While it’s later than normal (I can still blame that on COVID, right?), I wanted to get the review of my latest all-inclusive adventure written up before I forget all of it! As you may recall, Secrets Puertos Los Cabos was our home-away-from-home for a week of sun and fun in late December, from Christmas to New Year’s. Although it was weird to travel on Christmas Day, it was the perfect time to escape the winter weather of Minnesota for the sunny shores of Cabo San Lucas. We got plenty of sun, pool time, and tasty food on this trip!
If the format of this review looks familiar, it should! I used the same format for my reviews of the Oasis Sens in 2014, the GR Solaris Cancún in 2015, and the Unico 20°87° in Riviera Maya in 2020 (just before all the COVID shenanigans began) as it helps me cover all the relevant points. If you have your own thoughts on this resort or want to ask a question about what I thought, definitely leave a comment below!
Public Space (Interior) – 5/5 Stars
The public spaces of an all-inclusive are never that important to me, since I don’t spend a ton of time in them (though I obviously want them to be clean put-together). Aside from the restaurants, pretty much all our time is spent at the pool or in our room (more on the rooms in a bit), but it’s nice to see shiny, clean spaces as you walk around, from your room to the pool or the pool to the restaurant or the restaurant to the beach. You get the idea. 🙂
Since we arrived on Christmas Day, the public spaces were all decked out with trees and all sorts of festive decorations, which I personally appreciated. Additionally, I didn’t notice anything out of place or dirty in any of the indoor spaces. Right from our arrival in the lobby, everything was clean and fresh. I don’t even remember seeing any bugs, which is pretty impressive, considering how open-air so much of the interior space is.
The restaurant spaces were all really nice, though I have to say that we ate outside for most of our dinners (both times at the Mexican restaurant, the steak/seafood place on the first night, and the Italian place), but even passing through the restaurants, to get to the patios, I could tell they were all good. Our teppanyaki meal was fully indoors though, so I can say that that restaurant was very nice, clean, and comfortable. Ditto Oceana, the seafood restaurant, which had a pool around it, plus nice views of the ocean.
Honestly, much like our last all-inclusive trip to Unico, I really can’t think of any negative aspects of the indoor public spaces. They were all so bright, shiny, and fresh – it didn’t feel rundown, moldy, or musty at all.
Public Space (Exterior) – 4.5/5 Stars
The outdoor space at Secrets was really nice! Right off the bat, I want to call out that there’s only one pool here, though it’s quite long, so it kind of feels kind of like two different pools. We set up camp on the side closest to our room the first two days, while we moved to the other side for the rest of the week. Since there’s just the one pool, there’s no quiet pool vs. active pool like you often see at other resorts, but the vibe I got is that the side near our rooms (which was the side furthest from the swim-up bar) is like the “quieter” pool, whereas the other side is a little more festive. I’m certain that’s mostly because the “festive” side is by the swim-up bar, poolside grill, and poolside restaurant, so there’s a lot of traffic. But honestly, the vibe of the entire pool area is nice. As is pretty typical at these resorts, there’s volleyball, music, etc. around midday, but that stays contained to the section in the middle of this loooong pool. It’s a very easy pool to spend the whole day in – good temperature, decent depth, and a good swim-up bar. And I loved the fact that we didn’t have to struggle to get our pool chairs every day! As you may remember from previous posts, we haven’t always had the best luck holding chairs, but it was a breeze here. To be fair, there were only four of us, so we didn’t need to hold as many chairs, plus it didn’t seem like anyone got up super early to grab them. My friend Justin and I were usually the first up, so we’d text by 715-730a and then walk over to the pool to find four chairs (we just put pool towels out to save them). Worked like a charm!
Oh, and before anyone comments with a correction, I will say that there IS a second pool, but it’s the “members only” pool by the Oceana restaurant. Since we weren’t members, we couldn’t use it. But it didn’t look that big or deep, so I don’t think we missed out on anything.
Outside of the pool, all the other outdoor space was maintained very well and I always someone out combing sand, trimming edges, clearing up plates/glasses, etc. For me, seeing the constant care the staff put into keep the spaces clean, fresh, and manicured means a lot. If a resort isn’t taking care of small details like raking the sand near the beach chairs, can they be trusted with the big details, like room cleanliness?
