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“Go for the beach!”

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Catalonia Playa Maroma
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Playa Maroma
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed May 15, 2013

I have been traveling to Playa Del Carmen area of Mexico for 12 years to give you an idea of my experience with the area. I have stayed at numerous resorts within the Playacar area as well as a few along the way to Playa. My trip has always been a Mother's Day vacation for myself and my best girlfriend however this year my oldest son (28 yrs old) and his girlfriend joined us. On to the resort...First impression was a bit unimpressive but thanks to tripadvisor I knew to expect a bumpy ride into the resort on an unpaved road. A bit of a disappointment due to the other GRAND entrances to other resorts you see on your way to the Catalonia. There are pavers being placed on the dirt, by the looks of it they should be done with that in a year or two. (not kidding!) We arrived May 4th at 4pm. We booked "privilege superior" so we were taken through the main lobby area down the path to the privilege check in office. Check in was no problem and because it was late, our rooms were ready. The only request I made in advance this trip was that our room and my son's room be in the same building. This request was granted and we all were placed in Building 4, ground level rooms just around the corner from each other. Happy! Our balcony had a view of Building 6 (room 4128) and was a corner room with much privacy. My son's room (4102) had a balcony with a courtyard view that has a lot of foot traffic but still ok. Rooms are comfortable. Flat screen TV's, lots of drawer storage and two closets with enough hangars. Air conditioning worked perfectly. Bathroom/shower was adequate, nothing more and nothing fancy. Fridge was stocked every other day with beer. Water and soda were stocked daily. If you wanted more, you had to pay. NEVER had this at any other resort in this area. Coffee pot in room however it was hit or miss as to whether you got coffee or creamer packets. I think we got in 3 out of 6 days. Maid service was very late for our rooms, after 4pm most days or just as we were ready to shower after a day at the beach. 3 towels per room per day, hand towels and face cloths were inconsistently given.
BEACH:
Hands down, the best beach in Riviera Maya. Sand is consistency of baby powder and was always cool to the touch. Ocean water is the beautiful turquoise color you want to see in Mexico with no seaweed and no rocks. You can walk for miles in either direction. We found a wonderful strip of beach just past Secrets (to the right of Catalonia facing the beach) but really it was perfect no matter where you walked. The only rocks we encountered were to the left as you neared the Iberostar area, but this was a long distance. No shells. Towel game was in full swing and if you were not marking your spot by 6:00 am you were out of luck for huts or shade. By 9 am there were NO chairs to be had at the beach. If you booked the honeymoon suites, they were ocean front with their own little plunge pools and the chairs were always empty so not sure anyone was in those rooms. Looked really nice when we walked up to check it out. Go for it if you can, but know it is far from bar on beach. Not sure if they had their own bar service. Having booked privilege, we had a separate beach area with waiter service for drinks delivered to you at your chair. The servers work very hard and it was much appreciated.
BAR/RESTAURANTS:
There are only 2 bars at this resort. One right by the beach and the one in the Main lobby. From what I saw, there were usually 2 bartenders at the pool bar. The back side of this bar has the Crepe & ice cream service. Excellent. Above this bar was the Tapas restaurant which was exclusive to the privilege guests (light purple wrist bands). They always checked your band so if it's not purple, you're not getting served there. We had lunch there twice. The view of the beach is amazing from this vantage point. Indoor & Outdoor seating available. The first lunch we had there was by far a better experience than the second. We sat outside the first time and had umbrellas for shade. Food was delivered quickly and was fresh and perfect portion sizes. The second time was not so great. They open at 12pm and we being Americans are used to having lunch at that time. We were the second group to arrive for lunch. While the restaurant did begin to fill up, it took 1 full hour to receive our lunch. Many guests who had arrived long after us had already eaten my the time our food arrived. When we asked where our lunch was, we were simply told it was being cooked....just as we were about to ditch this place and go to the buffet our food arrived. Again, good quality food but bad service. We ate at the lunch buffet by the beach every other day. Compared to ALL the other resorts I have stayed in ~ there were very limited choices for food. Usually a chicken, a fish and a taco choice. Not much else. While adequate, it was somewhat stunning to see such a big room with so little food choices. We had dinner at the Steak Restaurant one evening which is located at this same building. My friend and I arrived a few minutes before my son and his girl and we were told they could not seat us until everyone arrived. Now I understand they are all first come first served, but we knew they were going to arrive shortly and asked if we could just get our table and have a drink but were told NO. By the way, there was only one table being used at this time and no one was waiting to be seated. We had to wait on a bench for the rest of our party to arrive before they would seat us. Interesting fact ~ all 3 specialty restaurants are located at this building ~ OUTSIDE porch dining. Each restaurant had around 10 tables all located outside. The meal was just ok. We never went back for our other 2 dinners we were able to have. Two nights were spent in Playa Del Carmen for dinner and we had the buffet the other 3 nights. Most memorable buffet was "Chinese night". Good choices that night with no complaints. NOTE: pathway walk to main buffet and lobby is a wonderful walk and we did enjoy the relaxing music played in the jungle. Breakfast is served at this main buffet and we always enjoyed the omlet's made fresh. Having traveled to many all inclusive's, we know that you do not go for the food :). DRINKS: two recommendations : try the Habanna Cuban Rum with diet coke...always get this in Mexico since we cannot get it in US. Also, ask for the "special" which was a mix of Kahula, Vodka, Bailys and ice cream ~ I don't recommend drinking alot of them as they are very indulgent but you gotta try one! No point in mentioning any of the other drinks as they were not great.

