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Secrets Akumal Review: Most Romantic Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Secrets Akumal Review: Most Romantic Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Are you looking for a super romantic resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico? If you are, Secrets Akumal is the perfect place for you.

But what makes Secrets Akumal adults-only resort stand out from the other resorts in Mexico?

It could be the rooms designed with chic sophistication or the top-class all-inclusive dining and drinks package. Maybe the beautiful beachfront location or the staff, who are always smiling and friendly. Or is it the sensational landscaping brimming with lush foliage, winding pathways and secret spots for time alone?

Guess what? A culmination of all the above is why Secrets Akumal is so special and unique and what makes it the perfect romantic getaway for couples, honeymooners and those looking for a paradisiacal escape with loved ones.

I visited Secrets Akumal in January on a family holiday to celebrate my son’s 30th birthday and booked three junior garden suites. We all agreed it was a fantastic resort and one we were sad to leave!

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Where is Secrets Akumal?

Akumal Bay is the sweeping beach and ocean where Secrets is located. Akumal is Mayan for ‘place of turtles’, and the ocean in front of the resort is home to a turtle habitat.

Secrets Akumal is a 45-minute drive from Cancun airport on a clear run and is 30 minutes away from the ruins and cenotes in Tulum.

Address: Carretera Federal 307, km 254 + 600, Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico

How old is the property?

Secrets Akumal is seven years old. It opened in November 2015 and is one of the Riviera Maya’s most popular holiday destinations. Due to its young age, it maintains a look and feel of newness in every resort area. It is maintained to the highest standards.

Check-in at Secrets

When you arrive at Secrets, you immediately know you have chosen the most romantic resort on the Riviera Maya. Dim lighting, hurricane lamps lit with candles and trickling ponds guide the way to the foyer.

The foyer is open-sided, allowing a cool breeze to waft past you. Cosy couches invite you to slump into them should you need to wait for a check-in desk to become free. Take a moment to appreciate the statement chandelier that dominates the area.

We arrived in the evening, and after being offered a cold towel and a glass of bubbles, we were swiftly checked in, and our cases were whisked away to our rooms.

How many rooms are in Secrets Akumal?

The resort has 434 guest suites, including swim-up rooms, located in 11 buildings.

Jr Suites with a resort or tropical view are in blocks 7, 8, 9A, 9B and 9C. My family stayed in block seven near the Lagoon Pool, and I was in Suite 7208. We requested this block because it was in a quiet area.

Buildings one to six are the Preferred Jr Suites close to the beach and the main pool with club-level facilities. Jr Suites with partial or full sea views and Presidential suites are located in these blocks.

Preferred privileges include à la carte breakfast in Seaside Grill restaurant, premium spirits and a dedicated check-in area, to name a few.

A dedicated concierge can be found on the ground floor of each block between 9.30 am and 5 pm.

Small dogs are welcome to stay in dedicated rooms. I have never encountered this before, but it is good news for dog lovers who want their pooch to join them on holiday.

infographic of resort layout at Secrets Akumal
copyright Secrets Akumal

Garden-View Bedroom

Walking into our tropical view junior suites, we were surprised at how big they were, we have stayed in a lot of very nice resorts around the world, and these rooms were up there with the best of them. I loved the combination of the neutral colours with primary pink and orange; the accent pops of colour certainly gave the room a ‘designer feel’.

View of bed in a garden room at Secrets Akumal

A seating area and a large dressing table with a wall mirror were great places to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif and have plenty of space to get ready. An in-room interactive tablet was on-hand for resort information and in-room dining, and there were plenty of USB points in the room.

When you want to enjoy the comforts of your room, maybe watch a film or listen to a music channel, there is a 42-inch wall-mounted HD television directly in front of the bed. International channels are available, and the signal strength is good, meaning clear, uninterrupted viewing.

Tropical Junior Suite Bathroom

A two-person whirlpool bath is a focal point in the bathroom and the most relaxing place to spend time with your partner after a day on the beach or around the pool. Fill the bath, turn on the jets and enjoy the moment!

Beautifully styled dual sinks, quality brass fittings and wall mirrors make the bathroom a pleasant place to freshen up. A wall-mounted beauty/shaving mirror and in-built shelves add to the design and functionality of the bathroom. A hairdryer is also provided, along with shower gel and lotion.

