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“Catamaran just OK”

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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Ranked #15 of 279 Hotels in San Diego
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Catamaran just OK”
Reviewed October 12, 2005

Stayed at the Catamaran Oct 9-12th, drove in from AZ. Arrived about 3pm, checking quick. First impression - Older hotel, darker wood, open air lobby with koi pond. Was ok, nothing special.

We stayed in the tower, floor 3. There was some 'construction' or at least I hoped so, as there were holes in the walls of the building entry way. The door to the building was never shut, and it seemed anyone could walk in off the street, so not as secure as I would have expected (would have expected keyed entry, since there is no reception area staffed in this building) We had 2 double beds and a sofa. Was very roomy. The bathroom was Tiny, only 1 sink. There was a mini-kitchen, we did not use.

The beds seemed to be made out of all large springs and no stuffing. Were not very comfortable. The furnishings otherwise ok.

Parking $9/day in garage.

Area surrounding hotel somewhat scary for little ones. The pacific beach and Mission beach area full of homeless, and most folks drinking alcohol. We walked along the beach a few times, twice AM, twice PM. The boardwalk was clean of trash, but there were homeless folks sleeeping, drinking, etc. My kids were scared and did not want to go back out.

The pool was heated, and towels plentiful. We did get room service, the food was reasonably priced and tasted fine.

Sea World was an easy 5-10 min drive, legoland less than 30 minutes.

Next time I would consider staying at Coronado or La Jolla.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank Cathy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed October 7, 2005

We were hesitant to come here after reading the wide range of reviews, but thought we'd give it a try. They booked us in one of the Section 400 rooms. We had a spacious room, comfortable king-sized bed, two sinks, shower/bath, frig, coffee-maker, couch, desk, free Internet connection for our laptop, and, on top of all that, a deck directly adjacent to a large koi pond with palm trees, swans, and ducks! We just opened out sliding glass door and enjoyed the tropical nature right outside! The facility has over 100 different kinds of palms, several macaw and parrots that are fun to watch, and Mission Bay is right outside the gate. If the ocean is your preference, Pacific Beach is only a two-minute walk away. The staff was friendly and courteous, the bed was comfortable, the price online was $99 a night (plus $9 per day for parking). We called, and they said the price was $189, but then I told them the Internet rate, and they said they would match it. Yes, there were some cracks in the bathroom counter, but everything was clean and comfortable. The Pacific Beach area is not an upper-class neighborhood, but is more older middle class-type. It is about 2 miles from the freeway, so it takes a little time to get to downtown San Diego, but only about 15 minutes. This was a real bargain, and we wished we could have stayed longer. If you like nature, the tropical plants, birds, and fish add a wonderful attraction to your stay here. We definitely plan to go again.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aliso Viejo, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2005

My wife and I went to the Catamaran for our Honeymoon. This was a big mistake.

We arrived in our room, which was on the second floor of the two storey building. First, one of the lights in the room had a short in it, and I had to call the front desk to get someone on there to fix it before it started a fire. Then I noticed that the phone didn't work because there was a short in the cord, and that had to be replaced. The carpet had brown threadbare patches.

We opened the door to the patio and realized that our room was next to the bar and restaurant area and there was a large screen TV outside with a football game blasting. In addition to that, people were smoking at the outdoor tables and the cigarette smoke blew into our faces.

We went to the front desk to complain about the situation and we were told that the game would be over at 7PM. We figured that we would simply put up with it as it would be over in a bit. Well, they lied, it was a doubleheader game and it went on until about 9PM. We complained again and we were offered another room in the tower, but one that had a garden view, which I suspect meant that it faced the street. We paid for a room that faced the bay, so we decided to wait until it was all over and we could enjoy the room the next day.

Wrong. The next day, when we looked out of the balcony, we noticed they were setting up tables and chairs on the grass right outside of our room. They had a convention eating lunch outside the room, so we couldn't enjoy the view then either. Fine, we figured they would be finished by dinner and we could have dinner out on the balcony.

Wrong again. They set up the tables and chairs again, but this time, in addition to having a full complement of diners outside our window, they also had blasting live reggae music.

We were upset, and called the front desk again. They offered to give us another room in the same building, facing the beach, just a little farther away from the room we had. We asked them if the music would be lower in the new room and they said, "Probably not." They also told us, "No one else has complained about it."

So we said that we didn't want to have to move rooms for little change. They then asked us if we wanted to leave. I thought about it but realized that if I left and drove back to Orange County, I'd arrive home at 9:30 PM and would have to send our friend home, who was watching our dog. They couldn't comp me a room as I'd paid with an online reservation service, but they removed the charge from the extras: dinner at the restaurant, parking, and room service.

