Trip report: The Catalina and Z in general

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Escrito por Rob in W. Linn, OR desde (?) el día miércoles, 17 de mayo, 2006 a las 18:12:20 horas :

Got back last week after 14 days in Z and 6 days in Troncones (I’ll do a super-small report on Troncones separately). Green light at customs (4th trip and I've never seen a red light yet), US $29 for the taxi trip (a complete racket) and I was at the Catalina in no time. I recognized Celso at the front desk of the Catalina from Curly's photos and said "Hola, Celso". He surprised and impressed me by greeting me by name (was I the only one arriving that day?). I was quickly checked in and whisked away to my room by Philaberto, a human mule that carried both of my suitcases and my laptop bag down the many, many steps to my room. I have a few minor complaints about the Catalina that I'll air first: I opted for one of four "small casitas" (room #12) at the Catalina. While I expected the room to be simple and "quaint", I didn't expect to find mouse poop in my dresser drawers (I never actually saw Speedy Gonzalez in my room, or should I say his room!). The level of cleaning the staff did on my room was suspect at best, as well. They had a habit of coming in and cleaning the room and taking all the towels, only to replace them several hours later. There was no phone in my room (to call the front desk, housekeeping, bellhop, etc.). I assumed that there were no in-room phones until all the other guests reported that they had phones at their disposal. The four small rooms also proved to be light on privacy and allowed a bit too much noise (neighbor's conversations) to be heard. None of these things actually bothered me much; I just thought some might want to know. My biggest gripe about the Catalina is how at 5:30 PM they take the lounge chair cushions, regardless if you’re in mid-slumber. I would have stayed down there longer nearly every day, but the cushion is crucial on those wood-slatted chairs. I hope they will review this practice and instead have an employee come down at dusk for the daily cushion roundup.
On the positive side: The Catalina was "quaint" and offered the charm I expected in an older property. The grounds are well maintained and clean. The hotel restaurant was quite good (particularly the shrimp tacos!) and reasonably priced. My room was very close to the beach and pool and only several dozen stair steps away from the sunset bar and restaurant. The staff was exceedingly friendly and helpful at every turn. Celso is by far the friendliest of the front-desk staff. Eva, the owner is great as well. I’ve forgotten his name already but the beach bartender was super. My daily routine was basically to wake up around 8; go to the hotel restaurant for my free breakfast; go to the beach from 10 to 5, usually ordering a small lunch on the beach; hit the sunset bar for “2 for 1’s” from 6 to 8; go for dinner either in town or on the beach; bed by 11. One of the greatest things about the Catalina was the other hotel guests I met. I met many great people and made many great memories. To sum up my experience at the Catalina: I will stay there again! On my next visit, however, I’ll opt for one of the rooms with air-conditioning and most definitely not one of the small casitas. Everyone’s impression of a hotel is unique and I’m merely sharing mine. Again, I’m glad I chose it and was sad to leave her.
Regarding Zihua in general, I loved it! This was my first visit to Z after 3 trips to Peurto Vallarta and Z won my heart. I have no idea what the two cities populations are, however, Z feels much smaller to me. I really didn’t do much “touristy” stuff while there. I did go on the Picante sunset cruise one evening, however. $50 US felt a bit spendy to me considering the food they provided was definitely short of a real meal. Unlimited drinks and a friendly staff helped make up for this shortcoming. I ate at many different restaurants while in town. None of them knocked my socks off but a few were pretty darn good. Tamales Any is definitely worth a visit. It was inexpensive and quite good. I had two different tamale dishes and they were both delicious. I had a very good meal at Rossy’s on La Ropa one evening. The upstairs area provided a great view of the bay and would have been very romantic, had I not been alone. Elvira’s and La Perla were both visited several times and were just “okay” in my opinion. Caprichos was a bit highly priced but the atmosphere is great and the food was good although the portions were a bit small. Well, that’s about it. Z will stay in my heart until my next visit!

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