A stunning headboard was made of what seemed to be woven straw with a subtle glimmer of thread throughout it. The traditional hanging side lights threw a magical pattern around the room in the evening and were more practical than free-standing side lamps.

There is a large balcony in the tropical view suites with a comfy seating area and a table and two chairs; however, which looks directly at the rich foliage of palm trees.

I loved everything about my room, it was beautifully appointed, quiet and romantic.

view of tree tops from the room at Secrets Akumal

Secrets Swim-Out Rooms

I can’t comment on the interior of the swim-out rooms, but I imagine they have the same interiors as the tropical-view rooms.

I felt that a swim-out room in the block I was in would have felt secluded but also a little closed in due to the thick vegetation directly in front of the patio areas.

Swim-out rooms by the beach are directly in front of the main pools, which can get loud during the day. Also, if you are on the terrace, other guests will pass by all day, so it may not be as private as you want; however, if you want to be in the centre of the action, these rooms will be perfect for you.

Sunrise at Secrets Akumal

Wake up early, grab a coffee from the 24-hour cafe and enjoy a romantic sunrise on the beach. On our family trip, we woke up early on our first morning due to jetlag. We wandered to the beach to watch the sun rise above the horizon.

Whether you visit Secrets as honeymooners, friends or as a family, there is nothing quite like being together to watch a new day dawning over the Caribbean sea.

Sun rise over Akumal Bay

Akumal Bay Beach

The sweeping bay in Akumal is lined with low-rise beach resort hotels, a PADI dive centre and some holiday homes. If you want to walk from one end to the other, it will take around 30 minutes.

The beach is affected by Sargassum (seaweed), much like the rest of the Riviera Maya coastline. I travelled in January, and it wasn’t too bad; however, I have heard that it can get pretty bad in the summer months. Nevertheless, the resort staff cleared it daily, so it didn’t hinder time spent on the beach or in the water.

A sandy entry into the ocean soon turns to seagrass, so you may want to wear sea shoes if you aren’t a fan of stepping on the unknown. The turtles wouldn’t be in Akumal without the seagrass, as this is their food source.

Beach loungers and umbrellas are plentiful, and beach beds (Bali beds) are available for an additional charge. Waiter service is available on the beach.

Beach Walks

If you want to walk along the beach, turn left out of the resort, and you will come to the Dive Centre (not part of Secrets). This is where the hoards of day trippers come to swim with the Akumal turtles. Walk past the anchored boats and continue past holiday homes to a point where you will find some rusty cannons; from here, you will have a sweeping view of the bay.

If you are interested in history, you might like to know that these cannons date back to 1741, when the Spanish ship El Matancero sunk in a nearby reef. Most of the crew were enslaved by the Mayans and soon died. One person thrived amongst them, married a priestess and taught the indigenous Mayans how to protect themselves.

The ship was discovered in 1959, and the cannons were brought ashore and placed in Akumal bay, aiming towards the headquarters of the Centro Ecologico Akumal, which maintains the bay and surrounding area.

So now you know a little more about the location of Secrets Akumal!

Two rusty cannons pointing out to sea in Akumal Bay

If you turn right after leaving the resort, you will come to the popular photo spot where the obligatory ‘bendy palm tree’ image can be captured. Go early morning or late evening; otherwise, you may have to queue!

One palm tree on the beach in Akumal with the sun rising on the horizon
Angie in a green top leaning against a bent palm tree on the beach at Secrets Akumal

If I’m honest, there’s not much else to see after that apart from a lot of washed-up plastic, which I wasn’t expecting. I dragged a couple of black bags and bottles out of the water as it can have disastrous effects on sealife and ocean health.

If you continue walking, you will reach the headland, but I am not sure what is further on from there.

View back to Akumal Bay

Snorkelling with Turtles at Secrets Akumal

The thought of swimming with turtles in Akumal was a significant factor when booking our trip to Secrets. We are all keen snorkelers and scuba divers and love spending much of our holiday in the ocean.

We had visions of snorkelling off the beach and seeing turtles all around us.

Yes, we did see a couple of turtles, both on different days and just by the white buoys that mark where the conservation area starts; however, to snorkel in the turtle hotspot, we were required to pay for a turtle tour through an outside tour company or the dive centre.