Other problems: the grounds and the stairs are really dark at night, the hotel is in a marginal neighborhood that doesn't quite feel safe (we saw several scary homeless people), the restaurant food was really good but really expensive (we had three appetizers and two side salads plus two sodas and the bill was over $70), we ordered room service and put our tray and dishes outside the room...five hours later, the dishes were still out there and we had to call for them to remove them.

The bottom line is that the hotel doesn't really seem to care about their guests. They seem more interested in their convention business, which is probably where they make their money. There isn't the kind of attention to detail that good hotels pay attention to, and for the price, I expect this.

We expected that on our honeymoon, we would be able to relax in and around our room, but we weren't able to do that. I got about $100 back from the hotel, but they're never going to be able to give me my honeymoon back.

Don't stay at this hotel. There are nicer places to stay at the same price.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14 Thank Mr_Lucas_Brice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2005

We just returned from a wonderful stay at the Catamaran from September 13 -17th. I am inclined to post this review only to help anyone who might have doubts on this hotel because of a few of the negative post immediately below....

First of all. When we drove down from Anaheim last Tuesday we were immediately impressed with the hotels grounds. Very nicely landscaped around the parking lot, plenty of palm trees and lush vegetation. Our first reception was by the car valet. Nicely opened my wife and daughter's doors and welcomed us to the hotel. We were checking in early and he offerred to park our rental while we went to the front desk.

As we were checking in early the front desk staff told us our room was unoccupied but needed a couple of hours to be cleaned. No problem with me as it was only 1:00 at the time. They invited us to use the gym or the pool. We chose to walk a hundred feet past the parking lot to the ocean. A bit of advise - the Mission and Ocean Beach promenades are a bit gritty. The odd homeless person, etc. At no time did I ever feel unsafe but I know some people get freaked out. Not me.

Once we were able to get into our room - one hour early I might add - we found our bags already there a brief note from the bellman and valet explaining how to retrieve our vehicle when required. This was a nice touch and I had to make sure to drop a tip for the guys who were doing such a great job of taking care of us.

On to the swimming pool. Awesome. Plenty of chairs and loungers. It looked like the towels had been all used up and were promptly replenished by housekeeping before I even thought to call. Hot tub is amazing. So big you could swim in it. We used the pool area every day. Never crowded - always clean.

The grounds are magical. Rare and beautiful birds waddle about the various pools and jungle like gardens. Big hit with my kids.

The restuarant was great. We only used it for breakfast so I can't comment past that. The service was very friendly but I'll admit was a little slower than most resturants I'm used to. I am pretty forgiving of slower service while on holiday. I am in no big rush ever while away.

All in all the room we had was nice. Two big beds and a nice sofa with a couple of comfy chairs. The view from our balcony was impressive. Full south exposure of Mission Bay and the Ocean. With the slider left open we could hear the waves crashing on the beach at night.

Realistically I don't think it could be better for the money we paid. Average rate of $235/night. I think people making comparisons to Four Seasons or Westin Hotels should re-address what they should expect in this price range. I would rank the Catamaran as a three star that some might find expensive but it is right on the Bay with commanding views of the ocean and really nice ammenities. You will always pay for that location.

We will be back for sure.

Good job Catamaran!!

Stayed September 2005
6 Thank PlainCrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 14, 2005

We stayed at the Catamaran for 1 week before Labor Day weekend. We checked in on a Saturday. There were 6 in our party. Dad, Mom, 18, 16, 8 & 4 yr old kids. We drove from Anaheim and showed up in our rental minivan. I kid you not, the bell staff told my husband to "move forward" and never once offered to help us with our bags. I figured by the time I was done checking us in, we would have had everything loaded up on a nice rolling cart and off to our bay front suite. NO, I came back to the van and everyone & the bags were still inside. Finally we ended up self-parking and lugging ALL of our bags ourselves to our rooms. For the price we were paying, I definately expected better or even SOME service. Our room was clean, and decent. Not plush, but it was clean. Nice view of the bay and great location for resort. All of the beds however were extremely uncomfortable. Only our 8 year old got a good nights sleep over the entire 6 nights. That was frustrating. Sunday am we went out to the beach at the bay. It was very clean, and great to get the chairs with umbrellas. They are complimentary for the first 2 but really expensive for any additional chairs if you want them. Also they have a good selection of rentals and we enjoyed renting and using them. They bay is cold, though and not really for swimming. To swim, you should plan to use the pool. Which is terrific. It was big enough with lots of families. We were able to get lounge chairs and even the cabanas with ease. They have the arcade in the same area, so when the kids felt like doing something else they could play there without you having to leave the sun/shade. Pool bar was very convenient for simple lunches. Burgers & dogs as well as pop & mixed drinks. We spent a great deal of time here since it was enjoyable.

