Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres, Mexico is ready for prime time following its recent opening in May. Its remote location from the rest of Cancun’s bustle adds to the unique experience here. And its partnership with World of Hyatt means that guests can earn and redeem Hyatt points during their stay. Perched majestically on a small cliff, guests see the property from the distance as they approach by complimentary boat transfer from the mainland. From there, the staff welcomes them on the dock before ushering them to their room with drink in hand.
The Impression by Secrets is one of the top all-inclusive boutique brands because of the smaller room count, higher-end food and beverage options, greater staff ratio and more inclusions than other brands. Here are five of the best reasons to consider this new resort for your vacation plans.
The open-air lobby is beautiful with its wide archways that lead guests all the way from the reception area to the first of many pools and the turquoise ocean in the distance. Look around the public areas, and you’ll notice the designers intention to build a connection with the sea. Decorative elements bound like the shark and fish fins that serve as directional signs or wall accents. There is an enormous silver manta ray sculpture suspended from the ceiling in the lobby. As you move throughout the resort, look around. There are so many more purposeful elements like manta rays integrated in the floor patterns and a shark mural closer to the beach.
Rotating art exhibitions in public areas also support local artists. At the moment, colorful shark sculptures (made entirely from reclaimed trash from the sea) fill the lobby. Almost all of the furnishings, wood and décor pieces were sourced from Mexico, with a main focus on supporting as many Yucatan providers as possible. The result is a cool, yet sophisticated, beach look that incorporates elements from the sea, land and history of the region.
In the rooms
Designer furnishings in the rooms continue the look. Snazzy electronics from chic stereos to bedside tablets that serve as a hotel guide. Walls of glass separate the dual-head shower stalls from the rooms. Privacy shades (like the window blinds) can be closed at the touch of a button. Luxury linens and robes are the norm, and even the in-room slippers were produced locally. Elegant above-counter bowl sinks have a bevy of toiletries, packaged in eco-friendly wrapping, plus bath products from Le Labo’s Bergamote line.
Almost all rooms have glamorously large balconies with woven hammocks, lounge chairs, and complimentary beach bags and straw hats. The junior suites have sunken sitting areas with a beige, cream and white décor. Full-length mirrors, ceiling fans, woven wall art work and cushioned headboards are all appreciated perks. Any suite with a whirlpool on the terrace is the romantic icing on the cake.
Paramount Suites double down on the space providing plenty of stretching room and second half baths. Even larger are the Honeymoon and Presidential Suite categories with the latter having its own private swim-out pool.
All-inclusive resorts are popular for their indulgences. This adult-only property has plenty of that, but also takes things up a notch. All guests are welcomed with a bottle of mezcal to take home plus refreshment centers (plus a wine fridge) that can be stocked with the drinks and snacks of their choice. Butlers (every room has one) contacts guests before they arrive to learn what interests them. Large bottles of liquor are in many of the suites, which have wet bars and separate lounge areas. Some of the top suites for honeymooners also have in-room whirlpools in addition to one on the terrace.
Minibars and guest rooms are refreshed twice a day, and the staff can even deliver workout equipment to those that don’t want to hit the 24-hour gym. Not sure why you wouldn’t since it has the latest line of workout gear and machines.
The boat transfer from the mainland is complimentary, and no matter what time you arrive or leave, you are always welcome. That’s because there is no exact check-in or checkout time. Whenever your plans align, the resort will be ready for you.
By the pool, the staff delivers not only drinks, but fun extras like a rose water body spritz to refresh or chilled towels. When you want to relax even further, each guests receives a short welcome massage in the spa during their stay.
Every taste bud and dining preference are well-catered for here. With so many restaurants, yet not a single buffet in sight, it’s clear that the standards are high. Each restaurant has an accomplished chef (some have trained in Michelin-starred restaurants or worked with top chefs at Nobu). Unlike other resorts that tack on a celebrity chef name, these restaurants have the expert chef on hand nightly.
At breakfast, guests enjoy the smoothie of the day along with an a la carte menu served from a doting staff. Each morning, live music swoons guests as they eat. Later in the day, the same restaurant offers a fresh seafood or Mexican menu that can also be enjoyed by the pool or on the terrace. Thirsty guests can order drinks from the swim-up bar. If not, the servers are always around to check on guests whether they are at the pools or the beach.
Specialty dining includes an impressive steakhouse, Japanese teppanyaki outlet, Italian restaurant and a tapas venue. Up on the rooftop, the DJ and bar scene heats up as guests dance and drink to the music. Infinity-edge pools with a glass panel on the side add to the rooftop party vibe.
This is just one of numerous bars and lounges around the resort, which for such a small property is impressive. There are bars at the beach, near reception, an arrival lounge bar and wine cellar. A gourmet coffee bar using Mexican-grown beans also offers pastries, ice cream and teas.
The staff can take guests around the island on a complimentary golf cart tour if they want to explore this five-mile paradise, famous for its fishing and more laid-back atmosphere. Non-motorized watersport activities are free for all guests as are the opportunity to be driven by boat to the underwater museum just off the shore of the resort.
Back on property, there are four pools in which to take a dip, each with their own style. Sunken chairs in the water, swim-up bar stools, whirlpools and even a curvaceous slide that starts at the top pool and takes you to the ocean. On the water’s edge, hammocks float just over the water as they are suspended from the pier’s edge. Umbrella-shaded lounge chairs are an open-air cabana of sorts facing the sea. Guests can swim, snorkel and splash in the water or relax with a drink in hand.
An outdoor cinema, meditation and yoga classes on a platform over the ocean, and a lovely spa round out the onsite diversion. There’s also a spa, which offers all guests a short massage treatment included in the rates.
The giving-back attitude for Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The hotel places great emphasis on sense of place, but that also involves protecting it, too. This is a plastic-free property (even the room keys will switch to wooden versions or arm bracelets). An onsite bottling plant produced natural and sparkling water for guests, and solar panels heat the hotel’s water system. The hotel works with local fishermen to source seafood, but also gives guests a chance to work directly with them to learn about their daily routines.
The precious coral reefs that surround the area as well as the marine life (including endangered sharks) are another major focus of the resort. The plan is for guests to have a variety of free activities that they can participate in to learn about the area. They will also be able to help local nonprofits in their conservation efforts. A fun vacation does not only have to be about you, but it also be about making the world a little bit better, too.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.