We are the well traveled couple in our 40-ties from Vancouver, Canada, stayed at numerous 3-4-5 stars AI resorts before (Palladium chain is our favorite, with RIU, Barcelo to follow, we do not stay at the high end resorts as we want to travel a lot). Our stay was for the New Years holidays from Dec.27 to Jan.3 2010. Our flight was with the WestJet (direct, good but expensive and for THAT money they only had food and movies for purchase during the flight), our transfer was with the entertainment-plus.net (excellent service, allow last minute booking, not expensive), resort booking was made trough the hotel.ca a day before we left (good price, allows really last minute booking, had discount trough visaperks.ca) We picked this resort because we wanted to stay at the famous Maroma beach and other two resorts that are there (Secretes Maroma - AI and Maroma - non AI resort) were VERY expensive. Overall the resort Catalonia Playa Maroma has exceeded our expectation being good quality no frills and reasonable priced resort located on a beautiful beach. I would rate the resort's facilities and rooms as 3*, the food as 4 * and the location and service as 5 *.
Our Room Type was Privilege-Standalone (as per hotel.ca booking receipt), I asked for a room on a higher floor and after some conversation with receptionist we were given a room #6324 in a Palenque building (partial ocean view). There are 6 accommodation buildings at the resort - 3 by the left side and 3 by the right side running perpendicular to the beach with the central path in between. Our building #6 was by the left side if facing the sea closest to the beach. Privilege-Standalone type of the room stands for the renovated rooms - they also have standard rooms (cheaper, not renovated) and honeymoon rooms (the same as Privilege rooms but with the jacuzzi on the balcony). If you book the regular room, you can upgrade to the renovated Privilege room or the Honeymoon room for about $20-25 pp a day with the added bonus of the stocked fridge (water, pop, beer), coffeemaker, free late checkout, some other perks - we only found useful the late checkout as we normally pay to get one anyways. The size of the rooms is the same so if looking for the accommodation with the kids the upgrading of the room will not get you an extra room space so decide for yourselves if the add payment is worth it for you - all rooms are clean and OK. Our Privilege room was very nice with the big shower, lots of storage space, free digital safe, free wireless internet, small stocked fridge, good balcony, good water pressure and nice medium softness bed.
Location, location, location...
- located on one of the beast beaches in Riviera Maya -white sand and picturesque blue water, about 30 min taxi ride from the airport with about a half mile of the intact forest between the resort and a highway so you do not hear it at all and feel like being away from civilization with the 100 % fresh air - we have not seen or smell a single car for a week. Awesome air, sand and sea water quality - all clear. The beach is good for walking/running both ways for about a mile bare feet - to the left you get to the Iberostar Paraiso complex, to the right you get to the Eldorado Playa Maroma (the beach is not good there);
- No towel games in the mornings - there is enough shade for everyone and people do not reserve chairs at the dusk, I woke up first day in the early morning to reserve my chair in the shade and guess what - there were people on the beach at 6 am that actually came to watch a sunset not to reserve chairs!
- awesome crepes for a snack by the pool/beach bar instead of fries/hamburgers;
- free Wi-Fi internet in the rooms - just bring your laptop or netbook, the free digital safe in the room is big enough for 14";
- no towel cards - you can get as many towels as you want and leave them on the sunbed after you used them or return to the kiosk;
- no reservation and no limit for alacarte dinners at the 3 sit down restaurants - eat as often as you want where you want, just walk in;
- no strict rules re.long pants for the restaurants - dressy shorts with the collar shirt was OK;
- no swim up bar in the pool so the water there was very clean (you know what I mean), they check the quality of water every day - I have seen them taking the probes;
- brand name drinks at the beach bar but you have to ask (they run out of Baileys after a few days);
- drink service on the beach;
- free shuttle to Playa Del Carmen - first bus leaves in the morning returns at 5 pm, second leaves at 6 pm returns at 11 pm;
- free guided ride of the catamaran 1 hour every day (they provide you with the instructor on board that is riding the boat with you free of charge - less excitement but more sailing);
- Mexican buffet night on Saturdays, do not miss it;
- no mosquitoes in January (it might be different dep. on the season);
-low density of the people during the very high season;
--twice a day housekeeping, our cleaning lady was doing very good job being mostly invisible for us;
awesome service provided by all the employers of the resort, we felt welcome at all times regardless we tipped or not. We did.
-very nice mix of the quite a few Canadians, Italians, French, US, Polish, German etc. people - very polite, well dressed (or undressed) and well behaved people to be with with not a single drunk person or screaming kid for a whole week.
- really lime evening entertainment with some life music in the lobby - we didn't like the quality, and uncomfortable theater with the low quality shows that we didn't attend - peeked a few times and left, so we spent more time at the beach bar in the evenings;
- no privacy on the balconies (see through dividers);
- limited selection of the food at the buffet at the regular days comparing to the most of the resorts we stayed at before, but all of it was fresh and you could find what to eat, just OK, so we moved to the restaurants every night but families with the small kids that prefer to eat at the buffet might be disappointed;
- late start for the bar on the beach - 9 am, so you can not have the cappuccino on the beach earlier then that. There was a coffeemaker in the room with the coffee supplied but I do not drink filtered coffee only espressos;
- no ocean view from the beach restaurant as it is set a little bit inland only pool view;
- nothing to eat by the beach until 10 am when crepes place opens so we had a late breakfast, a tray with the fruits and pastries would be good enough to go with the morning coffee;
- beach bar was a little to busy when there were more people - not enough capacity for the beach and pool crowds;
- shade type on the beach is a gazebo type that runs over about 10 sun beds with the spaced out planks on the room instead of the usual palapas and it might be not protecting enough in the summer - it was fine in the winter;
- no book exchange place although you can ask on the reception and they give you a few that were left by the people before.
Overall, our stay was quieter and more relaxed than at any other place we stayed at with as less restrictions as possible, you do not really need to go to the lobby at all if you do not want to. We stayed all week at the beach bare feet - coffee at 9 am, crepes with the ham and cheese and a beer for my husband and with the fruits and cheese with the tea for me at 10 am, lunch at the beach restaurant, dinner at the one of the beach ala-cartes, casual stroll to the lobby in the evening - with unlimited sunbathing, swimming and beach walking in between! The weather was good for that time of the year meaning that it is a winter time in Mexico too. We hadn't had any rain in a week, with a few quiet days and a few very windy days that we spent on the beach anyways in our swimsuits just placed the second sunbed on its side close to the one we lay on to protect ourselves from the wind. For us being 100% beach people it was the right place to have a very relaxing vacation.
Tip - bring a netbook - it is a very small laptop - to read on the beach and to check the e-mails in the room to stay connected with the families back home.
- 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