Catalonia Yucatan Beach and its sister resort, Catalonia Riviera Maya, share the same stretch of beach in the gated community of Puerto Aventuras. Both are within walking distance to the downtown shopping district and Marina (vacationers can swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery, or book water excursions there), while access to public transportation (a colectivo) is a 20-min. walk to the resort’s main gate. Guests at both resorts have full exchange privileges with one another–walking from one end to the other along the beach takes less than 10 min., so sharing amenities is quite easy.
The Catalonia Yucatan Beach, like it sister resort, has a great open-air lobby with a soaring palapa roof and pentagonal door frames. There is no lobby bar at the Yucatan Beach (the 24-hr. lobby bar is next door at the Catalonia Riviera Maya); however, the disco and the Kid’s Club are onsite. The mature, manicured grounds are a pleasure to meander through on one’s way to the two pools; there are also many rooms which overlook the pool area along with poolside rooms as well. The grounds at both resorts are compact which makes it incredibly easy to maneuver around to find amenities, unlike many other Riviera Maya resorts.
Catalonia Yucatan Beach offers two smaller pools, one which holds daytime activities including free scuba lessons for age 14+, while the other has an integrated Jacuzzi, bridge walkway, shallow children’s section, and the very popular swim-up bar. Sundecks have loungers but not many shade umbrellas; there is little natural shade around either pool which makes umbrellas a premium (loungers in general are “reserved” prior to 7 a.m.). Guests are free to also visit the pool area at the Catalonia Riviera Maya which is a short walk away.
While there is more actual beach area at the Yucatan Beach, ocean entry is the same all along this stretch of beach–rocky. Bringing water shoes to this resort is a must. Guests looking for better snorkeling conditions can head over to the north end of Catalonia Riviera Maya where a calm lagoon teeming with fish can be found. Guests are encouraged to bring their own snorkel equipment since the resort offers theirs on a time limited basis. While guests may not like the aesthetics of the long arc of offshore concrete blocks, keep in mind this helps to improve overall swimming conditions. Like the pool area, loungers and shade opportunities are “reserved” quite early; it may help to upgrade to Privileged status since there is a separate roped-off section at both resorts; the Catalonia Riviera Maya also has swinging Bali beds in their Privileged beach section.
There are several outstanding amenities at this resort including the Pure Chill Out bar located oceanfront at the southern edge of the property. It offers sweeping ocean views with plenty of available seating and is open until late; however, it is only accessible to upgraded Privileged guests from both resorts. Catalonia Yucatan also offers a rare treat with it golf simulator ($) located at the sports bar. True oceanfront rooms can also be had at the Yucatan Beach, a coveted amenity at any beachfront resort.
Guests may choose the Yucatan Beach over its sister resort because of its smaller size and more sedate atmosphere, particularly around the pools. Other guests may choose the Catalonia Riviera Maya with its onsite theater, spa, fitness center, and plethora of a la carte restaurants. Since both resorts are so close to one another, the general layout may be inconsequential to some when making a decision concerning which side to book. Potential guests also need to keep in mind that the Catalonia chain caters primarily to European clientele, so expect a fair amount of European vacationers at any given time.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Stay at one play at two; complimentary WiFi, budget-friendly, true beachfront rooms
Con: Rocky ocean entry, dining vouchers, small balcony, reduced mini-bar offerings for non-upgraded guests
Best Suited For: Budget-minded travelers, couples, families with young children, and those who don’t mind mingling with European travelers
No. of Rooms: 205
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, balcony/terrace, A/C, mini-bar with water, digital safe, flat screen TV, coffee maker, telephone, hair dryer, shower, and complimentary WiFi. There is no room service for non-upgraded guests. Here is a brief summary of guest room categories:
- Garden View: King or two dbl beds, table and two chairs, tub/shower combo
(Upgraded Privileged Amenities)
- separate area for check-in/out
- complimentary room amenities including mini-bar with water, soda, and beer, robe and slippers, alarm clock with iPod dock, iron/ironing board, in-room beach towels, and umbrella
- complimentary 24-hr. room service
- access to the Terrace and Tapas Lounge Bar
- one additional dining voucher p/person p/week’s stay
- better seats at the buffets (window seating if possible)
- upgraded liquor from national brands to more top-shelf brands (some top-shelf brands are still an extra cost)
- spa and romantic lobster beach dinner discounts
- complimentary access to “wet” spa areas (one p/person p/stay)
- pillow menu
- turndown service
(Privileged Room Categories)
- Privileged Comfort: These are basically Garden View rooms with access to upgraded Privileged amenities
- Privileged Superior: King or two dbl beds, armchair, desk area and chair, ceiling fan, Privileged amenities
- Privileged Superior Ocean View: King or two dbl beds, armchair, desk area and chair, ceiling fan, Privileged amenities. Partial ocean view.