Back to the bad...the Restaurant. On Saturday at check in, the restaurant wasn't open until 6pm I think. You can however order from the main bar. Our server was too busy doing something else, or completely incompetent...not sure which. Everything we ordered was wrong and we ordered basic stuff. We just ate what he brought since we were starving. Next morning after hanging out at beach we tried (unsuccessfully) to get into restaurant for breakfast. Sunday is brunch day. Aside from being rude, the hostess told us we needed reservations....although there was only 1 couple sitting inside and ALL the tables were open. It wasn't just us she treated this way...she treated the lady in front of me the same way. When the lady said "but we are guests of the hotel" she just shrugged her shoulders and explained that when she figured out all of her reservation issues she would see if there was anything she could do. By the way no one came in while we were trying to figure out why if they had an empty restaurant they couldn't seat us. Anyway we left the hotel and found good value at the EGGERY which is right across the street and had great breakfasts, smoothies, etc. We ate there every morning and would encourage you to do the same! We only ate at the restaurant one other time for lunch. The food wasn't very good and the same crappy service. Do yourself a favor and only eat at the pool bar (friendly & tasty) or offsite! We also ate at World Famous, The Green Flash and Gringo's. They were all decent, but spendy.

One last note on the restaurant staff...it seems that they were all so busy setting up for group type events that they didn't have time to take care of the regular guests. This I believe is a management issue. They should have a different staff for banquets, etc. And separate staff for main restaurant/guests. Their staff members are jacks of all trades, which is nice for them, but not always best for the guest experience! Also if reservations are required for brunch they should tell you that at check in or at least be prepared to give you a list of places to eat within walking distance if they can't accomodate you onsite.

The bay side was great for relaxing and playing in the sand in a clean environment. Pacific beach was filthy. We walked over a few times, but none of us wanted to stay. It smelled and was dirty. I do not consider our family to be too selective, but it was just gross & nasty. Puke all over the place and garbage strewn every where. I just think a beach should be sand, sun and water not all the other crap. Also, SeaWorld is just a short drive away. We never got to the zoo or wild animal park.

The shining star of the hotel is the spa & fitness area. I used the spa twice and the fitness center 3 times. INCREDIBLE. I was really happy with everything there. The only small complaint I have about the whole spa is that the relaxation room is used as the main passageway for staff, so the doors are always opening and closing while they pass from one side of the spa to the other with their extra towels, or whatever. That was an error in design for the building designer, I think. Since having someone passing through all the time isn't very relaxing. The concept is great, though!!! The spa was serene and beautiful. The staff was friendly and made me feel very comfortable. The services I did...hot tub and steam room with eucaliptis (I think) was nice, spa pedicure and couples massage were beyond terrific. They have an area to try out different spa products that was fun. If you have an opportunity to use the spa do it!!!!! It feels very indulgent and was worth every penny. I wish I could have spent my whole vacation there!

Overall the Catamaran is good for a weekend visit with your kids or if you want to do the spa, but don't eat there unless it's at the pool and if you are staying longer than 2 nights, stay in La Jolla or downtown.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 12, 2005

I must say we had a wonderful time, My husband and I were really impressed, the grounds were beautiful and the service was awesome from the bell person to the front desk, everyone was great! Great for families we had our daughter and her friend whom both are 16 years old and our two year old son. They had a great time walking right across to the beach, swimming and the free arcades are a plus. We all had a great time, we wish we would have stayed one more day.

I asked for a upgrade because the room we were given had a parking lot view. So beware of that room. But as soon as i asked to move the front desk was more then willing to accomodate us and we moved to a partial bay view room on the 4th floor....very nice!

Next time we go we may want to try a room right on the bay.

Stayed August 2004
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2005

I was a little nervous about staying at the Catamaran after reading the mixed reviews on Tripadvisor. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised! Both my boyfriend and I loved the Catarmaran. The service was excellent and so was our suite. Upon check-in we found out that we had been upgraded to large suite with a view of the bay and the ocean. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful, the breakfast at the hotel restaurant was good and we enjoyed the pool and beach. We would definitely stay here again!

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4 Thank jakkie
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
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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