BIGGEST CONCERNS!!! :
The first full day we spent at the beach (the day after our arrival). At around 10am, we decided to purchase some silver from a vendor walking the beach and had to return to our room for some money. There was a guy standing outside our doorway ~ as though he was the lookout guy ~ and he informed us that our safe was left open and he had to call security. Inside our room standing at our open safe was a guy dressed in a security uniform. Remember I mentioned that maid service was never done before 4pm?? SO WHY WERE THEY IN OUR ROOM?? In addition, my friend is a compulsive door and safe locker. There is absolutely NO WAY we left the safe unlocked! While nothing was missing, we can't help but feel that if we had not gone back to our room at that moment things may have gone horribly wrong. My son's room had a safe issue as well on a different day. They attempted to get into their safe. As you may know, you set the combination yourself. The safe would not open so they called the desk and security had to come to their room to re-set their combination as it had been changed. This is very serious and I hope the management is aware of what is going on.
On our last night at resort, we had an early departure so we were in bed by 9pm. At 9:45pm, even though our door was locked and dead bolted shut...two spanish speaking people entered our room chatting away in spanish (we did not understand what they were saying as we were sound asleep) and when we woke up and spoke out loud to them they simply backed up and left our room. Please know your room can be entered even with the door dead bolted. We informed the desk person at check out at 4am and he asked if we had called security. We never even thought to do that as we were sound asleep! He informed us that he would report this incident however we left a few minutes later and I have never heard anything more on the subject. I do plan to write a letter to management.
LASTLY...Beware of promises made when you get a note slipped under your door to be "upgraded" and moved to the Catalonia Tulum. On Thursday morning (the day before we were leaving Mexico) we received these notes under both of our doors. My son & his girl ~ eager to experience Tulum ~ decided to make the move for the last night (they are young!). They were informed that transportation would be provided both ways. They were happy with the Catalonia Tulum, better rooms and adults only. BUT... the next morning when it was time to go to airport the taxi arrived as planned to pick them up. Remember, they were assured this would be all at no cost to them since we had already arranged and PAID for transportation from the Catalonia Maroma. So the taxi took them directly to the airport then proceeded to tell them they owed him $80 for the ride!!! We paid Entertainment Plus $90 for R/T transportation to and from the airport for all 4 of us. There was nothing they could do but pay the taxi driver. Bad way to end the trip when it was at the convenience of the Maroma who had overbooked that they agreed to move in the first place. Again, I will be writing management. If you decide to move at the resorts request be sure to get everything in writing.
CONCLUSION:
Don't get me wrong, while I ended with a few problems listed our overall impression of this resort was very good. Be sure to check out the spa and use the steam room and sauna and jaccuzi that is at no charge for privilege guests. Perfect after a day at the beach!! Our vacation was memorable as this was the best beach one could imagine. The resort is very clean & comfortable. Would we return??? Depends on how management responds to the extra and unexpected $80 my son had to pay for the taxi that he was told would be free. Vacation is what you make it. Having traveled to Mexico many many times we understand the cultural differences and accept them as part of the charm. We will be back again next year and deciding where to stay is half the fun for me.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Trigib
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 14, 2013