- Privileged Superior Oceanfront: King or two dbl beds, table and two chairs, ceiling fan, Privileged amenities. Oceanfront. NOTE: Some oceanfront rooms are located behind the Pure Chill Out bar which limits the view; ask for a room on the top floor.
- Privileged Suite: Separate bedroom with king bed and flat screen TV, separate living room with sofa, armchair, coffee table, desk area with chair and flat screen TV, dressing room area, ceiling fan, dbl vessel sinks, terrace with soaking tub, Privileged amenities. Not all suites have soaking tubs. Garden view.
- Privileged Family Suite: Separate bedroom with two queen beds and flat screen TV, separate living room with sofa bed, armchair, coffee table, desk area with chair and flat screen TV, dressing room area, ceiling fan, dbl vessel sinks, terrace with soaking tub, Privileged amenities. Not all suites have soaking tubs. Garden view.
- Privileged Honeymoon: Canopy king bed, balcony soaking tub (guaranteed), armchair, desk area with chair, special room decorations, welcome bottle of sparkling wine along with chocolates and fruit, continental breakfast in bed (once), private candlelit dinner (once p/stay), 30-min. couples massage, complimentary photo and t-shirt, late check-out subject to availability, special turndown service with flower petals (once), Privileged amenities. Garden view.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Two pools (swim-up bar, integrated Jacuzzi and shallow children’s area), non-motorized water sports, dive shop, in-pool scuba lesson (age 14+), pool and beach wait service, shuttle to Playa del Carmen, disco, archery (west of the entrance/lobby), games room (extra charge for billiards), sports bar with golf simulator ($), Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), playground, child care, concierge, tour desk, car rental, medical services, currency exchange, and ATM. Guests are free to use the amenities at the adjacent Catalonia Riviera Maya.
Pool Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Restaurants/Bars: The Yucatan Beach offers one buffet restaurant (El Mercado), two onsite a la cartes (Terrace Tapas Lounge and Bar for upgraded Privileged guests–no A/C, and the new Bloved organic restaurant above the buffet), and the popular La Creperie. Those staying at the Yucatan Beach are free to dine at any of the restaurants at Catalonia Riviera Maya. A la cartes are limited according to the number of nights at the resort (2=1 a la carte dinner, 3=2 a la carte dinners, 5=3 a la carte dinners, 7=4 a la carte dinners; Privileged guests are allowed an additional dining voucher for a week’s stay. No reservations are needed at any of the restaurants; however, a la carte dining is very popular–get in line at the a la carte restaurant of choice at the Catalonia Riviera Maya by 5 p.m. to put your name on a waiting list, the staff will then tell you what time to be at the restaurant for dinner. There are three bars onsite–the poolside Tequila Bar with its swim-up section, the oceanfront Pure Chill Out bar for upgraded guests, and drink service at the disco, while the Catalonia Riviera Maya offers an additional four bars. While Privileged guests are entitled to certain top-shelf liquor without an additional charge, not all top-shelf liquor is included in the all-inclusive price. Non-upgraded guests are served national brands of alcohol.
Entertainment: Onsite entertainment includes the sports bar with golf simulator, disco, and games room located near the lobby area. Guests of the Yucatan Beach are free to attend theater shows at the adjoining Catalonia Riviera Maya as well as their Saturday pool foam party.
Photo Set: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjHdLPqn