One of my favorite hobbies is traveling, however with work and life, my vacations have been far and few between. I talk often about how I want to live a life without limits, and how I'm tired of the “When I” excuses: when I look a certain way, I'll take a vacation. Calling bull on that negativity! I hope to cover more travel adventures in the future to encourage others to stop waiting on everything to be perfect to live the life they want.
(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. Just sharing the experience.)
For my first “turn off the damn phone!” vacation in nearly 5 years, I ventured just outside of Cancun with 3 friends. I've talked about this awesome trip in a few posts (finding my bikini body; snorkeling bucket list adventure), but I wanted to review the resort as I've had lots of questions about it on social media and via email.
I took a complete backseat in planning this trip as the others had it covered. We booked through a travel agent, who booked the airline, airport transfers, and resort. For this 7 day, 6 night trip we stayed at Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun. This is an adults only, all-inclusive resort just outside of Cancun.
Photo taken from lobby upon arrival
I have no idea what these weird alien statues were doing around the property (art, I guess), but they lit up at night and I thought they were funny. So of course it's the first picture I took when I got there.
This wasn't the first Secrets resort I've been to. I stayed at Secrets Capri Riviera Maya for my honeymoon and had a great experience. Going back to Mexico and another Secrets resort was a little weird being single now, but I was looking forward to the great service that I received during my first Secrets experience. This particular resort is newer than Capri, and the property seemed a little bigger. But one of my favorite parts about this resort is that it never felt overwhelmingly crowded or noisy. With 8 swimming pools, you could always find one with very few people in it. The main pool had the activities like pool volleyball, staff entertainment, and the swim up bar. I only went in it once as the other pools had drink service and fewer people. I just wanted to float!
View from outside our room
Overlooking the main pool while lunching
Before going on trips, I read the TripAdvisor reviews to know what I'm in for. I find these extra helpful for going out of the country and for going to resorts like this. I had read that the beach was horrible here, so I was prepared to spend a lot of time in the pools. The beach conditions are due to crazy amount of seaweed washing along the Caribbean coasts. This means there is a smell in the air (sometimes more pungent than others), and there are sand fleas. The staff worked around the clock to keep the seaweed picked up, but the water was a little murky and wasn't the best for swimming. I didn't get in the ocean at the resort – instead I got in it at our excursion to Isla de Mujeres. Late afternoons though, it was quite lovely to look at (as long as you wore bug spray!)
But 90% of my time was spent floating in the beautiful pools. There were plenty of floats, towels, and drink service at all pools.
Frozen mojitos are amazing
Mermaid thighs in the infinity pool
Seeing as you're paying upfront for food and drinks with an all-inclusive, you just cross your fingers it will be good. Secrets exceeded every expectation I had for service, food, and drinks. The wait staff were incredibly friendly and personable. At the buffet for breakfast, the hostesses would see me and remember that I was gluten free and have gluten free waffles made up for me and delivered to the table. It was such a treat. There were 7 ala carte restaurants, the buffet, and a coffee shop. So no lack of options for food! Each restaurant would ask about dietary restrictions, and provide a gluten free menu. With my Hashimoto's, I'm gluten sensitive, but not as much as someone with Celiac. I am not sure I would trust this sort of environment for a Celiac (possible cross-contamination), but for the most part, gluten was easily avoided. Overall, the food was delicious. I was with 2 owners of a catering company, and I feel like the food met their high standards as well.
My lamb is on fiyah….. 🎵🎶🎼 #SecretsSilversands @secretsresorts A video posted by Emily Ho (@authemmie) on
Hibachi! The only restaurant that required a reservation, but wasn't an extra cost
The drinks could be a little weak, but if you talked to the bartenders, they were more than happy to adjust the drinks how you wanted them. We had a great time with bartenders like Gerber and Chocolate Papi (this was his nickname for himself, not ours – haha!) I have to say this as well: the other visitors at the resort were lovely for the most part. We met some really great people and had good laughs.
One of the biggest surprises of the resort was the shows. I remember going to a show at Secrets Capri years ago and was so unimpressed by it that I felt like I wasted precious vacation time. The shows at this resort were SO.GOOD. I begrudgingly went to the “Rock & Roll” show and seriously danced and screamed my head off. We missed some shows while we were at dinner, but I would strongly encourage going to them if you can. The entertainment team did such a great job. (I have a video of this, but it's giving me upload trouble. Will update if I can get it to work)
We did have a few hiccups:
- Upon arrival to Cancun, the airport transfer service (not associated with the resort) didn't have our names on their list. We had to wait a little longer to get transferred to our hotel, which wasn't fun after traveling so far and then standing in the blazing sun waiting for a van.
- During check-in, we nearly had a meltdown because they said they only had single king rooms for the room type we booked (partial oceanview). As much as I love my friend, there was no way we were spending this much on a vacation to share a bed. They offered us a room with 2 beds but no oceanview, or we could pay to upgrade to their Preferred Club and get 2 beds and a partial oceanview and what they called a “swim out” room. I'm not sure if the breakdown happened when the travel agent booked us, but it wasn't noted on our reservation that we had confirmed 2 beds. I would just make sure if booking, you have the room/bed type confirmed. It was a lot of back and forth that was unnecessarily stressful, but they ended up upgrading us to the Preferred Club room without extra charge.
- Note about Preferred Club: I'm honestly not sure that this would have been worth the extra money if we had purchased this. I'm not sure if we just weren't aware of the benefits or what, but it seemed like it just had a basic “Preferred” lounge where you could get snacks and drinks throughout the day and sit in massage chairs (1 of which was broken) and use their Preferred concierge (who couldn't help us when we asked). Seeing as the resort was full of food and bars everywhere, it didn't seem like a benefit. Again, maybe we didn't understand the benefits, but it didn't feel like anything special
- Spa Credits: Upon booking, you're given spa credit. I had read on TripAdvisor how you couldn't use these if there were any specials of the day. I booked a massage and facial through the spa desk and didn't realize I couldn't use the credits on it because they gave me a special price. Basically I could have gotten the special price or paid full price and used credits. Not a huge deal, but if you're booking and think that the spa credits are a bonus, just realize you can probably get better deals on-site that will invalidate the credits.
- Phone charges: There are free calls to the US, except for 800 numbers. This is great since I didn't have my cell service turned on while there (other than WiFi, which was also free and had good signal). There was a sign on the phone on how to make collect calls. I had to call my credit card company for something, so instead of paying for an 800 number, I tried to use the collect line. Upon checkout, I was billed for these collect attempts – neither of which were able to connect. If I had known there was a charge, I wouldn't have tried to use this feature. Wasn't a huge deal, but it was a surprise charge on my bill.
Despite these hiccups, I had a wonderful experience at this resort. It's not a budget trip by any means, but the excellent accommodations, service, food, and premium drinks were well worth the price. I highly recommend Secrets as a brand to anyone looking for an adult only, all-inclusive resort.