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“I miss it already...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Secreto

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Hotel Secreto
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Seccion Rocas Lote 11 | Punta Norte, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 35 hotels in Isla Mujeres
Austin, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“I miss it already...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2010

I read hundreds of reviews of this hotel, all the good and the bad, trying to determine if this was going to work for us. In the end my wife and I decided to go for it, and I'm so glad we did.
I was delighted to see that the dirt/shell road leading to the hotel had been paved with interlocking bricks by the time we had arrived. It was apparent that the Hotel has been making improvements both inside and outside as well.
After moving through the heart of Centro we had been assailed with colors, noise, crowds, scents (good and bad) and the moment we walked through the gate to Secreto all of that was gone. The sea breeze blowing through the tasteful lobby and the sound of the surf greeted us. A Mimosa appeared in my hand as Omar talked us through the check-in, and a minute later we were in our room. Centro could have been on the other side of the planet.
The sound of the surf was grand. The sea breeze was perfect. The view was gorgeous and never got old during our 5 day stay.
I had read that the lap pool was too cold to use, so I was pleasantly tickled when I put my hand into it to discover it was warm. We dived in and enjoyed hours in that pool.
The beach in front of the hotel is small, but laying out there on the beach chairs was very pleasant. Topaz water, the breeze and the surf were relaxing. It's not a private beach, but there were very few people out and about (it was the off-season). I don't know how the staff knew I was out there, but they did and checked in to make sure I had what I needed and offered to bring drinks. Speaking of drinks, they are fantastic and very reasonably priced. We were served by the pool, on the beach and in our room during our stay.
Breakfast is as described in all the other reviews. Nothing fancy and a little repetitive after awhile. But we preferred to go out for every meal (don't miss breakfast at the Mango Cafe)
The room was so comfortable I had a hard time deciding where to veg out at times. The daybed on the balcony always won, though. This was probably my favorite feature of the hotel.
At nights we would sleep with the patio doors open for the breeze and surf, but that could result in some humidity that gave me trouble sleeping some nights. When we opted to use the air conditioner it was acceptable, but never seemed to get cold. Be aware that having the doors open at night means you may get a visit from a bat. Our bat was very visible circling around in the all white room. He was only there a few seconds before fleeing. My wife named him Oliver.
The staff was very attentive and helpful. Omar did so much to help make our stay better. Always ready with advice and tips when we asked about restaurants and attractions on the island. I lost a credit card in Centro and he helped me track it down and even sent a staff member over on a scooter when phone calls to find it went unanswered.
We stayed on the second floor and that was a little to low for my tastes. The privacy on the balcony is not so good at that level. Fourth floor is the only way to go if you want to be alone out there.
It's been a long time since I stayed in a hotel that had actual metal keys for the room keys. At first I was a little surprised not to get the electronic card, but in the end the key on a lanyard was much easier to keep up with on the beach.
There was a sewage smell near the gates of the hotel, but it was intermittent and was coming from beyond the property, so I don't know what they could do about it (This problem exists in many placed in Isla Mujeres)
I loved many of the small touches: A dock for my iPhone so we could play our music in the room. WiFi in the room. Dimmers on almost every light switch to help adjust the mood. Glass railings on the balcony so that the view is not occluded. Fresh robes every day. A safe big enough for a laptop.
A little thing that bothered me: There is a step down from the deck around the pool to the deck in front of the hotel. It is difficult to see and I almost took a tumble several times. But I might have just been drunk.
All of the rooms have double floor-to-ceiling patio doors, but for some reason the latches on one side have had the handles removed so that only one door would open. I happened to have a tool with me to open them both so I did. It created a luxurious sense of openness. I saw one of the staff looking at it, but no one cared enough to tell me to close it. (I put it back before the end of our stay)
If you want a beautiful room in which to lounge or use as a home base for forays out onto the island, this is a great place. If you want all the features of the big resorts, or if you want to feel like you never left the USA, this may not work for you.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2010

