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Catalonia Playa Maroma
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Reviewed January 27, 2013

We were at the Catalonia Playa Maroma from December 3-17, 2012. The group consisted of myself, my husband, our 8 month old son, and my in-laws flying in from Stockholm, Sweden, and then my parents coming from Vancouver, Canada. We had booked a charter package through Fritidsresor and my parents through Expedia.

We had booked Cancun Transfers ahead of time for a private van with a car seat, and they were there on time with a sign with our name on it. They also stopped at 711 for us to get some water on the way to the resort. We paid 60% on arrival and the rest when they picked us up to return to the airport. I would highly recommend them for airport transportation. The distance from the Cancun airport was about 45 minutes, which was much better than our previous trip to Bahia Principe, which was almost 2 hours! The dirt road leading to the resort was a bit bumpy for about 5 minutes, but tolerable.

When we had booked our trip, we had requested a room on the bottom floor because of the baby stroller, but when we checked in they did not have any rooms available for us on the ground floor with a king size bed, so we were on the top floor and had to carry the stroller up and down the stairs multiple times a day for 2 weeks. This was annoying but the only options were to change rooms mid way through the trip or pay for an upgrade. Since we had a lot of stuff, we did not want to move, so we kept the top floor room. They did put all of us in the same building, but not on the same floor or section. We found out later that they group the guests into the same building by nationality, so we were with the rest of the Scandinavians. The resort was full of Italians and French, who had their own sections and their own activities planned. I barely heard anyone speak English the whole time we were there!

The beach was amazing, perfect white sand, no rocks, and beautiful turquoise water. We tried snorkelling one day, but did not see anything. We went kayaking on days when it was not too wavy, and we also did trips on the catamaran, free of charge. We never had a problem finding beach or pool chairs in the shade, but we were always up early and were forced into playing the towel game because that is the only way to get a seat. The chairs on the beach were quite old and saggy, so we preferred the pool chairs as they were better for our backs. There is only one pool, but it is quite large. There were some loose tiles in one section, so we had to be careful not to step on them. The animation team had activities in the pool for most of the day, so it was not always quiet and peaceful if you wanted to relax by the pool.

The animation team was great, they work all day organizing games for the guests, and then do all the shows in the evenings. We became friends with Yulia and Jesus, they were super friendly. The other animators that were French and Italian just ignored us, and we later found out that they look at the color of your bracelet to find out what nationality you are and they only talk to the French or Italians. There were always lots of activities to participate in during the day, my husband played beach volleyball twice a day, everyday. The evening entertainment got a bit repetitive over the two weeks, it would have been nice to have some professional entertainers, not only to improve the quality of the shows, but also to give the animators a break. We did not spend any time in the lobby in the evenings because everyone was smoking and there was not really anywhere else to go. This resort definitely lacked in their options for evening entertainment.

The food at the buffet was decent, lots of options to choose from. They had different themes for the dinners every night. We discovered that you had to get the food while it was fresh, such as the grilled fish or meat, fresh omelettes, etc. Anything sitting there for awhile was awful. The salad bar was great, lots of veggie options, and lots of fresh fruit everyday. I enjoyed the fresh juices at breakfast as well. The service was lacking at the buffet, we had to wait a long time before anyone would serve us drinks and many times I would have to hunt someone down to get a spoon to feed the baby. Once we started tipping, the service improved.
The al a carte restaurants were great, the Mexican was my favourite, but we enjoyed all of them and went to each twice. The service was wonderful and the food was of much better quality than the buffet. On our last night we celebrated my father-in-laws 60th birthday and I had spoken to the concierge about getting him a cake, which they served to him at the steakhouse with sparklers and had written his name on the cake. They also decorated the room as a surprise for his birthday with a towel cake and flower petals on the bed, but since we have the same last name, they decorated our room instead of his by mistake!

There were only 2 bars on the whole resort, one at the lobby and one by the pool, which was very busy and you had to wait awhile to get served. They made great cappuccinos though, so it was worth the wait. They would laugh at us every time we ordered non-alcoholic drinks, which I found annoying. The crepe and ice cream place by the pool was great, but it was only one guy working there so it was a long wait as well. I think they need to put in more bars or have more staff as the ones who were working were really busy and running around, I felt bad for them, but it was also annoying to have to wait a long time for service.

