Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Not ready to be opened...
"aug 16-23, 25 yrs old Day 1: OK - So i originally booked Secrets Maroma, and we were called the night before telling us we had to switch to Silversands due to maroma having no A/C and hot water. I couldnt do much about it, so accepted it. We arrived early in the morning on Aug 16th (10:00 am). The first things you see as you are driving up to the resort is dozens of construction vehicles - I thought no problem, they are all outside the gate anyways. Upon check-in, we were greeted by cold cloths, champagne, and cookies. The girl Monse checked us in, and was really unhelpful; this mainly may be because she has a hard time speaking/understanding english. We asked about maroma - all she said was its closed. I wanted to know what she was going to do for me since we didnt get what we booked, and she said you are getting everything you booked, just at this resort instead. We were excited to be there anyways, so we just said OK to that. Our room wasnt ready, so we hung out at the pool and explored for an hour or 2, at which time our room was ready. The bellboy brought our stuff to our room and explained everything to us. We then went down to the pool, and met a bunch of other people that were supposed to be at Maroma. They complained to the management, and received a free weeks stay at Maroma for use within a year. After hearing this, I immediatly got out of the pool and went to the pobby to speak with someone. After waiting about 1-2 hours in the lobby to speak to someone, I spoke with Geraldo - a representative of Maroma management. After giving him my complaint, he immediatly gave me my certificate for a free week. SECRETS already had hundreds of certificates primted out for everone they had to relocate. What pissed me off is that they didnt automatically give it to you opon checkin (ie, Monse probably knew about this but glossed over the subject), but instead you had to jump through hoops to get what they were already promising you. Geraldo also explained Maroma was still open, and that we could use the facilities. Geraldo said a van will pick us up at 10:00am the following day and bring us to maroma. We were OK with this as its the best we could get. So, we got our free week as well as trips to maroma to hang out there. Day 2: 9:45 we wait in the lobby. 10:15, no van. I talk to Geraldo, he says he will check. 10:30, he says it will be here at 11:00am. We have a drink or 2 and come back by 10:50. Now we are waiting with 6 other people waiting for the 11:00am van. 11:15. No van. Geraldo has 8 pissed off people. We ask him whats the deal - he says he will call and find out. 11:30, he tells us it will be here at 2:00pm. This is the point where i flipped out on him. I asked him in front of everyone to stop bullshitting us and tell us if we can go to maroma or not. We have already wasted 2 hours sitting in the lobby. He says he is very sorry, but Maroma is not open and we cannot go at 2:00pm either. At this point the lobby was filled with 50 people trying to check in, and 8 pissed off people causing a scene. GERALDO FLAT OUT LIED TO 8 GUESTS AND DID NOT GIVE US THE TRUTH UP FRONT. Because of this, I talked to Salvador and got 2 sets of couples massages for free. I also had to haggle to get this - secrets should have just offered something for our troubles. We also announced to the lobby to talk to geraldo to get your free week at maroma - a massive line immediatly formed right beside him. After this, we hung out at the pool, got out massges (reviewed below). Day 3-6: Same thing day in and day out - woke up, ate breakfast, floated in the pool, played pool volleyball, beach volleyball, water polo, etc. Drank at the swim up bar, etc. Then ate dinner.. day 6: Tried twice to talk to the GM Mauricio Martinez to tell him about all the complaints and ridiculous things going on that didnt make the vacation too pleasant (construction ongoing though the guest areas, crappy beach full of seaweed about 1ft deep, SPA not open and instead using guest rooms, broken running path, horrible service due to understaffing, etc etc. the list goes on and on). Got him on the 3rd attempt because i saw him walking around the resort and stopped him. I told him I wanted a new certificate for Maroma that included a honeymoon oceanfront suite (a huge upgrade from our garden view). He said this is not a problem and the new certificate will be ready in the morning at 9am. Great. Day 7 : Last day. At 9am, went to the front desk. No certificate. The receptionists tried finding mauricio, no luck. They also dont try very hard either; just calling his office phone isnt good enough. I had to tell them to page him over the radios and call his cell phone. They finally got him and said he will be right up. 45 minutes later, his secretary shows up. She says she will get the certificate for us. We are breakfast and came back at 10:15am. Still no certificate. Within another 15 min, we finally had it. After that, chilled in the pool until we had to leave. Reviews.... -The room Rooms are new and very nice. Our A/C was ice cold. The bathrooms were awesome - massive shower, 2 sinks, jacuzzi. The design of everything is very modern, so it looks very empty and cold. Personally, I like this look. It attracts the younger crowd. If you like things to be more "homely", then you may not like the rooms. We had a 42" flatscreen, the only problem is half the time all the channels were out so you couldnt watch anything. Also FYI - they get HBO, Cinemax, and Playboy. Mosquitos are a huge problem - you wake up in the morning with dozens of bites on you if you dont kill them all before you go to bed. The problem is the maids leave the door open while they clean the room, and they all come in then. Really bad... Also cant really use your balcony because of the mosquitos. The elevator at the guest room buildings - Really tiny - fits 2-4 people at most. Always had at least a dozen mosquitos in it. took the stairs mostly. The Bars/Drinks Very good. All drinks were really good, and if you didnt get a drink immediatly, you never had to wait more than 2 minutes. Fanny and Bertin were especially good at the lobby bar at nights, and Alfredo and felipe were really good at the swim up bar during the day. When alfredo got bored because no one was ordering drinks, he would just make rounds of 15 shots of the "alfredo special" for everyone near the bar. Really good service. Also, tipping them guarantees you amazing service during your stay. Restarants- they rotated nightly - only 3 open out of the 8. El patio - Mexican : Great food, bad service. get the chocolate Soufle - amazing. Went here many times just for dessert. Himitsu - Asian: There are 3 sections- hibachi, tables, and sushi bar. We had the hibachi was was OK for my standards, but really good for mexico. The food at the tables was really good, but service lacking. i didnt sit at the sushi bar, so I cant comment. Ratatoullie - Again, really good food, and AWESOME service, ONLY because the waiter CARLOS was serving us. This guy is just amazing - he is the only guy that we saw in all of the restaurants that actually waited excellently on tables. He is exactly like Emilio, the butler from Mr Deeds, both in mannerisms and voice. I wanted to take him home with me. Portofinos - Food was really good, horrible service. The waiters from Ratatouille work at portofinos as well (the 2 restarants rotate daily, one is open, the other isnt). This is where I saw Carlos shine. I ate at portofinos after Rat., and was served by a different waiter. It took 2 hours to eat dinner, and in that amount of time, Carlos turned over his 6 tables THREE times in that amount of time. It makes we wonder what these other waiters do half the time. Carlos saw us, and actaully kept giving us more wine and water because our waiter wasnt. I talked to the manager of the restarant to give my compliments about Carlos, and he was very happy to hear that (but not happy that every one else sucks). I told him I am going to eat wherever Carlos is working, and I did just that. Went back to Rat. the next night, Carlos was so happy I talked to the manager about him. Manger also visited us again to express his thanks. Talked to him for a while, and he said that he works at Silversands because it pays really good money, about $20US PER DAY. I tipped him $30US, really made his day. This guy should be the manger of the hotel - he was the most customer service oriented person at the resort, more so than Mauricio, the GM. Bordeaux - Closed, go figure Spa - Closed. Wont be open for many many months. They are giving massages in guest rooms instead, full of mosquitos. Nasty. they bite you like crazy! I met the guys installing the Spa, the spa equipment has been held up at customs for the past month, still dont knwo when they will get it. Once they get it, 4 weeks installation. So dont expect the SPA to be operational until November or so. Pool entertainment - Really good. Miriam and Sergio are awesome. Played sports every day, they are really nice, funny, and outgoing. Night entertainment - Funny because they were so bad everynight. The only good things were the fire show and the bands. The Desires club had no one in it every night, maybe because it was so new. Hopefully night entertainment will pick up, because it was dead. Beach - What beach? Full of rocks, coral, sea urchins (a giil stepped on one and couldnt walk for 2 days), and seaweed. Its not like the pictures, so dont be mislead by the brochure. No shade either, tho the last day we were there they were building the thatch tent things which looked nice. Pools - Lots of pools. One wasnt open. the main pool is really nice as well as the infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. In the end, my experience wasnt that great, mainly due to the fact of really poor management and and fact it was so new. I expected a few kinks, but some were pretty big. If you go here in 6 months or so, I would expect this place to be really really good. I would recommend this hotel, but not for at least 6 months or so."
