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“Exceptional beach, relaxing atmosphere, internationally diverse”

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Catalonia Playa Maroma
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Playa Maroma
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Exceptional beach, relaxing atmosphere, internationally diverse”
Reviewed April 30, 2013

My wife and I have long wished to stay at Secrets Maroma Beach, and actually have a travel fund established for that visit. We received an email from Cheapcaribbean.com announcing a sale at Catalonia Privileged Maroma, which is the neighboring property, literally adjacent. We decided that at the price we were fortunate enough to obtain, it was worth it just to scout out Maroma Beach.
We had a connection, so by the time we arrived at the Cancun airport, we were a bit travel weary (started our day at 2:30 a.m.). The customs was not as fast as it could have been, but we had carry on luggage only (yeah! love beach vacations!) so we got through fairly quickly. Past their Customs, it is the typical chaos of people trying to divert you to excursions or taxis, etc. We have traveled enough in the Caribbean and been through Cancun airport before, so we knew we were heading out to the shuttles for our pre-arranged shuttle with Olympus Tours. There was the usual 30 minutes or so to get a van but we were lucky (again) to be the first off, others were traveling to more distant resorts. Not being fluent in Spanish was not an issue.
The Catalonia is a fair distance off the main road (as is the case with most Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen ocean front resorts). The road was rough, but there were pavers, etc suggesting it was being upgraded. Secrets Maroma Beach shares the first part of that road.
We opted for the Privileged upgrade (the standard guest did not have access to one restaurant, a terrace, a section of the beach and were housed further inland relatively). We had to wear wristbands the whole trip (annoyance). I suppose it is common in family resorts, we have only stayed in adults only resorts for the past ten years.
Being a family resort, I dreaded the thought of grumpy, irritable children and parents. Let me say, European children are very well behaved. No issues with that at all. We conversed with some people and enjoyed meeting those couples/families (French, Italian, Czech). It was fun stumbling through my elementary French and Spanish, and most were conversant in English. Some people didn't smile, say hello, or move to the side to share the sidewalk when approaching (what is up with that?). No problem, we were there to be together and the resort gave us a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy each other (and the beach, margaritas, sun, napping, etc).
The staff was mostly friendly, warm and there was always someone nearby who spoke English or could understand my gestures and toddler-level Spanish. Ronier was our bellboy and he was very pleasant, conversant in English and hard-working. Veronica was our housekeeper, and didn't have much if any English. But wonderful smile, hard worker and always left an animal towel thingy on the bed with flower petals daily. Minibar had plenty of water, our beverage of choice.
The room we had (6105) did not have a view of the ocean (few do and they are an upgrade to the upgrade). However, it was great. Despite being a ground floor unit, there was no noise from foot traffic, and it had a fountain immediately outside the small patio. It was nice enough, clean, and the shower had pressure and hot water. Lights in the room might be an issue for women getting ready, but see that a lot in the Caribbean. Wifi worked fine and was included with the Privileged reservations.
We woke up every morning, had coffee at the main bar, walked the beach (to the iberostar one direction, or the marina the other). There were usually few people early, later in the day (we walked in the afternoon as well), it was well trafficked. No sense of danger, no vendors on the beach, and only once saw a few dogs but they had collars. The sand is amazing, the water is amazing, and there was not a rock to be found until you went quite a distance. There is a condo complex on one side adjacent, Secrets Maroma Beach on the other, but neither were noisy, and no spring break craziness. It was nice, perfect actually.
Fish were present from time to time, but very limited. You could walk out into the water quite a way, and cruise ships and cargo ships in the distance were limited to a couple routes a day. There was occasional wave runners or parasailing, but thankfully not common. This is a quiet resort.
Bars were open all day, but no obnoxious drunks (something to do with few Americans maybe? LOL). We would get coffee at the main bar by the registration lobby every morning and it was great. The restaurants did not have great coffee. We only had margaritas on the Terrace which is a Privileged only restaurant, and enjoyed the drinks with the view most days.
The food was really just so-so. No exceptional meal, though the chocolate desserts at the Terrace were great (very slow service though, way understaffed but it is a small kitchen). For the money, not a deal breaker. If we had paid Secrets or Couples cost, it would have been disappointing. I did have an Olestra effect with the ceviche or fish (look it up if you don't know what that is). Stayed away after the first day and it didn't recur. I have the stomach of a goat, so this was a surprise (and not a pleasant one).
We didn't do any excursions, we were there for five days, two being travel days. It was perfect in terms on length of stay, the location, comfort of room, cleanliness. Didn't like the wristbands, and we were initially told we were allowed only one meal at the formal restaurants (not typical to our all-inclusive experiences elsewhere). We saved that for the last night and found out we actually were supposed to have two formal restaurant meals each. That was disappointing.
The monkey looking croati flocked to people with food, and there were young ones. Adorable, and did not harass people unless they held out food (which they are not supposed to do). Can't comment on the nightly entertainment or animacion staff. We are early risers and the entertainment did not start until 9:30 p.m. There is an exercise room, but it is very limited. It was ok for a few days just to not atrophy away, but the main system is an outdated universal pulley multi-station, with a flat bench, an incline bench, a curl bar, and a dumbbell rack that goes up to 50 pounds but is missing the 5, and 15 pound dumbbells. (5 pound increments) There is a single treadmill, and it looked rough. Hey, there is an entire beach out there!!!
We did not see a single wedding, and only met one couple getting married there (after we left). Secrets had a few being set up as we would walk past.
We didn't watch tv in the room, but it was in the gym. Not a great selection of channels, the usual CNN, BBC, MTV, children's channels, etc. No adult channels if people are wondering.
Checkout was super fast, and the shuttle showed up on time, got us to the airport (3 hours before flight). Cancun airport is just as chaotic trying to leave as it is arriving. Food at the airport is crazy expensive. We pack trail mix from home and took fruit from the resort. Of course, US airport food and snacks are ridiculous as well.
The official exchange rate I think was around 13 to 1 (NP to USD), the hotel exchange gave 10.80 to 1 when I got some coins for souvenirs. If you are exchanging a large amount, don't do it at the hotel.
Summary of my disjointed review, if you get a phenomenal deal, you will have a phenomenal experience if you are looking for a quiet resort to enjoy with your travel companion. The beach is one of the best, the room is clean, the staff is warm, efficient, and English speaking was not a limitation. Food was ok, not sure what happened with the ceviche (please never again). It was about 85% non-American, but that added to the experience for us. We will return if we find the same value.

