from Grapevine, Texas
Submitted on 21-07-2016
I have been to quite a few resorts around the Cancun/Playa del Carmen area, and this is by far the best resort I have ever stayed at due to the amazing service, Animation staff (#animaroma), planned daily activities, beautiful grounds, and nature surrounding the resort. This summer marked my 4th stay at Catalonia Playa Maroma, and it‚??s my goal to come back here every summer. My stays have been 7-8 days each time, but always wish I had extended it to 10 days because of how much fun I continue t...
I have been to quite a few resorts around the Cancun/Playa del Carmen area, and this is by far the best resort I have ever stayed at due to the amazing service, Animation staff (#animaroma), planned daily activities, beautiful grounds, and nature surrounding the resort. This summer marked my 4th stay at Catalonia Playa Maroma, and it‚??s my goal to come back here every summer. My stays have been 7-8 days each time, but always wish I had extended it to 10 days because of how much fun I continue to have here. I have previously been here with my parents and sister, but this summer I went with my best friend (we are both 24) and my experience was by far the best it ever has been. I like to think of Catalonia Playa Maroma as a...Summer Camp for adults.
Booking: If you plan on traveling in June or July, I recommend booking your stay through Obitz in April - I found an amazing package that included our flight from DFW (Spirit Airlines) and our 7 night/8 day stay that ended up being the cheapest deal I have ever found for this resort‚?¶by like $600.
Arrival: To transport to and from the airport, we used USA Transfers (not to be confused with Transfers USA), which I highly recommend. For 1-3 people it was $80 total for our round-trip (add a $10 tip each way). The drivers were so nice, punctual, and helped us with our baggage. I won‚??t use any other service!
Check-in: I had a very positive experience with the receptionist staff. You can check into your room after 3pm, but if you get there earlier they can hold your bags for you and you can explore the beach and eat. You‚??ll be given a wristband that grants you access to everything. The bellhop staff is absolutely wonderful, especially JOSE and SAUL who were so incredibly kind and showed us to our room and carried our bags for us. They remembered us the entire time and always stopped to say hello when we passed by (and even helped me improve my Spanish)! The receptionists are very helpful, and always answered my questions - most of the guest service staff speaks great English, which was a big plus. When we arrived, we were upgraded to Privileged for free due to a deal offered through Expedia/Orbitz (which was a $30/day free upgrade, hollahh).
Privileged: If you upgrade to Privileged, you get special seating on the left side beach with palapas (better shade); nicer, upgraded rooms closer to the beach; a different colored towels; access to the Privileged, air-conditioned lobby which allows access to computers/printers, snacks/drinks, extra helpful customer service staff; more dinners at the restaurants; room service; $10 off per person at the spa; and access to the Terrace restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (this is my favorite place to eat)! If you don‚??t get Privileged, you‚??ll still have an amazing experience ‚?? the only thing that really makes this worth it for me is getting to eat at the Terrace and having complete shade with the palapas (I am a ginger‚?¶so shade is necessary for me, okay).
Animation Team: Oh, Animation Team at Catalonia‚?¶how much I dearly, dearly love you. This is by far the #1 reason I choose to come to Catalonia Playa Maroma. The people on the Animation staff (aka the Entertainers) are some of the most amazing people in the entire world: their job is to keep you happy and entertained, so they are essentially experts on being friendly and talented. They set up numerous activities for you to enjoy throughout the day including: yoga, Zumba, beach & water volley ball, water polo, ping pong tournaments, beach/pool games/competitions, beach soccer, regular soccer, archery, jungle tours, dance lessons, Olympic competition style games, Spanish lessons, art lessons, and theatre productions ‚?? they do it all. Make sure you check the daily schedule so you don‚??t miss out! They host beach parties and dance with you at the nightclubs. You see the same 15ish entertainers all day long, and I don‚??t know how they do it, but they wake up and are with you on the beach at 10am, play like 3 sports a day, perform an amazing dancing/theatre show at night, and still hit up the dance floor with you late into the night. They are also really, really good at convincing even the strong willed to take multiple shots of tequila.
*****GET TO KNOW THESE ANIMATORS: Teotl, Eder, Silvia, Manuel, Idania, Ricardo, & Aryanna. They really made an effort to get me involved and engaged in all of the activities, and were the best people at the entire resort. They are all such incredible people, and I feel lucky to have gotten to know them. Teotl, who has been at the resort a few years, is extremely talented at performing and amazing at every single sport. We had so many great conversations, and I always wanted to participate in the activities he hosted because he made them more fun; Eder has such a passion for his job and has the most energy of anyone I have ever met. His smile is constant and genuine, and his love for making others happy radiates in everything that he does; Silvia is so incredibly kind, sweet, helpful, and fun and always made me smile when we talked.; Manuel is absolutely hilarious and can dance so well - he made me laugh so many times at the disco tech and has a contagious energy; Idania is cute and tiny, but so feisty! She is a great dancer and actress and I really enjoyed talking with her; Ricardo was also amazing and so nice! He helped me learn to do the Machata and speak some Spanish tongue twisters; Aryanna is one of the most talented performers for sure, and made all of the shows amazing ‚?? she is also very good at making people drink tequila: an important skill to have. XD
Grounds: The beach and grounds at this resort are so well kept and clean. The plant life and landscaping is luscious and beautiful. You can often find PRECIOUS coatis and iguanas roaming around, and a lot of angelfish in the ocean. The sand is white and so smooth, and the ocean is a pure bright blue color. Depending on when you go, there may be seaweed on the beach from storms and wind, but when I went (July 2016) there was barely any! The plant life surrounding the rooms and the walkaway from the lobby to the ocean make Catalonia Playa Maroma such a peaceful environment very connected to nature. I was impressed with how truly beautiful everything was here. Also, Free Wifi everywhere = a great bonus!!
