On March 1, 2015 I learned I would become a mom, but my husband didn't know he would be a dad until two days later when I had a darker pink line to flash before his eyes. We waited to start a family for seven years (I am pretty sure potential grandparents had given up on us) but we knew parenthood was a responsibility and commitment we wanted to be more prepared for, and frankly, we had other things we wanted to do first as a couple. (Read: TRAVEL. Lots of TRAVEL.)
Knowing we would soon be stashing our passports for many months (sad face) to care for our little lady (happy face), we started planning a babymoon for the second trimester. As a travel agent, our plans must always come together last-minute, and our indecisiveness was particularly awful for coordinating this trip - I was really hoping to do a cruise, and my husband was really hoping to stay at an all-inclusive. The plans worked out for three nights at Secrets Silversands and four nights at Secrets the Vine, so that is what we ultimately chose to do. (Next trip, a cruise.)
We had always planned on having the sex of the baby be a surprise at birth, but after a few discussions during the week of our scheduled anatomy scan, we decided for many reasons that it was time to find out if it would be a he or a she. Because of my "old age" of 35, we could have found out at ten weeks, but held off for the element of surprise...ten weeks later we were whistling a different tune. Rather than finding out the news in the technician's office, we asked that she seal up the telltale photos in a card I had picked out for us to bring with us to open at Secrets Silversands, one of our favorite resorts.
The plan: the first morning of our trip we would eat breakfast and then take the card to the Barracuda Bar overlooking the beach and Caribbean Sea for the big reveal. With its cool breezes, great views, and comfortable seating options, it's one of our favorite spots to hang out on the property. "How could you wait so long after having the results on hand?!? We had already waited ten weeks. Weren't you tempted to open them as soon as you got them?!?" No, not even a little bit. Honestly. Plus, I was freaking out internally...I really wanted a girl.
We got situated, took deep breaths, and opened the card together...
One of the most intense rushes of emotion I have ever experienced washed over me, and I immediately began sobbing upon reading the word "girl". Finding out the sex of our baby made this vacation even more special, and we spent a great deal of time in the coming days making a list of potential names. The entire vacation has been documented in our baby book to share with our daughter when she grows up, but I will never be able to put into adequate wording how thrilled I was to know I would be a mom to a daughter.
We waited until my 20th week of pregnancy to travel - even though my morning sickness had been rather tame, I knew I would not want to contend with nausea while on vacation. I felt pretty good for the duration of our trip, and really only had one evening of ick.
I made sure to pack any medications I might need in my carry-on bag for easy access. I consulted my midwives before booking our vacation to be sure I was good to travel, and I would definitely recommend you do the same.
I did my very best to stay hydrated and kept out of the sun as much as possible - even with hunkering down under umbrellas and diligently applying sunscreen, I came home with a nice tan.
I packed various layers of comfortable clothes that accentuated my little bump and made me feel like a cute pregnant gal. Thanks to Beachbody Chalean Extreme workouts and water aerobics, I was able to rock a bikini as well, which felt pretty great too.
I am so thankful that my husband and I were able to share this week together as our final vacation before the arrival of little Delaney. It was a wonderful time for fun and making memories, made all the more special because of the opening of that little envelope.
If you're hoping to plan a babymoon, I would be honored to help you. Contact me so we can begin exploring your options, and be sure to visit my babymoon page on the site.
Reasons We Love Secrets Silversands Resort and Spa
Food, glorious food... The meals at all of the restaurants on the property are beautiful to look at and fantastic to eat. I have enjoyed some of the greatest vegan meals of my life while staying at this resort, and the entire dining staff has been unbelievably kind and helpful when working with me to prepare my meals or answer my questions.
Just say no...to annoying dinner reservations, pesky towel cards, and irritating wristbands. AmResorts have eliminated these hassles from their resorts, and Brian and I couldn't be more grateful. It truly makes vacation more relaxing.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine...and there always seems to be a perfect breeze blowing through this resort, making the air feel quite pleasant while we enjoy the sun or shade near the pools. Be warned though - it sometimes picks up to a brisk wind! Hold onto your dresses, ladies!
One of our favorite spots at the resort is in the Barracuda Bar, located right on the beach - we enjoy drinking coffee and reading here after breakfast.
Home sweet home...the suites and their bathrooms are large, clean, and comfortable. The air conditioning works wonderfully and creates a refreshingly cool room for guests.
Swimming, swimming in the swimming pool...there are many pools to choose from on property, and each one has a completely different atmosphere/view. Several overlook the Caribbean, including the main pool where we spend most of our time. The new pool floats this summer were a great addition - they are like couches on the water. Sigh.
Bigger isn't always better...I actually prefer small-to-medium sized resorts, and Silversands is just perfect. It feels spacious, but it is easy to get everywhere with a very short walk. Most restaurants and amenities are located in one central building, which adds to the ease factor.
