Grade 3.7 out of 5 Stars
This 5-star all-inclusive adults-only resort is located on the Mexican island of Cozumel. The resort has 266 rooms on offer so is definitely on the smaller side. But with these smaller resorts if space and capacity can be balanced then it can result in a more private vacation.
Originally built in 2007, this is a well-established resort on the island. The resort has gone through recent renovations, but it’s important to note that the whole resort has not been renovated, so there are areas that feel quite dated.
The resort is listed as a 5-star resort and as we will detail in our review the Secrets Aura Cozumel definitely falls significantly short of that rating. Our review is based on our stay in late 2019.
Located on the island of Cozumel. It’s a short boat trip from Playa Del Carmen. There are flights that fly directly into Cozumel International airport, which is conveniently located a short 20-minute drive from the resort.
From talking to other guests we found that a number of people flew into Cancun. From Cancun, it’s around a 2-hour journey to the Secrets Aura. You need to get a ferry on this journey too, so it’s a bit of a trek if you arrive in Cancun. You probably best organize a private transfer for this, but these can be quite expensive.
There are large parts of the island that are still untouched, which makes this a great spot to visit if you like exploring nature. On the flip side if you want to be near the hustle and bustle and like to go out shopping and clubbing then Cozumel might not be the location for you.
- Make the most of the Sip, Savor, See offer. At secrets resorts, where there are sister resorts in the same area you can avail of the restaurants and experiences at the nearby resort. Right next door is the Sunscape resorts, where you can sample all of the restaurants and the facilities. During Covid, sadly this feature was not available at the time we stayed, but when life gets back to normal, make sure to make the most of it.
- One of the best things about the island of Cozumel is that the majority of the island is still untouched. So it’s great for exploring. The Punta Sur Eco Beach is a must-visit as well as the Mayan ruins that are located in the North part of the island. There is also a bar crawl on the North of the Island that is great fun.
- When we visited, the mosquitos were very prevalent. We’re not sure if it was the time of year that we visited or whether it’s always like that, but they were everywhere. So make sure you bring bug spray if you’re someone that gets bitten by bugs.
- The Sky Bar was our favorite spot for a sunset drink. We found that this bar got quite busy around sunset, so in order to get a table with a decent view, we had to arrive about an hour before sunset.
The check-in process was as smooth as can be. Once you arrive you are greeted by a bellhop who will take your bags from you. Once you walk through the doors you will be greeted with a glass of bubbly and a cold towel. There was no queue at check-in and we were done within a few minutes. Our room wasn’t quite ready, so we grabbed a cocktail at the main lobby.
Is this Resort Child Friendly?
The Secrets Aura is an adults-only resort, but if you plan on bringing the kids there is a sister resort that is located in the same complex that is a family offering. This is the Sunscape sabor Cozumel. It has a kids club, water park, and a wealth of activities and entertainment to keep them busy. It’s the perfect resort for families. It is only categorized as a 3-star resort, so we would recommend looking elsewhere for a child-friendly resort in Cozumel if you are looking for a luxury getaway.
With two main pools and two preferred club pools, there is more than enough room for all of the guests to find a private spot to perch themselves for the day. The main pool is sprawling and is effectively a lazy river too.
There is also a great place for snorkeling right off the beach where the pier used to be. The waters are super clear and the resort has snorkeling equipment that you can use. We highly recommend trying this when you visit.
The Gym is one of those areas that you can see hasn’t been updated since it opened. The size of the gym is also quite small. It was never overly busy when we went, but we could see at peak times you would be waiting for equipment. There are the usual free weights, machine weights, and cardio equipment on offer. The aesthetic of the gym definitely takes away from the luxury vibe that you get throughout a lot of the other areas of the resort.
Things to do
There is an events schedule that is delivered to your room every night. The entertainment team put on a range of activities and classes to keep you entertained throughout the day. Their offering is quite limited with around 3 activities throughout the day and an event in the evening. So, if you’re expecting a slate of events put in by the entertainment team, this is not the resort for you. Of the activities we did, we really enjoyed the Kayak tour and the tequila tasting.
There are no options for golfing on Cozumel, so if you’re planning on getting out on the course on your vacation we would not recommend Cozumel. The Cozumel country has sadly closed down, so you will have to play on the mainland if you want a round. There are loads of options around Cancun. So this will be your best bet if Golf is a priority.
The beach at the Secrets Aura is actually very good. We say this with an air of surprise as the beaches in Cozumel are sometimes not great. This is one of the better beaches we have experienced at a resort in Mexico. The sand was fine and white. The ocean was relatively calm and had some great turquoise twinges to it. There was no seaweed which was also nice.
