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Secrets Impression Moxché -- Playa del Carmen REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Secrets Impression Moxché -- Playa del Carmen REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Old Jan 9, 2023, 12:33 pm
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Secrets Impression Moxché -- Playa del Carmen REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Secrets Impression Moxché

1 Review | 100% Recommended

Secrets Impression Moxché

, MX

Secrets Impression Moxché -- Playa del Carmen area (12 Photos)

Secrets Impression Moxché

I stayed at the Secrets Impression Moxché (SIM) recently on points and wanted to share my experience since the property seems to be getting some attention as a notably good value per point, at least in nominal terms.

It was my first time at an all-inclusive like this, and I suspect many other FlyerTalkers also don't frequent the space, so I was a bit nervous going in, but I ended up enjoying our stay. I wouldn't necessarily return just because I don't often go back to the same resorts twice, but I'd gladly recommend it on points for most people at current prices. 

I have much more to say below, but my shortest version of that recommendation is: if you would be comfortable with the idea of staying at, say, a Marriott- or Sheraton-branded resort and staying on property the entire trip, you'd probably enjoy it here. (Maybe even Westin-branded, but I don't want to over-promise, despite the hotel using the word "luxury" to describe itself a lot.)

If you can't imagine staying at anything less than the Park Hyatt/Ritz/Four Seasons etc., or can't imagine staying on property the entire trip (or, specifically can't imagine staying on property the entire trip when staying at a brand less than the Park Hyatt/Ritz/Four Seasons), it's not for you.

The resort

Impression is a new higher-end sub-brand of Secrets, with this being the first one and another one opening on Isla Mujeres soon. Like Secrets, it is an adults only resort.

This one is also a hotel-within-a-hotel on the grounds of the Secrets Moxche (SM) (the Isla Mujeres location will be standalone Impression), with Impression guests having access to some dedicated facilities as well as all of the main SM resort facilities, and the main differences that i could gather seemed to be:

  • SIM rooms appeared to be larger
  • SIM guests have access to a "butler" who can help with various requests
  • There are several dedicated Impression pools and a dedicated beach club area, with a couple of dedicated restaurants attached to those areas; the Impression pools were much less crowded than the ones in the shared areas
  • Impression bars, including those at the pools and the bar in the lobby, offer a slightly higher-end alcohol selection. The alcohol lineup at the Impression lobby bar, which seemed to be replicated at other Impression venues, can be seen below; the bars in the rest of Secrets lacked some of the higher-end options, including Grey Goose, Patron, Johnnie Walker Black, Maker's Mark, and others. (Impression guests ordering at the regular Secrets venues can only order from the more limited selection, though you can order at an Impression bar and bring the drink with you elsewhere if you want. It did not appear there were any "well"/"call" liquors below the ones displayed.)
    Left half of Secrets Impression Moxche lobby bar liquor selection
    Right half of Secrets Impression Moxche lobby bar liquor selection
  • I am not sure but it seemed like the food quality at the Impression restaurants was somewhat higher than elsewhere, using somewhat more premium ingredients (for example a "Waygu burger", which was good though I certainly wouldn't have known it was Waygu from a taste test)
  • There was a small selection of club lounge-like snacks available in the SIM lobby throughout the day (though of course you can also get unlimited food at SM, you just might have to work a bit more for it)
  • Impression guests also get access to the rooftop pool at the regular SM building, which is limited to certain categories of guests there

 

The central area of the resort from the rooftop of SM, with the rest of the SM building on the right and the Impression building on the left (there are also numerous additional pools in the central area that you can't see in this photo):
IMG_2389.jpg

Who is this place for

As I mentioned I had not stayed in an all-inclusive like this before and frankly I kind of looked down on them. (Example of how I looked down on them: I say "like this" because I have stayed at places like luxury safari lodges and an Australian luxury lodge, Saffire Freycinet, which were in fact all-inclusive, though I wouldn't think of them at all in the same category as this.)

