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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Ranked #15 of 279 Hotels in San Diego
A TripAdvisor Member
“Hated it”
Reviewed August 28, 2005

We booked this hotel on the advice of a friend. He recommended it as a boutique-ey hotel with a lot of character and atmosphere and a great location. Sounded good. I checked their website and it looked fairly nice, and I figured for a little more money than a typical family style hotel (Saturday nights - $359) we would give it a try. I did see some less than complimentary comments on TripAdvisor, but I chalked them up to fussy, nit-picky people who are impossible to please. Boy, was I wrong. When we drove up to the place, both my wife and daughter said, "This isn't it, is it?" Even at first glance, it was apparent that it was old, and a little beat-up. First impressions aside, we checked in and hoped for the best. We were put in the tower on the 10th floor which was fine with us. The first thing that caught my attention was the tacky decor. The Polynesian theme is fine - we have stayed in some Polynesian themed hotels before that were beautiful. The Maui Prince (In Maui, HI) comes to mind. But this was the 1970's all over again. The dark woodgrain doors and the faux bamboo reminded me of a bad rumpus room. The elevator to the 10th floor was creaky and groany and my wife made the comment that it was scarier than the Tower of Terror ride we were just on at Disneyland. We got to our room and the first thing that struck us was the musty, mildewy smell throughout. The kitchen was scary. The appliances were circa 1979 and falling apart, and the cupboards and sink and fixtures were right out of the Bates Motel. I went to check out the balcony, and after using all my strength to force the door open, it fell of the rails. I fortunately caught it before it fell 10 floors and killed somebody. My daughter immediately commented that the bedspread she was sitting on felt greasy. Then there was the bathroom. What caught my wife's eye immediately was the black hair stuck on the wall. What caught my eye were the shower curtain brackets that were completely rusted out and the black mildew between the tiles around the tub. Those brackets would cost them $1.49 to replace, and a bottle of bathroom tile cleaner about the same. That is what brings me to my point about this place. They seem to fancy themselves as a high-end resort hotel. We got a huge laugh out of the room service menu. They were charging Four Seasons prices - I don't remember them all, but I do remember $10.00 for a pot of coffee, and $75.00 for a bottle of liquor. In the Four Seasons I would pay that kind of money, but not in this place. My suggestion would be that if they want to be a 4 star resort, they completeley renovate, which I suspect would cost millions of dollars, or they instead prescribe to "truth in advertising", and market it like it really is - a great place for surfers or college kids to come on Spring Break, where they can come and crash after partying all night and hang their towels on the balcony (if they can get the door open) and grind sand into the old carpet. But for us, a family that will spend a few extra dollars for modern, clean accomodations - it was a huge disappointment, and we left the next day. By the way, I have seen the oohs and aahs on this site about the beautiful grounds here. We spent 10 days in southern California - there are LOTS of palm trees in this entire area, folks! If you want to see impressive landscaping and immaculately kept grounds, go to the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 19, 2005

My family and I stayed here(wife and 9 yr old girl) Aug 15-18 and had a great time. The grounds were gorgeous and it made you feel like you were in a tropical location. They had lots of family activities including a movie night on the bay and hands on science projects for the kids at the pool. The location is the best in the area. The hotel is right on the bay with its calm waters and beach for relaxing or enjoying the the watersports right on the property. In addition if you like the open ocean for surfing or boogie bording just walk across the street from the main entrance and your there. Upon our arrival they said our room was'nt ready and they had upgraded us to a suite. We stayed in the tower and had a bedroom with a king sized bed and a living room with a king size sofa bed and a full kitchen. The room was large and clean although it did seem slightly dated. But as nice as the surroundings are ,you would hardly want to stay in your room. I would highly reccomend this hotel to any one who wanted a super family beach vacation.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2005

MY husband, two sons (age 13 & 14) and I stayed at the Catamaran in July and we loved it. We got a complimentary upgrade on arrival (without asking!) to a junior suite. So instead of the room with two beds that I expected, we got a room with two beds, a sleeper sofa and a full kitchen. Perfect for traveling with two teenage boys! Our room was in the tower (5th floor). The view was great -our room was on the parking garage side, but we were able to look past the garage and focus on the hills and ocean. The room was a bit outdated but was clean and comfortable, so who cares about the decor. The sofabed was even pretty comfortable. The grounds were beautiful - we saw a great heron, black swans and lots of ducks. The water sports were great. The boys loved the pool at night and my husband and I loved walking around the bay at night. We didn't try the beach side in the afternoons, but we enjoyed it one morning without any crowd problems. The town was great, it was a very casual, relaxed beach town. The crowd was a mix of twenty year olds and families. We walked to dinner and breakfast. You can walk to everything - grocery store, drug store, 7-11, tons of restaurants. Try Taylor's restaurant - the food was delicious, the service incredible and the price very reasonable (about $80 for dinner for 4 including appetizers). I had no problem with my sons walking to town by themselves, it seemed quite safe to me. Overall we loved the location, the town and the resort. As for the people who complained that the rooms need updating - as far as I could see none of the hotels in the area have brand new decor. The grounds of the Catamarran, plus the location on the bay are what make this a great resort. Mission Bay/Pacific Beach is all about having fun in a friendly, relaxed beach atmosphere. If you're looking for luxury then stay in San Diego and leave the beach to the shorts and sandals crowd.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank VacationCrazed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2005

