This was our 5th holiday to Riviera Maya, but the first without kids. We were looking for a smaller hotel that catered more for adults and this seemed to fit the bill.
We flew from Birmingham with First Choice and upgraded to premium (this is about equal to/very slightly better than BA or Virgin basic economy). We had a hassle free journey and on arrival we were checked in very quickly with a cold drink.
Now it's at this point that the only negative occurred, and it's well documented here on trip advisor. For some really unknown reason now, given all of the negative feedback here, after a 16 hour door to door journey, we were put straight into the hands of a time share salesman by the receptionist before we'd had a chance to finish our drink. He wanted to show us around the hotel and was quite pushy,negative and stroppy when I said I wasn't interested and just wanted to get to the room, get our swim kit on and go for a dip. Management, you must stop this practice now as it really does spoil the first impression of the hotel - it's a massive negative. Anyway, with that over we went to our room.
Room - We booked and paid for an upgraded superior junior suite and it was well worth the extra. It was a large corner room with a large balcony, four poster, living area, tea and coffee, fully stocked fridge with beer, pop, nuts and snack bars. It looked as though it had just been decorated. We were really pleased with it. Also, because we had booked the upgraded room, we had a number of "treats" over the week including a fruit basket, cheese platter, bottle of red and a bottle of tequila. We also had a free him and her 30 minute massage at the spa with unlimited use of the spa facility (sauna and steam room), and, we were able have a la carte breakfasts by the sea and room service. I'd recommend spending the extra on the upgrade. It doesn't really matter which building your room is in, all six look similar, they all face into the jungle, no sea views, and the hotel isn't that big anyway. For example, it took us around 2 minutes to get to reception and 4 to the beach.
Food - Not one bad meal. For breakfast the buffet is great with everything you'd expect. As I said above, the upgraded package enables you to have a la carte breakfast by the sea, we did this a couple of times, all good. Lunch at the buffet, or table service at the pool bar. Dinner at the buffet or one of the speciality restaurants which include Mexican, Steak, Asian, Italian and Tapas. We tried them all and they were thoroughly enjoyable, the great thing is, you don't need to book, you just turn up. If you're really hungry, go to the buffet.
Bars/drinks - The all inclusive seems to cover everything except champagne. We enjoyed numerous beers, cocktails and other alcoholic concoctions at the lobby, pool and martini bars. Our favourites were the pool bar during the day and the martini bar at night - special thanks Jorge for educating us on the art of going through the entire martini menu!
Beach/pool - The pool was nice but you go here for the beach - it's superb. We've been to the best beaches in the world, and this rates right up there. White sand, that turquoise sea, fun waves, sandy bottom, and empty in either direction. It must be a mile long and the hotel sits right in the middle.
Getting around - As we've been to the Riviera Maya so many times, we've done all of the organised trips including Xel Ha and Xcaret (well worth going to). In the past we've also hired cars. This time we used the local colectivos. These are mini busses that travel up and down the main road between Playa del Carmen and Tulum stopping at all the main stops along the road and costing only a couple of pounds. We used these to go to Tulum to see the ruins and go swimming in the sea below them - a must do, followed by watching Mexico win a World Cup group game in a local bar. We also used a colectivo to go to Akumel where we went snorkelling off the beach and swam with ten turtles and stingrays. Both of these trips cost a fraction of the organised trips. We did one organised snorkelling trip to Cozumel that we booked through the on site dive centre. This was a fantastic day trip, an adventure as you travel to Playa del Carmen, then take the fast ferry across the sea to Cozumel, and then board a boat to do two snorkel sessions. There is better snorkelling to be had closer to the hotel, but the whole trip was great and well worth doing. Get some Mexican pesos in the UK before you go to pay for stuff when you're out so as not to get stiffed with exchange rates.
General - The whole ambiance of the hotel is relaxed. It's been very well planned out and you really are staying smack in the middle of the jungle, wild life and all. It's a fairly unique experience for a package hotel on the Riviera Maya. It never seems crowded, and although it's small compared to most other hotels, it is of high quality and has all of the required amenities to have a fantastic beach holiday.
Final words go to the staff. With the exception of the aforementioned time share man, everyone was helpful, polite and efficient - a real credit to Catalonia Hotels - so much so that we may try another Catalonia group hotel in the future.
We will return one day!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Adults only all-inclusive resort, located in Xpu-Ha, Riviera Maya, on the Caribbean coastline. It is surrounded by native jungle trees, local plants, mangroves and cenotes - water springs where a diverse variety of flora and fauna can be found in an unspoiled habitat. It is just 25km from Playa del Carmen and Tulum's archaeological site, and 85 km south of Cancun International airport, in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Royal Tulum Xpuha
- Riviera Maya Copacabana
- Copacabana Riviera Maya
- Catalonia Royal Tulum Riviera Maya, Mexico - Xpu-Ha