Normally a budget, boutique hotel traveler and very familiar with the area, I wanted a luxurious experience for our honeymoon. We married on the beach in Tulum, stayed in a high-end cabana right on the water and topped off our luna de miel with 3 nights at SMB. This was not my first nice hotel but it was my first All Inclusive stay. We chose this resort for the reputation of Maroma Beach, no wrist bands and no reservations required for dinner, the upscale environment and level of service.
We arrived in a taxi and were whisked away in a golf cart. I was grinning from ear to ear because I knew what that meant and I was thrilled to be there. We had booked a swim out suite for a great rate through a discount site but they upgraded us for free to the Preferred Club in building 25 (Most people are celebrating a special occasion so book the desired room, don't depend on an upgrade). Check in was quick, a welcome drink and a cool towel later we were off to our room with our resort discount vouchers. The honeymooners banner, welcome letter offering spa discounts and a champagne breakfast in bed along with a rose and white lily arrangement and champagne and fruit plate were nice touches included with the free honeymooners package. Ipod docking stations in the clock radio (not so great), jacuzzi (ours was hot and had fine pressure), wireless internet, robes and slippers, faux candle lamps, incense and a mini-bar stocked with glass bottles of coca-cola, beer, water and three little bottles of alcohol. Ask the concierge for M&M's and other treats. We loved having a swim out room and felt it worth the extra $30 a night. Second from the end we were not really bothered by people walking by.
Turn down service left a note in the door when our do not disturb light was on. One night the towels were picked up, ironing board put away and the safe shut with a note to call security as we had left in open. We appreciated the procedure and prompt arrival of someone to open our safe.
The Preferred Club offers a continental breakfast spread including yogurt, pastries, bagels, fruit and fresh banana bread starting at 7am. Sandwiches, sweets like tuxedo strawberries and kiwis in the afternoon, hot items like Mahi Mahi or calamari skewers for happy hour and it closes at 11pm. The A/C works great and the three computers have internet and printers. The staff is friendly, efficient and does a fancy set up for limes along with Don Julio tequila. Nice not to have to walk to the lobby for a drink or order room service but I don't know how much extra I would pay for it. There are computers in the main lobby.
Daily Activities seem to be 10 am stretching, 10:30 am Spanish Lessons, 11am Kayak tour, 11:30 am Beach Volleyball, 12 pm Pool Aerobics, 12:30pm Water Volleyball, 3 pm Pool Card games for prizes and 4:30pm dance lessons. Other options vary by day like kitchen tour, bungee trampoline, and Rifle Shooting.
Monday: Circus Show, Stargazing Party
Tuesday: Mexican fiesta, Silent Comedy Show
Wednesday: Idol Experience, Disco Night
Thursday: Grease Show, Night out to Coco Bongo (extra $)
Friday: Drums & Fire, Live Rock Band
Saturday: Ieal Couple game, Night Clun
Sunday: Magical Entertainer, Karoke Night
We skipped all the nightly activities in favor of our pool and jacuzzi.
No problem getting an oceanfront palapa late afternoon during low season mid- September. The beach staff hustles to serve drinks, tip them well please. A beach side food menu is available, just ask. We never walked along the soft sand but did take a kayak out. Calm waters and plenty of space but the beach was not as spectacular as I was expecting, still very nice.
Gets loud and crowded, I can't imagine when the occupancy is higher. Some people hog the floating rafts and others of us shared very well. A staff member did approach a woman who had her shoes on a raft while sitting in her chair smoking after she would not give it to me. I said I would just ask someone else. We avoided the swim up bar and volleybar areas but it looked like they had fun the one afternoon we hung out at the pool. Staff comes around the pool and beach with platters of food around lunchtime. We saw beer battered cauliflower, pork and pineapple skewer, beef tacos, shrimp pizza and ice cream bars being offered up along with a poolside buffet at 12:30pm. The food was decent for lunch and better than I expected all around.
TIPS & FAVORITES:
Coconut and Chocolate Ice Cream from 24 hour room service was the tops!
Sea bass special, creamed spinach and scallop appetizers at Oceana, Mango Tangos and Purple Rains (like an adult lemonade) were delicious. The menu of drinks at the lobby bar look interesting and fruity. I forgot to have a real Cuba Libre with Havana Club Rum as I mostly drink good tequila.
Different flavors of Chilaquiles at breakfast, hot chocolate and Tikin Xic Mayan fish were the highlights of the World Cafe buffet.
Inventive and interesting menu including a salad with tasty fried panella cheese and a lemony grasshopper dressing. Lobster Tacos, creative filet mignon and pork entrees, jalapeno bread and “Tres Leche Deconstructed” and Chocolate Ganache with vanilla ice cream desserts were superb. Don Julio tequila is included but one of my other favorites, Coralejo, is extra.
Himitsu teppanyaki tables require a reservation, we did not dine there.
Phone staff were extremely polite, especially Fransico, “Mrs Wanderer” this and that. I absolutely loved it! Delivery took about 45 minutes as promised all 3 times we ordered. We used the Secrets Box without issue everytime and tipped. On our last night, I wrote a personalized card from the wedding printed with a starfish and Muchas Gracias to thank them for their superior, friendly service along with a starfish favor and a nice tip. We did not hear them and the person who called was very gracious. I really appreciated the service from everyone we encountered or talked with on the phone.
Booked seperate massages at the Pevonia Spa through our concierge for our last morning. We arrived 45 minutes early, enjoyed the hydro therapy circuit and had massages in the same room. They allowed us to use 2 resort vouchers for $40 off each. Enjoyed the showers and products, nuts to snack on and fruit flavored water while lounging around after the massage. I have a spa price menu so message me for information.
Issues from past guests:
Thought the grounds of SMB were lush with flowers and trees, the buildings have some decorations making them not all white concrete blocks. The air conditioning in the main lobby was lacking, not intolerable but not cool like it should be. We were fine in El Patio and Bordeaux. I was told they are looking into upgrading. Our room air conditioner worked like a charm. We kept the window slats closed and the patio door shut to keep the air running. Mosquitos were not a problem mid- September but we did spray before going out of the room at night. We enjoyed dressing for dinner and appreciated the dress code. Jeans are allowed but looked out of place in my opinion and the person seemed to be very hot. El Patio is haute cuisine with a Mexican influence. Playa del Carmen is a safe, fun place to stay or go for dinner and explore the non-touristy areas as well as 5th Avenue.
Broken shot glass in swim up pool, reported to PC check in. Someone only moved it from where I had put it and never cleaned up the remaining glass, we did it ourselves. Lucky we did not get a nasty gash on the bottom of our feet as I had been walking around in that area and then my new husband found it with his feet.
Lax dress code in Bordeaux, woman allowed to enter wearing a printed tee-shirt, capri pants and flip flops.
Tank tops and loud crowd in PC bar, we were dressed for dinner after 8pm.
The sauna and steam room were not working but we forgot to inform the Spa staff.
Steak from the Sea Side restaurant was mediocre.
Quoted 180 MXP from the ADO bus station in Playa del Carmen, only about $15. I had read it was $20 so gave him that plus a tip as it seemed far and off the highway.
Back to the airport, 300 MXP plus tip (about $23+ tip)
Along with Horseback Riding next door at Rancho Baaxal we have fantastic memories of our short stay. It was a perfect length for us as we did enough and relaxed enough. Overall we had a lovely honeymoon splurge!
- 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