- Travel date: 27th August 2008
"We stayed at Silversands August 16 - August 21st in place of our original Secrets Maroma vacation. I read the forums and was aware that Maroma may not be open to us. So I emailed Secrets the day before we left and this is the email message I received at 2:30pm "Secrets Maroma will be able to accomodate you tomorrow. We hope you enjoy your visit! Thank you for choosing Secrets Resorts!" We booked through Cheap Caribbean and upon arriving at the airport, that is when we found out that we would be sent to Silversands and would receive a voucher for a free return visit to Maroma. ARRIVAL: We arrived at Silversands and waited and waited...being this new they need to come up with a better, more effective check-in process. Eventually we were offered champagne as we waited. Once we were checking in, they upgraded our Ocean View Room to a Swim Out Ocean View Suite. That we thought was very nice to get a room upgrade. However, it really didn't work out to feel like an upgrade due to the mosquitoes. STAFF: All staff at Silversands were very nice. We did run across a couple of servers during our meals that did not have a warm welcoming personality, but overall most were very kind. MEALS: All of our meals were delicious. My husband and I both enjoy dessert and so far (this being our 3rd vacation in Mexico) it seems that none of the resorts we have been at (all 5 star) know how to make a dessert. Perhaps some of the discriptions of the desserts get lost in the translation. However, their pastries in the morning were OUT OF THIS WORLD! They just need to get someone in that knows how to make a brownie!! It definately kept my weight in check during our stay!! HA HA It did seem that as our stay continued, the breakfast staff became increasingly less attentive. One morning we asked for a Memosa three times before we received it (we asked two separate servers too!) Other times our coffee was never refilled. Also, we were sat at tables that weren't wiped down from the previous guests. Maybe they just need to up the amount of staff in the morning to accommadate all properly. ROOM: Our room was very spacious and functional. Loved the sliding walls to add some privacy to the bathroom. Using the sliding walls allowed us to shower and still have our shades open for natural lighting. We found the beds to be very comfortable. The cons were: 1) no directory listing out information on foods available for room service(asked 2 times before one appeared in our room), upon ordering room service they did not use our Secrets Box (they knocked, entered the room and set up our food at the table), 2) turn down service was hit and miss, had to call for a cleaning one day of our stay, asked for a restock in our fridge and never received it, 3) I don't believe any of the rooms had clocks yet (at least non of the other couples we spoke with had any either). 4) The bugs!!!!! I believe this was due to us having a swim out suite on the main level. The mosquitoes were just waiting to enter our room everytime the door was open...of course the cleaning staff leaves the door wide open during their cleaning and this allows about 20 or more mosquitoes into the room each time. BUGS: The mosquitoes were everywhere...in the restaurants, the bars, our room....EVERYWHERE! Each night my husband would have to do room patrol and swat them. A couple of nights I was awaken a few times by the buzzing of them actually in my ear! I counted the bites from my kneeds to my ankles and I have 40 bites just in that area of my body alone!! We killed 4 crickets and two HUGE GIANT SPIDERS!!! The hotel obviously needs to spray and get this issue under control. We've never experienced this in our Mexico vacations and our other family members have been to Mexico a dozen times or more and have never had this issue. MANAGEMENT: After three times of attempting to speak with the manager for Maroma to discuss our return voucher, when we finally did get contact with him, he was AMAZINGLY kind! We were bummed to have to spend so much of our time in lines during our vacation, however after we explained that we would be celebrating our 10th anniversary next year and wanted to return to Mexico for a 7 night stay, he increased our 5 night voucher to a 7 night voucher without any problems. Again, we cannot commend him enough for his kindness. Other guest were quite rude to him and never once did we see him raise his voice or loose his cool. VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE! POOLS: Plenty of pools to enjoy. Stick to the main one for activies, use the swim out suite pools for a quieter atmosphere. Service around the pool was OKAY...you really had to go to the swim up bars if you didn't want to wait to be approached. Drinks made by the Oceana/Seaside restaurants were a lot better than the pool bar. BEACH: Not swimmable, but pretty. No shade relief, but beach volleyball was fun. Entertainment: It was entertaining!! Mexican dancers one night, Carribean dancers another (just like watching Dancing With The Stars), Casino night... Just because of the bugs, we would not recommend this resort to our family and friends."
- Travel date: 24th August 2008
Excellent Service resort with a lot to offer
"We landed at Silversands on August 5th after learning our original resort Maroma Beach would not be opened. We were happy being placed at Silversands. The resort is stunning. Please refer to my pictures attached to this review and on my profile........ Yes, it is a modern resort with modern decor. The lobby is large with sculptures and furniture that actually belongs in other sections of the resort but because they are still under construction have been added to the lobby for the time being. The couches are comfortable and stylish. Its color scheme is very gray , blue and white with paintings that will remind you of your children you left back home (I was saying to myself...I could paint this and saved you THOUSANDS) The layout of the hotel is beautiful. The lobby opens up to a two story bar with a sprial staircase and floor to ceiling windows. Lots of natural light comes through. The staff was amazing, attending to your every need- drinks, towels, bug repellent...There are also travel representatives from Avis and Amstar Tours to help you plan a great trip while you are there...Watch out for Amstar though. They work with companies that will leave the resort without picking you up if you are not at the lobby the second they get there (early or later than your pick up time) They will not call the room to look for you....they will just leave. They are always late too (Not all tours are bad, book with causion.)....I recommend the Whale Shark tour (It was the most frightening yet beautiful most adventerous tour I have ever done) You will enjoy it!! To the left and right of the bar below the lobby are rows of restaurants....Portofinos, Himatsu, El Patio, Bordaeux and Ratatouille.....there are shops located on this level as well (they were not open while we were there...neither was the business section so I cannot common on those) but the layout of the stores and sizes are big so you will enjoy some nice shopping. The restaurants are a la carte so you can order what you please. Food was wonderful. Very tasty. Menus were very traditional in terms of the type of restaurant. I LOVED Portofinos which had lots of Rissotto dishes, and pudding tiramisu which I found in only one place in the world so far (Venice Italy). However, if you become attached to a certain dish and want it again during your stay, the consistancy is not there. Tiramisu three nights in a row for dessert was not the same three nights. Its almost as if a different chef prepares the meal everynight. This may have been because they were low on staff members since the resort was not fully opened. But still good none the less. At Himatsu, my financee thought every dish was better then the best Asians restaurants in NYC (and hes picky so I was happy he enjoyed it) The room service is phenomenal too. We ordered food to our room twice a day and it was always there within 25 minutes. Lots of your home favorites were on the menu like club sandwiches and nachos, cheesecake and chocolate cake....alll very very good!! The pools are breathtaking. Seaside Grill and Oceana are located right on top of them so the view is very beautiful. The pools located in the center of the hotel are infinity pools. They look like they go right into the ocean at the ends. There are lots of floating mats to take a nap on. The staff is very attentive always bringing you drinks and menus to see food. The pool bar was the hang out of the day. Located right underneath Seaside Grill, this pool bar is half in the shade, half in the sun for those who want to sip champagne and not get sick from over exposure. A lot of jokes get told at this bar. Very relaxing and very beautiful. The outside bars are always jammed with lots of friendly people ready to chat you up. BaRacuda bar on the beach is a hut with live music most nights. Its nice at the end of the day to sit and have a drink and watch the stars come out. Service and food (quality included) are the best I have ever experienced. Activities at the hotel include table tennis, billards and a BIG chest board in the gaming area which is located outside. There are no lights at night so its hard to play after the sun goes down. They also have exercising in the pool, dance lessons and volleyball (beach and pool) The pool volleyball is always very competitive so make sure you are good before you enter the competition. More activities will become available once the hotel is full open. There is a gym and its got plenty of machines to use just watch out for the mosquitoes (they are everywhere) There is also a dive center next to the pool with lots of dives, snorkeling, dolphin and jungle tours. I suggest booking with them, they can take you to Cozumel for diving. There is also a theater with shows. They are still auditioning acts so I cant say which are staying and going. The hypnotist was pretty funny!! The spa is not open yet but they do have rooms set up for massages. I had the most amazing 80 minute massage EVER. Im excited to go back just for the massages :) Im guessing the spa will be beautiful as well judging from what I have seen of it so far. I have no doubt it will be most relaxing exprience you have had (It was for me) The beach...the only downside of the whole resort. Not pretty at all. Lots of seagrass and dead coral washing up. There is garbage from time to time but i is cleaning up everyday. Its not large at all and there is limited sand space. There are kayaks and sailboats at one end. You are better off taking a kayak and going out about 100 yards if you plan on swimming there. They have great reefs about 500 feet out and clear blue watch. Lots of fish to see. But f you are looking for BEAUTIFUL beach, this is not your resort. Now to the rooms. VERY LARGE. We had a Junior Suite Partial Ocean View room. The bathroom is large. Seperate shower stall (big enough for 6 people) with two shower heads and a bench, seperate toilet room and a large vanity with two sinks. Big bottles of shampoos sunscreen and other goodies. The jacuzzi was large enough for two people and has a great view into your room and the flat screen TV. Word of advise: DONT USE A WHOLE BOTTLE OF SHOWER GEL. Once you turn the jets on the entire bathroom will over flow with bubbles (we learned this the hard way)!! They have incents in the room which is very relaxing. Lots of closet space and a full friidge with coronas all you can drink. The secret box to put the room service in is very handy to keep dirty dishes out of the room. There is always fresh fruit and flowers in the room. The bed is BIG and comfortable. The flat screen TV is a litle low but they said they were going to heighten them (you can see your feet which you watch TV) Vanity area has a big mirrow and the couch is big enough to fit 5 people. Table and two chairs allows for dining in your room and the balconys have big couhes the size of a twin size bed if you want to take a nap with a view. The rooms decor was very modern. Grey, white and silver. The floors were cold so bring slippers. If you like modern, this is the place for you. My personal opinion was that it was a little cold. Overall, when the resort is 100% I know it will rival several resorts in the area. It has everything you need with lots of choices. The newsletter (sundial) you get every morning keeps you updated on the events going on at the hotel, restaurant hours and interesting tours you can take. Any complaints you have, they will adrress right away. Great food, great staff, it wasnt even our honeymoon yet we felt like we were newlyweds. They are wonderful and so is the resort!!! My pictures are attached to my profile so take a look and enjoy (The ones labeled SMB are Silversands sister resort Maroma Beach)"
- Travel date: 24th August 2008
We were couple number four!
"We were couple number four! I would not change it for the world! My husband and I booked a six-night stay from 8/03/08 â 8/09/08. We were originally told that the Secrets Silversands would not be opened on time, and we were going to be taken to the Secrets Capri. When we arrived at the airport, we learned from the Apple rep that the Silversands had just opened up two hours before, and he was taking us there. I was not too excited about being one of the first guests to arrive. Actually, I was pretty stinking mad. The resort was supposed to open on 8/01/08, so I figured there would be other people at the resort when we arrive. You could only imagine how I felt when we were informed that there were only three other couples there. They assured us that there were a total of 40 rooms booked our first night. Still, I called our travel agent our first evening, and left a message to see if we could be switched to the Secrets Capri (this was our honeymoon). I was afraid that our resort was going to be lame. But that evening, I saw the resort bloom (it was happeninâ)! My opinion had changed. When the travel agent called the next day, I told her my husband and I decided to stay at the Secrets Silversands. We did not want to change resorts, and am I ever so glad! Letâs start from the topâ¦ Upon arrival we were given a cool towel and champagne (I received a dozen white roses). Since we arrived on opening day, we were greeted with a mariachi band. We were then taken to our room, and our luggage was delivered shortly thereafter. We stayed in an ocean front junior suite. We were steps from the beach and the pools. When we walked into our room, we could not believe our eyes. The room was absolutely beautiful, and every square inch was amazing. The dÃ©cor was so contemporary and gorgeous! Our view from our balcony was breathtaking (every morning I had to sit out there for a little while and just take it in). I don't think that I have ever witnessed anything so beautiful in my life! The room had a seating area, large bed, and a huge bathroom with double sinks, a bathroom, and a shower with a seat. The room looked exactly like the pictures we found online-I actually couldn't believe it. The bed was unbelievably comfortable! I hate sleeping on hotel beds, but we liked the bed better than our own (and we have some pretty expensive mattresses)! I slept like a baby! It was pretty amazing that we were the first guests in this room. The food at Secrets was outstanding for an all-inclusive. A number of the meals served were the best food that my husband and I had ever had! The food was exquisite (taste and presentation). Our favorite was Portofino. I recommend getting the portobello mozzarella appetizer, the tomato basil bisque soup, the tomato mozzarella pasta, beef steak or salmon for your main course. I canât speak enough about the food (we loved all of the restaurants). When we came back home, we both went from gourmet meal withdrawal. The drinks were great (only top shelf liquor was served). No bartender at Secrets watered drinks down. I actually asked them to make mine âlightâ. They made the best Mojitos! Waiters come around regularly to check drinks on the beach as well. We were both more than satisfied. Antonio and Javier even made special drinks for us! We loved all of the bartenders. Some people on the forums complained about the beach/ seaweed on the beach. We went to the beach every day, and they kept that thing as clean as possible. Seaweed regularly washed up onto the shore, but staff members kept it clean daily. The sand was soft and the water was warm making it very enjoyable. You could actually snorkel in the waterâ¦itâs really amazing! There were a huge variety of activities posted everyday. You get a âSundialâ newsletter daily which had everything on there. Some of the activities included pool volleyball, beach volleyball, pool exercise, yoga, sailing, a kayak tour, Euro bungee, Spanish lessons, dance lessons, etc. The staff was so much fun, and they did an amazing job! Ramon was our favorite! He had so much energy...it was contageous. He even taught us how to sail!!! The entertainment staff at night included fire dancers, a Vegas Night style nightclub act which included a Casino Night, a Caribbean show, a Circus show, a hypnotist, and several bands. The entertainment was always by professional groups, not the resort staff like at many resorts. There was something for everybody. At the resort, there was a water sports center where you could (for a fee) rent wave runners, speedboats, or even go parasailing (they take you to different places). They also had the Amstar desk where they offered another 20 or so other excursions you could do from zip lining through a jungle, snorkeling/scuba diving, to visiting the Mayan ruins (these were also for a fee). You could plan your activities when you arrive. There are so many activities offered at the resort that you donât really need to book anything else. We ended up booking two excursions in Cancun our first day at the resort. We did enjoy our excursions, especially the Jungle Tour with speedboats, but we truly enjoyed the activities/shows at the resort. We really didn't need to go anywhere else. Like every new resort there were a few hitches, but nothing that affected our stay or our thoughts about this property. For being the fourth guests, the place was pretty ready to go (unlike other new resorts that I had heard about). The spa was not opened during our stay, but services were provided at another building (that area was blocked off). And one of the restaurants still had not opened yet (we had more than enough to chose from), but at this point, Iâm sure itâs opened. There were some finishing touches that were added during the week while we were there, but they seemed to âmagicallyâ appear (like a new restaurant sign). In fact, we thought it was pretty cool to spot those little details. I was really paranoid about choosing the right place for our honeymoon...I researched for hours prior to choosing the Secrets Silversands. I took a chance with a new resort, and I have to say, it was a great decision. I don't have any regrets! From the breathtaking views to the amazing management and staff, everything was fantastic! This is a wonderful place for couples to stay. I would recommend this hotel to anyone! I actually already did, and my friend and her husband are going in March. I canât see how anyone would be disappointed! We would definitely come back and stay here again! We were treated like gold! (Sorry my review is a few weeks late; I was in the process of getting a new computer after mine took a dump.)"
- Travel date: 24th August 2008
Phenomenal new Secrets Hotel
"Stayed at the Silversands from 8/15-18 and I loved it. Booked a Sterling swim-up suite with one of the nicest hotel bathrooms I've seen. Staff was incredibly accomodating and not in a "hustling for tips" mindset. I did tip frequently and gladly since where I come from, good service is rewarded. Pools and pool service is top notch. The food was absolutely outstanding and the 24 hour room service is awesome. This resort opened 8/2/08 close to a nature reserve and someone forgot to tell the mosquitoes they were being evicted. Bring lots of repellant and use it! This is an outstanding place for mature adults to relax, eat, and drink well. Under 25 would probably not enjoy this place. No disco and not many singles at all. The people who would love Secrets Silversands as I did wouldn't want to share a hotel with the under 25 set anyway."
- Travel date: 23rd August 2008
Hasn't Earned it's 5 star rating yet
"We stayed at Secrets Silversands within the first week that it was open. I can say that I believe it will be a wonderful resort within 6-8 months, but shouldnât have opened when it did. They were really pushing it to open before it was ready, it was definitely a poor management decision. I will start with the positive and move to the negativeâ¦ Staff: The staff bent over backwards to make up for what was lacking at the resort. The waiters, waitresses, and bartenders worked very hard to please everyone. They went out of their way to make sure everything was great with your stay. I would definitely give the staff 5 stars! Food & Drinks: Breakfast Buffet: We ate at the buffet for breakfast everyday. The lady who made the eggs was excellent â definitely recommend Huevos Rancheros. The buffet was huge and offered everything from meats, potatoes, eggs, fruit, breads, and yogurts. Seaside Grill: The ceviche was delicious and so fresh. The shrimp tacos were also great. Every lunch we had there was well worth it. Himitsu: Sushi was mediocre. Salad was great, and the tempura bananas for dessert were excellent! El Patio: Very good. Portion size was excellent. Definitely try the chocolate soufflÃ©, pass on the coconut rice balls (highly disappointing). Both desserts take about 15-20 minutes to prepare, so order ahead of time if youâre interested in either. Portofino: The tomato cream soup, saffron risotto, and strawberry tart were delicious. Pass on their version of tiramisu, it is actually more like a pudding or custard - rather than a traditional tiramisu. Entertainment: The resort had some sort of entertainment each evening available. It was always something unique - like a hypnotist and gymnast-type entertainers. And throughout the day, there were activities going on like water volleyball, euro-bungee, and wine/tequila tastings. The activities coordinators were really good about getting people involved, but if you didn't want to, they left you alone. Music: It seemed that none of the music was coordinated. So at times, depending on where you were in the resort, you could hear 3 different types of music being played. For example, at breakfast you could hear the music being played in that restaurant, you could also hear the âItalianâ music being played next door at the same time. It was very distracting to be walking along and hear so many different types of music. In the main building, the music being played is actually highly comical. It was like 80 rock songs turned into elevator music â not unlike musak, but lyrical also. We heard songs like Purple Rain, Pink Floydâs The Wall, Material Girl â all sang in a very slow, low key tempo. We were sure we were going to hear AC/DC at any time. Not to mention that all this drowns out the best noise of all â the ocean. Rooms: The rooms were very spacious and the furnished balconies were beautiful. The beds and pillows were very comfortable - no complaints at all. I disliked that the lights on the balconies automatically came on at about 7:15pm each night and didnât turn off until sunrise. We had to use a hair clip to keep the curtains closed, so the light wouldnât seep into the room during the night. I also didnât like that the service who stocked the mini bar was at a different time than the maid service. So the room would be cleaned, but your mini bar might not get stocked until about 6-7pm. Also, the turn down service was hit-or-miss. We only got offered it one night â not a big deal though. Our whirlpool tub was unusable due to the brown water. Iâm sure this has something to do with all the construction. We let the water run for quite a while to see if it would flush out, and it never did. And we had a brown ring around our tub during our entire stay â which leads me to believe the tub didnât get cleaned while we were there. Pools: The infinity pool is beautiful. Unfortunately, it was being worked on 2 days while we were there. One day it was actually being drained and refilled. The main pool was great. My only complaint is the bubbles in the Jacuzzi side only staying on for a very short time and having to keep turning them back on. The resort has so many pools. There were at least 2 that we saw that never were used during our stay. So if one pool is too crowded for your taste, there is always another one. The dreaded constructionâ¦ It is all over the resort and really canât be ignored. We were told by management that construction was only to be happening between the hours of 11am â 7pm. I can tell you that is not true. One evening, a group of construction workers knocked on our door at 7:30 pm to come in and take measurements in our bathroom. We found it odd (and extremely disruptive), that those measurements couldnât have been taken in one of the other 250 vacant rooms. One evening while sitting out at the veranda bar, construction workers were working on the granite countertops behind the bar and the bartenders were working around them. Didn't really make for a romantic night around the bar. If you are looking for a resort with a lush, tropical feel to it, this is definitely NOT the resort you are looking for. There are no flowers planted on the grounds and the palms are all new. It is rather minimalistic. The beach is not swimmable at all. The seagrass is really thick and at the time we were there, the resort was not working on cleaning it at all. (I'm sure there were other priorities). We were told that the resort included snorkeling, but the Activity Hut was more interested in selling you a snorkeling excursion than lending you the equipment to go yourself. But given the state of the beach, I'm not sure how you would get past all the sea grass to actually go snorkeling anyway. I believe that once the resort is fully functional and all the "kinks" are worked out that it will be nice. The staff will make sure you are well taken care of - they are the hardest workers you will find."
- Travel date: 22nd August 2008
Spent 9 nights and got married @ Secrets Silver Sands
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't know what the character limit is in the forums but I'm probably going to use it all up. We have just returned from Secrets Silver Sands after a nine night/ten day stay complete with a wedding. I will try to be as frank and honest as possible as to everything we experienced, and throw in a little but hopefully not too much opinion along the way. I will describe, in detail, our entire experience. I'll try to start each point at a different paragraph, so if you want to skip certain things you can catch right up at the next break in text. Let me start by saying that I plan on pointing out both the excellent qualities, the potential for the hotel, and the constructive criticism points that people should know about. I will say that during our stay we saw marked improvements every single day. When something did go wrong instead of being greeted with explanations and justifications, we were met with apologies, and this went a long way for someone who spent years in Washington DC doing consumer advocacy. Please don't judge this hotel whole heartedly on my review, they had only been open a few days and above all else made our stay enjoyable. They had the guests from Secrets Maroma (which did not open on time) dumped on them last minute, and they did the best they could. Here is the most honest account I can give to those interested in the hotel. We left Denver, CO and flew Frontier Airlines directly to the Cancun airport on Tuesday, August 5th. Upon arrival (and this is hit or miss) it would be good if you could book towards the front of the plane if possible, or move quickly once you disembark. The customs line (as we experienced it) was all full all the way to the back of the room, and took an hour in the heat to get through. It's divided into three sections, left, middle, and right as you come down the escalator. If you're lucky like some of the guests in our party you walk straight to the entrance and get checked through. If you're like us, you stand in the heat for an hour waiting. (There is a restroom in the customs area.) Be aware of how many people are checking passports in each section, ours had one to two checkers, and the one on the left had four. They don't take the "next available" person in the room, it goes strictly by section. So, if you're all the way on the right and there's openings in the middle desks, you have to wait for the one on the right. Once you leave customs you will retrieve your bags (not a huge airport by terminals, but well divided up so each one feels smaller.) The bags are usually (depending on how long you spent in customs) on the floor in rows by flight. Then you go through declarations (quick process) and it randomly selects people for further screening when you push an "enter" button - goes red or green - and we went right through with a green light. Then you enter the tourista section, it's a path with many many time share salesman. If you haven't been to this airport before and you don't want to waste six hours being "sold" a timeshare or whatever else, AVOID THESE PEOPLE. I would strongly advise you to have transportation pre-arranged when you get to the airport. The counters have employees based on company as well as people standing outside the doors with signs for each transport company. We booked our wedding and trip through www.thebigday.com and American Express shuttle transfers were in our package. They were waiting right there for us and took us right to the hotel. They seem to be fine on the pick up at the airport when you get there end, but on the way out we had several guests who had to take taxis as the company didn't answer the phone on the Sunday in question, and no van showed up to take our guests back to the airport. It would be a good idea to have the concierge at your hotel confirm (during the week) any weekend transfers from the hotel to the airport, just to be careful. The ride to both Secrets Silver Sands and Secrets Maroma is not long at all, and it's pretty much all highway until you turn into the huge entrances to the dirt/paved roads leading to the hotels. The vans all have air conditioning (in our experience, can't speak for every single one.) Arriving at Silver Sands the first thing you are greeted with is a cold towel to put on your face/neck. This was an absolutely wonderful thing having traveled from Denver to Cancun in the beginning of August. We were tired and hot when we arrived and it was a very nice "setting the stage" kind of entrance to have this service. Once through the doors (all glass, and excellent presentation in the lobby that only slightly differs from the pictures on the web site in terms of center room decorations) you are seated at one of three desks on the right and champagne is immediately brought to you. The check in process is easy and a staff member will have your bags tagged and ready to go to your room so that you don't need to worry about carrying anything. Be sure that your name is CORRECTLY spelled on your ticket so that they can cross-reference it with your reservation, just in case. We had to call to get our bags brought down, and the first round of suitcases to show up weren't ours. We gave them our ticket with our number on it and our bags showed up shortly after that. I have been told that guests booked into "preferred club" rooms will be whisked off to the preferred club lounge, which we were able to see but not gain access too in building # 37 on the LEFT looking at the beach from the ocean, on the ground floor. It will have champagne, caviar, a full top shelf bar (as they all are) and preferred club guests will be checked in quickly in the preferred club itself. Checking in at the lobby was not a hassle by any means though, the front desk staff wear blue linen tops and pants, and there is always someone there. The lobby is quite impressive, tile and stone and marble everywhere. Very clean lines and open space, comfortable couches, and helpful staff. Walking through the lobby to the open area directly ahead (passing the registration desks on the right) you will see a glass railing which opens to a winding staircase and the main indoor bar. Everything here is top shelf. The two beers available are Corona (on tap and in the rooms in the form of Coronitas in the mini bar) and Bud Light in cans. Once you get to your room (and you can see the pictures that I am posting) they are all the same. As far as I can tell the only difference is whether or not you're in the preferred club and what view you have. We had, in building 37 on the left when looking AT the hotel from the ocean (see photo of the resort map) a swim up room. The swim up room I hate to say is highly overrated. The water does not come up to the patio, but there's grass and chairs and a small table between your patio and the pool. The biggest disadvantage that we could find with this room was that during the day in order for us to use the bathroom, change clothes, etc. we had to have the curtains drawn for privacy, so our room was always dark. The upper floor rooms have gorgeous views (which is actually what we asked for when getting our tour, but were put into a swim up room anyway and told it was a "surprise" for our wedding) and you can leave the drapes open during the day and not be seen by anyone in the pool or walking by. It was quite awkward to be on the ground floor. At Secrets Maroma, which we were fortunate enough to tour one night before we left Mexico, the swim up rooms are just what we have come to expect from other hotels, the water comes right up to your balcony/patio steps. The rooms are very large at Silver Sands, comfortable for two people without a doubt. The mini-bar has bottled water, mineral water, coke, diet coke, Fanta, Sprite, and Coronitas (small Corona bottles) in it. There is a coffee maker and ice bucket with a beer opener in the mini bar area. It is, for the most part, stocked daily. The first two to three days we were there we had to call every day to get it re-filled but by the end of the trip someone was coming around every day to fill it without being prompted by us calling. The bed is a king size with an alarm clock, remote controlled room fan, there's a dvd player and tv in every room, jacuzzi tub, etc. In the preferred club you have access to the internet at no charge, but the wireless was not hooked up when we got there. We were given an ethernet cable by the concierge desk at no charge as long as we returned it. The internet only went out once or twice on us while we were there but seemed to "time out" after a while and we had to "repair the connection" a few times to keep using it. (We did not find this an inconvenience at all.) Overall, the internet was nice to have and we had no real issues with it. The only down side (which granted, didn't bother us at all, just something we weren't used to is that the television sets sit quite LOW compared to the level of the bed. It was sometimes a pain to have to readjust your position in bed to see the television screen clearly. When we arrived (and this might be a temporary thing) there was a slight odor of what we could most closely identify as sulfur. Maybe they use it in the filtration process, but it was there more strongly at the beginning of our trip and less towards the end. You can drink the water in the restaurants, but do not drink anything from the tap in the rooms or the shower. It is safe for brushing your teeth and washing your face, etc. We were there for ten days and had no real health issues of any kind other than mild dehydration after dives in particular. Our room had only one velour type blanket when we checked in and we didn't know that there were actually supposed to be comforters in each room. When we visited my parents room on the last day they were there (they came in Thursday August 7th and left Sunday August 10th as did most folks, after the wedding was finished) we discovered the comforter (I had called twice asking for blankets and no one showed up in two to three days at that point) so we took the comforter from their room and brought it to ours. I told the desk staff, they said it was no problem at all. The house keeping staff is unbelievably friendly, but it is where you will find your greatest language barrier issues. Sometimes, both with the housekeeping staff as well as the concierge and desk staff, it seems that if they don't understand what you're asking they won't seek clarification but will simply disregard what you're saying. If you can find someone there who has greater language skills and go to them individually for issues you might have better luck. Be aware that the housekeeping staff will enter your room WHILE knocking. I would advise, when in the rooms that you put the latch on the lock at eye level to keep someone from finding you in the bathroom, in your skivvies, etc. They are unbelievably nice and apologetic, but once or twice they caught my now husband barely having put a towel on coming out of the shower. They show up a little early to see if you want your room cleaned (earliest was 8:20am I believe) and not that we weren't awake but it would've been nice not to be disturbed at that hour. We had a "do not disturb" sign but it kept blowing away in the breeze, there was no way to secure it to the door handle, so it eventually just got blown away. They also have a tendency to leave the door open when cleaning the room which allows all of the mosqitos waiting patiently outside your room free access. BRING BUG SPRAY. USE BUG SPRAY. It is also so humid there that drying clothing or towels in your room or in the bathroom isn't really a great idea. We had to leave things out on the balcony area/patio area all day long to try, which wasn't a big deal, but like I said we were on the ground floor so putting boxer shorts out there, etc. was kind of embarasing. Silver Sands (of the part that was open that we could see, pictures will reflect) is a very centralized community oriented feeling resort. The main outdoor bar, the "Veranda Bar" is where most people meet for before & after dinner drinks (as well as the main indoor bar with the air conditioning.) At night, even in August, the climate was comfortable. Most people adhered to the dress code. The restaurants that were open when we were there were Ratatouille, the Portofino (Italian), Himitsu (Asian cuisine), the Patio (Mexican) and the Seaside Grill & Oceana over the main bar (one on each side, primarily serving seafood.) The breakfasts were either a buffet in the Portofino (the best one by far), a buffet at the Oceana, or a la carte at one of the restaurants. Every day you will receive (or should receive) a flyer for the following day stating activities, drink of the day, special events and lessons/activities, as well as what restaurants are open that day/evening (I'm assuming this will only be a part of the flyer until all of the restaurants and lounges are open.) There was daily yoga, spanish lessons, beach volleyball, water volleyball (which became quite popular every day) as well as a whole host of other activities. The food is very good at all of the restaurants, and after staying there for ten nights, we also found it to be consistent. My favorite was the Portofino which had things like stuffed chicken, lamb, duck, pastas, salads, deserts, etc. The lamb, duck, and salmon dishes were my favorite. I would also highly recommend the prosciutto appetizer with cantalope, though I don't know which menu it was on (couldn't find it the last night we went there) we were able to ask for it by name and have it brought to us anyway. We unfortunately didn't get to eat at Himitsu (the one night we went to eat there it was closed) but two of our sushi lovers said that the sushi was quite good. There are two front tables when you walk into Himitsu on the left which are set up like