It is very secluded, almost like your own private island. The facilities are beautiful and high end. We were met with cool towels and even a 5 minute massage upon arrival. The service was incredible (Thanks again Klyve!) but there are some major issues that need to be remedied before I'll consider returning. Here's a quick rundown of the good and bad:
Lobby/Pool/Bar/Restaurant - all open-air spaces. Clean raked beach and hammocks over the pool. We were one of 4 couples there for the weekend so it was perfectly calm and peaceful. Relaxing swing seats in the bar were fun.
FYI, this is NOT a place for children. There are no children's activities or play areas, no kid's menus, and frankly children would ruin the calm atmosphere that guests are here to enjoy. I'd be furious if I booked an expensive villa and the mood was ruined by children doing cannonballs into the pool. The bugs weren't that bad with the breeze, but the sand fleas do bite if it's calm. There is good Off in the rooms. (There are bugs everywhere in Belize, they do a good job of spraying at El Secreto)
Spa - We had a couples massage in the Ikal Spa Villa and it was very nice. The doors were open to the pool and ocean. Deep tissue meant DEEP tissue.
Food - We ate b/l/d at the hotel for 4 days straight and enjoyed every meal. There are enough options that we didn't get sick of the same menu. The grouper tacos were my fave. The grouper meuniere was spectacular and don't miss the ceviches. It's expensive but we knew this in advance and still really loved the food. Jamie and Rachael waited on us and were so friendly and provided fantastic service. I even had a special dessert for my birthday, which I appreciated.
Room/bathroom - Our room was roughly $600/nt. At that price, I expect every detail to be perfect. The bed was incredibly comfortable, there is a pillow menu, large flat screen, mood lighting and seating area. A stocked mini bar had reasonable prices. The bathroom had a large walk in shower (absolutely heavenly) and a large tub. The outdoor shower needs real walls, not see-through ones! The outdoor jacuzzi was very nice, but it does take about 3 hours to heat up. They have the entire room wired to be operated from one ipod that you are given upon arrival. Great idea if it actually worked, which ours didn't. Our AC was spotty when we got there (room 3) even though I'd emailed a month earlier to double check that the AC was functioning. I prefer a cool temperature at night and for $600/nt the AC should keep it under 75 degrees. But it never did. The second night our AC quit working at 11:30pm. The staff were great and told us it could be fixed the next day and escorted us to another empty Tropical villa with a working AC. (We were given a small compensation, not equal to the trouble of moving.) The next day we were moved to Room 1 after the guests checked out. The AC there was "working," however it never cooled the room lower then a balmy 75 despite being set on 63. Also, we had several strong storms during the nights and the winds really do keep the AC from working at all. I spent 3 nights sweating on top of the covers (at $600/nt). The ipod battery also dies and in Room 1 it would never connect to the system (see photo). Also, the large bathrooms only have a fan, no air handler so the "AC" never reaches in there. The lighting is also not great for makeup application, but that's nit-picking, I'd settle for 72 degrees.
The musical rooms situation wasn't the worst part, however. Our departure transfer was scheduled earlier than necessary so another couple could make their flight. The hotel has 2 nice 23ft open bow boats to shuttle guests to and from San Pedro, about 25 minutes. An afternoon squall blew in as we were in the boat halfway to San Pedro and our traveling clothes, passports, wallets, shoes, etc were soaked all the way through. The open boat is good for nice weather, however this was a complete and total nightmare. We finally arrived at the dock and were told there were no towels on board. We then had a rainy golf cart ride to the airport where I walked in with a soaking cotton dress sticking to me and makeup running down my face and muddy from the golf cart ride. Instead of a peaceful trip home, I had to strip in the airport bathroom, dry off with dirty clothes and change. It was by far the worst transfer I've experienced and a terrible way to end our vacation. The ownership of this hotel needs to provide covered transportation to and from the airport! I'm infuriated that we paid our final bill of several thousand dollars just to be put on a boat and driven into a thunderstorm only to be deposited soaked and miserable for our flight.
So, overall I found this hotel to be overpriced if the owner will not provide covered transfers and AC that will actually lower the temperature. It is a beautiful property, well staffed with gracious people, but the owner needs to adjust those items accordingly before I'll return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Secreto is a unique barefoot luxury resort located in Ambergris Caye, Belize, surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the caribbean and lush tropical views.El Secreto nestles 13 exclusive individual thatched roof villas with a smart combination of contemporary and traditional elements. Fine belizean tropical woods, marbled finished bathrooms with a tandem bathtub, outdoor private jacuzzi and shower patio. All the villas are equipped with a king size bed, a state of the art led lighting system, air conditioning, ipod dock station, LCD TV, mini bar, safe, Melita coffee maker, 400 thread egyptian cotton Vivenda linens and Malin & Goetz amenities.El Secreto Restaurant offers a variety of international cuisine with a Belizean touch. El Secreto is a perfect setting for honeymoons and weddings as well as to celebrate special occassions with a variety of activities for couples to enjoy together such as non motorized watersports like paddle surf, hobbie cat, kayaks as well as bicyclesor simply relax at Ikal spa with our signature hot sea shell massage. . Let us pamper you in this true and authentic paradise to create lasting memories for a lifetime. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Cheap Tickets, Travelocity, Despegar.com, Odigeo, TripOnline SA, Jetsetter and Tingo so you can book your El Secreto reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- El Secreto Belize/Ambergris Caye