I don't intend to frequent them going forward, and might not even try another non-Impression Secrets property, but I was generally pleased with this property in the end. For this trip, I had been wanting to go somewhere warm using points, and my leading candidate was the Andaz Mayakoba, which would have cost about the same number of points as the SIM without having included food and drink, and I think this was the better choice -- I haven't stayed at the Andaz but I have stayed at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, so I have a sense of what Mayakoba has to offer, and other than a more compact "campus", I thought SIM was a reasonably similar experience to what the Andaz might have been (especially as I didn't find the food at Mayakoba to be anything exceptional, and it is expensive at that). And checking out of a resort hotel I paid for with points to have a $0 balance due after eating and drinking all week was admittedly pretty nice.

That said, if I was going to pay the asking ~$1500/nt cash rate for my stay at SIM, I would definitely have preferred to either pay much less cash to stay at the Andaz, even after F&B costs, or pay about the same amount for a much more elaborate villa at the Banyan Tree (again even after F&B costs).

As of now, the SIM and SM seem to cost the same amount on points, and for as long as that remains the case, it is a no-brainer to book SIM and not SM.

All that said, some specifics on who the SIM is for, and not for:

  • If you are otherwise considering something like Mayakoba where you're going to a resort to stay on property pretty much the entire time, then SIM could work; if you'd prefer to do something like the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen where you can easily go out to eat at other venues and/or you really want to explore, find the best tacos in town, etc., then SIM is probably not for you
  • I thought the SIM and even SM lineup of hard liquor was decent enough, but the wines on offer (without paying extra) were IMO pretty terrible, so if you really want to drink wine, I wouldn't stay here
  • More on food below, but if you want to have "luxury" food -- steaks, lobster, etc -- you won't find much of that here
  • If you have ever been curious about going on a cruise but are horrified by the logistics, in many ways this was kind of like going on a cruise on land ... in addition to the endless food options, there were also lots of activities organized by the resort, and nightly live entertainment shows (many of which were sort of mini-Cirque du Soleil style, and which weren't Broadway but were fun enough for the marginal price of $0)

In terms of the clientele, it seemed pretty similar to what I might expect at any upscale resort in Mexico, with a lot of couples in their 20s-40s, as well as a few older couples. I read some reviews online that said the crowd was very fratty, which was not my experience, and others that said that it was a wedding factory, which was also not my experience, so I guess it can vary when you go. We were also there during the week, so I can imagine it may be busier for a weekend stay.

The resort is a bit closer to Playa del Carmen than Mayakoba is, but it is not really plausible to walk into/around town from here, unlike from the Grand Hyatt.

Room

All base rooms at the SIM are a decent size in a junior suite-type layout, with a balcony including at least a hot tub. Like many resorts all of the balconies face toward the ocean at an angle, so I am not sure which rooms would be considered truly the "tropical view" options vs. ocean view.

I used TSUs to confirm an upgrade to a standard suite, which here is the Signature Suite Ocean Front, which is the exact same room as the standard room other than the view and location, so it is perhaps not a particularly great use of TSUs.

However, I reached out to the hotel in advance of my stay to inquire about changing to a Signature Suite Swim-Out Tropical View, which is listed above the Ocean Front room in the order on the website, but which seems to typically go for a bit less in cash, and they were happy to "downgrade" me to the swim-out room, which had a large heated private pool, and which I would consider ultimately a good choice.

That said, my room was facing south toward the main resort and so we got plenty of sun in our private pool during the day, but there were also swim-out rooms on the north side of the building which never get any sun this time of year, so I would have been much less impressed if we had been assigned one of those, and it doesn't appear the room categories make any distinction between the two sides.