My husband and our 2 sons ages 9 and 5 stayed at the Catamaran hotel July 24th-July 30th. This is our 4th visit I would not stay anyware else. When we booked this hotel thur them because we were returing guest we received an extra 10% off our hotel room. We book a tower room with a kitchen since we were in town for a week. We got in town at 11:00 and tried to check in early but the lobby was very busy. We decided to go down to the beach for a walk and lunch. We returned to the hotel about 2 and were checked in and escorted to our room.

I thought it was strange that the kitchen did no have a microwave so I called down to housekeeping and they brough up a microwave, and pillows I requested within 5 minutes.

My chidren enjoyed the pool and the gameroom. When my sons found out all the games were free they did not want to go swimming again.

On Tuesday night they had a movie on the beach with popcorn and pop(free) and we watched "Finding Nemo" The people at the hotel were great and brought out towels for us to sit on.

We love the grounds and love this hotel but it does need updating. My husband will not stay anyware else in San Diego. If you want to be close to the beach this hotel is perfect

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Miss121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2005

This is a near perfect place to take your family for a vacation, if you like to be on the beach. The key is to pay more money to stay in a junior suite located right on the beach of Mission Bay. (Pictures of beach were taken right from our room patio.) The suite had a separate bedroom with a door, so my son could watch TV movies later at night without disturbing us. Our sons (9 and 14 years old) had plenty to keep them occupied. Jet ski's were a short walk to rent. My 9 year old loved the talking birds and the ducks that roamed the grounds the best. (They were not noisy or dirty.) We were there the week of July 4th, so that day the beach was more crowded and wild, which my older boy loved. We had perfect views of several firework shows. The staff did a good job fencing off the area right outside our room to keep the public away. The staff was excellent and went out of their way to help us, especially at the restaurant and the birds. There were many local restaurants within walking distance. We recommend Saska' (sushi, steak, seafood) and The Eggery (breakfast and coffee). The was a great grocery store - Ralph's - close by to stalk up on beverages and snacks. The location was a short distance from Sea World and Midway Magic airplane carrier, and a short drive to about everything else. We stayed for 6 days and did not have enough time to do everything we would have liked - Point is that there is lots to do.

Negatives: 1) They did would not make the virgin coladas/daiquari's for the kids. My kids were so disappointed. When I requested one, since I couldn't have alcohol, one lady had to call for special permission and an other time I was just refused until I complained. The reason was that they didn't order enough mix??? 2) The hotel was older (The roof was dirty looking.) and in a questionable neighborhood. We felt safe, but did not go to the ocean side at night or let the kids go off the property by themselves. Go to the ocean side to get your souvenior T-shirts cheap from the beach vendors.

I would definately stay here again in the suites, not in the towers. (One guest booked late and got a view on the parking lot.)

Helpful?
7 Thank ccjdw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 2, 2005

My spouse and 2 teenagers spent a long weekend at the Catamaran. The grounds were beautiful with the foliage, fowl and waterfall. The pool was nice with food and bar service. The arcade nearby was entertaining to my 13 year old son. The watersports offerings on the beach were fantastic and reasonalbly priced. We had anticipated doing some surfing which is offered across the street at the main beach. We did that for about an hour, but it was a little rough for beginners. The beach was a place for older teens - twenty somethings and the partying was everywhere. The Catamaran offered a secluded escape from that with plenty of fun on the bay. We enjoyed the paddle boat ride and the dance music party that was offered. The hotel also had Hawaiian night, which featured food and entertainment, it was great. The Atoll restaurant was pricey (not outrageous), but the food was great, so it was well worth it. The hotel offers 2- 2 story buildings with rooms that have ocean view. When I return again, I will be sure to book one of these rooms which I'm sure go fast. The tower where we stayed offers ocean views on higher levels and garden views. We did have garden view on the 1st floor which was fine except when we opened the drapes to the sliding glass doors, we were on display like fish in a fish bowl. The room was big with a kitchenette and sitting area. It was ok, but really needs updating. It was clean so that is all that matters. With all the activities, the room was just a place to sleep. The service was very good including the people managing the watersports.
Compared to the other hotels in the area, it is the most luxury that you will find. I would visit the Catamaran again.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed July 27, 2005

