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“Disappointing”

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Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Playa Maroma
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed November 20, 2013

This was my second time doing an all-inclusive in the Riviera Maya but my first time at Secrets Maroma Beach. It was the first all-inclusive experience for my fiancé. I went into the trip with high expectations since the resort was highly recommended by my travel agent and has won numerous awards. My experience, however, was not a positive one. We stayed from November 9th to 16th and traveled in a group of 8 (4 couples).

Before arriving on November 9th, I had emailed the e-concierge and arranged for a special romantic dinner on the beach where I was planning on proposing to my girlfriend. The e-concierge was not particularly helpful and even changed the cost ($50 more) of the dinner but he did help me to arrange for a chef to come out at the end of the meal and write the words “Will You Marry Me” onto the plate. I was assured that this was confirmed and in the system and that I would not need to worry about it again. This turned out to be a big nightmare. More on that later.

The trip started out negatively immediately after registration. We were anxious to get to our rooms and enjoy the beach. But instead we were forced into an intro pitch for a timeshare presentation (they called it a membership). The resort made this APPEAR to be a required part of the registration but in fact it was not. We were shuffled from one person to the next and made to fill out forms with our ages and occupations, etc. This was very shifty and made to feel like part of the registration. It was only later that we realized that the actual registration was only the first 2-3 minutes and we were forced to listen to what turned out to be a lying salesman for an hour before getting to our rooms.

In addition, the resort had erroneously thought it was our anniversary. This was particularly awkward because my girlfriend and I were NOT married or engaged and there had been some tension over that fact between us for some time now. So to have the resort staff repeatedly congratulate us on our anniversary was a continued annoyance which occurred repeatedly over the first three days until they finally had it straightened out. I grew quite tired of explaining to staff that it was NOT our anniversary.

The salesman at registration told us that if we sat through a 40 minute presentation during breakfast the next morning that we could get the romantic dinner on the beach for free. He said it was no obligation and if we were not interested after breakfast that we could still get the dinner for free. Unfortunately we fell for this trap. The next morning we went to the breakfast with one of the other couples in our group. What we were told would be a 40 minute breakfast became a 3 hour nightmare where we were passed off from one salesman to the next and made to fill out forms where we provided the same information over and over again. When we were told the timeshare would cost $70,000 and I objected, the salesman insulted me by saying it was not a lot of money and I should be able to afford it. It was all a giant scam. And in the end, I WAS NOT given a free dinner on the beach. It wasn’t until I went into the lobby and began yelling at the staff that they finally conceded and gave us the free dinner on the beach. And then they told me that the dinner I had booked in advance could not be made free and I’d have to have a different type of food.

That night I decided to check with my building concierge (his name was Carlos and he was the savior of this trip! He was excellent!) to make sure that the resort still had the information for the romantic dinner. He said there was no notes in the system for anything about a proposal during dessert. It was infuriating because the e-concierge had told me explicitly that it was taken care of and there was nothing I needed to do once I got to the resort. So I setup the details (again) with Carlos and he assured me that he would take care of everything.

Sunday night I got a call from the front lobby telling me the dinner was canceled. I asked why and she said because of bad weather. I told her the weather forecast looked beautiful for Monday night (which was when the dinner was scheduled) and she told me that the dinner was scheduled for Sunday. After I argued with her for a while she finally admitted that she had her days confused and that I was correct, that the dinner was scheduled for Monday, and that it was NOT cancelled. What a PAIN!

The dinner was scheduled for Monday. That morning the resort lost power and it remained off for 12 hours. During this time we had no idea when power would be restored. It was also clear that the restaurants had no power because all of the lunch was being prepared outdoors on grills. As we sat on the beach we both worried about what would happen with the dinner and if it would need to be rescheduled. Thank god for Carlos. Carlos searched for me throughout the resort and found me on the beach at about 4pm. He signaled for me to come over without alerting my girlfriend and told me he was making sure everything would go as planned and that the power would not affect the dinner. He also said he’d be staying late to make sure everything went well. And, thanks to Carlos, it did. It was the first good moment we had at the resort and I truly do thank Carlos for making it happen. Because up to that point the resort had done just about everything they could to ruin the plans.

Tuesday morning I received a call from the sales people again telling me to come to the lobby to receive two free shirts as a thank you for sitting through the presentation. I said no and we went to breakfast. Mostly because I just wanted to get over that whole fiasco and enjoy the vacation. After breakfast we went back to the room to get ready for the beach and the same salesman called again. I told him to just send the shirts to the room. He said he COIULDN’T send the shirts to the room. Thankfully I was smarter this time and just told him I didn’t want the shirts and I never had to see him again for the rest of the trip. I’m sure if I had gone down there he just would have pitched me more timeshares.