In terms of other room amenities:

  • Bathroom is large with a big bathtub and nice separate shower, and toilet in an enclosed WC. Bathroom lighting is atmospheric and flattering, which is to say completely useless for things like styling hair, shaving, and applying makeup.
  • Toiletries seemed nice and were extensive, including SPF 15 sun lotion and bug spray.
  • Bed was comfortable. 
  • Minibar is included, and comes with waters, sodas, some Sol beer, the same awful wine as available elsewhere, and M&Ms, Pringles and pretzels. All are replenished daily. 
  • The large TV has Netflix and Youtube built in, but annoyingly does not offer any way to plug in your own entertainment (no easy way to access HDMI ports, and no input change button on the remote even if you could). The TV channels also seem to have a thing where you can go back and watch what was on most live TV channels within the past few hours, which is nice enough, though it is only the Mexican version of most channels. Oddly, there also seemed to be a few hardcore porn channels included in the channel lineup for free?

 

The balconies of the standard Impression rooms (other than the bottom floor, which are swim-up rooms):
IMG_2390.jpg

 

The ocean front side of the Impression building, with the narrow column being the Signature Ocean Front Suites:
IMG_2378.jpg

 

Two views of the pool for the Swim-Up suites -- one from the room, and then one from the public paths for one suite that had a particularly unfortunate break in the foliage; most of them (including ours) were better shielded than this, though it is certainly not completely private
IMG_2392.jpg
IMG_2391.jpg

Dining

I could be called a foodie, so I was most nervous about the food going in, and overall I was pleasantly surprised. Nothing we ate was exceptional, but it was generally good; I didn't feel like I was eating food substantially below the standard I would normally be eating on vacation. The Mexican food is certainly not the best in Mexico, but I thought it was consistently quite a bit better than what you can get at 90% of Mexican restaurants in the US.

A few overall notes on dining:

  • Reservations are not required (except for a few premium dining options), and we had no trouble getting seats right away upon walking in to any of the restaurants except for Bamboo, the "pan-Asian" restaurant, which is quite a bit smaller than the others.
  • There are a few dining events each week, including during our stay a "Tour of Mexico" dinner event with food, drink, performances, and art set up around some of the pool areas representing a few different regions of Mexico, and an "Asado" grilled meats event. The food at those was hit or miss (though some of the Tour of Mexico food was very good), though of course you could always graze through and head straight to a restaurant if the event isn't to your liking.
  • There is somewhat more information about the restaurants in the Hyatt Inclusive Collection iPhone app (a lightly rebranded AMR app -- Ziva and Zilara aren't included yet, for example), and a tablet in the room which provides more information and menus, although the app and the tablet didn't always agree on opening hours so worth double-checking if there's anything you're particularly set on.
  • Along the same lines, there is a somewhat complicated dress code system for the various restaurants, which is made more complicated by having sometimes-conflicting information across the hotel website, the app, and the in-room tablet. The biggest constraint I found is that men are not supposed to wear shorts or flip-flops at dinner, which I have certainly done (and not felt especially out of place) at other beach resorts equal to or nicer than this one, so I found that a bit annoying, though the app--but not the other two sources--seems to suggest that maybe shorts are in fact okay for dinner if sitting outdoors, which would be more reasonable.
  • You will not go hungry. In addition to the numerous restaurant options, carts are set up on one of the main pathways each night (in SM) with tacos and crepes, and there is also a 24-hour coffee shop (again in SM) which serves various snacks and pastries. There is also room service included, which we did not try, but the menu looked relatively basic (and I believe can be seen on the app).
  • As I mentioned above, the quality is reasonable, though the seams do show sometimes toward the higher end ... I noticed that when ordering some of the dishes with higher-end ingredients, either portions would be very small (a hamachi sashimi on the Impression rooftop was very good, but a tiny portion) or quality would be questionable (i did not finish a tuna tartare at the Japanese restaurant as the fish had no taste).
  • Portions were on the small side in general, but there was no issue ordering additional courses, or if you wanted even going to a second meal elsewhere.
  • There is a buffet breakfast at SM (which also has a lunch service, which I didn't try), and it was extensive and generally pretty good, with quality similar to what I might expect at a Sheraton restaurant breakfast, just the widest-variety version of that. There is also made-to-order breakfast at the SM rooftop and Impression beach club, which we did not try (and which means that "regular" SM guests have only the buffet option for breakfast).

