Pros

  • Adult-only all-inclusive directly on the sands of Akumal Bay
  • Big rooms with contemporary Mexican style, whirlpools, and SMART TVs
  • Unlimited stocked minibars, terraces, and in-room tablets
  • Three large pools, including one with swim-up bar
  • Main buffet, six specialty restaurants, four bars, and nightclub
  • Swish Pevonia spa with hydrotherapy circuit and couples' treatments
  • Small gym, tennis and basketball courts, and free bike rental
  • Preferred-level perks like exclusive lounge and bar
  • 24-hour coffee shop and room service
  • Responsible sea turtle releases (during season)
  • Free daily activities and nightly entertainment
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking
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Cons

  • Beach can be crowded
  • Difficult to know when and where activities happen
  • Pool chairs fill up quickly
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Bottom Line

The 434-room Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is a luxury, adult-only property set right on the soft sands of Akumal Bay. The hotel caters to couples with romantic grounds and spacious, double-occupancy-only rooms with two-person whirlpools. Food quality and variety receives positive reviews, and with six restaurants, a main buffet, and two 24-hour options as part of the all-inclusive package, guests won't go hungry. Several bars keep glasses full, while organized daily activities and nightly entertainment, sports courts, and free snorkel gear offer a break from the three pools and soft beach. The hotel's quiet but central location in the Riviera Maya make it an ideal base for exploring the region or just relaxing. On the downside, the beach can be crowded and pool chairs often fill up quickly. For a similar but often cheaper alternative, consider Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort

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Amenities

  • Cribs
  • Fitness Center
  • Internet
  • Jacuzzi
  • Pets Allowed
  • Pool
  • Spa

Oyster Hotel Review

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya

Scene

Beautiful, adult-only, all-inclusive popular with romantic vibe

The adult-only Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya opened in early November 2015, and is a favorite with couples, particularly for anniversaries. This luxurious property is landscaped with over 4,000 types of trees and flowers, winding outdoor walkways, and an intimately serene vibe that’s often hard to find in a mid-sized all-inclusive resort. The romance factor is no accident. In fact, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya has gone so far as to mark down the resort’s most romantic spots right on the guest map. The pools (one with a swim-up bar) see the most activity, though the property never gets too loud. During the day, most guests are scattered around the pool and beach area, with a hefty amount wading or snorkeling in the bay, and nights are relaxed with couples mostly venturing out for a drink before moving on to dinner. This is one of the best options in the area for couples, while families should look into the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort

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Location

Beachfront setting on Akumal Bay

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is situated right on a two-mile stretch of beach along Akumal Bay. It's close neighbors with two other hotels, making the public beach area feel particularly cramped. However, the hotel's excellent, central location in the Riviera Maya makes it a great, relaxing base to explore the region. Cancun can be reached in about one hour, while Playa del Carmen is about a 40-minute drive in the same direction. Heading south, Tulum is approximately a 25-minute drive away. Secret's entrance is clearly marked from the freeway, though drivers will have to pull a U-turn to get on the right side of the street. 

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Rooms

Unlimited minibars, two-person whirlpools, plunge pools, and generous amenity kits

All 434 rooms here are junior suite-style and come with king or double beds and are for double occupancy only. Rooms have a beautiful, contemporary Mexican design featuring neutral tones, polished natural wood furniture, bright pops of red and orange, tile floors, and minimal wall decor. Luxury amenities are extensive, with standouts including two-person whirlpool tubs, iHome dock systems, and Nespresso machines. Things like incense, large bottles of toiletries, and built-in room service privacy boxes add a noted extra touch, and amenities kits include thoughtful perks such as natural mosquito spray, mending kits, and shoe polish. The well-stocked minibars have unlimited bottled Corona beer, sodas, snacks, and water -- all of which can be opened with the built-in bottle opener in the bathroom vanity. Laptop-sized digital safes, personal in-room tablets, ironing facilities, and umbrellas keep things convenient, while the large SMART TVs and AC can be a bit temperamental. Each building has its own concierge and a pillow menu is available on request. 

Slick bathrooms have rainfall showers in addition to the jetted tubs, plus Gilchrist and Soames toiletries, hairdryers, digital scales, bathrobes, and slippers. For the most part, all rooms are the same outside of their view, except Master Rooms which are nearly twice the size and have separate living areas. Each ground-level room has a personal terrace and heated plunge pool, while Preferred-level rooms snag benefits like better placement closer to the ocean, balconies with pool, and in-room extras like chocolates, sunscreen, and shave kits. 

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Beach

Beautiful, busy location on Akumal Bay 

Once a local vacation favorite, Akumal Bay is now a hot destination thanks to its popularity with sea turtles, though sightings have expectedly died down a little with an uptick in tourism. It's also got one of the world's largest barrier reefs less than a mile offshore, with makes for calm waters. Visitors have direct -- and sometimes rocky -- entry into the bay, and the popular sands, shared with neighboring resorts and the public, can feel cramped in high season. Otherwise, a good amount of contemporary plastic loungers and padded loungers are set up on the beach, on a first-come, first-served basis, with cabanas available by reservation for an extra fee. There is no Preferred-level area on the beach. 

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Pool

Three big pools, including a lively infinity pool with pool bar

In most aspects of the resort, Secrets does a good job at making things feel spacious yet intimate, but the hotel pool areas are an exception. The beachfront infinity pool and swim-up bar is often one of the more packed spots, especially during peak daytime hours. This is the more rowdy area of the pool, and it is often difficult to find a sun lounger that doesn't already have a towel thrown across it. Just behind this pool is the main pool, where the vibe is more chilled out, but the chairs can be as hard to come by. Oddly, while the lagoon pool (also called the relaxing pool) is located in a slight hidden area at the front of the hotel, it's also near the sports bar, which can get loud during big games. However, service at all pool is good and towels are usually readily available. 

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All-Inclusive / Food

Good all-inclusive program with no wristbands required and extra perks for Preferred-level guests

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is an all-inclusive-only property that does not require guests to wear wristbands. Twenty-four hour food and drink options are inclusive of meals at all of the restaurants, draft beer, house wine, and international-brand liquors. The standard up-charges apply for things like premium cuts of meat, lobster tail, fine wine, and premium liquor. Snorkeling gear (mask and lifejacket -- no fins are allowed due to the reef), paddleboarding, and kayaking, plus daily activities and nightly entertainment are also included, though it's sometimes hard to track down their times. The brand also has a Sip, Savor, and See program that allows guests to have dinner at all other Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, and Now properties in the area, though transportation is not included. Preferred-level guests have special perks that include a private check-in lounge, daily access to the spa's hydrotherapy circuit, and in-room extras. Guests who download the hotel's AMResort's app are able to make requests and free long distance calls directly through the app. 

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All-Inclusive / Food

Themed main eatery, plus six decent a la carte restaurants and 24-hour options

For breakfasts, guests can choose between items like pastries, made-to-order omelets, and cold cuts at the main buffet or an international menu with pancakes and eggs Benedict at the pool-adjacent Seaside Grille. Lunch brings in a few more choices with the Barefoot Grille, Seaside Grill, and main buffet options. Five of the six speciality restaurants are open for dinner and include French, Italian, gourmet seafood, grilled specialities, and an Asian fusion restaurant with a popular Hibatchi grill. In the evenings, the main buffet rotates between themed nights, and all restaurants cater well to dietary restrictions. Twenty-four-hour picks include a well-received room service menu and the hotel's coffee shop-style Coco Cafe, and a poolside brick oven slings pizza in the break between lunch and dinner. Reviews on food are largely positive, and we found the food to generally be of a higher quality and presentation than most comparable properties in the region. 

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Drinks

A bar at nearly every turn, including in the pool 

Six bars make sure guests don't go thirsty. During the day, the Manatee swim-up bar is packed with guests lined up at the underwater stools and wading with their frozen drinks farther into the pool, while those keeping dry grab their poolside drinks from the Sugar Reef Bar (though during our visit the Barefoot Grill was also slinging to passersby) or the Half-time Sports Bar by the Lagoon Pool. On the beach, guests can grab drinks from the hut-style Barracuda Beach Bar. The Rendevous Lobby bar is a good spot to grab a quiet daytime drink or to soak in some live music and fire pits around dinner time, while the Showtime Bar serves up folks taking in the nightly theater show. For dancing and drinks, Desires Disco and Lounge serves drinks the latest (outside of room service) and upbeat music. 

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Features

Pevonia spa with hydrotherapy circuit and responsible sea turtle releases

The swish spa is top-notch, with well-stocked locker rooms, fresh scent, luxe Pevonia products, and an outdoor hydrotherapy circuit that includes a sauna, steam room, foot pebble reflexology pool, and in-water fountains. Relaxation areas have fresh cucumber slices, iced towels, fresh fruit, tea, and infused water. Couples' massage treatments are available, as are some salon services. The adjacent gym is small but has state-of-the-art LifeStyle Fitness machines and free weights. Group classes such as dance lessons and Yoga are offered on-site. Meetings and nightly shows take place at the convention center, which can hold up to 900 guests (no audiovisual equipment included) and theater space, while private dinners are often hosted outside in the surprisingly elegant, central gravel courtyard. Guests also have free access to the basketball and astroturfed tennis courts. Bike rental is free, and once a week the hotel organizes a ride out to the popular Yakul Lagoon. 

While many resorts in the area have sea turtle release activities, Secrets is one of few that take extra precautions, like use of red lights and banning chairs, to help protect the turtles. There is also a photo shop, shopping plaza, and three wedding locations on-site. Wi-Fi and parking are free. 

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Beach

  • Business Center

  • Cabanas

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Internet

  • Jacuzzi

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pets Allowed

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Spa

  • Swim-Up Bar

  • Tennis Court

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.