Room Tip: Buildings 4 and 6 are nearest the beach, upgrade to Privileged.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank ckfitness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Finnish first
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2013

Just attended my brother's wedding and what a wonderful venue. The staff is AMAZING and the wedding planner,Pilar took care of the arrangements beautifully. I plan on returning with my husband to renew our vows on our 30th anniversary. Get the Priviledged Package. The resort is for families so if you aren't fond of kids you may want to find an Adults Only Resort. Surprisingly mellow even with the babies and small kids. Not many Americans and lots of European guests. The beach is breathtaking and the sunset should never be missed. I highly recommend that you check this place out!

Room Tip: Get the ocean view or private suites.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank FanJetStew612
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Went with my girlfriend (and now fiancé after this trip) and had a wonderful time. Resort is huge but spaced out and seems to avoid getting crowded dispute the fact that there are only two bars. Drink selection was ok, nothing special. Beach was absolutely beautiful, the pictures cannot do it justice. The staff were all friendly but some spoke very limited English. As other reviews have stated there aren't many Americans present here. A little bit of culture shock but we kept to ourselves and found a few others at the bar to burn some time with. Resort was reasonable and comes recommended. There were less options but better quality food compared to other all inclusive resorts I have stayed at which was welcomed.

Room Tip: Enjoy the Italian restaurant!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank benfff85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheektowaga, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

My husband & I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in the Riviera Mayan area of Mexico. This review is going to cover 3 properties. Our original destination resort was the Catalonia Yucatan. Upon our check in at the Catalonia Yucatan, they were overbooked so they sent us to the Catalonia Royal Tulum for one night. They paid for the transportation (about 10 minute drive) and the check in was fast and easy. The Catalonia Royal Tulum is an adult only resort and it is lovely. The food & drinks were very good. Beach was beautiful. Our room was spacious and comfortable. We spent 2 full days at the Catalonia Royal and checked back into the Yucatan the next night. The Catalonia Yucatan was alright. It is located within the town of Puerto Aventuras that is a marina community offering condominiums, hotels and luxury Caribbean front villas and bars and restaurants, which is nice because you can walk off property to visit other areas in the community. The Yucatan seemed to be busier and more of a party crowd the time we were there. The beach isn’t that great. It’s set like in a bay so it was rockier and the water wasn’t the turquoise blue. The rooms are simple and clean, we were given a double even though we requested a King size bed, not that modern. You would have to pay for the real nice rooms in the privileged section. They have several restaurants and food was good. After spending one evening at the Yucatan, we kind of wished we were back at the Royal. The next day I had requested to be switched into a king room, they did not have one. The Yucatan was still over booked and they made us an offer to switch us to the Catalonia Maroma. I took them up on their offer because I knew the Maroma had a real nice beach. We went back to our room got our stuff and they transported us to the Maroma for the rest of our stay 5 nights. We loved the Maroma. We were given the privileged package which includes a few perks. The resort is very pretty; jungle like setting, great restaurants, good drinks, nice pool, superb beach & ocean. The staff is great. We loved this resort and definitely return to the Catalonia Maroma.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Deekny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CAMBRIDGE
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2013