I asked the staff at Secrets where we could swim and snorkel to see the turtles; they were vague, to say the least. We had to do some detective work ourselves, hence the infographic below that I hope will help others.

We were under the impression that we would see quite a few just in front of the resort – sadly, this was not the case when we visited in January. Maybe the wrong time of year – who knows, but the number of daily boat tours taking people to the ‘turtle hotspot’ indicated plenty of turtles were there, just not in the area we were allowed to be in.

Despite only seeing two turtles during our trip, it was an incredible encounter with them, and we even had the privilege of watching one of the turtles feeding on the sea grass. Besides the Akumal turtles, we also saw an eagle ray, a spotted ray and a few shoals of tropical fish in the water.

CHECK OUT THIS AMAZING VIDEO!!!

Filming of the sea creatures contains footage from beach snorkelling and a scuba dive in Akumal Bay.

Safe Places to Snorkel in Akumal Bay

Map detailing turtle swim zones
Infographic designed by JNPCreative

Landscaping and wildlife at Secrets

I can’t begin to explain how beautiful and well-maintained the landscaping is at Secrets. It is like being in paradise with the soothing call of the tropical birds nesting in the trees.

Dense foliage scattered with plants and fruit (shoutout to my favourite banana tree!), fish ponds, bridges and secret spots can all be found around the resort. Resident iguanas roam the resort, and all have their own section of the garden and their own names!

The wooden sign reading YAL-KU is the Mayan word for ‘where small things live in safety’.

If you are lucky, you might also see the agouti, giant rodents that look like small deer with cute faces. Please don’t fear any of the wildlife in Riviera Maya. Sadly, we are more of a threat to them than they are to us!

An iguana drinking water from an upturned rock in Akumal

Swimming Pools at Secrets

A great choice of three pools is available depending on whether you like to be quiet and read a book or are more lively and enjoy music and pool activities. The pools are heated during the winter months (Nov – Mar).

Lagoon Pool is in the quiet section of the resort and offers an idyllic area to relax. We liked to spend time around this pool after breakfast.

In the afternoon, we liked to head to the main pool area. Live music was played here, which was delightful, and plenty of varied poolside food and drink options were available.

Swimmin pool with one palm tree beside it at Secrets Akumal
Main pool

The Infinity pool is closest to the beach, where the swim-up bar and pool activities can be found.

Dining at Secrets

There are nine dining options, and Secrets’ all-inclusive food and drinks are mostly phenomenal. Great choices, fresh produce, and cooked to perfection; however, I did have two instances where my main meal wasn’t great.

One was in the French restaurant Bordeaux where my pork was as tough as old boots. My second time was in the Japanese restaurant Himitsu when my duck was undercooked. That said, the rest of my family had no problems, so I think I was just unlucky.

Wine served by the glass is included in the all-inclusive package. Ordering bottles of wine incurs an additional cost and is not part of the all-inclusive package.

My favourite restaurant was the Mexican El Patio, where we had a delicious traditional meal. The dishes were accompanied by margaritas made at our table and with Mayan coffee to finish.

Our server was delightful, and we felt he was really happy and proud of his job role. He made our evening special with a show of his coffee-making skills!

We were asked which tequila we preferred in our drinks. Tequila is one of Mexico’s most popular drinks and has various blends. The blue and white tequila bottle of Clase Azul Reposado is a superior blend and came at an additional price to the two inclusive varieties.

Formal Restaurants and Dress Code

Bordeaux – French cuisine – casual elegance, long trousers required for men.

Portofino – Italian cuisine – casual elegance, long trousers required for men.

Himitsu – Pan-Asian cuisine – casual elegance, long trousers required for men, no sleeveless shirts. To be seated at the hibachi table to watch the chef display, reservations must be booked in advance with your concierge.

El Patio – Mexican cuisine – casual elegance, long trousers required for men, no sleeveless shirts.

Oceana – Seafood – casual, long shorts, no sleeveless shirts.

Poolside Eateries

In addition to the more formal evening restaurants, there are three casual eateries and a 24-hour cafe/coffee shop.

Barefoot Grill – serving grilled specialities and cocktails.

Seaside Grill – serving a la carte steaks, seafood and hamburgers.