 

As for the restaurants, we tried the Mexican restaurant, the Japanese restaurant, the pan-Asian restaurant, as well as the beach club and rooftop restaurants at Impression.

I don't know how long they'll work for (and can't figure out how to add proper links in the review interface), but for now these links should take you to the menus of the Japanese restaurant:

https://qrcgcustomers.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/account23070986/33449426_2.pdf?0.8189247572789791

The Mexican restaurant:

https://qrcgcustomers.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/account23070986/33449103_1.pdf?0.9837803682651887

And the lunch menu at the Impression Beach club:

https://qrcgcustomers.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/account23070986/33450478_1.pdf?0.64319996691957

 

I didn't take pictures of all of our food, but a few samples:

Ceviche at Impression Beach Club
IMG_2394 (1).jpg

"Catch of the Day" at Impression Beach Club:
IMG_2395 (1).jpg\

Udon noodles at the Japanese restaurant:
IMG_1554 (1).jpg

Quinoa bowl for lunch at the Impression rooftop:
IMG_2398 (1).jpg

Salmon and shrimp at the Impression Beach Club:
IMG_2399 (1).jpg

Drinking

Worth a separate section for an all-inclusive property. Some thoughts:

  • As mentioned above, the included wine was really very terrible, and appeared to be the same between SM and SIM.
  • Liquor was reasonable quality (see notes above). I didn't think there was any evidence of drinks being watered down or anything like that. They did measure booze for cocktails which meant some were weak by some US standards, but they were happy to pour doubles if requested, and personally I don't mind not getting smashed while laying in the sun, but I know not everyone feels that way.
  • There was an option at check-in (I think for all SIM guests) for a bottle of liquor for the room as well, with the options of vodka, tequila, white rum, or aged rum. We chose aged rum and received a 375mL bottle of Flor de Caña, a relatively premium brand (that was I think at SIM but not SM), so I assume the vodka and tequila would be similar.
  • I didn't have beer, but it appeared there was a selection of a few basic mass-market options.
  • One thing I did find odd and annoying was that there weren't generally cocktail menus available; they were happy to make standards like margaritas, pina coladas and mojitos, but never offered a list to choose from or to jog your memory of anything you might like to try. Some of the restaurants did have a couple of signature cocktails on offer, and there was usually a signature cocktail being suggested at the bar leading into the theater, but the pool areas and lobby bars did not have any sort of menu.

Service

Service was generally very good across the hotel, and all of the staff were consistently friendly and helpful, as I find to be pretty common in Mexico.

The service standards were similar to what I might expect from a Westin or an Andaz, which is to say they delivered on things like not dropping the ball on any requests, and staff members being able to answer questions about things outside their direct area of responsibility. The "butler service" at Impression was mostly a gimmick, as you might expect, but it was helpful to have a single point of contact for queries.

Despite marketing this as a "luxury" property, they did not attempt some of the things I might expect from true high-end luxury resorts, like staff members who you haven't met knowing your name, or making a point to conduct housekeeping while you are accounted for at a restaurant.

Resort facilities

There are over a dozen different pools at SM, offering just about any style, depth, vibe, and temperature of pool you could be looking for, with drink service to your seat throughout (and two swim-up bars). That said, seating at the most popular pools did fill up -- not like a 6am scramble for chairs situation, but seats were gone by noon. There were always some of the quieter pool areas at SM that still had seats during our stay (not sure what occupancy rates were), but it was nice to have access to SIM where the pools were often nearly empty, so there was plenty of choice of seating. And SIM itself had a good selection of pool options, with two large pools and two hot tubs on the roof, and two large pools and a hot tub near the beach club area.

