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Secrets Aura Resort


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#1 80fly

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:57 AM

My wife and I are looking to travel to Cozumel in February 2014 for our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never been to the island but have been doing a lot of research. Thinking of staying at an all-inclusive and Secrets Aura catches our eye. Seems this one is more laid back and has better dining accomodations. I do see some mixed reviews and comments about construction going on but overall the reviews are favorable. Does anyone have an opinion or advise as to staying here or one of the other AL's? This is a big deal for us becasue it will be our first tropical vaction since 1986 and possibly our last. We are not wealthy and don't care much for going out in the evening, shopping, or nightlife. Will probbaly rent a car and explore the island. We are basically a laid back couple who loves to kick back on the beach, etc. Just want to get the most bang for our buck. Some have suggested just staying in a hotel in San Miguel.


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#2 CZMDM

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:42 PM

You might be better served posting your question on a more travel related page. Many of the people on this page live or own here. IMO I would stay in town. I stayed at what is now the Cozumel Palace a zillion times before I moved here. I like being able to walk everywhere. There are many places to stay in town, less expensive than the Palace. If you stay at an AI, out of town, it will be costly to go back and forth via taxis'. If you do not really care about seeing to much of the island and just want a relaxing beach to hang on, the AI's might  be for you. The best way to get prices is via the hotels website or a travel agent.


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#3 dawnb

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 05:10 PM

IMHO, there is no better place to stay than downtown in Cozumel. Everything is right here, fantastic restaurants, music, culture, the ocean.... In a third world country like the Dominican Republic, AI's make sense, but here, unless you are totally nonambulatory, there are so many fun things to do and see within blocks of any downtown hotel. And hotels range from inexpensive to downright cheap, many with free breakfast!

Sorry, I'm of utterly no help regarding AI's.
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#4 Freezin' Canuck

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 06:49 AM

Stayed in the all-inclusive (Park Royal) for the first number of years and has the advantages of excellent meals and all domestic labour provided so all we had to do in our short stints (three weeks) was hang out at the pool, scuba or salsa lessons or sight-seeing (tours) or about a thirty minute walk to town and a taxi back to eat in local restaurants or check out real estate and our fantasy about living in paradise (We had two large and memorable New Years parties with friends and relatives there). This made sense to us when our vacation time was limited and we had to get back to the real world all too soon. A couple of times we stayed at hotels in town and depending on where we stayed sometimes found the environment too noisy. Now we've found a good neighbourhood and live right in San Miguel for a good chunk of time every year and love it; but we have more time to shop for meals, fix up our house, do domestic labour and hang out together, practice our Spanish with friends and neighbours. I believe it depends on how much time you have and your budget. Also better book now. It's high season and accommodation within your budget range may be limited.
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#5 Spencer

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 08:00 PM

We usually rent a house but recently stayed at http://www.villaescondidacozumel.com/ B&B, adults only, only 4 rooms with swimming pool and shared kitchen/fridge. It would be a great place if you are new to the island the owners are wonderful hosts and can suggest a wealth of things you should see and do. Magda cooks a full 3 course breakfast for you every morning (fruit sweet breads and a mexican entree or american if you prefer) best food we have had on the island IMO....5 star on tripadvisor, only $80 per night includes taxes and breakfast (taxes are hefty in coz). A/C, comfy beds (important in coz;) and within 2 minute walk to the downtown square, plus they have offstreet parking for your car...ENJOY!


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#6 nsb

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:17 AM

We are also looking at Secrets, Sunscape or Iberostar.  We want to spend a week just walking the beach and snorkeling near our hotel without getting a car or going into town.  What is the best place.

 


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#7 80fly

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 04:00 PM

NSB.....from the best I can tell Sunscape is the "sister" resort right next door to Secrets. I think that is where the contsruction has been going on and it is being taken over by Secrets. I could be wrong but that's my take. Iberostar sounds like it is a long way from town and in the middle of no-where whereas Secrets is a about 7 miles. Most of the replies here promote staying in town over AI's. I see very mixed reviews regarding Secrets but it seems to be the better pick for adults, food, and room variation. Was really hoping to get more feedback regarding Secrets specifically.


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#8 cvchief

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:49 AM

Er...  I think Iberostar is maybe 2 miles further south?  We made some new friends that stayed at Sabor in December and they like it.  It is wedged up against Secrets.  I think they said Secrets was a little more posh.  That isn't that helpful I guess....


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#9 Charles

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 01:30 PM

Once there was the Reef Club as the distant all inclusive resort. Some were time share, some rooms were sold to mass marketer travel brokers. Slowly constructions were added moving southward and began a whole series of name changes. It became the Wyndam, then Sabor and I guess now the Sunscape. At some point the Aura was added to the mix which later became Secrets.

I am far from clear as to what is which. This has served as an example of how foreign owned resorts operate, change through various ownerships and different attempts at marketing. Was it the Allegro, Occidental Grand that tried a short lived marketing to Brits under the name of Holiday Village White Sands? No one locally nor resort regulars had ever heard of it.

Resorts of this nature got their start in other Caribbean island where conditions outside the heavily fortified resort were scary. Only the very brave or those with a death wish would dare to venture outside the compound of the resort. These make sense in places that merit armed guards on horseback patrolling the perimeters, but are totally out of place for Cozumel.

These foreign owned hotels depend upon charter aircraft to bring in plane loads of guests. When the charters go bankrupt or their seasonal service ends, then they become ghost resorts with occupancy below 25%. They lose money and then corporate owners, more often European based, sell to a new bunch of sucker investors.

Largely no one locally gives a damn about these resorts collectively as they do so little for the economy. They even bring in outside contractors for construction, import labor and do provide local jobs for limited numbers of housekeeping and gardeners. On rare occasions, with open windows on the airport vans, a passenger might accidently drop coins or have some item blow out the window. That is about the extent of contributions to the local economy.

Few members here would stay at these assorted resorts. They may have tried one once, but managed to escape the premises and see the multitude of options that exist. They discovered that armed guards are not needed to repel mobs trying to force their way inside to loot from the guests. They collectively are plagued with being under staffed to deal with their limited high occupancy periods and then in lower occupancy periods, like 7-8 months of the year, they must make cut backs and try to lower overhead wherever and however they can. Gee that bacon sort of smells OK, maybe we can use it tomorrow. The whole concept has some validity and practicality in other destinations, but border on the ridiculous for Cozumel. If things were so great, they wouldn't change their names so often.

On the topic of name changing, the Hotel Cozumel has finally remained a constant. I used to, as did many, simply refer to it as the place that changed their name constantly, sometimes twice in one year. They finally are doing something that has provided a constant. Although with some all inclusive options, it appears a big selling point is its closer to town location.

For 80Fly, have you considered some of the more boutique hotels in the northern hotel zone? Just as one example Playa Azul, a locally owned hotel with a long history on the island which would give a taste of actual Mexico. They have an all inclusive option, but hire locals and are actually an active member of the community.
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#10 Coz2wonder

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:21 PM

The hotels in the south and the north provide free transportation for their employees.

 

New ownership took place Feb, 2013 Secrets Aura: http://latino.foxnew...ship-in-mexico/

 

The resorts to the south are close to reefs, and the east side.  It is about 10 miles (one way) from the centro.

 

I live within walking distance of the resort, and you will have a number of beach clubs you can walk to if you want to get away from the resort.

You will also be close to some of the best reefs for snorkeling and diving.

I would highly recommend you rent a car to go to the east side (about a 15 min drive to the south), or into town.


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