Hi just come back from Mexico, stayed in the Catalonia Maroma this hotel is an older hotel but don't let that put you off, the food is FAB everything you want to eat and drink is avalible for you. the beach is lovely the and goes on for miles the hotel shows are excellent and the team are all trained to a high standard.
All rooms have coffee machines and the fridges was stocked daily, only problem I had was the room did not provide a shower cap so ladies take one with you!! if you go for the priveledged
pakage they do provide one (what's that all about! priveledged and non priveledged is a bit hard to understand for us English) we are a couple in our 50s but there were plenty of younger couples i and families in the hotel this is french owned hotel so lots of french is spoken.
i found the reception staff a bit hit and miss some more helpful than others, don't ask for small notes the will not give them.
There are some shops on hotel site but you have to get a taxi to playa del Carman for shopping.
overall a really lovely hotel and a brill holiday very restful

Room Tip: try not to get 3201 onwards right on line with stage of next hotel stage and they have shows 2wice...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank 186337Liverpoolhope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013 via mobile

Excellent service and atmosphere! We loved the botanical garden feel and the abundant wildlife! The endless beach was beautiful. Would highly recommend. Very nice family atmosphere with good food and friendly staff especially the housekeepers (ours was Esther) and the entertainers (Jesus was our favorite ). Front desk and concierge saw to our every request.

  • Stayed: May 2013
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2  Thank Brick123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2013

We just returned from a week at the Catalonia Maroma and we left having had a good vacation however regretting having chosen this resort. Here is a list of pro’s and con’s

Pro’s
-Beautiful white sand, turquoise water! The beach stretches for miles…you can jog or walk your heart out in either direction
-small resort feel, cozy, you won’t be getting lost here
-you feel like you are in a tropical garden, the land is beautifully maintained. The main walkway into the resort is stunning. It is a true natural space unlike many big resorts where they demolished the entire land and build on it. This place feels like they kept the land as is and built in it. In fact to get to your rooms you walk through a narrow path through the forest!
-they have 3 restaurants and one terrace restaurant for ‘privileged guests only. No dinner reservations necessary. Just go to whichever you want that night. You get 3 visits a week unless you purchased the privileged package which gives you 4 and one additional terrace dinner.
-the privileged upgrade if not overly expensive is well worth it. You get a better area of the beach to stay at with ‘palapa’s’. The general area has limited areas for shade, and the extra 2 dinners at a restaurant are well worth it. You also get the terrace restaurant for lunches to, which has an ocean view!

