I need to preface this review with a few things. . .this trip was just my husband and me (usually we travel with our teenage kids) and our main comparison to Riviera Maya and Playacar all-inclusive resorts is the Iberostar brand.
General resort layout: The size of the resort is much smaller than many that we've been to. This makes it easy to walk from any room or building to the pool and beach area. There is one walkway that's relatively flat and covered with trees, so anyone with strollers or wheelchairs or just tired after a long day of traveling can easily walk. This also makes it nice because it kind-of replicates a small town street, where neighbors walk in the evenings.
Food: The one buffet is air conditioned and also offers outdoor seating. Foods got a little repetitive, but there was always something to enjoy. They have Pepsi products, so Coke and Diet Coke fans need to be aware! There are several options for "fancier" restaurants and we had no problem making reservations on our phones (there is more in the con section below). Bring your phone with you because QR codes for the menus are the norm. You don't need to dress crazy nice like at some resorts--a cute dress or nice shorts and a top are fine. There is a little hidden coffee shop with excellent frappaccinos to break up the heat of the day.
Pool: Honestly, kind of small, but we never had a problem finding seats--even when we accidentally slept in until 10 one morning and didn't get there until after breakfast. Music is generally loud on the side closest to the resort, but quiet towards the beach. There are plenty of umbrellas and shade. One or two "crazy games" each day (like who can kick their flip flop the furthest or who can do the best freeze dance) and nothing crazy or loud. Again, bring your phone because even games like Bingo or trivia are on your phone. Towels are soft and big and there are food trucks, a creperie and bars nearby.
Beach: There are plenty of loungers and hammocks, plenty of shade if you want it, and even mats they will lay on the sand for you if you'd rather. Yes, there is seaweed. Yes, they have large tractors to pick it up. However, they just pick it up and put it in a dumpster on the beach, so there is definitely a smell.
Drinks: I'm supposed to be doing pros here, but it's tough. Fresh juices at the buffet are good. Coffee anywhere is fantastic. The little coffee shop is very nice and they offer take out cups that are recyclable/ reusable.
Shows/ Entertainment: Each night is a different theme, although the QR code's electronic version and the actual version aren't always aligned. Easy to get to and the sound is not crazy loud. Our building was right next to the theater and we had no issues with the noise. We enjoyed the shows, although the stage is about the size of some high school stages. The entertainers really work hard!
Now for the Lows/ Cons--
General resort layout: Really no cons here, only that many people feed the animals and coatis actually jumped on several people. I was drinking a coffee in the lobby area and a coati crawled on the couch and scratched me when I wouldn't give it my cup. There are mosquitos and flies--we didn't see anyone spraying or smoking the area. I can honestly say that I've come home from other resorts after a full week with no bites and I came home after five days here with multiple bites, stings, etc.
Food: While it was easy to make reservations on our phones, we had no idea that the "BLoved" restaurant would incur an extra cost until we happened to mention it to the breakfast hostess and she told us that we had the wrong color bracelets. We paid for an upgraded room, but I guess it wasn't upgraded enough. When I went to the concierge to ask about it and see if we could make another same-day reservation, she gave us a whole speech about trying to get us to upgrade further and come to an hour long presentation and claimed she could do nothing for us. We walked to the pool and stopped at guest relations there and were able to get a different same-day reservation with no problem. The whole concierge thing felt shady and her tune changed from helpful and curious about us to NO after we made it clear we weren't doing the next upgrade. The food at the reserved restaurants was good, but there is no appetizer or dessert buffet; you get one of each. We went to the buffet after each reservation.
Pool: It's small, but it was warm on the two rounded sides and cool water was pumped in to the deeper area. Very few complaints here.
Beach: No issues besides the seaweed--just swim out further and it's not an issue.
Drinks: Oh, boy. . .I need to start with the fact that we are not big drinkers. A fwe things shocked us. First, there was literally a half a glass of "Malibu" in our Malibu and pineapple drinks at the lobby bar, beach bar and pool bar, but there was ZERO alcohol in any of them. I mean, if a half glass is poured, you would taste it, right? Nope. Nothing. And, for people who rarely drink, we should be feeling something after two or three. Nope. Same with the "Bacardi" and Pepsi. Same with any mixed drink. Second, restaurants had a menu with prices for wine and drinks. This is supposed to be all-inclusive. It was more like all-inclusive with a bunch of asterisks after the word "all." Third, you could only have DiSaronno if you had paid the extra extra upgrade. I didn't even see Bailey's, so no after dinner coffees or Bailey's on the rocks.
Shows/ Enterainment: It was OK, but there was a 3 piece band with drums and two guitars, but we heard horns and keyboards in the music. Clearly not live. The dancers sure worked hard though. Certainly not the Iberostar-type entertainment we're used to.
All in all, it was great for the two of us. We relaxed and read and laid out. I can't see us bringing our kids here. And, after the concierge treatment and semi inclusive (not all inclusive) feeling, we likely won't return.
If you have a little extra in your vacation budget, please treat yourself and level up.
Most friendly hotel I’ve ever been to!
Jul 02, 2022
The people that work here are incredibly nice! Thanks to Rodrigo and Especially a big thank you to Ruben from the bagage for giving us some great tips and life lessons and teaching us some Spanish! We had a blast!
Thanks for the great time!
Jun 30, 2022
All in all a good Trip besides the door issues, like mentioned it had to be programed every few days and Japanese restaurant could work on their steaks a bit .
Staff was awesome, Maria our room lady was great and went beyond to make our stay enjoyable.
Thanks, - Jennifer&Santiago
Family vacation, we had a lovely time
Jun 29, 2022
Before we came, I had several concerns based on other reviews that I had read after I booked. Overall, we had a fantastic time.
The Room: we got a great deal on this vacation. Really great. So we didn't get a renovated room. But it was clean, the balcony was nice, there were no bugs and we were ground floor. It smelled a bit mildewy but we have had this at other resorts too. Only choose a granden view room if it's a really good deal. If we had paid more money and got this room, then I would have been upset.
The Beach: I can't understand how people can complain about the beach. The seaweed is due to climate change. There were days when there was very little and and other days we spent hours in the ocean. One of the best beaches lots of white soft sand, the water was calm most days, very gentle waves. Palm trees were the only shade provided but it was good enough. Nice breeze.
Food: It was good quality overall. We ate at the Grill, the Japanese and the Tapas and the Mexican. Our least favourite was the Grill.
Drinks: plentiful, sugary. I asked for little sugar and they obliged; much better then.
Nice grounds, lots of iguanas and coatis.
Kids club: the animators worked hard and were very sweet.
One large pool. Some parts were very deep and remained cool. Shallower parts became very hot, like a jacuzzi. No complaints about the pool. Very little shade, umbrellas were not movable and don't provide good shade.
People had complained about bugs...there are way more bugs where I live. We brought some repellent and used it at night. This was a non issue.
The only thing that I was surprised about was the amount of smoking and no designated smoking areas. So many people smoked: on the beach, in the pool, by the pool, walking around. I've never had this experience at a resort before.
If you get a great deal, you will really enjoy yourself. We would come again for the same price.
Jun 27, 2022
Our stay at catalonia playa maroma- was very nice in general and the majority of the staff were very nice, the food & location let it down alot, and the price of excursions to actually be able to leave the hotel was way too expensive!