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“Best kept secret in Mexico”
Review of Hotel Secreto

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Hotel Secreto
Ranked #9 of 37 Hotels in Isla Mujeres
Certificate of Excellence
Stuttgart, Germany
Level 6 Contributor
245 reviews
105 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 423 helpful votes
“Best kept secret in Mexico”
Reviewed December 23, 2009

We booked the Hotel Secreto for our five year anniversary. I found the hotel (on trip advisor) and my husband made all the reservations.
We took a taxi from the ferry terminal to the hotel (which is located on the other side of the small island). The hotel is located on a dirt road behind some kind of town activity center. During check in we were greeted with some cold mimosas. Our room was not ready, so we left our luggage to have some lunch down the street on the beach.
Our room was ready after lunch and our room was located on the 3rd floor. The rooms are very spacious with a king size bed (our room). The bathroom is large with a large massage shower. The room has a safe, docking station for your ipod, blow dryer, iron & iron board, TV, DVD player and all the regular toiletries. The room came with 2 robes too! The bed was comfortable (not your regular hard Mexican bed that most hotels have), but the best thing of the room was the view with the bed on the balcony (where we took a nap every day). You could hear the ocean! We were there during the construction work around the pool deck area (I am sure that it is complete by now).
We did get to sit out by the pool on our last day (we were diving the other days) and there was a wedding next door so the construction stopped during the ceremony (very nice of them). I did go into the pool and it was cold (November), but I did swim to the end and loved the view. They are putting in a hot tub at the end of the pool. While you are on the deck the hotel staff will offer you drinks. There is no restaurant on the premises, but they do have a breakfast. It offered toast, yogurt, juice, coffee, tea, fruit and cereal. Which was fine for us, but if you want a big breakfast there are plenty of places in walking distance. They also had trays available so that you could have breakfast in your room (which is what we did every day).
The hotel is quiet and is located at a great location. We were able to walk to our dive shop (right around the corner), Sea Hawk Divers and the beach. The main shopping street was only a 10 minute walk. We rented a golf cart and were able to see the entire Island is about 3 hours (that included a stop at the turtle farm).
The staff was very friendly and even set up our anniversary dinner at the Sunset Grill. If we get back to Isla Mujeres we will stay here! The best kept secret in Mexico.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ScubaCF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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346 reviews from our community

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English first
Boston, MA
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 20, 2009

This hotel actually was more amazing in real life than in the pictures ~ We stayed on the fourth floor in one of the rooms added more recently. There is glass shower which looks out on a large room with an incredibly comfortable king size bed ~ the most memorable feature of the room(s) is a deck outside the room which has a queen size bed and pillows looking out the the turquoise color infinity pool and the ocean below. It is completely private, and we started the day with breakfast on our outdoor bed (hearty breakfast of juice, cereal, yogurt, fruit, toast, and a carafe of coffee) and ended the day there listening to the waves. We loved the service, and especially the margaritas. Take advantage of this hidden gem .... We also suggest the Sunset Grill for outside dining by the ocean (yes, watch the sunset from here) and for a different and lovely dining experience, Olivia's for delicious middle eastern food. Also, if you decide to go snorkeling on the south end of the island, try Garrafon Castilles which is next to and a much better deal than the more commercial Garrafon.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank eyeswideopen2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami Beach
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2009

We had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Secreto from late November through early December. I was there with extended family and our stay couldn’t be any better. I am a repeat visitor to Isla Mujeres. I have been visiting the island for almost 23 years. Hotel Secreto is by far the best hotel on the island if you prefer intimate boutique hotels. The owner and his staff were spectacular the way they took care of everything we needed to ensure our visit was a worry-free and relaxing. The staff were considerate and attentive at all times. They seem to anticipate all of our needs including arranging private car transportation between the Cancun airport to the ferry and shceduling our daily activities.

