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All reviewssunset baron la ropa beachair conditioningprivate section of the beachceiling fanlounge chairsinfinity poolthe hotel's restaurantfiltered waterrestaurants within walking distancemexican holidayquaint hotelview of the baygreat beachworked greatzihuatanejo baymini fridge
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Reviewed December 9, 2011

I stayed for a week at the Catalina hotel with friends. We did yoga daily together on the bar level of the hotel in the early morning. My room (number 35) had an incredible view from our patio of La Ropa Beach and Zihuatanejo bay. The hotel restaurant was excellent--we chose to eat there several nights rather than go out. Hotel staff were friendly and helpful. I used to stay at the Sotavento Hotel, which was next door, but is now being converted into condos.This is my second visit to this hotel and I will return. The rooms had air conditioning and refrigerators. One downside is the extreme hardness of the beds.

Room Tip: Get a room higher up to get a good breeze.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Fireweed108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2011

I didn't want the world to know what a wonderful place this is, and make it so popular that I can't come back! This was our first trip to Zihua, but we have been to Mexico many times before. This is far and away our favorite. Everyone writes about the stairs (true), the big breakfasts (true) and the wonderful service (also true). I will share some of my experiences that hopefully won't bore you, I write like I talk, and I talk alot. I am 45, travel alot, sometimes with teenagers, sometimes not. This time it was just my husband and I. I have high expectations and despise poor service. Just so you know...

Hotel is old. I was VERY concerned that the rooms would be rundown, dirty, and "authentic". It was none of the above, except authentic in a good way. It was spotless from top to bottom. The maids do a wonderful job, were quick, and seemed to know when we were out. We only saw them once during our entire stay. Our main room was very spacious, The walk-in closet had hangers, shelves and a chest. Could use a mirror to make it a more usable space, especially if you have two women in the room who need to get ready. The bathroom had a large vanity area to store your lotions and potions. The walk in shower was big. Water was warm, pressure good.

The restaurant, bar, grounds were equally as well maintained. Service was excellent. We ate every breakfast (it was included, and delicious). I would get my coffee early as it was a self-service coffee/tea bar, and take it back to the room and sit on balcony, and watch La Ropa wake up. Then we would go back upstairs for the meal. We ate a few dinners there. Very nice setting. There is an ice machine, and filtered water sink on the restaurant level. Totally safe to drink, although it is warm. Get lots of ice!

Activities. I am happy to say that they do not have an activities director! The main activity seemed to be going from palapa to bar to ocean back to palapa. With the occaisional walk down the beach in either direction to people watch and check out the menus of the 15 or so restaurants RIGHT ON THE BEACH.

I am talking toes in the sand dining, whether it is upscale or cafe. We ate at several different places on La Ropa, find your favorites. I think my favorite for a romantic dinner is the Fish of the Day at La Perla. I ordered it on a reccommendation of a "foodie" friend. My husband was jealous, let's just leave it at that.

The palapas at Catalina are the place to be during the day. The only downfall is that they are very strict about the one towel per person policy. The cushions are plastic, and get sandy, and it is hot and uncomfortable. If you can bring your own beach towel from home do it. There were plenty of seats, you don't feel like you have to set the alarm for 6am to get a spot. The pool is almost an afterthought here, which is bizarre, considering it is clean, infinity style, with a spectacular view. It was most busy during the transition time from beach to happy hour. You will never have a problem getting a chair if you prefer pool to beach.

HIGHLIGHT #1: Took a chance and booked a fishing excursion from a vendor on the beach. Marcos Fishing Tour! Met two gentlemen who joined my husband and I. Marcos picked us up at 7am as promised and we spent 9 hours out on the water and at Los Gatos beach eating our catch. We caught 6 tuna, ate one "ceviche style" on board, and had two cooked for us by a friend of the captain at a restaurant on Los Gatos. Total cost for lunch was $50 per person, including side dishes. STEAL. The cost for the whole day was not much more than renting a jet ski each for half an hour. It was the best value. FYI, we had 6 lines going all day. Had a sailfish on, but it jumped and was gone. There was a first mate, too, everything was done for you. Except reeling in the fish!

You may hear that it is dangerous to walk around at night. Not true, in my opinion, but then I don't go looking for trouble. We would usually walk to "town" after enjoying the sunset aka happy hour on our deck. There is a beach path that is unlit and the last hurricane really did a number on the concrete, railings, etc... Don't try it in the dark, without first going in the light to check out what to look out for. Ask someone at the resort how to get to it, you have to know where to turn down from the main road (at the taxi stand, just past the KauKan restaurant). It saves a little bit of main street walking and is an adventure. I don't reccommend walking home, take a taxi. $35 pesos, plus tip.