It's all about the staff...and this is the nicest staff I have encountered in Mexico thus far. Each person makes us feel at home, offering great service and lots of smiles.
New and improved entertainment...it is no "secret" that I was less than enthusiastic about the entertainment offerings during our last stay at Silversands, but I am thrilled to report that the quality of the evening shows/acts has improved drastically. The stage shows were better produced with better performers, and the smaller live musical acts brought in to entertain were super talented.
Because of the consistency of the property, I continue to lovingly recommend Secrets Silversands to all of my clients seeking a fantastic all-inclusive experience sans children. The rates for this adults-only option also tend to be less than many others, which really makes this option a standout from many others.
If you're interested in staying at Secrets Silversands Resort and Spa, or at any other all-inclusive resort, please contact me and let me help you plan a memorable vacation!
While I receive discounted travel because of my career, I am in no way compensated for my reviews. My thoughts and opinions are my own, and are unaffected by the vendors with which I associate.
Check-in: We were greeted at the entrance of the lobby with cool towels and champagne to enjoy while making arrangements for our room. The staff was friendly and welcoming, and the lobby area quiet and peaceful. The lush ambiance warranted hushed, reverent tones and we just quietly took it all in while the staff clicked away on their keyboards preparing our reservation. Because it was so early in the day, our room wasn't quite ready; this proved to be advantageous, because otherwise I never would have experienced the wonder that is the "hospitality room" at the Grand. (Think: swankiest locker room in the western hemisphere.) The resort handled our bags while we prepared to situate ourselves by the main pool.
Property: Every aspect of the resort and its grounds exudes elegance and sophistication, but without any of the pretentiousness that you assume would accompany that feel. The design of the resort makes it easy to navigate with one main hallway leading to many of the rooms and restaurants and covered walkways to protect you from the elements while leading you elsewhere. The landscaping was pristine, but as you admire it, be on the lookout for a coati!
Room: We stayed in room 7218, a ground floor king overlooking the quiet and lovely (and aptly named) Tranquility Pool, whose views could be enjoyed on our perfect little patio with extremely comfortable seating options. The room, decorated in oranges, golds, and browns, was extremely large with a sunken sitting area, spacious sleeping quarters, and a bathroom suitable for royalty. It is fair to say that even though the décor wasn't necessarily our taste, we were utterly blown away.
Food: The Bella Vista breakfast buffet and the beachside lunch buffet both served delicious food that was also elegant in its presentation. The breakfast buffet highlight was probably the made-to-order juice station, but all of the traditional American and European breakfast staples were available. The lunch buffet featured combined buffet and menu service, and the options ranged from the more traditional (pizzas) to the exquisite (lobster tails).
Dinner options included Venezia Italian, Haiku Japanese, Latelier Gourmet, Toni's Surf and Turf, and Bella Vista buffet. We chose to dine one night at Toni's and one night at Haiku. While the reservation system was also in effect here, we did not experience any of the scheduling issues that we did at the Lindo. All of our appetizers, salads, and entrees were delicious - please click here to read my vegan dining review. (Coming soon!)
Entertainment: Activities around the pool area dominate during the day, while a variety of live music is offered at night. Guests can also visit the neighboring Iberostar properties for shows in the main theater. The band that played outdoors the second night of our stay was fantastic, and we also enjoyed having tea, coffee, or a drink in the lobby and enjoying the live music there.
Fitness: In a word, incredible. While I continued my vacation-induced laziness, my husband actually set his alarm for 6:45am to visit the gym. I can't say I blame him - the facility was nice and cool with great equipment, housed a gorgeous indoor pool and jacuzzi, and featured a juice bar.
Pools and Beaches: We divided our time equally between the beautiful pools and beautiful beach, which was always clean and free of seaweed. The chaise lounges were quite comfortable with heavy padding and beach drink service was prompt. We particularly enjoyed the cabanas tucked around the main pool because we could adjust the curtains for sun or shade; here we could also indulge in the popsicles and other frozen treats offered by staff members. The main pool was lively but not obnoxious; the entertainment staff presented guests with contests and activities throughout the day that we enjoyed participating in or just observing. The tranquility pool was very quiet (too quiet for us) so we did not spend our time there; however, it is a really beautiful area of the resort to relax.
Pros: luxurious, incredible food, fantastic pools and beaches, strong Wi-Fi, great service
Cons: only one - the lunch buffet was STIFLING, and I mean STIFLING hot. The servers were passing out cold washcloths to diners.
The Iberostar Grand Paraiso Beach is a luxurious resort that I would recommend over and over for its service, accommodations, food, and amenities. It would be the perfect option for honeymooners or couples celebrating a special event like an anniversary or birthday. My husband and I will most definitely return for longer stay.
Check-In: We were greeted in the lobby with glasses of champagne and cool washcloths, excited to begin our vacation. Our suite, a partial ocean view overlooking the main pool and hotel grounds, was available, and we were ready to get settled and explore, Silversands is known for its great service, and our entire check-in process was relatively quick and full of friendly staff members.
