Catalina Beach Resort
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Historical Traveler Reviews Catalina Beach Resort Zihuatanejo
Zihua and Catalina Beach Resort-Authentic Mexican Charm
We stayed at Catalina Beach Reort in Zihua over the Easter vacation and I am still raving about it to my friends! (I guess procrastination pays off b/c the April 18th review at this site by firstname.lastname@example.org exactly sums up our experience (and she is a far more picturesque writer! )
You either will love this place or hate it and from our observations (seeing some people check out in a huff) the test is this---is a bathroom with peeling paint, cracked mirror, rusty shower going to bother you if you have the most breathtaking view of the best beach in Zihua, can sleep out under the stars in a hamock on the hugest deck I've ever seen and have Reymundo, the "Beach Manager" know you and your kids on a first name basis and do everthing from fetch lunch, find band-aids, give you tips on the best snorkeling and teach you Spanish?
Yes, it is true that you must climb alot of steps from the beach to your room but it is a small price to pay for the best location on Playa Ropa.
We were told (and saw) that a massive renovation project is underway with a new lobby, more rooms with A/C and repaired grounds and gardens in the plans.
But truly, if you are used to "spa-like" bathroom facilities, this may not be the place for you. However, if you want the true authentic charm of Zihau, with the most friendly and helpful staff imaginable, the best view, and a gorgeous beach in prime location, then look no further.
P.S. A "plug" for tripadvisor.com. This is a GREAT service! We really appreciated the weekly reviews so we had a wide range of true, real family experiences to consider. It helped us so much in making our decision as to where to stay and what to do once we were there. I have passed this on to my friends!
We LOVED it - But, it may not be right for you....
My husband, three daughters and I just returned from a heavenly week at the Catalina. The weather was great - in the 80's during the day and always sunny. Only uncomfortable if we were out in the sun at high noon. La Ropa beach is lovely - white sand, palm trees, warm swimming water, fun but not dangerous surf, lots of interesting activity - vendors of jewelry, hammocks, etc, open-air restaurants, etc. The hotel has plenty of palupas with lounge chairs on the beach, large beach towels and a beach bar. The infinity pool is the most beautiful I've been in - we loved to linger in the pool watching the stars come out.
Unfortunately the swimup bar was closed at this time of year. The restaurant had very good food at reasonable prices (e.g. about $6.50 for 4 delicious tuna tacos, with beans and guacomole, and a nice breakfast buffet including choice of eggs, pancakes, French toast,etc.
for about $7.00 per person. ) The view from the restaurant and the Panorama Bar is spectacular. Our room (for $135 per night) was great.: 2 double beds, a built-in padded "sofa" under the window suitable for sleeping, large private balcony with ocean view and 2 hammocks and a large patio with lounge chairs. Kids under 12 stay free. The room was simply but nicely decorated with bright colors and Mexican tiles . Most of the staff was very friendly (except for one grouch of a bartender - but it was worth it to get 6 tropical drinks for about $10 during Happy Hour). We loved the place and can't wait to go back but WARNING: The Catalina is not for everyone. Most of the rooms are not airconditioned and some people are put off by the steps. We don't have AC at our own home so it seemed fine by us - in fact, the nights were cool and required a light cover. The steps were certainly doable if you are organized and you don't have to run back up many steps to get that forgotten magazine after you're nicely ensconced on your lounge chair on the beach. If I would get winded when walking up the steps, I'd simply turn and admire the spectacular view over the ocean for a minute or two.. There were absolutely no mosquitoes when we were there, so I would lay out in the hammock until late at night. However, there were a few lizards in our room and in the restaurant, which frightened our daughters. If you want a standard cookie-cutter hotel, please go somewhere else, but if you want charm, beauty, friendliness, intimacy, the sense of another era, etc. the Catalina is your place. There are many repeat visitors who have been coming back for 20 years or more, and now I understand why.
My boyfriend and I just got back from a fabulous vacation in ZIH. I loved it there! The first night we stayed in Hotel Irma. I like the place. The hotel was very clean and the room and bathroom was nice. The only downfall was the fact it is not on the beach. The rest of our vacation we stayed at the Catalina. The location cannot be any better.
They have these great Palapas to chill at and the Elvira restaurant next door with the killer Happy Hour 4-7. Watch out for their Margie- very strong. I heard the drink that comes in the big coconut is no walk in the park either. The two problems I had with the Catalina was the stairs. There are a lot of them. My poor calves hurt the next day. They were right that you start to get used to it by the 3rd day. The main issue was the bathroom. I am sorry, but they need to upgrade them. The Hotel Irma was way better in that department. No long showers in that place. You want to hurry up and get out. The shower was also the width of your body plus an inch or two. Overall, we survived and had a the best vacation. Besides, for the price and being on the beach.. it's OK.