Benihana of Tokyo, a chef will come and cook for you in front of you. El Patio (Mexcian) had some very unique and interesting dishes. At some meals it seemed from restaurant to restaurant that it was the same food only differently plated, but overall the food was very good. Much better than other "unlimited luxury or all inclusive" resorts that I've stayed at. I am not sure if it was the time of year, occupancy levels, number of guests at a table, or what but some of our meals took almost four hours. Some were faster than others. If you have something to get to, excursion, etc. the buffet is always the fastest option. I'd absolutely recommend the "make your own eggs" type bar. I got a mass of scrambled eggs one morning with ham and green peppers in it that was really good. The Churros are great if you can find them at your breakfast buffet. It seemed that the more people in the dinner party the longer things took as we had, by ourselves, several perfectly timed meals in restaurants as our stay progressed. We were fortunate enough one night to be shuttled over to Secrets Maroma and given a tour of the grounds, shown a room, and allowed to eat at the Bordeaux restaurant which wasn't open at all at Silver Sands while we were there. This was truly an impressive trip, and we're glad we were allowed to shuttle over there. The food and beverage manager came out and personally introduced himself and found out it was our wedding/honeymoon trip and had a surprise desert with "Happy Honeymoon" written on it for us at the end of a very excellent meal. Our hotel never did anything like this, but we were the first wedding and I think at least at the front desk most people knew that. The rooms at Secrets Maroma are slightly smaller than the ones at Silver Sands and they're more traditional, which appealed more to my husband than myself, but they both looked very well done and very comfortable. The televisions are high enough that you can see them from the bed without having to lay flat and push the blankets down to see over them. Most of the non-swim up rooms that we saw had a tub on the balcony (which very much appealed to us) and the pool was fresh waster (according to our tour guide) as opposed to the salt water pools at Silver Sands. Personally, the water doesn't matter to me, salt water (or a filtered form of sea water) is good for my skin, so it didn't bother me at all. In terms of booking excursions, Aqua World (which has a little thatch roof hut - white building - between the Veranda bar and the Seaside Grill) is the cheapest price you will find. I talked to the representative for excursions at the concierge desk (affiliated with the hotel but not a direct staff employee and does not, as I was told, represent Secrets or Silver Sands) had inconsistent prices compared with the AquaWorld folks. The brochure prices from AquaWorld were also inconsistent with what their poster/billboard signs said and what the staff said (only by a few dollars though.) The desk upstairs quoted us $192 per person for the Cenotes scuba diving (2 tanks) whereas AquaWorld came back with $120 (2 tanks.) Make sure you keep your pink receipts if you sign up for scuba diving trips. You have to present the pink certificate TO THE BOAT to gain access and get equipment. I would recommend, in terms of scuba diving, to bring a very thin scuba skin or rash guard for anything at the reefs. A normal wet suite (Body Glove is what we used 2.5-3mm) for the wreck (which sits at 90 feet) was just perfect in terms of temperature and something with a hood (same Body Glove 2.5mm-3mm suit) will work for the Cenotes, which in the middle of August were quite brisk. The Cenotes is a cavern dive (most closely mirroring an amazing night dive) in primarily fresh water.....and can get quite chilly. It's the time to have booties and fins instead of straight fins as well. The first day I signed up for the wreck dive, and my husband signed up to finish his certification dives (I've been a master for 13 years now through NAUI.) I was on time the first day to the AquaWorld hut to be taken to the beach point for boat pick up only to sit there for 45 minutes and eventually be told that the propeller or something was wrong with the boat. Dive canceled. The next morning they were there and I was luckily the ONLY diver with the staff, which was great. We got there fast, got in, and got down. The reef and the wreck are only a mere 10 minutes or so from the beach. The wreck was fantastic, I highly recommend it. The reef was not impressive at all. It's great for discover scuba folks, and dive certification folks, but for anyone who's ever been anywhere else.....don't waste your time on that one. Also beware that the dive staff will prompt you for tips - after EVERY dive. They also will offer to take some wonderful photos of you - for the non-negotiable price of $40 for the first cd and $60 for two. They had an entire week to get photos to us before we left and because the harbor was closed one day for rough seas and a whole host of other reasons, we never got our cd prior to our departure but have made arrangements (thanks to Silver Sands management picking up AquaWorld's slack) to obtain our CD and we've been told the shots came out REALLY well. The Cenotes dives were great, and we finally got to use all of the tanks that we had paid for on a dives. It's an hour or so drive, but well worth it. Be advised though, your pick up times may vary, and people from other hotels will go with you. So you might have to do 45 minutes of drive 'n pick up to even get on the road to go there, unless there are enough people at your individual hotel to fill an entire van of folks. (Approximately 8 people not including AquaWorld staff.) They too will hit you up for tips. It's a good idea to arrive with a stripper load of one dollar bills....some folks you'll want tip because they deserve it, others you'll tip maybe out of obligation, and others still you tip because you want them to take care of you or your stuff. Either way, be prepared in case someone really earns it. What else can I tell you.....the beach when we were there was beautiful but we never really saw anyone sitting down on the beach chairs. Everyone spent most of their day at the main pool and the swim up bar. There is drink service at the pools (so you can stay in the water and someone in khaki shorts and a white and orange hawaiian shirt will approach you for a drink order.) I'd recommend with the number of folks there, that you order two drinks at a time, it saves the half hour to hour wait in between rounds at some more secluded parts of the Infinity pool. The Baracuda bar (I know, not spelled like the fish) was a great spot with a great breeze and sometimes you can order off of the Oceana menu down there. Great breeze, great view, nice bar, and a couple of tables with chairs. My parents, brother and his girlfriend, and two of our other wedding guests did the snorkel trip, and went to the Reef. While they had a good time they too said that the Reef was somewhat unimpressive. I don't know what other snorkel trips they have, but I do recall hearing about one that involved taking wave runners to another reef.....might be something to check out. I'll post what I have from our dive at the reef. We spent an afternoon shopping in Cancun.....full of high pressured sales shops with not a lot of quality stuff in them. We got one fish bone/ceramic Aztec calendar, one bottle of Mescal, and one plate for the kitchen wall. We were bombarded with "oh for you my friend, I give you special price" type conversation. Having traveled to South America, the Dominican Republic, Bogota (Colombia) and other such places, my patience for that kind of shopping grows quite short quite quickly. Playa Del Carmen would be my recommendation for shopping, same stuff that's in Cancun plus a little more. You have to be patient, and be prepared to haggle with them or be taken like a chump tourist. One of the funny things that happened - which I'm sure most non-military folks might not appreciate - is trying to use the bathroom in Cancun. We paid $1 US for three of us to use a bathroom on the third floor above the shops, the $1 was for three rations of toilet paper to do the "hover" over a toilet with no seat.....but thank whoever....it did flush. Quite an experience, but not quite a photo-worthy one. Some people in our party went on the tours of the ruins, had a great time, said nice things, but were VERY hot all day. Came back exhausted. Might be more of a fall/winter/spring activity. Sunscreen - absolutely crucial. I had 70 on and still got burned down there. Remember that when you're on the water be it ocean or pool you get direct sunlight from the sky and some "rebound" or reflected sunlight off the water.....there were some MISERABLE people who failed to properly sunscreen themselves. Be advised also that with the pool water not being fresh water re-application is crucial. And also, not that you're all children or anything but we saw a lot of burned folks there, you have to put it on BEFORE you go into the sun.....it's less effective otherwise. (I'm a paramedic, and I saw some serious pain in some people's faces mostly due to burning of the skin.....and hangovers.) As for the wedding package, bring a checklist. Our suit and dress were never pressed, the honeymoon breakfast came on the morning we left the hotel, not the morning after we married, the massages (which were not cheap but included in the ultimate package - which is what we opted for) we never got. There was also the mention of a "honeymoon package" in our package itself, there's two packages on the web site, it didn't specify which one we got, but we didn't end up getting anything from it anyway. For the cost, it was important to us to hit things like the massages, also because we enjoy them and my husband had never really had one done professionally.....but we didn't get to. There was the mention of a "special turn down service" which we never got either. The ceremony was lovely, according to our guests. The hair and make up person, originally since our spa wasn't open yet, was not on site. They wanted me to get in a shuttle two hours prior to the wedding and go to another hotel for these things. I said no way, and our coordinator managed to get someone to my room around 5pm to quickly slap some stuff on my head for my 6pm wedding. My father and I