This is actually a review of 2 halves as we spent our first week on the Now Amber side (room 1257 - 1st floor) and our second week in Secrets (room 1600 - 6th floor). This was due to an electrical fault in the Amber room which was dealt with very efficiently and was resolved by an appreciated upgrade which reflected the minor inconvenience caused. That said both rooms were of an excellent standard and apart from the higher aspect view on the Secrets side there was little to separate the two, although I personally preferred the décor and finish in Secrets but preferred the bed in Amber.
The hotel in general offers a high standard of service and the pool areas on both sides are well appointed with ample space to relax - . plenty of sun beds although the umbrellas were sometimes at a premium due to the hot weather. As an adult couple the Secrets side was preferable although had we have stayed on the Amber side for the duration of our holiday this would not have been an issue. An influx of our American cousins for the Independence Day weekend meant that the pool scene was quite lively but was not an issue for us even though one of the Amber pools was closed for repairs during our stay (apparently earthquake damage from earlier in the year).
One of the best features of the resort are the restaurants. They offer a completely different dining experience which feels like you are eating out at a completely different venue each night without leaving the complex - Bordeaux was my personal favourite for the food, ambience and the service which was excellent but none of them disappointed. Lots of love to Theresa on the omelette station in the Carnival buffet who was a joy xxxx
The public bars on both sides of the complex are immaculate and the best place to enjoy a drink whilst watching the sunset. The Secrets side offers a slightly better choice of high end drinks but there is little to differentiate between the two.
Loved the coffee shop on site which is an excellent touch and offers a nice range of sandwiches and cakes for something different from the buffet restaurants at lunch time.
The staff work really hard and although tips are included they are appreciated if you are so inclined - we took some dollars for this purpose.
We didn't use the spa but opted for the massage (full body) at Heeling Hands just outside the hotel which is excellent value at 300 pesos and well worth it.
We did walk into town (ONCE!!) but the 40 min walk in the humidity and heat is not really recommended. A taxi to the start of the Boardwalk (a visit which is absolute must both day and night) is just 750 pesos but we also loved the bus for our daytime jaunts which at just 7.5 pesos was well worth it but don't expect too much luxury!!
In summary then this is a great hotel with loads of positives in it's favour. My only niggle (no not time share or the internet) would be the 'turn down service' at night which was sometimes delivered at 4:30pm!! If you are going to offer this service then at least wait until guests have vacated their rooms for the evening but hey life goes on.
Would I come back - YES!!!. Would I recommend it - YES!!! Can't wait to return.
PS - if you are a beach person then don't expect the Caribbean. The water is like a bath but entry and egress can be fun due to stones and breaking waves - though fun to watch!!
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