As is common in the area, the beach is not great for swimming, with lots of seaweed and other detritus in the water. There are plenty of options if you just want to have your feet in the sand while swimming in a pool though.

The gym was decent, but did get very busy some mornings of my trip, which I imagine will vary with the clientele on site at any given time. There were about 10 cardio machines, dumbbells up to 50lbs, a cable station, and a few dedicated weight machines. 

Secrets Impression Moxché -- Playa del Carmen area

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bgriff is offline  
Old Jan 9, 2023, 12:59 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
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Great review! Wow!

We seem very similar, first time ever at an all-inclusive will be at SIM next month. Looking forward to it but unclear if it is going to wow me enough to come back to all-inclusive in the future (we left cruising behind years ago).

I assume you're globalist? Just wondering if you thought you got anything "extra" with that (obviously not room, you covered that)? I used a TSU as well (had plenty, don't feel like I necessarily wasted it) but would LOVE if a further upgrade occurred.

I'd ask more questions, but...you covered everything.
Charlie9 is offline  
Old Jan 9, 2023, 1:16 pm
  #3  
 
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Thanks for confirming my suspicion that this place is indeed terribly overpriced (on cash, but not on points). The lack of a cocktail menu is honestly the most upsetting thing I read here, as it is a pet peeve of mine (it is 2023: unless you are a nightclub or a dive bar, you should have at least a few specialty drinks on the menu). Regarding the swimming, was there anywhere that was reasonably shaded? As I am prone to burn rather than tan, I usually prefer to swim in pools when the sun is not out, but this does not appear to be an option based on the hours I have seen for the pools. I tend to hit up the pool as soon as it opens or right before closing, to avoid the sun and the crowds. With 10 pools, it would be nice if at least one had some kind of canopy/tree coverage for those of us who aren't big fans of radiation and melanoma.

I will be there next month. It is my first (and probably last) visit to Cancun/PDC, as I prefer my tropical getaways to be a bit more isolated and peaceful. I will be saying adios to my GLOB status and I was hoping for somewhere with good recognition, but looking at the cash/points prices across the board, SIM was a no-brainer in terms of redemption value. The cash rates at the non-AMR properties were not terribly great, and there is no guarantee what value I will actually get as a GLOB at the GH/HR/Andaz, especially since it will be a busy time in CUN. I was hoping to make it there last year, when Healthcare Hero rates < $150/night were widely available all over PDC, but those plans fell through. Honestly, I can't imagine why someone would be paying $1500/night for a generic minisuite in a mega resort when they could get a private pool villa in Bali for 1/5 the price. For that kind of money, anything less than an overwater bungalow would be disappointing. Then again, money is relative, and people who flock to CUN don't think like I do.
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Old Jan 9, 2023, 3:59 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Charlie9
Great review! Wow!

We seem very similar, first time ever at an all-inclusive will be at SIM next month. Looking forward to it but unclear if it is going to wow me enough to come back to all-inclusive in the future (we left cruising behind years ago).

I assume you're globalist? Just wondering if you thought you got anything "extra" with that (obviously not room, you covered that)? I used a TSU as well (had plenty, don't feel like I necessarily wasted it) but would LOVE if a further upgrade occurred.

I'd ask more questions, but...you covered everything.
I am Globalist, which I don't think came with anything extra. They did give a little coupon book to us at check-in, but it wasn't clear who gets it, another couple who were checking in at the same time and I think weren't Globalist were getting the same presentation as us. Basically some coupons that can be used for $40 off a spa treatment, $10 off a paid bottle of wine (I didn't look closely at the lists on some restaurant menus but noticed the prices were in the high double digits and low triple digits), that sort of thing. I imagine if you are Globalist at SM you may get some benefits like access to the rooftop pool, but that's included for all at SIM.

And yeah I was kind of curious if I might have gotten the same upgrade without having used a TSU, and it's unclear. Also unclear if possibly I might have gotten a further upgrade above the TSU room if I hadn't specifically requested the slightly downgraded room I stayed in. The next category of rooms, the "Master" suites, sell for a lot more money even than the baseline high prices.

