Secrets the Vine…A wonderful experience.

S and I booked a trip down to Cancun to celebrate our anniversary and his birthday.  First off, if you have a chance to go to Secrets the Vine, I would highly recommend it.  My parents asked how it compared to Las Vegas; I would say this is a 5 star hotel.

We got a great deal from Bookit.  At the time, it was the cheapest, for $989 per person, it included non-stop airfare from DC to Cancun, round-trip transportation, and a preferred room.  Bookit may not be the cheapest for you, so make sure to look at apple vacations, expedia, travelocity, priceline, travelzoo, and of course cheapcarribean.

We were trying to meet up with some friends when we were down there, but unfortunately it did not work out, but we had a fantastic time thanks to this hotel.  Be prepared for pictures! I take a lot of pictures, but it’s in my genes, but S never used to take that many pictures.  After dating me, his love of pictures has apparently grown, during this trip, I learned that S is such a ham.  He poses and requests pictures now.  I feel bad if we ever have kids because they will have two picture obsessed parents and they will probably never want to own their own camera thanks to us.

Here is my full review of the hotel below:

Facilities:

The entire place was immaculate.  From the moment you arrive, Secrets the Vine is one of the tallest building in the hotel zone and since it is entirely built with glass, you can see it from anywhere on the beach.  From the first step when you walk in, the lobby is spectacular and the fireplace is my favorite part.  All of the décor is very modern, which is my preferred style, so I felt like I was in heaven.

I have no idea how they kept the place so spotlessly clean, but it always was and you can see people constantly cleaning. S and I were talking about how bad we felt walking in and leaving dust marks everywhere.  The person who is responsible for keeping the floor clean will have a never ending job.

Staff:

The staff here is amazing!  From the moment you walk in, you are greeted at the door and escorted to the check-in.  At check-in, each and every person is very cheerful and explains the building.

Throughout the stay, we noticed that Secrets is extremely short-staffed.  The same people were working in different parts of the hotel for nearly the entire day.  All of the staff works extremely hard and the amazing part is that they are always happy.  There wasn’t one person who I had a bad experience with.

I actually twisted my ankle and passed out from the pain.  I felt so bad, I made S cry because he worried so much.  I asked him to get me a pack of ice, but instead he asked for medical attention.  They came out in less than 5 minutes and rubbed some Bengay and made an ice pack.  I was very impressed how quickly they took care of me and because of that I was able to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

Below are the people who S and I conversed with more on a daily basis:

Hugo:  He is one of our favorite people.  He is a wine expert and handles the wine tastings.  He let us go in the cellar and he and S hit it off really well because they can both take tequila shots together at the tastings.

Claudia and Wendy:  S and I got into a bad habit of getting coffee with a treat several times a day.  We always had great service from everyone who worked at the café.  But Wendy and Claudia definitely took care of us with any of our requests.

Arturo:  He was our server at Olio and he and the team made sure to get the special dessert for our last dinner.  It was a great surprise for S and it made his trip!

Erika, the entertainment team, etc…What can I say, everyone was so great.  We just hope they remember us if we get to come back.

Room:

We were the first ones in the room and it felt great to be able to say that.  Everything in our room looked so nice.  The shower was my favorite part.  They have two shower heads and our only regret was not getting the room with the Jacuzzi! The shower was so new, it actually flooded when we turned it on for the first time.

The room was extremely modern and the layout was fantastic.  I have a picture below.

Food:

Most people said not to expect good food from an all-inclusive since they have to cook in mass quantity.  S and I were very surprised at the quality of food at all the restaurants.  Since they just opened, the latest the restaurants are open is until 11 PM, hopefully they will extend it a little bit longer.  At the coffee bar, in the afternoon, there are small sandwiches that you can get and at night they offer dessert.

Our favorite was Bluewater Grill and Olio.  All the restaurants were delicious, including the buffet.  Dragon was probably my least favorite because the menu did not have as many options.

Things to do: 

After looking at so many tours offered, we choose only to do one tour because we wanted to enjoy the hotel.  Most of the tours are full day tours and it does not make sense not to enjoy the beautiful hotel.  That’s how much we loved The Vine.

We did the Jungle Tour for $55 per person.  This is where you go with speed boats to the reef to snorkel.  It was really fun and for a short activity, I would recommend it.  Be careful because some places only take you halfway, but the one that we went to was AquaTours and I was happy with them.

If you come during June, July, or the beginning of August, I would recommend snorkeling with the whale sharks.  This is something I wanted to do, but we were too short on time and it was close to the end of the season, so we may not be able to see them.  If you purchase the package in Cancun, they do not give your money back if you do not see them, but Cancun Discounts does guarantee it.

One of the staff, Erica recommended that we go to Isla Mujeres and rent a golf cart.  This is a must, I would take the ferry early in the morning around 9 AM and come back at 5:30 PM.  First off, you make your own plans.  There are so many great things to do.

The entire island is very pretty and you see many more golf carts than cars.  Overall, I would say, if you go to the main tourist parts, it is very safe.  S decided he wanted to be an explorer and we went through every possible road, including very sketchy areas with run down homes, trash cans, propane tanks in the yard, etc…Again, we are lucky nothing happened to us.

We also got lost and S drove on the sidewalk when he was trying to make me happy by finding this baby nurse shark that you can take pictures with.  Luckily, again, we were very luckily, this young girl came running up and told us we could not drive on the sidewalk. So we asked if she knew where the shark was and she told us, S asked her to hop on and guide us because she was going there too.  In his head, it was a win/win situation.  Again, very lucky she was nice and did not have a knife hidden to rob us.  What can I say, I’m overly paranoid and S is ridiculously crazy.

We rented the golf cart with insurance for $40, but even to negotiate $5 discount, S had to use a lot of charm.  You can rent to cart for the entire day, which is what I would recommend, but don’t bring anything too valuable because there aren’t places to stash your items on the state-of-the-art golf cart.

You MUST stop and hold the nurse shark.  It is such a great experience and oddly enough the shark feels like sand paper and not slimy.  It’s $2 per person to take pictures with the shark.  Other places will charge $5, but negotiate.

We went past the turtle farm and we were short on time, but I would have loved to go.  It’s a farm where they keep disabled turtles who would not survive in the ocean.

Problems and recommendations:

Since the hotel is so new and unfinished, we were helping them work out the kinks in the hotel too.  The first night we were there, the drain was not fully opened, so the entire place flooded from the shower.  It flooded all the way into the bedroom, but the staff did take care of it very quickly.

There is definitely a lack of activities to participate in and it seems the same activities are offered each day.  When we booked, the said that non-motorized sports were included and that preferred club members would have a butler on each floor and snacks at the lounge throughout the day.  Unfortunately, they do not have the staff to do so and not all the floors are finished.

They still have a lot of work to do to finish up the hotel, so be warned, you’ll have people constantly working in the hotel.  We had people working specifically on our floor most of the time, including at night (Even at 10 or 11 PM).

Even with the problems, the hotel is only going to improve.  I would recommend this hotel to anyone, the only thing that S and I would change is coming so soon after the opening because we do not get to utilize everything in the all-inclusive package.  Trust me, even with the problems, we did not want to leave!

We did not get the full experience like we wished, but there are so few times in your life that you can say you were the first person to sleep in the bed or the first one to turn on the shower.  We do hope one day we get to return and fully experience what the fully operational hotel is like.

NOW THE PICTURES!!!

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