from Chicago, Illinois
Submitted on 27-04-2016
This was our fourth trip to Hidden Beach and just like the other three times, it was a truly wonderful experience.
Travel -- As usual, we flew into Cancun airport which is amazingly efficient and well-ordered given its moderate size and the thousands of tourists that may be passing through at any moment. (Way better than the airports and the disorganized confusion I‚??ve experienced in other tropical locations.) The lines for immigration were long but they moved steadily and we got through in...
This was our fourth trip to Hidden Beach and just like the other three times, it was a truly wonderful experience.
Travel -- As usual, we flew into Cancun airport which is amazingly efficient and well-ordered given its moderate size and the thousands of tourists that may be passing through at any moment. (Way better than the airports and the disorganized confusion I‚??ve experienced in other tropical locations.) The lines for immigration were long but they moved steadily and we got through in about 20 minutes. Our luggage was already waiting for us at the baggage claim area which we gathered up and made our way toward the exit. The one clumsy part was the new requirement to put all pieces of luggage through an X-ray machine prior to exiting‚?¶hard to understand that one. My wife and I are both physically fit, so it was no issue, but I saw others struggling while trying to lift and place bags on the conveyor belt without holding up the line. Then you need to press a button which apparently randomly yields a green or red light. If you are unfortunate enough to get ‚??red‚?? apparently there is additional screening. We got ‚??green‚?? so we got the bags on their wheels and made the way through the gauntlet of people hawking tours, etc and out the door‚?¶whew! We had arranged for private transfer service to the resort via Lomas, so we looked for the Lomas reps in their familiar aqua and white uniforms; they were right outside the exit. A Lomas rep helped pull a couple bags to a staging area where we waited for a few minutes while our driver was called. A few minutes later we were escorted a short way into the parking area where our bags were loaded into the Lincoln Navigator. I tipped the Lomas rep for his assistance and we were on our way. It was at this point that we began to relax and the stress of travel began to subside. The ride took about an hour in air-conditioned comfort. We pulled up to the resort complex security gate where the driver gave the guard our names and we were in. The narrow roadway, carved through the jungle, is about a half-mile long. We saw the entrance to the new Eldorado resort and then we pulled into the area of the former Eldorado resort, now named Sensimar. The entrance to Hidden Beach is just to the left and discreetly signed as you approach the imposing wooden gate. Another guard opened the gate as if it was the gate to Paradise. Our driver unloaded our bags and I tipped him $20 US. The bellman took our bags and we walked the short distance to the lobby.
Check-In ‚?? The check-in process was handled by ‚??Daniel‚?? who welcomed us as if we were long lost relatives and offered us Sangria to quench our thirst. He took care of the administrative issues in elegant, friendly style and informed us of the changes in the complex including Sensimar, Eldorado and the new presidential suites at Hidden Beach. He gave us the codes to use the free Wi-Fi and also informed us of the new requirement to make dinner reservations if we should decide to dine at certain restaurants at Eldorado and Sensimar‚?¶more on that later. He finished by giving us the lock and key to our in-room lock-box and summoned the bellman to escort us to our room. A few minutes later, we were in our room where I tipped the bellman for his service, closed the door, opened the window and the complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and toasted our return to heaven. Yes, the stress of travel was now melting rapidly.
The Rooms ‚?? We have been in all room types and decided that we prefer the basic junior suite which is what we got this time. We found that we simply did not use the sitting area with the swim-up suite and although the ground floor location is convenient, it saves only a couple minutes of walking making it hard to justify the cost difference. I know there are some that simply love the swim-up suites so it really is a matter of personal preference. We also had a dome suite on one of our trips which is pretty, but since we hardly are in the room other than to sleep and bathe it also didn‚??t seem worth the price difference. While we were there we got a tour of one of the new presidential suites. It was very fancy with a small kitchen and living area on the ground floor and bedroom on the second floor. It also had an outdoor shower and a private plunge pool. The presidential suites are at the end of Hidden Beach right next to the new Eldorado resort and although there is a fence, it didn‚??t seem all that private; but it appeared as if more fencing was being constructed. Also, these presidential units are a bit isolated from the rest of Hidden Beach; again that‚??s a matter of personal preference. Our basic junior suite was immaculate as usual and had all the essentials including iron/ironing board, hair dryer, complimentary robes and slippers, umbrella, flat-panel TV, complimentary shampoo/conditioner/bath gel/body lotion, lock-box, large closet with some hangers, Jacuzzi with good-smelling bath-bubbles, small refrigerator and complimentary mini-bar stocked daily. Several bottles of water were provided daily as well. The drawers, bed and linens were also immaculate. We were greeted each day by a new towel-art creation on our bed. The sign in the room said that ‚??Blanca‚?? took care of it and she did so perfectly‚?¶yes, really perfectly. We left a tip for her in our room at the end of our stay.
Restaurants and Food ‚?? We were quite happy with the food and restaurants and never had a bad meal. Breakfast at Hidden Beach features a buffet assortment of all kinds of breakfast foods including a very popular omelet station. I also noticed an area where one could make a Bloody Mary or Mimosa if desired, a very nice touch. My wife likes Mimosas, so she indulged a few mornings. (I did notice that the coffee tasted different this time; not bad by any means, but not the rich tasting blend that had been available in years past.) Some familiar faces were there providing the usual friendly ‚??Buenos Dias‚?? with efficient service. I would like to recognize, ‚??Angel‚?? and ‚??Aniceto‚?? for adding their individual friendly touches to start each day.
