Honeymoon

Help choosing an all-inclusive beach resort

mizzoutiger3mizzoutiger3
Seventh Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
member
edited December 2014 in Honeymoon
I have several questions for all of you, so first off, thank you in advance for any tips!

My FI and I are looking to go to an all-inclusive resort on a beach. Our number one requirement is that the water has to be clear and calm, so that we could snorkel (even if we don't see much wildlife) right off the beach. We'll probably pay to go on a snorkeling excursion, but we'd like the option to swim in the beach right off the hotel. My FI has never been to a beach with clear water, and I'm so excited for him to experience it!

Here are some more details of what we're looking for:
Leaving from St. Louis in July
Budget of $5000
Prefer adults-only
Some shade available on the beach

We've been considering:
Jamaica (particularly one of the Secrets resorts or Couples Swept Away)
Cancun
Punta Cana

As far as resorts, I've heard good things about Couples and Secrets (my cousin went to a Secrets resort in Riviera Maya and loved it - she just said that the water was rough). We also have looked at booking through Apple Vacations or Costco.

I guess my questions are:
Are any of these locations good/bad for having calm beaches?
Any specific resort recommendations?
Do you recommend booking through Apple, Costco, or through an agent at all?

THANK YOU so much :-) 

Re: Help choosing an all-inclusive beach resort

  • We booked Secrets Maroma Beach because my main priority was a phenomenal beach. If you get on trip advisor, you'll read tons of reviews about the beach. My FI has never taken a tropical vacation so I took a lot of care in picking the "perfect" resort for us. I would definite suggest you check it out.

    Punta Cana has some amazing beaches as well, but if don't recall it being calm enough to snorkel from the beach in front of the resorts.

    Cancun - the main hotel strip - IMO the waters are not calm enough for much swimming, nevermind snorkeling.

    We have booked through AppleVacations and FunJet Vacations before. My only complaint is, in our experience, the reps you are supposed to check in with for transfers back to the airport aren't the easiest to connect with. Our trip to Cabo last year was through Apple, and they kept giving us a time to come meet them (always in the middle of the day so someone had to leave the beach) and they never showed up. I booked our honeymoon, airfare/transfers/hotel, myself with no issues. Just depends how comfortable you are with doing it yourself.

    As for your budget - I'm not too familiar with pricing for different times of year, so hopefully someone else can chime in.
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  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots
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    We just stayed at Couples Swept Away in Negril and the beach was the calmest that I've ever seen an ocean. I was able to do sand up paddle board and kayak and everything, which I never would have been able to in Cancun. Plus Swept Away includes snorkeling boat so you can do it 5 times a day for free instead of paying $100 for one excursion. We loved it! Here are some pics I took with my underwater camera, you should absolutely get one for your trip! 

                                                                     

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    aleighbaker
  • @tcnoble - Thanks for the advice! I actually think I remember my cousin mentioning something about Maroma, I just couldn't remember the name. Would you suggest doing the preferred program? I've heard both ways on it. My cousin did and recommended it, but I've heard from others that it wasn't worth it. Was the water calm at Maroma? 

    @jenna8984 - I'm so happy to hear you liked Couples Swept Away! I didn't realize that the snorkeling boat was included - that honestly is a HUGE plus for us! Was there shade on the beach (Or at least umbrellas or something)? Is there room service at Couples? I know it sounds silly, but I love the idea of being able to get chips and salsa or guacamole and taking it out to the beach, etc. Not a deal breaker though :-) 


  • @mizzoutiger3‌ we haven't traveled yet - 93 days!! We did not book the preferred program. I read a lot of reviews and really, the room locations are "better" but most people said it wasn't worth it. You don't get special beach or pool sections, I think you may get different items in your mini bar, and they have a preferred club lounge. For us the extra cost wasn't worth it, we would rather use that for activities, massages, etc. Since you mentioned room service, friends of ours who have been to Secrets said they loved the "Secrets box" where room service can be dropped off for you when requested, in a small private box in your room so you don't need to answer the door, and you just place the dishes back when you're done and they'll come pick it up.
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  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots
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    There were some little huts on the beach. We are early risers so we didn't have a problem grabbing one each morning. Then a log of the morning people head in at afternoon time to nap and stuff so they open up.

    I think room service was only available for breakfast BUT there's a pool bar that has burgers and wings and nachos that you can grab and take to your room or to the beach so we did that every day! Sometimes nachos twice a day haha

                                                                     

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  • We booked Secrets Maroma Beach for our honeymoon June 2015 and I cant wait to go! I've heard the beach is incredible. We were in Punta Cana at the end of June, and the beach was really nice but I don't think the water was as clear as other places I've been. It was also a bit rough. The weather was perfect though, and I absolutely loved it. I think the bluest water I have seen has been in Aruba & Turks and Caicos, and I remember great snorkeling at both places. I snorkeled in Grand Cayman (stop on a cruise) and we saw a lot of fish & coral, but I don't remember the water being that clear - we also did an excursion there, not right off the beach.