Originally Posted by downinit
Thanks for confirming my suspicion that this place is indeed terribly overpriced (on cash, but not on points). The lack of a cocktail menu is honestly the most upsetting thing I read here, as it is a pet peeve of mine (it is 2023: unless you are a nightclub or a dive bar, you should have at least a few specialty drinks on the menu). Regarding the swimming, was there anywhere that was reasonably shaded? As I am prone to burn rather than tan, I usually prefer to swim in pools when the sun is not out, but this does not appear to be an option based on the hours I have seen for the pools. I tend to hit up the pool as soon as it opens or right before closing, to avoid the sun and the crowds. With 10 pools, it would be nice if at least one had some kind of canopy/tree coverage for those of us who aren't big fans of radiation and melanoma.

I will be there next month. It is my first (and probably last) visit to Cancun/PDC, as I prefer my tropical getaways to be a bit more isolated and peaceful. I will be saying adios to my GLOB status and I was hoping for somewhere with good recognition, but looking at the cash/points prices across the board, SIM was a no-brainer in terms of redemption value. The cash rates at the non-AMR properties were not terribly great, and there is no guarantee what value I will actually get as a GLOB at the GH/HR/Andaz, especially since it will be a busy time in CUN. I was hoping to make it there last year, when Healthcare Hero rates < $150/night were widely available all over PDC, but those plans fell through. Honestly, I can't imagine why someone would be paying $1500/night for a generic minisuite in a mega resort when they could get a private pool villa in Bali for 1/5 the price. For that kind of money, anything less than an overwater bungalow would be disappointing. Then again, money is relative, and people who flock to CUN don't think like I do.
As for swimming in the shade, there are definitely going to be some options ... there wasn't a canopy-covered area or anything like that, but there are lots of trees and structures around that inevitably cast shadows on some parts of the various pools, so I think you can find places that work. There are even a couple of pools that I think are supposed to give a cenote vibe that are surrounded by fairly high walls and would be pretty shady throughout the day, at least this time of year. At this time of year the sun moving behind the SM building also starts to cast bigger areas of shade across some of the pools by ~4pm.

And as for the price, generally agree with you, although obviously for people in the US there is a real convenience consideration for Bali or Thailand ... but I don't know why you wouldn't be staying at an extremely Bali-like expansive private pool villa up the road at the Banyan Tree for the same price.
bgriff is offline  
Old Jan 9, 2023, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by bgriff
I have much more to say below, but my shortest version of that recommendation is: if you would be comfortable with the idea of staying at, say, a Marriott- or Sheraton-branded resort and staying on property the entire trip, you'd probably enjoy it here. (Maybe even Westin-branded, but I don't want to over-promise, despite the hotel using the word "luxury" to describe itself a lot.)If you can't imagine staying at anything less than the Park Hyatt/Ritz/Four Seasons etc., or can't imagine staying on property the entire trip (or, specifically can't imagine staying on property the entire trip when staying at a brand less than the Park Hyatt/Ritz/Four Seasons), it's not for you.
This is exactly what I have been looking for in order to orient myself to these AI brands. Thanks so much.
CLEguy is online now  
Old Jan 10, 2023, 9:34 pm
  #6  
 
