Old Reviews – Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

  Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun   Katrina ~ Connecticut

March 2009

Arrival: September 2008
We came to Secrets Capri Riviera on our honeymoon and had an excellent time. Check-in was very quick and our room was ready right away. Everyone at the front desk was very nice. When we got to our room, there was a sash hanging across the door that said "Honey-mooners" and rose petals on the bed and a fresh fruit platter.

Our was located on the second floor in the front corner so we had only one neighbour and a good view of the ocean and pool area. The room was large with a great balcony and jacuzzi tub in the bathroom with a pass-through into the bedroom. Our room was freshened up with the bed made and new incense put out twice a day and it was great. We also received a schedule of events for the next day and when we didn’t get it one day, a new one was promptly brought to our room.

Restaurants and Bars
We went to all of the restaurants in the resort during our stay. Our favorite was the Oceana grill because my husband could probably eat steak every day! La Riviera is a buffet style place where we ate breakfast most days. The food selection was quite good and there were omelets and crepes made to order everyday. The Pan-Asian restaurant was pretty good, but as neither of us really like asain food, we didn’t enjoy as much as others might. The Italian place had excellent service and we liked the fact that since drinks were included, we could order wine with dinner and not have to pay extra.

The bars were great and we really took advantage of having drinks included in the cost of the resort. As 22/23 year olds, our bar tabs can add up but it was great to not have to deal with that on our honeymoon. The swim up bar was great and we met a lot of new people there. The bartenders were fun and we enjoyed the drinks they came up with for us. We also spent time in the lounge bar which had some great martinis, although since we couldn’t find drink menus there we had to come up with ideas for drinks on our own.

The beach was wonderful. We had beautiful weather all week with quick showers everyday around 3pm. We spent time on the beach often since they had nice lounge chairs, umbrellas and these outdoor couches to lay out on. Bar and snack service was offered frequently both on the beach and by the pool. The pool was fun too as there were water volleyball games organized and floats to use and it was open pretty much all night. It was awesome to sit on the beach and have a waiter come up and ask you if you wanted another margarita and more nachos. I highly recommend doing this!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There a good number of activities to do at the resort. We took lessons in archery on the beach and played horseshoes. There were games constantly being offered and trivia games announced over the loudspeaker. There was pottery to paint too. At night, the activities only increased. One night there was a hypnotist, another night a mexican style fiesta with a mexican food served buffet style at the pool and dancers and musicans. There was also a marketplace setup where you could buy souvenirs and jewelry and have your picture taken with a burro. On Monday nights, they set up a big projection TV on the beach and play american football and serve nachos, hot dogs and chili. Also, everyday two people came around and would take your picture with an animal from the local rescue center. It was different one each day, with animals like squirrel monkeys, parrots, iquanas and chinchillas.

We took two trips off the resort. One was through the resort and one was through AAA travel that we arranged once we got there. The one with the resort was a trip to Playa del Carmen, which is a place full of shopping and restaurants. We bought a ton of souvenirs there although space was limited on the trip so we had to wake up a 8am to put our names on the list (then we went back to sleep!) Our other trip was a tour of Chichen Itza, a Mayan ruin, and Ik Kil cenote, which is a large hole in the ground full of fresh water. We took a bus with a tour guide all the way out to Ik Kil and had the option of going swimming there. Then we went to lunch (which was included) at a buffet restaurant with mexican dancers preforming. It was very touristy but not bad. Next we went to Chichen Itza and had a guided tour of the area and time to go off on our own. The only downfall we had was that we were told everything was included…but no one said that we needed money to buy drinks at lunch or for souvenirs that were sold everywhere at Chichen Itza and Ik Kil. That was really disappointing for us but it was still a great time.

Other Comments We loved this place and hopefully we’ll be able to go there for an anniversary in the future. We would highly recommend this resort to any couple.

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  Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun   Pat ~ New Jersey

January 2008

Arrival – Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived at noon. But by the time we had lunch and returned to the registration area it was. They upgraded us to a garden view Jr. Suite because we needed a room on the ground floor. I had sent an email to this effect and they promptly responded. Like wise I asked for a Spa Menu to plan our services. I loved not having to wear a wristband!! No towels cards for the pool or beach either. Plenty of towels always available.

Rooms – The room was large with 2 double beds, lovely bathroom. Couch, a table with 2 chairs, TV with DVD/CD player. I brought a few of our favorite CD’s to play and it was wonderful. Evening turndown service with a change of towels,a list of activities for the next day and candies on our pillows. Also fresh, cold water at the bedside table.

Restaurants – Each restaurant had fabulous food. Even the buffet which can be so-so was varied each day. There was a crepe station with wonderful light crepes filled with choices like, fruit, nutella, sugar, caramel,white chocolate, etc. A large variety of healthy foods and juices along with mimosas and bloody marys were available. Best thing was no reservations, except for groups over 4 people.

Bars – We didn’t really use the bar services.

Beach and Pools – The beach always had the most available lounges, the pool tended to be more crowded. They offered float rafts which were a great way to relax in the water. The beach was kept very clean and due to weather conditions which were not very good, we only had a few good swimming days but it was still a great place to read (and nap) Plenty of palapas for shade.

Grounds – The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained. The best part about Secrets is tht design. While there is plenty of room one is not required to walk great distances to get to anything.

Activities – Plenty of varied and fun activities.

Tours – I took a snorkel tour which was a full day of riding up and back to Cancun. The actual boat ride to the area and the snorkeling itself was good, but it was a full day lost at the resort.

Conclusion – We plan to return, it’s the best place we have stayed in our 5 trips to Mexico and we don’t have any hesitation to recommend it to others. The class of people was very nice and we met more people here than at any place in past vacations. We even met people from another state who are neighbors of friends!! How’s that for a small world?? —————————–7d83b927440418–

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  Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun   J & P ~ Montreal, Canada

January 2008

First let me say that we’re two couples in our late 40’s/early 50’s and that we had stayed at Secrets Capri two years ago. We usually prefer to go to a different adults-only resort every year but decided to return to Secrets Capri because both couples had invested in major house renovations and Secrets Capri was offering the cheapest vacation among the Mayan Riviera resorts we considered (Secrets Capri, Excellence RC, Royal PDC, Royal Cancun, Royal Hideaway and Iberostar Grand). This year we were there January 10th-17th.

Two days prior to our arrival we had sent an e-mail to the resort requesting a certain room area and sure enough it was on file when we checked in. We were greeted with a "Welcome back" by the clerk and porter and the check-in process was done quickly.

The room wasn’t ready when we arrived (at around 1:30PM) and they told us to come back in an hour. We took the opportunity to scout around and we noticed a few additions and improvements to the resort. We went back to see the check-in clerk 40 minutes later and sure enough the room was ready.

Rooms – We had decided to book an Oceanview Deluxe room and not a more expensive Oceanview Jr. Suite as we had done two years ago and we couldn’t have made a better choice! As requested we had a room on the third floor (top floor) of the North end of the resort and it was just perfect. We had a great view of the entire resort and a much better view of the ocean than we had two years ago since the Jr. Suites are located on the ground floor (more obstacles blocking the view).

The other couple had an Oceanview Deluxe room on the top floor in the center of the building so they an even better view of the ocean. However it is an additional set of stairs to climb and it is slightly further away from the beach so there is a trade-off.

A platter of fresh fruits and a bottle of champagne on ice were waiting for us as well as a basket of really nice flowers and a letter from Management welcoming us and thanking us for our return visit.

Restaurants – In general I would say the food was just as great as we remembered it. The presentation of each dish was just as impressive as two years ago and the service at all restaurants was outstanding. We just love the fact that you don’t have to reserve in advance where and when you’re going to eat. We simply decided at cocktail hour what we were in the mood for and went on to put our names down when we were pretty much ready to eat. Some nights we were able to get a table right away and some nights they gave us a beeper and we went back to the bar for one more drink. We never waited more than 30 minutes. Strangely enough our favorite restaurants were different than the last time.

– La Riviera Restaurant
We had breakfast there almost every morning and for lunch once. The buffet is simply amazing. We never missed starting our day with a Mimosa.

– Himitsu Pan-Asian Restaurant
This was our favorite restaurant and we went there for dinner twice. The first time we were undecided on our appetizer so the waiter suggested a plate of various appetizers (not on the menu) and a plate of various sushi (also not on the menu). That was GREAT!!! They have an interesting selection on the menu and everything we ordered was delicious.

– Portofino
This Italian/Mediterranean restaurant was our second favorite one this time around. We loved the ambiance, the food and the wait staff especially during our second dinner. We had a great time with them.

– Seaside Grill
We had breakfast here once, supper once and lunch a few times. The breakfast and lunches were really good and it’s a great place to eat and to take a break from the sun, much better than La Riviera for lunch. Two of us had a steak for supper and we both agreed it was excellent.

– Oceana
We had supper there once and actually we really didn’t. We went there after the second couple arrived at the resort and we were all quite hungry and didn’t want to wait so they arranged to have us moved to a table at the Seaside Grill downstairs with the possibility of ordering from the Oceana menu. The food was very good but we thought the portions were smaller than two years ago.

– Deck off the Sugar Reef bar
This is a new eating area that didn’t exist at our first visit. What a great idea and location! Outdoors but shaded and right off the beach, close to the Seaside Grill and the Sugar Reef. We had lunch there most of the days and loved it!


– Lobby bar
Great drinks (we loved their Cajun martinis), great service and great place to hang out before dinner and after dinner. They always had someone playing music during late-afternoon cocktail hour. They also had someone on hand to make special coffees and they served sandwiches and cookies during the afternoon.

– Desires lounge Bar
We went there twice but it was just to watch the playoff football games on the giant screen.

Beach and Pools – We’re beach people and prefer to hang out at the beach rather than at the pool. We did spend one day at the pool and it was because it was quite cloudy, windy and cooler and the pool area is more sheltered from the wind. There were always a lot of beach chairs available and we never had problems finding four chairs together. The beach has eroded quite a bit since our last visit and they seem to have lost about 20 feet or so of their beach but it is quite wide enough.

The towel game was being played at the pool area and we noticed from our room that a lot of the pool side chairs were mostly "reserved" by 09:00AM.

The drink and food service at both the pool and beach were simply amazing. The wait staff was always coming around and making sure you had everything you needed.

The water was murky most days and clearer a couple of days. However there weren’t almost no rocks at all in the water. The water was always at a very nice temperature.

Grounds – Everything is very well maintained and you can see people working around the resort all day long. The vegetation has grown quite a bit and it looks great.

Activities – We didn’t take part in any activities but we did use the hobie cats a few times and really enjoyed it. We went to see the Hypnotism show one night and it was a riot.

Conclusion – We just love this resort. We were so happy we went back for a second visit. The Mayan people are so nice and the service was simply outstanding. We made request for certain unusual things during our stay and it was never answered with a "no" or "sorry but we can’t", they always delivered.

We have recommended this resort to other people in the past and we will certainly continue to do so in the future.

If you need more information on this resort feel free to send us an e-mail at prrollt@hotmail.com .

Thank you Secrets Capri for a fantastic vacation!

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Jeff ~ Wisconsin

February 2006

We stayed here January 28th to February 4th and just loved it. We are in our early 50’s and have been to Mexico and Punta Cana many times in our travels staying at 4 and 5 star resorts, but this exceeded anything we have experienced before. I think all the good points have been said by others, and I know how others can be biased towards a resort, but this is such a great place it deserves to be said again. Excellent service, food and staff. Anything you didn’t see that you’d like (within reason of course), just ask and it appeared. Just a quick thanks to Salvador for the room and to Juan Carlos (Stitch) for the great service. You won’t be disappointed staying here. They even have food and drink service by the pool and beach. How much more relaxed can you get?? Here’s a link to some pictures… hope this works..enjoy!! Jeff


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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun HH ~ Lexington, KY, USA

February 2006

We returned on 30 January from an outstanding vacation at Secrets Capri, Riviera Maya. We are in our mid 40s and travel fairly extensively. Our expectations were fairly high. The overall service, attention to detail, and quality was exceptional! The one episode that demonstrated the service in the resort most precisely is as follows. I was walking toward the lobby door with two cappuccinos in my hands. The bellman on the opposite side of the lobby saw me and sprinted across the lobby to reach the door before me, and open it for me!

Our Trip from the airport was uneventful, about 40 minutes. We were seated and served champagne in the lobby on our arrival to Secrets Capri. Our wait to check in (while seated and drinking champagne) was about 15 minutes…about the longest wait we observed during the 5 days we were there. We booked a standard room. We requested a top floor room by fax prior to arrival, and that had been reserved. Check in was very fast and easy. We were offered room upgrades at check in. We upgraded to junior suite beachfront for $90/nt. from our base room. This was less than half the amount to upgrade to ocean view with our initial package. The staff was NEVER pushy about anything requiring upgrades or cost. They told us about the services available, almost all of which are free.

The rooms were spotless. (An employee that goes to each room as you check out with a tray of paint and stains and touches up any defect before the next guest checks in.) The bed was comfortable, and there is a “menu” of pillows to choose from if the one in the room is not to your liking. The bathroom is large and all travertine stone. Plenty of hot water. Large (4oz.) containers of Gilchrist & Soames bath gel, shampoo, etc. There are a limited amount of drawers for clothes, but there are shelves in the closet as well. A safe is located in the closet (free). Plenty of hanging clothes room. The suites balcony is large and not more than 25 ft. from the beach.

Restaurants: Very high quality of food….from good to excellent and outstanding service. No need to make reservation, which makes the day much more flexible. No limits to the number of guests at each restaurants. This should be adopted by all high quality AIs.

Riviera: Buffet with different selections each day. Typically very good food. Excellent and comprehensive breakfast buffet in the morning. Excellent fresh fruit crepes. Our best service was at the Riviera restaurant. Extremely attentive to detail.

Oceanea: Our favorite food. Excellent with outstanding service as well. The presentation of food was five star each meal we had here. Seafood spring roll, grouper medallions, and shrimp flambé’…excellent! Excellent service as well.
Seaside Grill: Ate here for lunch. Very good Pannini..as good as most in Rome.

Beautiful sand, plenty of lounges and palapas. Excellent drink and food service at all times of the day anywhere on the beach!….food, drinks, whatever you want the staff will get it! Plenty of towels without the need to check them out. The water however is NOT a Caribbean blue, and was actually murky by the beach. The swimming area was small, but most of the guests stayed on the beach or in the pool. The bottom of the ocean was sand for the first 10-15 yards, but then was MUD. The ocean was fairly choppy so this probably made the situation worse while we were there.

We went on the Mayan Adventure snorkeling excursion. $136/couple with our 10% discount. It’s snorkeling, so not anywhere near the experience of diving Cozumel, but the lagoon was full of Parrotfish and a number of other schools. The Cenote (Sink Hole) was uniqe and crystal clear. The cave snorkeling was again a very unique experience and a lot of fun. Everyone divers and non-divers enjoyed the trip. We would go again. Jesus, our guide, was great.

Night Life:  Minimal. If you’re going to Mexico to party at night, this is not your resort.

Service: Overwhelming!

The level of service everywhere was outstanding! At the beach, in the restaurants, the bars, the pool, or just in the corridors and the ground. Everyone is courteous, friendly and helpful. Their reply to every question is “It is my pleasure,” and they appear to really mean it! We never heard the usual mantra “no problem,” or “in a minute.” When you are brought food or beverages at the beach or pool there is no “brief pause” to see if there’s a tip coming. If you want to tip, which we did liberally, you must usually call the waiter back to tip, which is gratefully, but quietly accepted.

Overall: As a Canadian travel writer at our hotel said, “They looked for and solved all the travel problems that people usually complain about.” I think that just about sums it up! An exceptional resort with outstanding quality, service, and attention to detail. Hands down the best AI, and definitely the best value of any package vacation we’ve taken. We recommend this resort without reservation, and plan to return!

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Joanne & Pierre ~ Montreal, Canada

January 2006

We stayed at the Secrets Capri from January 4th 2006 to January 11th 2006. We had booked this trip way back at the end of August based on the great reviews on this site and the five months wait seemed to last forever.

I’m not going to make this review very long as Amanda and Nathalie have covered the main topics in great details in their review. All we want to say is that we had very high expectations before leaving and they were all met or surpassed. The grounds are perfect, the service is phenominal, the food is great, the beach is very nice, in short this resort is just amazing.

I’ll never forget the feeling of watching the Rose Bowl game on a giant screen on the beach while lying down on a lounging chair with the sound of breaking waves in the background and a small food buffet and bar service on the side.

Thank you Secrets Capri for making our trip a truly wonderful experience. We had a blast!!!

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Amanda

August 2005

Thanks for your wonderful site! I love it and use it all the time for a reference.

My husband and I stayed at Secrets Capri June 26-July 1. We really enjoyed the resort and thought the accommodations were very nice and thought the resort itself was beautiful. Not really spread out so easy to get around. Overall we had a great time, but I thought there could be a few improvements to make this resort excellent! We loved the size of the resort! We passed by Excellence and I found that resort to be a little too big. A little background on us, we are in our late 20’s-early 30’s and have traveled to other AI in Mexico, Bahamas and Jamaica. Grand Lido Braco was probably our favorite AI that we visited and Secrets Capri was better in some areas and not as good in others.

ARRIVAL from Houston to Cancun no problem. American Express transportation was ready to pick us up to bring us to the resort. We waited a few minutes at the resort to get our room but were brought towels and champagne while we waited. The service and staff were excellent and we were shown to our room and around the resort by one of the staff members.

LOCATION of the resort was excellent. About a $12 cab ride into Playa del Carmen. The guards were very good about writing down when you would come and go and I felt very safe there. El Mandarin Hotel next door and then miles of beach if you walk the other way from SC.

ROOM was very nice. We were in a Deluxe Ocean View Room (212). Good view of the pool and ocean in the background. Very nice balcony. I did not find the beds were not as hard as others have said. We had a flower arrangement in our room and a bottle of wine waiting for us when we arrived. The room has a small table (ample for eating breakfast or room service), a chest for storing clothes, etc. and a TV armoire with dresser drawers and a DVD player. (We never used the DVD although you could rent movies at the resort). The bathroom was nice marble with a tub and seperate shower and toilet area and vanity area. It is open to the room but you can close it off. I found it to have plenty of privacy.

Nice closet , safe and shelves. Also ironing board, robes and slippers for use.

POOL was large and one side had the pool bar and the other was quieter. The volleyball net and a little bridge sort of separate the two sides of the pool. Nice pillow things to lay on in the shallow part of the pool. They had pool volleyball and water aerobics but other than that the pool was quiet. We wished there had been more poolside activities and some music at the pool. Lots of other guests while we were there also complained that some music by the pool would have been nice. We did see some loose tiles but in the evening time, we saw workers in scuba gear in the pool working to replace and repair any damages in the pool. The loungers by the pool were very nice and usually you could find one without difficulty. The floats in the pool were usually also available, but we did notice some rude individuals who would take the mats out of the pool and put them at their chair or one person floating on 2 rafts. The jacuzzi was very nice as well and a good size.

BEACH was nice and the sand was very light color and soft. The water was a blue green/color and any seaweed was cleaned up quickly. We loved sitting by the beach because it was a little cooler there under a palapa. Drink service at the beach was also a nice touch.

STAFF were very friendly and efficient. I did not find that they got as involved with the guests as at Grand Lido, but there were many more activities there, so maybe that is why. The Concierge service on each floor was non-existent while we were there. There was someone there maybe 2/6 days. We requested a new remote control for our TV every day we were there because ours did not work and never received one. Also, maid service came very late in the afternoon most days, but this could have been partially our fault since we slept in until about 9 most mornings.

INTERNET ROOM: Great for checking email and writing home if you needed to. There were 4 computers as well as a copier and fax (I think) and it was never more than a 5 minute wait to use them. Best thing was that they were free!

FOOD overall was great for an AI resort. A little breakdown of what we thought of each restaurant:

OCEANA: Good seafood, but being from Houston, we are a bit spoiled. Great service and pretty table outside with a view of the pool.

CAPRI: Lovely ambiance. We had the steak which I would not recommend, but risotto was excellent. Stick with the Italian dishes and not the steak in my opinion.

RIVIERA BUFFET: Fine for breakfast, though we preferred room service. OK for lunch and dinner but I think the other restaurants are much better.

SEASIDE GRILL: Ate here every day for lunch. Lots of really good choices from burgers, pizzas and sandwiches to fish and meat entrees. The chips and guacamole/pico de gallo were excellent!

HIMITSU: Our favorite restaurant. Ate here twice, once at the hibachi grill (Good but HOT) and once at a table. The sushi and grilled entrees were excellent.

ACTIVITIES/BARS: This is where I think the resort is really lacking. There was a games area which was nice with board games and books and such. Every evening there was a show at 9. We enjoyed the Caribbean show best. Desires Bar was lots of fun, especially Karaoke night; however, it cleared out around 10-11 pm every night. This is definitely not the place to party! We met some nice couples there but kind of wished we had gone with friends from home so we could have had other friends to hang out with in the evening. The La Habana piano/Cigar bar never had a person in there the whole time we were there. I think there could have been some fun piano sing alongs or something there that would have made it a little more lively. The lobby bar usually had the biggest crowd but very bright and not much going on there except a few mariachis one night.

SPA: We both had the massages which were excellent and also did the refresher facial, which was OK but not worth the $$. The spa and gym area were both very nice and clean.

WOULD WE GO BACK: Probably. Although it was a little pricier than other resorts, I felt it was worth the $$. However, we like a little bit of a livelier resort so if we went back, we would likely go with friends or go with the expectation that we would just be relaxing and not much nightlife. Definitely worth a visit and a perfect choice if you just want to relax.

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Nathalie ~ Canada

June 2005

BACKGROUND: We are a mid thirties/early forties, childless couple from Montreal (QC), Canada, with enough vacation time to be able to enjoy two or three vacations each year.

After 15 cruises or so, we were looking to get an all-inclusive (“AI”) experience and especially did not want to stick to a schedule. We’re avid boaters and love the sea. We love the outdoors and are beach people. We’re not into luxury; we usually book less expensive trips so that we are able to vacation a lot. This time around, we wanted to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary and after much research and consideration, we decided on Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. We have traveled throughout most of the world seeking different things from different places. This holiday was all about relaxation and spending time together – something we have been very short of lately – but we also like to socialize and meet new people. This vacation gave us all that and more.

An all-adult, all-inclusive vacation was the way to go. We read many reviews before we left and got many pointers that were very helpful. Let me give you our review of the hotel and its services. This is only our personal opinion and you may not agree on some aspects of it. I apologize for this review being so long, but we wanted to give as many details as possible. For those of you that like to get into the nitty-gritty details, read on!

Again, we spent a lot of time looking at reviews and had a few reservations based on some of the negative feedback. However, we couldn’t be happier with our decision to stay at Secrets Capri (“SC”). SC is on the exclusive list of “Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide” and is the only ‘preferred hotel’ in the Riviera Maya region. The service expected of preferred hotels is held to rigorous standards. SC is certainly worthy of their preferred hotel status. We have traveled extensively and have been fortunate enough to become acquainted with the ‘finer things’ one expects from a luxurious hotel. This resort is as about as close to perfection as you will get. We will get to the details so you can understand what we are talking about. This is an incredible resort and one that we imagine would be very hard to beat on any level. We will comment on the following areas: arrival, overall experience, room, pool, spa, grounds and building, beach and sea, activities/entertainment, food, bars and beverages, staff and service, and finally, tipping.

We’ve learned that people’s opinion of a vacation is strongly affected by their age, their likes, and their expectations. With all the discount travel going on, it concerns us that people may forget the most important aspect of selecting a resort: personal interests and lifestyle. If your only criterion is finding the lowest price available, you can easily wind up in a hotel where you have nothing in common with the other travelers, adversely affecting your enjoyment of your vacation.

The point is to do research first to determine which resort best suits your personal interests and lifestyle. After having narrowed your search, start looking for the best price for these hotels. We would rather spend a couple of hundred dollars more for a resort and a fantastic vacation, than become so obsessed with price that we end up at a resort that gives us only a so-so experience.

ARRIVAL: We flew into Cancun on May 28 and spent a week at the Caribbean Village by Occidental (4*). My husband and I then stayed at Secrets Capri from June 4 until June 11.

We arranged for our own transportation from the airport to SC as we had stayed in Cancun the week before. We booked a rental car from Alamo and picked it up from the airport; it was $150 USD for the whole week including taxes and PLI insurance, which is mandatory in Mexico.

Of course, upon our arrival at SC we were given the customary welcome glass of champagne and offered a cold towel. The reception gave us a fantastic description of all the amenities and services available to us during our stay. The check-in staff was knowledgeable, courteous, and the language barrier was non-existent. We filled our check-in information and headed to La Riviera (one of the many restaurants at the hotel) for lunch since our room was not quite ready yet.

When our room was ready, we were quickly escorted by a wonderful bellman who showed us to our room and explained to us all of the room amenities. Within one hour of our arrival, we were unpacked and sipping drinks at the pool bar. It simply doesn’t get better than that!

This was by far the nicest all-inclusive resort we have been to! I work in the travel industry and therefore have had the privilege of visiting many Sandals and other all-inclusive resorts. I was a little concerned that we would not like the beach, as we are beach lovers. While the water was not as clear as other resorts we’ve been to, the beach itself is beautiful with white sand, comfortable lounge chairs, and food and beverage services. The water was the perfect temperature for cooling off from the hot sun. The hotel’s pool is also very large and lovely. The weather was mostly great, although there were a few afternoons and evenings where it would downpour for a few minutes and then clear up. This is normal for this time of year and didn’t bother us at all.

Two of the main things that they do differently here at SC, as compared to other hotels, are the beach towel service and restaurant reservations. You do not need a bracelet nor to sign out for a towel and need not return it at the end of the day. At the pool, the towels are already put out on all the lounge chairs and, if needed, you can get fresh towels at the water activities desk. When you leave your chair at the end of the day, you just leave the towels and the staff picks them up. As far as not having to make restaurant reservations, we feel this works quite well. If you are told you have to wait, you can do so by relaxing at the bar or simply try another restaurant. Given the variety at each restaurant that, even if you feel for one particular type of food, chances are you can get a variation of that at any of the other restaurants. I think our favorite restaurant was the Italian restaurant – we went back twice. As well in our opinion, the nightly entertainment was above average for resort type entertainment; the performers were not amateurs.

Honestly, we have no reason to complain about our experience. We really enjoyed our vacation at Secrets Capri. We loved every minute of our vacation in paradise! It was relaxing, luxurious and exactly what we wanted and were looking for. All of the travelers vacationing at the resort were very nice. No one was too rowdy or too loud. It was a nice mix of young and older couples, the majority being honeymooners. We cannot say enough about the service; from the moment we got there, we were treated extremely well.

It is hard to know what to believe when you read many reviews. Every experience is different, and of course, no matter where you go, things can go wrong. It is important to remember that this resort is in Mexico – not in Canada or United States. It’s a different culture: the pace is slower and there’s a slight language barrier, so you have to expect some little goofy quirks. It’s all part of the experience of traveling to a different country. The Mexican people are some of the most gracious, helpful people we’ve met. We were thrilled with our experience and highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a relaxing, sun-filled vacation and great food and service. This is an excellent resort for couples who are in need of relaxation. If you are looking to party hard, you do not want to vacation at this resort.

All in all this is a fabulous resort, and I will make sure that everyone in my travel office is made aware of this so that we can keep sending people on great vacations.

Even with the latest outbreak of sickness, we would still recommend this resort. Not everyone got sick, perhaps only a small percentage. Unfortunately, I was part of that small percentage, but it did not ruin my good time. Just be smart about what you eat and drink, make sure you wash your hands often, and a few remedies in the suitcase wouldn’t hurt either.

ROOM: We were in room 245 of the north wing. It was a deluxe tropical view but we had partial view of the ocean. When we arrived, there were rose pedals sprinkled on the floor and on the bed, which also had two towels in the shape of swans kissing, a fresh fruit basket, fresh flowers, a bottle of champagne on ice, a welcome letter from the manager, and a 15% discount for spa services. The marble floors, huge marble shower, dual vanities, the sitting area with a table and the king-size canopy bed, all added to the overwhelming feeling that we had just arrived in paradise. We loved some of the extras in the room such as the make-up mirror, the huge assortment of lotions, sunscreen (SPF 8), soaps, shampoo, incense and many other various toiletries that were provided. Each room has every standard item you would expect in a hotel of this rating including, hair dryers, iron/ironing board, 27” TV, DVD/CD player, alarm clock, electronic safe, high-speed internet connection, mini-bar stocked with orange drink, Coke, Coke lite, corona, orange juice and water, robes, slippers, etc…

As mentioned, the rooms are equipped with a DVD player (you can get movies from the concierge) that piped into the bathroom. Channel 2 is a beautiful classical station that can be played during the evenings when you wish to relax in the Jacuzzi. Twenty-four-hour room service was available but we did not ordered room service. The menu, however, included four choices of sandwiches (a hamburger complete with any trimming you’d like, a Mexican club, a traditional club, and a wonderful ‘La Riviera’ ham wrap), three main entrees (grouper, steak, and chicken), and three desserts (mango cheesecake, key lime pie, Caribbean fruit mix). A full breakfast menu is also available from room service. There are also coffee makers in the room but we did not use them.

The balcony was of a nice size with two chairs. We enjoyed our balcony, occasionally even watching the sunrise over the ocean in the morning. The only complaint we have was that you hear every door close, every chair move, every phone ring and every maid cart pass. The walls are thin. Luckily, we are early risers, so the noise didn’t bother us too much.

POOLS: There is one huge pool at SC. Lounge chairs were available at any time of the day, even though the resort was nearly at its capacity. Walking on the grounds around the hotel was very quiet and relaxing with music playing in the background.

The pool was as warm as bath water and clean. There are two sides to the pool – one end is cooler than the other – and we preferred the warmer side. Everyday the teak lounge chairs had pads on them with towels waiting for us. The pool also had floating pads for us to use, which was relaxing. The sloping edge was nice to enter by and the pictures of the pool at night are beautiful. The pool offered a wonderful ambiance after dark as it is lit up all night. There was a bathing suit fashion show during the day (great prices) and we had a Mexican fiesta around the pool on Friday. There was a volleyball game going most mornings and water polo most afternoons.

We preferred the pool area because of the swim-up bar and the daytime activities. The water temperature was perfect given the 90-degree days in June. The fountains and water sprays are also a great feature. The pool deck and area is made of many limestone tiles left naturally finished. Again very nice but please be careful around the pool as it is slippery. The resort is fairly new so the trees are smaller – meaning less shady spots – but we never found that to be a problem. It was never a problem to get a lounge chair or a float mat either. The pool bar was the happening place, and Samuel is one crazy bartender.

SPA: We toured the spa and it looked fantastic. I made an appointment to fix my pedicure and was very happy with the service. Several people we talked to who had used the spa said the hydrotherapy circuit and massages were particularly good.

GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS: The building at this resort is simply awe-inspiring. There is so much marble and so many columns! The architects designed it with an Italian flare. There is artwork built into many of the building designs and the grounds are very clean and well designed. There are thousands of plants and trees. There are statues, ponds, and artwork everywhere. The wood used on the doors to the rooms, in many of the restaurants and in the ‘Desires’ disco, is a very rich-looking deep cherry. The finish throughout the property is excellent. The building, both inside and out, is very clean but already need some repair since from time to time there were water leaks during rain showers. The flooring and walls of practically every location in the entire resort, including the washrooms, the guest rooms, the lobbies, the grand staircase and turtle pool, the hallways, the courtyards and restaurants were covered in granite and limestone tiles in a classy Mediterranean style. The resort had strategically placed speakers, hidden in bushes, where in the mornings and evenings, soothing music would emanate. There was a "hammock terrace" on the beach, where several comfortable hammocks were strung under a pergola facing the sea. This was very peaceful as it was 20 feet from the waves rolling in from the sea with a tropical breeze blowing through. The turtle pool, a curving, shallow, rock and seashell filled waterhole inside the lower lobby on the beach entrance level, had a cascading waterfall delivering water over rocks and ledges into the pool. All of this was under the great staircase leading down from the upper lobby. Entrances to various restaurants, several large windows and various public areas were decorated and designed with ornate, limestone carvings and curving columns, accented with artwork. This was also done in a Mediterranean style and very classy. The black wrought iron railings on the guestroom balconies, the grand staircase, the stairs up to the restaurants and the bridge over the pool, perfectly accentuated the villa-like design of the surrounding structures. Several Mexican antiquities and Yucatan/Mayan urns were strategically placed throughout the resort, such as built into limestone facades depicting lions or fish, which spewed waters from the walls in various places. The interior courtyard giving access to the rooms was open, airy, and columned and gave the impression of being outside even though you were in the interior of the resort.

Arches, bellhops in safari hats, the individual check-in process with an employee at an antique desk instead of a counter while sipping a glass of champagne, swinging glass doors to the toilet and shower stalls, very interesting statues, etc. were just some of the "little" touches that were there to appreciate if you took the time to notice and absorb.

BEACH: To begin, we would like to point out that we were spoiled by the beaches in St. Thomas (Meagan’s Bay/St. John/Trunk Bay and the USVI, which are rated among the best beaches of the entire Caribbean. In Riviera Maya, the water is exactly as described by others as some sea grass is on the water line of the beach. The water is blue or green rather than turquoise in most areas, due to the sea grass on the ocean floor. The staff does a great job of cleaning it up several times a day; therefore, it does not affect the sandy area of the beach, nor does it interfere with taking a dip in the ocean. We enjoyed walking down the beach. At SC, it was nice to walk north to the end of the Club El Mandarin property, but I would not recommend going any further north. Beyond that, the beach is undeveloped and the sea grass is piled up with a fair amount of garbage mixed in. This is not very attractive at all and we did a 180?-turn a few blocks past the dock. If you venture out 20 or 30 feet from shore, then you will come to a turquoise green band of the "7 colors" sea and, if you go out in a Hobbie Cat (catamaran) or a kayak, you only need to go out about 100 feet for the sea to become a gorgeous translucent green.

Riviera Maya is not like Cancun where the resort properties are lined up next to each other and where every inch of beach is being cleaned and maintained daily. On the beach at SC as at the pool area, you will have no trouble getting lounge chairs and even palapas were available until late morning. Hobbie Cats, kayaks and wind surfers are available to use, all free of charge.

ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: The theater was okay. This is one area of improvement at SC; the lounge where they put on shows has regular banquet style seating! This is certainly not consistent with the other plush amenities offered at SC. The shows take place in the ‘Portofino’ ballroom. After a little downtime in your room or on the balcony, a few more pre-dinner drinks, dinner, and then after-dinner drinks (there seems to be a theme here), the shows were over or ending. The nightlife is very quiet but I don’t think many people were bothered by it. We went to the disco one night – it was rather empty but we danced anyway and had fun with a few other couples. On one occasion, it was casino night followed by an auction where you could spend your winnings; on another night, there was karaoke.

Do everything or do nothing. Most people chose to do nothing. Salsa dancing, water polo, water aerobics, Spanish lessons, cocktail-making lessons, tequila tasting, football games, you name it they had it. There was no pressure to participate. The hotel also has pool tables, chess games and an air hockey table for the competitive couples. Business center/Internet café: There are four computers set up in the business center. Access to the Internet, a printer, and a fax are all free of charge. The business center is air-conditioned and the Internet connection speed is very fast. Guests are asked to limit their time to 15 minutes, and for the most part everyone abided. A 10-minute wait was necessary on several occasions, but nothing outrageous.

FOOD: The food was delicious and tasty. My husband and I are are food lovers. We eat out regularly and have a deep appreciation for upscale restaurants. We were pleasantly surprised by how "gourmet" everything was.

TEA TIME: We really enjoyed this. Every day between 4 and 6 p.m., it was teatime in the lobby bar area. Out comes a cart of crust-less finger sandwiches, cookies and wonderful bite-sized desserts. What a great way to unwind after a day of relaxing on the beach or at the pool! My husband would enjoy a "special" cappuccino with a snack.

Breakfasts: The breakfast buffet was in ‘La Riviera’. They were cereals, juices and coffee, and a very good assortment of pastries and breads that included bagels and English muffins. They also had a specialty toaster that allows for toasting anything to your exact liking. There were also two cooks that would make eggs and omelets to order or crepes. In addition, several egg casserole dishes, sausage, bacon, ham, and a huge selection of fruits was offered. You can start your day with a great pool view with the ocean in the background if you get a table by the windows!

We ate breakfast once at ‘Sea Side Grill’. This is a sit-down service and it was very good. They do not open for breakfast until 8:00 a.m. though. The ‘Sea Side Grill’ is the resort’s casual restaurant open for late breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Lunch: The ‘Sea Side Grill’ serves steak fajitas with traditional salsa, guacamole and nachos, chicken wings, sandwiches, and everything else from a chicken sandwich to a 12oz New York strip. Any of those were great with Coronas and lime! At ‘La Riviera’, you can choose the buffet or à la carte menu during lunchtime.

Don’t miss the shrimp cocktails at the ‘Oceana’, ‘Sea Side Grill’ or the sugar reef bar. They are each prepared a little differently, in a light and sweet cocktail sauce with little melon balls in them. Really delicious!

Pool and beach side service: Most of the items available at the ‘Seaside Grill’ were also available to order off a menu right from your lounge chair (or even better, right from the comfort of your float mat).

‘Himitsu’ is the Japanese restaurant at the hotel and was our least favorite. There really was not much in terms of food preparation at your table. They have a sushi bar and were serving ‘Himatsu’ roll, which is a shrimp tempura roll with a habenero sauce on it.

‘Capri’ was the Italian/Mediterranean restaurant. The lamb chops were excellent. They have someone with a huge parmesan cheese wheel and cuts of some fresh cheese to go with your bread, olive oil and vinegar. I had a tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad that was fantastic. If you could not decide between the pasta entrées and the sea food or steak entrées, you could order a smaller portion of pasta to accompany the other entrée of choice. We had an excellent meal followed by a good dessert and cappuccino coffee.

‘Seaside Grill’ was very good to excellent as well. We sat outdoors as it had cooled off by the time we got to dinnertime. We started with salsa and chips. The dinner recommended that night was lamb. I would recommend it and truly enjoyed the meals there.

‘La Riviera’ is the buffet-style restaurant, but they have theme nights when you can get an à la carte menu.

One thing that we liked about the restaurants is that the portions were small so you could get an appetizer, a salad, an entrée and a dessert. This way you can try many things from many dining options.

BARS AND BEVERAGES: The bar service was very good and we don’t recall receiving a different drink than ordered. They had a wide selection of vodka, which is our alcohol of choice. The frozen drinks were very good. They have a good wine list that is part of the all-inclusive package (the last page of the wine list includes Cabernet Sauvignon Gato Negro from Chile or Nabiolia Merlot from Spain), as well as other bottles you can order from about $16-$300 USD – there is something for everyone.

It was almost shocking given the number of people here that the Desires disco never had more than 20 people in it after 11:00 p.m. and on most nights, there were only a dozen people or so. This was the same for the lobby bar – after 11:00 p.m., it just emptied out.

Important note: all drinks are made with rail brand alcohol, but are more than happy to use your call brand if you ask. We quickly adapted by asking for everything with the call brand we wanted: Absolute, Bacardi, Cuervo, Smirnoff, etc… Also, ask the bartender for suggestions for a shooter or frozen drink. Some of the best cocktails we had were found by just asking the bartender for suggestions.

We received outstanding service. The SC staff went out of their way to insure that our vacation was spectacular. All of the staff was attentive and welcoming: Luis, our second floor concierge who greeted us every day; Roger, the waiter at the steak house restaurant (Seaside Grill), and Samuel at the wet bar from the pool, all ensured that the service was always impeccable. We will forever be grateful to all of the staff at Secrets Capri for providing us with the best standard of service available in an all-inclusive hotel.

When you enter the restaurants, you are asked your room number and then greeted by name by the restaurant manager, waiter, and busboy (they write your name on the order form so they remember). Most times, our waiters remembered our names from previous visits without us giving them our room number.

TIPPING: They work so hard, and are so friendly. They don’t push tipping, but they make peanuts per hour. Bringing $100 USD in denominations of ones and fives was a good idea. We tipped everyone, and felt good about ourselves. Many other guests tipped as well. The staff works everyday (6 days a week/8 hours a day) so we think they deserved a little extra.

IMPROVMENTS: Almost all of these were minor items to us, and we feel guilty even bringing them up, as overall every aspect was very good.

SUMMARY: We had a really wonderful vacation. In the past, we traveled to Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Europe (Mediterranean), Hawaii, Vegas, etc… Our vacations have included several cruises and stays at Westin resorts, Marriott resorts, Hilton resorts, Fairmont properties. As a point of reference, this property compares favorably to them all. The wide age range from late 20’s to 50’s just added to the diversity of the people, and no one ever felt out of place. We like trying different properties for our vacations and we will consider this one for a return visit. We would like to try Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancun, as it too looked to be a first-class resort when we took the tour of the property during our stay. Last word of advice, go and enjoy a wonderful vacation at Secrets Capri; we don’t think you will be disappointed.

Overall, they definitely try to do everything to please you, and we felt like royalty. It was truly an amazing week! Thank you to everyone who helped us with the planning, thank you to the staff of the SC and thank you to AIM and SECRETS RESORTS for an amazing vacation!

All right, one final word: If you go to Mexico in a bad mood, and want to find every bad thing about a resort you can do it. Remember, your vacation is what you make of it. If you go there and look forward to having fun, and are forgiving for the small mistakes, you will not ever forget this vacation. Secrets is heaven, absolute heaven. VIVA MEXICO!

Please feel free to e-mail if you have any questions (nlaroche@iq.ca) aka Cruise_Diva!

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun T & D from Cincinnati, Ohio

January 2005

My husband and have traveled throughout Mexico / Caribbean and were extremely pleased with our accommodations at Secrets Capri Rivera Cancun. Prior booking our trip we did an extensive research for the perfect vacation spot. We had a rough year and needed a quiet spot with little distractions. We took our vacation the week prior Christmas.

After reviewing the feedback from this site we narrowed it down to 3 selections. Upon returning from our vacation we knew picked the right spot. We were greeted with cool wet towels and champagne as we checked in. We were very pleased with our room and its location. The resort provided many types of activities. No one hassled or bother you to participate. It was yours for the choosing.

We were reluctant to choose an all-inclusive because it limits you to the resort food but we did not find that to be the case at Secrets. The resort provided a wide variety of cuisine. We especially enjoyed Oceana, the seafood restaurant. We ate there twice! We found the service at all the restaurants impeccable, the presentation and quality were outstanding.

Secrets were tops in the following areas:
All the restaurants provided extensive menus. Oceana was our favorite.

The wine selections included were good.

Room service was a plus! We had breakfast twice and lunch once. My husband was most impressed with his Angus hamburger.

Every evening before deciding which restaurant to go to, we would go to the lobby bar where we enjoyed the live music. It was different each evening. We also tried an assortment of new drinks! They also had a person in the lobby every evening that rolled cigars for purchase if you enjoy smoking cigars.

Our mini frig was always stocked with pop, beer and water,

A special touch such as Monday night football on beach with snaky foods, coolers of Corona and champagne was the icing on the cake.

The spa services were incredible. The resort allowed vendors to set up their wares on several evenings so if you did not feel like taking a day trip to Playa Del Carmen to purchase goods you did not need to go.

Our room was always made up every day when we returned from the beach or pool and the bed was turned every night and fresh towels provided. The toiletries included sun screen

All of the employees are very eager to please and made sure our stay was great. Please tip they earn it.

We have been to better beaches but overall the beach was not all that bad. The ocean was not as clear as other resorts we have been too but you could walk freely for miles.

We are very hard to please and we look for that next step up in vacations and this was it.

I would go to another Secrets hotel. They take good care of you.

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Jeremy and Melanie ~ Canada

January 2005

We went to the Secrets Capri over the Christmas holidays and had an absolutely amazing time! This resort is as about as close to perfect as you will get. We will get to details so you can understand what we are talking about:

Food: The restaurants here are first class. Every day we felt we were being fed by a 5 star chef. The Riviera restaurant provided an elaborate buffet each morning as well as we had the option of breakfast by the water at the Seaside Grill. Then for lunch we could head back for a buffet or a la carte, whatever we felt like at the moment. At night, the choices of a la carte were to die for. The Italian restaurant was decorated so elegantly and the food was top notch. The Oriental restaurant made us feel we had stepped out of Mexico and into an authentic Japanese restaurant. There is also the Seaside Grill for some amazing beef and then the Oceana for delicious seafood. Both the Seaside and Oceana overlook the sea which is romantic for eating at night. There were many nights the ladies were given roses after the meals (nice touch). If you don’t feel like eating out, the 24 hour room service is just as fantastic. The service is fast and the food is just as detailed as eating at the restaurants. The staff would set out a tablecloth on the table in our room and set it as if we were out on the town.

Bars: The staff are constantly around you at the pool, the beach, the lobby, etc pretty much anywhere you sit down asking you if you are hungry or would like a drink. We didn’t have to leave our chairs to obtain our all-inclusive drinks. That’s service!

Pool: The pool was as warm as bath water and very clean. There are two sides to the pool – one is cooler than the other (we preferred the warmer side). Everyday the teak chairs had pads on them with towels waiting for us. The pool also had floating pads for us to use which was relaxing. The sloping edge was nice to enter and the pictures of the pool at night are beautiful. There was a bathing suit fashion show during the day (great prices) and we had a Mexican Fiesta around the pool on Christmas Eve with a Mexican Show. Wonderful! The Mexican Santa was hilarious and the decorations around the resort made it feel like Christmas.

Rooms: The rooms are gorgeous. Marble everywhere! We had a king size four poster bed, 1 person jacuzzi tub (relaxing), private toilet and shower, private balcony and there was a ton of space in the room. The maid came twice everyday. Some days we found rose petals on the bed. Always these small details that caught our eye.

Staff: What can we say about the staff except amazing! We never felt so pampered in our lives. Everywhere we turned we were taken care of. From the moment we checked in to our check out. They will do anything for you. You even have your own personal concierge on your own floor. We were greeted with smiles and ‘Hola’ everywhere.

Spa: We didn’t use the spa but the couple we went with did and just raved about it. My friend had a massage and wanted to have another one immediately. Next time I’m getting a treatment. I won’t miss out.

Beach: The beach was white sand and there were plenty of chairs and hammocks. The water was again so warm. We found tonnes of seashells too.

Activities: There were tonnes of activities to participate in (if you choose). They had dinners on the beach, activities around the pool (in the pool), at night under the stars, in their small theatre (their circus is the best one). Always something to do if you are bored. We chose to go to Playa del Carmen by the free shuttle to some shopping. Another day we took a snorkeling tour to some cenotes (2 freshwater and 1 inlet). This was the best!

All in all the resort is breathtaking. The adults only elective makes it nice and relaxing (we’re a married couple with no children). We just didn’t want screaming children running around. We would recommend this resort to anyone who desires relaxation and pampering. It’s 5 star for a reason and worth every penny.

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Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun Bill and Debbie

October 2004

My wife and I traveled to the Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun in October 2004 for 2 weeks for our anniversary. Originally we were booked at the Secrets Excellence in Punta Cana, but due to Hurricane Jeanne we were able to switch to the Mayan Riviera.

Our opening comment Is "Wow !!". This is one incredible resort that we imagine would be very hard to beat on any level. It deserves every ounce of its 5 star rating.

We will comment on the following areas: 1) Overall resort ambiance and character. 2) Rooms and common areas 3) Restaurants 4) Pool 5) Beach and sea 6) Activities 7) Entertainment

8) Staff and service

1) Overall resort ambiance and character

This resort was a stunner from the moment we entered the gate and traveled up the shady, winding, cobblestone driveway to the main entrance.

We had read that the "character" and design of the resort was "Mediterranean Villa", and this is certainly true. There are so many large and small details that have been built into the resort’s features that it would be impossible to mention them all, so I will name some of our favorites. Some of the attention to detail went so far beyond anything anyone would expect that it actually made us laugh, in a good way.

• Every morning, early, one employee would go around the entire resort and do nothing except to rake the sand in the ashtray structures (like a beach) and then carefully stamp the Secrets logo (a seashell) into the sand. Walking around any area of the resort, you would find these "stamped sand" ashtrays, and we would smile. We are not smokers, but this was cute.

• There numerous areas in the resort where you can find cozy little areas to sit and chat or sip a drink. The difference is the attention paid to the strategic locations of these places, and the differing style of furniture, artwork and style. For example, in the lobby, far off in one corner in front of a huge glass window overlooking jungle you would find a couch, love seat and arm chair of a particular European influence, with a large, quality oil painting on the wall behind, and a large coffee table of dark stained wood. In another annex of the lobby, you would find another setting, with a different furniture style, and view out towards the sea. Inside the restaurants, besides the public washroom areas, in the airy courtyard of the interior access to the guest rooms, and other places these little individual theme settings would appear, inviting a sit and some casual conversation. So relaxing.

• The Flooring and walls of practically every location in the entire resort, including the washrooms, the guest rooms, the lobbies, the grand staircase and turtle pool, the hallways and courtyards, and restaurants were covered in granite and limestone tiles. Some polished and glazed smooth and glossy, and some left naturally rough, and all with a degree of class and attentiveness. There were many occasions where I would even be in a washroom and running my hand over the surface of the stone. So Mediterranean and classic.

• The resort had strategically placed speakers, hidden in bushes, where in the mornings and evenings, soothing music would emanate. Somehow you knew that there was some employee, somewhere, in charge of selecting music that fit with the environment, and lushness of the foliage, and poolside setting. At lease, it seemed that way.

• The solid wood reclining chairs at poolside were a luxurious and extremely comfortable touch. The staff would carefully place pads on them every morning.

• One of my wife’s favourite places was the "hammock terrace" on the beach, where several comfortable hammocks were strung under a pergola facing the sea. So peaceful to snooze in hammock, 20 feet from the waves rolling in from the sea, the tropical breeze blowing through your hair.

• The turtle pool, a curving, shallow, rock and seashell filled waterhole inside the lower lobby, beach entrance level, where a cascading waterfall delivered water over rocks and ledges into the pool, and all of this UNDER the great staircase leading down from the upper lobby. Did I mention the turtles resident in the pool?

• The entrances to various restaurants, several large windows in different places, and various public areas were decorated and designed with ornate, limestone carving, curving columns, and accented with artwork. Very Mediterranean, and so classy.

• The black wrought iron railings on the guestroom balconies, the grand staircase, the stairs up to restaurants, and the bridge over the pool perfectly accented the villa-like design of the surrounding structures.

• Several Mexican antiquities and Yucutan urns were strategically placed throughout the resort and invited one to stop and comtemplate.

• Built in limestone facades depicting lions or fish, spewed for the waters as a fountain, from the wall of various places.

• The interior "courtyard" giving access to the rooms was open, airy, columned, and gave the impression of being outside even though you were in the interior of the resort.

• Arches, bell boys in safari hats, individual check-in process with an employee at an antique desk (instead of a counter) while sipping a glass of champagne, swinging glass doors to the toilet and shower stalls, VERY interesting statues, were just some of the other "little" touches that were there to appreciate if you took the time to notice and absorb.

2.) Rooms and common areas

We had a deluxe, ocean view room, room number 541, the top floor. It faced directly out to the sea, over the pool area. It was, in our opinion, one of the best rooms in the resort. The only contact we had had beforehand, was to e-mail Ulizes Guzman, the head concierge to ask if our room could be on the south side of the resort since there was no neighbouring resort on that side. We felt it would be quieter. It was.

The room, in our view, was spectacular. It was a marbled, limestoned wonder of intimate design. The swinging glass doors on the toilet and shower stalls were great, the double sink bathroom was all we needed. We were provided with bathrobes and slippers. The television was huge, and was linked to a DVD, CD player. We had brought our own CD’s, so this was great. The automatic air conditioning, activated by closing the patio door worked perfectly. Our balcony was private and from it we watched passing boats, storms, pelicans and the 7 coloured sea.

The room safe, digital, worked perfectly.

As mentioned before, common areas were spectacular, ornate, diverse, individually themed, and demanded contemplation and admiration.

3.) Restaurants

There are 5 restaurants. Riviera (buffet for breakfast, lunch and some dinners), Seaside Grill (A la carte breakfast, casual lunch, and dinner), Oceana (seafood), Capri (Mediterranean and Italian), and Himitsu (Asian fusion).

We ate at all of them:
Riviera – surprisingly we had our best meal here when they had a "Romantic" dinner which was a fixed menu evening with champagne, rose for the lady, wonderful guitar player, and spectacular presentations of beef medallions and 4 other courses.

The buffet breakfasts were huge layouts, with nothing missing. How anyone can complain about the repetitiveness of the food here is a mystery. There were endless combinations, including champagne and bloody mary stations. But the freshly made waffles with fruit and whipped cream were the best. The omelet cook was good as well.

Daniel the Maitre ‘d was continuously smiling every morning, and remembered our faces. Guillermo, a waiter, blazed up a "to die for" Mayan Coffee, flames and all.

Seaside Grill – A steakhouse, with spectacular views of the sea or pool area. Great food and presentation, and waiters. Capri – Our favourite one. Beautiful murals on the wall, ornate entrance way, wine cellar in full view, and my favourite, the strolling giant cheese wheel !! Wonderful menu, and food presentation that equals any 5 star restaurant I have eaten at in San Francisco, Montreal, or Europe.

Oceana – Above the Seaside, wonderful views, good menu.

Himitsu – Here you have a choice between regular table or Hibachi Bar. The Hibachi Bar was great, with the Hibachi chef performing with juggling utensils, banging metal, and flaming cooking….what more can be said…

Anyone who complains with the food at this resort has a problem with life.

4.) Pool

The pool is not huge, like the Secrets in Punta Cana, but then it doesn’t have to be. The resort is smaller anyway, with only 288 rooms, so service is more of the issue. That said, it is a great pool. It has "zero entry" graduated decline slopes at both ends, but also numerous stairways in other locations. It is a big "figure 8" shape with a beautiful, Venetian type bridge over the middle to join the 2 sides. Many brides walk this bridge.

The fountains and water sprays are also a great feature.

The pool deck, and area is made of many limestone tiles left natural. Very nice. The resort is new so the trees are smaller, meaning less shady spots, but we never found that a problem. I did my scuba course in the pool.

It was never a problem to get a recliner or a pool float. Period.

The pool bar was the happening place, and Mario is one crazy bartender. (In a good sense)

5.) Beach and sea

We are beach people, so it worried me that when we moved here from the Punta Cana Secrets (due to the storm) that the beach would be sub-par. Okay. Let’s look at the facts:

The Mayan Riviera is a long straight coastline, that in some places is protected by spectacular reef areas. (Akumal, Aventuras, Playa) In these areas the water on the coast is clearer, and more translucent that other areas because of the protection of the near reefs.

Secrets Capri is built on a stretch of water that is not protected by such reef. Therefore the water (meaning colour, clarity, and stuff in it) is different. It is on a small bay that curves toward the south to where there is reef about a 5 minute walk away. At Secrets, there is some seaweed (which is raked off the beach before anyone wakes up), and the water is not as clear close to shore (meaning the first 20 feet or so) because of lack of reef protection. A 5 minute walk south will bring you to a place where the turquoise water meets the white sand. There were small sting rays here, floating freely, and they were a joy.

However, the water is bath tub warm, and if you venture at all past 20 or 30 feet from shore, then you will come to a turquoise green band of the "7 colour" sea. And if you go out in a Hobie Cat or Kayak, you only need to get out about 100 feet to where the sea becomes a gorgeous translucent green. The "rocks" some people complain about are in fact pieces of coral, washed in by the waves. They are few though. Don’t worry. The "slime" was only in some scattered spots, and the bottom was mostly sand.

The lack of a montone, "Caribbean blue" colour was fine for me, because I found the "7 colours" of the sea to be much more interesting. You could actually sit on the beach, or your balcony, and count the different colours of the sea! 7 is better than 1 anyday.

The beach itself is a wonderful, cool, white sugar sand. They planting more palm trees when we were there, so it is gradually becoming more tropical. It is a great beach.

6.) Activities

The staff had regularly scheduled events all over the place, from water volleyball, aerobics, cooking lessons on the side of the pool (How to make Guacumole), Hobie Cat sailing, kayaks, casino nights, etc.

The staff was great, and got lots of people involved, but pressured no one.

Alex Garcia, at the watersports tent, near the Hobie Cats, was great. He is very friendly guy, trying to save to buy his own house, who will show you how to ride a Hobie Cat.

The scuba diving booth, Reuben and Lalo, will get you into the sport as they did me. I took the short course, and did 4 dives, 2 in Cozumel and 2 in Cancun. Spectacular.

The spa, additional cost, was wonderful. You have use of all the facilities if you book one service. Make sure you don’t have any old war injuries if you get a massage from Orlando.

7. Entertainment

I had envisioned, based on previous reviews, kind of an amateur night for pre-planned shows.

I was wrong. We attended 2 shows in the Portafino ballroom, and both were quite spectacular. One, the Circus show, was amazingly, a kind of mini "Cirque de Soleil". Obviously a professional production. It blazed along with great pace, wonderfully eclectic music, and the best juggler and sword guy I have ever seen !!! The costumes were first rate, and the whole affair was interconnected, magnetic, and so upbeat that I thought the whole affair was going to wheel away into space!! It got several ovations.

We also attended a Caribbean dance show, with dancers from different Caribbean nations. My wife thoroughly enjoyed the bare chested male dancers!

8. Staff and service

The unwritten, or maybe it is written somewhere, motto of Secrets Capri is "Service and staff".

That is eminently clear from the second we arrived. Here are some examples of how far these people will go to make you happy:

I dropped a fork on the floor one dinner, and before I had time to reach down and retrieve it, it was snatched from the floor by a smiling Carlos and replaced with another one. I swear that Carlos was nowhere near our table at the time!

Whenever you get up and leave your table, to go to the buffet, or the washroom, always when you return your cloth napkin is refolded and set again in its original place. I never saw anyone actually do this, it just happened!

At the buffet restaurant, I would get up with my juice glass to get a re-fill, but would be confronted by the waiter immediately who did the task for me.

Our maid, made so many "towel art" animals and figures, that my wife wants to learn how. We became anxious to return to our room to see what work of art awaited us each afternoon! (Giant kissing swans, elephants, dogs, rabbits, angels, humans figures, etc…)

They would also leave flowers on our pillows, rose petals on our beds, and chocolates…

The afore-mentioned Alex at the water sports center went out of his way to show us interesting places in the sailboat, and let us know when the best time to sail was.

The beach and pool waiters were always available to bring you anything.

People, tip these staff members generously. They are not supposed to accept tips but they deserve them. You tip at home, so tip here. I couldn’t even imagine getting the service these people give at even a 5 star restaurant in Montreal! Unbelievable.

You will enjoy Secrets Capri immensely if you go.

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Secrets Capri Cancun Riviera Kathy

October 2004

Hola, My husband and I just returned last night from Secrets Capri. We were upgraded to a Jr. Suite Ocean view (#430) – what a great view and room. We were celebrating our anniversary and was given this upgrade. Felt very special as we met honeymooners who were not upgraded so we were thrilled to have been. At first we wanted a room closer to the water but after going to our room we were very happy – it has a straighton view of the ocean – Perfect. The only problem with the rooms are that the walls are very thin – can hear the phone ringing in the next room. Not a real problem but something to keep in mind. Heard a few bedroom stories of what others overheard . . . .

I will post my impressions and thoughts – please feel free to contact me with any questions –

On a scale of 1-10 I would give this resort a 9. Resort is on the small side – 287 rooms – this is a perfect size. I hate the large resorts that require walking for 15/20 min to get from one end to the other. The resort was at full capacity as they had many people who were switched from the Dominican Republic. Never felt crowded and you were able to meet up with people all week seeing them around the resort area.
I love being able to be in the pool and see the ocean – we were at the Iberostar last year and were very unhappy there – Secrets was a perfect size. They do advertise the hot tub as for 2 – no way!!!!

The food was out of this world – the same as a 5 star rest here (Boston). Again last year at the Iberostar the food was terrible – heated up cafeteria The service was excellent – they bent over backwards to make sure you were happy. A nice feature is the pool/beach service – great to not have to move your lazy butts to get a drink or a burger! We ate at the Oceana (seafood) rest twice, the Italian twice, the Japanese and steakhouse each once. The only wait we had was 3/4 hr one night for the Oceana – didn’t bother us as the pool bar was open and we met some great couples while we waited. This is probably the most popular of all and always had a slight wait. If anyone goes and has Manuel the waiter at Oceana please tell him the Bradley’s say hello – he is the best and most anxious to please waiter I have ever met.

The alcohol is top shelf and they will make drinks as strong as you want – just ask for a little extra – and if they didn’t have what you wanted they got it! We drank 1800 margaritas all week and one night they ran out and the next morning Victor the bartender called us over from the pool to show us he had gotten another case (no we didn’t drink all that)! We met so many people who worked there who were wonderful. They remember your name and really become friends. We always tipped our bartenders and our waiters – they were generally surprised to receive the tips and extremely grateful. I can’t believe more people don’t do this – a few dollars makes a big difference in their paychecks. Although we definitely didn’t notice anyone getting "less" service for not tipping. They always smile and try to please.

The pool was definitely the place to be at this resort. They have plenty of the pool floats and for the most part people were easy to let them go when they weren’t using them. There was one group who stacked them up as tables – sat their drinks on them for an entire day. The swimup bar is very popular. While we prefer the ocean it is as noted many times not the best beach. The water is very murky and slightly rocky – I am sure the recent hurricanes in the area have not helped. This would be the only negative at this resort and the only reason I would even consider not returning.

We had no problems at all with the maid service – they cleaned our room each morning by 10:00 and were always done when we would return from dinner – 8:00 or so.

The weather was mostly great – there were a few afternoons and evenings where it would downpour for a few minutes and then clear up – this is pretty normal for this time of year and didn’t bother us at all.

We didn’t go to any of the theme nights – mexican nights, or beach parties – frankly I though the beach one was cancelled due to the rain and am disappointed to learn it was on – we wanted to go.

The nightlife is very quiet but I don’t think many people were bothered by it. We went to the disco one night – it was pretty empty but we danced and had fun with a few other couples. We went into the town of Playa 3 different times – we love it there. Actually spent a day shopping and beaching – they have beautiful water and beaches. Hit a couple of different bars at night which are hoping. It is only a 5 min cab ride ($10) and definitely worth it. I just wish Secrets would provide more transportation here. They have a bus that goes to Playa 6:30 – the restaurants don’t open til 6 so you either have to eat in town or go on your own. I am surprised they don’t offer more transportation – once in the early am and then again around 8 or so. Frankly the food was so good we didn’t want to miss it – last year we ate many meals in town as the food was so bad.

Can’t really think of much else – this was our first time at an adults only and we will stick with this type of resort. We have two kids and love em dearly but it was nice to be without any kids this week.

I would recommend this resort to everyone – it was really great! Please let me know if you have any questions that I can answer. THorne2805@aol.com

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Secrets Capri Cancun Riviera

October 2004

My wife and I just returned from Secrets Capri. We were orinally supposed to go to the Secrets Excellence in the Dominican Republic but Hurricane Jeannne closed the resort. Anyway, on a scale from 1 to 10 I would give our trip a 9.999. The resort was awesome! As it was our honeymoon we were looking for a relaxing romantic week. We are both 25 and we loved this resort. Our travel agent at honeymoonsinc.com did a great job in getting us a presidential suite room for 4 nights and an ocean view room for another 2. Both rooms were great. The prez suite(# 367)is amazing. About 1500 square feet, granite everwhere, a hottub on the back patio that was huge and was about 30 yards from the ocean. DVD/CD player with surrond sound in the bathroom. It was awesome. The ocean view (#111) was also nice, still had a DVD/CD player with surrond sound, walked out to the pool. Only complaint was that the walls were a little thin.

Anyway, back to the resort. The pool was awesome, could have used another bartender. The staff was great, and the food was amazin. Great steaks, sushi (in Mexico???), and Italian. Plenty of top shelf liquour everywhere. They had a Mexican night at the pool one night, fashion show, casino night (fake money),beach dinner night, sax player at the beach bar. A guy would walk around the pool with a pet everyday to take your pic (iquanas, monkeys, parrots). The spa was great. Id say 75% of the guests were honeymooners so everyone was in a great mood and very sociable. The beach was nice but the water was dingy. You could see Cozumel over the horizon.

The only excursiion we did was to go to XCARET a big ecological park where you can swim with dophins (we did and I reccommend it), snorkel, sit on the beach and see the animals.

I give a lot more details but I wont. Anyway like I said this is a great resort and I would reccomend it to anyone. I have pics if anyone wants to see them,,,email me at mholdenrid@evergreeninvestments.com

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Secrets Capri Cancun Riviera

August 2004

Just got back from a stay at SUNSCAPE for 4 nights and an “upgrade” to SECRETS for 2. I feel compelled to write this review to WARN anyone who is thinking of staying at SECRETS to try elsewhere with your vacation. While SUNSCAPE was pleasant in all aspects other than bike tour, SECRETS was a disappointment in almost every regard. We traveled with 3 other couples to this “upgrade” and were at once met with a grand and imposing resort. Things started out nicely with a warm scented cloth, and champagne, but slowly deteriorated from there. The place smelled of mold and cigarette smoke, and the service was poor at best. 1 . The rooms, which were nice, but twin beds??? At a couples resort?? The beds were horrible and we woke up with back aches. The rooms had paper thin walls and we carried a conversation with our friends in the next door room through the walls, and heard them eating room service!! The couple on the other side woke us up with loud moaning and many expletives which were stated in the throes of passion. 2. Restaurants The food in the buffet area was soggy and overcooked with lines at the cutting, and omelet stations (totally unlike the EXCELLENT food, service and presentation at SUNSCAPE), with TANG passed off as OJ, and staff that never returned to get cream or drinks. The restaurants near the ocean make you wait for 2 hours between appetizers and main course (since everything has to be prepared at the main building). The staff constantly forgets about you at these restaurants and we blew 3 hours for this horrible meal. The beach is Ok and the water is one hue of blue, but do not venture into the surf or you will be walking on slime encrusted clay with seaweed. SUNSCAPE’s beach was mucho better with many hues of blue and clear water, and sand in the small area which you could swim. We could easily compare both resorts since we stayed at both in one week , and SUNSCAPE is at least an 8 out of 10 while SECRETS is 4 out of 10 (generous). If you want a great experience with better all around service, food, beaches..Etc.. go to SUNSCAPE and save yourself some $$ to boot……One last thought…MEXICO must clean up the TRASH that litters the sand tree line of every beach other than the resort beaches. It truly is an eyesore and disappointment to see that on one side and the ocean on the other..

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Secrets Capri Cancun Riviera Chris_N_Cheryl

July 2004

Background: I am a thirty-something professional female traveling with my mother on our 18th annual mother/daughter Caribbean get-away. I have traveled to the Caribbean approximately 30 times, staying in resorts that range from 3 to 5 stars. This was our second trip to a Secrets Chain, the first being Secrets Excellence in the Dominican Republic. Once again, I would like to thank the chief concierge Ulises Guzman for making our stay truly spectacular. Mr. Guzman was transferred from Secrets Excellence last fall, and his presence at Secrets Capri was a deciding factor as we searched for a PDC vacation. Mr. Guzman is a warm and caring man who is completely tuned to customer service and a valuable asset to the AM Resort chain. I can say without hesitation that the food and service we received at Secrets Capri was the best of any all inclusive chains I have visited, including the much more expensive Sandals. I am submitting a shortened version of my 12 page trip report. Feel free to visit my web page or e-mail me for the entire review including photos, menu choices, spa packages, and tours offered in PDC: www.spctechnology.net/secrets or brushmyhairplease@comcast.net

A few examples of the Outstanding Service Received: 1) Our 3rd floor concierge Ruban (who ironically comes from the Royal Hideaway) found the time to escort us to our room every day, opening the door to make sure that the maid service and bar service were satisfactory. 2) Pool Side service for drinks and food was exceptional. You didn’t even need to exit the water to be offered a lunch menu and/or drink menu. The servers were completely content to serve your food so you could eat lunch IN the pool! How lazy lol…….. but wonderful given the 95 degree days we experienced 3) When you enter the restaurants, you are asked your room number and then greeted by name by the restaurant manager, waiter, and busboy (they write your name on the order form so they remember). Often times, our servers remembered our names from previous visits without giving our room number. 4) Pool floats were abundant and sharing was the norm. Secrets Capri has a sign posted near the pool asking that all pool floats remain in the pool. With only a few exceptions, everyone abided by the suggestion and we never waited extensively for a pool float to become available. 5) Beach side service for drinks and lunch was also available, although it appeared somewhat slow if you choose a papala near the parameter of the property. If you choose a papala near the beach bar servers were more readily accessible. 6) Beautiful teak loungers, each with its own pull out table were comfortably fitted with plush cushions and an umbrella for two. No plastic here, and they folded completely down so that you could lay flat on your stomach (I find the other type of loungers that don’t fold completely down annoying lol). 7) Towels were readily available, and to my amazement, when I asked for a towel, I was given 2 saying that I might enjoy using the extra one as a pillow lol. 8) Pillow menus are available in all rooms so that you can choose the type of pillow you are most comfortable with. Having a goose-down pillow like home made sleeping much more enjoyable. Four other types are available. 9) A full breakfast menu is available outside at the steak house from 8-11 a.m., and while the inside buffet was incredible, there is something extra nice about getting breakfast cooked to order, while enjoying a beautiful view of the gulf of Mexico. 10) The beach party on Friday night and the Pool party on Monday night were nice touches. While somewhat typical of most resorts, the cooking stations at each outdoor party were more extensive than I had ever encountered. There was a grilling station for various fish, another for beef, one for pork, ect… Each station had ample choices prepared a multiple of different ways. 11) Even the evening ‘buffet’ restaurant isn’t a typical buffet. The seafood sympathy on Wednesday Evenings was a full 6 course sit down meal, as was the romantic dinner evening on Saturday. I believe there are only two nights that are traditional serve yourself buffets. 12) The rooms are appointed with a DVD player (you can get movies from the concierge) that piped into the bathroom. Channel 2 is a beautiful classical station that can be played during the evenings you wish to relax in the Jacuzzi. 13) 24 hour room service with 4 choices of sandwiches, 3 main entries, and 3 desserts was always delivered in approximately 30 minutes.

14) Hamburgers are made from USDA Black angus sirloin! The same quality can be found in all of the food choices at Secrets Capri.

We checked in around 1:30 and were greeted with campaign and cold towels. There isn’t a check in counter with lines at Secrets Capri. Instead, there are mahogany desks with plush chairs to sit in and relax. Due to the lack of a check-in counter, each check in experience is very private and comfortable. The check in staff was knowledgeable, courteous, and the language barrier was non-existent. Our room was ready, and we were quickly escorted by a wonderful bellman who showed us to our room and explained all the room amenities. Within one hour of arriving, we were unpacked and sipping drinks at the pool bar. It simply doesn’t get better than that

Room Amenities: All rooms come with a standard Jacuzzi for one. Jacuzzi works wonderfully though ?. In addition, all rooms have a dvd player (you can get movies from the concierge), radio station on the TV (which can also be piped into the bathroom), iron/ironing board, mini fridge stocked with orange drink, coke, coke lite, corona, and water, outdoor patio table and two chairs (not the cheesy plastic type), indoor wooden table with two chairs, one set of dresser drawers (3), one luggage chest with a deep drawer, data port for your lap top (additional charge to hook into the internet), electronically programmed room safe, ample closet space, extra blankets and pillows, a writing desk, and two nightstands with additional drawer space.

Extras include: plush terry cloth robe and slippers, SPF 8 sunscreen, conditioning shampoo (no conditioner), shower gel, face soap, body soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, shaving cream (very nice touch), a potpourri bowl filled with scented soaps and rose petals for the Jacuzzi, and the standard shower cap, mending kit, shoe polisher, cotton swaps, and Q-tips.

In addition to the Jacuzzi, the bathroom has a stand up shower large enough for two, two sinks, and a separate toilet area. There has been some discussion about the lack of privacy in the bathroom. I did not find this to be the case. The shower and toilet have a frosted glass privacy door (granted, it is frosted glass) and there are a set of double louvered blinds which separate the bathroom from the rest of the room. The louvered blinds are nice because when open, the room feels very large. When closed they offer some privacy. If you are REALLY private about your bathroom set-up, place a towel over the louvered blinds and close the wooden bathroom door and/or hang a towel over the frosted glass of the shower or toilet area. Please refer to my web page for a detailed description of optimal room numbers.

Food: This section is going to be long because quite frankly, Secrets Capri offered the best food of any A/I I have visited! Items like Shrimp and Beef Tenderloin can be found in almost all of the restaurants. The food preparation is equal to what you’d find in a standard North American 5 star hotel (very unique for a Caribbean A/I). Extreme care is given in choosing foods of the highest quality and presenting them in a truly artistic fashion. If you’re looking for typical meals presented in Americanized chains such as outback steakhouse or the Olive Garden, this is not the place. If you appreciate leisurely elegant dining experience, Secrets Capri is wonderful. Service in each of the restaurants was impeccable. Bread crumbs are scraped from your linen tablecloth between each course (even if you’re just eating a burger outside on the patio). Beautifully decorated tableware, flowers, and candles are used to set your table in many of the restaurants. Great care is given in even the simplest of details (for example, I ordered jalapeño cheese stuffed poppers for appetizer at lunch one day and two types of hot spiced sauces were used to meticulously decorate my plate; no little monkey dishes are used here lol). All dishes are served with incredible attention to detail and by a professionally friendly wait staff. “It is my pleasure” is the standard response around the entire resort, and I had the feeling that the resort workers really did find it their pleasure to serve. Please refer to my web page for a detailed description of each of the restaurants.

Beach: Much has already been mentioned about the beach. It is not the turquoise water found at other areas in the Caribbean. You can see your feet in the water until you get about waist deep. The beach was sandy until I was neck deep (I’m 5’7”), and then it turned to silt/clay. We arrived 10 days after the major storms hit PDC. I can assure you that the beach is completely fixed. Approximately 50-75 yards of fine white sand was imported and spread around the entire property (I estimate this based on the 10 yards of top soil I had delivered last fall lol)……. Let’s just say, there was a LOT of sand imported! All of the fallen papalas have been erected. Many of the photos you may have seen flying around the net right after the storm was of the beach area in between secrets and the neighboring El Mandrain. The El Mandrain took a much harder hit than secrets. It appeared that nature formed an actual river approximately 2 feet deep cutting right between Secrets and the El Mandrain. This is the area where the photos of the broken slab of concrete were taken; the public sports center that serves the El Mandrain not the sports center at Secrets, and the workers there haven’t even begun to make a dent in repairing the beach (they were working with wheelbarrows as opposed to front end loaders like at secrets). Regardless, if you’re looking to wade in the beautiful clear waters of the Caribbean, Secrets Capri should not be your destination. While the beach is perfectly fine to lay on, the water clarity and beautiful color just wasn’t there. If you walk to the south of the resort, there is a fabulous beach, but again; if you’re looking for beach as a number one priority, who’d want to make that hike?

Water sports: Secrets offers free snorkeling equipment (and a free snorkeling tour on Fridays). There are three hobbie-cats and the beach is perfect for sailing! There are sea kayaks (the kind with a back built in, very nice) and paddle boats. For those who enjoy sailing and wind-surfing, there is a constant ocean breeze that makes conditions nearly ideal (at least during the week we visited). While the beach may not be great for swimming, it certainly is wonderful for various water sports.

Pool: The temperature ranged from 93-96 EVERY day of our vacation (with a low a chilling 82 lol). Needless to say, the pool was our favorite place . When I say that we spent all of our time during the day in the pool, that’s exactly what I mean…… we spent it IN the pool, not lounging in our chairs. The only time we left the pool was to go eat lunch at a restaurant (even this wasn’t necessary, because wait staff offered to serve your lunch at your lounger or on your pool float lol) or to go use the restroom (and here’s a big revelation: For all of you who spent hours upon hours at the pool bar or on your float, many people did noticed that you didn’t leave to use the restroom!). The pool float situation was pure utopia here at SC. A couple signs posted asking guests to leave the loungers IN the pool meant that loungers were always available with minimal wait. When people finished lounging, they’d just pass the float onto the next guest, and so on, and so on ?. What a difference from Secrets Excellence, where people not only removed the floats to put then next to their chairs, but also took them back to their rooms! There was a group of 6 travel agents (who should know better lol) who took floats back to their chairs while they went to the ocean. This lasted about 5 minutes before a brave guest walked up and put the lounger back in the pool to a big round of applause from all of the other guests. Honestly folks, leave the lounger in the water and pass it on! They are not YOURS for the entire day just because you got to the pool early. Maybe we just hit a week with wonderfully considerate guests, or perhaps it was the signs posted, but in either case it was fabulous having a float to lounge on. I brought a blow up float and never used it. You may want to pack one just to be safe, but honestly, the pool float situation was the best I’ve ever encountered! One word of advice, nearly the entire portion of the pool is zero entry, but it can be very slippery! Use caution or enter via the steps.

Comparison to Secrets Excellence in the Dominican Republic: I have a full review of Secrets Excellence in PC posted at Debbies site and on my web page, but here’s a somewhat brief comparison between the two:

Service goes to Secrets Capri. SC had more polished service. Each room comes with a concierge at SC, and only the excellence club has a concierge at SE. Overall, we found the service outstanding at both, but just more polished at SC. Example: The pool side drink and food service was a really nice touch at SC. It was available at SE, just not the extent that it was available at SC. Other touches like the promptness of room service was simply better at SC. The check-in procedure was much more polished at SC. Some of this may be due to the fact that there is less of a language barrier at SC than there is at SE. Without a doubt, I believe that SC had the best service of any A/I I have visited.

Quality of Food and Beverages also goes to SC. The food was better here in terms of quality and presentation (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with the food at SE). The ability to order breakfast off a menu overlooking beach is a very nice touch at SC. Again, pool and beach side food availability is a nice touch. The addition of a Japanese restaurant with cooking stations is a definite plus for SC. At SE, there was a buffet salad bar at the Italian and Oriental restaurant. At SC, you ordered salad off a menu at every restaurant except La Riviera. The desserts were also fabulous at SC, which wasn’t the case at SE. The availability of premium alcohol was also extensive at SC. Again, I have been to the Caribbean 30 or so times, and I firmly believe that SC had the best food and beverages of any Caribbean Vacation I have ever been on including several cruises and various other 5 star resorts like Sandals.

The pool is nicer at SE. Quite frankly; I believe the pool at SE is one of the nicest in the entire Caribbean (certainly the nicest of any I have visited). The pool at SC is more crowded because of the size (the main pool at SE is more than twice the size of the entire pool at SC). With the addition of palm tree islands throughout the winding pool design, the pool at SE never felt crowded (although the pool float availability at SC is much better than SE). The pool at SC has somewhat of a stamped concrete feeling, although I didn’t have trouble spending 6 hours a day in there. The edge definitely goes to SE: Finding a pool nicer than Secrets Excellence would be a major accomplishment.

The beach is nicer at SE. Neither beach is great for swimming. SE is very rough. SC is somewhat cloudy. Each are fine to lay out on, but I give the edge in beach to SE. The sand at SE is very deep, and there aren’t any boats or jet ski’s whizzing by to detract from the natural beauty of the water. The color of water is also more pleasing at SE. Couple this with the sound of crashing waves, and I give the edge to SE. Although, if you’re interested in water sports, SC is clearly a better choice because the water sports are often cancelled at SE due to the condition of the ocean.

The spa goes to SE. Both spa’s are state of the art. At SC, there is an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi set-up. But the spa at SE just felt plusher than the spa at SC. I’m not sure I can pin-point the exact differences, but I give the spa at SE the edge due to the two story waterfall feature.

Exercise Equipment goes to SC. Both have very nice gyms, but the gym at SC had newer equipment and a greater selection.

Entertainment goes to SE. The entertainment wasn’t fabulous at SE, but it was better than SC. The casino at SE is a nice touch for late night entertainment (gambling is illegal in Mexico). Neither had entertainment teams that were overly present, but the open-aired stage with plush loungers at SE was much nicer than the banquet set-up at SC.

Rooms go to SE. We were in a Secrets Excellence Club room in SE, so it may not be fair to compare, but the set-up with the two person Jacuzzi makes the rooms at SE nicer. Our room was also larger at SE. Although the data-ports in each room are not available at SE, there was more drawer and closet space. The mini-bar at SE had a larger selection (the extras included gator aid, alcohol, and candy bars lol); but again, this is only available in the Excellence Club rooms. I believe the ocean view rooms at SE are nicer than the ocean view rooms at SC simply because the ocean view rooms at SC are partially blocked by the steakhouse and seafood restaurant. Our ocean view room at SC was unobstructed and absolutely beautiful, but again, I give the edge in rooms to SE.

Excursion availability goes to SC. Simply put, there twice as many excursions available in PDC. SE is tucked away from everything (as is most of Punta Cana). Although excursions are available from SE, the selection is limited. The town of playa is only 10 minutes away from SC, with great shopping. This is lacking in PC. The snorkeling is better in PDC. The variety of trips are more extensive (everything from ruins to eco-parks to dolphin discoveries). The island of Cozumel is only a 20 minute ferry ride away with some of the best diving in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for lots to do off the resort, SC is positively the way to go.

Entertainment: This is one area that is lacking at SC. With the exception of the casino night which was a ton of fun, the nightly shows lacked greatly. The costumes were beautiful, but the shows unpolished. In addition, the show lounge has regular banquet style seating! Certainly not consistent with the other plush amenities offered at SC. Quite frankly, I was shocked. We never did go to the disco, so I can’t comment on that, but I can say that nightlife is ‘slow’ at SC and by 11:00 there really isn’t much to do. This was fine with us, but SC really could benefit from a greater variety of entertainment (most evenings it was a dance type of show; Caribbean dance one evening, Latin another, international another, ect…) One evening had a pretty decent juggler and acrobatics. The nights of the pool party and beach party, the dancing show took place outside. During the day the pool aerobics and pool volleyball were very popular, but other than that, the entertainment staff did not have a strong presence. Only a few people participated in yoga, bocce ball, ping-pong, ect. This really is a place with very low key entertainment. Fine by me, as the entertainment staff at some resorts can be downright obnoxious, but for those looking for an action packed resort vacation, you may be disappointed.

Suggestions for improvement: I try to end every review with a list of suggested improvements for the management. In the case of SC, this was difficult to do. Here are a few areas which could be improved (although they did not deter from our vacation in any way). 1) Turn Down Service. SC offers turn down service. Basically, your room should be made up twice a day. One large cleaning in the morning, and the replenishment of towels/toiletries and a turn down service with chocolates on the pillow in the evening. We missed turn down service 3 times in our 7 day stay. 2) Mini-bar. Our mini-bar was not restocked on 4 days. We never ran out of bottled water, but I did run out of diet coke. Fixed promptly with a call to room service, but still a minor inconvenience. 3) Room Keys: This probably only effects the suites, since our room required two keys to enter. One to the suite section and one to the actual room. Apparently, if your suite partner misplaces a key or checks-out, the code for the door to enter the suite is reset. This means that your key is no longer valid and you must go down to check-in to have it re-programmed. Again, a minor inconvenience, but something worth attempting to fix. 4) Internet Center: The internet center is large enough to fit two additional computer stations. This should eliminate any waiting what-so-ever. Also, there is a small vestibule when you enter the business center. I suggest placing a few chairs with a table with reading material to make it more comfortable for guests who are waiting for a computer.

5) Entertainment: I’m not sure if it’s possible to refurbish the evening entertainment room with chairs that aren’t banquet style, but in the very least; I’d suggest a greater variety of quality evening shows. While the casino night was a hoot, dance type shows the remaining 6 nights a week just doesn’t cut it for a hotel of this caliber.

Conclusion: As you may know, Secrets Capri is on the exclusive list of “preferred hotels” (actually, Secrets is the only preferred hotel in the Riviera Maya and the DR), and the service expected of preferred hotels is held to rigorous standards. SC is certainly worthy of their preferred hotel status. I have traveled extensively and have been fortunate enough to become acquainted with the ‘finer things’ one expects from a luxurious hotel. I do not wish to demean the negative reviews you may read. Perhaps it’s possible that service has greatly improved, or that our week of travel was a glitch of perfection, but for the life of me can not figure out the perspectives of those who write poor reviews of SC. I am not a travel agent, nor do I have a vested interest in the secrets chain. I am simply a well traveled guest writing my honest observations of a 7 day stay. I would not hesitate to return to this hotel or any Secrets establishment in the future.

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