The hammocks gave the room some bonus points! I have to admit... there is so much to do that the only time you are in your room is to sleep.
PS. If you like fishing.. the best boat captain is Victor-ask around for him. He does not speak English very well, but he sure is great for fishing! His boat name is the Moby Dick II.
Catalina Beach or Hotel Irma
After searching the internet, we decided on staying at the Catalina Beach Hotel on Playa LaRopa. We stayed there one night and left the next morning! Between all the steep steps every time you wanted to go from the check-in to your room, or to the bar, or to the pool, and then walking to town (some very steep parts from this hotel) my calves were killing me the following day !! We were told this place had the best view of the bay, but when we sat down out on the terrace, the plants had all but blocked any view!! No air conditioning (we thought maybe the fan and any breeze might be enough) and only one bartender at happy hour was not enough to make us happy! We then went to Hotel Irma-----wow!! It was half the price for a room over-looking the bay (and had air-conditioning), the pool was beautiful, the room was great, (the staff makes those cute little animals out of towels and flowers when they make up your bed in the morning) and the staff in the open-air restaurant were always friendly and very attentive!! One night I had a craving for chocolate ice cream and they were all out. Ten minutes later, one of the waiters surprised me with chocolate ice cream that he had gone out to get for me !! You can't go wrong if you stay here !! And the walk to town is a cinch from here !!
Honeymoon? Worked for us.
Although it's taken almost 6 months to write this review, our vacation is still on our minds. We arrived in Zihua at the end of August and stayed just short of 10 days total into September. It was our honeymoon and naturally we were excited but nervous that it might not live up to expectations. Upon arrival, it was hot, very hot, but the staff was super nice while they prepared our room - we arrived a few hours early and our "honeymoon suite" wasn't ready. Not a problem as we were jet lagged and took naps in hammocks in a temporary room while we listened to the waves lap the beach below.Our room was simple, very room, and the fans were moving pretty fast to keep the place cool on a hot day.
The deck was spacious, with 2 hammocks side by side, a small table, lounge chairs and a great distant view of the beach. The mini fridge was a bit old and could use replacing and the lights could be updated as well, but for the price and the fact that the place was deserted, it did exactly what we intended: a quiet, simple and affordable place with a great view to chill out after a crazy wedding week!The staff was overly nice, and cabrides to/from downtown were a few bucks. We checked out the few 'luxury' hotels down the beach, Casa Que Canta and Villa del Sol and we agreed, both were beautiful, but maybe a little more hotel than our budget could allow. After debating if we should upgrade to one of the aforementioned hotels, and triple the cost of our vacation, we decided the view, simplicity and service at Catalina could not be beat.
Great service and affordable...a real value!
First, I should mention that the service was great. We were there for a wedding (no me, but my friend) and upon arrival we needed help locating the wedding party. Given I spoke little Spanish, the manager of the Catalina explained to the taxi driver where we were going and how to get there and confirmed our fare, before we left. Did I mention that he also called (long distance) to the wedding coordinator to confirm the wedding parties location.
Second, I should also mention that we got upgraded to a larger suite, since a couple (who was also attending the wedding) did not like the fact that the rooms had no A/C.
Third, the views are amazing!
Fourth, the beach is clean (raked daily) and there is a bar on the beach, it's nice to say put it on a room tab. Corona's were very reasonable (about $2 each)...and free beach towel service (just make sure that you return them or you are charged) and you can sit underneath a free beach cabana. I don't like too much sun so it works for me.
Fifth, nothing finer than falling to sleep listening to the waves crashing at your feet.
Sixth, loved the hammock & private balconies!
Now, nothing is perfect. Let me list a couple of drawbacks:
1. Little to no hot water (this was not a big deal for me since I needed to cool off, we went in Oct 2003)
2. Lots of steps to climb to get to your room (the hotel is built on a cliff...this is an advantage when it comes to the view)
3. Bring some bug spray especially in the evenings (This is not the fault of the Catalina)
4. The rooms are a bit dated.
5. No A/C. (rooms do have a fan, which we kept on full throttle at night).
The room in Sept/October was $85 a night. We stayed two nights, plus had two breakfasts (for two people), plus Coronas on the beach.