I have read the previous posts from other guests, but do not worry; Secreto is an amazing place. Yes, there was some minor construction, but the entire crew was incredibly respectful when we were at the pool and did not interfere with our R&R. We were not exposed to any loud banging or construction noises. If there were any problems, the staff went up and beyond to correct anything in lightning speed. Some other reviews have complained that there is no food service at the hotel. However the Secreto staff will arrange deliver from your choice of local restaurants on the island. Besides, it only takes 3 minutes to walk and get food anywhere downtown.

The hotel is sparkling clean and reminds me of a Phillppe Starck hotel in a miniature version. We stayed in rooms 411 and 412 and they were decorated beautifully. I have stayed in almost every room and you cannot go wrong wherever you are. The view was perfect outside our window. Every morning we had a lovely continental breakfast with fruit, tea, coffee and some cereal to start our day off great. We could either eat in the little breakfast area or take it back to our rooms on these beautiful trays to eat on the patio while enjoying the beautiful ocean view.

They have just added a gym that offers more equipment than most of the large chain hotels that I've stayed in. My brother, who had just stayed at Grand Velas in Cancun said that the gym was actually better equipment wise than the gym there! That is pretty amazing for a 12 room property. They also just added an infinity hot tub at the end of the pool that was perfect for the end of the day when you want to unwind. They are in the process of opening up their spa which looks stunning. One day we had our laundry sent out and it was back in an hour, perfect and smelling great!

I think there is a unique type of guest that goes to Secreto. We have met very diverse interesting people from all over the world staying there. All the guests were genuine, friendly and interesting. Soxcxc;me had children and some didn’t. The one common thread is that this guest is looking for something different, low key, tranquil, and beautiful with great service. I cannot recommend Secreto enough to other travelers who are looking for that little special something.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank sbrett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary-Vancouver
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2009

We arrived on Thursday to find the renovations complete and the pool and deck area open with the new addition of a large Jacuzzi tub at the far end of the pool deck. The pool deck now features a glass half-wall and an opening to let in the breezes. The extension of the deck now allows more of the deck chairs to stay in the sun in the lower winter sun. The new entrance to the gym and beach area are now complete as well.
The gym is very well stocked with a variety of cardio machines, exercise machines and free weights. For a hotel with 12 rooms, this is a very well stocked exercise room and include 3 huge LCD TVs playing music videos and news.
A few things have changed…the bar is now gone from below the pool area. You can still order drinks from any of the staff and have them delivered to the pool or your room. This seems to work fine as we have always managed to get drinks in a timely manner. The format for the continental breakfast has changed as well. Instead of going to the breakfast room on the second floor, you now order your breakfast from the front desk and they will deliver a huge tray to your room or pool area. Again, this worked well and the tray was packed with fruit, toast, cereal, yoghurt and all the condiments.
Things that have not changed…beautiful views, huge decks with queens day beds, stylish rooms and the friendly staff. Maybe I have a bit of a bias since this is our 4th time here, but I think Hotel Secreto is still a gem and we will continue to travel the 7 hours to get to here.
p.s. The pool heaters come back on next week…

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ChattyPaddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level 3 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 23, 2009

I just read the "Overrated" review and thought I should finally send this review that I have hesitated in writing. First, I have stayed at the hotel since its' inception. The prior awards and positive review were well-deserved. The place was lovely, serene, catered to a quiet, private kind of traveler and I thought exceptional for the price. The pool area chairs and beds were covered with beautiful terry coverings, large rolled towels in abundance, foliage perfectly maintained, nice quiet beach area, careful attention paid to pretty lighting. In 2008 I stayed and thought things were falling off a bit - the towels were stained, the pool area not maintained as well but still a nice place. My trip this past month would be the last time I would consider staying unless I was convinced it was restored to it's former beauty. I am hopeful because I don't think they would be investing as much time and expense to a spa and gym if they didn't intend to make the rest of the place up to standard and I really do believe the owner is dedicated to excellence. My guess is that they are working around the clock to get this place ready for high season - if that is the case and I find out it's back in line I will continue to vacation there. If the hotel reads this I hope they take a few suggestions to heart:

1. Explain to the guests what is going on with the plans. If this is a first timer there you will not see repeat business, even at 1/2 price.
2. Have the staff follow Victor's lead with how to interact with guests. He was helpful, gracious, offered drinks and food and always made you feel as though he was there to optimize the experience. The rest of the staff is very nice but so "hands off" you feel like a bother when you ask for anything. Perhaps incorrectly following the lead of the very reserved owner?
3. Check in with your repeat customers - ask them how things are, what you can do to improve, their genuine opinion of their stay. It's your best source for good information and will allow you to deliver the message to your most important clients that their opinions carry weight. Most people will just go away and never come back without a word, close to what I consider doing now.
4. Offer repeat customer's an incentive to come back - some special discount, 5 nights with the 6th free, whatever. After the last two stays I for one would appreciate something to inspire me to come back.
5. Breakfast is truly bad - there is no excuse for this. Awful coffee, poorly stocked, tiny selection. Better you discontinue this entirely than have something so poorly executed.

For those of you booked don't despair - the place really can be lovely and I do think they are in the middle of preparations to make the hotel grand again. If this doesn't happen you will see by the reviews soon enough.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank clanky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2009

My wife and I thought this property was overrated.

We stayed during the 1/2 price sale (actually their renovation period), and thought it wasn't even worth it for a reduced rate. Not that we COMPLETELY disagree with the positive reviews below, but more that we felt that they overlook strong negatives in favor of weak positives. I can only believe that people lose their sense of perspective when comparing this hotel to, say, the tacky all-inclusives that are all over the place in Mexico, and ignore the Secreto's obvious shortcomings.

The only good thing was the hotel's decor. Yes, it is well designed and aesthetically pleasing. But that's about it. At the end of the day, you are paying for the decor.

Some notes:

1) Location: Yes, it is close to North Beach. But so is every other hotel on this side of the island. Except that this one happens to be wedged between another hotel whose guests have direct views of your balcony and room, on one side, and an abandoned construction project that is home to families of squatters on the other.

2) Breakfast: After reading the reviews below, I wasn't expecting much, and I resigned myself before arriving to cereal and fruit. We can have a debate about whether that's an appropriate accommodation for an "award winning" hotel. But at the end of the day, if you're going that route, the cereal shouldn't be stale, the fruit should be ripe, and the coffee should be palatable. At a minimum. A poor concept poorly executed.

3) Construction: As I mentioned, we were there during the renovation period. Except that it was advertised as their off-season reduced rate period. I would have liked to have known in advance that, for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, a gang of workmen would be shoveling sand outside my bedroom. Very dishonest. They didn't even look close to done, and I wonder if it is still going on. If so, you CANNOT reasonably be in your room (no sleeping in) or even on on hotel property (eg, no use of pool, no access to beach) during daylight hours. Staff was very unapologetic.

4) Spa: There is a nice looking spa and gym, but the spa part isn't open because they can't get enough electricity to power it. Bad planning I suppose. The gym, when open, is well equipped.

I noticed that this hotel won lots of awards, and the lobby is full of them. Just for fun, when you're checking in, look at how long ago those awards were given. Seems consistent to me with a well-designed hotel that has been poorly managed for some time. As an aside, lots of our requests as guests were denied because the staff couldn't get permission "from the American owner." I hope he's reading this.

Also, if you're going to only light your stairwells with candles, please be sure to light more than one candle for an entire flight of stairs. I almost killed myself.

Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank 8425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2009

This is a really beautiful hotel and if you take advantage of the half price offer it is amazing value! There was building work going on (new jacuzzi by the pool) whilst we were there, but we prefer to go to the beach anyway. The rooms are huge and very nice and stylish. The breakfast was included but wasn't all that great. The hotel's five minutes from the main beach and from the town, so the location is great. I would recommend this hotel - particularly when the half price offer is on!!

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jbbb79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Secreto

Property: 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:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Secreto 3.5*
Number of rooms: 12
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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