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Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Playa Maroma
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed November 4, 2010

My husband and I wanted a relaxing vacation and after doing extensive research, decided to spend 1 week in Mexico at Secrects Maroma Beach. We had pretty high expectations based on all the positive reviews and I was somewhat expecting to be disappointed in some way. I've never posted a review of ANYTHING but I really wanted people to know about this place.

The resort is beautiful, clean, well manicured, and very relaxing! We literally spent hours on the beach just staring at the amazingly turquois water with the powdery sand beneath our feet. The pool area is fantastic as well. Its not so big that you feel lost but not so small where you have to hunt for a good spot--perfect size. Beach side and pool side service is the best!

We ate at all of the restaurants, even the lunch buffet at World Cafe, and Coco Cafe (coffee shop) as well as ordered room service several times. We enjoy fine dining and do so regularly back home so we did not know what to expect from an AI as this was our first time at an AI.

Overall, We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the abundance of options, and presentation. To be perfectly honest, not all dishes were 5 star caliber but most, particluarly the grilled seafood dishes, were excellent and deserving of 4-5 stars every time. The only disappointment was the Asian restaurant (Himitsu) as the sushi and other various asian dishes were below average. However, we didn't really expect Asian food to be excellent in Mexico (plus we are Asian and have had the best of the best in Asian food in the US and Asia so it would be unfair to compare). The guests around us enjoyed their food though so it's just a matter of taste for each person. Even the food served poolside and Barefoot Buffet was tasty. Room service food was great as well (better than room service in most non AI hotels I've been to)--go ahead and try it--you've already paid for it :)

The portions are smaller but that's because its common to order appetizer, soup and/or salad, entree, and dessert. I prefer the smaller portions in order to try more items!

We're not big drinkers so can't comment too much in this area. I usually had wine with my dinners (the house wines are good, bottle service available for additional charge) and some frozen drinks by the pool/beach. My husdand drank Coronas. Its true the mixed drinks are not strong (I can tell and I'm a light weight) but you can alwasy ask them for a double or premium liquor. Keep in mind they have to try to please every palette so be reasonable with your expectations.

I really enjoyed the adults only atmospehere--no kids crying, making a mess, and no frustrated parents yelling at them! I love kids but I don't want to worry about them on vacation. Vast majority of the guests were couples --I don't think I saw any non-couples such as groups of girls or guys. This type of place isn't geared towards non-couples so I wouldn't go here w/o a significant other. From the softly lit grounds to the daily turn-down service, this place was meant for relaxation and romance.

The most memorable part of our trip was the exceptional service we received from everyone. From the minute we walked in to the minute we left, we alwasy felt taken care of. We brought $200 in ones for tips but ended up using about $150. I know tips are included but what does it hurt to show some appreciation for people who work so hard and try their best? Plus, the few dollars means a lot more to the staff then it did to us--total in tips costs less then a 50 minute couple's massage but means so much more to them. Also, I did not notice a difference in service from the staff for those who tipped and those who did not. I'd say about 1/2 of the guests tipped.

We spent 1/2 a day the the spa--its beuatiful and the hyro pools and suanas were relaxing. Our couples massage cost $195 and was not great--still nice and relaxing but it felt more like a nice rub down then a massage. I don't think my massuese got any of the knots out (or even knew how to feel for knots?). I guess it just depends on who you get. Spa staff was very nice though.

We did 1 excursion, the Jungle Tour by Aquaworld who has a representative on the resort so you can book there. For about $70/person (including taxes of 11%, and park & dock fees), we were provided transport service to Cancun where we spen about 20 minutes on individual wave runners going througn mangroves and channels to our snorkeling destination. We snorkeled about 45 minutes (lots of fish and our guide "caught" a small octopus and lobster) then rode the wave runners back through a differecnt route. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it if you want to leave the resort.

We watched only one show--Grease and it was ok. Don't expect Vegas or Broadway but they really try so its endearing. What was fun was when they set up a huge TV on the beach with grill and full bar on the beach for Game 1 of the World Series. All this made watching the Rangers lose more bearable. We meet a couple of knew and hangs out with Cliff Lee persoanlly so my husband got a kick out of that.

Other than the excursion, we did not leave the resort at all. There was no need too--doing nothing but relaxing with a loved one was amazing and much needed!

As advised by previous reviewers, we declined the time-share tour of the hotel even though they offered $100 in resort credit. I heard from those that did get sucked into going that the time share is $60,000--not sure on price OR what the terms are so don't rely on this too much!

Our hotel room was very clean, comfortable, and luxurious. We did not have any issues with bugs or temperature control or the bed (it was just right--not too soft, not too hard). Just a note for those who don't know, the water system is different in Mexico (differs from city to city in the US much less in another country) and sometimes it appears to have a faint copper-ish colored tint. I didn't use the jacuzzi tub in our room just to be safe but hubby did and he's fine.

I hope this review helps you decide. Don't worry aboout the weather this time of year--we stayed the last week in October and all the reports said it would rain the entire week but it only rained for a few hours our first day (and in the middle of the night a few times but you're sleeping). Rain moves quickly in this tropical paradise so don't worry about it!

We can't wait to go back and defeinitely recommend this resort!!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AAlovestotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 4, 2010

I have a few suggestions:
Courtsey phones by pool and in lobby
More hooks in bathroom for wet clothes
A band to play 50's thru 80's music starting around 8pm
Not depending on lite outside room for service. We had to call lobby @ 9pm to have our room cleaned.

  • Stayed: October 2010
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Thank mlupold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2010

Overall, you can't find a better resort for the price. Food is fantastic, everything from the breakfast buffet to steak and lobster for dinner. Top shelf liquor is generously served, and your glass never seems to go empty. Rooms are serviced twice a day and the turndown service in the evening is really great. 24 room service via the "secrets" box was used on multiple occasions and really is a nice touch. Last, but not least...the beach. If you could picture the perfect beach in your mind, this would exceed your expectations...from the flour-like sand, to being able to see fish swimming all around you in the turquoise waters...it truly is the best. Also, don't forget to try a couple of their nightly entertainment shows. We saw a ventriliquist who was actually pretty funny, and the American Idol show in which the winner got a free vacation to Secrets Maroma. Anyway, stay here and have the best vacation you can imagine with no worries...thousands of positive reviews can't be wrong

  • Stayed: October 2010
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Thank Themilkmaann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2010

This hotel was an "easy" beach vacation. It is 30 minutes from the airport. The beach in the Maroma area is much better than the Mayakoba or Playa del Carmen beaches. This resort has great rooms and accomodations (make sure you get a room with a moat!). Tons of honeymooners were there. There is entertainment at night that is fun. We went with friends and this was a perfect set up. No checks to split! Drinks were plentiful (a little too plentiful) and the food was good. The service was top notch (as always in Mex). Would I come back here? yes! For an all-inclusive, this is a nice one with a great beach. Email me any questions.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank cheryl5418
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2010

Secrets Maroma was amazing. We stayed at Sandals Antigua in May and felt like we were trapped at Disney World. Secrets was COMPLETELY different. Though there are 413 rooms and they were at 80% occupancy the property felt like it was closer to 40% occupancy. The service was PERFECT. Everyone is friendly, helpful and nice. Roberto, our concierge, rocked! I am very, very picky and this property has very little room for improvement. Food at Sandals was horrible (5 out of 10) but Secrets was a solid 8 out 10. The rooms are fabulous and housekeeping does a good job. We had a swim-out and loved it. The only weakness we found was the spa which needs to be renovated in some areas. The beach is like sand (and prettier than Bora Bora) and the pool is fabulous. Go! You will love it.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank NoelNick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2010

We stayed at Secrets Maroma at the end of October 2010. We had a wonderful time - we are truly missing our beach chairs, but we felt there were some things that fell short of our expectations given the price we paid and the hype from some of the reviews. I will go into these items below. As a frame of reference, we have stayed at Dreams in Cabo, Secrets Capri and have had two trips to Excellence Playa Mujeres.

Our round trip transportation to and from the resort was included in our package and was provided by Best Day. We had to wait at the airport for some others to gather in the van, however we were the first stop, so we didn't have a long trip to get to the resort - about 30 minutes. Our trip back to the airport was a private SUV.

