The cyclization reaction of an epoxyalcohol is catalyzed by a synthetic cavitand receptor with an inwardly directed carboxylic acid function. The receptor features a hydrophobic pocket in which the substrate is bound and positioned to react in a regioselective manner. The nature of this substrate-catalyst complex and its dynamic properties were investigated by NMR methods and with the aid of a model compound lacking the epoxide function. The kinetic parameters of the cyclization reaction were also studied. A catalytic cycle is proposed and diverse inhibition mechanisms are identified that parallel those encounterd in enzymology.