The property: The grounds are well-maintained, and the crew is constantly working to keep the landscaping in pristine condition. The eight pools scattered throughout the resort also really add to the relaxing feel and provide many options for quiet solitude or bustling activity. It is not a very large resort, and everything you really need is centrally located with most restaurants in the lobby area. The resort does not have an abundance of vegetation so bugs are not usually an issue here - but I would still recommend packing bug spray!
The room: The suites at Silversands are among the largest in Riviera Maya and are decorated in a sleek, modern design with light neutral colors that give the resort an air of sophistication. The balcony is also extremely spacious with ample seating, but we did not use it because of the very high walls and lack of view when seated. The bathroom, like everything else, is large and features a walk-in shower, jacuzzi tub, and vanity area with double sinks. The door from the tub can be opened to the rest of the living and sleeping area. Housekeeping generally did not appear until later in the day, which wasn't ideal for us early risers, but they did a great job keeping everything tidy. (We are pretty clean on vacation, so our room is usually pretty simple!)
The food: We found both the food quality and presentation to be fantastic, and the number of options in the buffet and restaurants was great - there really is something for everyone. The chefs worked with me to create vegan dishes, and I was blown away by some of the meals that were prepared for me. A good indicator of great food at a resort: if the vegan is eating really well, everyone else is eating well too! Check out my full vegan dining review here.
World Cafe: Buffet breakfast and lunch were served here with many prepared dishes ready to eat, along with several made-to-order stations available as well. Each day at lunch a various cuisine was featured, but don't worry...more traditional foods are always available.
Restaurants for dinner include: El Patio (Mexican), Bordeaux (French), Himitsu (Pan-Asian), Oceana (seafood), Portofino (Italian), Ratatouille (Mediterranean), and Seaside Grill (seafood). For our three dinners, we chose to eat at El Patio, Ratatouille, and Himitsu - all of our meals were delicious. Coco Cafe serves coffee and snacks. Sugar Reef serves sandwiches and snack items near the pool area.
One of the greatest features of Secrets Silversands (and all AMResorts) is NO DINNER RESERVATIONS! If you have stayed at a resort that requires dining reservations, you can truly appreciate how awesome this is. We dined most evenings around seven o'clock and never had to wait for a table.
The entertainment: Entertainment is not a strong feature at Silversands, but that did not negatively affect our time there. Activities during the day were not as numerous as other resorts, but generally revolved around sports and fitness or food and drink. While we were there, the guests did not seem too into participating, although the mixology classes were always filled. Activities included: yoga, water aerobics, cooking demonstrations, drink mixing classes, movies under the stars, etc. The evening shows were just not good.
Health and fitness: My husband and I keep a pretty active and healthy lifestyle, so we are those people who pack workout clothes and tennis shoes on our travels. The gym at Silversands is mediocre, and the smell and warmth of the room did not motivate me to use it while there. The property is not great for jogging (not many are) but the beach is an option. Water aerobics, Zumba, yoga, and dance classes were offered. Rather than exercise (although I did water aerobics one morning) I quickly became a slug in a beach chair with a book in her hand, alternating between pages and naps.
The service: Excellent, usually! This is where Silversands really shines - I hear it constantly from clients, and we have experienced it for ourselves. The staff was very friendly, and we made a point to tip at the buffet, restaurants, and for the pool bar service. Tipping is not required, nor should your service vary if you choose not to, but we feel that for as hard as the staff works at the resort, we are happy to tip.
The swimming pools and beach: The pools are numerous at the resort, and each one has a completely different feel; this is great depending on your mood and what sort of atmosphere you are looking for. Some are quiet, especially the ones tucked into the resort, and the main pool has music and entertainment...it's where all of the action is. The infinity pool features great views of the Caribbean, as does the large jacuzzi, and the ocean front swim out suites are a great option if you want the view and the pool. The beach is not a great selling feature of the resort, but it is good enough. The gazebo used for weddings and yoga is quite nice. Wi-Fi worked perfectly near the pool area, and I was able to enjoy streaming music on my iPhone. Again, a great little perk of the resort!
Pros: Close to the airport, large and clean accommodations, fantastic food and service, nice-sized resort, great for groups/weddings, awesome pools, outstanding Wi-Fi, bugs generally a non-issue, usually prices well for an adults-only resort
Cons: Not quite as romantic as other Secrets resorts if you're looking for a more romantic feel (it tends to draw groups as well as couples, while some Secrets resorts are mostly couples), beach isn't as great as other resorts, entertainment, fitness center
Verdict: We would definitely return! I have had many happy clients stay at Secrets Silversands, and everyone raves about it. Even with a couple of negatives, Brian and I would be very happy spending future vacations at with Secrets Silversands and its staff.