Hands down, the beach at this resort is beautiful. The water was an amazing color and the sand was soft powder well into the ocean - no rocks or sharp edges. One day while relaxing on the beach, I felt like I was in a dream. This image is going to have to get me through the upcoming winter! The beach is truly the absolute best thing about this resort. The service on the beach was very good.

While the water and sand were amazing, we felt that the beach chairs were way too close together. I know this sounds picky, but the palapas seemed to be built taller than we were used to at other resorts, so the shade from the palapa was not really close to where the actual palapa was. So if we sat near someone who wanted to be in the sun under their palapa, but we wanted to be in the shade, we were practically sitting on top of the other guests. I'm sure part of this is a result of the time of year we traveled since the sun is lower in the sky - you can't really blame the resort for that! But the palapas were close together and typically had 4 beach chairs under each palapa. We felt this kind of ruined the romantic atmosphere when we had to sit close enough to others to hear their conversations, etc.

We stayed in a preferred club room on the top floor of building 26. This was a very good location and we had a great view of the ocean as well as the pool. The only down side to being in this building is that we did not have a view of the sunrise from our room. For that view, I would recommend staying in the building on the opposite side of the resort in building 16. The room is what we expected - very clean, having the expected amenities. Having visited Mexico resorts before, we were used to the open bathroom setup with the frosted glass windows on the shower and water closet. The water spray in the shower was average - I guess we have been spoiled by the showers at Playa Mujeres. The bed was comfortable, the pillows were OK, a bit too mushy, but we didn't lose sleep over it. The balcony was not very comfortable. The bench out there is a built in cement love seat type chair with cushions on it, so it's not movable. The tub was kind of a waste of space - not really big enough to be able to really enjoy, and not very private.

We were surprised that the preferred club rooms had mini bottles of liquor rather than the full size bottles we have seen before in the Excellence Club at Playa Mujeres. The mini bottles were Wyborowa vodka, Bacardi rum and either Grant's whiskey or Jack Daniels. We aren't big drinkers, so this wasn't a big deal for us, but we noticed the difference. The fridge was filled daily with water, soft drinks, Corona, etc.

On most days, our room did not get made up until close to 4PM, and we were typically out of our room each day by 9AM. We only had turn down service one of the nights because they'd come by around 7PM and slip a note that if we wanted turn down service, we had to call and ask for it since we had the "do not disturb" button on when they came by. We didn't feel like we should have to call for the turn down service, so we didn't bother.

The free in room wireless internet worked for our Macbook, however we could not use it on our iPhone or iPod touch. I know we didn't come to the resort to be on the computer or email, but we had certain things going on where we needed to maintain connections. When we asked the concierge about the wireless not working on the iPhone, he said that sometimes the iPhones don't work with the wireless (huh?). We were able to connect the iPhone to wireless in other areas of the resort, so I don't know why it did not work in the room. The other thing we learned is that the resort blocks VOIP type services, so the iCall app I had on my iPhone that I intended to use to call home for free would not work. This is probably the same for Skype or any of the other similar services so you're forced to buy the resort's expensive phone cards. We felt this was really annoying, especially when they advertise free in room wireless internet and we felt the blocking is just a way to nickel and dime people. Uncool.

We thought the food was good - not great, but not bad either. I liked the fact that they had the Barefoot Grill where we could pick up something to eat without having to put our shoes and cover ups on. The breakfast was ok, but we thought the breakfasts at Playa Mujeres were much better. I was disappointed not to see any chorizo and few Mexican choices, but instead there were greasy sausages that one would find in a fast food restaurant.

One night at dinner, we ordered scallops at Bordeaux, which were raw. When we didn't eat them, the waiter asked if something was wrong, we told him why we didn't eat them. He came back and said he talked to the chef, and that's how they cook them in Mexico. I guess everyone in Mexico has much stronger stomachs than we do, because there is no way we were eating uncooked scallops. We liked the food at Portofino, but it wasn't consistent. We also tried Himitsu and thought the food there was pretty good as well.

