8-Year Anniversary in Mexico!

romantic couples photoshoot on the beach

We celebrated our eight-year wedding anniversary in Mexico this year, again! We love going to Mexico for our anniversary – it’s where we spent our honeymoon and it’s also a great time of the year to go. Not too hot, not too windy, not rainy and perfectly festive with all the holiday decorations! This year we ended up going to Secrets Playa Mujeres for 10 days, although by accident and fate (more on that later) and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, giving this resort a 4 out of 5 stars.

tropical evening with ocean and palm trees
Layered Pineapple Cherry Drink with tropical view
white Christmas tree in Mexico

This resort was absolutely stunning – opening just a few years ago, you could tell it was brand-new, with contemporary finishes, beautiful rooms and elegant restaurants. The beach was huge, with lots of chairs, umbrellas and the softest sand ever! The Playa Mujeres region in particular has really great sand – if you’re a sand person, which I am! White, powdery and so soft, it’s hard to walk in. We also really enjoyed the Preferred Club beach cabanas, when we could get them.

Anatoliy and Tatyana Nesteruk at the ocean
Secrets Playa Mujeres in the evening ocean front rooms
beach cabanas at Secrets Playa Mujeres

Loved this coverup! You can get a similar one HERE.

beautiful green coverup for the beach

One of my favorite pieces from my closest – this KAS New York cover up from Saks. Unfortunately, can’t find it available anywhere!

beautiful blue coverup with ocean view

Really enjoyed the beach! Stayed there most days and this beach swing was so much fun!

enjoying the bar swing at the beach

We stayed in a Preferred Club ocean view room, which had spectacular views of the ocean and the main pool. We love to book ocean front, but not in this case! The ocean front rooms don’t actually have an ocean view, just a view of the shrubs, which are part of the Playa Mujeres nature preserve. The second-floor room was perfect for us – I had my daily cup of decaf coffee every morning, enjoying the view!

laptop on table with ocean view and palm trees
morning coffee with ocean view

My husband and I are both foodies so, really, we rate resorts by their food. This was the third Secrets resort we’ve been to – we previously visited Secrets Maroma (AMAZING!) and Secrets Silversands (no longer recommend). The food at all the Secrets resorts is about the same, but they have a large variety to choose from. We really enjoyed their Italian restaurant, which served delicious pasta and salads. The Japanese restaurant was also a big hit – we went there 3 times during our 10 day stay! This resort is right next door to Dreams so we were actually able to visit for dinner and try those restaurants, too. The Brazilian steakhouse at Dreams was rather a disappointment, with a cold buffet, okay meats but no sauces to go with them!  We stayed at the Excellence Playa Mujures (just a few doors down from this resort) earlier this year, and we have yet to find a place that beats their food. If you’re a major foodie and the food can make or break your vacation, check out my review for Excellece here: https://tatyanaseverydayfood.com/recipe-items/our-mexico-vacation/

Duck breast with sweet potato puree and veggies at the French Restaurant

duck breast with sweet potato puree and veggies

Herbed lamb chops also at the French restaurant

herb lamb chops with veggies

And delicious steak at the Italian restaurant

Filet mignon steak with puree and greens

Lots of good sushi to enjoy! We went to the Japanese restaurant 4 times!

Secrets Playa Mujeres sushi assortment

Room service breakfast was also fantastic!

room service breakfast in Mexico with ocean view

As I mentioned earlier, we usually travel to Mexico in December, end of November. The weather at this time is ideal for us. It was about 80 to 85F for the duration of our stay – not too hot that you’re sweating 24/7 and not cold. We also didn’t have too much seaweed. If you’ve been planning a trip to Mexico, you may have read reviews about the seaweed. It’s usually really bad after a rain storm or when it’s windy, but Playa Mujeres is special in that it’s partially protected by Isla Mujeres and there’s much less seaweed in the area than the main Cancun area. We only had a seaweed problem maybe one day of our stay.

This resort was about 45 minutes from the airport, taking us directly through Cancun downtown. We always book a private transfer beforehand, ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride. This year we used Cancun Reliable Transfers. I would highly recommend them – amazing customer service, personal meeting at the airport, luxury car transfer AND at a great price! (not a paid referral, just really loved their service!)

The resort and pools in the evening! It was so beautiful!

pool cabanas in the evening at Secrets Playa Mujeres

The bar area at the Excellence Club; very well stocked!

Secrets Playa Mujeres Excellence Club bar area
LOVE sign at Secrets Playa Mujeres

The light fixture in the main lobby.

Secrets Playa Mujeres main lobby

More about our booking adventure!

Now for the not so good and why I’m rating this resort a 4 out of 5 stars. This resort is beautiful, but majorly understaffed! Maybe we got spoiled at Excellence but we were really expecting better service. It seemed like everywhere we went – the beach, the restaurants, the rooms – it was understaffed. I actually felt really bad for the workers there; they seemed to be running around all the time, trying to service way more people than they could handle. This resort has so much going for it and so much potential – beautiful grounds and rooms, views and food… If only the service was better, we would come back.

The other thing that really turned us off, and this may not bother everyone, this is a chair hoarding resort – aka it was really hard to find a free chair or cabana at the beach after 10! We stayed in an ocean view room so we could see from our balcony that by 8am, half the chairs by the pool and beach were already ‘reserved’ with beach towels – people would simply leave their towels or a book on a chair regardless if they actually sat their! We love to sleep in and enjoy a slow morning especially on vacation, so it was kind of irritating that there was nowhere to sit by the time we were done with breakfast. The beach cabanas unfortunately cannot be reserved ahead of time, unless you pay the beach concierge some money on the side. We learned that after coming late to the beach a few times and couldn’t get a cabana since they were all ‘reserved’. I really hope they implement the cabana reservation in the future – they had this at Secrets Maroma and Akumal and we really liked it!

The funny thing, which wasn’t funny when it happened, was that we were supposed to go to a completely different resort, 2 hours away. The night before we left to our vacation, I had the brilliant idea to double check our building request with the concierge at Secrets Akumal. Lo and behold, they actually couldn’t find our reservation!! After a complete melt down and a sleepless night spent trying to figure out why our reservation was cancelled, we ended up having to book another hotel. Turns out the booking site we used, hotelsclick.com, never paid the hotel for our stay even though they took our money! I stayed on hold with them for 4 ½ hrs, sent numerous emails but to no avail! Please, please do not ever book with this company! They are a complete scam! Thankfully, I was able to resolve the issue and get our money back from PayPal once we returned from our trip. We were really, really looking forward to staying at Secrets Akumal for their coral reefs and turtles and they had great reviews. I really wish someone had contacted me directly from the hotel to let me know of this booking issue.  Hard lesson learned!!

Conclusions: if you’re looking for a place in Mexico to relax and enjoy a week or two away from the hussle and bussle of life, this is the place! Secrets Playa Mujeres was relaxing, slow-going and beautiful! If you’re looking for a resort that will give you the 5-star royal treatment for a special occasion (honeymoon, vow renewal, wedding), I would recommend Excellence Playa Mujures – we have yet to go to a resort that beat out their service!

And now, more photos from our photoshoot! We love to do this every year and it’s so nice to have some photos to look back at!

couples photoshoot in tropical Mexico
couples photoshoot on the beach in Mexico
couples in beach cabana
couples photoshoot in Mexico on the beach
couples photoshoot in Mexico
glam and romantic couples photo in Mexico
Tatyana glam shot in Mexico
black and white glam shot in Mexico