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Thank you OP for the comprehensive review. As a follow up, did you encounter any pushback on getting access to the “preferred” areas at SM as an SIM guest? A recent review on Reddit indicated that this was troublesome. I’ll be staying at SIM in February and would like to also ask whether bartenders at the SIM bars were able to take requests for more involved drinks? I’m a big fan of tiki drinks and would like to order Mai Tais, Painkillers, Jet Pilots, etc.; nothing too complicated (wouldn’t expect a Smugglers Cove Zombie) but the proportions of ingredients matter and having no drink menu does not lend confidence. Other quick question: did the Signature Swimout Suite Tropical View room have a soaking tub in addition to the private pool? Last question, did you receive early checkin? I recall reading somewhere that SIM has a “checkin whenever” benefit compared to SM, but cannot find where I read that. We’re arriving late the night before and staying elsewhere then planning for a reasonably early checkin the following day. Thank you!
CoffeeTraveler is online now  
Old Jan 11, 2023, 2:37 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by CoffeeTraveler
Thank you OP for the comprehensive review. As a follow up, did you encounter any pushback on getting access to the “preferred” areas at SM as an SIM guest? A recent review on Reddit indicated that this was troublesome. I’ll be staying at SIM in February and would like to also ask whether bartenders at the SIM bars were able to take requests for more involved drinks? I’m a big fan of tiki drinks and would like to order Mai Tais, Painkillers, Jet Pilots, etc.; nothing too complicated (wouldn’t expect a Smugglers Cove Zombie) but the proportions of ingredients matter and having no drink menu does not lend confidence. Other quick question: did the Signature Swimout Suite Tropical View room have a soaking tub in addition to the private pool? Last question, did you receive early checkin? I recall reading somewhere that SIM has a “checkin whenever” benefit compared to SM, but cannot find where I read that. We’re arriving late the night before and staying elsewhere then planning for a reasonably early checkin the following day. Thank you!
  • No issues accessing the SM rooftop (I think the only "preferred" area) -- you do need key card access to get up there in the elevator but my SIM key worked fine, though the reader in the elevator could be a bit slow. They ask for room numbers at all venues when you order something but I think the SIM room numbers are a distinctive block.
  • I didn't try any more complex drink orders, so not sure, and YMMV -- I did find some bartenders better than others even at basics. Doesn't hurt to ask anyway ... and if you don't like it you're not out anything. I might be slightly more optimistic at the Impression bars than the SM venues.
  • The Swimout Suite has a large tub in the bathroom (bathroom looked the same as the photo under Signature Suite Tropical View on the website), but no outdoor hot tub like the other rooms have (you can see pretty much the entire outdoor area of the swimout suite in the picture I posted). FWIW I never noticed anyone using their balcony hot tubs in any of the other rooms. But then I didn't see anyone else using their private pools either.
  • We arrived around 1 or 2 and had no issue checking in immediately. I did see the mention of no fixed check-in/check-out time on the website, but not sure how that works in practice (and I suspect it may be more about, you are welcome to have free food and drink the entire day of check-in and check-out, but not necessarily that they will guarantee you can be in the room the entire time). If you are arriving early, I'm sure they'd at least welcome you to any of the restaurants or pool areas if your room isn't ready, so worth dressing and packing a day bag accordingly.
bgriff is offline  
Old Jan 11, 2023, 8:33 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
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Originally Posted by bgriff
  • No issues accessing the SM rooftop (I think the only "preferred" area) -- you do need key card access to get up there in the elevator but my SIM key worked fine, though the reader in the elevator could be a bit slow. They ask for room numbers at all venues when you order something but I think the SIM room numbers are a distinctive block.
  • I didn't try any more complex drink orders, so not sure, and YMMV -- I did find some bartenders better than others even at basics. Doesn't hurt to ask anyway ... and if you don't like it you're not out anything. I might be slightly more optimistic at the Impression bars than the SM venues.
  • The Swimout Suite has a large tub in the bathroom (bathroom looked the same as the photo under Signature Suite Tropical View on the website), but no outdoor hot tub like the other rooms have (you can see pretty much the entire outdoor area of the swimout suite in the picture I posted). FWIW I never noticed anyone using their balcony hot tubs in any of the other rooms. But then I didn't see anyone else using their private pools either.
  • We arrived around 1 or 2 and had no issue checking in immediately. I did see the mention of no fixed check-in/check-out time on the website, but not sure how that works in practice (and I suspect it may be more about, you are welcome to have free food and drink the entire day of check-in and check-out, but not necessarily that they will guarantee you can be in the room the entire time). If you are arriving early, I'm sure they'd at least welcome you to any of the restaurants or pool areas if your room isn't ready, so worth dressing and packing a day bag accordingly.
Thank you for your thorough reply. It’s good to hear that SIM preferred club access at SM seems to be working. Great suggestion also on the day bag for day of arrival; I agree it seems more likely that early checkin means “enjoy some food and drinks while your room is prepared”. I’ll look forward to doing the rounds at the bar to see whether any bartenders would be interested in following a recipe for a cocktail; I’ll stay optimistic. I think we’ll roll the dice with our TSU and hope we get an upgrade on the Signature Ocean Front. Did you feel like the 1300 square feet of the Swim Out was worthwhile over the 800 square feet of the Ocean Front?
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Old Jan 13, 2023, 11:00 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by CoffeeTraveler
Did you feel like the 1300 square feet of the Swim Out was worthwhile over the 800 square feet of the Ocean Front?
It seemed like the square footage difference must have just come from counting the terrace and swimming pool as part of the square footage, since the swim out rooms were otherwise 1-for-1 directly below standard rooms and the interior looked the same as pictures of the standard rooms. I assume the Ocean Front rooms are also essentially the same indoor footprint.
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Old Jan 13, 2023, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by bgriff
It seemed like the square footage difference must have just come from counting the terrace and swimming pool as part of the square footage, since the swim out rooms were otherwise 1-for-1 directly below standard rooms and the interior looked the same as pictures of the standard rooms. I assume the Ocean Front rooms are also essentially the same indoor footprint.
That’s really good to know. I was wondering if it was similar to how cruise lines tend to count the balcony space in the room square footage. Sounds like that is the case here. We’ll probably stick with the ocean front signature suite and cross fingers for a further upgrade if we get lucky. Thank you for the input!
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Old Jan 14, 2023, 3:19 pm
  #11  
 
