If you want to truly appreciate Secrets Maroma we recommend you stay at a three star hotel first. Two dear friends of ours got married on July 4th at a very swanky expensive resort in Playa del Carmen. We couldn’t afford to both go to the wedding and stay at that resort so we stayed at a barely 3 star place a short walk down the beach. By the second day Blonde was practically tearing her hair out at the brunette roots because the place fell so far short of what she considers to be acceptable. (Luckily the wedding was beyond fabulous and we mostly hung around the high falutin’ property like poor cousins.) The day after the wedding we sped off to Secrets Maroma where we lived happily, if not forever after, for the next 3 days.
Why Secrets Maroma?
We chose Secrets Maroma for several reasons. The primary ones were:
We never book a place without obsessing over the TripAdvisor reviews and they were superlative for this place. There were lots of nearly fawning comments about the property and offerings. We were really struck by how consistently the friendly, helpful staff were mentioned. As we have learned in Abu Dhabi and elsewhere luxury is more than physical surroundings; without friendly people it just isn’t luxury for us.
Beyond the written reviews there was also the fact that this is a AAA 5 star rated property. A lot of people are skeptics about Trip Advisor (we have our own system for using TA to eliminate that issue) so if you doubt it, AAA’s ratings can be a guide. They’re done using unannounced professional inspectors who use the same published criteria for all properties. They don’t mark down a property for bad weather or other things beyond the resort’s control. From their own data sheet:
- “Five Diamond establishments represent just 0.3 percent of the more than 58,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated establishments (more than 28,000 hotels and nearly 30,000 restaurants).”
This is not an inexpensive property but it’s one where you know what your cost will be when you make your reservation. Our rate included all of our meals, our alcohol ( we only had wine and beer and drank the resort’s house brands), room service, a personal concierge, our room, entertainment, tips and free long distance phone calls to the U.S. and Canada. (We were tempted to stay in the room and just call friends for 3 days but then realized we don’t have that many friends).
Obviously if you insist on a premium “beverage”, get massages and go on day trips it will cost more but we didn’t do those things. (We did draw the line at Mexican wine after one taste. Uh uh.)
OK, not all adults exhibit mature behavior but the odds are at least higher than with children where you don’t even have the right to get mad when they act childish. At Secrets Maroma the squeals are most likely coming from some of the high contingent of honeymooners and not from overly-excited, poorly supervised children in a swimming pool.
We went to another resort on Maroma Beach quite a few years ago and had very fond memories of the beach. It is also consistently rated by Travel Channel and others as one of the 10 best beaches in the world. We like clear water, and smallish waves that are fun to play in and Maroma Beach has both. However, this year it is plagued by seaweed. This is affecting all of the resorts on the entire Riviera Maya region and it’s undeniably yucky. At Secrets they were working very hard to remove it and make the beach nice for guests but it’s hard to beat Mother Nature at her own game.
Unexpected pluses at Secrets Maroma
We have been going to this part of Mexico for over 20 years and the caliber of entertainment has improved at an inflation rate only exceeded by Donald Trump’s ego!
One night we caught the last few songs of a group of singers billing themselves as Il Divo. They obviously aren’t the real Il Divo but, hey, it’s Mexico and we don’t go around enforcing copyrights as part of our vacation activities. Listening to them (for no extra fee) out in the warm, slightly breezy night was really lovely.
The last night we were there we saw that they were setting up tables all around the pool and a sort of acrobat jungle-gym thing in the pool. We were intrigued but Blonde is as horrified by buffets as she is by Black Widow spiders so first we went to dinner in a different location on the property then over to see the show.
This wasn’t a brilliant move as the Aqua Dance (Aqua Dreams?) troupe was excellent. They had acrobats, dancers, lights and music and we were just two short people standing behind the crowd craning our necks when we got there. So if they’re performing when you’re there get a table and do the buffet.
The dining options
Because of Blonde’s aforementioned buffet phobia she has a dread of all-inclusive properties. However, we never had a buffet meal other than breakfast which was very comprehensive, had beautiful fresh fruit and even a violinist to try to get people into good moods before their coffee took effect.
We ate at Bordeaux (good food but teeny tiny portions) and Portofino for our dinners. If we ranked them against top rated meals we have had around the world they would’t be at the top of the list. If we rank them with meals we’ve had in Mexico they win, hands down!
Who we think would enjoy Secrets Maroma
- People who just want to go somewhere and chill out and be able to have a one-stop experience.
- Couples, friends and families (but probably wouldn’t be great for solo travelers).
- People who like high-end big cruise ships as it’s basically a land-based version of a similar experience.
- People who like the “Easy Button” of having everything figured out for them and all they have to do is get there and then do what appeals to them.
Who we don’t think would like Secrets Maroma
- People who insist that they’re “travelers, not tourists” and want to “go local” with their experiences. This is a high-end resort that is located in Mexico. It does not in any way represent the average life of a local Mexican. They would probably wonder why anyone would want to live the way they do, but we know some people who insist that they do.
- Donald Trump
FCC Disclosure: To our great annoyance we actually paid to stay here! However, we did receive a good press rate.