For Easy Escapes Travel’s 10th anniversary, our wonderful owner, Cathy, organized a fabulous trip to Cancun, Mexico! While for many it was the chance to meet some of the newer agents, for me it was my very first agency activity since I am not based in New York (or anywhere near the East Coast!) The trip ended up being more than just a great chance to tour some gorgeous properties in the area. It also was a great way to unwind and exchange ideas with other agents.
We stayed at Secrets Silversands, which is only a short drive from the airport. Secrets Silversands is an adults-only all-inclusive that offers modern, chic accommodations and a very lively atmosphere. The energy at this resort was apparent from the moment I walked in. It offers several bars that always seemed to be bustling with activity, as well as many poolside activities that were lead by staff members. Some of the activities included a belly flop contest, water aerobics, and guessing how many balls were in a canvas bag. The staff worked very hard to ensure that the guests laying around the pool were aware of the activities being offered and involved in them if they pleased. The beach area was less engaging and focused more on relaxation, although you could clearly hear the music from the pools.
When I made my way up to the room, I was pleasantly surprised by an upgrade to an ocean view junior suite with Preferred Club privileges. The room was quite spacious and very modern with marble floors and white bedding with silver accents. I felt that while the style looked expensive and luxurious from afar, it actually could have used some improvements. The room was generally well-kept, but the bathroom did have a little bit of a mold problem on the door. Had I not been staying with a co-worker, maybe I wouldn’t have closed all of the doors to the bathroom and the mold would have went sight unseen. As for the Preferred Club amenities, at this particular resort, I felt that the benefits would have not been worth the extra money. I was able to use the Internet for free and had one premium top-shelf drink, but that was all of the “perks” I received. They did offer hors d’oeurves and private check-in and check-out, but the hotel did not have a wait at the reception desk, so it wouldn’t have made a difference.
As far as food and beverage, it definitely keeps flowing all day. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the alcohol selection. While some people are food snobs, I am an alcohol snob. If you want top shelf liquor, they do offer some choices in the Preferred Club (as mentioned above) or you are better off trying the Zoetry line of resorts, which is in the same family chain as Secrets. The breakfast and dinner options were definitely better quality than lunch, although I will admit that I only ate lunch at the grill. I’m not a seafood person and they served a lot of seafood. I did, however, enjoy the Hibachi grill at Himitsu. It was crazy trying to get reservations, as you have to line up at 4pm and hope you are among one of the first in line. The chef didn’t do any tricks at the grill, but he paid attention to my special requests for no seafood. I really appreciated that! We also had dinner a Ratatouille and El Patio. Both meals were good, although I preferred El Patio. Word to the wise- as I stated above with Himitsu, it was crazy trying to get a table. Reservations are definitely recommended for any restaurant that allows them. You also have the option of room service, which has a fairly extensive menu compared to most in room dining options. One of the nice privacy features at Secrets is the “Secrets Box.” You just ask room service to place your food in the box so that you are not disturbed with a knock on the door. I felt a little strange saying “put it in the box”, but it allowed us to keep prepping for dinner without having to be interrupted.
Now to the exciting part of this trip- the hotel inspections! I was very excited to have toured some of the areas top properties, such as Secrets Maroma, Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, Iberostar Grand, and Barcelo Maya Palace. Surprisingly, each property was very different from the next, even within the Secrets/Zoetry chain. I have my favorites, but I’ll give you the low down on what I thought.
Our first stop was to Barcelo Maya Palace. This resort is open to families, so it’s a perfect choice if you want to have a luxury vacation that can be shared by all. The Barcelo Palace is actually a part of a resort complex of other Barcelo resorts, which are not quite as oppulent or expensive, but provide a good value. The highlights of the Palace include extremely clean grounds, an expansive kids club, and family suites. The resort is well taken care of and the staff seemed extrememly welcoming and friendly.
Our second stop was the absolutely fantastic Secrets Maroma. Secrets Maroma sits right on Maroma Beach, which is absolutely stunning. The resort itself was stunning, although I would not call it opulent, as it’s not dripping in crystals or marble. It’s a smaller property than Secrets Silversands, which meshes well with the theme of romance, which is felt all around. The spa was absolutely, insanely gorgeous, with a treatment area that was almost completely dark and lit only by candles. It was truly a romantic oasis. I really can’t wait to actually stay at Maroma, just because it was more my taste. Silversands is chic and modern, while Maroma was traditional and calming.
The third, and longest, stop was at the Iberostar Grand. This resort is immense and looks like it was stolen from the Las Vegas strip and placed right onto the beach. It is also adults-only, just like the Secrets properties, however it is a part of an Iberostar complex that offers family accomodations (NOTE- People from the other complexes cannot visit the Grand, but people staying at the Grand can visit the other Iberostars in the complex. Same is true for the Barcelo property.) If you like staying at the fancy Las Vegas properties, you’ll love the Iberostar. The best part of this resort, for those who want to be completely pampered, is that each room as an assigned butler who will take care of anything for you, at any time! We also toured the expansive golf course, which is very well manicured and very picturesque. if you are a golfer, you’ll want to consider staying at the Iberostar.
The final stop, which was kind of like saving the best for last, was the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. A boutique hotel that has been in the area for awhile, the Zoetry was rebranded just months prior to our visit to become a wellness luxury destination. While they do allow children, which is something I have yet to comprehend, the resort caters to those seeking solitude and a retreat from everyday life, while enjoying the no-hassle all-inclusive features. This hotel only has 90 rooms, so it’s 1/3 the size of the Iberostar. The hotel also boasts a 4 diamond restaurant, a thalassotherapy spa with a mineral pool, and the Wills Wellness program aimed at promoting a healthy and spiritual lifestyle. You also receive “Endless Privileges”, which are part of the all-inclusive package (for more info, see my Zoetry Casa Del Mar review!)
As our trip came to a close, I was happy to have learned so much about my fellow agents, to have toured such amazing properties, and to have the privilege of passing the knowledge along. For any specific questions about these resorts, please contact me. I can’t quite convey everything I saw into words, but I’m more than happy to help in any way I can. I’m also more than happy to do some more hotel inspections! 🙂