Lunches provide an option for a buffet grill near the pool or a served meal in the restaurant. We opted for the grill buffet which featured a different theme each day. ‚??Manuel‚?? provided very efficient service to the picnic tables near the poolside grill and always with a quiet smile.
Dinners at HBR are served, seated meals and feature a daily themed menu along with a number of items available on the standard menu. While the portions available at breakfast and lunch are large, the portions at evening meals are small by US standards. My wife actually prefers that. But if you are hungry, I suggest having both appetizer and soup/salad in addition to your entr√©e. Desserts are usually small portions too. All the food was high in quality and flavor. The house wines served, both red and white, are decent Spanish wines; not 90-pointers, but quite drinkable and unlimited in quantity. There are other wines available for purchase but we never found that necessary. One night featured a poolside dinner with tables for ten. I like that weekly event because it promotes mingling with other guests. We met some very interesting, worldly people with whom we enjoyed a lively dinner-time conversation. There was a band that played a variety of late ‚??60s/early ‚??70s music that added to a very fun evening.
Guests at HBR have full access to the other resorts (ie, Eldorado and Sensimar) and we use that privilege for the occasional dinner. This trip we tried two restaurants in the adjacent resorts. First was the Mexican restaurant at Sensimar. I had chicken fajitas and my wife had a beef dish of some sort. Each was very tasty. Our server was ‚??Isais‚?? who was friendly and efficient. The second restaurant was the Italian restaurant at the new Eldorado resort. To get there we had a choice of a modest walk or the shuttle that runs from the entrance to Sensimar (just outside HBR) to the new Eldorado. Since it was warm and I was wearing long slacks (preferred dress code for dinners at Eldorado and Sensimar) we opted for the shuttle. The new Italian restaurant is very nicely decorated and the food was excellent. Our server ‚??Porfino‚?? asked us if we were from the HBR side and said that he remembered us from when he worked there in years past. ..that was pretty amazing. His service was excellent. We had coffee after dinner and it was a much richer blend than was served on the HBR side, more like what I remember from other trips.
I don‚??t understand the new requirement for reservations at certain restaurants. Both Italian restaurants (at Sensimar and at Eldorado) require them, but neither were more than about 80% full at prime dinner time. In looking at the Asian restaurant as we passed by, it also did not seem full by any means. The reservation requirement (by 2PM of the same day) takes something away from the spontaneity and fully care-free nature of the trip. This is one change that I wish could be reversed.
Pool Volleyball ‚?? This is such a popular, twice daily event that it deserves its own paragraph. You gotta see it to believe it. Imagine a bunch of men and women, aged 30s to 70s, naked, splashing about in a pool, hitting a volleyball, with just light competition and having the time of their lives. The rules are very relaxed. But there is a tequila-shot penalty for ‚??spiking the ball on a lady‚?? and there are ‚??double chi-chis‚?? and the infamous ‚??rule number 7‚??. Those last two rules you just have to experience. I highly recommend joining this activity as a way to meet other guests and have a lot of silly, rowdy fun. Our activity director was ‚??Adrian‚?? who was just a barrel of fun and energy and kept everyone in high spirits with activities all-day long for those that wanted. If you just want to relax, no problem, never any pressure to join.
Dress/Undress ‚?? This is a clothing optional resort and at any given time, in any given setting, some or all guests will go without clothing. At breakfast there will be a mix of people wearing no more than a towel to sit on or a sarong. My wife and I frequently use the small gym before breakfast so we go in our workout clothes. At lunch, people are there right from the pool or beach so ‚??mostly undressed‚?? is nearly universal. Dinner time at the HBR restaurant is always a mix. You will see everything from shorts/polo-shirts and sundresses, to sarongs, to robes/slippers to lacy lingerie; it‚??s all accepted. Some women use the opportunity to dress exotically; also fully acceptable. Never any clothes in the pool.
Guests ‚?? Most guests are male-female couples appearing to be in their 40s to 60s. There were a few younger couples; I‚??m guessing 30s and also some in their 70s. Through conversations, we find that most have achieved a level of success in life just by learning their careers, businesses, etc. Physically, some are in good condition, some not so good, but largely representative of society. I believe I saw two female/female couples that were completely accepted. All are friendly. It‚??s rare that anyone causes a disruption.
Poolside drink service ‚?? I have one word here‚?¶‚??Esperanza‚??; that lady is tireless and moving constantly bringing any beverage of your desire to your lounge chair or to the beach. She just doesn‚??t stop and is an icon of the resort.
Water Quality ‚?? I‚??ve read that the tap water at the resort is filtered but I don‚??t drink it other than using it for tooth-brushing. There is plenty of bottled water available. A waiter told us that the water offered at dinner is from bottles, so I did drink that with no ill-effect. Use your own judgement.
Evening events ‚?? A couple times there is entertainment during dinner which is usually fun. After-dinner activities are there but generally not well attended. We went to the ‚??glow-party‚?? which features a body painter. My wife and I each got full body paint; my wife was painted in flowers and I was given warrior stripes. That is fun and different. But other nights we retired by about 10:30 pm each night.
To close, there are not many places that offer a package like HBR. But prices have been going up dramatically. I expect we will return but there is a limit to what we will spend. I am happy to answer questions, just ask through TripAdvisor. Also, if this review has been helpful, please click the "thank" button below.