Formerly known as Akumal Beach Resort, the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort re-opened its doors December 2014 after a complete renovation. From new flooring and seating in the open-air lobby to the addition of four new guest room buildings with rooftop and balcony Jacuzzi tubs, guests can expect an entirely new resort. Fortunately, the one amenity which hasn’t changed is the fantastic snorkeling which can be done just offshore–guests are guaranteed to observe sea turtles and many varieties of fish, while rays, barracuda, and squid have also been spotted. The resort’s beach is a popular nesting area for sea turtles, and, as a result, guests do need to be careful about respecting marked beach areas and generally avoiding the beach at night from May through early November.
In addition to its stellar snorkeling opportunities, the resort’s views also cannot be beat since most guest rooms have ocean views from private balconies (ground floor rooms have partial ocean views); buildings are within steps of the white sand beach. All rooms are Jr. Suites and include a large sitting room area with sofa, flat screen TV, digital safe, complimentary mini-bar and room service, coffee maker, and standard balcony Jacuzzi tub (fourth floor Penthouse Jr. Suites have their Jacuzzi tub on the rooftop).
Friends vacationing together or teens staying in the same room may experience an issue with bathroom privacy since both the shower and toilet have frosted glass enclosures which only partially close off each of these rooms (there are openings at the top and bottom of the doors).
The only standard amenity which is not included is a radio alarm clock, so be sure to bring along a timepiece or phone with an alarm feature. Guest room building elevators were the final items to be installed–all should be completed at this time. A self-serve laundry area will eventually be installed behind building #2 but there is no completion date yet on that amenity. Since building is still going on next door at the new Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, expect some minor noise from now until November 2015 which is that resort’s expected opening timeframe. Guests in building #1 are the ones most likely to experience any noise factor.
Once on the easily accessible beach, guests will find a long stretch of white sand with man-made bamboo structures providing shade for two loungers each–some mature coconut trees also provide natural shade. Depending on where one is located on the beach, there are one to three rows of these shade structures, but no beach Bali beds.
Most individuals enter the ocean to swim or snorkel by guest room building #1 on the north side of the property adjacent to the new Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya which is still being built. The further south one goes along the shoreline at this resort, the rockier the shoreline becomes. Because of the popular entry spot, it is also more difficult to find empty loungers later on in the morning; late risers should check the loungers in front of building #4 next to the spa since it is only a two-minute walk back. Snorkeling equipment, including flotation vests, can be checked out from the dive shop from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.–be in line by 9 a.m. because this equipment gets checked out quickly and is typically held up all day. Best to bring your own gear.
It is only a few short steps up from the beach to the main pool located by guest room building #2, and this is where guests will find Bali beds. In fact, there are no poolside loungers, only white-curtained Bali beds. The pool itself is irregularly shaped and has three built in-in submerged Jacuzzis (non-heated). There is one separate shallow children’s pool as well. Those staying in other guest room buildings don’t have to walk over to the main pool to cool off since there is a small infinity plunge pool in front of buildings #1, #3, and #4.
This renovated Akumal resort has also expanded its restaurant options to include four a la carte restaurants which don’t require advance reservations, a buffet, a 24-hr. snack bar, as well as a beachfront sushi bar.
There are multiple bars and a temporary bar set-up which is usually parked around guest room building #4, so those spending time at the south end of the resort don’t have to walk back to other central bars. Those concerned about small plastic cups and whether “bubba kegs” are necessary will be relieved to know that cocktails are served in their “proper” glasses.
Since this is labeled as a Wellness Resort, guests can expect a brand new oceanfront spa located at the far south side of the property with its own yoga space, massage treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, heated Jacuzzi, and fitness center. Yoga classes for all levels are offered, as are Pilates classes and Zumba poolside classes.
The Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is family-friendly and therefore welcomes children of all ages. Several amenities are geared towards younger children, including the special buffet section, the separate shallow pool, and the Kid’s Club serving ages 4-12. If teens can be entertained primarily with great snorkeling, paddle boarding, playing pool, and the occasional game of tennis, this resort may be a good fit. After-hours babysitting is offered for a nominal fee.
Those looking for an active nightlife scene will be disappointed since the resort tends to be fairly quiet in the evenings. This may change as management continues to develop their evening entertainment schedule, but at this time there are few late night entertainment offerings. The existing disco/theater stage by the resort entrance is underutilized, but there are several shows being started by the animation team; there is also a mariachi band, and another live band by the lobby bar. Guests who want a livelier late night scene will find more options in Playa del Carmen.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Ocean views from most guest rooms, no dinner reservations needed, snorkeling right off the beach, free WiFi.
Con: Rocky shoreline on the south side of the resort, limited evening entertainment, small pools, limited space to store clothes.
Best Suited For: Snorkelers and divers, families with younger children, those who like a more quiet and relaxed resort atmosphere.
No. of Rooms: 324
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, balcony/terrace with Jacuzzi tub, A/C, sofa, coffee table, ceiling fan, mini-bar, in-room safe, flat screen TV, telephone, coffee maker, robes, iron/ironing board, umbrella, hair dryer, shower, toiletries, pillow menu, 24-hr. room service, and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief outline of guest room categories:
- Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, Adirondack chair and small table on the balcony. Located on the second and third floors.
- Jr. Suite Garden View: King or two dbl beds, two Adirondack chairs and small table on the terrace. Located on the ground floor with easy beach access; partial ocean view.
- Jr. Suite Penthouse: King bed, balcony with two chairs and a small table, rooftop terrace with Jacuzzi tub, two loungers, a small table, and shade umbrella. Located on the fourth floor.
- NOTE: Buildings #3 and #4 are nearest to the beach and quieter during the day, while building #2 is closest to the main pool. Although building #1 is closest to the main ocean entry, it is also next door to ongoing construction at the new Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya. This construction is scheduled to stop the end of October 2015.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: One main pool (no swim-up bar), three smaller infinity plunge pools, shallow children’s pool, spa, yoga area, steam room, sauna, spa Jacuzzi tub (heated), fitness center, tennis court, paddle boarding, dive shop, pool and beach wait service, hammocks, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), theater/disco, self-serve laundry (to be completed behind building #2), gift shop, photo shop, tequila shop, and concierge. There is no ATM yet.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet, four a la cartes including a steakhouse (Rodizio), Mexican (Alux), Asian (Lak iin), gourmet (K’Ooben), 24-hr. snack bar, and beachfront sushi bar. No dinner reservations are required at the a la carte restaurants. Snacks are also available in the lobby. There are several bars including a lobby and lobby area bar, beach bar, snack shack bar, and theater/disco bar. Additionally, there is a temporary bar set-up located by guest room building #4. Bars also serve coffees including espresso, frappuccinos, and cappuccinos.
Entertainment: There is a disco/theater stage by the resort entrance, live band at the lobby bar in the evenings, several shows per week put on by the animation team, mariachi band, one-man band during the daytime.
Website: As of April 2015, the website for the new resort is still being updated. Any questions or direct resort bookings should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.