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“Great beach but terrible pool”

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Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Playa Maroma
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed July 21, 2009

This is an excellent hotel and resort but there are a few serious issues that prevent it being described as 'brilliant' or 'awesome' as some have done. Others have pointed these out but let's list them here.
The pools are too small. There are rooms for 900 guests and only two narrow pools right next to each other. There is nowhere at all to go and have a quiet/romantic leisurely read or dip because of the incessant musics (yes musics) all playing at once from the installed speakers, the aerobics or yoga, and the rednecks with their own iPod docks. It's a constant 'Pool Party' atmosphere which is good for a bit but there's just no escape from it. The rest of the extensive grounds are wasted on a wide open concrete 'baking tray' where you could cook yourself in the sun. No shade and no pool other than the brown artificial 'river' water feature (six inches deep).
Lack of toilets by the pool. This led to the worrying observation that the crowds of Texans hanging around the swim up bar, knocking back beers all day while a whoopin' and a hollerin' were never observed to get out to use the facilities...
Air con in the hotel and restaurants was inadequate (though the room AC was OK). Hot and sweaty while eating inside. Devoured by mosquitos if you ate on the terrace.
Noisy party type hotel with large groups arriving intent on getting drunk on the unlimited All-Inclusive alcohol. We had to complain one night after a group 'partayed' well into the night right outside our window in the swim-up pool. Swearing and screaming while discussing inane topics. This hotel is sold as 'the ultimate in luxury' and a 'romantic spa hotel'. There is only pool party, all day and into the night.
Not enough loungers on the pool or beach. And, if you did get up early enough to nab a pair, they were uncomfortable! Seriously uncomfortable and nothing like the mattressed double beds that the other resorts all seem to have. There are no mattresses for the loungers. None. You have to just lay on your towel on the plastic. Not luxurious.
These are serious issues for a hotel sporting the mission statement that this one does. However, there are some good and excellent aspects and these are:
The beach is unbelievably fantastic. The hotel beach is great but walk south for a mile and you arrive at Maroma beach proper. The walk takes about forty minutes and is one of the nicest walks you could have. Astonishingly, we were virtually alone each time we did it. The lagoon between the Mayan Reef and the shore is just breathtakingly beautiful and the sea is very warm.
The food was very good. Always at a high standard and with a decent amount of choice, though it did get a little repetitive in a two-week stay. Steaks were very good and the shrimp choices were always excellent.
The staff are friendly, especially if you don't forget their expected tip, and the pool and beachside service was excellent. Constant attention and anything you wanted brought to you. They set up a barbecue type buffet every lunchtime and this was a great addition as you could just eat by the pool or beach on your lounger.
We've been to the Riviera Maya twice and would go back again, but not to this hotel.
Happy hols!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank abigdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10,968 - 10,974 of 12,787 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2009

I am officially addicted to SMB. My husband and I took this trip to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary early.

We flew Delta from Buffalo NY and it was a very pleasant flight. We booked through the Road Less Taken Travel Agency with Beau and Carol and got a very good rate. They use Cancun Transfers and I highly reccommend them. It was wonderful being rescued by Cancun Transfers as we walked out of the airport into the maize of Taxi Drivers and time share guys. The transfer was totally stress free.

We were upgraded to a Preferred Swim-up room which was absolutely beautiful. Our concierge Rosy was not only beautiful but knowledgeable, helpful and sweet. She had great reccommendations for room service, helped get me padding for my Tequilla I bought at the Tequilla Tasting (more on this later), helped make reservations and had suggestions for our massages and I could go on forever.

We had a bottle of champagne chilled and waiting for us. We never had a difficult time getting a chair at the pool. Floaties could be a premium but the hotel staff kept an eye out on Floaties that were not being used and retrieved them for other guests. It was great floating up to the swim-up bar and ordering a drink just to cast off again while sipping your favorite goodie.

The pool was beautiful. My husband had a wonderful time time playing volley ball with Alex (Alejandro). Alex is charismatic, fun and a great member of the Entertainment Staff. He is a great singer too. The buffet by the pool was good however, if you weren't up for the buffet or mammoth hamburgers they make there, you could get an order from one of the open air restaurants.

We spent most of our time at the Beach. We ordered room service most mornnings for breakfast so we could get a jump on the day. We were usually up and ready for breakfast before the World Cafe was open. I do agree with other reviewers in that I would have liked small table and chairs for room service as opposed to a desk that I didn't use. The room service was always delivered within 30 minutes and the staff would always ask if they could come in to deliver and set up the order. I never tried the privacy button when we ordered so I really can't attest to the use of the secrets box. --Did I mention that the lights in the pool and fountains change during the night and give a nice ambiance for a romantic stroll.

The room was beautiful and I really liked the pillow menu. There was plenty of room for clothes and toiletries. They do have an open bathroom concept so if you are shy you really need to think about this. It really didn't bother us. We did enjoy the jacuzzi which could be considered small if you are very tall but my husband and I found it very cozy and romantic. We enjoyed the swim up. It was gorgeous at night with the different colored lights in the water and the lighting on the terrace.

We went to the Tequilla Tasting and I loved it. Fernando was so knowledgeable about the different tequillas - I bought 3 of them. Fernando also managed Portofinos and did such a great job.

We went to Himitsu, Porofinos, the French Restaurant and the Mexican Restaurant. Portofinos and the Mexican Restaurant were our favorites. The food was very good. Overall, I ate and drank too much but it was all so good!!

I read a great deal of comments and questions from men on dressing for the restaurants. My only comment is that this is a special resort and dressing appropriately for supper is the right thing to do. A pair of light pants, closed toe shoes and a shirt with sleeves and collar is all that is needed. I did see a few men with jeans on and they looked so un-cooth and overly warm. If you don't want to dress then go to a resort that is down scaled so you can dress sloppy.

The Beach is the most beautiful that I have seen. There is clear white sand all the way into the ocean. The water is calm, turquoise blue and clear to see all the way to the bottom. We had no problem getting a palapa but then we were up and out on the beach by 7 in the morning. The staff gave my husband a lesson on sailing a hobbie cat and we had a blast with them. (My husband did break his toe accidentally while sailing them but it was purely an accident - they ar every safe!) They also have kayaks and a daily kayak tour. There is a trampaline on the beach that the Entertainment Staff have going every afternoon. They have it set up with a bungie so you can do flips on it. There is also a small beach buffet there. We did walk to the Grand which took around 25 minutes. The Grand's beach is okay but it is bordered with rocks and the water was much rougher. It didn't look like there were many people there as the Palapas were very empty.

I would suggest that the bar by the beach be openned in the morning for coffee and/or specialty coffees that other resorts have.

We did go to the Lobby bar for tea time and for a drink - very nice. We also attended the nightly shows. The Entertainment Staff is very talented. They did a special show for the guests. Some highlights were the Mayan Show, The Fire Dance Show and their version of American Idol.

We had massages at the spa and it was the most relaxing and special time to share with each other.

We had a wonderful time and didn't want to leave. We will definitely be going back and hopefully friends will accompany us. Thank you to all of the staff for great service but a special thanks goes out to Rosy, Alex and Fernando; SMB Management give these folks a raise or bonus - they deserve it. They are among your best and talented staff!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank ZetababePa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2009

I traveled to Secrets Maroma 7/4-7/11. We were in building 24 fourth floor. Awesome view of the resort and beach. Buildings 25, 26, 27 on this side of the resort are the preferred club. There is a separate check in and building for the preferred club. Our room was very nice, clean and comfortable. We wished the ac would have been a bit cooler but decided it was probably because we were on the fourth floor.. it was fine. It was very hot and sunny every day!! The resort itself was pretty busy I thought... I would say at least 60-70 percent capacity but there was still enough pool/beach chairs for everyone.

The pools are great and the beach was just perfect. I am a beach person so we enjoyed swimming in the clean warm ocean, taking the catamaran out was fun. There are also kayaks for you to use. all included.

If you walk the beach one way you can see other hotels, the catalonia is right next door and then the Maroma Beach hotel. Both seemed to be oddly empty since our resort was not. If you walk the beach the other way its a quiet awesome walk and no hotels which is nice.. hope it stays that way.

The staff is just wonderful at this resort. Everyone went out of their way to make your stay the best. I can't say enought about them.

The food was very good. Breakfast buffet was so great and for lunch they have an outside buffet by the pool which was great or sometimes they cooked right out on the beach which was also very good.