waited in my room while Matt changed in a friend's room. There was no dry-run, not even a talked about rehearsal. We got to pick the location when we got there, but then no one really said anything. We had to be proactive about every single detail. We walked out from my room when someone said the judge was ready and had no idea what to do when we got down there. Wait for music? Someone going to signal us? So we just walked down. There was a table there. Do we stand in front? Behind? We had no idea. But, the judge was great, the ceremony in English, short and sweet. It all worked out just fine. The cocktails with appetizers part and the little 3 man guitar band was great. We went up to the Baracuda bar (I know, not spelled like the fish) and it was a good time. Only drawback to this was that the hotel didn't shut down the Baracuda bar so people kept wandering over and having drinks and mixing in with the wedding party. There were plenty of other bars open, and myself, I would've avoided a clearly marked and recognizable established function, but many other guests didn't feel that way and the hotel did nothing to stop them. So we shared our after-dinner party with some people we didn't even know. The wedding dinner was great. We had a private edge of the Oceana bar with a plated dinner. The food and service were excellent. The fact that we were given menu options ahead of time and had to choose every single plate of food and every single appetizer for everyone was not so great. We defaulted to filet but I know there were people who wanted fish. Choosing the entire meal for everyone there was not something we wanted to do, but a la carte was not an option for the wedding dinner. We had guests there who didn't have air conditioning during their entire stays. We had guests who arrived at 3pm and didn't have a room until 11pm. Now remember, Secrets Maroma guests were dumped on the hotel (and there was a FAM tour there) but when an established large group was coming, we expected better treatment of the guests in our party (23 total) given the nature of the trip. We booked ten or more rooms which according to the web site should've given us an upgrade, we didn't, nor did our guests, hear of any such thing. Also, when we switched from El Dorado Maroma (because of their wedding contracted company Lomas Travel) people were told on arrival that they had a "spa credit" of various denominations depending on how much they had spent originally on their rooms. AFTER their massages several folks were told they had to pay for their massages and that they "spa credit" as phrased by the front desk staff, was actually just a book of $100 worth of coupons to the spa. This was unacceptable, and remedied with one swift trip to the front desk. One person in our party sent a shirt and pants to be dry-cleaned only to never have the pants appear again. The shirt came back, and the pants, after several conversations, were found and are being fedexed back to the owner. We had originally begun to book into Secrets Maroma but because of the rumors that they weren't opening went with Silver Sands. Some, but not all of the people in our party (two total) were compensated with return nights at the other hotel, no one else has heard a thing. We were fortunate enough to have the general manager, group sales manager, and a corporate representative's personal email addresses, contact phone numbers, and attention. The hotel had some hiccups, yes, but like I said earlier there were marked improvements every single day. Many of the guests we spoke to were having the time of their lives, and we too all had an excellent time. It was risky booking a hotel that was just opening, but our options were limited and we're glad we went to Silver Sands. When the hotel is up and running I would imagine it to be packed - all the time. The views are gorgeous, the staff is courteous, the hotel offers a lot to do and a lot to see. At night there were shows in the "Show time" bar area (outside by the Veranda bar) that were great. They have dancing demonstrations, a hypnotist one night, poker/black jack/gambling tables out another night. One of the coolest things there (since we do yard movies at home with a projector in the back yard with friends) was that most nights they had some kind of show - and during our stay not only shows but the Olympic opening games - broadcast 4 stories high on the side of the hotel by the Veranda bar. So you could sit at the bar and watch four story tall TV. At the restaurants I can pretty much guarantee that if you order one thing from each category you definitely won't leave hungry. There are complimentary DVD's available at the concierge desk, and a good selection to boot. We rented and watched Scarface, Casino, Casino Royale, 27 dresses, Troy, and one or two others. Bringing dvd's is also a great idea. There is cable TV at the resort and many of the channels are in English.....we got to watch some of "our shows" while staying there even though we were tivo'ing them at home. At night the grounds are lit not by obnoxious looking street lights but tastefully subdued little cubes and spheres of light. (Pic included in the mass.) The bars all have snacks (pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, and peanuts on most nights) but most importantly also have DEET mosquito packets to hand out. Just be careful putting it near your eyes. The room service menu is great. You call and they repeat your order back to you, and they say it'll take 30-35 minutes but we never had it take more than ten. We really enjoyed the chicken broth chicken soup, the nachos, the chicken sandwiches, etc. All of the condiments come with it, silverware, etc. and you can also order sodas 'n things if your mini bar is out. There is a private door behind the main door in each room to put your room service trays and dishes so that you don't have to leave it on the ground for anything to get at it and you don't have to be disturbed to get rid of the stuff. The jacuzzi tub was a nice touch.....and you could sit in it, enjoying a Coronita and watching tv before getting ready for bed, or changing for an evening meal. The shower was great, always had hot water, and the adjustable shower head was a bonus. Double sinks in every room. The turn down service (which we only got once, twice we refused, the rest of the time no one showed up) was great. They light an incense stick and leave it on the edge of the tub so the room smells really nice when you get in as well as taking all the decoration pillows off the bed and "turning down" the sheets. The air conditioning and fan (remote controlled no less) were very comfortable (we like to sleep in a cold, dark room) and we couldn't think of a single bad thing to say about it. What else, what else......there are little floating foam blue water recliner things in the pools to relax on.....raft like things. Why I can't think of the word right now I don't know. *Secrets Maroma vs Secrets Silver Sands* Both hotels are about the same size. Secrets Silver Sands is great if you're a social person, want to talk to people, mingle, meet, and have drinks, etc. We had a great time talking to other guests at the hotel and found other folk's company to be one of the things we enjoyed most. Silver Sands is a more modern and contemporary hotel visually and design wise. Centrally located. Secrets Maroma had a more private feel, more secluded, more a couple's place rather than group or social or family vacation kinda feel. With friends, a group, or a family trip I'd say stick to Silver Sands, when we return for our anniversary nights we hope to stay at the slightly more private, more secluded Secrets Maroma. Maroma also has more foliage, more trees and shrubbery separating areas..... The two hotels compliment each other well and although they are both under the Secrets umbrella (which provides an excellent standard of resort) they are owned by different people which I feel only enhances their unique individuality and gives both hotels the opportunity to appeal to a much larger audience. Anyway, I'll go ahead and close with this, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to post or hit me up privately. I was fortunate enough to have a sit down before I left the hotel with the corporate representative who not only wrote down my concerns while discussing them with me, but seemed to genuinely be concerned with my criticisms and praise. He even followed that conversation up with an email highlighting my points and assuring me that I would get some feedback on everything. Its only been a few days and I haven't received anything yet, but I told them to take their time.....we will go back for our anniversary nights next year, and I do (as a very critical traveler) have faith in the Secrets Maroma and Secrets Silver Sands hotels and staff. Just give them a chance to get things running smoothly. I would not hesitate to travel there now or in the future. If something is wrong, just make sure you follow up on it. If you don't like something, tell someone and give them the chance to make it right. When I hear back from the hotel/management I will let everyone know how and if they "made it right" given our situation. Personally, I know things will go wrong and will happen that you don't expect.....it's what a company does to make it right after something goes wrong that is a direct impact on my future bookings, reviews, and recommendations. If you have a reservation there, don't change it. Go and check it out, it's a great hotel with a lot of promise! On an additional note, you can get free rental snorkel equipment from the Aqua World hut thing, but be VERY CAREFUL trying to wade out from the beach at the hotel. It is mostly, in front around the entire property, coral and rocks. You WILL cut your feet if you don't have proper booties and or fins on (fins to walk backwards would take you a while) and please be mindful of the habitats you might be stepping on. You can walk up the beach about 20 minutes and wade out, but I'd recommend just signing up for a snorkel trip if it's really what you want to do. Discover scuba in the pool and then at the reef (not deep at all) would be the way to go, in my humble opinion. I can only post 10 photos at a time and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the order or anything so I'll just keep throwing them up there till you guys get sick of them!"