Not much negative to say about the outdoor space here! We really enjoyed the pool and, unlike at Unico, the water temperature was pretty perfect for me (whereas at Unico, it was a little too warm for my taste). As mentioned above, the depth was good, (maybe 5.5 feet at most), but I wish there was a deeper part of it. But that’s a pretty minor quibble!
Obviously Secrets can’t be held accountable to beach space that isn’t theirs, but I will say that the beach here isn’t amazing. Although none of us were interested in laying on the beach, I did walk on it every day to get my daily steps in (sometimes two walks!), so I got a good sense of it. It’s on a bit of an incline, which made walking on it difficult, plus the waves were a little more aggressive than I would like. I mean, they didn’t knock me over, but they were aggressive enough to splash up to my knees consistently while walking. So while it’s not a failure of the resort, I think it’s important to call out, since lots of people do enjoy being on the beach at resorts like this.
Food & Drink – 4.5/5 Stars
I really liked the food here! Not surprisingly, there were several restaurant options at the resort. For breakfast, we always went to Market Café for the breakfast buffet, which had a great selection and solid service. As with most resort buffets, there were self-serve options for pastries, cereals, fruits, cold meats/cheeses, and more (keep in mind we were there during the pandemic, but well after vaccinations became available), along with staffed stations for hot food, like omelets, pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, and more. It always felt clean and well-staffed, though some of the hot stations sometimes had a wait, since everything was prepared as each person ordered. We definitely enjoyed the chilaquiles and omelets for our breakfast main course each morning!
Naturally, after breakfast comes lunch, especially at an all-inclusive, where a big part of the “all” is alllllll the food you eat. For our daytime munchies and drinkies, we availed ourselves of the aforementioned swim-up bar, poolside restaurant (sit down and order), and poolside grill (walk up and get handed a plate of whatever was made that day), so there were plenty of food options to enjoy while lounging at the pool all day. And we could also easily order food (and drinks) from the servers who regularly circulated around the pool. I did miss being able to order through an app (as we could at Unico), but the servers were so good about coming around that it wasn’t an issue. The poolside grill was a nice addition I hadn’t experience at previous resorts as they had something different each day, sometimes more basic (hot dogs and hamburgers) and other times more unique (paella). It was only open for an hour or two each day (once they ran out of what they’d made), but it was cool to have another option beyond the burgers, pizza, etc. we could order from the pool servers. And it was nice to also have Seaside Grill as a sit-down option for lunch right next to the pool, but I think we only used it once.
For dinner, we had several options, including Seaside Grill (a mix of meat and seafood), Oceana (seafood), El Patio (Mexican), Himitsu (teppanyaki tables, plus a selection of Asian food), and Portofino (Italian). We hit up all of them during our time there and the standout was definitely El Patio. Not only was the food super-tasty, but we ended up having the same server both times, who was so nice and provided excellent service. Our second time there, he not only remembered who we were, but also remember our drink orders, two days later! Very impressive. We didn’t have to mess around with reservations for any of the restaurants except for teppanyaki at Himitsu because they only have three teppanyaki grills/tables, so if you want to eat there, plan ahead. For everything else, we just showed up when they opened (6p) and got in fairly quickly each time. There was always a little bit of a wait, but that was more because there was one employee checking in/seating people at each restaurant than because the lines were really long.
As for enjoyment of each restaurant, here’s my ranking, from best to worst:
- El Patio – we went twice and I ate the same entree both times because it was SO tasty. Really yum!
- Portofino – pretty tasty Italian food and nice ambiance in the outdoor seating.
- Seaside Grill – I had a decent steak, again with nice ambiance at our table by the pool.
- Himitsu – decent teppanyaki, but not amazing. And the fried ice cream for dessert was really…not good. Our server/chef was awesome though!
- Oceana – I don’t love seafood, so this was probably always going to be bottom for me. The food was okay enough and wasn’t poorly cooked or anything – it just didn’t stand out.
In addition to a nice selection from the restaurants, Secrets also offers a ton of variety via room service. Our friends ordered a room service breakfast one morning (I think our first morning?) and all four of us decided to order, um, a LOT of room service for dinner one night at the end of our trip. We did coordinate a little bit, but we ended up duplicating some food items regardless. We did feel a little bad ordering so many things (see photos below), but the portions actually weren’t huge and it was nice to have a lot of plates to choose from, buffet-style. It was super-easy to order through our room tablets (every room has a tablet for food, housekeeping requests, booking excursions, etc.) and, even though we had to wait for a little while, the food was delivered within the window they said it would be and it was actually pretty fresh!
