About Us: We are a laid-back, experienced travellers, mid 50’s. We tend to like to travel without any plans and be spontantious. For short 1 week holidays al inclusive are great, longer vacatins we prefer B & B & small local hotels. We prefer small resorts on a nice beach and the resort was offered at a good price. This was our first visit to the Catalonia Yucatan/Mayan but not our first time in Mexico (Cancun & Cabo San Lucas).
Arrival: Flight: Canjet Flight from Victoria, BC was on time both coming and going. Hot meal, which included a glass of red or white wine, was decent for airline food compared to the cold sandwich they used to serve. All onboard purchases (snacks, bar, duty free) must be made by credit card only. Flight staff were extremely friendly and professional. No complaints! Resort Overview:
For those who are unfamiliar with this resort, you should be aware that it’s actually two resorts in one, the Yucatan side (CYB with 205 rooms) and the Riviera Maya side (CRM with 395+ rooms). Collectively the resort is often referred to as the CAT. A small service road separates the two but it’s quite unobtrusive as everything flows together nicely. Guests are able to use all of the amenities at both resorts as well as the Alegria Spa. The Yucatan side is a U-shaped, 4 storey building with all balconies facing towards the pools. The Riviera Maya side is comprised of several buildings of varying heights/views and also contains the Privileged suites section, this where we stayed.. Check-in was a breeze and seemed reasonably efficient. There is no bar in the lobby but a welcome drink is offered. The check-in pouch contained the room key cards, 3 a la carte restaurant vouchers, general resort info including a resort map, and several $10 discount coupons for the spa. Nolitours offers the Yucatan Beach exclusively in Canada.
Rooms: Rooms: We had booked a Privelaged Club room (1 bedroom suite) on the Mayan side. No issue however several people who had booked a Privilaged suite got a standard room and had the hasle of trying to changr. 1 guy booked a standard room and had ongoing issues with aire conditioning and an overflowing toilet, the problems never seemed to be fixed before he left. The Club rooms are basic and with no fridge,water.
Restaurants and Bars: Restaurants: All of the restaurants are no smoking areas! There are 2 buffets available, one on each side. El Mercado on the Yucatan side is enclosed, air conditioned, smaller, quieter and with slightly fewer offerings however we found more than enough choices to tempt us and to be honest, we enjoyed this venue more than the other buffet. Hot food seemed to be kept hotter here as well. La Brisa buffet on the Riviera Maya side is open air, with netting to keep the birds out, but it seemed after a few days the variety of foods presented never changed much. Buffet food was good but nothing spectacular. The a la carte restaurants: There are 5 a la carte restaurants to chose from, located on the Riviera Maya side of the resort and open from 6pm onward. Each restaurant is closed one night per week, so check for this. Our room category entitled us to 3 reservations. First come, first served policy for the a la cartes and how long you’ll have to wait depends somewhat on the popularity of the restaurant and at what time you like to eat. The new policy seems to be the source of many complaints! The later you eat, the better your chances of getting in more quickly. We waited in line to make reservations for the week, apparently the day before you could only reserve one at a time. There must be a better ystem thatgivig up precious vacation time to stand in a line up. Met some great people! The Japanese (Mikado) got rave reviews fromother guests. The Italian (Bellavista) was worth a resevation the Mexican (Alebrijes) had some some good dishes. The Terrace Tapas Food was very good, Iwould recomend using this restaraunt. The steakhouse (Bamboleo Grill) was not worth the reservation. Mostly the beef is not up to stadards. During the day, the Bamboleo Grill does double duty as a poolside snack bar. On offer are hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, fries, nachos and all the fixings along with a limited selection of desserts and coffee Always the same Bars: The Tequila (YBR side) & Margaritas (RM side) bars with the swim up areas appeared to be especially popular! Since we spent most of our time at the beach on the Yucatan side, we prefered the Pure Chill Out bar which played more subdued music throughout the day. Drink service directly to your lounger at the beach was available for those who wanted it. As is always the case, some bar staff are better at making certain cocktails than others depending on what you order. Didn’t take long to find our favourite bartenders. Overall the service was friendly, efficient and good to very good at all of the bars. Tips were appreciated but in no way affected the overall service.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach: Finding a quiet, more private spot with a bit of shade was a challenge! The protected, cove like beach is shared with the Dreams resort but the CAT has the longer, nicer section and a very protected lagoon area on the Riviera Maya side which is perfect for young children and to use on windy days when there is a bit of surf. On the Yucatan side, the palapas & loungers are placed four or so rows deep and directly on gently sloping sand whereas the Riviera Maya had a large portion of their loungers (People mark thier loungers starting at 6:00am, some mark 2 in the sun 2 in the shade, and those who have loungers saved and they never appear ALL DAY)) on an upper level, man-made sand area with a high retaining wall and boardwalk in front. The water’s edge in this area was accessible from the stairs off the boardwalk. Sadly, the reef is pretty much dead with the exception of a few, still healthy brain coral and the odd sponge. Given the high traffic of novice snorkelers and so many people standing on the formations, I doubt this reef will ever recover. Pools: Both resorts have large free form pools with swim-up bars, a shallow kiddie area as well as other depth levels and areas for pool volleyball etc. Outdoor showers are available near the beach end of the pools. The pool on the Yucatan side was much quieter. The Riviera Maya side is used for most of the animation staff’s afternoon activities (games, dance lessons, kareoke, etc) and louder music is also played throughout the day.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities: An activities listings board, with days/times, is set up at both resorts near the buffets. The animation staff never seemed to sit still! All were very friendly and professional yet never overbearing. While we personally did not participate, it was a nice to watch the kareoke show at pool side. Off Resort: The resort is beachfront within the gated community of Puerto Aventuras. We felt very safe at all times! It’s a short 5 minute walk into town and well worth the effort. Lots of shops, cafes, restaurants to explore as well as a marina and dolphinarium where they also feature manatees, a shark, rays and seals. Puerto Aventuras is well kept and features a golf course, racquet ball, tennis courts as well as numerous condo complexes and other expensive properties available for sale or rent. Got laxy & signed up for Tulum morninf tour. leave a 8 back by 1. $70 for 2. the bus stopped at 6 other resorts so a 30 minute taxe ride turned into a 2 hour plus bus ride. Tour guide was awful, so Tulum, awsome ruin, great beach, told the bus driver we are not waiting around for bus so we got back to resort by 12:15, bus arrived back a 3. Bus tour takes you into jewelry store for the high priced & pressured sales pitch while the tour guide arranges tickets. (30 minutes). Make a deal with local taxi $20 to $25 one way for a ride but you ownTulum ticket and do not waste time.
Same with Playa Del Carmen $16 taxie ride most shops in PlayadelcCarmen owned by a handful of owners.
Other Comments: Conclusions: We very much enjoyed our first vacation at the Catalonia Mayan Resort and would consider returning to this resort. It’s a solid 3 star resort with many 4 star features. We were impressed with the value for the money spent $1200 cdn for one all taxes & fees. Recommended (depending on price)!!