My husband and I had our wedding at SMB on July 29, 2011 and before I can say anything about the resort in total I must rave about the wedding team. I had so many questions when I was planning our wedding and nobody seemed to post anything about that part of the experience. Valeria was our wedding coordinator; she made the entire event feel effortless and the final result was seamless. I am a very “type A” control freak of a person and to Valeria’s credit she was with me all the way and catered to my every request. I went so far as to bring in my own linens and other wedding décor to save money being that the resort must rent linens from an outside vendor and the resulting price is far beyond what I considered reasonable. I bought the linens for around $80 and it would have cost me close to $300 to rent them. We ended up packing a small suitcase to accommodate all of the wedding items along with contents of the welcome bags for our guests. We looked into shipping the items and came to find customs can hold your goods for an inordinate amount of time. It just seemed more cost efficient (both financially and emotionally) to pay to check an extra bag.
We met with Valeria for what took about 1 hour total on our first full day at the resort. During that time we finalized everything and looked at our backup plan should we have bad weather. If you are planning an outdoor ceremony you are able to utilize the ballroom for the reception and the large foyer to the ballroom for the ceremony. Both were perfectly acceptable substitutions in our opinion which we would have been fine with had we needed them. Be realistic with yourself about the chance of getting rained out and how you will respond if it happens. We had a tropical depression in route the days preceding the wedding and were blessed with a cool and gorgeously sunny day among many rainy ones. The following day a bride who had her heart set on getting married on the beach as well as having her photos on the beach wasn’t so lucky and she was devastated.
We chose the Secrets of Love Package and upgraded the ceremony and reception in a few areas that were important to us. The next package up included some of the things we wanted but it also included some things we didn’t care about so we decided to buy the less expensive package and use the money where we saw fit. One upgrade that made our event was the DJ!! Ismael Rojas was the Audio Manager for the resort and his people are fantastic. They had every song we sent in on our must play request list and some of them were by artists who don’t normally perform them. We chose to rent a sound system for the ceremony and use our ipod for the music and they even operated the ipod music for the ceremony; fading the music in and out so everything sounded perfect. The company, AVI-SPL was phenomenal and the DJ himself got all 25 of us up and having a blast. It would not have been the same otherwise and we were all drenched in sweat from dancing. We chose to have the reception on the Gazebo Terrace and we heard from many other guests as well as another bride and groom how much fun it looked. One bride and groom actually changed their reception site after they saw how lovely it was on the Terrace.
We did not choose to upgrade our photography package and we were glad we didn’t. We ended up buying all 500+ photos from the photographer at a mere $450. The photos were far beyond what we expected and where could you get a photo package in the states for $450?
The food at the reception was one of the best meals we had at the resort; we pretty much followed the Italian menu options on the Silver Menu. The tomato bisque was out of this world and everyone still says it was the best dish they ate while at SMB. The tres leches wedding cake was TO DIE FOR! I had no expectations for the food or the cake as we attended a wedding at The Royal Cancun in June of 2010 and while the food at the resort was great, the food at the wedding reception as well as the cake was just okay. Not so at SMB. That cake and the food were divine!
If you are considering a wedding here you will not be disappointed. As far as the rest of the resort I can only echo all the lovely things which have been said and add some of the things I had questions about prior to arrival. My standards are high; Ritz Carlton Buckhead is my standard and in my experience the service at this resort is close but doesn’t quite get it. Most of the things that didn’t meet the mark were resolved if we made a simple request. Our concierge was perfectly helpful and always at our service.
One place we felt the service could have been better was in the restaurants. The food was good everywhere but the service was hit or miss and there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Some nights we got great service and some we didn’t and it wasn’t specific to any restaurant or dining time. We had a number of people with us and the few nights our dinner groups were six or more we experienced very, very slow dinner pace. On one evening we were fading into sleep at the table it took so long for our food to come. Many of our guests dining in groups of varying sizes one evening at El Patio waited as much as 45 minutes just for an appetizer, however on the night my husband and I ate there the food service was prompt and the food was delicious. Actually El Patio and Oceana were my two favorite dining experiences.
This leads to my one truly negative experience at the resort. I got food poisoning from whatever I ate the last night while dining at The Seaside Grill. The service and the food were terrible and I spent the following day while traveling back to the states pretty much incapacitated. It was horrible and I was sick for three days. It was not a great way to end the trip and I haven’t let it ruin my opinion of the resort but I will say we met several other people who also got ill. This wasn’t Montezuma’s revenge, the water was fine and the symptoms weren’t the same. I think it is bound to happen in a resort this size but I could have done without it.
I have read several disparaging things about the gym and I have to set the record straight. The gym is fully adequate. The majority of our 25 guests are avid gym goers. A few of our boys (my husband being one ) are or were competitive bodybuilders. Each and every one of us got great workouts in while there without issue. There are about seven pieces of cardio equipment so if you are a cardio bunny there are times when you might have to wait but I would say only between 9 and 11 in the am. We are early risers and at 8am the gym was perfectly accessible. There are a limited amount of plates for the long bars but with a little patience you shouldn’t have any problems. If you are looking for a facility fully equipped with nautilus equipment you will not find it but there is plenty of equipment to get a great workout and the gym IS air conditioned.
We opted for a swim out suite and it was worth every penny. It was so nice to have the option to hop in the pool upon waking or before bed and we often had a few people back to the room for appetizers and cocktails after the main pools closed and before we got ready for dinner. Room service will literally bring you almost anything you ask for. I highly recommend the caprese salad on the room service menu; we had it almost every night. Ignore any complaints you have heard about the rooms. They are very comfortable.
Overall I don’t tend to revisit resorts but even with the food poisoning I would recommend this resort to anyone. It is a beautiful property with many kind employees. The food is good, the beach is gorgeous and the drinks are not watered down although the wine left something to be desired. We had a wonderful time and our wedding was perfect! It is really a delightful place to be.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is tucked away on secluded Maroma Beach, voted the World's Best Beach by the Travel Channel four years in a row. This unlimited-luxury heaven provides opulence to the most discerning traveler with a pure white sand beach, stunning ocean views stretching as far as the eye can see, elegant suites providing 24-hour room service, daily refreshed mini-bars and several of them with swim-out access to twelve smaller pools plus a shimmering infinity pool, gourmet dining options and chic lounges. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Hotel Playa Del Carmen