Sea turtle lovers and luxury resort aficionados rejoice! The adults-only Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, a five-star luxury all-inclusive resort which just opened its doors Nov. 4, 2015, has a front row seat and easy access to one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Riviera Maya–snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal Bay.
The resort is gorgeous with off-white stacked stone exterior veneers and contemporary details within ranging from exquisite pendant lighting fixtures in common areas to a round double Jacuzzi tub in each guest suite. In fact, all guest rooms are suites and include a sitting room with sofa, ottoman, and lengthy table top area along the wall if one must work while enjoying all that this resort has to offer. I found ample room to spread out all my electronics as well as space to thoroughly enjoy eating my room service orders on three separate occasions (complimentary room service is offered 24-hrs. a day; you can find the menu below in the picture gallery). Try the shrimp tacos–delish!
My stay occurred from Nov. 28 through Dec. 3, and during that time frame not all resort amenities had been opened for public use. As a result, I have no pictures of and cannot comment on the spa, theater, or tennis courts since they were still under construction. According to the information that I currently have, the spa is scheduled to open Dec. 15 while the theater is supposed to open for performances around the same time; there was no definitive opening date for the tennis courts. Lots of construction was still going on in guest room building #9 and beyond which supposedly will contain convention center meeting rooms and facilities. Although not quite ready for total occupation, the resort is still quite beautiful with little disruption to its general flow and serenity.
Although I had originally booked a Jr. Suite Swim-Out, I was given a complimentary upgrade to the Preferred Club section in building #6 (buildings #1 through #6 are Preferred Club with buildings #1 and #2 being oceanfront). This upgrade gave me closer beach access, free guest room WiFi, a larger terrace with daybed, access to the newly opened Preferred Club Lounge which was a stones-throw away at the end of building #4, access to a limited breakfast menu at Seaside Grill, pillow menu, three small in-room liquor bottles of Jack D, white Bacardi rum, Finlandia vodka, a small can of Pringles, a package of peanut M&M’s and a Snickers bar; these items along with a fully-stocked mini-bar were replaced on a daily basis. I did not receive check-in at the Preferred Club, but I assume this will become standard practice for Preferred Club guests once the resort becomes fully operational. I loved my Swim-Out Suite; it was beautifully appointed with double vessel sinks, Jacuzzi tub, king bed, sitting room, and terrace daybed along with a small table and chair. Entering and exiting the swim-out pool was easy with its double sets of stairs, while the water was very warm despite the season. All pools at this resort are heated, including all swim-out pools. However, there is no direct access from the swim-outs to any of the main pools, nor are there any built-in tiled beds.
For those of you who care about the possibility of afternoon sun on your terrace or balcony, be sure to request odd-numbered guest room buildings. (I made a video about my guest room, just follow this link). Probably the only thing I did not like about my room (and the entire resort) were the mosquitos in the guest room’s entryway–they are prolific just in this area. I asked a staff member and they said the mosquitos were especially problematic for the swim-out suites but not for upper level rooms. I noticed while walking around the resort that due to construction there were a number of small pools of stagnant water, and this could be where they are originating from. Hopefully, once construction is complete and the water is no more, the mosquitos will be less in number. Hint: ask the concierge if they can deliver a can of insect spray to your room and then HIDE IT. The cleaning staff removed it from my room during turn-down service when I was out.
Although you may be tempted to spend a lot of time in your well-appointed suite, don’t forget to enjoy the pools once you venture out. There are three pools–the lagoon pool back by building #9 (this pool hosted morning water aerobics and in-pool bike exercise), the main pool, and the beachfront infinity pool with swim-up bar which hosted pool volleyball and afternoon activities. All pools are surrounded by padded loungers and shade umbrellas while the pool concierge will help find you a lounger; wait staff will get your drinks and take your order for poolside lunch. (Ask Raul at the swim-up bar to make you one of his famous margaritas on the rocks–they really are the best I’ve had at any resort). If you want to Jacuzzi, there is a small one by the infinity pool as well as an additional one by guest room building #4; they are not terribly warm, but a nice place to enjoy some bubbles and socialize.