The rooms were spacious and clean, the maids did a good and thorough job with cleaning. They missed one day in each of our rooms, so we had to call the front desk for fresh towels and water. We got towel art some days, not all. Our building was close to the pool, which was great when you have a baby. Unfortunately we could hear loud music from the Secrets resort next door until midnight, but luckily the baby slept through it. I did not like all the coatis on the main path between the pool and the lobby, they were always begging for food, and despite the signs saying not to feed them, many guests would feed them to take pictures, and sometimes the coatis would get violent and bite them. I didn't mind them if they kept their distance, but they would follow you if you had any food on you! However, the resort was very clean and the staff are working around the clock to keep the place clean, so I did appreciate that. We tipped as much as we could, and it was a shame that most of the other guests didn't tip, as I felt like the staff really deserve it.

I was disappointed at the distance from the resort to Playa Del Carmen, I thought it would be closer and cheaper to go there more often, it was about $20 each way for a cab, which was too much to go often. We went for an afternoon of shopping and loved 5th Avenue, I wish we could have gone more often.

Overall we really enjoyed our time together there as a family and the beach was the best any of us had been to. I would not return to this resort because I would want to go to a bigger resort with more options for nightlife and sightseeing. We had been to Bahia Principe for our honeymoon two years earlier and I prefer the options we had at that resort.

Room Tip: Top floor is less noisy, but there is no lift
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Camelia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

We booked our all-inclusive vacation through Apple Vacations. If possible try to get the Privileged Room. If you can get the Honeymoon Suite, you will be right on the beach. Most of the guests are French and French Canadian, with some Brits and Germans. You will find fewer Americans.

The beach was one of the nicest one can see on Riviera Maya. You will find some Europeans sunbathing topless. The hotel itself was clean and comfortable. The service in all instances was excellent – from housekeeping, waiting staff, animators, and the dive shop crew.
If you like the evening shows at the all-inclusive resorts – you are in for a treat. The international dancers (who also work as the resort animators) are very serious about their job and put on some really funny and entertaining shows. The dance choreography is done professionally by a French choreographer who dances himself and knows his craft.

The food was OK, nothing special, but also nothing to complain about. I guess the days of exotic buffets and ice carved sculptures are over in most of the resorts, but you will be satisfied with what you find here.

The dive center, Pro Dive Mexico, which is also a PADI Career Development Center (more than an Instructor Development Center), has a truly professional crew. I am a Divemaster myself and have an eye for how the dives are conducted. All is by the book and all to the highest professional standards. Also, the price structure is not bad. For about $275 you get 6 dives (buy 5, get one free). The only downside to their operation is lack of a boat dock. They got their own comfortable boat, and go out at least 3 times a day, but you need to carry your own equipment to and from the boat (wading chest deep in the water). The crew makes sure you don’t need to carry your own air tanks, but you still end up carrying everything else, including your weights. This dive operation would not be the most comfortable for anybody who could find carrying the equipment or walking with the weight belts through sand and water strenuous. The local dive sites are typical of Riviera Maya, but not as exciting as some you can find on the Cozumel side.

Overall, great value for the money!

Room Tip: Honeymoon Suite is right on the beach, Privileged Room has its perks
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Dman_DW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Our group of 4 just returned from Catalonia Playa Maroma this week and overall had an enjoyable time. Weather and beach was great! Resort is clearly made up of French and Italians and others can feel very excluded if you're looking for alot of entertainment. Filipa, girl from Portugal and Alice, British girl were very friendly to us and tried to make us feel welcome.

We were booked in the Priviledged section which I understand is the better of the choices. Had few complaints with the room. Bed was comfortable, pillows were not. Air conditioning worked but only if it was on the coldest choice on the thermastat. Mini fridge didn't keep anything even slightly cool and shower pressure was minimal. Maid was efficient and replenished towels willingly (face cloths too). Tipped her accordingly.

Restaurants were ok. We all experienced some decent food at all three of the restaurants but none of us liked the Terrace restaurant which is supposed to be the best. Buffets were tolerable but service in the breakfast buffet was pretty bad. Servers would pretty much ignore you unless you stopped them and asked for their help. Bar staff was good and very friendly.