Market cafe – serving an extensive range of buffet choices at breakfast and lunch. Start the day off with a mimosa served to you with a smile.

Aside from these options, at lunchtime, food trucks serve mouth-watering offerings. From tacos with meat and fish to freshly made pizzas with your choice of toppings. Cute touches like cocktails in coconuts and mini ice cream cornets with delicious flavours like coconut and pistachio make lying around the pool even more enjoyable!

Coco cafe – the resort’s hub serving hot and cold beverages, cakes, salads and sandwiches. This is a place to relax and enjoy the tranquil setting near the wishing tree and fish pond. On the way back to my suite, my afternoon ritual was to grab a cup of tea and a biscuit from here. Well, I am British, and you know how we love our tea!

Large umbrellas give shade to tables and chairs outside Coco cafe at Secrets Akumal
Fish pond at Secrets Akumal

Restaurant Bookings

The restaurants work on a first-come, first-served policy, but it seemed that there was always a wait, especially for us as a group of five. The front desk informed me that as Secrets is geared towards couples, most tables are for two. There are also a few tables that accommodate four and some high bar-type tables that seat six.

I was advised to head for dinner either at the first sitting around 6 pm (way too early for us) or the last sitting at 9 pm (way too late for us); otherwise, we would have to wait it out for several tables to become free to be reconfigured for the five of us.

Bear this in mind if you are travelling with a party. We had to wait for around 20 minutes for a table. At breakfast, we figured it was easier to go there separately and sit at tables for two, so we didn’t have to wait. Not ideal, but not the end of the world!

Resort Bars and Drink Quality

You will never go thirsty with seven bars at Secrets Akumal, not forgetting the extra one exclusively for Preferred Club Members.

I must say, though, that the cocktails are a bit hit-and-miss. One day a cocktail would be delicious, and the next, it didn’t taste so good. It is a shame there isn’t more consistency in how the cocktails are made. For me, it is the one negative thing I found at Secrets.

The Halftime Bar by the Lagoon Pool served fabulous cocktails and was my favourite bar. This is probably because fewer people seem to stay around that quiet area, usually heading to the other two main pools.

Lobby and Pool Bars at Secrets Akumal

Rendezvous Lobby – this bar is located downstairs of the main lobby and has a fire pit, swing seats in the outdoor area, and comfy sofas inside. Sadly the cocktails served here were the worst I have ever tasted. The barman seemed to have his mind somewhere else, and his mixed measurements were totally off the scale. I am hoping this is an isolated incident and not the norm!

In the evening, the Lobby Bar turns into a lively meeting place and hosts musicians and the popular Silent Disco – yes, we joined in and had a lot of fun!

Desires Music Lounge – A disco bar in any other language and open from 11 pm – 1 am daily, and yes, we did dust our dancing shoes off and pull some Travolta moves once during our stay. The music was mainly American artists, so being British, we hadn’t heard quite a few of the tracks. Maybe a more international playlist would accommodate guests from Europe.

Showtime Theatre Bar – is where you can enjoy a drink and watch a show.

Sugar Reef – enjoy a poolside cocktail served straight to your sunbed.

Barracuda Beach Bar – grab a swing seat and gaze out to the ocean.

Manatees – Swim-up bar located in the infinity pool by the beach. It’s a hub for young and beautiful couples to meet and take part in resort activities. A hot tub is also nearby.

Halftime Bar – serves first-class cocktails and beers while watching your favourite sport or at your poolside lounger. Close to the ‘quiet pool’ despite its name, I didn’t feel that it was noisy or rowdy as some sports bars can be.

Themed Nights

Themed nights are fantastic with outdoor dining and entertainment. One of my favourites was Akumart which brought local artisans into the resort to sell their quality crafts.

I bought a beautiful pair of butterfly earrings from one of the sellers, who told me her mother painted the butterfly details on the earrings. Hearing this made them even more special and a lovely souvenir of my stay at Secrets Akumal.

I didn’t visit the original wooden sculpture in Tulum from which this display was taken, so this is a close second!

Resort Activities

If you can’t sit still for too long, the resort has many activities to keep you on your toes. Try SUP yoga and aqua-biking or water and beach volleyball, to name a few. Fun, hands-on experiences like cocktail-making and dancing classes are also offered.

