Just got back 3 days ago and had an excellent experience at the Maroma Resort and Spa. My wife and I never are the type that would go to the same place twice, but if we ever go back to the Yucatan again, and can afford it, we're going to stay here again. Since everyone has an opinion, I will try to fill the below with more useful information than opinion.
For starters, so you understand where I am coming from, my wife and I make a fairly good living and so can afford to stay in nicer places like Maroma, but we do not make so much money that when we go to a place like Maroma we can just spend whatever we want on drinks, dinner, spa services, etc., without flinching. We like to be spoiled like the rich, but have to watch our money closely once we are in their presence. We generally try to stay in the nicest of places, but our lifestyle usually only allows us to stay one notch below, with the occasional splurge, which is what we would consider Maroma. Accordingly, our expectations may be slightly lower than the elite travelers that no-doubt frequent Maroma.
Economy/Swine Flu - According to Maroma staff, they are currently running at 30% occupancy, and actually have the southern portion of the resort largely shut down, though the ritzy beach-front villas and spa are still open and the pools are still useable. What this currently means is plenty of attention (not too much) from staff, no having to fight for reservations/beach chairs/beds, and a couple of apparent cost cutting measures (but my perception was it generally was a plus for us).
Location - Maroma beach is nice; can't comment on how nice verses other areas on the Yucatan, but the water seems as crystal clear as it could be and the sand is white. Waves are present but small. The resort beach is situated towards the middle of the crescent cove that makes up all of Maroma beach. There are two all-inclusives immediately south of the resort (Secrets and Catalonia; Maroma actually share an entrance with Secrets), and there is an empty lot and a partially completed condo development immediately to the north, with tons more all-inclusives visible in the distance (over half mile away). Playa del Carmen is no more than 20 minutes to the South. As for driving directions, the hotel seems shy to admit that you have to use the same entrance as Secrets Maroma, and so the driving directions they give are not adequate. Get their directions, and then on your drive down, look for Secrets Maroma and that is the gate.
Grounds - Beautiful and constantly being cared for. Maroma cleaned its beaches of seaweed and trash each morning, whereas the all-inclusives directly south did not, and the difference is obvious (and nasty for those at the other resorts). Unfortunately there is a lot of litter that comes in off the water and collects on the beach (if not picked up) and these other resorts had lots of garbage and seaweed on their sand and in their water but Maroma kept its beaches virtually spotless, and picked up items later in the day if the need arose. In fairness to these other resorts, they seemed to amass more junk because of the way the current worked and because they were near a point and behind a reef, as well. But a walk south down the beach and look at these resorts completely affirmed our decision to go with Maroma over any all-inclusive.
Room Choice - This is not a cookie-cutter all-inclusive, so the rooms/buildings aren't fungible or easy to compare. We stayed in Room #6, Ocean View and couldn't have asked for anything more. Ocean View means you can see the water from your balcony, but you don't necessarily have an unblocked view. Our original room was a first floor, and we asked at check-in to move to a second floor, and they accommodated without any issue or delay. In previous reviews we read that second floor was better for bugs and/or privacy, and again, it's kind of a crap shoot. Second floor rooms may generally have more privacy because your balcony is not a patio on the ground, but some of those balconies are directly above the restaurant or bar and actually offer less privacy. A few ground floor Ocean Views open directly out to the beach bar (less than 10 yards). The garden view rooms open onto the pools and walkways between rooms and look like they may be short on windows, but we did not go into one. Room 6 was perfect FWIW.
Food/Prices - For starters, just as with the room prices, everything is hit with 25% of fees, so add 25% to everything below and anything you spend money on at the resort. We booked our reservation through Expedia as part of a package with air travel, and got a discount off the rack rate. As is noted in previous reviews, the food and dinks are expensive, but there are ways to mitigate this. For starters, the food quality was extremely good, and we enjoyed our meals. There is the fancy restaurant, Sol. Entrees run $35+. There is the less expensive, but very nice restaurant (that is really the same restaurant, just one room over), that has basically a Tapas menu ($12 or less each) plus entrees in the $20-$30 range). This restaurant is just as good and seemed more popular, including because you could sit outside basically on the beach. Then you can also eat at the beach bar at least through the afternoon, not sure about the evenings. Great selection of appetizer type foods like Quesadillas, Nachos, Guacamole, for $15 or so, and the portions are fairly large so you can easily share one. Regardless of where you are, beers are $6, mixed drinks and wines are $12+, and bottled water is $6 (except for your room; more below). To keep cost under control, eat your free breakfast (which is very filling), order a late afternoon item from the bar menu and share it, and then just get a few Tapas to share for dinner at the outside restaurant. More advice on saving on drinks below. Again, the food was excellent and of good quality in our opinion.
Service – Every person we met was extremely friendly, happy and helpful, and they made the stay so much better. At the beach, there is the perfect level of service throughout the day; not to much, but there when you need it. You get a free fruit skewer and juice at 11:30 AM or so, and then they bring around free sorbet on waffle cones at 2:30 or 3:00.
Doing it on the Cheap – We took the advice of another reviewer and stopped off at a 7-11 on the drive in and loaded a cooler with beer, bottled water and snacks. I would carry what we needed down to the beach in a bag, and the waiters would actually provide ice buckets to every person on the beach, which they didn’t seem to mind me using for my own beverages. Because I was not buying as much of the resort’s refreshments, I tipped them throughout the day. May not be the classiest, but they didn’t seem surprised by it, and it saved us a ton. I actually could have gone without the cooler, as they also bring ice to your room every night.
Bugs – We read reviews that had us scared of the mosquito situation, as my wife is allergic to them. We found the bug/mosquito situation not bad at all, and worst case, on par with what you get on the U.S. Gulf Coast. As long as you were in sight of the beach, the breeze completely kept them away, and the hotel provides a fancy non-chemical repellant with your room.
Cons – No place is perfect, so I will spell out the few cons we encountered, though for us these didn’t even represent a minor blemish on the trip as a whole: (i) our room had one of those wall-unit type A/C’s that was making lots of noise the first night and started dripping water. Without even asking, we walked into our room after breakfast and they were fixing it the next morning, after having noticed we had placed a trash can under it to collect the drips. It was much better thereafter; (ii) this is the only evidence of cost-cutting we saw; they supply your room with two quart size bottled waters at all times. If you leave the empty bottles in your room, they refilled them, as opposed to providing you new ones, which is a little weird; (iii) at the beginning of the trip, they ask you if you want a tray of coffee/tea/juice on your patio waiting for you in the morning, and the time, and what paper you wanted. They didn’t seem to follow our time, and the paper service was a bit spotty; (iv) getting hot water in the late evening seemed spotty. The hot water was excellent through early evening, but after around 10:30, it was iffy; not sure why, and you could still get warm water, so it wasn’t a big deal.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set among verdant jungle beside a white, sandy beach, Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa is one of Mexico’s top luxury hotels. Here you can start the day with yoga and end with a session in a traditional temazcal sauna. Spend lazy days in ocean and poolside restaurants or stroll through flower-filled gardens where parrots and butterflies perch. Explore some of Mexico’s great heritage sites, dive in mysterious underwater caves or shop till you drop in Cancun. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Maroma Resort And Spa By Orient-Express Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Maroma Resort Spa
- Maroma Hotel Playa Del Carmen