Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

Close your eyes and imagine…you are sitting around a clear blue lagoon pool, relaxing on your handmade lounge chair, listening to soft music, sipping a mojito and debating between the French and Italian restaurants for dinner, when the head chef from the Himitsu Oriental restaurant stops by and offers you his sushi creations. It’s something you’ll tell friends about when you get home, and that’s what makes Secrets Maroma Beach, which just turned one year old, easily one of our most highly rated resorts in any destination.

From Secrets Maroma Beach’s top notch hotel staff to the entertainment team, from the full buffet grill around the pool to the gourmet bites (not just sushi, but hand carved tacos, ice cream, ceviche, and more) served daily from the head chefs, from teppanyaki tables to seaside dining, from the suites with Jacuzzi tubs to the relaxing Preferred Club lounge, from the pool volleyball action to the incredible stage shows and dancing until 2am in the nightclub, it’s nearly impossible to find fault at Secrets Maroma.

And have we mentioned Secrets Maroma’s beach? By far the most amazing, most beautiful, most spacious beach of any resort we feature in Mexico. Calm clear blue water and what seems to be acres of white sand make for not only great Kodak moments, but the best place to relax and unwind…and don’t forget the beach waiters bringing bottled water and drinks throughout the day, no real reason to leave the beach!

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun has always been one of our favorites, and was one of the first true adults-only luxury resorts our company began featuring when we started our big entry into Mexico over five years ago. For many, it’s been Secrets Capri’s size – less than 300 rooms with a U-shaped layout around the main pool (with strolling saxophonist) offers intimacy and relaxation. For others, it’s been the staff – Secrets Capri was our 2008 Best Of winner for Best Staff & Service – who go out of their way to accommodate guests’ requests and preferences, and knows who you are and what you drink almost as soon as you arrive. For others still, it’s been the gourmet dining and top shelf drinks.

None of that has changed, and now that Secrets Capri is all-Preferred Club level, the service and amenities are even better. What has changed is the nightlife! Before April of this year, Secrets Capri has always been known as a quiet and laid back resort (it still is) with nothing really going on after dinner. What a change they have made! One can still enjoy an after dinner coffee overlooking the ocean at Seaside Grill, or a cocktail in the Rendevous lobby bar, or adjourn to their room and order room service. But for those looking for a little excitement, let us introduce Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun’s all-new Desires Sports Bar!

Desires was a small room offering a stage and chairs/tables for basic nighttime entertainment, but Secrets Capri blew out the wall and removed the spa (which is now in a new location, bigger and better than ever – you must see the pictures!) and added in a full sports bar, complete with flat screen televisions (including a full wall screen), pool tables, table games, and a wraparound bar with more televisions showing sports from around the globe. Nighttime entertainment has been upgraded as well – live music, showmen, roaming magicians, and more. Really surprising if you’ve been to Secrets Capri before, as walking down the lobby steps, it’s a head-turner seeing the new sports bar!

Dreams Riviera Cancun Almost Open!

It’s almost here! The newest addition to the Dreams family of luxury family resorts is scheduled to open next month – Dreams Riviera Cancun. Dreams Riviera Cancun is the first Dreams built from the ground up, and from touring the construction site last month, we’re all quite excited to see the final product. Dreams Riviera Cancun features a compact layout, perfect for families with children (hard for them to wander off without being seen, unlike some other mega-resorts), very unique octagonal rooms with upscale furnishings and amenities, very nice stretch of white sand beach, large lagoon-style pools (plus a kids pool adjacent to the main pool), and one of the best kids programs of any resorts we well (the Explorers Club).

Of course being built from the ground up, Dreams Riviera Cancun was able to be designed how they wanted and include features they weren’t able to in other resorts, such as swim out rooms with split-level pools outside the patio, beds in the rooms that face the patio/balcony for wonderful sunrises, flat screen televisions, Jacuzzi tubs, and double vanity sinks in all room categories, and an absolutely gorgeous outdoor spa garden with individual treatment cabanas. Eight restaurants and six bars (plus the new Coco Cafe coffee shop) give Dreams Riviera Cancun guests plenty of choices.