Fitness Centre

If you intend to keep up your fitness levels while enjoying unlimited, all-inclusive dining, then the on-site fitness centre is fitted with state-of-the-art cardio machines and free weights. Open 6.00 am – 9.00 pm.

Gym instructors run daily outdoor classes in the tranquil area outside the fitness centre.

Entrance to fitness centre at Secrets Akumal

Spa by Pevonia

Book a pampering session at Secrets Spa by Pevonia. It is a haven for rejuvenating the body and mind.

Scuba Diving in Akumal Bay

Head to the Akumal Dive Centre, a short walk along the beach from Secrets, and enjoy a reef dive. The boat journey is quick, 5 – 10 minutes, and you can enjoy seeing moray eels, rays and turtles inhabiting the reef.

Two men wearing scuba diving equipment on a boat by the shore.

Tours along the Riviera Maya

While you might not want to leave this romantic resort, there are many great things to see nearby in Tulum. Of course, the Tulum ruins and cenotes are a must-see on any trip to the Riviera Maya.

After much research, I found a company that did hotel pick-ups in Akumal, as most start in Cancun and head straight to Tulum.

We paid $15 extra each to swim in the cenotes, which was worth every penny. I would highly recommend doing the same tour as we did as it is a half-day trip (6 hours), so it will only eat into one morning of your holiday.

I booked a Tulum Ruins Guided Tour and Two Cenotes.

Temple of the wind in Tulum on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean and sandy beach.

The other activity my two sons did was scuba diving with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen. You will need to be an advanced Scuba diver to participate, but they both agreed it is one of the most exciting things they have ever done.

Female Bull Shark cruising along the ocean floor with Diver and another Bull shark in the background

Conclusion

Secrets Akumal is sensational and a fantastic choice if you want a premium luxury resort with excellent service, first-class facilities, and an incredible all-inclusive package. It is one of the best resorts in the Riviera Maya for romance. This can be seen by the number of silk sashes on guest suite doors declaring, “It’s our honeymoon”!

Of course, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is also a coveted wedding location and one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations. The resort has a wedding planner to discuss the details of your big day.

Celebrate anniversaries and birthdays in fabulous surroundings, or bring a friend to share this paradise setting with you. Whatever reason you book a stay at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, it will be one you will remember for a long time.

Secrets resorts in Mexico are always expanding, and the newest offering is Secrets Moxché in Playa Del Carmen, offering guests the same high standards as Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya. Maybe book a dual-stay holiday so you can try them both out!

Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.

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Robby

Tuesday 25th of April 2023

Thinking about staying here for our honeymoon as well. When did you visit? I couldn't find a date on the website and want to make sure your review is recent. Seems like a fun spot! Did the resort and beach seem crowded?

WhereAngieWanders

Tuesday 25th of April 2023

Hi Robby

Thanks for your message. We stayed February this year and loved it. It’s a sprawling resort so it never felt overcrowded. There are several pools so people spread out according to their preference ie quiet pool or more lively with music and activities. The beach has loads of loungers so never had a problem getting a spot. Be aware that depending when you go the sargasso seaweed can build up on the beach. When we went it wasn’t too bad and the hotel clean it up every day but if you are sea people you might find you have to swim through some of it to get into the clear water. There were lots of banners on doors saying “ we are on honeymoon” so it seems a popular resort for newly weds. Hope this all helps you decide 😊Angie

Renee

Saturday 11th of February 2023

Sounds like a wonderful family trip! As a Canadian, winter escapes to Mexico are extremely popular and I too have visited many Secrets resorts over the years in Mexico. I always love the landscaping as you mentioned, to walk through the winding paths as a quiet escape from the pool or beach.

WhereAngieWanders

Sunday 12th of February 2023

You are so lucky to live so close! It's a 10-hour flight from the UK, but that said, it was worth it. Do you have a favourite Secrets resort to share?

Noah Williams

Friday 10th of February 2023

Wow! This hotel sounds amazing, I would love to visit. Thanks for all the information on this and love the pictures, I might have just found a perfect spot for my honeymoon!!!

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 10th of February 2023

Excellent, I think you will love it. I hope you have a fantastic honeymoon at Secrets Akumal