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Anyone able to find any points nights here? Tried several dates in March-May and couldn't find anything
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Old Jan 14, 2023, 4:02 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by longtimereader firstimeposter
Anyone able to find any points nights here? Tried several dates in March-May and couldn't find anything
People have reporting a lack of availability here for a few weeks, theories ranging from "being the hot ticket" to a possible disagreement or change in points price between SIM and Hyatt.
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Old Jan 14, 2023, 6:52 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by Charlie9
People have reporting a lack of availability here for a few weeks, theories ranging from "being the hot ticket" to a possible disagreement or change in points price between SIM and Hyatt.
yeah, I saw availability last week but it looks like they’ve pulled it or at least from now until July.
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Old Jan 15, 2023, 7:37 pm
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Thanks for the comprehensive review -- much appreciated!

You mention the included wine was bad -- I assume that was by the glass. Can you also buy glasses or bottles of better wine, and are the prices reasonable or otherwise?

Thanks,
--woodstock
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Old Jan 16, 2023, 2:03 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by JoeWoodstock
Thanks for the comprehensive review -- much appreciated!

You mention the included wine was bad -- I assume that was by the glass. Can you also buy glasses or bottles of better wine, and are the prices reasonable or otherwise?

Thanks,
--woodstock
The included wines are available by the bottle in the minibar and by the glass in bars and restaurants, as far as I could tell it was the same lineup everywhere.

Restaurants do also sell bottles of wine ... I did not look closely at the offerings but the prices were in the $75-low $100s range, which seemed like a high starting point to me, so I didn't look any further and don't know if the quality was at all commensurate. Some coupons were provided at check-in that could take $10 off the price of a bottle (multiple coupons were provided, though only one could be used per bottle).

There is also a wine cellar store near the coffee shop ... I didn't investigate further so don't know how it works exactly but I saw something about wine tastings being offered there, I assume for a price, and I am guessing they also sell bottles you could take to your room or possibly to dinner with you.
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