My fiancé and I stayed at this hotel, which was recommended to us by my office manager. The entire island was low key, quiet and gorgeous. There were families there, but they were staying at other hotels and crowding other beaches. Hotel Secreto is decorated in a modern way, has an infinity pool, and a nice English-speaking staff. The overwhelming sense you have there is privacy. It is perfect for couples. We were there for three or four days, and many times we took a nap on the "bed" on our patio, listening to the waves nearby. You could walk to a nearby beach, or down on Hidalgo street where all the restaurants are. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a perfect escape to unwind and have privacy.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bayonne, New Jersey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2010

My fiancee and I chose Hotel Secreto and Isla Mujeres as a honeymoon location due to the relative value and character we researched online in relationship to other island destinations. Even a cursory review of our stay at Secreto gets the highest marks.

Of the basics, it was clean and well-designed, stylish and sleek without feeling cold. The hotel, especially the room's balcony, seemed like a perfect frame or matte to compliment the natural beauty of the island. It's located a short walk from the town center which was an ideal way to have some remove from the tourist traffic. The room was the right balance between cozy and sexy. We always welcomed the fresh air and light furnishings that greeted our return from the sun and central glass shower was an extra nice touch. After months of work and wedding planning, we slept for 14 hours the first night.

The staff could not have been friendlier or more accommodating and we liked them immediately. The were quick with any request and, as mentioned before, will bring the complimentary breakfast and/or menus from local restaurants. Drinks poolside was a favored activity - the best Mojito I've ever had and a Mango Daiquiri that was like eating the freshest Mango on the planet. More than that the staff was just very cool and we were always glad to run into them in town or had short chats in our basic Spanish. We also met Scott, the owner, a hardworking individual with a lot of great insights into the island's charm and attractions. He's made the island home for his family and, for us, made a hotel that is a fine home away from home.

We visited in the off-season and the room was a great value. Although there was construction everywhere and some restaurants were on holiday or making repairs, we enjoyed the relative calm of fewer tourists and were delighted to discover that our trip coincided with several island events. The annual release of sea turtles from the care of the sanctuary and back into the sea was an island party that took place right behind Secreto. We were also there in time for Whale Shark schooling and the nation's bicentennial celebration. A big party in the town center brought out the whole island and many of the friendly faces we had met during our trip. All said, Isla Mujeres was the perfect place to live simply and have daily adventures together as husband and wife.

Some Basics: Taxis to the hotel from the ferry cost 20 pesos, cabs from the hotel to anywhere on the island were 40 pesos, a bicycle luggage cart walk from the ferry is a tip of about 50 - 100 pesos.

We both enjoyed use of the gym although we could have visited it more often.

It's true that the beach is not ideal for swimming but it can be fun for snorkeling. The pool and hot tub more than make up for this. Playa Norte is a short walk away and the Zama Beach Club is a short drive and resort-style beachgoing.

The hotel was undergoing some renovations which look to include a bar and lounge in the lobby.

We would certainly stay here on a return trip to the island.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2010

I usually look for bargains on lodging, but I'm so glad I didn't let price be the only factor when choosing where to stay on Isla Mujeres. At Secreto, we paid about the same price per night as some boutique hotels in U.S. cities. Secreto is not the least-expensive place to stay on Isla Mujeres, but it is well worth it, and a lovely place to retreat to after spending time on the nearby popular beaches, restaurants and exploring the island. I agree with other reviewers that the pool, with friendly drink service (perfect in the afternoon!) and the private patios are the highlights of Secreto.
The location is great, too. There's no problem walking from the ferry. Although you may find your walk is through the hubub of busy tourist streets, you will find that you are even more appreciative to arrive to a peaceful, cool oasis, with welcome mismosas. We walked to restaurants every night, so we didn't feel there was a need for room service. We never needed to rent a golf cart. One day we walked to the south end of the island (The walk felt longer than we thought it would be, but it is possible! And the giant Sol cervesas at the restaurant at the end of the universe tasted so good. We took a cab home from the south beach.) Another day we rented bicycles from a nice family business at Hotel Carmelita.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Tel Aviv, Israel
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2010

very nicely designed and trendy hotel. rooms are huge and comfortable. breakfast served to your room - very fun. amazing pool with a nice view of the the beach, rooms on the 1st floor have exit directly to the pool (surprisingly, these are the cheaper rooms). room service (or food at the pool) is brought from 2 outside restaurants - very nice. good location at the city center close to the nice beaches and main avenue.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Houston, TX
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2010