We were so excited to stay right on Mission Bay and had heard that the Catamaran was great. It was my aunt and I with our three small children (all under the age of 5). We felt that $319 a night was a little pricey, but it was a special vacation with our kids and we were having girl time.First of all, the umbrellas on the beach on the bay side, the hotel says they are for the guests with no charge. A lady came by and told us that they were $10 for half a day or $20 for the entire day. So, there's $10 extra! At lunch time, around 1:00p.m. We decided to go the Oasis snack shack on the beach, It was closed. Everyone in the hotel directed us to the Oasis snack shack, not realizing that it was closed. WE finally got our lunch in the bar and took it to the beach. But, nobody at the hotel knew why the snack shack was closed! That night we go to get on the Bahia Belle and it breaks down! Thinking that they might get it fixed, we stayed on the boat for an hour. It was never repaired, and our kids were REALLY looking forward to this. While on the boat a lady informed us that she only paid $169 for her room! We also called the Catamaran that night to see if rooms were going for that cheap! We could have booked the exact same room for $205, if we would have called the hotel direct. The management did say that they would work with the internet company and get some of our Money refunded. But, needless to say they did not! They did however take $70 of incidental charges off of our room (Overpriced parking, Lunch from the bar and breakfast, that was really good) The room was avaerage, but the view was great! It seemed as if the staff just really did not know what was going on! I will definetly not refer anyone to this "resort."

Helpful?
2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Property: Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Address: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109-6959
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#5 Spa Hotel in San Diego
#7 Luxury Hotel in San Diego
#55 Family Hotel in San Diego
#70 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#94 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 315
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One of the few resorts on Mission Bay to not charge a resort fee! The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa is a paradisiacal destination located on the shores of Mission Bay and mere steps from San Diego’s famous Pacific Beach. With features including lush tropical gardens and private beach, this Polynesian-themed hotel offers an ideal blend of fun and tranquility all year-round. Established in 1958, the Catamaran is a paradise featuring more than 1,000 varieties of exotic plants and animals from around the world. Palm trees, bamboo, waterfalls and koi ponds appeal to the senses, while playful parrots delight and intrigue guests. The Catamaran’s architecture, reminiscent of the traditional Colonial Hawaiian style, boasts accents including totem poles handcrafted in Bali, art pieces such as tapa cloth from Vanuatu and a beautiful front desk constructed of Black Koa wood imported directly from Tahiti. At the Catamaran, guests are checked into one of 310 guest rooms, studios or suites, each with a private balcony or patio that opens to stunning views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Beach neighborhood and coastline, or the hotel’s lush tropical gardens. All guests are provided a full range of amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. On-site dining options include Oceana Coastal Kitchen, rated by Zagat as one of San Diego’s most anticipated restaurants of 2015 and featuring chef-driven surf and turf dishes. Next door to this signature restaurant is Moray’s, where guests can sip on a signature Moray’s Mai Tai, savor a local craft beer and enjoy daily happy hour specials. Both venues feature a blend of indoor and patio spaces, the latter lined with tiki torches, fire pit tables and lush palms. Guests may also choose to grab a bite poolside at the Catamaran’s full bar and grill which serves up barbecue favorites during the spring and summer months. Another standout summer special is the Catamaran’s signature luaus, featuring live performers that guide guests through the cultures of the South Pacific as they enjoy a Hawaiian buffet. Those who prefer to spend their time on the water can opt for a cruise on the Bahia Belle, a replica of an 1860s-era sternwheeler that tours around Mission Bay. Step back in time and enjoy a colorful sunset from the top deck, or kick up your heels as the vessel becomes a vibrant nightlife destination with live entertainment and a full-service bar. The Catamaran Spa—the only beachfront spa in San Diego—offers a South Pacific-inspired menu of treatments including massages, facials, body wraps, hydrotherapy treatments and more—carried out with all-natural marine and botanical elements. Additional wellness amenities include an outdoor pool and hot tub, beach cabanas, an open air fitness center, seasonal outdoor yoga classes and more. Further vacation activities include rental paddleboards, sailboats, kayaks, surfboards, bicycles and Segways. The Catamaran is also located within the beach towns Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, where guests can stroll the boardwalk or the iconic Crystal Pier, play at the beach or experience a variety of cafes and boutiques. The resort is also within 10 miles of major San Diego attractions such as SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Downtown’s Gaslamp District and the San Diego International Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catamaran Resort & Spa San Diego
Catamaran Hotel Mission Bay
Catamaran Resort San Diego
Catamaran San Diego

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