Old Reviews – Catalonia Yucatan

  Catalonia Yucatan   Robin & Lynda ~ August 2009

November 2009

Arrival: August 2009
You could say Lynda and I are seasoned all inclusive travellers 18 trips under our belts.We’ve been to the Mayan a number of times we love the beaches the weather,people the diving and everything the area has to offer.Catalonia Yucatan is a solid 4star we enjoyed our 2 week get away very much and we would go back to this resort.

Rooms:
Clean and comfortable the maids did agreat job tiding up after us. Situated on the 4th floor we had a wonderful view of the pool and ocean .It was somewhat of an inconvience not having a mini fridge and coffee maker but we adjusted being in paradise.

Restaurants and Bars:
Overall the food was pretty good maybe a 8/10.The ala cartes were great no favorites really.The buffets were your standard fare nothing jumped out at you though the food was descent.The items you would hope to be hot were hot un like other places we’ve stayed.The bars were adequately stocked and easily accessible throughout the resorts.You won’t go thirsty.All

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
All manmade beaches in this cove great sand a little rocky great for short walks.The water was brilliant of course bring your water shoes as getting in and out was a bit tricky.Life guard patrolled water was nice,the staff at the beach bar were always around to see if we wanted a drink on the beach Great.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
No tours to speak of it was so hot.We did how ever dive a number of times.We were dissapointed with pro/divers lack of enthusiasm so we walked into Puerto Adventuras and found a jewel of a dive shop.Aquanauts is the name a friendly hands on professional bunch.John & Natalie made our diving excursions so enjoyable we’ll be be back soon.

Other Comments:
Two weeks at this resort you bet a smaller more personal stay it had everything you could want.

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  Catalonia Yucatan   Luis ~ Alberta

October 2009

Arrival: April 3rd – 10th
Very nice time

Rooms:
The rooms were just ok.  Nothing fancy but functional.  We had a few problems with our keys not working or losing their codes, staff took care of it and were very helpful.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bars were great, as usual if you leave a tip you won’t wait.  Liquor was fine, lots of selection.  Food was pretty good too although the beef tasted different then what we are used too in Alberta.  This is common to mexico, nothing to do with the resort.  Al La Carte was not very good, they booked very quickly in fact we didn’t even get to one but the rest of the food was fine.  The Creperi restaurant above the pool was AMAZING!!!  Easily a $10-$15 desert back home and you could have as many as you wanted, no frowns no lineups.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach was awesome, lots of loungers, great service from waitresses who kept the drinks coming.  Poolside loungers were harder to come by but could be had.  Volleyball, rentals, snorkeling right outside the hotel, great little shopping area nearby with dolphins, lots to see and do.  We took out their free bikes and went for a peddle ride around, it was great.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The staff are hilarious and extremely friendly.  I would say Very friendly but it wouldn’t do them justice, they were just awesome.  The activities were great, lots of movies, plays, performances, poolside entertainment, etc.

Other Comments:
Would definately go back.  Great value and a great time.

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  Catalonia Yucatan   Muhamedin ~ Canada

September 2009

Arrivale: sep 5 .2009

 I can not comment anything above because first impression for me is the most important thing..and the first impression is zero..if you come in hotel around 10:45 am and you have to wait until 3 pm to get rooms is that 4 star hotel..

and what hotel receives new guests with one men behind reception desk..if you know that saturday is day when you get full bus of clients and you are welcoming them with only one men, that is disaster…complete disaster…this is my first and last time in this resort…our experience is disaster and my vacation is ruined thanks to Nolitours….

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  Catalonia Yucatan   Rachel ~ Windsor, Quebec, Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb 5- 12
Airport was crowded with lots of international arrivals, but in spite of that we got through customs and immigration without a hassle and found our luggage very easily. Finding our way through the airport was a cinch and our shuttle was waiting right outside. Nice bus ride to the resort. With a busload of people to check in, it took a few minutes, we were comfortable in the lobby and they greeted us with drinks.

Rooms
We took a standard room, and it was very basic, but clean and functional. There was a shower/bath, but again, very basic. The cable TV didn’T work at first, but they fixed it within an hour or so. We were pool-side, and that was fine.

Restaurants and Bars
Seven bars on site and four a  la carte restaurants. Two buffet restaurants and one snack bar. All the food was great and the a la cartes were AMAZING! Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean, neat and compact. I liked that the two hotels are interchangable and you don’t notice when you leave one campus adn go to another one. There is not much walking to be done, you’re always close to everything: beach, pools, restaurants, lounges, bars.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went to Playa Del Carmen and it’s a touristy town where everythign is overpriced in the markets. Not very Mexican. To go back, I would visit Cozumel instead and Tulum.

Other Comments Very family-friendly hotel. Great service and excellent value. Would go back anytime and will bring the kids next time. Wonderful vacation!

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  Catalonia Yucatan   Barb ~ Canada

February 2009

Arrival
Airport very crowed. Poor set-up. Ride to resort good.

Rooms
Be careful–you want to get one facing the pool. We first we given a terrible room facing a vacant lot. Staff made the room change for us pretty fast.

Restaurants and Bars
Awesome!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Awesome…very nice

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
snorkeling all day tour…amazing..great staff…great activities Nice disco and theatre shows were amazing..

Other Comments We were having so much fun at the resort we didn’t even go shopping in Playa Del Carmen and I love to shop..LOL! Just to let you know 15 of us went!!!!

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  Catalonia Yucatan   Andrew ~ Toronto, Canada

February 2009

Arrival: Jan 31- Feb 7
We are not veterans of all inclusive resorts so we don’t have much to compare to. Bearing that in mind, We thought that The Catalonia Riviera Maya/ Yucatan Beach (both resorts function as one) was excellent value for the price. There are more luxurious resorts nearby, but we are glad we saved the money for the excursions. About an hour bus ride from Cancun, checked in easily, very friendly staff.

Rooms
We asked to see an upgraded room and decided to take it- larger room, upgraded bathroom, safe included, fridge with pop, beer and water stocked daily and a large terrace with a hot tub. Worth it! Tipped maid 2 USD daily, she made some very interesting towel art.

