My partner and I stayed for a week in early January in Catalonia Playa Maroma. This place is absolutely beautiful. It does not feel like you’re staying in a resort or at a hotel, it is closer to your own personal, private retreat. The resort is spread out with the rooms divided into smaller sections that feel like your own private villas. There is no congregation of rooms or guests and you are never disturbed by the sounds of other guests. Each section or rooms is separated from the others by the jungle that the resort is built within. Wild Coatis (raccoon/anteater hybrids) roam the resort in small families and are even accustomed to people enough to not be frightened by the guests, though the free bread doesn’t hurt. The area is also a nature preserve, and you really get the feel for this too as the Coatis are allowed to move about as they please, but they don’t want you feeding them.
We arrived in Cancun at around 8 am local time after a red eye flight from Canada. A representative from Nolitours was waiting for us outside the airport and took us to the resort, which was a good 30 minutes from Cancun airport. The entrance to the resort is a long way from the actual resort, so don’t get too excited when you see the sign, as you’re another 10 minutes away. When we did get to the resort, the staff immediately opened the door for us and greeted us. The lobby area is a huge, wide open space with couches and water fountains. Check in was simple and there was no delay getting into our room (though our bags were a little late behind us).
We were upgraded to a "privileged" room because there were no regular rooms available. These rooms were very large with two queen sized beds and a spacious patio connected to it. Minibar, room safe and flat screen TV in the room were nice additions but you don’t go to Mexico to stay in your room. Bathroom and shower were far above what I expected as well. Rooms were always spotless with maids coming in at least once a day. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get any towel art made for us since others we knew there were getting turtles, scorpions and swans.
Restaurants and Bars: This resort had two buffets, 3 A la Cartes, a crepe bar and 1 additional A la carte that wasn’t part of the all inclusive. We ate at all the restaurants except for the pay A la carte. Both buffets were open at lunch but only one the main buffet was open at supper. The other buffet turned into the 3 ALCs. The main buffet had an obscene selection of food and always had pasta, pizza, rice dishes and a selection of typical Mexican dishes. I focused mainly on the Mexican cuisine which was all delicious but all the other food there was above expectations. There was always a healthy variety of desserts as well. Beer and wine flowed freely at the main buffet also. The second buffet was closer to the beach and focused more on burgers and hot dogs but also had excellent fish. The A la cartes at this resort were one Mexican themed one, an Italian themed restaurant and a Steak/Seafood restaurant. All three were very good with the Mexican being my least favourite. It seems like they made an effort to back off of the spiciness for the benefit of the guests but I was left wanting more heat. The meat restaurant had amazing Mahi Mahi and fairly good steaks though they were a little fatty. The Italian restaurant was impressive as they pulled off a top quality carpaccio and very well made risotto. Your drinks will be as full as you wish at the restaurants. They serve a very good Spanish wine that I am now hunting back home for.
There was one 24 hour bar in the lobby and a beachside bar during the day. Both made whatever drink you could think of and would even improvise for you when you weren’t sure what you wanted. The bartenders were very helpful and would even remember drink preferences. Tequila Boom Booms are a new favourite of mine thanks to this resort. There is also a disco at the resort though it’s popularity at the resort was questionable. It would only be busy for an hour or so each night, and the staff really had to work to get people in there.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach at Catalonia were among the best I had ever visited. The workers cleaned the beach every morning so all you saw was white sand and clear water. Not one rock anywhere on the beach or in the water. The waves were a little rough on some days but still very enjoyable. Lots of deck chairs line the beach and there is no worry about not getting a spot. Even some hammocks when you want to take a nap. Even though I have an aversion to a pool at a beachfront resort, the pool there was excellent. Very little, if any, chemicals in the pool and it was cleaned daily by the staff. It has some shallow ends for kids and a deeper end which the scuba divers practice in. One important thing to note is that the hot tub is the same temperature as the pool.
The grounds were well kept and I never noticed one piece of garbage on the resort. There were small lights throughout the resort cleverly disguised as tree stumps. Since there is smoking on the resort, there were frequent ash trays that all had the HC stamp of the hotel on them.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We went to Playa Del Carmen on several occasions. The resort didn’t have their shuttle to town so we had to take a cab each way at 20 USD each time. It quickly added up. The restaurants in Playa are a must, with Blue Lobster for supper and Vagabonda for lunch being a top recommendation. We also went to Coco Bongo one night which is another thing you must experience. There are shows put on at the theatre each night at the resort. They range from the entertaining Mayan show to the hilarious Hollywood variety show to the humorously bad Moulin Rouge. I recommend going to all the shows but make sure you’re in the back so you can sneak off it is terrible. I didn’t do any of the daytime activities but they seemed like they were fun, it’s just not as appealing as the beach was.
Other Comments: The guest makeup for this resort was over 70% Italian. The rest were a mix of French Canadians and English Canadians. Be prepared to see a lot of topless women and guys in Speedos on the beach. I cannot say enough about the quality of staff at the resort. Most staff there spoke at least 2 languages and were nothing but courteous the whole time. Every worker, from front desk, to security to groundsworker would say hi to you as you passed by. In one instance, we came across a worker smoking as we were wandering the resort. When he saw us, he put his cigarette out and waited until we had passed by to relight it.
I would return to this resort without question.