Let me begin by saying, I'm not an avid reviewer. I usually only use Trip Advisor to find hotels I want to stay at, but not really to follow up with my take on them. I know, shame, shame, shame.

That said, as soon as my husband and I walked into Hotel Secreto, I knew that I couldn't not share our experience. First, we were greeted with mimosas, as we were checking in, and the news that we would be receiving a reduced rate during our stay. (Mind you, we'd signed a contract that locked our initial rate in, when we made our reservation, so they were under no obligation to give us better pricing, but did nonetheless.)

Next, we checked in and were happy to find a clean, well-stocked room. There's a mini fridge with drinks and enough extra space to store a handful of snacks, a lounge area and a daybed outside, not to mention free wi-fi. If you stay in one of the newest suites (on the top floor), there's a glass shower that divides the bedroom from the bathroom. (Apparently, there are no secrets in Secreto.) Beyond the room there's also a great pool area, hot tub and gym that we took advantage of, as well as a great breakfast that was always delivered very promptly in the AM.

I do have to take a minute to brag on the staff. They were extremely friendly and personable—always ready to give restaurant recommendations, help set up tours and call taxis when we needed them. One evening we also called down for drinks from the bar and half an hour later the drinks arrived. Normally, most people would be annoyed that it took so long, but turns out, the bar had been closed for an hour and the hotel didn't have the ingredients to make the drink, so they sent one of the staff to the store to get it, without ever breathing a word about the inconvenience to us. (The only reason we knew was the next day we noticed the bar hours and asked about it.)

Overall, we had a tremendous time and a very relaxing stay. If I had to share any criticism, I would say that the pillow topper on the bed was a little lumpy (Not enough to prevent us from sleeping well.) and the TV only offered a handful of English-speaking channels (Hello! It's Mexico, so that's to be expected.) Other than that, I would highly recommend it and would definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
143 hotel reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
312 helpful votes 312 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2010

We stayed at Hotel Secreto for 3 nights in early July. We were extremely excited when we read about it and it did not disappoint one bit -- the hotel exceeded our expectations and we will be back!

THE SUMMARY:

The highlights of the hotel are its large, comfortable, modern designed, private rooms (there are only 12 of them), an extremely helpful staff (just the right level, not too pushy, but always around when you need them), a relaxing pool and hot tub that overlook the beach, and a location that is close to everything, but just far enough away. There is tremendous value for your money here and at least during our visit all of the guests were quiet, kind, and respectful that this was a place to relax and not a party hotel (of course, depending on guests, this could change).

As noted in other posts, the beach is not the most beautiful on the island, and it is quite rocky. During our visit almost everyone remained by the pool, but this was fine because the pool and hot tub are located in such a way that you can see and hear the ocean clearly. Unless you are a die hard beach lover that needs to be in the ocean all day, this is not a big deal. There are chairs you can use on the beach if you like, but the pool area felt more inviting. While I noted a few signs of wear that others mentioned, they were small for the price paid easily ignorable.


THE DETAILS:

While we've traveled all over the area, we had not yet been to Isla Mujeres. We forgot how crazy the Cancun airport is after you exit customs with the swarms of people competing for your taxi business. we strongly recommend sorting out your transportation BEFORE arriving -- the taxi to Puerto Juarez (~25 mins where you catch the ferry to Isla Mujeres) cost us around $45 (we haggled a bit, they wanted $65). Even for us global travelers, we would prefer not to deal with these folks again and next time will get something pre-arranged (even if just a driver to the port). People are just aggressive and it is not a nice way to start the journey. There are also around $20/person shared van services, but that will take you up to an hour to reach the port because they stop at all the hotels in Cancun.