Restaurants and Bars
Book the a la carte restaurants ASAP or you will likely not get all your choices. Bookings are taken at the Chill Out Bar starting at 8 am. We liked the Steak House best, Mexican was fun, Italian good but not memorable, didn’t try the Japanese but heard it was good. The buffet restaurants were both excellent, many choices, great quality food. Crepe restaurant tasty!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pools and grounds were kept clean and tidy. Towels always available. Nice beach but rocky bottom, can snorkel from the shore. Also included is kayaks, catamaran, scuba lesson, bicycles, archery, tennis.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Very enthusiastic animation staff, entertainment a bit corny but fun. Enjoyed the lobby bar at night. Short walk into the commercial part of Puerto Aventuras where there are stores, restaurants and dolphins. Can book a free shuttle into Playa del Carmen at either 9 am or 6 pm or take a taxi for 16 USD. Return trip 5 pm from Playa took an hour because of construction at Puerto Aventuras, trip there is 20 minutes. Went to the Blue Parrot just to say we went but had an amazing time at Coco Bongo- highly recommend it! Excursions- Xel-Ha is a nature reserve, lots of snorkeling, tubing down a river, dolphins, kid friendly. If you want real snorkeling, try Puerto Morelos or Cozumel. Went to ruins at Tulum as part of the Xel-Ha package, well worth seeing and there is a very nice beach there. We did a day trip with AllTourNative Tours which included Coba ruins, swimming in an underground cave, kayaking, a zip line and rappelling, truly an amazing day!

Other Comments We loved the Mayan Riviera and want to go back next year. Unless one of the more upscale resorts is somehow cheaper than Catalonia, we are definitely going to return there.

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  Catalonia Yucatan    Suzanne ~ Canada

January 2009

Arrival: January 12-19, 2009
Everyone was hurdled into the lobby and one person proceeded to read out the hotel amenities and regulations but the people at the back could not hear.

Rooms:
Rooms were very clean and great. The beds very confortable.

Restaurants and Bars:
Great food and service.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
All were great, clean and always chairs available somewhere.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Registered for some tours but information provided from anyone in Mexico either at the hotel, tour companies etc… they either do not understand you or get a kick out of seeing you struggle to get where you need to get.

Other Comments: Due to construction in front of our hotel entrance at the main gate, our bus for the Chicien Itza tour did not pick us up and we did not get to see the ruins at all. Huge disappointment. Then, try and get your money back. Does not happen. Hotel neglected to tell us that there was a $3 charge per day for the safe. Told us the checkout would be open at 5am when we needed to checkout but they did not tell us we had to go to there sister hotel next door to do so. Huge communication problem in Mexico if you do not speak Spanish.

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  Catalonia Yucatan    Lyndsey ~ Ontario

August 2008

We traveled to the Catalonia Yucatan August 16-23, 2008. We have stayed at much larger, flashier and more expensive All Inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya area, but we found this ‘budget’ resort to be a very pleasant surprise. For the price we paid ($677 out of Toronto), this place was a steal. It is well-maintained, offers just about everything that the big name resort do, is in a great location for exploring the area, and the staff are exceptionally warm and friendly.

This review is long, but I really think this resort is one of the best kept secrets in this area – I feel compelled to share as much info as I can so that those of you who may hesitate to book it because it’s cheap or because it’s not one of the mega resorts, can know what to expect from the Catalonia Yucatan. Expect good things!

Here’s the lowdown…
Ride to resort from Cancun airport, dropping off at two other hotels along the way, was about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Rooms:
The resort consists of two sides, the Catalonia Yucatan and the Catalonia Riviera Maya, sharing all facilities. The Yucatan side houses standard rooms as well as some junior suites, which are available at check-in for $35USD additional per night. We stayed in a standard room, #4115, located on the 4th floor, overlooking the pool and ocean, 2 double beds. The room was basic, extremely clean, and in good repair. Standard rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge, which we did miss a little. Air conditioning was nice and cold. Junior suites are equipped with mini-fridges. All rooms offer programmable safes for a charge of $21USD per week. You will be asked to pay a $10USD deposit when you rent the safe at the beginning of the week, and you will be given a receipt for your deposit. KEEP THIS RECEIPT…they ask for it as proof that you paid the deposit when you check-out (even though you can’t get the safe activator unless you pay the deposit, they’ll still try to stick you for another 10 bucks if you don’t have the receipt at check-out. We had ours, but I could see where it was going if we didn’t, lol).

We enjoyed being located on the 4th (top) floor for the views. This of course requires climbing a whack of stairs throughout the day, but there is also an elevator in the building if stairs present a problem. Rooms are located in two large, 4-storey buildings which extend from lobby to beach, wrapping around the pool complex in the middle.

The Catalonia Riviera Maya houses junior and full suites, located in two larger buildings as well as throughout several smaller ‘villa’ type buildings. The Riviera Maya side is a little larger and more sprawling in layout, though still very small when compared to some of the mega resorts like Iberostar and Palladium. We really did enjoy the smaller, more intimate layout of the Yucatan. After staying at the massive Iberostar complex numerous times, this was a welcome and relaxing change. From room to pool was literally 30 seconds; room to beach, lobby or restaurant, all less than a minute as well.

One very persistent and somewhat frustrating problem we encountered was with our room key card – it would work a few times and then it would crap out on us. During the day it wasn’t a terribly big deal because we just went to the front desk and they reactivated it for us. At night, it was a real pain – the Yucatan front desk closes at 10pm, so we would have to walk through to the Riviera Maya lobby to have the card reactivated there. Once or twice, not so bad, but this happened to us all but 2 days of our stay and sometimes more than once. They ended up making us several cards at a time so we would have back-up when the first one failed. Storing a key card close to a cell phone or some other device with batteries can demagnetize the card, but we were careful to keep it away form anything that could cause this. In any case, it was frustrating. Being frustrated in Mexico is not the end of the world, however :o)

Pools:
There are 5 pools throughout the resort complex: on the Yucatan side, one large pool with swim-up bar and 2 in-pool jacuzzis, and a smaller volleyball pool; on the Riviera Maya side, another pool with swim-up bar, a second volleyball pool, and a third, larger pool with in-pool jacuzzi. We enjoyed the larger of the two Yucatan pools the most as it was the biggest of the 5 and stayed cooler in the August heat. The pools were crystal clear and clean at the beginning of the week, but we did notice by week’s end that they were looking a little grungy. The resort was full so the pools were busy. One thing we really enjoyed about this resort was the late opening hours of the pool…it was not shut-down at 7 pm as it is in many resorts. The pool stayed open well past 8pm on the few occasions we were still there that late; the closing time seemed to be around 9pm, when the chemicals were added. It was great!