I absolutely loved downtown Zihua! The main gathering spot is the basketball court by the beach (not the one by the banks, where we waited an hour to meet friends, only to find out there are 2 lighted courts in Zihua, who would have thought?). From the bball court, you can walk in any direction to numerous restaurants, bars, shops. It truly is a fishing village and there are always fishermen on the beach with the days catch.

You def need to try a Tacos Pasteur place - 5 freshly made pork tacos for less than $20 pesos. Unreal. I learned that I loved Pazole, the mexican soup. Its a huge bowl of soup, with tons of stuff to toss in. Like Mexican Pho. The best place we found for it was Tamales y Atole Any. Right next door was another great restaurant, Los Braceros, the cucumber salad was amazing. Do not hesitate to eat from the street vendors. Have a pineapple, ham and cheeseburger with everything. $30 pesos. On Sundays it is family night at the basketball court. There are alot more vendors. Get the corn in the cup with creme, peppers and butter. Heaven. Some locals were rubbing their hands with anticipation over the deep fried quesadillas - like huge mexican calzones. For about $30 pesos.

HIGHLIGHT #2: Our day trip to Las Cascadas Mesas de Bravo. Check out our drivers own website www.bluemorphoecotours.com. We went with 4 others on a private excursion, it was the perfect day. Everything you read and see is true, only better!

Told you it would be a long review. Two more tips: shop at the main grocery store, La Commercial, about 5 min via taxi from hotel. Our driver stopped on way from airport, we stocked up! There is very little selection at the markets on La Ropa and Zihua town. And, there are NO computers for use and NO ATM on La Ropa for the normal traveler, the closest are in Zihua proper. There is WIFI, ask at the front desk.

Enjoy, just don't take my room!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank jboyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2011

If you're looking for a big corporate hotel on a crowded beach don't come here. Catalina is authentically Mexican in a natural environment on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The service is excellent, the food is unbelievable, and the location can't be beat. I've been there twice now and already have reservations for next year. Many people you meet will tell you they have been coming for 15, 20, or even 30 years. This place is special. Multiple buildings are nestled into the coastal jungle along a hillside overlooking the beach and bay. Stone walks and stairs wind through the landscape connecting the various buildings including an open air restaurant and the Sunset Bar. The included breakfast is so large you won't be hungry until mid-afternoon, then I recommend shrimp tacos served to you at your chase on the beach. But don't skip the margaritas. Samuel makes the best I've ever had (check out the video on Youtube). This place is great for couples, friends, or families. The beach is clean with many activities. The water is warm and there are relatively few vendors that will take no for an answer. I highly recommend it.

Room Tip: I like the bungalows. They have a private balcony that overlooks the bay and a shared sundeck where we entertain friends over drinks and watch the sunset. The new casitas are more updated and very nice. I would avoid the Linda Vista Suites. I find them too far away from the action and lack the better views.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jeff W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

They say this was the first hotel in Zihuatanejo and that explains the superb location. The property has amazing views from various levels. The restaurant, bar, infinity pool and beach area are all wonderful. You could prop your elbows on the edge of the pool and look at the view for hours (with enough sunscreen of course). Enjoy a drink at the "Panoramic Sunset Bar" for sunset at least once. The hotel lobby was undergoing a facelift at the time of our stay, so the check-in area was not that impressive. The new lobby looked like it was going to be big, bright and airy, however. The rooms could probably use a facelift themselves soon, but they had local flavor and were comfortable. The service at the hotel was wonderful and our accommodations seemed like a great value. Would definitely recommend this for families. The extra bonus was the baby sea turtles hatching on La Ropa beach when we were there.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank skypdx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2011