The beach is a very short walk from the infinity pool; once you’re there you’ll want to have the beach concierge find you a padded lounger under a shade palapa while more wait staff will take your drink orders here as well. Honestly, there are so many staff at this resort to cater to your vacation whims–but don’t you expect this from a five-star resort? If the drinks aren’t coming fast enough for your liking, there is always the beach bar for self-ordering. When you’re ready to go into the water, non-motorized water sports equipment is available at the hut just north of the beach bar. There are paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling equipment you can check out. Snorkelers can either DIY, or there are plenty of opportunities to join a guided snorkeling tour for an extra charge (just walk north along the beach and you will find plenty of companies eager to sign you up). If you want to spend the day in your own private cabana, you can always rent one out for an additional charge–they are located on the south side of the resort’s beach area.
Foodies will enjoy this resort since there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy quality dining experiences. There are six a la cartes, one buffet for breakfast and lunch only, a café, poolside lunch, and plenty of room service options. Reservations are not required for dinner with the exception of the tatami rooms and teppanyaki show tables at Himitsu–make reservations with your building concierge or stop by the restaurant at 5:45 p.m. to make advance reservations. I enjoyed Portofino’s homemade pasta and artichoke soup, Seaside Grill’s shrimp tacos, and Oceana’s grilled salmon the best, while Market Grill’s luncheon ceviche offerings were outstanding.
If you can stay awake for evening entertainment there are several alternatives. The venues will probably change with the opening of the theater, but at the time of my visit there was a Mayan cultural show and “Three Tenors” type of singing outdoors by the Rendezvous lobby bar, an acrobatic show by the infinity pool, Texas Hold-Em Tournament by the lobby, while Desires nightclub pulsates with life after 11 p.m. with a DJ and dancing. I did miss some of the shows, but what I saw was of excellent quality.
If you’re looking for something else to do to while away an hour or two, walk north up the beach and take a left to follow the sand path into the quaint town of Akumal. There are only a few stores including a small grocery store, t-shirt shop, and of course, Lucy’s Homemade Ice Cream shop where I ordered a delicious scoop of Oreo Ice Cream in a cup for 44 pesos. Upon returning to the beach area, go straight instead of following the coastline to the right; you will go past Las Casitas Akumal and find cannons at the end of the lookout. It’s a nice walk and gorgeous view across the bay looking back at Secrets Akumal. NOTE: Since returning from my stay, I have read that at some point in time there may be a USD $12 charge being levied to tourists who want to enter the beachfront area from Akumal. If you go into Akumal and head back to the beach, be prepared for a possible fee to re-enter that area. Although the fee has not yet been implemented, visitors may choose to enter the beach area through the dive shop buildings on the left and avoid the situation entirely.
Definitely use the Secrets app; there was an occasion where I needed to phone home and the app with free phone calls to the US and Canada certainly came in handy. Also, I was able to check which a la cartes were open for the day and what the restaurant menus were–such a great service. Be sure to download the Unlimited Connectivity Secrets App–the first one doesn’t have Secrets Akumal listed.
All-in-all, this new resort was fabulous both in its appearance as well as its amenity offerings despite its lack of total availability to guests at the time of my visit. Guest age range varied roughly from age 28-60. It’s not a quiet resort, but it’s not a party resort either. Would I return? If I found a deal I couldn’t resist I would probably try a suite on an upper level. Take a moment or two and enjoy the photo gallery below–just click on any of the thumbnails to get a larger view of the picture.
(The comments in this review are those of the author/reviewer. This trip was paid for in its entirety by the author; at no time were any monies or services exchanged for this review).
Location: 70-90 min. south of the Cancun airport.
Telephone: 1-866-467-3273 (toll-free Secrets Resorts), 52-984-875-7600 (Mexico)
Email: email@example.com. If no response, contact Anabel Sánchez on Secrets Akumal Facebook page, she typically responds within 24 hrs.