Dreams Riviera Cancun includes all the same great amenities and features as other Dreams Resorts – no reservations for dining, even in gourmet a la carte restaurants; no wristbands or towel cards; 24 hour room service; in room minibars refreshed daily; Explorers Club for kids 3-12 open from 9AM to 10PM; and much more.

A few things we found – the location of Dreams Riviera Cancun is fantastic, only around 20 minutes from the airport, and being right next door to Excellence Riviera Cancun, it has a wonderful white sand beach. Dreams Riviera Cancun’s Explorers Club has individual rooms for each age group of children (plus rock climbing wall and theater) so smaller children aren’t grouped with older ones, but oddly enough Dreams did not incorporate their new Core Zone Teens Club – this says to us they plan to gear Dreams Riviera Cancun much more towards families with younger (12 and under) children. Rooms, while not suites, are spacious with the unique layout, and many rooms are connecting.

La Amada Hotel at Playa Mujeres, Cancun

In all of our 8+ years doing this, occasionas have been few and far between that we feature a resort that’s not all-inclusive. In order for us to recommend such a resort, it would really have to knock our socks off. So keeping that in mind, and seeing as how we’re barefoot now, we’re proud to introduce La Amada Hotel, Cancun.

From the same company that has been incredibly successful with Excellence Resorts, the Excellence Group opened the stunningly-beautiful La Amada earlier this year as an upscale, boutique hotel – in a first for them, one that accepts children. Situated adjacent to Excellence Playa Mujeres and the marina area, La Amada (which translates literally to “the beloved“) has only 109 suites, with the smallest being 960 square feet (dwarfing even the huge suites at Excellence Playa Mujeres!) All suites have a luxurious bathroom with double sinks, free wireless internet, and some feature a plunge pool on the terrace or Jacuzzi tub on the balcony.

While La Amada does accept children and offers a basic kids club, it’s really not their main focus – quiet and laid back luxury for couples young and old is what they cater to. Two restaurants with varying gourmet menus plus four bars provide plenty of cuisine opportunities for such a small resort, plus Cancun is only 20 minutes away for those seeking to experience the local culture, shopping, and dining. Because you’re not paying for the all-inclusive plan, this is an opportunity to leave the resort to try different things – enjoy lunch on the nearby Playa Mujeres golf course after your round, take a night and sail the nearby Capitan Hook Pirate Dinner Cruise, or go into town for shopping and entertainment.

La Amada is not a basic small hotel – this is ultra-luxury in a small package. Laid back and intimate, quiet and relaxing, on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach with a gorgeous nighttime view of Isla Mujeres, La Amada is a unique experience for those looking for luxury without all-inclusive.

Couples Resorts Sweep Travel & Leisure Awards

We always knew Couples Resorts were tops for us in the Caribbean – now everyone else does! Hope this doesn’t mean they sell out more quickly than usual…

Travel + Leisure magazine has just announced the results of its annual readers’ survey of the World’s Best travel destinations and all four Couples resorts were listed among the top-10 resorts in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

Couples Negril has been ranked second, Couples Swept Away, third; Couples Sans Souci, seventh; and the recently renovated Couples Tower Isle (formerly Couples Ocho Rios) eighth. Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away also made it on to the list of the Top-100 World’s Best Resorts at 36 and 42, respectively.

“This is an extremely satisfying accomplishment,” said Couples Chairman Lee Issa. “For all of four of our properties to be among the top-10 resorts in the entire Caribbean, Bermuda and Bahamas region is a real testament to the hard work and consistent efforts of our entire team. We consider our staff to be our greatest ‘natural’ asset and this award demonstrates their commitment to providing the highest quality service that has become the Couples hallmark.”

“We are always striving to improve on the experience we provide for our guests,” added Couples CEO Glenn Lawrence, “and the fact that these rankings come from the readers of Travel + Leisure makes it all the more rewarding.”