We spent our 2nd wedding anniversary at the Catalina during the last week of May 2011. To sum up our experience, I will simply say that we have no reason to stay anywhere else when we travel to Zihuatanejo in the future, and will absolutely return to this fantastic property.
The ambience, as you may see in other reviews, is definitely that of a place that saw its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s - some of the decor, and the slight fraying around the edges, hint at that. But that is a large part of its appeal and beauty. If you want to forget that you're in Mexico, then travel a little to the north and stay in a glitzy high-rise in Ixtapa with all the other package tourists, you won't be able to tell it from any other hotel room in Vegas or Anaheim or Orlando. If you want a much more authentic and uniquely Mexican experience that is still clean, comfortable, and relaxing, then stay at the Catalina Beach Resort.
We had the "Linda Vista" Suite, and it lived up to its name - a shaded private balcony almost as large as the room itself with a built-in sofa, a coffee table, 2 lounge chairs, a standard chair and a large hammock. Native plants and a ceiling fan (yes, a fan on the balcony) made this a very comfortable 2nd living space. The room itself is large and clean, with built-in sconces and recessed lighting providing a nice ambience. The king-size platform bed sits on a huge masonry platform with built-in nightstands and headboard and lovely Mexican tilework throughout.
The room included a television with DVD player (and you can check out a limited supply of movies in English y Espanol from the front desk) and a fridge, although the latter would "pop" when the coolant started up so we had to turn it off at night to get any sleep.
The one pleasant surprise was the presence of an air conditioner (with remote control!) in addition to a 2nd cieling fan. This made the evenings more tolerable, especially when one has been sunburned on the beautiful Playa La Ropa and spent the entire day in 90-degree heat and 90% humidity :)
The bathroom/shower were perfectly appointed and clean - my only complaint here is that acquiring really hot water was a hit-and-miss affair, lukewarm water was much more common...not that we wanted really hot water in the aforementioned heat and with red skin, though! That could have been just my general inability to figure out how to manipulate the knobs on hotel showers around the world, though (seriously, can't they just come up with an international standard for that??)
Others complain about the large number of stairs on this property, and I will agree with the general consensus that this is NOT the hotel for you if you have trouble walking/climbing stairs. I'm a fit and energetic 42 and my wife is a gym nut, and we both would be a bit winded after a climb from the beach up to our room, which was all the way at the top of the hillside almost at street level. However, I did not see this as a detriment, but one more aspect of the property's charm, and a way of maintaining the extreme sense of privacy and exclusivity one feels when wandering the grounds here.
A short trek downstairs from our room and we were in the Catalina's exclusive beachside palapa area, with more than enough palapas and beach chairs for everyone and friendly and attentive staff providing towels and bringing micheladas o cervezas o margaritas o..... ;) One thing I appreciated, though - and maybe this was more a result of it being the cusp of the rainy season and the number of guests being rather small - was that while the palapas were clearly only for guests of the Catalina, the occasional passerby who inquired about sitting there would be shown to a palapa and served just like the rest of us who were official guests. Some (those who have less of a "live and let live" attitude) might be upset by this, but I thought it was an authentically Mexican thing to do. Again - this flexing of the rules might have been more motivated by profits than people, but I would like to believe it was a mix of both :)
The Restaurant, Sunset Bar, Beach Bar and Pool were all fabulous and staffed with extremely friendly employees who were quick with a smile and a recommendation. I had no problem piling on the "propinas" for the service we received.
Best yet, the property is situated on the northern end of the gorgeous Playa La Ropa, and from almost every vantage point - our balcony, the restaurant, the bars, etc. - we had fantastic views of the bay.
The Catalina is nicely situated close to el centro and it's an easy walk down La Ropa to many fantastic palapa restaurants, especially La Perla, where we drank agua de coco and hired a few musicos to play love songs for our celebration. It was also a short walk to the wonderful (and expensive) restaurant at Casa Que Canta, where we had our actual anniversary night dinner.
The taxi ride to town cost about $4 one-way from the Catalina, and the taxi drivers were always very courteous and professional, even if their Nissan Sentra taxis looked and sounded like we should be driving to the local auto shop :)
The only minor grievances I have with the Catalina were, in addition to the hot water issue - towards the end of our trip, construction workers who appeared to be repairing or building on to the property started up with their hammers at about 9:00am (but why sleep in when the sun is shining and the surf is calling? You can sleep under a palapa!) And - not an issue with the Catalina itself - the neighboring Tides restaurant hosted a few nighttime parties that got a bit loud for my wife and her bat-like hearing, but it was nothing a little white noise from my Droid couldn't handle :)
I have always been one of those travelers who has preferred to spend the least amount possible on accommodations and consequently spend the least amount of time possible in the room, but in this case the $149/night (pre-tax) we paid was money well spent...I estimate we spent at least half of our week on the property; in the room, on the balcony, at the bar, and mostly on the beach. I also am the type who doesn't like to return to the same spot a 2nd time - but in this case, I will break that rule and definitely stay at the Catalina again when we return to Zihua!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank JMGinPDX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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