My wife and I just returned from a wonderful stay at SMB from Oct 29 – Nov 7. We wanted a relaxing, peaceful vacation to rejuvenate and that's what we got. We have previously stayed at the Excellence resorts in Mexico (EPM twice, ERC once) and Dominican (EPC) and with Secrets (Wild Orchid) in Jamaica as well. This review will provide my thoughts on how SMB compares to the Excellence Playa Mujeres resort, which has been our past favorite.
Room : We loved the view we were provided from our 4th floor room at SMB. Without any upgrades we had a view overlooking the pool area with the beautiful ocean in the background. A room at Excellence with this type of view would require an upgrade to achieve. With the staggered configuration of the buildings just about every room at SMB will be pointed towards the ocean. If you are below the 3rd floor this view will likely be hampered by dense vegetation. A room on the 3rd and 4th floor will be golden. The swim out rooms looked nice but didn’t see them get a lot of sun, again because of the vegetation. The basic room itself was very nice with all the amenities. The balcony at EPM is preferable as it was much larger with a full sized day bed for some comfy lounging. The SMB balcony only provided a small seating area. The Jacuzzi tub at EPM also wins here as it was larger and situated at the doorway to the balcony with windows that could be opened to the fresh air while still maintaining privacy. The SMB tub was quite small and shallow and situated in the middle of the room, dividing the sleeping area from the bathroom area. The bathroom layout at SMB wins as there is a little more privacy than EPM if desired. (Bathroom and shower doors are completely frosted) At EPM the sinks were directly behind the headboard making it difficult to get ready in the morning if your significant other wanted to sleep in. Housekeeping was very good at both resorts and both had evening turndown service which tidied the room and replenished towels if needed. The mini bar fridge at EPM was stocked daily with a selection of snacks (M&M’s, Oreo’s, nuts, etc) … not so at SMB.
Food & Drinks: Overall the food at SMB was very good although we did have a few ‘misses’ along the way. The Italian (excellent), French and Oceana were all very good with a nice variety. The Mexican was probably our least favorite. AT EPM there was an excellent tapas restaurant and an Indian restaurant which was a nice change. Lobster served every day (no extra cost) at the EPM Lobster House. At SMB it appeared as though 3 or 4 of the restaurants utilized the same main kitchen so some of the dishes seemed to be more or less the same with a slight twist. We had a couple of instances at SMB of servers who were not the best but maybe they were just new to the job. The breakfast buffet at both SMB and EPM are excellent and both receive top marks. Great! At EPM they also served breakfast a la carte at the Lobster House over sitting the pool which was not available at SMB, and missed. The food at the beach is great at both resorts with SMB probably performing a little better here at the Barefoot Grill. Very good 24 hr room service at both! Overall, if I had to pick … at EPM the food and selection seemed to be of a little higher quality and we always had top notch service at all the restaurants.
Drinks at SMB were good and top shelf liquor could be obtained at some of the bars, if requested, but not at all, and sometimes the supply seemed limited. They would pour high end spirits if asked but seemed to monitor the amounts of the pour very closely. If you ordered a ‘high end’ drink from the beach it seemed as though you might get it one time then back to the generic stuff if you weren’t watching. At EPM they also have the high end spirits if asked. They seem to pour much more freely and after the first round they would keep the same quality/quantity coming without being reminded. The house wines at SMB were acceptable (2 red and 2 white) and there are a couple others you can ask for that don’t seem to be initially offered. Red (Tempranillo) and White (Mexican Blanco Blanco .. very good). I think the wines at SMB were better than EPM. I would however, give overall slight edge in beverages to EPM.
Beach: Hands down, SMB is the winner here!! A beautiful beach with powdery, white sand. Not a rock in sight for as far as you could walk into the water. There was a very wide stretch of sand and more than enough loungers for all. EPM is in a more isolated location and you can walk forever with no other resorts in sight, but the quality of beach does not compare.
Entertainment: The pre-dinner entertainment at both resorts would be comparable, and maybe a little better at SMB. Both have very good singers and musicians playing in the lounge areas each night before the dinner hour. Both resorts have a full schedule of evening shows. The theatre venue at EPM is much nicer and just looks higher end and in our opinion the shows at EPM were overall a little higher level/classier than at SMB.
Facilities: Both resorts are kept very clean and looking good. The landscaping at both is very good but we found the grounds of EPM to be kept manicured to a very high level and the statues/artwork spread throughout the grounds add an extra special touch. A little too much concrete in the main plaza area of SMB for our liking.
Service: From the moment we arrived the staff at SMB were excellent and could not do enough for us and accommodated any requests we had efficiently, and always with a smile. Special thanks to Romina, Gretel and Lilliana for being exceptional to us during our stay. Definitely on par or better than any service we have received at EPM.
OVERALL: I hope this review has not sounded too picky. I just wanted to provide an honest opinion of our thoughts and hopefully give a little insight into both resorts. While Secrets Maroma Beach is a very good resort and we had a great time, I would have to give EPM a slight edge overall due to the few things I have pointed out above. I would be happy to return to either resort anytime.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with BookIt.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity, Hotwire, getaroom.com, Cancelon and TripOnline SA so you can book your Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun 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:
- Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Hotel Playa Del Carmen