We took a tour which was purchased through the hotel concierge and overall was enjoyed. We wished we didn't have to travel all the way to Cancun to board the catamaran when there were other catamaran tours which left from further south on Maroma Beach. Would have enjoyed more. They may not have offered what we did though so it's no fault of the hotel's.

We have previously stayed on two occasions at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya and enjoyed it much more. Price is a bit higher but you get what you pay for. We also didn't like the distance the Catalonia is from Playa del Carmen. We enjoy getting out of the all inclusives a few times and it was about $50 per round trip. Plus, road into resort is long and dusty. Taxis didn't seem too thrilled to make the trip. One night we were late for a reservation because bell guys said they called for a taxi and it took 25 minutes to arrive. Taxi said no one had called.

Overall, it was a decent place but we will not be returning.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank japindy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

We stayed at the playa maroma from 14 nights from the 6th December. We had upgraded our room to a honeymoon room as we got engaged earlier in the year and wanted to treat ourselves. The room was beautiful with an amazingly comfortable bed and the jacuzzi on the balcony was wonderful, the shower was a good power shower and the room was always cleaned well. We did find that the tiles in the bathroom were looking rather old but this didnt really bother us as long as it was all clean.
We did find that compared to other hotels we have stayed in this did lack some of the personal touches we like, little things but we never had nice little towel animals and my night dress was never folded and put on the bed it was just thrown on the side. The bar team in the lobby were great and they worked very hard, the beach bar was good also however there was a girl that sometimes 'worked' in there and she really was awful very rude and hardly did anything!
The food was good and for us the Italian restauant was the best with fab service and lovely ambience, and nothing was to much trouble as many of the pasta dishes were vegetarian but i asked for the chicken with the pasta and yep it was done.
The entertainments team mainly spoke, Italian, french or spanish so didnt have much interaction with them and they knew we were British so made no effort to talk with us, the one girl from portugal was lovely and she worked so hard all the time making effort with everyone. There was a British girl Alice, that worked there but we found she was more interested in talking to the young french canadian boys than interacting with the only British people there!
We loved Mexico and would definetely return however not to this hotel, we very much felt that we were dropped off and then just left we saw our rep once who we booked our trips with and that was it! If we had had any major problems then we would have had to ring someone and deal with Thomson over the phone not great when you have paid so much for your holiday. The beach was truly incredible and luckily for me and my fiancee we dont mind each others company 24/7!

Please note this hotel does not except American dollars anywhere! We didnt know this before we travelled and we only took a minimum of money in Paesos which meant we couldnt use the Spa or the Shop or anything in the grounds of the hotel that was for an extra charge, they do a bereau de change in the hotel but the exchange rate was awful

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank KLM555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We stayed at the Catalonia Playa Maroma hotel from Nov 25th to Dec 2nd, 2012 with our 2 kids, family and friends for our wedding. The wedding was amazing! And our wedding planner was the best!! The set up on the beach was just WOW!! If you think on getting married down south, I suggest you don't get married at 4pm because the sun goes down around 5pm so the sunlight is not the best for pictures. We hired the photograph from the resort for our wedding pictures but they didn't want my uncle to take pictures too so I wasn't happy about that. They did take good pictures which we bought but family should be able to take pictures too because you get married once and want to have as much pictures as possible of this moment in your life!

Overall, the resort is good. It was our 5th time in Riviera Maya and not the best hotel but the beach was the nicest one in the area. You can take long walks on the beach which we love to do. The upgrade to the superior room was an excellent choice. Some people travelling with us had taken the regular room and didn't have beer in their mini fridge, pool towels in their room, the extra restaurant the privilege room has and other little extras. Rooms were clean and mini fridge always full of water, soft drink and beer. However, we had to ask for face cloths all weeks and although we were 2 adults and 2 kids, the maid would only give us 2 face cloth if she had any left...The a la carte restaurant were very good but the buffet did not have much variety for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were shows almost every night and daily entertainment on the beach and pool every day. The hotel is close to Playa Del Carmen which is nice for shopping and an hour and a half from Tulum if you want to go on excursions there. It is true that the hotel is mostly Europeans but didn't make much of difference.

We will not necessarily go back to this hotel but will be back in Mexico for sure!!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank MelC873
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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