We are already starting the fourth week of school and it is off to a roaring start. Question: Do y'all feel relaxed after the summer break? Or, do you feel like you've worked three jobs, instead? It's B for me. I ripped and ran all summer. I felt so exhausted. In the first week of the summer, we took a family trip to Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. We had an amazing time, but by the time we landed back in Houston, we needed an adult-only vacation…quick, fast and in a hurry. We had officially run out of parental steam. Ideally, we take at least one adult-only week-long getaway each year. I think that's healthy, but not always feasible.
You guys, we hadn't taken a long adult-only vacation since the summer of 2017 when we treated ourselves to a two-week European vacation. Don't get me wrong, two weeks in Europe (UK, Amsterdam, and Scotland), was perfect, but it was busy. We aren't the "relax and decompress" vacationers. Instead, we are the "let's tick these boxes on our bucket list" kind of travelers, which often means we come back home to our kids not rested at all, but still tired. This summer, my husband and I looked at each other and knew we needed a "We may or may not leave our hotel room" type of vacation. Plus, we just hit our 20th year in marriage (yay!!), and this trip was also an opportunity to celebrate us!
We knew this vacation had to have 3 things:
1. A beach - We all know how ridiculously relaxing the ocean is.
2. No kiddos - Not mine, not yours, not any. LOL!
3. Good food - I didn’t want to have to search for good food. I just want it to be available.
For the first time, we chose an all-inclusive and adult-only beach resort! We aren't beach resort people. So, in our twenty years, we've only been to 3 beach resorts (twice in Puerto Rico and once in the Dominican Republic). When we went to the Dominican, we were new parents really needing to catch our breath. So, when we got to the Dominican, we did almost nothing. We went to the spa, to the beach, to the pool and then we went back to our room. That's it. People asked me, "How was the Dominican?" I’d tell them, "I don't know how the Dominican is, all I can tell you is that my resort was really nice." Folks, that's the kind of vacation I was looking for this summer. We wanted to relax, walk slowly, and basically do nothing. We really didn't even want to do any sight-seeing.
After lots of searching, and keeping all of our many requirements in mind, we landed on Secrets at Akumal Riviera Maya in Mexico. Here's a quick list of the things that we loved about our stay at Secrets Akumal.
1. An Introvert's Dream! – Y’all may already know that I'm a shy introvert. I do not go on vacation to meet people. I know…there is a whole group of people who can't wait to make new friends while on their vacation. That is not me. I just want to reconnect with the person I came with — my husband. I'm the girl who would love to vacation on a private island. Like most introverts, I loathe small talk, and I kind of suck at it. At this resort, there was none of that! It was as if I chose an introverts-only resort. For six days, I literally only made small talk with bellmen and the spa attendants. That's it! The resort never felt overcrowded. In fact, the resort has three pools, one is for the "members" who own a Secrets vacation membership, and then there are two pools for us regular folks. One of the pools, furthest from the beach, but stunning in every way, never had more than a handful of people in it. The guests, generally speaking, were all very quiet. There isn't loud music being played everywhere. The resort feels very spa-like throughout, with spa music playing all over the grounds.
2. Oh Holy Hydrotherapy! – I'm in no way a spa snob, and I don't spend much of time at spas when I vacation. (That may change, though.) The spa at this resort…y’all…I just don't have words. The spa staff was amazing and attentive. The design of the spa was beautiful and peaceful throughout. There are several quiet spaces to sit, lounge, and relax outside of your spa service room. I had two services – a reflexology treatment and a full body deep tissue massage. I was so excited about my first-ever reflexology treatment, but I'm not going to lie, I fell asleep. I missed most of the treatment. Oops! I was awake for all of my deep tissue, and it was absolutely WONDERFUL!! Anytime you use the spa, you can use all the lounge spaces available, including the hydrotherapy area. OMG! Have y'all done hydrotherapy before? Please let me know in the comments below. I want to hear about it. So, the hydrotherapy is a treatment in itself. It's like a spa water obstacle course. Here's how it goes: First, you spend about 10 minutes in the sauna. Then, you dip your whole body (if you can) in freezing water. I could barely do it, and Anthony got a good laugh at my expense. Next, you dip your body into hot water. Then, in a large outdoor pool, there are about six different high pressured water experiences, each with a different body therapy. You can massage your feet, your back, your head/scalp, your neck and your shoulders. One of the hydrotherapies massages your neck and back, and basically its water being sprayed out at such high pressure that it feels like a thousand fingers all over your back and neck! Amazing! When you're all done you can relax in the hot tub or take a snooze on one of their many loungers where your attendant will meet you with a hot towel for your neck and cucumbers to lay on your eyes. Yes, please and thank you!! It was all so amazing! I would go back just for the spa!