Con’s
-Our arrival time was noon and rooms are not done til 3. We sat around boiling with nothing to do for 3 hours. We weren’t offered any area to change, or anything to make the wait bearable. So if you arrive before 3 bring sunscreen in your carry on and wear a bathing suit underneath. Although you also won’t get a towel til you get in your room so it’s pretty annoying. Nothing is air conditioned…so good luck finding somewhere to sit that’s comfortable.
-The management will harass you all week long about upgrading to one of their different resorts because apparently its empty and they want to fill it. You get flyers in your door every other day telling you to upgrade. The last thing we wanted to do was pack up again and drive another hour to a different resort.
-This resort is CHEAP! In terms of restocking your fridge with a couple of beers and water bottles. It is only done every other day and you have to pay extra if you want more water bottles HA!
-The house wine at the main buffet is horrible…blah sugary red crap
And last but certainly not least, we have been to tons of all inclusive and this takes the WORST FOOD AWARD! LOL
We have been to Mexico 5 times in the last couple of years and this is the cheapest food I’ve ever had. The buffet doesn’t even have the basic buffet things like a pasta guy, or pizza guy making you anything fresh. Most disappointing is the lack of any sort of sea food, no shrimp, no fresh fish grilled fish made to order. Thank goodness for the restaurants, at least those were somewhat decent but even then we went to the steak house and I ordered a ‘crab cake’ LOL and got an imitation shrimp quiche..blah. Having said that if you can live off of bread products (muffins, breads) and burgers, sandwiches you will be fine. We personally struggled daily to find anything edible. We managed to get an extra dinner so luckily only had to eat at the main buffet for one dinner.
-the mojitos! They ruined my fav tropical drink. Its not a hard concept you mix lime, sugar and mint leaves. Instead of actual limes they use this nasty lime juice.
-Forget about decent tequila tasting….yes you are in Mexico but you’re not getting any sort of quality tequila! Lol. We were there for cinco de mayo and super excited thinking it would be a fantastic celebration...nope nothing...oh wait a michael jackson show :S

In the end you make it what it is and the beach luckily was awesome. Too bad I literally told my husband we need to go to a seafood restaurant asap once we got home because I didn’t have any while in Mexico! The iberostar maroma is down the beach and if affordable prob has much better food! I was jealous to see the secrets maroma having a bonfire BBQ dinner on the beach one night. Wishing I would've paid the extra

The restaurant and gardening staff is fantastic and hardworking. EXCEPT for the entertainment staff.. I’ve never seen a lazier group of people. There was one lunch beach bbq during the week and instead of finding them working getting people involved, you found them behind the table sitting and eating in the shade. Also, why are they all blonde, blue eyed white kids? No offense but I find it insulting to go to Mexico and instead of hiring local people, they ship in these lazy foreign 18 year olds. … ok Rant over!


have fun, the weather and water was perfect!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Beach4Lifeforever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2013

We stayed in Catalonia Maroma from 30/04 to 08/05 as were getting married on May 4th and this hotel was close to where our wedding was organized (thanks God we didn't organize it in this hotel). As we had our wedding we were more than 50 guests staying in this hotel renting approximately 25 rooms. We never tried to negotiate the prices of the room as we didn't want our guests to feel obligated to go in this hotel.
When we arrived, big deception with the Honeymoon suite which doesn't have any sea view (contrary to what were said at the moment of the reservation) and an old bathroom. We were able to change room that same night, for one with a nicer bathroom and on second floor but still didn't have any sea view.

The real problem in this hotel is the customer service that we received from the Managers. When we asked them special favours (like moving a table next to the other, etc.) as we are a group of 50 persons, the answer was always no!!! When we went to all the different restaurants and wanted to join 2 tables, it was really hard as we were interrupting their logistic (funny that the restaurant was almost empty...). We didn't feel any warm welcome and a good intention to help us, the typical answer was "No, I'm sorry, these are the rules". In the end, we did manage to have a restaurant in the buffet area which was really nice and I thank them for that, however this costed us some hours of negotiation and my wife also cried of frustration when it could have been really simple.

The service we received from the barmen, waiters and waitresses was very good, and we did feel they wanted to help us but couldn't because of the instructions given by their inflexible and no customer orientated Boss. To give you an example, my wife was actually walking to the lobby on her way to our wedding and they stopped her in order to pay for the rent of her grandmother's' wheelchair, given the fact that we stayed 4 nights more, I think they could have waited the next day no??

This hotel is full of french and italian, maybe you would like to go there outside their holidays in order for the hotel not to be 100% full. Very nice beach and wonderful sand, this is what compensates that I didn't put "Terrible" as my overall rating.

