Published on August 19th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
HOTEL REVIEW: Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa
During a recent visit to Huatulco, the resort destination on Mexico’s Pacific coast, I was a guest at the 399-room Secrets Huatulco Resort and Spa, the newest all-inclusive hotel to open in the region. Here is a review of my experience.
THE STYLE: Secrets Huatulco opened in December 2011 on a peaceful, near-private bay just a few minutes by car from the main part of town. The overall style is contemporary but comfortable, with an impressive entry and lobby marked by high ceilings, comfy couches and a straight-through view to the Pacific Ocean, topped off by a large, circular stained-glass window. The fact that guests don’t need to wear one of those unattractive all-inclusive wristbands is just one indicator of this Mexico hotel’s upscale ambiance.
THE GUEST ROOMS: I stayed in a junior suite, which is an amply sized room with king-size bed, a stocked mini-fridge (all included), coffee maker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, in-room safe, WiFi (normally an additional cost, but there was no charge as I was upgraded to the “Preferred” category) and — interestingly — a “Secrets box” for private room service delivery, which allows staff to leave food and refreshments without disturbing occupants. Handsome wood accents complement the rich overall feel.
The bathroom area is quite attractive, with twin sinks, a separate water closet and an inviting bath area that has both a tub and rainforest shower, with a sliding wall that allows for guests to bathe while enjoying the view out the sliding glass doors (all rooms in the hotel have an ocean views). Bath amenities such as shampoo and lotion are provided in larger-than-usual bottles, and I also appreciated that they included a bottle of SPF sun protection lotion.
One thing I especially liked: When you turn on the TV, a sepia-toned video from “Ashes and Snow,” a stunning multimedia project by Canadian artist Gregory Colbert, is the default channel. It’s a delightful change from the usual boring “welcome screen” in most hotels — and so relaxing that on several evenings, I actually left it playing for a while.
Visitors looking for extra luxury can opt for a Junior Suite with outdoor Jacuzzi, Junior Suite with swim-out pool, or a one-bedroom or two-level loft suite.
HOTEL FEATURES: This multi-level resort, carved into the hills of the coastline, has several areas to explore (and lots of amazing views and photo opportunities). The beachfront swimming pool is large and attractive, and the beach itself, set on an unspoiled bay with no other buildings, is idyllic, with palapas to provide extra shade.
The all-inclusive meals can be enjoyed at eight different no-reservation restaurants, including Spice, an attractive Asian venue (I had my first Massaman curry in Mexico here, and it was quite good). Coco Café is a convenient venue for pastries, snacks, coffee and tea. Sky Bar is an especially scenic place for a drink, with its dramatic view of the hills and ocean below. I enjoyed the Mexican cuisine at Tamarindo — as well as the creative and dramatic Mexican “Day of the Dead”-inspired décor. The giant wall murals at Market Café, the buffet restaurant, and Cin cin, the Italian trattoria, were created by a young Mexican artist.
The Secrets Spa by Pevonia is set on an especially magnificent hill, with a large outdoor relaxation area that’s graced with an infinity pool and multiple hydrotherapy treatment areas; there is also a beauty shop and gymnasium (indoors, but with an equally lovely view). I spent about 45 minutes experiencing the hydrotherapy routine and found the view as inspiring as the jets of water were rejuvenating.
Since I was upgraded to the Preferred Club, I also had access to a lounge that has a separate check-in area, additional snacks and drinks throughout the day, games and computers with Internet access.
Nightly theme parties and shows, as well as a bar, provide multiple options for after-dark fun. I enjoyed the traditional Mexican show, which featured dance and costumes from three different states.
Even more options: Guests at Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa can partake in AM Resorts “Sip, Savor & See” program, which allows them to enjoy dinner and live entertainment at nearby Dreams Huatulco (transportation cost not included).
BEST FOR: Singles and couples looking for comfortable, upscale, all-inclusive accommodations, in a peaceful setting with inspiring views. Overall, the décor and cuisine here is a step above many all-inclusive resorts. Average price $240/night.
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