We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

Dartmouth, Canada
Level Contributor
1,165 posts
17 reviews
Save Topic
Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

(I did post a version of these questions in another thread, re: best All inclusive beach & food, but thought I should probably put it in a thread of it's own) -sorry it's so long, but...

I really am having a hard time deciding in particular between Secrets Maroma and Iberostar Grand.

-the Secrets Maroma resort prices at about 400 each more than Ib Grand (with WestJet direct from Halifax in November), so if that price for Secrets doesn't come down, I'd say that might just make my decision for me :)

It lists the room selection for Secrets Maroma as 'Junior Suite Oceanview', so I wonder if it is actually an oceanview, or more like just a glimpse of the ocean. If it is actually oceanview, then I thought perhaps that's why there is such a price difference? But after looking at a map of the SM resorts, it looks to me like the Preferred rooms are the only ones that would have a true oceanview. Oceanview really isn't even that important to me - I'm just wondering out loud, why SM would be priced so much more.

The things most important to me are

- nice big beach for swimming and walking - clear water/not lots of rocks (definitely not into lots of fish or snorkeling),

- decent food (both resorts I'm sure have no problem here),

- looking for a bit of night time entertainment after the theatre shows (not hard partiers though) i.e. a place to go for a few drinks/good music with a bit of dancing.

- And from what I've read, it seems both resorts have lots of air conditioned places throughout the resorts, and that is very important to me also - not very fond of being hot and uncomfortable while trying to enjoy a meal or drinks.

Two other resorts I'm considering - the Catalonia Royal Tulum looks like it would have an amazing beach, but I'm hesitant to book there as it seems it may be too small and laid back. I do like it when people 'dress-up' at night, and I think it may just be too casual there?

The VIM looks pretty nice also, so this one definitely is an option also. Their beach seems like it may be better than Ib Grand?

Any comments would be helpful concerning any of these points. I just can't seem to make up my mind. All info I have already found on TA has been incredibly helpful. I realize I'm probably just analyzing things too much at this point. lol But sometimes just discussing things with others, brings stuff out that really does help with deciding points.

Bronx, New York
Level Contributor
159 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

I have stayed at both the Grand and SMB. I enjoyed the food at both resorts. Reservations were needed at the Grand but not SMB. The Seaside Grill and Oceana at SMB are not air-conditioned but are open-air. We were there in July, and still found the restaurants comfortable. The lunch buffet at the Grand does have air conditioning and you have the choice of buffet or ordering from the menu. My husband had lobster every day. The beach at SMB is truly beautiful. The water at the Grand was rougher and we saw a few couples have difficulty with the rocks upon entering the water. I liked the pool at the Grand much better than at SMB. The theater for the shows at night is not air conditioned at SMB. One night we arrived early and the fans were not yet turned on. It was really uncomfortable. Once the overhead fans were turned on, it was fine. The theater at the Grand is air conditioned. The shows were comparable in my opinion. We always turned in after the shows so I can't really speak to late night entertainment. The crowd at SMB was younger than at the Grand. There are many honeymooners at SMB. You will have a great time whatever you decide. The service at both resorts was truly excellent.

Level Contributor
238 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

We have been to 3 of the 4 ) have not been to the VIM. The Grand is our only repeat resort that we have been too. Other than the beach, we enjoyed the Grand more than either Secrets or CRT. That said we enjoyed all three resorts, but found secrets to be overpriced.

Level Contributor
1,365 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

We have been to all of them, some multiple times. There is "no best" resort, all that you listed will ensure a wonderful trip.

They all have their pros and cons, but if I were you I would split your time between two. Simple hour to change resorts.

Here is a photo album with those resorts and many more. Sometimes looking at pictures tells more.


Kansas City...
Level Contributor
204 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

I've only stayed at VIM, but I've stayed there 3 times. We are looking at SMB for my 30th, but I'm having a hard time with trying somewhere new. VIM is a great value. From what i've read SMB and the Grand are ereally nice and some of the best, but (from the research I've done) are way more expensive. Totally a different price point. VIM has great service, good food and a very nice beach (there is a super soft sany swim area and then a section iwth iron shore where you can see sea stars and other fish) Set your price then go from there. I also have discovered Adults only is a must, i like not having reservations and no wrist bands...but you decide what your preference is and then go fromt there. I'm sure you will have a great trip no matter where you choose!

Level Contributor
651 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

There is no way (IMO) Secrets Maroma should be priced higher than Iberostar Grand. We booked Secrets Maroma in Feb for Dec and it was about $300 p/p less than IBG. I agree with everyone's comments (who have been to both). SM gets more and more expensive as the vacation date gets closer. I would pick IBG if the prices are close to the same. Don't forget golf is included at IBG (if that matters). Now go book a trip and enjoy they are all fantastic resorts!!!!

Stowe, Vermont
Level Contributor
7,110 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

"There is no way (IMO) Secrets Maroma should be priced higher than Iberostar Grand."

I agree 100%. I have been to both resorts (see my review of SMB). SMB is very well-marketed. But not worth more than IB*. No way.

Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
Level Contributor
1,928 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

I am a SMB lover however, I do think the prices are way over the mark for the resort. When we were there, we dragged two of the loungers away from our palapa. Just one issue that is different from the Grand and VIM. SMB seems to expect couples to share palapas. Very tacky. The rooms are beautiful, the food good, fantastic staff and service and an unbelievably gorgeous beach.

Spotsmom should know about the Grand - nice video a few years ago. The rooms look out of this world and the beach is very nice. We walked up from SMB and there are rocks to the south of the beach but still a very nice area to go into the water to the north. The palapas and chairs in front of the Grand are a notch above SMB and they don't share a palapa. If I have read reviews accurately, service is very good. The deal breaker for us is the need to make reservations for the alacarts before you arrive. The DH won't do it.

VIM is a very nice value for the money. Service is good but not on the par with SMB or the other Secrets. Rooms are equal to SMB but keep in mind that the resort is huge. There are many bars and restaurants but the food isn't as good in my opinion as at the Secrets Resorts. (We've been to all of them and I liked the food at Capri the best.) The beach is long, wide but there really is only one section that you can swim in that is gorgeous and arguably as pretty as SMB or the Grand. The majority of the beach has rocks in the water in front of it. The other item of interest is that the beach that is swimmable is also shared by families staying locally. Not that should be an issue but you will see children there.

st louis, mo
Level Contributor
113 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

My wife and I have been to all three resorts. Liked them all. VIM is not on par w/ the other two but we still enjoyed it very much. VIM is huge, you will walk a lot. The IB Grand was our favorite of the three. IB Grand is smaller, easier to deal with, golf included, but you do have to do reservations and wear wristbands. SMB is mostly couples and has the nicest beach. If I was going tomorrow and there were all the same price I would go to the IB Grand. If VIM was a lot cheaper I'd go there.

Littleton, Co
Level Contributor
22 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

I just made the same decision you are trying to with 3 of the 4 resorts you mentioned. It came down to SMB and IB Grand for us. After reading tons of reviews and doing research it seemed that they were pretty even based on previous visitors. What it came down to for us was beach vs. pool. SMB is known for its beach, Grand for the pool. We are beach people and figured we can lay out by a pool anywhere, so we chose SMB.

Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
3,625 posts
209 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Secrets Maroma/Iberostar Grand/VIM/CRT

It seems as though they are all comparable so it comes down to what is important to you. As others have said, we do not like wristbands and reservations required when we go on our adult only trips (but that is just us). So we like Secrets and VIM.

When we go with the kids, we do wristbands and reservations. They would rather do quick buffets and ditch us as opposed to sit down, service dinners so it works for us. We have three nice meals as a family and then do the buffet for the others (sometimes together - sometimes they go with friends they meet).

Get answers to your questions about Playa Maroma