The beach also has a great pier which is perfect for jumping off into the clear ocean and it can also be booked for a private two-person dinner if you have a special occasion. Sadly since we have stayed the pier was destroyed by a hurricane. I would imagine the resort will reconstruct it though as it was one of the nicest parts of the resort.
The only issue we had with the beach was that the sun loungers were a little bit old. This seemed to be a running theme throughout the resort, but it definitely took away from the luxury aesthetic of the resort.
The spa treatments are not included in the all-inclusive package, but if you are a preferred club guest then you can access the hydrotherapy pools throughout your stay. The spa as a whole was one of the better offerings at the resort. The facilities are really nice and the staff was great at showing us around all the facilities and the massages were great too.
We really can’t fault the service at the Secrets Aura. Throughout our entire stay, all areas of the resort had really great service. The bar staff here were fantastic; their extensive knowledge of pretty much every cocktail we could think of was top-notch.
We have to shout out Mario and Riggo that worked mainly at the premium pool when we were staying. They were super attentive and knew our drinks order by the second day. When we were perched by the pool most days we never managed to see the end of our glasses as they were always back with refills.
The only area that we were marginally disappointed with was the room service. One of the days we ordered room service for dinner and the food delivery was a little slow, which resulted in the food being a little cold.
The resort was very clean. From the housekeeping to the lobby and the beach. There was not a spec of dirt to be found. As the resort was on the older side, the areas that have not been renovated felt a little worn and can give the impression of being unclean. But the staff do work tirelessly to keep everything in order.
Booking during Covid
The Secret chain of resorts is part of the AM group and has a robust plan in place to protect guests and give guests a piece of mind when they book a vacation. When you break down the protection that they offer. It comes in three elements.
- Free Onsite Testing
Before you depart your vacation if you need to get an antigen for your arrival back into your country. You can avail of a free antigen test before you depart.
- Quarantine Reassurance
If for any reason you contract COVID-19 and need to quarantine for a time period. You will be able to do so at the resort for no extra cost. This is available for up to 14 days if needed.
- Enhanced Cleaning
At AM Resorts, which the Secret’s chain is a part of. They have the CleanComplete Verification™. This is a fancy way of saying they have increased measures to make sure everything is kept sanitized throughout the resort.
Be sure to double-check the Secrets site to make sure that these benefits are still in place if you’re booking. There COVID precautions info can be found here.
There is a dress code in place for this resort, but it only really applies to a handful of the restaurants. The specialty restaurants are the ones that have a “Casual Elegance” dress code. Their description of this style of clothing is “Casual Elegance: Sneakers, tennis shoes or dress sandals (no flip-flops). Dress shirts with sleeves. Long pants required for men. No sleeveless shirts for men”. We found that they weren’t overly strict on this. The only time we saw someone get refused was when they were wearing a tank top.
What’s included in the all-inclusive package
At the Secrets resorts, their all-inclusive packages are called “Unlimited-Luxury”. Honestly, this is just a branded term. It’s pretty much the exact same offering as all other resorts. All meals, drinks, activities, taxes, and gratuities are included in your package. There are a few additional things such as bottles of wine at dinner that have a surcharge. Day beds can also be rented at an additional cost. There is also a room service menu that is included in your package.
There is a minibar in the rooms that are stocked with water, sodas, and beers. There was also a bottle of tequila in the room when we arrived, which was a nice touch.
Food + Restaurant Options
With 6 restaurants on the resorts and one private dining room, you won’t be stuck for choice. An important thing to note is that not all restaurants are open every night. Typically you will have the choice of at least 3 options on any given night.
When we visited we ate in all 6 of the restaurants and found that the found standard was good. You also have the option of dining at the restaurants at the sister Sunscape restaurant too, but given that the Secrets Aura has a higher rating we stayed we only ended up sampling one of the restaurants.
Ranking the Restaurants
- Sky Bar and Sushi
This was our favorite spot in the resort. Part sushi restaurant, part chic rooftop bar it’s a great place to grab a bite or an after-dinner drink. The sushi side of it is called Gohan and the food here was very consistent and of solid quality. The fish was fresh and well prepared and there was an extensive menu to choose from. Our highlight dishes from Gohan were
The one element we didn’t like about this resort was that Sake wasn’t included in the all-inclusive package. It was available but at an additional cost.
Serving up Mexican and International fare. Windows are perched just by the beach with truly beautiful views of the ocean. The location of this spot was what really won us over. The food was quite good too and our favorite dishes were the Chicken Parm and they made a great pizza for lunch too.
Another strong offering at the Secrets. This French restaurant does all of the classics and does them really well. Our favorite dishes were definitely the French Onion soup and the creme Brulee.
There is a sommelier at this restaurant, although it’s important to note that only bottles of house wine are included in your package. Other bottles will come at a premium. The Sommelier Joseph was really helpful in helping us to pair a nice bottle of Vino for our anniversary dinner that complemented our food choices.
