We were expecting great things from this hotel, having read the trip advisor reviews and although we were able to enjoy our holiday, we were a little disappointed with some aspects. It didn't help that we had a poor experience during our first few days there. We had e-mailed ahead to request an upgrade to a suite as our teenage son wanted a room of his own and the price for the upgrade was cheaper than having a separate standard room. This upgrade wasn't cheap (an additional £800 plus for a 2 week stay on top of the existing price). However, the room they put us in had some sort of mechanical pump attached to the wall outside and there was constant noise like a helicopter landing outside of your room. We didn't notice it at first but when you get in bed at night, it reverberates through your head making sleep impossible. Some of the fixtures in this room weren't in order either (lamps with no plug wired directly into the wall, no clock radio, plug in bath not working etc.). We went to reception the next morning and asked to be moved to a different block due to the noise. They offered us the block next door which was still a little noisy and we were reluctant to move to as we wanted peace and quiet. When asked if we could move to a standard room and get a refund for the extra money we were told that the hotel don't do refunds and that you would just get credit to spend on massage etc. Therefore, my advice would be to view any room you get offered to ensure that you are 100% happy with it before unpacking and check any upgraded room offered before paying as you won't get your money back once you have paid. Incidentally, we did see several other people moved from this same room so know it isn't just us.
Now let's get to the rest of the holiday!
Once we had moved to another suite (8307) we were happy with the room. The furnishings were much better in this one. Fridge stocked every day, bath tub working and always hot water, bathroom and shower nice, beds very comfy (ask for a single bed in the living area instead of using the bed settee). The coffee whitener they give you is foul though so I would recommend taking some coffee mate or similar. However, we did have an incidence of theft from the ground floor balcony. My husband got his trainers wet in the sea so left them out overnight to dry. Next morning they were gone! Hope whoever stole them catches his athletes foot! We don't blame the hotel for this and did inform them just for their information; they took it seriously and filed a report etc. However, DON'T LEAVE ANYTHING ON GROUND FLOOR BALCONY OR IT MIGHT GO. We did have a good Wi-Fi signal in the room which is a positive.
We thought that all of the restaurants were pretty good especially the speciality ones. The Japanese was the best, great experience that you must try. I had a big Birthday while there and the restaurant put some balloons out and gave me a cake which was great. Italian is good too, Mexican – you need to order carefully as husband loved his dish but mine was just ok. Grill was very good, I loved the veggie skewers. We went to the Tapas bar twice which we enjoyed; we ate outside and was a lovely view. The only downside is that you can't book these and they are on a first come first served basis. However, this isn't entirely true as you can be queuing up at 5.30 to find that at 6pm the person in front of you has been saving a space for 20 other people so you don't get a place in the first serving anyway. Quite frustrating and the hotel need to look at this!
Buffet was usually very good although we didn’t really like Mexican night. The Creperie is great and we just wish that it was open at lunch time rather than 5pm. We tried the late night snack bar one evening as my son was hungry. It was fine but cold chips. Burger was ok though and there were sandwiches and snacks there.
We used the Chill Out bar and the beach during the day for convenience mostly but has everything that you need. In the evenings, we used the Sports Bar (free pool and table tennis) and the lobby bar (sometimes live music before watching the show). Drinks were fine but cocktails a little weak, didn’t mind though as I get drunk easy! Very disappointed with the disco as our 16 year old is a break dancer and was looking forward to a late night dance. No one tells you till you walk in there that it is OVER 18’s! A bit humiliating being asked to leave.
The entertainment team do work hard and there is an array of activities on offer. However, it is hard to get into the atmosphere unless you are around the pool and let me tell you, to get a bed around that pool, you would have to be up at 5.30am. I am serious! We went on a trip one day and were at reception for 5.45am, some beds were already taken and people were coming out with their towels to claim the rest. When on holiday, we don’t get up at the crack of dawn so consequently were up the far end of the beach where you can’t hear what is going on. One day we were out late (i.e. 10am) and there were no beds at all left, we had to lie on the sand. Our son loved the volleyball and football and we tried the archery which was fun. We enjoyed a bike ride around the complex, bikes are free and situated next to the hotel entrance. The hotel do need to look at evening activities for teenagers as there is plenty for children including disco but teenagers don’t have much, not even access to the nightclub. Perhaps a teen club. The theatre shows were quite good and some very professional for a hotel entertainments team.
We were a little disappointed that the hotel no longer offers windsurfing as it says on their website that they do and we wanted a go but nothing available. Also, you have to book a go on the sail boats and these get booked up by 9am most mornings so you have to get in early. They wouldn’t let us take one out on our own and my husband can sail. Plenty of snorkelling equipment and the fish life are amazing. We enjoyed feeding bread to the fish by the stepping stones; there is also a moray eel there which you will see if you are lucky. Beach is nice but very small and we were disappointed that we could not walk far on it. It is a small lagoon.
Quite disappointed with the Spa. I went there one day as we had a free day’s use of the facilities with the upgrade but I was told on reception that you need to book to use and the pool was cold anyway! I have never had to book to use a swimming pool and sauna before and consequently didn’t get round to using them. Other residents told me that they did book but the pool was still freezing. They also wouldn’t let my 16 year old in however, heard from other guests that they let them in if you pay for a treatment but no otherwise (which I felt was a little naughty). The reason they gave for not letting him in is that people may be naked in the sauna???? He did sneak in with my husband to use the gym though and they didn’t notice that he had a child’s wrist band on.
On the whole the staff were great and very cheerful. They are very hard working, especially the cleaners, gardeners, waiters and bar staff. We did tip for good service but ended up running out of money as we didn’t take a lot but tipped a lot! Heather (concierge) was helpful to us. We left the safe open by mistake on one occasion and the maid was very honest. Security was called to seal it and had to come out to the room and give us a secret code and waited until I checked the content. Everything was accounted for, which is good.
All in all, the hotel does need some improvements but we were able to enjoy our holiday. I wouldn’t go back though but would try somewhere else. We met some lovely people there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Caribbean Sea's turquoise waters can be seen from this hotel-paradise. Come and get ready to spend some unforgettable days in the heart of the Mayan Riviera, surrounded by marvelous landscapes and seductive, white sand beaches. The hotel is located in the wonderful Puerto Aventuras development. This is a tourist development which boasts a marina for yachts, a golf course, restaurants and dolphin tanks, all within easy reach of the main Mayan Riviera attractions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Riviera Maya Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
- Catalonia Hotel Mexico
- Catalonia Rivera Maya
- Riviera Maya Catalonia
- Hotel Catalonia Riviera Maya
- Catalonia Riveria Maya
- Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort
- Catalonia Riviera Maya All Inclusive
- Catalonia Mexico