The resort also has a completely ridiculous coupon system. Upon arrival we were given a coupon booklet for various services at the hotel. We were promised $400 in coupons and only given $200 in coupons, but that didn’t really matter because they were stupid anyway. This is a five diamond resort, and I was given a coupon booklet to carry around with me… And yes you had to carry it around because coupons could not be used retroactively. You had to use them at the time you bought things. It really cheapened the entire experience. Their restaurants are five star restaurants. You’d enjoy a fantastic meal with great service. You’d be pressured into buying wine as an extra charge. And then after the meal you are stuck filling out coupons in triplicate and signing paperwork to pay for the wine. It just wasn’t the type of high end experience I’d expect at a five star restaurant inside a five diamond resort. I wouldn’t even expect that at a high end restaurant in the states.

On the subject of wine, there were some problems here. We are not wine snobs, but the all-inclusive wine was terrible and only offered by the glass. To receive a bottle of wine required you to pay an up-charge. And at every restaurant you were pressured by the staff to purchase a bottle of wine. It got tiring saying no over and over. Some of the couples in our group were on their 8th or 9th all-inclusive trip and had been to plenty of resorts where bottle service was included at no charge.

Drink consistency was also a problem. It became quickly apparent which bars offered great drinks, good drinks, and decent drinks. Again this is not typical to most all-inclusive resorts where they will rotate bartenders and have rigid standards on consistency. But at this resort you had to know what sort of drinks to order based on what bar was making it. The worst case was when I asked for a Margarita. This is not a complicated drink. When ordered at the lobby it was one of the best I had ever had. From the pool bar and beach bar it was completely undrinkable. My fiancé ordered Malibu and Coke for most of the week and on several occasions she was given something entirely different than Malibu. So it’s not as if we were asking for anything overly fancy.

The food at the restaurants was extremely good. At first I felt the service was a little slow but as the week went on I came to enjoy the slow and relaxed pace of the meals. On average a dinner took approximately 2.5 hours to complete. That was nice as a patron but terrible in terms of getting seated. The dinner service is between 6pm and 10pm. Unless you get to the restaurant before 6:30, expect an hour long wait. This is because A) all of the restaurants are very tiny and B) the dinners take so long because of the relaxed pace of the service. Also, we were in a group of eight and were told on the first day that the restaurants all will only seat tables as big as six. So if you are traveling in a group, be aware of this. Carlos (our concierge) was able to make special arrangements for us to get tables of eight as long as we ate dinner at either 6pm or 9pm and gave him one day of notice. That being said, one of the restaurants that Carlos arranged for us to eat at did not have the proper reservation. It appears there were some communication issues on the resort’s end. After a brief argument with the head waiter we were able to be seated anyway.

The evening entertainment was great. We saw a comedy show, a rock cover band, a fire show, and a sexy cirque show. Unfortunately for the performers of the fire show, there were some pretty bad sound problems and the music was coming and going and playing at bad volumes. We started to feel a bit uncomfortable for the performers because you could tell it was throwing them off.

We were in a junior swim up suite. I recommend this upgrade as it is really convenient having the pool right outside your room. But I will caution you to BE CAREFUL. The floors in the rooms are completely tile with no carpet. They get incredibly slick and slippery with even the slightest bit of water. My fiancé fell one of the days and hurt herself as well as breaking our camera. After that we were in a constant battle with the maid laying down beach towels on the floor so we wouldn’t slip and the maid removing the towels every day. Also, it was VERY DIFFICULT to get and keep clean pool towels in the room. The shower towels were much smaller than the beach and pool towels. So we would either bring them back to the room our self or ask the concierge to bring some. But every day the maid would remove the clean pool towels and we’d have to go get them again before going into the pool. It was a pain in a room that has its own pool not to have any pool towels every day.

We didn’t have the best of weather but of course I do not fault the resort for that in any way. That being said, the resort did lose power for 12 hours without any explanation to the guests as to why (it wasn’t raining at the time) and without any form of compensation. Even a free bottle of wine would have been nice.

Our minibar was NEVER restocked. By the end of the week it had no more beer and all of the soda that my fiancé liked was gone. And towards the end of the trip the maid staff stopped replacing the water bottles in the room. I had to call room service to get water delivered.