    I usually book directly through hotels, or else through Orbitz etc, but we booked our honeymoon through Apple Vacations. The price was exactly the same as going directly through Secrets, but with Apple we are able to pay it off over a few months which is making it much easier!
    tcnoble
  • Check out Valentin Imperial Maya! My friend went there for her honeymoon and raved about it.  Got special treatment and all because it was their honeymoon.  We stayed at a different resort in Riviera Maya and we loved the area so much since the resorts are larger and have a lot to offer.  We stopped at this resort to pick up guests on our way to the airport and the couple said they enjoyed it a lot.  

    Our first trip to Riviera Maya we booked through cheapcaribbean.com and our second time we booked through hotels.com since they give a discount if you book hotel and air in the same booking.  
    aleighbaker
  • kk111415 said:
    Check out Valentin Imperial Maya! My friend went there for her honeymoon and raved about it.  Got special treatment and all because it was their honeymoon.  We stayed at a different resort in Riviera Maya and we loved the area so much since the resorts are larger and have a lot to offer.  We stopped at this resort to pick up guests on our way to the airport and the couple said they enjoyed it a lot.  

    Our first trip to Riviera Maya we booked through cheapcaribbean.com and our second time we booked through hotels.com since they give a discount if you book hotel and air in the same booking.  
    I second the Valentin. We have booked a long weekend there for May and I've done a lot of research. Many people that frequent Riviera Maya hold the Valentin Imperial Maya high on their list of favorite resorts. It seems worth a lot more than what they charge. Adults only as well!
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be
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    kk111415 said:
    Check out Valentin Imperial Maya! My friend went there for her honeymoon and raved about it.  Got special treatment and all because it was their honeymoon.  We stayed at a different resort in Riviera Maya and we loved the area so much since the resorts are larger and have a lot to offer.  We stopped at this resort to pick up guests on our way to the airport and the couple said they enjoyed it a lot.  

    Our first trip to Riviera Maya we booked through cheapcaribbean.com and our second time we booked through hotels.com since they give a discount if you book hotel and air in the same booking.  
    I second the Valentin. We have booked a long weekend there for May and I've done a lot of research. Many people that frequent Riviera Maya hold the Valentin Imperial Maya high on their list of favorite resorts. It seems worth a lot more than what they charge. Adults only as well!
    Third. This place is the bomb diggity! I preferred it to Sandals Antigua. I would love to go back! It was just amazing.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • Punta cana is pretty wavy to do any snorkeling. I was just there in November and the dive operators on the resort (now larimar) didn't even recommend the dive excursions off of punta cana due to the waves and said that the other side of the island boarding the caribbean was much nicer and calmer (la romana area). You do get nice long beaches to walk in punta cana though.

    St Lucia is absolutely beautiful! Consider sandals. All three resorts are amazing but the grande is the calmest nicest beach that also boarders a national park. You get exchange privledges at all three resorts. Basically everything is included (scuba snorkeling waterskiing kayaking and more!) best vacation I had was there! Can't beat how beautiful the island is. Very romantic too!

    Good luck!!
  • Check Vacations Express that's who we have used the last 3 trips to Riviera Maya - great deals. I'd look at Riviera Maya over Cancun for sure
  • Wow - thank you so much everyone!!! I have a lot more places to add to my "favorites" on tripadvisor! I have been reading reviews like a madwoman :-) 

    And I have a feeling that the places you guys have suggested that don't end up being my honeymoon destination are going to be added to my travel list!
  • amelishaamelisha Canadian Texas
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    Did you think about Cozumel? It's very well-regarded for snorkel/scuba and quieter than the Mayan.

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  • I booked a 7 day all inclusive for FI for his college grad (so I was on a budget) in Punta Cana at the Colonial Majestic and it was awesome! I ran it through Costco Travel and with everything (air, taxes, gratuity etc) it was about $3300 for both of us. We also live on the west coast so might be cheaper depending on where you are. I upgraded us to a swim up suite in the adults only section and it was fantastic.. rooms were big, pool off our patio, and two private chairs. Unlimited use of the "club house" that was adults only stocked with food/drinks and free wifi. Also included VIP check in, our own butler for the week, two rounds of golf each, and a stocked mini fridge with mixers, beer, and 4 bottles of booze. 



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  • Wow @lovemesomemonster‌ that's a good price! I've looked at Punta Cana before and never find decent prices from the Midwest so we have been going to Riviera Maya (and we love it there but still)
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