Beach:
The beach gets a lot of flack for being ‘too rocky’. I’m a total beach bum who only hits the pool in the afternoon/evening on my way back from the beach, so I was apprehensive about this when selecting the Catalonia. I decided to give it a try because the price was so good. Here’s the bottom line, from a real beach lover: it’s quite small, and it is most certainly rocky in many areas, but it is still a beautiful, turquoise Caribbean beach. There are several lovely sand-bottom areas for swimming. Getting in is a little tricky in many spots as there is rock along the shoreline, but I went back and forth over it with bare feet all week and had no trouble. Water shoes would be nice but are not absolutely necessary. I brought a pair and never used them. Once you’re in, it’s fine. The saving grace of this rock situation is the lagoon at the far end of the beach…perfectly calm, protected waters with gorgeous sand bottom, great for swimming, bobbing, floating on a raft, or snorkeling. We really enjoyed the lagoon and found that it more than made-up for the lesser beach. All in all, I still prefer a nicer beach. But, if you just take this one as it is and see that despite it’s size and composition, it is still a beautiful Mexican beach, you’ll be just fine :o)

Loungers and Crowding:
The resort was full during our stay. There were always beach loungers available, but beach palapas/shade tended to be gone by 10am or so. We did not see any silly 6am reservation game going one…people just had breakfast, then found their spots and settled in for the day. It was nice. Pool spots were fewer so a little harder to get past mid-morning. There were usually full sun loungers to be had, but shade was gone by 9am or so.

We did not feel crowded in terms of too many people for too few spots, but the beach tended to feel a little concentrated in spots. It’s not a big beach so there is not a lot of room to really spread out. The lagoon area offered much more space and we found it less congested there. Also, the very far end past the Pure Bar offered a good deal more room, but only if you are fine with full sun…no palapas that far down. We saw some people drag loungers into a cluster of palm trees down that way, just off the property. Good spot there. All in all, a little more space at the beach would be nice (i.e. add some palapas down by the lagoon), but we were not on top of each other either.

The pool deck could definitely do with some more space…loungers here are lined-up right beside each other and, a few times, I had to do a flying leap off the end of my chair to get up because I had people directly on either side of me. I get that they are trying to keep a good amount of green space rather than all concrete – this is a good thing – but a little more room around the pools would be nice :o)

Snorkeling:
Snorkeling right off the beach is pretty good…you will see a lot of fish, just not a huge variety.. Start right off the rock bridge between ocean and lagoon. We saw lots of Sergeant Majors, Chubs, a few Blue Tang, some baby Permit fish, barracuda, a few of others we can’t identify, and best of all, Chain Moray Eels. Yuck. But cool to see. There are a number of them under the pipes at the bottom of the bridge so take a look (but be patient). This is a really good spot for a beginner or young snorkeler to give it a go – the water is pretty calm on the ocean side of the bridge, and dead calm on the lagoon side. I brought my own gear and was glad I hauled it down – the snorkel gear available for guests was pretty rough. In any case, it is available at the dive shop for 1 hour per day.

Kayaking:
Kayaks are also available for 1 hour per day. There were several days of calm conditions that allowed you to get right out on the ocean, and out of the bay that the hotel is located on. I’d recommend this only for adults who have some upper body strength to handle the currents. The lagoon is a great spot for anyone, kids included. It’s calm, next to no current, and large enough that you won’t get bored within the hour. We used the kayaks and really enjoyed them.

Restaurants & Bars:
This was perhaps our biggest surprise. We didn’t have any great expectations for the food and beverage end of things, I guess because we were viewing this resort as a ‘budget’ resort going in. It is anything but a budget resort – they have really cut no corners at all and I still cannot figure out why it’s available for such cheap prices, most of the time. The food was some of the best I’ve had at an All Inclusive! The buffet was varied, not a lot of repetition, hot food was hot, cold food was cold, and the staff were truly excellent. There are two main buffet restaurants to choose from: El Mercado, on the Yucatan side, is enclosed and air conditioned; and Las Brisas, on the Riviera Maya side, was open-air. Both are located right at the beginning of the beach, so they offer some pretty beautiful ocean views while dining. Both are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of the food was mediocre or not likeable at all, but some of it was actually pretty fantastic. The A La Cartes were also very good. We enjoyed the Italian, Bellavista, and the Mexican, Alebrijes. Excellent service, not bad atmosphere, and some fairly delicious food…the Pork Tenderloin in Chili sauce at Alebrijes was REALLY GOOD. Food is a very subjective topic, but most of us reading this website probably have a pretty similar view of All Inclusive food…not terrible, not great, and pretty repetitive. I think Catalonia was better than average in this area.

There is also a Japanese A La Carte, as well as a Steakhouse. We didn’t try either of these but they seem to be well-liked.

One of the best-kept secrets at this resort is the 2nd-floor bar patio that runs around the outside of the Italian/Mexican A La Cartes restaurants. It’s a really nice area with just a few tables, offering table service for drinks. It looks out over the beach, so there is an incredible breeze and you can hear the waves hitting the shore. We loved it up there and it seemed that not a lot of guests knew it was there. You don’t have to be visiting one of the A La Cartes to use it, but you enter through the doors to Bellavista and Alebrijes. Great spot!

There is also a dessert restaurant, La Creperie, open in the evening. It, too, looks over the beach and has both indoor and outdoor seating areas. You can still use the patio during the day when the restaurant is closed…the view is amazing and it’s a great spot for taking photographs of the beach.

