I read hundreds of reviews and forum posts before I booked this hotel, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Much has already been said, but this is our experience. I can not believe how it differs from some of the previous reviews and from people who were there at the same time as us.
Beautiful grounds and public areas which were spotlessly clean. A friendly and speedy check in. We did not watch any of the evening shows or participate in the daytime entertainment, nor did we use the spa, so cannot comment on these facilities.
ROOM: We had pre-booked a priveleged room which was spacious, nicely decorated and had lots of wardrobe space. Unfortunately we didn't get our request for an ocean view and high floor and the first room we were allocated was on the ground floor next to a busy thoroughfare which we did not want. We asked to move to a top floor room which they organised immediately and we were unpacking within 30 minutes of arriving at the hotel. Very happy.The air con was very powerful and welcoming after a hot day frying on the beach. Cleaning was daily and our room was always spotless with fun towel art left every day. The hairdryer wasn't the best and I would take my own on a future visit.
BEACH: One of the reasons we upgraded was so we could use the private chill out beach area/bar and boy are we glad we did! Every day that we spent at the hotel was on this lovely peaceful stretch of beach with the bar just behind. The sun loungers were comfier than the standard ones and there were mattress type beds & even bean bags which were great for moving around to face the sun or get in the shade. Access to the sea was rocky and water shoes really are needed on that particular part of the beach, although there were areas further down where you didn't. Also there are extremely selfish people that put towels down the night before to save their sunbeds or leave them for hours on end unused. We saw one couple save 4 sunbeds and 2 bean bags (for 2 people) at about 8 in the morning and they didn't start to use them until almost 2 in the afternoon! This was on our last day, otherwise I would have certainly moved the towels. I know it happens everywhere and the hotel should not have to police grown adults selfish behaviour. It's just one of those things that happens and no reflection on the hotel..
FOOD: Firstly I am quite particular about food quality and after reading some of the reviews I was a little apprehensive, but I need not have worried. I found the food in the buffet could be a little hit & miss. Having said that, there was so much on offer that there was always something we liked which was hot and tasty. We personally preferred the El Mercardo restaurant to the open air one. We ate only 3 nights out of 14 in the buffet and were satisfied with the offerings. The only gripe would be that some of the food was not hot enough. It was good that there was a selection of fresh seafoods and meats which you choose and then the chef would cook fresh to order for you.
For lunch we used the snack bar for delicious nachos, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, pizza, guacamole, salads, fries etc. The food was so nice in there that we really looked forward to our lunchtime treats topped with the fiery, bright green habaero sauce!
We found the Ala carte restaurants to be of good quality and unlike other people we didn't have any issue getting in. We did not join the queues at 5 o'clock as we have better things to be doing whilst on holiday, we just turned up. There was only one occasion that we were unable to get in to a restaurant. The reason we had no issue could be because we generally went early (around 6.30-6.45). This is not normal for us, but due to the time difference our body clocks were all over the place so we woke up really early and were out in the sun by 7.30-8 am and were ready to go back to our rooms by 4pm. Our favourite was the steak restaurant which we went to 3 times. The fillet is absolutely gorgeous. We had good meals in all of the restaurants. The house wine was acceptable, but you could buy a good bottle of wine for around $20.
BARS:We used all the bars except the sports bar and found the service generally fast and friendly. Nazario at the Pure Bar was funny and he mixed a great cocktails. Gregario at the Margaritas pool bar thinks it's a crime to see an empty glass in front of you! We spent most evenings in the El Abuelo lobby bar where drinks were served to our table and the girls serving in there kept an eye on your glass and were there to keep drinks flowing.
OUT & ABOUT: We had a wander down to the marina a few times for a change of scenery. It was lovely to sit sipping a beautiful mango margarita and watch the dolphins frolicking around.
We did the Coba Mayan village excursion booked through First Choice which was great value for money and although an early start, gave you the privelege of being at the ruins before all the big groups arrived. If you're mobile enough you should definitely climb the ruins whilst you still have the chance. The views are amazing, although my thighs were a little jellified for a couple of days after. The trip also included a real Mayan Village, Tequila tasting and a swim in a cenote.
We had friends staying in Cancun, so travelled up there to visit for the day. We found it very commercialised and were pleased that we had chosen the Riviera Maya as our base. Cancun is easy enough to do on the public busses and we went via Playa Del Carmen which enabled us to have a mosey round en route.
We took the collectivo on the highway down to Akumal to swim with the turtles. Just a tip on your return; it is better to walk back to the highway to catch a collectivo as the ones in Akumal can take a while to fill up before they set off (we had to wait around 25 minutes on a hot, sweaty little bus).
We also booked the First Choice 'all inclusive' bar crawl in Playa Del Carmen which included 2 hours at Coco Bongo's. I booked this with a little trepidation after seeing what happens on certain bar crawls, but it was a fantastic fun night without being too raucous. Lots of tequila flowing!There was a mix of age groups there and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was also a good way to see Coco Bongo's if you didn't want spend the full night there.
We went to Tulum ourselves. We got a taxi there to save time, but got the collectivo back. Very easy to go on your own. We spent just over an hour looking round the ruins then had the afternoon on the beautiful beach. Great day out!
All in all I would not hesitate to stay at this hotel again and the only reasons I haven't given a score of 5 is because of some of the buffet food and the fact my requests were ignored.
My advice is DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Read the reviews. Ask the reviewers any questions you may have. There is no excuse not to be informed in this day and age other than laziness. If everyone did this they would know what to expect and you wouldn't have to read ridiculous reviews with people just having a moan. You also need to take in to account the price of this hotel compared to others. It is great value for money.
If you have booked....good for you....I am jealous.... You will have a fantastic time.!
- 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