Additionally, our sink and toilet leaked. There was always a puddle of water on the floor near the toilet which was disgusting. On the last day of the trip, the ceiling above the toilet begin to drip water from what I presume was a leaking toilet on the floor above me.

In terms of service problems, on occasional I would ask for a drink or food item and simply never get it. This happened on the beach, in the pool, and in the theater. You would ask for a drink and the waiter would just never come back with it. This was a problem at the restaurants as well. As the Italian restaurant I ordered meals for both myself and my fiancé. I very clearly said we would each be having the Minestrone soup. Instead it was delivered only to me and she was given no soup. In the Mexican restaurant I asked for empanadas with beef and specifically requested no shark meat (which was listed on the menu). Instead we were given empanadas with ONLY shark meat.

Overall, my fiancé and I did have a good time but it was not because of the resort – it was in spite of the resort. The resort is gorgeous and the food is excellent. And overall the staff is extremely courteous, polite, and helpful. But I think there are some major fundamental problems for a resort of this caliber. There are issues with the dishonestly surrounding the sales presentation, the tactics of the sales presentation, the coupon system, the drink consistency, sales tactics on upgrades, scheduling issues, and little problems here and there which all detract from what I’d consider to be a premier experience. If I was going to a Holiday Inn I’d expect a standard experience. But I didn’t go to a Holiday Inn. I spent $4200 and went to the highest rated all-inclusive five diamond resort in Mexico. There are certain expectations that go along with that and the resort fell very very short of them.

We will not be going back to Secrets Maroma Beach or any of the other sister resorts under the AMStar umbrella. We were told several times by representatives of AMStar that Secrets Maroma Beach was one of their premier resorts. After experiencing it firsthand, I’m content to say that it’s not an experience I want to repeat.

Room Tip: We did the junior suite swim up with was great. It was nice having the pool for rainy days so we cou...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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23  Thank MichaelMankus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,766 - 5,772 of 12,151 reviews

Reviewed November 20, 2013

Absolutly fantastic resort. Great rooms, great view , great food and most of all great service. Special mention to Gino, Ceasar, Roberto, Gibran, Fabien, Rafeal, Alejandro, Luce(housekeeping) Fabiola and Andreas. Also Pablo room service Manager. Sorry if I missed anyone. Our 3rd trip to this resort and were looking forward to retuning next year. Thanks everyone. Jim and Johnette

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with AMResorts
3  Thank Arthur James K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E-Concierge S, Public Relations Manager at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded November 22, 2013

Dear Jim,

I hope you consider Secrets Maroma Beach your second home! Thank you very much for submitting your review and give us a five star rating, we look forward having the pleasure of seeing you back soon!

Sincerely,

Romina Pizzuti
Social Media
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2013

The holiday was amazing from start to finish. The service was out of this world and we were completely spoiled. We were only there for a holiday but it felt more like a honeymoon what with the surprise champagne we found in our room on the second day! Completely made for couples from the free photography session to the hammocks that lined the pathways to the pool. The food was incredible - like dining in a Michelin starred restuarant every night! It was just an incredible holiday - the best we've been on, in fact. To describe it in three words would be: Relaxing, indulgent and heavenly!!!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank Katie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E-Concierge S, Public Relations Manager at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded November 22, 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you so much for referring Secrets Maroma Beach as Heaven (there is no better adjetive) We truly appreciate your comments and loved the fact you felt spoiled, that is defiinetely our goal.

I invite you to come back to Heaven any time!

Sincerely,

Romina Pizzuti
Social Media
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2013

We will soon be returning to Secrets Maroma and look forward to your exceptional service and beautiful beach! This is our 4th trip to a Secrets property and truly appreciate your attention to detail and delightful staff.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank samandpedro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E-Concierge S, Public Relations Manager at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded November 22, 2013

Dear guest,

On behalf of all of us at Secrets Maroma Beach we want to thank you for choosing a Secrets brand again! We loved you liked our hotel and hope to have you back very soon.

If there is anything we can do for you, please don't hesistate in contacting me.