Bamboleo is a pool snack bar located on the Riviera Maya side. It offers fewer selections for lunch/afternoon snacks, but you can come in off the beach or pool without having to change into proper clothing. Pizza, fries, nachos, and good chicken wings! Full bar service is available here. It also reopens later in the evening and stays open till the wee hours of the morning, I believe until 2am, so nice to have when the show ends, disco lets out, or if you are returning from a long day trip and need a bite.

They set-up a beach grill on one day (hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob), and some tables in the sand along side it. There is also apparently a beach party night that they do each week, but we went into Playa del Carmen a few nights and must have missed it.

The lobby bar, Abuelo, is located on the Riviera Maya side – there is no lobby bar on the Yucatan side, but it is less than a 5 minute walk so we didn’t find it to be a problem at all. We had decent table service and enjoyed the (not intentionally) goofy live evening entertainment. Not much of a breeze because of how it’s positioned, so it got pretty hot.

The BEST spot in this resort is the Looky Bar – which just last week was renamed the ‘Pure Chill Out Bar’ – and is located right on the beach. Beautiful breeze, full bar (with many better, international brand liquors), a good number of tables and a really cool vibe :o) One suggested improvement here: change the CD! I’m all for chillin’ out, but Bob Marley’s Exodus on repeat for an entire week is enough to put you in a coma! Despite this minor glitch, we really loved this place…nice touch, Catalonia!

Pool bars Tequila (Yucatan) and Margaritas (Riviera Maya) stayed open for swim-up service until about 6pm. Service was GREAT. We found happy, friendly employees throughout this resort, but Patricia at the Tequila swim-up bar was exceptional. Once swim-up service ended, the backside of the Tequila bar remained open throughout the evening. There is a patio area behind it and this was also a nice spot to sit in the afternoon or evening.

Full Swing Sports Bar is located off the Yucatan lobby and has pool tables, air hockey tables, a lounge area and bar service. It opens at 5pmThey run a few tournaments up here in the evening – Black Jack, billiards, chess, ping pong.

La Piñata Disco, also off the Yucatan lobby, was dead. Theatre is on the Riviera Maya side and is enclosed and hot. We didn’t care. The rest of the place more than made up for it. I doubt we would have used either, even if they were good, because we had the Pure Chill Out Bar on the beach to enjoy :o)

The vendors came in a set-up on a few nights; their prices are usually outrageous and this was no exception. You’ll do better in Playa del Carmen.

Service:
As I have mentioned several times now, service at this resort really was exceptional. I have repeated a few resorts in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, and have generally found a decline in service levels as these resorts expanded over the years. It was really refreshing to come to Catalonia and find TERRIFIC service, in all areas, clear across the board. We found most of the staff personable, warm, engaging and really helpful. Definitely 5 stars for service.

Resort Shuttle:
Free, offered twice daily. The first shuttle goes in at 9am and returns at 5pm. The second shuttle goes in at 6pm and returns at 11pm. The shuttle picks-up in the Riviera Maya lobby, and drops you off at Calle 10 and Constituyentes in Playa del Carmen (just off 5th Ave.). Return shuttle is caught at this location as well. Call Guest services the day before to reserve your seat(s). This is a GREAT perk offered by the resort. Iberostar used to offer a shuttle as well but they cancelled it last year and I was really disappointed with that. We go into Playa del Carmen frequently when we are down there, so cab fares would add up quickly. Cab from resort to PDC would run around $16USD.

Animation:
We always find these people fun and pleasant no matter where we stay, but these guys were an exceptional bunch. They were really warm and friendly, never bothersome, and even if you didn’t want to partake in the organized activities, they were a lot of fun to have around. Some of their activities were beyond ridiculous (a pink bunny and a Rasta man leading water aerobics, lol?!), but were definitely entertaining! We took in one show and they…tried. There is a scan of the full activity schedule, including Kid’s Club activities, in my online album – I will include the link below.

Activities available: water aerobics, tennis courts, gym, archery range, climbing wall, beach volleyball, pool volleyball, water polo, bocce ball, beach soccer/football, yoga, Spanish lessons, dance lessons, bike tours, poolside ping pong, darts, kayaking, snorkeling, introductory Scuba clinic in pool, hobie cats and, who could forget, ‘Bingo Bingo Sexy Bingo’. Additional charge activities: ceramics painting by the pool (on both sides of resort), Scuba lessons, full dive shop operating dives several times daily from Puerto Aventuras, snorkel tours.

Medical Clinic:
The medical clinic is located on the Riviera Maya side and is open daily Monday through Saturday. There is a doctor on-call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Resort Shops:
There are two logo shops, one in each lobby, selling the usual vacation needs (sun block, snacks, souvenirs, clothing and beachwear, flip flops, etc.).

Calling Home:
There is a pay phone in the Yucatan lobby, beside the logo shop. Right beside it is a phone card vending machine, which sells $10USD cards that give you about 7 minutes of talk time to Canada. You’re better off purchasing a Ladatel card at a variety store in town and calling from there…much cheaper/more time.

Internet:
There are two computer terminals in Yucatan lobby and 3 or 4 on Riviera Maya side. $5USD for 30 mins of time and cards may be purchased at the check-in desks.

Laundry:
There is a Laundromat available on the Riviera Maya side; not sure of prices, hours.

Playa del Carmen:
Not resort-related, but I have to slide this one little recommendation in: try Carboncitos in Playa del Carmen if you’re looking for a GREAT, affordable lunch/dinner, or even just a few really cold beers, off the resort. Food is excellent (nachos de Pastor are off the charts), service is fun and friendly, and it’s just a cute spot. Located on Calle 4 between 5th and 10th Aves.

