Just got back from this hotel last night. This is the second all inclusive we've been to and a different experience from last year when we stayed at one of the Bahia Principe chain hotels which are HUGE (thousands of rooms) compared to the few hundred or so rooms at this hotel. First of all, check in was easy and quick, with our bags delivered to our room while we were escorted to it. No waiting around for your stuff! We did pay for the upgrade to the "privileged room" based on reviews here. Not sure it was worth the money, we never used the coffee pot because you could get coffee early in the morning anyway, but the room was very nice, always kept very clean and the water bottles, beer and soft drinks restocked in the mini fridge daily. The safe was easy to use.
If you put out your "clean room please" sign it seems they got to it faster than if you didn't do that. We had room 6137 and it was actually in the Maya Riviera sister hotel next door, but that's because all but 12 of the Privileged rooms are set up on that side. Anywhere you wanted to walk would take no more than a few minutes, the hotel is that compact.
With the privileged room you get one access per person to the hydropath in the spa for free. Nothing to get too excited about - some of the shower heads were not working properly, but the Turkish sauna and regular sauna were fine. There is a cold pool you are supposed to dip into between saunas (brr!) and another pool area through some glass doors and down some stairs that is included as well but it was just so cold I couldn't bare it. Would have been nice to be heated water because there were these waterfalls to sit under that would be a good massage.
We paid for a "relaxation massage" - 50 minutes for $65 USD per person (a couple's massage) and that was good. We booked it through the rep on the beach at the hut that exchanges your beach towels and rents out the snorkel gear, etc. Behind the El Mercado buffet. IF you go there, and not the front desk of the spa apparently, you will get a better rate b/c she provides the discounts. Just walk up and start asking prices, and she will write on a brochure for you. I think we managed to score $30 off each of our massages. Manicures are $28 and pedicures are $40, but I didn't end up doing that. You can pay with a credit card.
We found almost every staff member to be very friendly and always smiling. No complaints about the staff. Nazario (spelling?) at the bar in front of El Mercado makes a wicked mojito (ask for the Bacardi white rum otherwise some bartenders used other weird tasting stuff - sometimes even vodka!!? That's just plain WRONG in a mojito. So morale of the story: always be specific when ordering your drink and you will get the good stuff. There's a standard cocktail and frozen drink menu (alcoholic and non) at each of the bars, or order your ol' standby. Tip: we bought an awesome sweat-proof 12 oz plastic drinking glass that came with a dome screw-on lid and straw that doesn't fall out, at Walmart for about $12 prior to the trip and it was so worth it! Kept our drinks cold and actually worked - no sweaty glasses for us. Plus, the hotel is not giving out straws unless you ask for them, because they are cutting down on their environmental waste. Excellent, imo. You gotta think about this stuff people.
Food - we consistently ate at the El Mercado buffet as we preferred the view of the ocean and it was ALWAYS quieter than the other, larger buffet. If you are in a privileged room you get the tables along the windows. We tried the Creperie twice (too bad it's only open at night) for a snack and espresso. The Mikado Japanese restaurant was fun, good entertaining show, very popular so go at around 5:45pm to book your table. No advance reservations prior to the night of your dinner, but they will put your name down for in an hour or so if it's busy and you can't be seated right away. Bambolea steakhouse was underwhelming for us, and the best part of the Italian restaurant was the appetizers and dessert. Always huge desserts for some reason, at every restaurant. The Tapas restaurant is an extra $15 per person IF you are not "privileged" - then you get to go once for free.
Beach was sandy, I don't know why people complain about it being rocky. Of COURSE there are going to be rocks in the ocean in some places, get over it. Bring some water shoes. Problem solved.
Entertainment - we only saw the "cirque du soleil" show. The entertainers are very enthusiastic.
Tours: we got a taxi to Playa del Carmen and spent about 5 hours there, ate at El Parrillo and shopped along 5th ave of course.
Don't bother taking the free shuttle service to Lapis unless you are a baller - that place is crazy expensive and overpriced. yes, it's beautiful jewelry but unless you can't handle a hard sell tactic and lots of pressure without folding, then do NOT go. I bought nothing. You don't barter, the prices are always given to you, you can't just read the price tag because there's always a "discount" - read: the real price is this price they give to you after the discount, meaning, it never was intended to be sold to you at the most expensive price - it's just a sales tactic to make you think you are getting an awesome deal.
Take a taxi or collectivo to Akumal beach and rent snorkel gear from a dive shop on the beach - you will definitely see sea turtles, no need to book a tour! Just get out there swimming and stick to the areas that have sea grass - they eat that and hang around there. Some coral reefs too with some brightly colored fish.
Rent bikes for free from the hotel and pedal over to Pt. Aventuras. Also the catamaran rides that you can book at the hut on the beach are pretty fun. You can go once per day, but make sure you go book it at 8:30am other wise they are all booked up within an hour. Can only book the day of, not before.
All in all, it was a relaxing holiday and we did prefer this smaller scale of a hotel than our last experience in Mexico.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 4 star Catalonia Yucatan Beach Resort & Spa is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, on the private estate of Puerto Aventuras. Located on the beautiful Mexican Caribbean coast, this resort is directly on the beach and offers a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for a relaxing break. This mystical area boasts many Mayan archaeological ruins that include Chichen Itza, Tulum and Tikal as well as the natural attractions of Xel-Ha, Cozumel and Xcaret. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Yucatan Beach Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Catalonia Yucatan Beach Puerto Aventuras
- Catalonia Yucatan Beach Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico