Whiskey Bar Review: Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera

, | January 18, 2019

2018 was the first year I went on vacation to an all-inclusive resort. I asked a friend of mine who is an avid traveler and part-time travel agent what his recommendations were for a great trip to Mexico.  He recommended several from a company called AM Resorts, where he is a preferred member.  He mentioned that not only are the resorts beautiful, and the service excellent, but the food is outstanding and every bar in every resort offers free drinks, including top-shelf liquor.  

Their Secrets brand resorts are adults only. The website clearly says “unlimited premium drinks.” We chose Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera resort in Playa del Carmen, about 36 miles south of Cancun.

According to their website, “Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun has been awarded a 2018 Travelers’ Choice Award for being in the top 25 All-Inclusive Resorts Worldwide. This award is determined by the millions of personal reviews TripAdvisor receives each year.” For my first trip to an all-inclusive resort, this seemed like a pretty good place to start.

Our trip was in late October since my wife and I wanted to be in Mexico for Halloween and Day of the Dead. After checking into our room I put on my swimsuit, and since it was a balmy 92 degrees, I sauntered on over to the main pool and swam up to the Bar Manatees. Whoever came up with the idea of sitting in the pool and drinking was a genius. If you look at the selection of spirits available you’ll notice standards like Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Absolut, Ketel One, Grey Goose and Smirnoff. If you look even closer you’ll see tucked in there Havana Club and Flor de Cana rum – both excellent choices!

The poolside bar at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera (image via Lenny Gotter/The Whiskey Wash)

On the top shelf, you’ll see a premium tequila selection such as 1800, Don Julio, Cazadores, El Herradura Reposado, and El Humidor. You’ll notice there’s no whiskey at this bar. Whiskey is limited at the regular bars as well. These tequilas and rums are special, as they are all made in Cuba which you cannot get here in the United States. They even have Havana Club Seven which is outstanding!  I opted for the El Herradura Reposado first, then a Havana Club 7. This bar and spirit selection is available for all the poolside cocktails they bring you while you’re on your lounge or in the pool.

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For lunch,we generally ate at Seaside Grill, the seafood restaurant. This is another small limited bar, however this one has a few extra special offerings including Martel VS, Fundado Solera Reserve Brandy de Jerez, Johnny Walker Black Label, and Dewars, as well as Jack Daniels, Jameson, and Jim Beam, an excellent Brazilian Cacaha called Pitu, Appleton Estate Rum, Don Julio Reposado and a few locally made the liqueurs.

The central bar at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera (image via Lenny Gotter/The Whiskey Wash)

Most nights I went to Rendezvous which was the central bar in the main hotel. This bar had most of the same items as the previous bar as well as Pernod, Licari Sambuca, Courvoisier VS and a couple of Mexican and Spanish brandies. This was the bar for fancy cocktails, and the brandies and a number of the local liqueurs were quite good, and they made a damn fine cocktail.

The final bar was the member’s bar. Since this resort is part of AM Resorts, they have their own unlimited vacation package membership. There were two members bars on the property and as you can see the bar is amply stocked. As for tequila, the options opened up to access to 1800, and Don Julio Anejo, Hornitos Reposado and a few others.  The whiskey section here is more fleshed out also, with Scotches and some brands I’ve never heard of before like Passport Scotch as well as Johnny Walker Double Black, Ballantine and Chivas Regal 12.

The members bar at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera (image via Lenny Gotter/The Whiskey Wash)

All of the spirits and all of the standard bars were included in the price of the stay. I stayed under my friend’s membership rate of $300 per day for two people, which included all the meals and all the drinks. This also included a fully stocked minibar in my hotel room which was checked every day. The resort’s food and beverages are excellent. There are lots of very helpful staff, always willing to make sure your stay is everything you want to be. Every building in the hotel has a concierge, and for members, they have extra concierges. The concierges booked an excursion for us with snorkeling and freshwater cave diving. This trip was excellent and very modestly priced.

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We have already booked our next stay and can not wait to go back!

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