Summary:
This was my 10th All Inclusive. Altogether, I have a hard time finding much fault with this resort. I’m not big on happy-happy reviews and do try to include the negatives as well as the positives, but the Catalonia Yucatan just doesn’t have very many negatives. It’s classed as a 4 star and I think it is definitely a solid, 4 star resort. I absolutely recommend it to people (families, couples, groups) who are not looking for a lot of marble and flash, but rather a more natural, relaxed environment with basic rooms, good (resort) food, friendly service and a good selection of activity, dining and bar options. Oh, and to the beach people out there, I’m a beach girl and I will definitely go back :o)

Also, I try to avoid discussion of the various nationalities of guests who visit a particular resort (mostly because I think it’s ridiculous to concern yourself with something like this) but I’ve read a lot of grumbling on this matter as it pertains to this resort so I will mention this: there were some Americans, a few more Canadians and British, and a lot of Spanish and Italian guests. We enjoyed the diversity and found everyone, save for a few surly guests from each one of these places, to be really pleasant, polite and respectful. No problema, a non-issue, end of story.

Online photos can be seen at the following links:
Catalonia Yucatan: http://travel.webshots.com/album/564160468mlWlYt
Catalonia Riviera Maya: http://travel.webshots.com/album/565653386CkYdSq
The rest of my travel photos, including more Mexico albums: http://community.webshots.com/user/lyndseyjones

Email me with any questions: lyndseykjones yahoo.ca (insert @ symbol!)

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  Catalonia Yucatan    Deb & Ray ~ Calgary, Alberta, Canada

August 2008

We stayed at this resort from July19/08 thro Aug.2/08. We travelled with Nolitours from Calgary. Here’s what we thought of the CAT.

Flight: Well what can we say about the flight down.It was excellent. We flew West Jet and had no issues at all. Loads of leg room, satellite TV, and flight attendants were super both ways Check-in/out: Check-in/out was fast and efficient. Although there was not a lot of us that arrived at once the process was very smooth. Bellboy took our luggage and directed us to our room. Downside is you have to wear a bracelet. I’m not fond of them, especially in that heat.

Room: Small and average and very clean. First room we had was a tad loud so we asked to be moved somewhere less noisy and we were re-located within a 3 days. Second room was much better. A lot less loud.

Food & Restaurants: The buffets were OK. Good selection of foods daily. Little or no line-ups. Nice touch to be seated. The al a cartes were all very good. Our favorite was the Mexican, with the Japanese a close second. They don’t tell you about the Japanese one but be aware if you want to go to it you have to give up 1 of your other choices. A highlight was la Creprie. It was fantastic. Its a must to try. The snack/grill is a nice place for lunch as well as late night snacks as its the only place you can get food after 11pm.

Bars: There are a number of bars scattered about the resort. Common meeting place tended to be the Lobby bar and the Looky bar. Be aware though that most close fairly early.

Staff: They are great. They are so willing to help serve you no matter where you are on the resort. A friendly Hola or Buenos Diaz in the morning will always bring the same response back with a smile. They work their butts off for you so you can have a pleasant vacation.

Beach: Here’s where it was a bit of a disappointed for us anyway. We are beach people. We love to swim in the ocean and take long strolls down the beach. At the CAT you could do neither. The beach and swimming area is small and rocky. There is however good snorkeling if you’re into that. We unfortunately are not.

This was our very first trip to Mexico and for the price we paid we enjoyed it except for the beach as mentioned. This is a family resort so there are a lot of children around. If that bothers you the CAT’s not the place. We enjoyed the walk to the small marina and felt safe both during the day and at night. You must remember that the CAT is is in a gated community with timeshares, condos and private homes, so without proper ID you can’t get into the property. The excursions we took to Chichen Itza and Coba in our opinion are not to be missed. I hope this helps make up your mind as to whether you’d like to visit the CAT. Just remember this is OUR view of the resort.

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  Catalonia Yucatan   Shawn and Melanie ~ Winnipeg

April 2008

Our neighbours had been here before and wanted to go back, so we went. No disappointments here.

We went Jan 29 – Feb 6, and wished we could have stayed longer. Definitely worth the 4 Star rating. Food was good, service was good, rooms were clean, water was warm. Nolitours staff were excellent.

We did 3 excursions:
1. The ATV jungle/cenote Tour (not recommended for experienced riders). There were 4 of us who knew how to drive, and found we would drive for 5 minutes, wait for 7-10 for the others to catch up (20 minutes at the start as one woman crashed leaving the parking lot). Cenotes were neat, but again if u are an experienced explorer, not much exciting to report.

2. Catamaran Tour. This was LONG, as the bus ride to Cancun was almost 2 hours. The tour was good, the snorkelling was cool, the island (Isla Mujeres) was interesting. We also found the best shopping deals there. Didn’t get back until almost 9PM.

3. Xelha. Was the highlight. The snorkelling around the park was awesome. Bright, colourful fish, some monsters. There are stingrays and sharks within the enclosure, but we found none. Lots of kids, so we had to venture to un-used areas to get more undisturbed views. 75 bucks was worth it. We simply walked to the highway and got picked up by one of the resort shuttle vans. Dropped us off right there and walked in. Getting back would have been the same, except we had a shuttle driver who saw us walking towards the exit and picked us up before we got to the highway. 2 bucks a person each way. Well worth it.

The resort was big (2 resorts in one – Catalonia Yucatan Beach and Catalonia Mayan Riviera). We never had a problem with chairs/towels, etc. We would just venture down whenever we wanted. If the pool was busy, we’d hit the sand. If the beach was busy, we’d find a pool bar. U just have to adjust. Some people get so caught up in their rigid ways, it was a wonder if they ever enjoyed their trip.

Included in the package was an hour of snorkelling every day (used it), free daily bicycle rentals (used it once), an hour free Hobie (personal catamaran with driver) we never got to use as they filled up quickly. The Lobby Bar was good. Our musician sang ballads from the 70’s-2000’s. Enjoyable for all ages. The resort itself is in a gated community. Only guests and workers allowed in the entire town. Very safe environment.

We went shopping in Playa Del Carmen. We took the evening shuttle (less heat). Ate at Ajua Maya. Expensive, but tasty. Found the best service of the trip there.

Overall, the trip was an 8.5 We found the service good, but not overly friendly. (In Cuba, service was friendly but not very good). Food was excellent (washed in filtered water). Filtered water throughout the resort (they are big on that). Never got sick, ate whatever we wanted, drank whatever we wanted. Everyone we talked to thought it was the best resort they’d been to. We would have to agree so far.