- Travel date: 22nd August 2008
Good time at Silversands
"Change from Secrets Maroma to Silversand - Just so you all know, we were booked for one week at the opening of the new Secrets Maroma. The day before we left, I got a call that it was not going to open on time. We were offered to be moved at the Secrets Silversands and also a certificate for one week at Maroma after they open (good for one year). We left the next day a bit worried but were certain to go back to Maroma within the year. Arrival at Silversands - Since everyone else from Maroma was also transferred to Silversands, there was a bit of chaos upon arrival. However, we were greated nicely and offered champagne right away. While our spouses took care of the rooms, my friend and I proceeded to have a few cocktails. We arrived around 2:30 pm and we were told the room would be ready in a few hours. We went to the pool and checked in our rooms around 8:00 pm. A bit long but after so many cocktails we didnt care and went straight to bed for the night (then ~ 9 pm). The first room - Well the first room we were in was Tropical View and was ok but relatively basic. Brand new with nice bathroom/showers but average. The temperature was so hot though it was hard to sleep. No way to make it cooler. Management said that it could not be cooled more than that? We asked for a change of room for a better view (ocean) and cooler temperature. The Manager of Maroma - We met the manager of Maroma the next morning (Gerardo) and he provided us with certificates for a week long stay at Maroma good within a year. Cool. We also negotiated with him a much better room at Silversands and a romatnic dinner on beach for two and a one hour massage for two. Not bad compensation. We felt pretty good at this point. The Manager of Silversands - We met with the manager of Silversands a few times. Maurizio Martinez is one of the most professional manager we ever met traveling. Very courteous and helpfull. After a short recap of our first day, he arranged for us and our friends to be upgraded to two honeymoon suites. WOW, let me tell you these rooms were outstanding. Oh yes. Large flat screen TVs in living room and master bedroom. Two large bathrooms, A Jaccuzi inside and one private outside right by the ocean and swim in to the pool. This was such a nice room and we felt very lucky to be there. Also very cool day and night. We were offered champagne in the room a few times without even asking for it. Again, awesome room for the week. The Beach - First thing we do is get up at 7:00 am and run to the beach. A little bit disappointed there. A short beach front covered with seaweed. Humm. After crossing the sea weed and trying to get in the ocean we faced a barrier of rocks and sea urchins which prevented any of us to get into the ocean. Wow, no one was able to penetrate this barrier across the whole hotel front. The absoluteny need to do something about that. We nver saw anyone during the week get into the ocean. The Pools - Well they have beautiful pools. Very well nested into the properties. We started hanging out in this smaller pool that turned a bit green after the third day and we were asked to get out of it as the filters we not working and it might be a little contaminated. Yuk we jumped out and moved to the larger pool with the swim up bar. Spent the rest of the vacation in that one. Lots of fun and volleyball. Met a lot of people aroung the swim up bar. Breakfast - Of course we got up very early next moring and went to breakfast. Choice between the buffet and Oceana off the beach. After looking into both options we ate at Oceana every morning. A la carte and excellent choice for breakfast. Open air right off the ocean. Lunch - Again we had most of our lunches at Oceana except for a few times right at the pool. The Ceviche was awesome and so were the fajitas and also the nachos. The restaurant again is very nice and wide open over the pool and Ocean. No complaints there. Dinner - Most restaurants were open except for Bordeaux and they combined the Meditaranean with the Italian so you could order off both menue. I myself preferred the mexican (El Patio) but the others we fine. Again, no overall compliants. Portions were a bit small and often time we ordered two portions so no big deal. Nightlife - It was suprizingly quiet for night life. Mostly due to the fact they had also just opened and even with all of us from Maroma, it looked about 30% capacity. There was very small shows with usually less than 30 people present. Really small showing. A few other couples would hang out past 11 pm and close the only bar open (Veranda) till 1 pm. We would hang out around while drinking and talking. Everyone was very friendly. Room Service - That by itself deserves its own section as it was excellend service at any hours of the night. We used room service almost every night. Two of those nights we ordered beer and wine and food by the private pool facing our room and had excellend service. And this was at 3:00 am both times. They arranged tables and ice buckets and made sure the beer coolers we filled through the night. Cant beat this service. The Spa - Not open yet The Gym - Very nice but way too many mosquitos The mosquitos - Wow forgot about the mosquitoes in Latin America. No bugs until sun down and then watch out. Unless you had repellent on, you better run for cover. They offered us repellent sachets at the bar wich were awesome. We also used large almounts of OFF we had brouoght with us, We shared it with others who forgot to bring with them. Other Activities - We played volleyball at the beach and in the pool everyday. My favorite is we went sailing a brand new Hobie Cat everyday. Excellent wind conditions and great fun. Went into Cancun one day fro Jungle Boat tour and Waverunners. Fun time and recommended. Into Puerto Morelos for shopping one morning and thats all. Overall - A few hick up anytime new resorts open. While there we some difficulties, we felt well compensated by both hotel managers and have no complaints whatsoever. Secrets lives up to its reputation once again. Hard to beat, even when they faced difficult challenges. Going back to Maroma in January."
- Travel date: 21st August 2008
With some opening mistakes
"I will try to skip the complaints about the things that any resort hotel is likely to live through during the first weeks of opening, noting in particular the many guests that booked the Secrets Maroma resort, but were forced to re-locate at Silversands, while Maroma straightened out it's not-open-as-promised problems. We arrived at Secrets Silversands on Aug. 9, early in the morning. The lobby is a open room without much color or character, a theme to be repeated elsewhere in the resort. The check-in counter you find at many hotels has been replaced by a series of desks, with two chairs each for the arriving guests. We sat down, were given a glass of champagne, and soon had our room number. Easy enough. A bellboy walked us to our room, 4th floor, "garden/spa view". We took the stairs (the elevator was not yet operating) and opened the door, to discover a painter just finishing some trim. We were happy to have a room available so early in the morning, and were not put off. The rooms are "modern". Not art-deco modern, or 60's style retro modern. Utility modern. White walls, grey closet doors. The bedside lamps resemble something in a dentist's office, but did have an easy dimming knob. There is a silver metalic panel (what a commercial kitchen might have behind the stove) on the wall behind the bed, another one on the opposite wall, and on the ceiling above the bed. Two large mirrors, but no colorful paintings. Pretty much just like the photos on Secrets' and other websites, so it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone, really. A large shower room, a jacuzzi tub, flat-screen tv, etc. Anyway, the view from our room was the spa (under construction) and two other buildings, so there wasn't much reason to open the grey drapes, except for letting sunlight in. An ocean view room would be much, much more attractive. And this brings me to my main disappointment with this place. The architecture is just so plain. I work in an office building with a view of a multi-story parking garage, and it's not much different. We stayed at the Excellence Playa Mujeres last year, and they also went with the square, plain concrete theme, and I guess it's the cheapest way to build, but it has no warm atmosphere. The pools were nice, plenty of loungers, and almost enough floats. There were also plenty of loungers on the beach, but nobody was using them, maybe because there was no shade. I have to add this - the restrooms available at the main pool area are very small. Bar service and restaurant service were pretty good, considering the very young age of the hotel. Not all bartenders knew what some common drinks were (even if it was the "drink of the day"), and not all waiters would bring the right appetizers, but I forgive all that. The staff here, I thought, were polite and hard-working. All in all, I would stay at Silversands if the price was especially reasonable, but there are several other adults only, all-inclusives in the area, and being established and having atmosphere gives them an advantage."
- Travel date: 19th August 2008
Just got back from Secrets Silversands
"My wife and I just got homw from our honeymoon and Secrets new Silversands resort. We were put there when Maroma did not open on time. At first, we were dissappointed. Thant lasted till we met the staff at Silversands. They are the nicest people I have ever met! The #1 priority is to make you, the guest, feel good. All I can say is that they exceded that 10 fold! They did such a good job and were so personable that my wife and I walked around before we left and said good bye to our new friends. The resort was amazing. Fresh new rooms. Very contemporary. Everything on the compound just flowed well. From the lobby all the way to the BarRacuda beach bar. I want to personally thank Mauricio, Salvador, Rod, Marco, Juan, Rodolfo and the rest of the staff for an unbelievable honeymoon! We will be back next year due to the great hospitality we received. Anyone thinking of this resort should just on it. I cannot say enough on their behalf. Again, thank you from Robbie and myself Pete DiStefano"
- Travel date: 19th August 2008
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