Once in Isla Mujeres, you can either take a short taxi (if you have a lot of bags) or just walk to the hotel. The walk is about 10-15 minutes and very easy. A fairly easy way to do it is when exiting the port walk left until the main road ends (you are at the Privilege Aluxes Hotel) and make a right onto that road. Keep going straight for a few blocks (you will pass Convention Center on the left) and the road will look like a long driveway. Keep going to the end and on the right you will see a white hotel with no signage.

When we got the hotel and checked in, we were served a refreshing welcome cocktail after walking around with our luggage in the hot Mexican sun. It was a very nice touch.

The room was great! Very comfortable bed, cool air conditioner, Bose iPod Dock, flat screen TV + DVD player, iron, blow dryer, small fridge, and a sitting area with some chairs and a sofa. Outside on the balcony (which was VERY private from your neighbors the way it was constructed) you have a great ocean view, a large bed you can relax on, and two chairs. We chose to have our free breakfast served here each morning (some people chose the pool) We'd call and they'd have it up in 10 minutes. A few warm croissants, fruit, fresh squeezed OJ, tea, and coffee. It was very nice, and while people noted it can get old after a few days, we loved it nonetheless. If the hotel could maybe just vary the fruit each day it would be more exciting, but of course people would complain about that too!

One difference between the rooms on the second/third floors and the fourth floor is that the bathroom is remodeled. The fourth floor bathrooms are very modern and have a glass shower that look onto the room. Whereas the second and third floor bathrooms have orange tiles and white cement everywhere. It really didn't go with the room.

Also, please be aware that this hotel does not have an elevator.

The hotel has great drink service by the pool (and I'm sure in your room if you want) at amazing prices and with a great level of service. I believe the bar is open 10am-6pm. We had $2.50 beers most of the time. For lunch we decided to ask the hotel for their collection of local menus and they went and got the food for us and served it right by the pool. It was wonderful. We recommend Vinales! Make sure to tip the staff well, they actually went to get our food for us!

The lobby always has towels for the pool. They are also happy to offer advice about things to do. We rented a golf cart for a few hours and drove around the island (we rented from Ciro's very close by for ~$38 from 9:00AM to 5:00PM). It is a great, easy drive, with a lot to see! The hotel has Wi-Fi that seemed to work pretty well everywhere I used it -- mostly in the room, on the balcony, and by the pool. They also had an extremely well equipped gym and it looked like the sauna and spa were still being completed.

We both had 60 min massages for ~$70 from the hotel's therapist. They were a solid good, but not amazing. We supplied the relaxing music (we prefer relaxing music during a massage). I think she should ask how soft/hard you want it before you begin. She was sweet and it was relaxing and we are not sorry we did it.

Lastly, on the main street (Hidalgo?) we also ate at Amigo's which was pretty good and the no-name rotisserie chicken place that looks like someone's house (next to Rooster's) that was delicious! For dinner we ate at Minino's on the dock and had delicious fish. The southern tip of the island was a nice site and the beach club Zama Beach & Lounge on the east coast (near the dolphin swimming park) was very chic if you want a nicer beach to hang out at.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Secreto

Address: Seccion Rocas Lote 11 | Punta Norte, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Isla Mujeres
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Secreto 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Conde Nast Traveler's 50 Best New Hotels in the World. Hotel Secreto is a sleek nine-room hideaway - Santorini-meets-Schrager style. Constantly upgrading, the hotel was renovated in 2005 to include a 20 meter lap pool and an all junior suite lay-out. Designed by an award-winning architect, the hotel looks more like a slick private beach house. Modern touches such as WI-FI and pre-loaded iPods are part of an enhanced poolside service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Secreto Hotel Isla Mujeres
Secreto Isla Mujeres

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