Located along a long stretch of pristine beach with turquoise waters; sea turtle sightings possible
All rooms have upscale decor, outdoor hot tubs, large bathrooms, and oceanfront views
Large buffet restaurant, four a la carte spots (no reservation needed), 24-hour snack bar, and sushi bar
Pop-up beach bars, large lobby bar, poolside bar, and room service
Spa, wellness center, bike rental, shops, snorkeling tours, and tennis courts
Hammocks, relaxation pools, large main pool with kiddy pool, and garden grounds
Free Wi-Fi in lobby and rooms
Small flaws mostly visible in rooms from quick renovation
Beach areas are very crowded
Small a la carte spots can fill up fast (first come, first served)
Just a 15-minute beachside walk south of Akumal's hustle and bustle, the 324-room Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is a luxury all-inclusive with a long, beautiful beach. After undergoing a massive revamp in late 2014, this property has added a handful of spots to eat and grab a drink; a rustic wellness center with yoga, body treatments, and exercise classes; and lots of pools and beachside lounge areas. It also seriously upgraded its rooms, all of which are Junior Suites sporting modern upscale decor, large bathrooms, outdoor hot tubs, local toiletries, minibars, and oceanfront views; Penthouses feature huge rooftop decks with uninterrupted views across the bay.
Casual but upscale beach vibe with social (but not party) atmosphere
In its recent previous life, Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort (known then simply as Akumal Beach Resort) was a fun, social mid-range all-inclusive with limited dining, activity, and bar options. After a whirlwind 2014 renovation, a newer, sleeker, and more convenient resort emerged from the dust. Unlike many resorts that undergo complete overhauls, the heart of the resort is still recognizable -- the renovations have managed to keep the good and improve upon weaknesses. Everything has gotten a facelift: furniture, decor details, rooms, grounds, entertainment, and food and drink options. Space was used wisely and the resort managed to add three pools, four eateries, and four bars on the existing grounds without making anything feel cramped. However, growing pains are to be expected and a few sacrifices are evident, particularly along the beach area. The sand was once home to far fewer beach cabanas and loungers, as well as sea turtle nests -- guests could even witness hatchlings emerging from the roped-off areas and heading toward the sea. It is doubtful that there is now enough free space on the beach for as many, if any, nests.
Overall, the vibe here is relaxed and calm, and most guests spend their days reading on the beach, resting on hammocks stretched between two palms, or taking cooling dips in the ocean-facing relaxation pools.
On a long stretch of beautiful beach, walking distance to Akumal's center
Located a 15-minute walk on the sand south of Akumal Beach's center, Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is far enough away to feel slightly secluded but close enough to take a break from the all-inclusive scene and check out what's happening in town. From Cancun, it's about an hour drive south on Highway 307, 40 minutes past Playa del Carmen, and 20 minutes north of Tulum. The entrance is clearly marked from the freeway, though you'll have to pull a U-turn to get on the right side of the street.
All Junior Suites with outdoor hot tubs, big bathrooms, and oceanfront views
The rooms were perhaps one of the resort's most needed revamps. Akumal Bay's rooms are now all Junior Suites with sleek (if minimal) upscale decor, slick travertine floors, outdoor hot tubs, and ocean views. Bathrooms are generous with dual vanity sinks, separate toilet rooms, walk-in showers, and local, eco-friendly toiletries. Bathrobes, slippers, hairdryers, and makeup mirrors are also welcome additions. In the bedroom, you'll find flat-screen TVs (with hygiene-sealed remotes), stocked minibars, coffeemakers, and a fashion-over-comfort sitting area -- but no clocks. It's also possible to find minor construction mistakes or early signs of wear due to the quick renovations. If you leave the terrace doors open, it won't be unusual to find a bug or two buzzing around inside. All rooms face toward the bay and have either straight ocean views, or sea views interrupted by the pool or nicely landscaped gardens. Noisier rooms tend to surround the pool as there is much traffic here during the day. Junior Suite Penthouses feel a bit more cramped (particularly in the bathrooms), as a staircase interrupts the typical room layout, but sport incredibly spacious rooftop terraces with magnificent, uninterrupted ocean views.
Beautiful stretch of soft-sand beach with nice snorkeling
For such a small resort, the beach is sprawling. A leisurely walk from one end to the other can take up to 10 minutes. Along the way, you'll find a healthy amount of white plastic loungers covered with teal mesh and teal towels, as well as hordes of bamboo cabana huts. The sand is white and incredibly soft. The bay has gorgeous blue-green water with great snorkeling spots where you can see turtles, fish, and coral, but as you walk in be prepared for rocks or seaweed. Be sure to look for a good spot to enter and watch your feet on the way back out. It's hard to tell if it's the number of people or the number of loungers, but the beach feels congested, particularly around the northern side by building one. It's a bit of a trek to the snack bars, buffet, and main pool, but the sands out by building four are typically less packed and decidedly more relaxing.
Nice choice of food and drink, four pools, peaceful wellness center, and lots of activities
In its previous incarnation, Akumal Bay was a bit lacking in features, offering snorkel gear, two free Internet computers in the lobby, one reservations-only a la carte restaurant (for a fee), self-serve beer stations, one large bar, a shop, and slightly juvenile nighttime entertainment. Now, the resort has four no-reservations-required a la carte spots at no additional cost (Italian, Asian, Mexican, and Brazilian), plus a beachside sushi bar (which also serves poolside drinks); full bar service in the buffet; two pop-up beach bars; theater shows; a nightclub; free Wi-Fi in the lobby and rooms; and a spa and wellness center. There are also activities such as snorkel tours, tennis courts, kayak and bike rentals, and meditation classes. And, although it wasn't quite ready during our visit, there will also be a gym and full-service spa on-site. The resort is also focusing on being wedding-friendly and has a team dedicated to making sure your event, big or small, is beachside, beautiful, and memorable.
Parking is free and tours can be booked in reception.
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