Just like at Unico, all of our food, including room service, was included, with nothing extra owed. At dinner, there was always the option to buy “fancy” wine, but we never needed to do that as we were happy with the alcohol that was free. Oh, and the Coke Light! I always enjoy Coke Light when I’m in Mexico, which is funny because I really don’t like Diet Coke at home (though I do like Coke Zero). Coke Light is definitely less diet-tasting than Diet Coke, while also a little more Coke-tasting than Coke Zero. Works for me! 😀
As with most all-inclusives, tipping isn’t necessary at Secrets (tips are included in the overall cost you pay), but we still did it sometimes. We would always tip our pool server the first time they came around for the day and we also left tips at dinner. They were never huge (usually $5/couple), but I think the staff appreciates tipping that much more knowing it’s not required/expected. Moral of the story – show your gratitude with tips, even when you don’t “have to.”
Is anyone going to be surprised when I bring up the last of endless chips and guac? I have yet to stay at any resort in Mexico that lets the guac flow like a river! To be fair, we did get get guac a couple of times and I really enjoyed the food overall, so I’m getting nit-picky here.
Service – 5/5 Stars
The service at Secrets was pretty top-notch. From the moment we arrived, all the staff were very friendly and helpful and I never really felt the “sales push” you sometimes get at these resorts (upgrading rooms, booking excursions, etc.). We had called a few weeks ahead of time to see if we could get our rooms next to each other and were told it was “noted, but not guaranteed.” The check-in folks made it happen though, so that gave them my appreciation right away! From there, whether it was in the bar, at the pool, in a restaurant, or anywhere else, I found everyone working there to be friendly and helpful. I enjoyed speaking Spanish with them throughout the week and was even complimented on my accent a few times. I guess that BA in Spanish didn’t go to waste then, eh? 🙂
Honestly, nothing negative to say here! Everyone was friendly and pleasant and everyone spoke English (we never had any issues communicating with anyone at the resort).
Rooms – 4/5 Stars
We all loved having swim-up rooms at Secrets! To be honest, I was wondering how much we would even use those personal pools off our patios, but we ended up using them every day! It was definitely more fun and useful because our rooms were next to each other, so our “personal pools” were connected, which effectively doubled our space out there. If we had been traveling with a large group, it would have been a ton of fun to have like five or six neighboring rooms as we would have been able to swim laps! Not that any of us would have actually done that, but the space would be fun. 🙂
In terms of the rest of the room experience, I liked it overall. The sleeping space was nice and big and had plenty of space for us to move around. In the evenings, when four of us would be watching TV or playing a game in one room, there was enough space for us, but I wish there had been a better seating arrangement (our rooms did have a wicker loveseat and a bench at the end of the bed, but there wasn’t a good way to make that work for four people). The bathroom was also nice and big, including two sinks (very nice to have!), a big tub, and a big shower. Definitely easy for two people get ready at the same time.
The bed was pretty comfortable and we had a stocked mini-bar that was refilled each day (only beverages though – no snacks like we had at Unico). It was nice to know there would always be a cold drink waiting for us in the room! I also liked the “Secret box” in the room that allowed room service and housekeeping items to be passed through without anyone needing to come in the room.
I think the biggest detractor for the rooms was just the fact that they felt a little dated and didn’t have a particularly modern color palette/décor style. They aren’t atrocious by any means, but just not what I would have chosen. I also have to mention the air conditioning, which actually worked pretty well, particularly overnight (it was always cold in the room when we woke up), but the rooms had sensors that kept the AC from running during the day when no one was in the room. While I can appreciate that, it kept the room from having that really cold, fresh feeling when coming back during the day. On the plus side though, there weren’t any mustiness problems that made the room smelly.
Overall Rating – 4.5/5 Stars
I thought Secrets was great! The food was tasty, the service was excellent, and the rooms were comfortable, if a little dated. The pool was a really good space to spend our days and I enjoyed my daily beach walks, even if the beach wasn’t the most walkable I’ve been on. The views around the resort were really nice, too – loved seeing mountains around us every day! In some ways, I’d say this is my favorite all-inclusive of the four I’ve been to – there were just a few little things I would have changed to make it the perfect resort for me (the more modern, more fresh rooms and better-stocked minibar from Unico, mostly). It was still pretty awesome overall though.
If you’re looking to visit Cabo, you won’t go wrong staying at Secrets!