After a rocky start and a room change, I must say that we were quite pleased with this resort. We usually stay at Grand Bahia Principe while in Riveria Maya, but this was a nice change. We moved from a bottom floor room in building 3 (which I requested not to be in) to a top floor room in building 5. Building 5 was listed as one of the "privileged" buildings, but the room was the same as building 3, but we did get robes, slippers and towels in the room. We did not pay extra for the privileged. I do not believe in this practice. I find it just plain gouging of the customers.
Many positives to this resort. Loved the spa type music piped into the trees along walkway. This is not a bang bang type of resort with music blaring all the time. Very relaxing. Beach was wonderful. Food was very good. We went to all the al-a-cartes. Loved the Italian the best. I have seen coates before but these ones were very tame. Rooms were cleaned early each morning which was great. We usually like to leave the resort and hop on the collectivo on the highway, but the long dirt road to this resort stops that. I found the resort clean and very quaint. Would recommend this.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank AdeleandDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baytown, Texas
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2013

Our group of 2 couples stayed at the Catalonia Playa Maroma April 13-16, 2013. We have stayed at many all inclusives in the Riviera Maya area in the past, but first time at this resort. The resort is small and nice, not overly spectacular. The beach is the best part of this resort. Beautiful powdery sand beach with turquoise water. No rocks and the water is not so rough that you cannot go out pretty far in the water. The pool is very small. And unless you get up early and put your towels out, you will not get a chair with any shade around the pool or on the beach. There are also not alot of waiters and you are better off getting your drink yourself at the bar. Try the Banana Mama...very good! We upgraded to the priviledged superior room and was in building #2 and had a resort view. The room was nice and had a very large balcony. The bathroom definitely needed to be remodeled. We had A/C problems the first day and a repair man was sent immediately. It was a little colder after the repairs, but still not very cold in the room for the rest of the stay. We also had the light repaired in the entryway that did not work when we arrived. After he left, we also realized that our door lock was broke. The door locked but there was no way to lock it once we were in the room to ensure that the cleaning people could not just walk in with their card. The breakfast buffet was very good-lots of choices and hot food. The dinner buffet by the lobby and lunch buffet by the pool was not very good. Not a lot of choices and all the food was lukewarm. The Tapas lunch was great and the view is awesome! We also went to the Mexican ala carte and it was very good. The coatis running around the resort are also interesting to watch. We had a couples massage at the spa and it was very relaxing and we enjoyed it. We went to 1 show at the theater. It was a Madonna themed show. There are definitey some talented people in the cast, but the show was very cheesy. Several times we laughed out loud at some of the dancers and the show! Overall, the best thing this resort has going for it is the beach. Unless I got a great deal on staying at this resort, I do not think I would stay here again. There are much nicer resorts in the area for the price of our stay.

Room Tip: We stayed in building #2. This building is in the middle of the resort. Same distance to front of re...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank Texasgirl0674
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Living room
Level Contributor
55 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2013

Just what we were looking for! I was worried we were going to be surrounded by loud obnoxious drunken 30+ year old reliving the good ol' college days. A majority of the patrons spoke French followed by Spanish and Italian. It was really relaxing not to hear whinny kids and not hearing parents give idol threats. It was such a relaxing resort. The staff was multi-lingual and hard working. The privileged upgrade was well worth it!! The 6000 room block was the bomb as it was close to everything and still had privacy. This was such an awesome vacation spot!! Olympus Tours was not bad at all. If your looking to get drunk and rowdy this is not the place for you. If I had kids I would take them here so they could be exposed to other kids from different cultures. It's really a beautiful resort and would definitely go back !

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank angela s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Catalonia Playa Maroma

Property: Catalonia Playa Maroma
Address: Carretera Federal 307 Chetumal- Puerto Juarez Km. 306+250, Playa Maroma, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Maroma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 Family Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Spa Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Romantic Hotel in Playa Maroma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Catalonia Playa Maroma 3.5*
Number of rooms: 404
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Catalonia Playa Maroma is situated in the Mayan Riviera, at only 35 kilometers south of Cancun and 20 kilometers north of Playa del Carmen. Regarding to the Travel Channel, Playa Maroma is one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. The typical Mexican decoration with its vibrant colors and palapa roofs surrounded by the native jungle make this resort the perfect place to spend a wonderful vacation. The Mayan World has to offer a lot to its visitors. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catalonia Playa Maroma Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Catalonia Playa Maroma Del Carmen
Playa Maroma

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