Food: They have an all you can eat buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Parajito restaurant located in the lobby (a 6 min walk from the beach). I was so impressed with the diversity and quality of the food selections at Parajito! I am a vegetarian, and although most of the main courses have meat, I still found so much good, healthy options. It‚??s constantly stocked with fresh fruit, vegetables, a salad bar, a cheese bar, a sandwich bar, pizza, and a ton of home-cooked meals and sides. They also have 4 restaurants to eat at if you want more than just a ‚??serve yourself‚?? experience. Toscana is the Italian restaurant (the only one with air-conditioning ‚?? and the nicest atmosphere), Tio Pedro is the Mexican Restaurant, Terrace is the Privileged restaurant serving Spanish inspired Tapas, and they also have a Steak Restaurant (I had a bad experience with the wait that took so long that my friend and I gave up after an hour and ordered room service). Menus are offered in English ‚?? which is a plus. The Tortuga is a snack bar that‚??s open throughout the day when lunch isn‚??t being served and offers a smaller buffet selection ‚?? this is close to the beach and pretty casual. They also have a fantastic all-natural juice/smoothie bar with swings and hammocks next to the beach. You have a variety of smoothies you can order - so good!
Service: From the moment I walked in to the moment I left, I was overwhelmed with the utmost positivity from EVERY SINGLE PERSON at Catalonia Playa Maroma. The bartenders, beach drink service, receptionists, wait staff, animation staff, security guards, life guards, bellhops‚?¶. literally everyone was SO GREAT. The staff here is unparalleled with any other place I have been to in the world. I know very little Spanish, but everyone I encountered was very helpful in allowing me to practice what I knew, and encouraged my learning. If you know very little Spanish, don‚??t hesitate in using it! They will appreciate the effort, and you can learn a thing or two!
1) Get to know the Animation Staff in the beginning if you want to be active and participate in the planned daily activities. You really get to know the staff and the other cool people at the resort this way ‚?? and one of my favorite things about travelling is getting to know new people. Who doesn‚??t love making ‚??resort friends‚???
2) Bring some Pesos if you plan on buying anything at the shops at the resort ‚?? they don‚??t take USD. They do have a currency conversion counter in the lobby, but there is always a service fee.
3) Get to the beach early to reserve shade, especially if you are with a bigger group.
4) The Terrace restaurant (Privileged only) has the best food, so make sure you stop by there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
5) Get to the restaurants (Tio Pedro, Toscana, & Steak) early around 6:00-7:30 if you don‚??t want to wait for a table. The wait was over an hour for us when we arrived to the Steak restaurant at 8:30pm, so we gave up and beer and room service was our dinner that night.
6) Bring tipping money: In Mexico, it‚??s considered rude if you don‚??t tip ‚?? even at an all-inclusive resort. Not everyone does it, and no one will be rude to you if you don‚??t, but those who do tip will have a better experience. I brought about $50 in ones and it served me well. The employees at Catalonia are some of the nicest, helpful, and hardworking people I have ever encountered in my life. If you tip, they will remember you and do everything they can to help you out. We tipped our maids $3 each day and always got the cutest towel art!! All the aminalz. We also tipped the bar tenders and beach service (who will remember your name and how you like your drinks), as well as the bell-hops (who quickly became our friends) and our dinner servers.
Safety: As a 24 year old girl travelling with her best friend, I do worry about feeling safe in my surroundings when travelling. At Catalonia Playa Maroma, I feel so completely safe and comfortable ‚?? even when walking around the beach alone at night. There is very strict security entering and leaving the resort, and there are night guards wandering around all night long making sure there are no drunken people out of line or any people who should not be there. I had a conversation with a few of the security guards, and they seem very on top of it.
1) At the buffet restaurant Parajito, the drink service is pretty much non-existent during breakfast and lunch. I drink a lot of water, so I was constantly in need of refills and ended up just bringing a water bottle.
2) Shade on the beach is a limited and can be very spotty. This might not bother most people who go to the beach for say, a tan, but as a ginger, it‚??s something I need. I really wish more palm trees and palapas were present.
3) The pools close at 8:00pm‚?¶which makes no sense to me. Why would a resort not have a place for night swimming?? The ocean is slightly dangerous to swim in at night, so I wasn‚??t super thrilled when a security guard kicked my friends and me out of the pool at midnight.
Don‚??t Stay Here If:
1) You don‚??t like being hot‚?¶or sweating‚?¶because this is Mexico, people. Mexico is tropical, humid, and close to the equator, so I don‚??t know why ‚??heat‚?? is such a surprise to some people. Catalonia Playa Maroma is a very ‚??Green‚?? resort, a fact that I love about them, so the only places with air-conditioning are the lobby restrooms, your room, the gym, the spa, the shops, the Toscana restaurant, the disco tech, and the Privileged lobby. That‚??s it. It definitely gets cooler at night, and the main lobby has fans, but you will be hot, and you will sweat. Also, good luck if you have curly hair or bangs because Mexico does not approve.
2) You only expect to hear English. This resort caters mainly to Italians and other Spanish speaking countries (a little French as well), however there have been more Americans here this year than I have seen in the past. Most of the staff has very limited English proficiency, but once again, you are in Mexico. Do not go to a different country and expect everyone to speak your language.
Checkout: Extremely simple and easy! No hidden fees added or complicated processes, and the staff was great. Checkout is before noon, but if your flight is later, you can still chill on the beach and eat until your transfer service arrives. Bellhops will get your bags for you.
TL;DR: This place rocks.