As an adults-only, all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, Secrets Maroma – part of the AMResorts brand – has earned quite the reputation. It has been named as the world’s sixth best resort in its category by CNN, one of the best hotels in Mexico, and once again earned the highly-coveted ranking of an AAA Five Diamond resort. During our blissful five nights stay at Secrets Maroma recently, Joseph and I (along with ten other family members who joined us on this trip) can attest to many of the attributes that has put this resort on the map.
When one thinks of Cancun or Playa del Carmen, one thinks of the pure and soft white sand that leads to the clear and vibrant turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico. That is exactly what you get when you step onto the beach of Secrets Maroma, with the addition of comfortable lounging chairs, tropical straw hut umbrellas, and the unlimited drinks brought to you by hospitable beach boys in orange tropical shirts.
After having spent some time in Hyatt’s all-inclusive adults only resort in Cancun – Hyatt Zilara – just a few months ago, I was very looking forward to once again enjoying countless hours on this beautiful beach. The amazing thing about staying at an adults-only resort is that there are no screaming kids to overtake the calming sounds of the crashing waves. In addition, this particular resort’s clientele seems to be of the older generation, which limits even more loud noises by the guests, as they spent their time on the beach by reading a book, taking naps, or pondering about life’s greatest questions (I’m guessing here). They respect the other guests, and I appreciate that so much.
There are several bars around the hotel. One of them is stationed on the beach with cute swing chairs!
There were days where seaweed overtook the beach, and the image of a pure white sandy beach is completely erased. Reality hits, even in paradise. Sometimes, we would see a truck picking up the seaweed and making the scenery wholesome again, but other days, there were just too many. And yet, as we strolled up and down the beach, going beyond the borders of the Secrets Maroma area, we saw other hotels not even bothering with cleaning up their beaches of the seaweed. We walked back to our hotel, thankful of the efforts that the faculty has put into making our vacations that much more enjoyable.
Ah, another area where I spent countless hours – the pools. There are two main pools in the resort. One is an infinity pool overlooking the beach. The other is right next door, surrounded by lounge chairs and palm trees. You really can’t go wrong with either.
The water throughout the pools is shallow – maybe under 5′. It seems the hotel understands that people just hang out in the pool, drinks in hand, and socializing. They aren’t thinking of doing Olympics swimming. I loved it. So did my friend who is terrified of the water and can’t swim.
Although the pool is not heated, the weather was warm enough that the cool-ish water was refreshing and needed. However, the day after a rain downpour, we jumped into the pool and it was cold!
Unlike Hyatt Zilara, lounge chairs were not on a first-come, first-serve basis. At Hyatt Zilara, guests would get up super early (like 6am) to trot down to the poolside, place a towel and maybe something small of theirs, and go back to bed. They claimed that lounge chair and it’s theirs for the day. Of course, some people would only be using their lounge chairs for a little bit, leave and never come back, denying other guests the use of that lounge chair.
With Secrets Maroma, this wasn’t the case. If a pool attendant notices that no one has been using the chairs / beds, they will remove the towels for others to enjoy. This makes more sense to me, and I’m glad they enforce it. There was never a shortage of lounge chairs to go around, either by the pool or by the beach. Of course, some had better view than others and the best were always snatched up faster.
In true luxury form, there were pool butlers who will bring you anything you want to drink as well as an assortment of pool / beach food. The service is not the fastest, but you’re going to be there for a while anyway. Sometimes, they even come around with premade drinks or shots and passing them out to willing takers. As for the food, if you’re a fan of nachos, they do an amazing plate of them! I could have had just nachos all day, every day. Thinking about it is already making me drool.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Just as there was no shortage of pool lounges, there was also not a shortage of hammocks and various sitting areas to just relax in.
There was even a huge chess set.
Secrets Maroma is a huge property. With 412 suites, over 10 buildings, 13 swimming pools (two public and the rest as part of the swim-up suites), 7 restaurants, spa, tennis courts, night club, there is so much to do. Understandably, a lot of people spend most of their time in the pool or by the beach. This included myself. And whenever I finally got my relaxed self on those awesome beach lounge chairs, it was hard to peel myself off to do the various activities that the hotel includes as part of their hotel fee. Those activities included, but are not limited to: yoga class, underwater spinning class, tennis class, making bracelets, learning Spanish, tequila tasting, aerobics, European bungee jumping, shopping tour of Playa del Carmen.
I was able to do a couple of things. One of them was a jungle tour on bikes.
We met up with our tour guide near the tennis courts. In unfashionable bright orange vests, we climbed on our bikes and rode through the cemented paths that we had to drive through in order to get to the hotel. We made three stops around the area, and our guide explained a few things that made the Riviera Maya forests unique. The tour took roughly 45 minutes, and I thought it wasn’t too difficult. Okay, I was sweating (I think it was more the climate to blame) and a bit out of breath, with some muscle aches afterwards, but considering that we mainly rode on cement, I think it’s an activity many will be able to handle. My favorite part has to be when we rode through a portion where a bunch of butterlies were just fluttering by, and they rode with us!!! Oh my gosh, it was too cool, and almost justified a second jungle tour.
The second: archery.
I’ve always wanted to do archery but there was never a convenient way to do so. If only we lived in the realm of the Lord of the Rings and Legolas was the archery teacher, there would definitely be motivation to try harder, but it also helps that the hotel just provides an archery class in the afternoon! So Joseph and I went, joined a group of 8 others, and took turns of two in using the bows and arrows. The equipment wasn’t in the best shape (I think something was wrong with the bulls-eye) and people kept missing, even those that had archery backgrounds, but we weren’t here looking to win a gold medal. The fun of it was there, and I had a load of fun with it. Even made the best shot out of the group, woot woot! #BeginnersLuck
Because we came here for our wedding weekend, our schedule was busier than when we came for Hyatt Zilara during Christmastime, and sadly, we weren’t able to try all the restaurants that Secrets Maroma had to offer. However, all the ones that we did try were great. The food tasted great, the servers were amazing, and the presentation was spot-on. The alcohol / drinks also felt like they weren’t trying to skimp out on the good ingredients.
Every night, Secrets Maroma seems to put on some kind of an event. On our first night at the hotel, they had a BBQ night out in the field. There was a bunch of comfort food, and of course, bbq, with fire performers putting on a pretty great show. Another night, it was casino-themed in the lobby. There was a Las Vegas sign in flashing neons and various casino games with official-looking dealers. Another time, they put on a magic show in their theater. Another night, they performed The Jersey Boys in the theater. For Cinco de Mayo, they held a Mexican show filled with a bunch of musicians, dancers, horses, and fireworks.
It’s actually pretty amazing how many events they have to juggle all the time! It makes leaving the resort for entertainment completely unnecessary (but if you wanted to, XCaret is a great option).