SECRETS AKUMAL, Riviera Maya
I absolutely loved this property! I’ve stayed at or toured dozens of resorts in Mexico/Caribbean over the years, and this is now my favorite (more than any of the other four Secrets in Mexico I’ve stayed in, or any Couples or Sandals, etc.). My primary reason is the overall layout, and the gorgeous, lush vegetation, palm trees, etc. While the property is somewhat spread out, the greenery made it seem smaller and more private. There were numerous walkways between buildings and restaurants, many that were “covered” with branches and vines. The three pools were all large and surrounded by palm trees, so much more attractive than massive expanses of concrete, as is so often the case. Although I’m more of a beach than pool person, I really liked the Quiet Pool, which had soft background music playing, plus the way it was configured, curving around trees, etc., again made it seem more private.
BEACH: this was another plus for me. While not nearly as long as Maroma, it was long enough to have a nice stroll, under a mile long, and the sand is nice and firm, so you don’t sink in with each step. I also enjoyed seeing the local fishing/snorkeling boats and a few families (since Mexico beaches are not private). The best part is that you can snorkel right off the beach, and there is an area of coral that attracts numerous fish. Some guests saw turtles feeding in the grassy areas off shore, but unfortunately we did not (possibly due to hurricane stirring everything up). If clients are avid snorkelers, I recommend Yal-Ku Lagoon, right down the road. Don’t know the entrance fee options, as we didn’t visit this time.
DINING: Unless you have a Preferred Club Room, the only breakfast option is the Market Café (buffet). It was nice and offered everything you could possibly want, although not quite as impressive as others I’ve been to. Note: no helping yourself, a staff member dishes up what you want. This was also open for lunch, as was the Seaside Grill, the coffee shop, and a pop-up grill option at the Main Pool. We dined at 5 of the 6 dinner options, and thought all were excellent. No reservations taken, and even with fewer tables available due to spacing requirements, never had much of a wait, unless preferred an outside table (since only 3 or 4 available). Long pants are required for men at 4 of the restaurants, at least if you wanted to sit inside.