3. Oh so new! – Secrets Akumal was completed in 2015, which makes it practically brand new. I'm not a clean freak at home (I wish I was), but when I'm on vacation, I expect cleanliness on almost every level. This resort was just that. I have no complaints about the maintenance of this resort. In fact, the staff is always cleaning and maintaining the grounds which are just beautiful (See #4). The rooms were impeccable and feel fresh and new. I am fairly picky, and I didn't see or notice anything that gave me pause. I also have a very heightened sense of smell. The grounds and common areas always smelled delightful. It's as if they are piping in essential oils through the vents.
4. Lush Flora and Fauna – As I mentioned earlier, we are not beach resort folks, so some of the things that I found amazing about this place, may be commonplace, and I just don't know it. The grounds at Secrets Akumal were beautiful and super lush. Large areas of dense greenery could be found all over the property, which I think makes the resort feel more intimate and quiet. Plants that I struggle to keep alive at home are growing in abundance here, like: ivies, ginger lilies, birds of paradise, just to name a few. Iguanas are the local four-legged greeters here. They move around freely and do not bother you at all. When the two-legged staff greets you when you arrive at the resort, they say, "Welcome to Paradise." That's a common exaggeration, but in this case, not too far off from true.
5. It's All About that Beach! – Was the Secrets Akumal beach the nicest beach ever? No, not really. I think Destin, Florida's beach is nicer in terms of water clarity and blueness. However, this beach did do the trick. The Secrets Akumal staff monitors the resort's beach loungers to ensure that only resort guests are occupying and using the loungers. All the loungers are covered with palapas, so you only bake if you really want to. Also, the resort's beach has a large protected coral reef about 30 feet from the beach shore. There is free snorkel gear available for guests so that anyone can enjoy the reef if snorkeling is your jam. I'd never snorkeled before, and I really enjoyed it. If you are an early riser, you can check out the sea turtles in the early mornings on your snorkeling adventure. In fact, "Akumal" is Mayan for "place of turtles." We aren't early risers. We didn't see turtles. Oh well…maybe next time.
6. The "Secret" is in the Staff – I was only going to list 5 things that I loved, but I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the Secrets staff. Hands down, the best customer service we've had in a really long time. The bellman staff, the greeters when you arrive, the staff at registration, the gentlemen who diligently scrubbed the sidewalks…everyone was delightful. Staff members never walked passed you without greeting you and with a smile. Their attention to detail was top-notch. My favorite service they offer throughout the resort is that they offer you cool towels when you arrive at the hotel and when you arrive at any of the resort restaurants. It's usually quite hot as you know in Mexico, and you'll likely break a sweat on the walk from your room to a restaurant. So, the cool towels were such a nice touch. The staff was definitely a huge piece of why I enjoyed Secrets Akumal. I couldn't leave them out.
Overall, Secrets Akumal lived up to all the positive reviews that I had read during my trip planning. I don’t have much to say that’s negative about this resort. However, there are a few things that we didn’t love. While all the restaurant food at the resort was pretty good, they do not serve you a lot. Repeat: portions are small! Also, the food service, at both restaurants and room service, was slow. So, be prepared for that. There are seven restaurants on the property, including Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Seafood, a breakfast buffet, and a pool-side bar-food restaurant. There is also a dress code for the restaurants for dinner. Keep that in mind. Lastly, I will say there was a noise issue due to the way the doors to each of the rooms were set up. Basically, you share a hallway with one other set of guests. When they open or close their hotel room door, you hear it fairly loudly. I would say that's a design flaw that I found a bit bothersome, but it would not necessarily deter me from returning to the resort.
I hope you guys found this article helpful. If you’ve visited Secrets Akumal or any other Secrets resorts, let us know! Don’t keep it a secret!