- Barefoot Grill
This was the best lunch spot at the resort. Serving up beachside snacks such as burgers, nachos, and wings to name a few. The chicken burger here was on point. What we also loved about this spot is that you can order food by the pool or beach to be delivered to you by the staff.
- Market Cafe
The main buffet of the resort. This is the restaurant where you will be eating the majority of your meals. The food here was consistent. It won’t knock your socks off, but it was tasty and there was lots of it. The outdoor seating area here is really lovely with a deck that overlooks the beach and the ocean. We tried to eat out there whenever we ate there. For dinners, they tended to stick to a theme, which we really enjoyed. The Italian night was definitely our favorite. Wood-Fired pizzas and fresh pasta. What more could you want?
This is one of the spots that are open for breakfast, but the choices on offer are pretty limited. Serving up fresh fish and grilled options for lunch and dinner. The clam chowder was our favorite dish and the Mayan Ceviche was also great and super fresh.
El Patio (Sunscape Resort)
Located at the Sunscape resort, this Mexican restaurant serves up traditional cuisine that was actually very good. We find that Mexican food at Mexican resorts can sometimes be a bit hit and miss. Which always baffles us, but El Patio was pretty decent.
La Cava (Private Dining Room)
If you have a special occasion then the La Cava wine cellar is a great choice. It’s a private dining area. There is a surcharge for eating at this restaurant. We didn’t eat here but based on people we asked if the food standard was decent.
Bars and Drinks Offering
The bar staff here are top class. Whatever cocktail you want they will be able to make it. The selection of alcohol is a little bit limited with the top shelf offering being reduced compared to other resorts we have stayed at.
Taxes and tips are listed as being included in the cost of your package, but it should be considered necessary to tip the staff during your stay. The staff at Secrets Aura work tirelessly to make sure that you have the smoothest and most relaxed trip you can. Before booking a trip we budget a certain amount for tips. We usually do $1 per drink. For meals, we do $5-$10 depending on the meal.
Are the Preferred Club Suites Worth it?
We always find that the preferred club options are a bit hit and miss and the Secrets Aura was no different.
There is a preferred club lounge that was meant to have food available throughout the whole day. On a few occasions we went, there was no food there, which was quite disappointing. This lounge does have premium drinks options, so it’s a decent place to grab a drink. Although there was no atmosphere at this lounge.
Preferred Pool and Beach Area
With all premium club options, the access to a quieter pool and beach area is always the benefit we see the most value in. The Secrets Aura was no different. The premium pool was very convenient, we never had any issues finding a quiet spot at the pool or on the beach.
Overall, we didn’t feel that the preferred club was worth it. The additional 15-20% cost that you pay for the preferred club doesn’t deliver enough value to warrant the expense.
How do we get to the island?
As the resort is located on an island. It’s a little more of a trek to get to your destination. Although there is an airport in Cozumel, a lot of people still fly into Cancun international and make their way there. To get from Cancun international to Secrets Cozumel you will need to take a taxi to the Playa del Carmen ferry dock which is about a 45-minute drive from the airport, then the ferry is around 40 minutes and from 7 am to 11 pm. You will then need to take another short taxi on the other side to the resort.
Overall, our stay at the Secret Aura Cozumel was just ok. Although we knew before traveling that the resort was on the older side, we were disappointed with the limited renovations when we got there. If you are planning on going to this resort, I would make sure to confirm with the resort that the room you booked is one of the renovated rooms. We believe that all of the preferred rooms have been renovated.
The area of Cozumel is stunning and the beach at this resort is very nice. The food was mid-range and the service was good. The overall aesthetic and feel of the resort definitely left a lot to be desired. We honestly never really got that feeling of luxury that you expect from an all-inclusive 4 or 5-star resort.
Q. Does the Secrets Aura Cozumel offer a shuttle service from the Airport
A. Yes, a shuttle service from Cozumel airport can be requested. They do advise that you ring before your trip to check availability. This shuttle does come at an additional cost. We don’t believe they offer a shuttle service from Cancun International airport, but it’s worth double-checking if you’re arriving in Cancun.
Q. Is parking available at the resort
A. Yes, parking is available for guests and it is complimentary
Q. Is Wi-Fi included
A. Yes, Wi-Fi is available to you in your suite as well as throughout the resort. We found that the Wi-Fi speeds were pretty good. You shouldn’t have any issues taking Zoom calls or streaming Netflix.
Q. What local attractions are there?
A. There is a huge amount to see and do in Cozumel. The island is still relatively unspoiled, so if you like to explore this is the place for you. For a complete list of things to do here check out Goats on the road great overview here.