I recommend strongly to look for alternative hotels as I have been to other hotels in Riviera Maya and never had this impression.

Room Tip: Try to be in Building 6 as it's the closest one to the beach and the pool area.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Jon8822
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

We traveled here last week of April. Our arrival to this resort was rocky as when I booked (via selloffvacations) I clearly clicked on king bed...when we got there they tried to give us 2 beds. We were told that we could move but only the next day...which ended up being not until 3 o clock. So, two days of our vacation was fooled up! but this is not really what bothered me, what bothered me was the girl in privileged as I was voicing my concerns over this would not let me speak, but rather continued to talk over me...not good customer service, espically considering we were supposed to be a "privileged" guest which by the way is a crock of S***. Listen, the only good thing about being privilege is, at least for us, we were put in the building closest to the beach. Some say that as a perk to being priviege you get to eat at the tapas? well I they didn't have what i wanted to order even though it was on the menu. Anyways, let me break it down as it was not all bad.
Accomidations: like I said, don't expect to get what you book. The room is fine, not beautiful...just normal. ants around the sink bugged me but that's mexico. The air conditioner is loud...my husband and I would turn it off at night and just turn on the fan...we were fine that way. We loved the walk up to the main lobby area...it was romantic at night...it's not a long walk really.
Food: the main buffet was not bad...you can always find something to eat, but the buffet near the beach was horrible! unless you wanna eat fries and burgers everyday!! On a whole this resort cooks with a lot of salt! everything was salty! My husband liked the italian restaurant and I liked the mexican.
Beach: Just outstanding! beautiful!
Entertainment: Didn't really take part in this...but I did see the staff working hard, and the resort seems to have a lot of activities.
Placement of the resort: it's not near anything! if you wanna go into playa del carmen, you have to get a taxi, and that's about 22-23 bucks one way. The hotel should have a shuttle to bring guests up to the road so that they can hook into the bus system. You cannot walk it as it is very very very long with no lights and gravel road......creepy!
My husband and I booked with the hotel for a day in Xcaret for $139.00 each and it was worth it! I was curious though as to why on my reciept he wrote down $129.00 but charged me $139.00 anyways!
Another thing to look out for in this resort is the lack of good english skills from the staff. Some of them could not even understand simple conversation.
Listen, we paid much less for this resort than we would have paid at the secrets next door so I understand we would have to sacrifice a little but:
A) Staff should let the customer speak when they are speaking and not talk over them
B) Beach buffet was soooo bad
C) Conversation skills poor in english language.
D) you have to play the towel 6:30 in the morning game here if you want something in the shade.
i really did not like how the lady was telling me the same thing over and over again " you didn't book a king bed lady" when i'm the one who booked it and I know what i booked. So this is something that either the resort of the travel agencies selling these packages need to work out,.
Would I stay here again or recommed this hotel? nope....not because of the food or anything else, but rather strickly because 2 days of my vacation was screwed up because they tried to do this room dancing. I think they try to use the king beds to have as a tool to upgrade people to the privilege ! not worth it.

Room Tip: it does not matter because when you get there they give you what "they" want, not what &qu...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank tammyopera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Today is my first day back to work and I am so missing my vaca!!! It was my first vacation with my boyfriend and the entire trip was sheer magic!!!! The beach was clear and clean as any pool Ive been in and the sand was like baby powder!! The entire resort gave you that true Mexican feel from the decor to the jungle-esque lush grounds! Eeverything was well kept, super clean, excellent, attentive staff, lots to do or nothing to do if you desire. All were at this resort!!!!!!!! We cannot wait to return next May!
The food was not the best. It wasn't bad but it was just underseasoned but hey~we stayed thin enough for the beach!! The Tapas was delicious however and Carlos was a stellar server!! Lol!! LOVED IT!!!

Room Tip: Ask for a 3rd floor room in Bldg 3, 4, 5 or 6.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Robyn R
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

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 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Romantic Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Spa Hotel in Playa Maroma
Price Range: $181 - $483 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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