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.
- 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