Recommended for everyone, all ages. We would go back again.

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November 2007

Ola! My boyfriend and I were there the week of November 10-17, 2007. If he had it his way, we would have stayed another week! The resort was excellent. It definitely deserves the 4 stars rating. I don’t think we would have had a better service at a 5 stars resort. Just my opinion.

As previously stated, overall, we were very pleased with the Catalonia. The room was clean. We got lucky and got a room with a king size bed and a view of the pools. The one complaint we had about the room was that the walls were thin and we could hear our neighbors.

The food was good for buffet style. If you stuck mainly with the Mexican style food, you were golden. The 3 a la carte restaurants were okay. The best for us was Bella Vista. I can’t say enough great things about La Creperie upstairs. The crepes..the cappuccinos..the ice cream..oh my goodness! So good! We went back a couple of times. The service was very good, always with a smile on their face. As someone said, there is always someone there to do the cleaning up.

We did 2 of the excursions. The Coba Mayan Village was far the best. We booked ours with Alltourative! Alex and Melissa were terrific tour guides.

Very friendly and full of life. We also did the Xel-Ha and Tulum deal. If we knew then what we know now, we would have done that on our own. So much cheaper that way.

My boyfriend, the one who didn’t initially liked resort vacations, wants to go back next year. That is saying a lot! I recommend this resort highly!

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May 2007

Hey.. My name is Kelly, I am 22 years old and on April 20-27th me and 2 of my best friends stayed at this resort. It was absolutely beautiful. The place was so clean, you would never walk around without seeing one of the workers tidying up the place. The staff were out of this world. They were the friendliest people you could ever ask for. The food was also great. I found that it was very americanized…. there were fries, burgers,etc… along with traditionally mexican food… the a la carts were AMAZING!!! We went to all 3 and we had absolutely no complaints… also the staff at the a la carts couldn’t do enough for you they made you feel comfortabe and as though they sincerly wanted you to enjoy your meal. The weather there was beautiful, the pools were clean and refreshing. I think that this was a resort for people of all ages. There was a great range of ages. There were some people my age, there were a lot of families… i would definately reccomend this to families. I can’t even explain the beauty of this resort. I don’t think that you could stay at this resort and not enjoy ever single moment…ENJOY!!!!!!!

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April 2007

My husband and I arrived back from the Catalonia on April 14th. We stayed for 7 days and had a great time. The food is good, the service is excellent and the drinks are professionally made and delicious. The hotel is kept very neat and tidy. They advertise as a 4 star hotel but we think it’s really a 3 star. The beach has lovely, soft, silky sand, and plenty of loungers and thatched, beach umbrellas. The pool side activities were fun, which included spanish lessons, water aerobics, competitions for the guys, cocktail lessons, and dance lessons. The resort provided snorkel equipment, kayaks, life jackets, two small catamarans, tennis, archery, volleyball and water volleyball. There is a beautiful little lagoon on the Riveria side that is perfect for small children and first time kayakers. Is there a downside, yes, but nothing too serious. If you didn’t get down to the pool side by 8:30am and save a lounger you were out of luck unless you went down to the beach and carried one up. Solution: put your towel on a lounger the night before, that way you can sleep in and not have to get up early. The pool side music was a little loud if you were trying to catch a few winks. Other than that, I would recommend going to this great resort. This was our first time in Mexico and the Catalonia was a wonderful experience.

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Catalonia Yucatan Fred & Sharron

March 2006

Hi Deb ! We stayed at the catalonia Yucatan Feb14 to 28th. This is a nice resort that I rate 31/2 star at most. I’m not going into a long detail account about this resort as other people have already done that. Honest points ! Ala cartes — Great Trips— Long and tedious Buffets — Alright Rooms — Thin walls but very clean Service –Wonderful Bar tenders and servers– Wonderful Beach–Pretty good Don’t use their laundry facilities. Wasted 2/3rds of a day here ended up going to room to dry them anyway. Swimming in Ocean –To many rocks Snorkelling –Good when not rough. Lounge — Great would be better if people would give musicans applause every now and then . Pools — clean & clear lot’s of loung chairs. Helps to learn a little Spanish before you go, people there really appreciate it. The vendors at the resort are every other night. How much (cuanto) to much (barato) you can get some pretty deals. Overall– A good resort !!! Would we come back ? No because we travel to different resorts every year to different parts of the caribbean. Hasta Luego

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Catalonia Yucatan Henry & Michelle ~ BC, Canada

February 2006

We were at the Catalonia Yucatan Feb. 12-19 for one week. This is our 2nd trip to this resort. Our first time was January 2002 when it was the Cameleon Marival.

The first time was great, but this time was awesome. We asked for an oceanview room and we did receive one. We were on the 2nd floor and had 3 balconies. We arrived to champagne and chocolate covered strawberries in our room. Our room was 2131. The only rooms to have 3 balconies are 2131, 3131 and 4131. We met a great couple from Regina (hi Eugene & Sandy) that were in 4131 and said they could see Cozumel from their room. We had a very comfortable king bed, a marble bathroom with roman shower and even a mini fridge (the only 4 rooms in the whole complex to have one). Every day we had a different towel sculpture with flowers. Wow.

The beach is awesome. Always enough chairs around the pool and beach. You never had to reserve chairs with towels.

We found the Tequila Bar to be the best. Look for Manuel. He makes the best drinks. The buffet restaurant adjacent to the Tequila Bar is the buffet we liked the most. Make sure you sit in Raul’s section for breakfast. We tried a meal at the other buffet restaurant but the service and food just didn’t seem the same. You MUST try the ice cream/crepe restaurant located upstairs next to the Italian and Mexican restaurants. Oh my!!!! My husband had a banana split which was out of this world and I had the best strawberry/chocolate milkshake and a caramelized apple crepe with vanilla ice cream. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. The Italian and Mexican restaurants are great as well as the snack bar. Try the chicken wings at the snack bar. Yummy.

The pools are clean and very refreshing after baking in the sun during the day. Lots of activities around the pool but they never bothered us. There were plenty of catamarans, kayaks and snorkel equipment.

