the Tulum ruins or Palya del Carmen...which we did. Both are about 20 minutes away from the resort.

I highly recommend Catalonia Royal Tulum if you are looking for some R&R with spectacular surroundings and wonderful attentive staff. I also cannot say enough about the beauty and uniqueness of the resort.

Room Tip: Choose building 5 or 6 (closest to the beach) and select a 3rd floor room otherwise you will be in d...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quesnel, B.C., Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Our second trip to this Hotel and once again the staff our very friendly and always seem to be smiling! I like to swim in the ocean and this is a good spot for that even though some days the water was extremely rough but it made my swim hard so I could eat and drink more!!!
We had requested a 3rd floor room on our booking but we were booked into a ground floor unit but they changed it to a 3rd floor unit only after a payment of $400.00 Canadian. I was willing to try again the next day but a happy wife is a happy life!!! (400 for two weeks) This was about the only downside at this hotel except we didn't like some of the meal at the Mexican restaurant. Oh, one more negative is the having to get up early to get a decent pool or beach lounger! Noticed some tourists had reserved two sets of chairs, one in the shade and then another set in the sun!! Come-on people, don't be so ignorant, other people would like some place to sit!! (Americans from Boston)!!! You should be allowed to reserve one lounger with your name so you can relax in the morning and not get up like you are going to work! Great place to stay, clean rooms, and good food but will probably try someplace else next time for a change!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto ontario
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

We landed in Cancun at 920 AM, cleared the airport, loaded the Nolitours bus. We were the last to be dropped off...maybe an hour and a half. There were only 3 couples to check in. We were checked in, got right into our room..yeah!, were unpacked and having our first margarita before 1 PM.

This was our 7th time to Myan Riviera. Stayed 5 years in a row at Catalonia Yucatan/Riviera Maya...and decided to change this year. It only made sense to choose another Catalonia, and for sure, whenever possible, we will choose Catalonia.

We had requested a second floor room in building one, as Hubby smokes, and 1 is the only smoking building. As they didn't have a room available, and I believe, as we were repeat Cat clients, we were very pleased to receive a free upgrade to a suite.

The rooms apparently are all the same, though the suite has the addition of a loveseat, chair, coffee table and end table. We had a king sized bed which was so comfy. The bathroom is big, with a large walk-in in rain shower. All surfaces are marble. Our balcony was a good size and contained 2 chairs and a small table. The furniture was brown...wicker like, though it was vinyl..quite comfy.

As our phone did not work, on our 3rd day we were moved to another suite, also on 2nd floor, and with a king sized bed. This was in a non smoking building, so Hubby went out on the path to smoke. The second room had been updated..a 4 poster bed, with a canopy on it and curtains, also the makeup mirror had a light on it. Other then that, both rooms seemed to be the same. Richardo was great in arranging this change. We didn't use room service, but felt it was a safety issue to not have a working phone, though each building had one on the main floor. Our first room had full afternoon sun, the second one had morning sun and a bit of shade. The first balcony had total privacy, and the second one you could see the balcony in the building next door. From both rooms, you could hear the highway a bit, if the wind was right..but def was not obtrusive, and from both you could hear the entertainment at night. This was a little disappointing, as we wanted to sleep with the patio doors open, and we go to bed early. Maybe next year, Hubby will be a non smoker, and we can stay in a different building..lol.

We always left a tip in the fridge, and when we asked for more beer, we always received it. For ice, you need to call room service I guess. My Hubby went looking for some, and the housekeeping lady took the bucket and said she would get it for us...nice!

The beach was long and lovely, with the softest sand and the most amazing colours of blue. We were they from Mar. 4 to 11th, and every day was yellow flag. We are really pool people, but did swim in the ocean once. Only on the last day did we have trouble getting chairs. We went to the pool at 930, after breakfast, and all of the pool loungers were gone. We found some at the beach, but had to turn them backwards as the winds were gale force. It had been very cold the week before we arrived, so the pool was quite cold, but it did warm up for our last couple of days.

This resort is very different then any others we have stayed at. We liked the most, the jungle, our balcony facing the jungle (which I was not sure if I would like), the woodwind music piped throughout the paths, and which we could hear on our balcony, if the wind was right.

The wildlife was really cool. In the Tapas bar, a raccoon came sauntering out of the cenote, came and put his front feet on our table and checked out my glasses and case. Their raccoons are smaller then ours in Ontario, and have very dark eyebrows like colouring. Saw lots of the blue birds..forget their name right now, coatis, usually in groups of 20 or so, iguanas, and agouties,,,or something liked that. Two iguanas actually roamed into the beach bar one day.

Our favourite place to be was in the Chill area...on one of the cabanas. The only issue was that many people would save one of them..which we were forced to do as well...but would also use their own towels and take the pool
loungers our of the shallow pool and save them too. This was very frustrating, as we loved to sit in the pool and read. Too bad management would not take away towels and books etc, if there was not one of the Cat towels on them. Hard to police, I know, but really...people saving more then one chair...it is just plain greedy.

Our fav restaurant would have been the Tapas, except we found the chairs very hard to sit in. The atmosphere, and the staff are amazing. We had tried the Tapas at the other Cat, so knew we would like the food.

All of the other a la cartes we loved as well. For lunch we ate at the buffet the first day, and after that switched to the Margarita bar area...where pizza was one of our favs, as well as their spicey fries. The service at the entire resort was amazing...they all go the extra mile to make you happy. One girl at the Margarita bar, would even come over to light Hubbys cigarettes when she saw him .. Sure hope he doesn't expect me to continue that..lol.

We watched the mariocchi band for 10 minutes, and other then that, did not partake in any of the other entertainment. We are early risers, so were usually in bed by 10PM.

We took the collective back and forth to Playa del Carmen...first time using the local bus, and enjoyed it. We did not leave the resort otherwise.

This was our first time to an adults only resort, and I did miss the noise of kids playing. The resort is very quiet, Hubby loved that part, and myself, I like more noise. We did not participate in any of the beach activities, and we missed the pool party...too tired. The bbq at the pool, for lunch (usually held on the beach, but it was too windy) Looked very good, but we wanted pizza that day

So, would we return to this resort? If the kids and grandkids do not go with us next year, as planned, I do think we would go the CRT. The cost for us was $300 more per person then the Catalonia Yucatan. The difference is definetly justified,though, for ourselves, we were just as happy at the other Cat, but do love the atmosphere, and the jungle of CRT, so will likely return.

We did find the food and drinks to be better quality then at Cat Yucatan,though the buffet was smaller. That only makes sense when you have unlimited a la cartes. Love the location on the highway, in order to use the collectivo. Also of note...we could not believe that we only once hd to put our name on the waiting list for an a la carte, and never any waiting for a table in the buffet. Amazing place. Kudos to all of the staff!

Room Tip: I think any room would be good. You can walk anywhere in 5 or 10 minutes.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Catalonia Royal Tulum

Address: Carretera Cancun Chetumal Km. 264.5, Xpuha 77790, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Xpuha
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Xpuha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Catalonia Royal Tulum 4*
Number of rooms: 288
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Adults only all-inclusive resort, located in Xpu-Ha, Riviera Maya, on the Caribbean coastline. It is surrounded by native jungle trees, local plants, mangroves and cenotes - water springs where a diverse variety of flora and fauna can be found in an unspoiled habitat. It is just 25km from Playa del Carmen and Tulum's archaeological site, and 85 km south of Cancun International airport, in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catalonia Royal Tulum Xpuha
Riviera Maya Copacabana
Copacabana Riviera Maya
Catalonia Royal Tulum Riviera Maya, Mexico - Xpuha

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