The restaurants were very good and we had a chance to eat at all four at least once. If you eat outside just bring the bug spray they give you in your room just in case... outside can be buggy at night.

We met some great people at this resort... hi to Tony and Jean and Renee and Jeff....

Oh yes and great job Fernando the Tequilla somalier -- the tequila tasting was so much fun and everyone walked away learning something they did not know about tequilla. So interesting!!

The spa was also VERY nice. It was expensive but we had a coupon and ended up paying $40 for a 25 minute massage and then we could use the facilities at the spa all day. It was SO awesome. Go... it was worth it..

We would definately go back...

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank lkonvaca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2009

What an incredible resort. The beach is postcard perfect. The service first rate at every turn. My wife and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and from the moment we arrived, manager Rafael Cordova greeted us and had us in our rooms in just minutes. Our top floor room had an amazing view. The ala carte restaurants all came as advertised and we never waited more than 15 minutes for a table. Service was crisp and the wait staff were all courteous and in some cases very entertaining as well. The entertainment staff did a great job and were never intrusive or pushy. The resort guests included many couples and honeymooners, a singles place this is not. But if you're in love, or hope to be, this IS the place.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank vicvino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2009

My wife and I just returned from 9 wonderful nights at Secrets Maroma. We had an absolutley wonderful experience in every respect. The beach is the best I've ever seen in Mexico and second only to Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos of the dozens of beaches we've visited over the past 30 years. The most accommodating staff and management we've every experienced and we've traveled Mexico and most every island in the Caribbean multiple times. The place was spotless, the food outstanding, the service at pool and beach top notch. Top shelf liquor in most every bar. I'd say the resort was at around 60% occupancy due to continued travel concerns over swine flu. Anyone who finds fault with this resort has to be impossible to please. Sure, Maroma is priced higher than the other 2 Secrets properties in the Playa Del Carmen area, but having stayed at all three, it is most certainly worth the extra expense. We stayed in building 27 which is Oceanfront and part of the Preferred Club. Our maid service was outstanding and we used room service on only one occassion but found it to be great as well. We dined at every restaurant other than the French Bordeaux and found each to be just incredible. WE NEVER HAD A SINGLE EMPLOYEE WITH A BAD ATTITUDE. Fernando and Anna at the beach were great waiters and I just can't say enough about the management of this place. This was our second visit to the resort and we had the chance to visit with both Eric the General Manager and Raphael, the room manager. Both were very professional and very accommodating to our requests and suggestions. Overall just a great vacation and we can't wait to return. Seemed to be a great number of honeymooners and so it was a younger and active crowed overall. However there were guests of all ages in ample numbers to allow you to make vacation friends if that's your thing. During our stay I'd say the crowd was about 65% Americans, with the balance being from Mexico, or Europe. Just a tremendous stay. If you get the chance, try it out. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed in Maroma. We didn't try the spa, so I can't speak to its quality.

Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
5  Thank Dan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2009

We've stayed at many all-inclusives in the Riviera Maya area and Secrets Maroma is our favorite so far. The staff were so friendly and professional, the resort gorgeous, the rooms spacious, comfortable and clean.

The pools were gorgeous - plenty of loungers but shade snatched up pretty quickly. We go to Riviera Maya for the beach and this beach is amazing. Although the palapas were quite full by the time we made it down to the beach, we were able to find one each day. The beach staff came by about every 15 mins to see if we needed food or drinks and the kitchen staff came around throughout the afternoon with snacks. Lunch buffet by the pool was convenient if you wanted to eat but not get dressed and sit down in the restaurant. They also cooked on the beach each day.

We found the food to be better than all of the AI resorts we've stayed at. All are indoors with outdoor dining areas with the exception of Oceana and Seaside which are poolside.

Something you should know -- if you are staying in this area during summer, bring your mosquito spray. Although the resort sprays each evening, they are everywhere. One night they were so bad we had to cut our dinner at Oceana short as they were all over us.

The pools for the swim out rooms were a nice touch -- but know that they are not the least bit private if that is what you are looking for.

The spa is fantastic. They offer specials each day and you can use the other spa amenities for as long as you'd like before and/or after your treatment. If you don't book a treatment at least check it out. It's beautiful.

There is a small gym with cardio equipment and free weights.

Bring some CD's as you can play them through the speakers in the room. There is also a docking station for your iPod on the alarm clock.

We did tip for good service which was each and every time. They do not expect it - we were always thanked for the tip.

One last tip -- you can purchase bottles of wine through room service. We tried at the lobby bar and they told us full bottles were only available at the restaurants. Called room service and it was their pleasure to accommodate us.

Overall, we had a very relaxing and luxurious stay at Secrets Maroma and will definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TexasMellie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2009

My husband and I stayed at SMB from July 7-14. It was the most perfect vacation imaginable. I did extensive research and struggled with whether this resort was the best choice for our 5-year anniversary trip, and it most certainly was.

ROOM:
We booked a Partial Ocean View Junior Suite. One week prior to arrival I emailed the lobby concierge (lobbyconcierge@secretsmaromabeach.com.mx) to express our excitement of celebrating our 5-year anniversary with the staff at SMB. We were not expecting an upgrade nor nervous about which room we would be assigned, for we knew any room would be beautiful. Upon arrival, we were upgraded to a swim-out room. It was fabulous. We did not originally book a swim-out room because we didn’t think we’d use the swim-out pool. We were completely wrong about that. We spent time in our swim-out at least once a day and found it as the perfect reprieve from the sun and/or noise from the large pool. Plus, seeing the sun glisten on the water every morning was the perfect way to start each day.
POOL:
There are two large pools separated by a concrete path and chairs. One pool is for the active: volleyball, water aerobics, water polo, pool bar. The other pool is closer to the ocean and much quieter. We sat on the quiet side of the pool so we could overlook the ocean; however, we often went in the “active” pool to play volleyball. There is another shallow water pool (less than 1’ deep) with chairs for couples who seek complete privacy. Whatever your mood, there is a place for you.
The pools do get a bit noisier late in the afternoon. Some individuals brought small speakers connected to their iPods and played music in the area where they were sitting. Other groups got noisier from the many drinks they were consuming. The pool was its quietest from the early morning through lunchtime.
You will NEVER have to leave your chair or spot in the pool for a drink. The servers come around every 20 minutes or so to offer another beverage. Also, food and ice cream are brought around during lunchtime.
We ate the pool lunch buffet every day. Everything was fresh and delicious! A few days they served paella on the beach which was also very delicious.
BEACH:
Gorgeous. Powder sand, turquoise water. You can take a nice walk in either direction (right for privacy, left for views of other resorts).
ACTIVITIES:
There are activities through Aqua World (located under a palapa on the beach) including kayaks and Hobie cats. Both activities are free; however, the gentleman working for Aqua World work solely for tips. We took a 20 min. Hobie Cat lesson and then went out on our own twice. It was very nice. Bungee Trampoline is available each day on the beach around 3:00; that was a lot of fun. Aqua World has another palapa by the pool offering excursions. We did scuba diving for the first time which was a great experience. If you choose this activity, ask for Jaime (Jimmy) to be your instructor in the pool; he was fantastic.
GROUNDS:
Beautiful. There are vibrant flowers, tropical plants, palm trees with coconuts, iguanas (that don't bother with the people), bright colored birds, and beauty everywhere you look. The resort is large enough that you can find many places for privacy, but small enough that you don’t have to walk far to get to restaurants, the beach, or the theater.
If you visit SMB during mosquito season (spring & summer), be prepared with bug spray and itch cream. The little buggers will get you.
FOOD:
Fantastic. We enjoyed all our meals. From the presentation of the food, to the timeliness of its arrival to our table, to the hospitable servers, to the varying options on the menu, we were completely satisfied with every meal on each day. Also, breakfast is amazing!
SERVICE:
Phenomenal. We brought $200 in ones and fives for tips and found that it wasn’t enough, for we wanted to tip everyone. Every staff member with whom we came in contact was hospitable, pleasant, and made us feel very special. There was not one individual on our 8-day stay who didn’t treat us as though we weren’t special.
The entertainment staff (Kathya, Alex, Fernando, Marcelo) are tons of fun but don't pressure you to get involved if you're not interested.

You absolutely must visit Secrets Maroma. It is a spectacular resort with a little bit of everything for everyone. We’ve already begun saving for a return trip next summer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like any additional info.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank janetnoel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 Luxury Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Romantic Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Green Hotel in Playa Maroma
Price Range: $415 - $988 (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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