If you are going to do an excursion, you must go to Chichen Itza. Our guide was Victor and found him to be very funny and extremely knowledgeable about Chichen Itza and the history of the Mayan culture. You can no longer climb the El Castillo (pyramid) but you can still get close enough to touch it. It was closed in early January of this year. They estimate it will be closed for at least 8-9 months. They had been saying they were going to close it for restoration work over 3 years ago. Unfortunately, an older lady lost her footing near the top of the pyramid and fell. Sadly, she did die. It is an incredible place to see and to take in all the history of the Mayan culture. We had sterling silver pendants made with our names in 18kt gold using Mayan hieroglyphics . The longer your name, the more you will pay. My name, Michelle was $73US. It is a heavy pendant and very beautiful.

The town of Playa del Carmen is great but we found from the last time we were there alot of the stores have become more "fancy". The main street, 5th Avenue is now paved, which is great but the good old days of getting a great deal through bartering is gone. Yeah, we bought some great stuff but it didn’t seem the same to us. I had more fun at Chichen Itza bartering with the vendors. There were better prices and deals there.

We would return in a heartbeat. We have travelled extensively, staying in 3 1/2 to 5 star resorts. In our opinion, this is the best resort we have been to. It definitely deserves the 4 star rating it has. The very few complaints I’ve read about this resort ranged from, no mini bar to bad service. Well, maybe these people should read the travel brochure before booking and if you don’t smile and say hola once in awhile and enjoy yourself, I wouldn’t want to serve you either. I suggest though not to make any long distance calls from your room. Each call, whether it is picked up on the other end will cost you $8US. I needed to only make 2 short phone calls and didn’t want to buy a phone card. We realized this when we checked out. Oh well, live and learn. No big problemo.

If you are looking for a quiet, non congested resort with many amenities, you must go there. If you have any questions, you can email me at antonichuck@hotmail.com

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Catalonia Yucatan Jessica and Patrick

February 2006

We stayed at the Catalonia Yucatan from January 20 till 27 2006. We had a very good time. I would definitely recommend this resort. I had my wedding at this resort during the time of stay we were a party of 16. At are arrival we where well greeted. The staff at the front desk were amazing. Are room was not ready at the time of are arrival but that was due to the time we got there but shortly after we were in our rooms

Rooms: The rooms were very big, a nice view of the beach, nice king size, big huge bathroom, but only a standing shower in are suite. We had an ocean view room which was amazing. We had champagne brought to are rooms throughout the week, basket of fruits and little extra. Very good room service, rooms very clean. Hotel overall very clean

Food, restaurant and bar:
The best restaurant I found was the Italian. That is were I had my wedding reception, the food was amazing, the waiter and the manager of the restaurant were amazing. Food very delicious, well presented and hot. The best buffet dinner we found was la brisa, very good food, good service. Bar waiters very good, the only bad thing we found was that the glasses we very small so bring larger cups with you, they will fill them up at the bars.

Staff: All the staff from the hotel were amazing. Especially our wedding coordinators were wonderful, Elena and Manuela. Our wedding was really amazing on the beach very private, nicely done couldn’t of ask for better.

Waiter at all restaurant including a la carte, buffet and ice cream bar were amazing. The best bar waiter was Jesus which he is located at the looky bar but only there until 5pm.

Beach equipment and beach:
The beach guys are also very good and the equipment that we used was in really good shape and we never had a problem getting stuff. The beach getting into it is really rocky so bring shoes but if you get into the beach near the lagoon not as much rocks. Pools very clean. Beach volley-ball very fun nice court to play on.

Night shows:
The night shows were great, very fun and pleasant to go to. One negative thing we found was the some of the nightly entertainment was all in French, butnother than that good nightly entertainment.

Overall I would recommend this resort.

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Catalonia Yucatan Brett & Barbara ~ Winnipeg, Mb., Canada

February 2006

If you want to stay at a resort which is personable and is not as congested and huge as other 4 star resorts located on the Mayan Riviera strip between Cancun and Tulum, this should be your prime choice.

The Positive and neutral:
The Catalonia Yucatan shares pretty much everything with its sister resort next door. You can go to all restaurants, the gym, the disco (which was moved to an alternate location due to damage via the hurricane), the pools, all bars and much much more.

The service for everything, and I mean EVERTHING was fantastic. For example, if you have any problems with your room, etc. or need something, see DOMINIQUE at the front desk, she is unbelievable. For food service ie. waiters, see RUBENS evenings at the BRISA. And, for the best bartender, see JESUS Sun. – Thurs till 5pm .at the LOOKY Bar where his specialty is called the MIAMI BEACH. Trust me, you’ve never tasted anything so delicious. There are a lot of choices for eating but the best food, believe it or not, was found at the buffets. The El Mercado is the enclosed, air-conditioned, non-smoking where the La Brisa is the bigger, open-aired buffet where smoking is allowed. Both share the same menus each day with an unbelievable variety of foods that will satisfy every ones taste. Make sure you have the fish. Don’t waste your time on the specialty restaurants. All three try to be authentic and exquisite but limit your choices. If you must choose one, go to the Mexican ALEBRIJES. The service and the romantic atmosphere make this a place for couples to have an evening where you will not be rushed or pressured to leave. Bon appetite!!

The anime team is great with a few exceptions. Their day activities are fun but it’s the talent they have for the evening shows which makes them stand out. They are all incredible entertainers. Check out Ann, Carrie, Cesar, ‘sexy’ Ramon, Aaron and, especially, Alfredo (aka el Zorro). Beware of Oscar aka Speedy Gonzales when he mc’s on Sat. and Sun nights. You won’t understand a word.