We didn't think the overall layout of the resort was that good. The chairs around the pool were really packed together, even more so than the beach. There were sides of the pool that had large rocks instead of pool chairs, and while it looked nice, they could have used the space to spread the chairs out a bit. We looked at the photo of the resort on the Secrets website when we got back and it's hilarious to see the sparse pool chairs in that photo. Also, there is a lot of wasted space for the fountain that runs for a good portion of the length of the resort. We felt that this would have been better utilized as a full blown pool rather than the shallow pool that was in place. Given the size of the resort, things could have been spread out more so that everything isn't all crowded together with other areas of dead space with nothing going on. However, the gardens and grounds were impeccably maintained. While the resort boasts a lot of pools, they count the swim out pools, which are only accessible to the guests who have the swim out suites. Some of those seemed to be more private than others, but we didn't see anyone swimming in those pools the entire time we were there. The main pools were kind of busy, with quite a bit of drunken activity by the pool bar.

Overall the staff and service were excellent. The one thing that irked us was the constant pestering to attend what we assume was time share seminars. The first morning we were there, a woman from the preferred club called the room at 8:30AM to ask us to come and get our $200 resort coupons (which are useless - more about this below). Fortunately, we were up and out of the room early so the call didn't wake us. When we visited the preferred club later that day, we asked about the coupons and had to sit through the woman explaining to us about "a new program" they were starting for about 1/2 hour. Then she wanted us to sign up to come down the next morning to enter into a drawing for free stuff. When we didn't show up the next day, she kept calling our room asking us to come down. This was pretty annoying. We didn't come on vacation to get a sales pitch, we are already paying to be there on vacation! The coupons really aren't worthy anything. They have to be spent in increments toward items that are already overpriced - seems to be just a ploy to get folks to buy extras.

Given the prices in the spa, we did not use the services. I did overhear some others (because the chairs are so close together) talking about how much they enjoyed the spa. We have used spa services at other resorts, we just didn't feel the prices were justified.

While my review may seem to be on the negative side, i've tried to hit on things I haven't seen in other reviews and to provide an objective point of view. I would recommend this resort to friends, just for the beach alone. If you book this resort, you will have a good time unless there's something wrong with you, and you won't go hungry. We're usually the type of people that don't sweat the small stuff. We just felt there were a number of things that when combined, made our rating fall below our expectations given the premium the resort charges and the perceived caliber the resort is supposed to be. There's a possibility we could be convinced to return to the resort if the price is right, but for the money, we'd probably try some place else. I think the resort is definitely worth at least one visit just to spend time on the beach.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank playabum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2010

My husband and I did a lot of reseach before selecting our Honeymoon destination. We had a budget we needed to stick to and wanted to get the best bang for our buck! Our travel agent selected 5 resorts that met our criteria and I read a lot of reviews, and checked out all of the websites and Secrets Maroma Beach was the one we both agreed suited our style. We decided to upgrade to "Preferred Club" because we really wanted our trip to be special. We were not let down. Everything was wonderful. We loved our room, it was comfortable and relaxing. We had breakfast every morning at the International Cafe, and lunch by the pool....most days we hung out by the pool or the beach. We did do an excursion through Apple Vacations and even though it rained half the day we were not let down! Everything about our trip was exceptional! My husband played pool volleyball everyday, but other than that we didn't really get into the "entertainment" that the resort offered. We enjoyed playing ping pong and having cocktails in the evening. There were a lot of honeymooners there, a few "rowdy" groups there for weddings, and couples on anniversary trips.
Our only let down was that our travel agent arranged for us to have a "Romantic Dinner on the Beach" our concierge called us at 4p.m. called us to tell us it was going to be cancelled because of weather but we would have it in the French restraunt. We didn't get to sit at a special table, we weren't told if we could order off the regular menu and we weren't very satisfied with our dinner. BUT I know that is just a minor gripe, I was just disappointed!
We even took a day trip to Playa del Carmen to explore and shop. We felt safe the entire day.
Also for anyone wondering about Preferred Club, we thought it was worth it. We loved going to the Preferred Club lounge to have a drink before dinner, and also were able to use the computers to check in with our families. And they always had yummy snacks available! And we had a great view!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank travelgirl922
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 Spa Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Romantic Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Maroma
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Maroma
#4 Green Hotel in Playa Maroma
Price Range: $416 - $1,230 (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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