The adults-only Valentin Imperial Maya resort sits on a half-mile long stretch of white sand beach called Playa del Secreto (the “Secret Beach”) north of Playa del Carmen. It’s a large resort with 540 suites set amidst 37 acres of lush vegetation with most buildings set back from the actual beach area. VIM, as it is sometimes referred to by travelers, is designed in such a way as to make buildings blend in with their natural surroundings as well as to create many areas in which to wander and explore–guests never feel crowded, even when the resort is at full capacity. The use of Spanish Colonial décor in many public spaces gives the VIM a distinguished and classy appearance. This is not a resort for those seeking a party atmosphere; instead, it is a perfect location for couples looking to celebrate special occasions, or those looking to reconnect with one another in a beautiful, gracious setting.
Guest rooms reflect the quiet and serene resort atmosphere with neutral colors, dark woods, and ample room to relax with a separate sitting room area with entertainment center even in the basic Deluxe Jr. Suites. Some suites have an in-room Jacuzzi tub, while other suite categories offer balcony Jacuzzis, access to a pool with a swim-up suite, and beach views and access with the Emerald Jr. Suites. Guests may upgrade to the Privilege Club to receive extra amenities such as full bottles of in-room liquor, the ability to make restaurant reservations for optimal dining times, complimentary lobster dinners, access to the exclusive lounge, and reserved Bali bed at either the pool or beach area.
The pools are a definite highlight at the VIM. There are three of them including the Golden Pool/lazy river (this is the pool for the swim-up suites, but it doesn’t have any current to move swimmers around), a private rectangular pool adjacent to the main pool (this is an exclusive pool for certain suites and Transat guests), and the enormous main pool with its two swim-up bars, fountain, waterfall, and in-pool Jacuzzi jets. There are slatted structures which provide shade on the main pool’s sundeck and some Bali beds and shaded padded loungers, but there are no shade umbrellas here. Shade palapas can be found at all three pool areas.
The resort’s beach, for the most part, has gorgeous powder-white sand set against a turquoise and blue background. This is more accurate on the north side of the property; however, the southern side has shoreline coral and rocks which prevent swimmers from entering the water–it’s best to bring water shoes. Swimming areas are clearly marked and roped-off, while the sports activities desk will check out kayaks and small sailing craft. Snorkelers will enjoy the opportunity to see fish right offshore, but bring your own equipment since there’s a deposit to use the resort’s gear. Shade is provided by the palapas, while Bali beds are primarily for Privilege Club guests. There are two beach bars, and one of them has swings for seats.
Dining opportunities abound at the VIM with no less than ten restaurants from which to choose along with a new snack bar by the swim-up suites. Twelve bars are scattered throughout the property so drinks are never difficult to come by. Entertainment opportunities also await guests with live music and shows, karaoke, DJ’s, dancing, and a sports bar.
Looking for information on the resort from those who have already been there? For those with a Facebook account, there is a separate section with Q and A on the resort’s Facebook page. Look for the “VIM Fan Forum”.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Multiple pools and restaurants, no restaurant reservations needed, free WiFi, snorkeling off the beach
Con: Lack of ocean views from most guest rooms and pools, guest rooms need some updating
Best Suited For: Couples celebrating special occasions, destination weddings
No. of Rooms: 540
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, balcony/terrace, A/C, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV (not all are flat screens), two telephones, DVD player, alarm clock radio with iPod dock, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, umbrella, robe and slippers, hair dryer, some suites have tub/shower combos while others have separate showers and Jacuzzi tubs, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, and complimentary WiFi. Here’s a brief rundown of room categories:
- Deluxe Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, single sink, tub/shower combo. Most rooms are located in buildings 3-5, while several are also in buildings 1 and 2. Garden view.
- Silver Jr. Suite: King bed, in-room dbl Jacuzzi, separate shower, dbl sink. These rooms are located in buildings 1 and 2 and are closest to the main lobby and restaurants.
- Golden Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds on the 2nd floor of buildings 6-8, king bed on the 3rd floor of the same buildings, Jacuzzi tub, dbl sinks, bidet, pillow menu. Pool view.
- Golden Jr. Swim-Up Suites: King or two dbl beds, dbl sinks, bidet, Jacuzzi tub, pillow menu, two loungers. There is a section of grass which separates the terrace from the pool. Pool view.
- Emerald Jr. Suite: King bed, in-room tiled Jacuzzi with panoramic view, bidet, dbl sinks, pillow menu. Located in beachfront in buildings 9-14. Due to beach vegetation, beach views and beach access are not guaranteed.
- Diamond Suite: King bed, sofa bed, two armchairs, dining room table, large balcony, some suites have an outdoor Jacuzzi, bathroom Jacuzzi, dbl sink, pillow menu. Privilege Club amenities are included. Located in corner units of buildings 1-5.
- Imperial Suite: King bed, sofa bed, two armchairs, dining room table, large balcony with Jacuzzi, two bathrooms (one with a dbl Jacuzzi), dbl sinks, pillow menu. Privilege Club amenities are included. Located in corner units of buildings 2-8.
(Privilege Club Amenities)
This is an upgrade–some suites already include the amenities as part of booking a guest room; guests may purchase the upgrade for an additional cost. It includes the following amenities:
- private check-in/out
- pre-arrival concierge service
- early check-in/out subject to availability
- access to the Privilege Lounge with concierge service, top-shelf liquors, afternoon snacks, and computer use
- tailored mini-bar with full bottles of in-room liquor
- in-room sparkling wine upon arrival
- restaurant reservation option
- reserved Bali bed at the pool or beach
- complimentary lobster dinners
- beach bag
- in-room fresh flowers once per stay
- fruit platter and petit fours once per stay
- daily newspaper
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Three pools (main pool with two swim-up bars, lazy river, and private rectangular pool), spa, sauna, steam room, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis/paddle ball courts, bicycle tours, motorized and non-motorized water sports, dive shop, sports bar, theater, pool and beach wait service, resort shuttle, cigar bar, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, car rental, ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet (Le Marche), eight a la cartes including Italian (Il Olivo), French (L’Alsace), Japanese (Ginger–teppanyaki show tables and sushi bar), Indonesian (Taman Sari), Mexican (La Hacienda), seafood (Mar), steakhouse (Tierra), and the Lobster Pot ($). A la cartes do not require reservations with the exception of the teppanyaki show tables at Ginger which may be reserved through a concierge the day of the planned dining experience (by 8 a.m.). There is a lobby bar, two swim-up bars in the main pool, two bars at the lazy river, theater bar, cigar bar, sports bar, martini bar, and the bar in the Plaza Espana area.
Entertainment: Nightly stage shows, fire show on the beach, sports bar with karaoke, live music, DJ/dancing in the Plaza area at night.