The Riviera Maya’s Akumal beach is known for its pristine white sand and thriving sea turtle population. In fact, akumal means “place of the turtle” in Mayan. It’s also the site of the luxe new adults-only Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya (Mexico). This high-end all-inclusive resort features 434 suites, six gourmet restaurants, and a host of ocean-inspired activities, including snorkeling with the friendly turtles who make their home on the private beach reserve. While spending time with the stunning sea creatures is certainly enticing, even more compelling to relaxation seekers is the spectacular 44,675-square-foot, 17-treatment-room Secrets Spa by Pevonia.
Like the rest of the resort, the spa has a design inspired by the region’s Mayan ancestry. “Deeply rooted in Mayan culture, the design reflects a sense of place thousands of years in the making,” says corporate spa director Teresa Torres. “Your first impression is of the grand scale of a modern palapa interpreted with material drawn from the Mayan cities that once ruled the land.” Design highlights include white-stone walls, sparkling gold accents and details, dramatic lighting, and shady thatched roofs, highlighted in the spacious co-ed relaxation area that comes complete with plush beds and a gorgeous water feature. Plus, “meandering portals lead the guest on a journey through this magical place,” says Torres.
The Mayan love for water, from the crystal-blue ocean to the freshwater cenotes found throughout the area, is also reflected in many of the spa offerings, most notably the spacious coed outdoor heat and water circuit that guests are encouraged to enjoy before and after treatments. It includes a sauna to stimulate the immune system; sensation showers and Swiss cold water buckets to activate blood circulation and cool the body down; a eucalyptus-scented steam room that helps the respiratory system and removes toxins; warm and cold plunge pools; Ludic pools with massaging water jets and waterfalls; a stone reflexology course; and a Jacuzzi. “The hydrotherapy circuit is designed as a journey that takes you through phases of relaxation and energy,” says Torres.
A number of services also include water or seaworthy elements, including hydrotherapy soaks as part of spa packages, treatments like the Seaweed Body Wrap ($215, 50 minutes), chlorophyll water offered in the relaxation area, and even a Fish Pedicure ($69, 25 minutes). Couples can also experience an alfresco offering with the Relaxing Moon and Stars Massage ($395, 50 minutes), which takes place in a private beach cabana and allows them to enjoy the soothing sound of waves and the tranquil ocean breezes during their service. Also popular is the Relaxing Couples Massage ($325, 50 minutes) in one of the spa’s Master Suites. It begins with a foot ritual on the room’s terrace and includes a massage with Champagne oil and 30 minutes of relaxation time, during which the guests can enjoy the private Jacuzzi infused with aromatic salts, as well as sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Plus, as a branded Pevonia spa, services incorporate products that were created using high-tech yet natural ingredients, another reflection of the Mayan people who were known for their respect for the land and their advances in science. “Pevonia meticulously blends the best of earth and sea, so this is synergistic with our location,” says Torres. The spa is one of several in the Secrets Spa by Pevonia portfolio, which Torres says is enticing to guests who appreciate the effective ingredients and consistent quality of services that are highlighted throughout the 15 Secrets properties and spas. “We partnered with Pevonia because of their world-class reputation, innovative products and treatments, and their commitment to exceptional results as well as to environmental preservation,” says Torres. “We exclusively use the Pevonia brand, and therefore, our menu of services caters to the guest seeking solution-driven professional results, both immediate and cumulative.”
Though the spa and its products and services certainly are tempting to guests, the 35-member spa team works hard to spread the word. “We promote the spa at pre-booking, at check-in, in the rooms, and throughout the property,” says Torres. “We leave voicemails and do special VIP room drops, as well, and we have a highly synchronized promotional calendar.” Members of the concierge team also make the rounds in the pool and beach areas daily to offer discounts on open spa appointments for the coming day, and promotions change daily based on targeted bookings, further keeping the spacious spa close to its 30-treatment-per-hour capacity.
All of this and more help the spa continue to reflect the storied heritage of its historic location while appealing to savvy spa-goers with innovative spa methods. Says Torres, “Named for the turtles that claim this spot, Akumal rises from the sea with a modern interpretation of its natural history.”
Corporate Spa Director: Teresa Torres
Spa Manager: Carla Paladino
Opened: November 2015
Most Represented Countries
U.S., Canada, Mexico
44,675 square feet; 17 treatment rooms
L’anza, MAC, Me! Bath, Mirabella, Moroccanoil, OPI, Pevonia
Life Fitness, Living Earth Crafts, Oakworks, Sanijet, Spa Insist
HKS Architects (Dallas)
Kees Van Rooij, KVR (Mexico City)
HKS Architects (Dallas)
Renata López de León Architects (Mexico City)