Sincerely,

Romina Pizzuti
Social Media
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

I vacationed at the Secrets Maroma Beach Rivera Resort in October 23, 2014.
All inclusive, rooms so clean, bed and pillows are wonderful and so clean, my swim out room so warm and crystal clean, All the food is amazing, shopped at the gift shop in the lobby everything you need, room service is great, room service menu is on the desk in a black book (two sided), margarita pizza at 2:00 a.m. was so perfect, shampoo is great, loved the clothes line in the shower for my bathing suit to dry, room service box are great, ordered coffee with kalua most mornings before going to world cafe for breakfast, my beer in my mini refrigerator was great and when I would finish my room attendant would would add more, my favorite was the surf and turf at Oceanna for dinner (that is steak and lobster), my favorite time is going to the beach early am and taking in all the beauty and ordering a (oyho rojo), I had the best time of my life with my adult children and family, Ladies look beautiful at all times and take lots of pictures on the beach with your bathing suit (Take more than one bathing suit with you and a cover up). bar pool is so relaxing the water is so warm and the drinks and poolside food are amazing the hamburgar at lunch was so delish. Pools are sparkling clean, bathrooms in the lobby so beautiful and clean, art in the lobby so beautiful and all the employees always so happy, they smile, greet you at all times "Hola" all day long and "Buenas Noche for Good Night" and my pleasure. I was greeted to "Welcome Home" followed with a glass of champaign and a moist cloth. I was so touched by this greeting, the people that work in the resort are so humble and even at times called us by our first name and the spa was amazing. My vacation at Secet Maroma Beach Riviera was perfect.
and I did not want to go home. I have the most beautiful pictures of me and my daughters at the beach. Tip: Learn all that you can about this resort and the services before actually arriving so that you do not utilize precious resort time and vacation time trying to learn what they have to offer) to much beauty to waste time trying to figure stuff out). I WILL RETURN SOON.

Room Tip: Swim outs are great (spend the extra money it is worth it) GREAT TO TIP your room attendant daily f...
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank choosewisely2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E-Concierge S, Public Relations Manager at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded November 22, 2013

Dear guest,

I loved the tittle to your wonderful review and want to thank you for taking the time writing it, for recommending the resort to other travelers and for say you will be coming back! We appreciate you giving us a five star rating and loved the fact our people made the difference in your stay!

Thank you for the Tip about learning about the Secrets Maroma Beach prior to arrival, if there is anything you need, please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Sincerely,

Romina Pizzuti
Social Media
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

Overall, I had a fabulous time at this resort! A group of us from Ki'netik Fitness, a health club based in State College, PA, USA, traveled to SMBRC for our annual "boot camp beach vacation," from Nov. 10-15, '13. The resort has wonderful amenities, including direct access to the ocean, a good selection of restaurants and cafes, and a nice variety of offered activities & entertainment throughout the day and night. Two things that could be improved are: 1)the "wait time" to be seated for dinner in any of the restaurants; and 2)the nightclub DJ's playlist; he was good but he played the same music for three nights in a row.

What really helped make my vacation, including the celebration of my 48th birthday (Nov. 12), so special was the resort staff, especially the entertainment staff. This group of hard-working, enthusiastic employees who work from morning through evening really showed great attention to our group. I especially want to say "thank you" to entertainment staff member, and my new friend, Fernando Vega, who helped make my birthday really special, including arranging for the cafe staff to sing "Happy Birthday" to me at breakfast, along with harp accompaniment; presenting me with a Secrets T-shirt signed by all of the entertainment staff members, and then dancing the night away with our group that night!

Room Tip: Stay away from the elevator.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank JenniferHessert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RafaelCordova, Manager at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded December 1, 2013

Dear guest,

Wow congratulations again for your 48th Birthday! and thank you very much for having chosen Secrets Maroma Beach.

I am glad that you enjoyed the time in this paradise and experienced the warmth of our staff, we are very proud of their honesty serving people.

We will take note of your suggestions.

Looking forward for your return,


Rafael Cordova
Resident Manager
Secrets Maroma Beach
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2013

I don't have to say much. This report is absolutely amazing. From the second you arrive to the second you leave, Secrets is just perfect. The Entertainment staff is really what sets this resort apart, along with the over-the-top shows!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with AMResorts
2  Thank Dylan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E-Concierge S, Public Relations Manager at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded November 19, 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for giving us a five star review! We appreciate your comments and we are extremely satisfied you had such a nice experience. If you decide to come back in the future, please do not hesitate to send me an email prior if you have any questions or requests.

Sincerely,

Romina Pizzuti
Social Media
info.semrc@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

Address: Carretera Federal Cancun - Puerto Juarez | Km 306.5 S/N Punta Maroma, Playa Maroma, Playa del Carmen CP 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Maroma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Romantic Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Green Hotel in Playa Maroma
Price Range: $400 - $907 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun 5*
Number of rooms: 412
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

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