If you want to sight-see, don’t bother booking with the hotel unless its for the COBA Mayan village or Chichen Itza. These places are hard to get to and are better serviced by professional /knowledgeable guides, especially ALDO on the COBA tour. Trust me, this guy is passionate about his mayan heritage which makes the tour worth its weight in pesos. As for other sites such as TULUM, XCARET ,XEL-HA and Playa del Carmen, take a collectivo on the highway. After a 15 minute walk to the Puerto Adventuras entrance, for 20 pesos ($2 US), you can wave a white van or bus and it will take you very close to any of these places. For example, we booked a half day trip to TULUM for about $43 US through the hotel. If we had taken a collectivo and paid the parks entrance fee, it would have cost only $6.50 US. Investigate the costs before you do any day trips. A Close trip from the hotel is the town of Puerto Adventuras. A 5-10 minute walk to the marina takes you to a place where you can watch live dolphin shows while you sit around local bars and/ or restaurants, visit other live marine life on exhibit, a marine museum and various stores and souvenir shops. A definite must-see.

The Negative:
There are three things I need to warn you about which, if you can ignore them, you will still enjoy your stay.

1) Room Air Conditioner:
Even though it has adjustment dials, there is only one setting. COLD!!!! To make it more comfortable for sleeping, keep your balcony door slightly open at night

2) Moscas and Venders (Playa del Carmen/Cancun)
If you decide to visit Cancun and/or Playa del Carmen, you will be bombarded by Mexicans wanting money for nothing (moscas) and/or venders who want you to looky- looky at their merchandise or try to sell time-shares or excursions. Either ignore them and walk by without a glance or, in the case of pesky venders, tell them you need to find a Bano and can’t talk now. DO NOT book your excursions through them and, if they offer free gifts, walk away fast. TIME SHARES!!!!

Overall: This all-inclusive is a guaranteed 4 star plus, even though it is listed a 4. We, highly, recommend you experience this resort, especially, if this is your first visit to the Mayan Riviera. If you have any questions and/or would like to see photos, you can e-mail me at: mcleanrb@cc.umanitoba.ca. You will truly enjoy your stay

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Catalonia Yucatan Diana ~ British Columbia

February 2006

Greetings We were there from Jan 27 till Feb 10.

We are a 50 and 38 year old couple from British Columbia. This is the 4th year in a row that we have gone on a All Inclusive resort. One thing I must say right at the beginning. We had a really good trip. There were a few things that could have made it better. But for the price we paid the trip was great.

To start off the resort really should not be a 4 star. I found it to be more of a 3 or 3.5 The activities staff were really wonderful. They always had things going but they did not bug people who just wanted to lay in the sun. The nightly shows were also really good. But I really enjoy the shows at all the resorts we go to.

The beach guys are also very good and the equipment that we used was in really good shape and we never had a problem getting stuff.

The one thing that really drove me nuts was how bad the service was in the Buffet Restaurants. I even tried tipping when I was seated and I still had empty drink glasses and empty coffee cups. After 2 weeks we found one person in each restaurant that was really good about the service. The food was fine there was not a lot of different selection, but the fresh fruit and all the other things I love so much made up for it. I never found it hard to find things to eat.
For the best coffee the El Mercado buffet was the one. The Bamboleo had great snacks all the time and at night it was one of the A-la-carte. I had the T-Bone steak and it was great. The meals at the other 2 were also nice, some times they tended to rush you thru. Other times it was very relaxed.

One big thing we found was the Ice Cream Parlor. It was above the El Mercado restaurant. Walk up the stairs to the Italian and Mexican restaurants and keep going and you will find this little hidden treasure. Only open from 5 or 6 to 11:00 pm. Was wonderful…..

I had to complain to the guest relations person because the Looky Bar kept closing early. We were there for 2 weeks and it only open till midnight about 5 times.

We took the free bus in to Playa del Carmen twice and then got a cab back to the resort when we had enough. Was a nice little break from the resort.

We also did the Coba Mayan Village trip. Was a really great day. We totally loved it our guide he spoke great English and you could see he really loved his job. Swimming in the Cenote was a highlight of the trip. My husband also did a half day fishing trip from the Marina with Captain Ricks. He liked it and said next time he would go for a all day one. We also spent lots of time down at the Marina watching the Dolphins and all the other animals. Not much else to report. I did find the fact that you had to pay for your in Room safe a hassle. Hope this helps someone

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Catalonia Yucatan Bill & Kathy ~ Saskatchewan, Canada

February 2005

My wife and I have just returned from this facility. This is our 10th. Trip to Mexico, and we can say that this was one of the best we have ever had. The area is superb; the resort is excellent overall and a good value for the price paid. The Catalonia Yucatan has a sister resort next door (Riviera Maya) that you have full access to it also. These two resorts share specialty restaurants and water sport equipment.

ROOMS: good, clean, maid service is excellent, and support staff addressed any problems with the room immediately.

FOOD: great buffets, both the buffet restaurants serve the same fair and rotate theme nights once per week. E.g.: Wed. – International, Sat. – Tex-Mex. The variety at these was excellent and there is something for everyone. A great salad bar, and a chef serving a hot entry, which is different depending on the theme that night. The variety at the buffets ranched from seafood (shrimp, crab, fish & calamari) ham, turkey, rips and a pasty bar. The themes included Italian, International, Mexican, Tex- Mex., Caribbean, Spanish,. We enjoyed two of the three specialty restaurants, the Italian & Mexican which were both great.

BEACH: as other reviews have stated, it is small and you require water socks as the bottom is quit rocky (coral) unless you use the man made lagoon which is very clean and calm. The water is quit clear and if you snorkel, go out past the bay opening and you will see a great variety of tropical fish, maybe get lucky and encounter sea rays or even the odd barracuda. Ask at the diving center if it is safe to venture out, and the staff is very accommodating in telling you whether it is save or not that day. We have been on better beaches, but this one is good if you want to just get wet or snorkel.

ACTIVITIES: entertainment was good at the nightly shows, good disco for the younger crowd. Beach and poll activities are good, if you don’t want this, if not there are plenty of areas to sun bath or relax at away from the poll activities. Another enjoyable activity was going into Puerto Aventuras (5 min walk) to watch the dolphin shows, explore the shops or have a cervesa at a small bar. One tour that we would recommend was the day trip to the Mayan Ruins at Copa, quit unique and a bit more authentic than Chichen Itza. The tour guide to Coba was excellent, and should train every other guide in the area.

Overall this resort was excellent and we would recommend it to others.

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