Including taxes, tips, room and breakfasts and beers our total bill was $211. Cannot beat that with a stick!
I would definitely return. Great value. But realize that this is not a 5 star resort.
Have fun. If you have questions, feel free to email me.
Loved it, but it does get a little toasty in summer
This is a late review, we were there in June 2003. Pluses: Very friendly & helpful staff, clean and well maintained place, very nice infinity pool, very nice beach with plenty of palapas. We didn't find the steps to be bad, though in the heat it can get to be a workout walking up from the beach all the way to the top. Our bungalow was very nice. Large and airy, hammocks outside, and the view from the room and the patio was simply amazing. $2 cab rides to town made it an easy trip. The only negative in our view was the heat. Do not underestimate the heat and humidity in summer. We will definitely be back.
Needs Work to Live Up to Potential
Back in the 1950s, the Catalina was probably a fabulous hotel. Just look at all of the movie stars that have visited.
The property does need to be freshened up. I did notice that it is undergoing some construction at the top of the hill.
Speaking of hills, this hotel built into a cliff requires a lot of energy to go up and down the literally hundreds of stairs. With all of the climbing and the high heat index, it was necessary to use a hankercheif after ascending 3 flights of stairs to the dining room.
Pluses: Very quiet, no TVs, no radios, friendly staff, good food, no A/C (the screens let in the surf sound all day and night) great location above Playa de Ropa beach.
Minuses: Maintenance (marginal refrigerator, telephone did not work the first day, paint was fading on the buildings and steps). I was disappointed that the infinity pool was not completely filled and so it seemed just like a more normal pool.
Please be advised that it is Very Warm in late October with little breeze to alleviate the heat.
Overall, an interesting visit to an earlier timeperiod.
A romantic getaway at reasonable prices
The Catalina Hotel on Playa de la Ropa Beach is paradise at affordable prices. This is one trip that is a must see and experience wonderful destination. Our vacation there was in October 2003 which is considered the rainy season. We did not experience much rain and was in the pool and ocean every day. The Hotel Catalina is very quaint and romantic. Its strong points are its magnificent location and attentative staff. The draw backs are the hotel is beginning to show signs of wear and tear and some neglect. The rooms are large. comfortable, and clean and have some of the best views of Zihuatanejo Bay.We stayed in one of the deluxe bungalows which was not air conditioned. This fact made a major portion of our stay a challenge because of the extreme heat dissipated at night. Our nights were totally miserable. We noticed many hotel guests we encountered stayed briefly one or two nights and checked out into other newer air conditioned locations. Guest were further aggravated with the fact the Catalina is built along a steep cliff with approximatel 300 steps from top to bottom. Ther is a strenuous climb associated with all aspects of the hotel and there are no elevators/dumb waiters or lifts. Guests have to tolerate strenous climbs to all parts of the hotel. This fact also influenced some guest to leave.Although it is difficult to stay 7 nights at the Catalina due to the heat and arduouis stairs to the beach and pool, however, if one wants to truly experience a step back in time and an authenic unique hotel experience the sacrafices are well worth it. We endured and loved our stay at the hotel and will go back. This hotel is not for the squeamish. It is located in rain forest conditions and we found rain forest criiters in our room, i.e. mosquitoes, land crabs, geckos and a scorpion. We were never injured by any of the naturally occurring creatures. The Catalina is real Mexican Spirit hotel, where many repeat customers are long time visitors who continously go back to the Catalina for her charm and unique experience.There is a tremendous amount of affection for this grand old place. We did not meet the owner, but she must truly be an outstanding person because, the Catalina Hotel Staff is the friendliest and most helpful and inspiring staff one will encounter.The Catalina Hotel was installing air conditioning in the the top 4 deluxe bungalows at the time of our stay. Reservation can be made via fax or telephone just go to the Catalina Hotel web site or the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo visitors page on the internet.
Loved it but had to leave!
This was our second trip to Zihua, we came 11 years ago when we stayed at the Sotovento, and decided to return with our two kids. The hotel was everything we expected it to be: simple and clean, friendly staff, tons of steps, good food and great views. The pool and beach occupied our kids for hours during the day and they loved the hammocks, the only problem was we couldn't sleep at night! Unusually hot August weather forced us home - even with fans going full blast in the room it was suffocating. As we, and others, checked out early, management apologised and told us they would be installing A/C next year.
Exquisitely beautiful place, but be careful when you go and take lots of bug spray/bite cream - the mosquitos loved us!
TripAdvisor Reviews Catalina Beach Resort Zihuatanejo
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