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Ten luxury hotels worth the splurge: Hotel Secreto, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

SmarterTravel

Recommended by Executive Editor Anne Banas

Hotel Secreto, a nine-room boutique property located a 30-minute boat ride from Cancun on the Isla Mujeres, is a perfect escape for couples and the antithesis of the many impersonal, sprawling resorts that blight Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. “It’s very small and intimate—it really feels like a private beach house,” says Executive Editor Anne Banas, who visited the hotel this February while researching a column on Isla Mujeres. “All you hear are the waves and wind and the occasional bird.”

Set on a secluded cove on northern end of the island overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Secreto was opened in 2001 by American journalist Scott Boyan, who came to Isla Mujeres on assignment but decided to stay after falling love with the island and a local woman, Maria del Mar, now his wife and mother of their two daughters. Sleek, airy, and modern, but not cold or over-designed, Secreto exudes Mediterranean sensuality, a quality inspired by the couples’ honeymoon in Mykonos and Santorini, Greece.

Each room’s design takes full advantage of the hotel’s location, with floor-to-ceiling windows enabling guests to have stunning ocean views even while laying in bed. Plush white beds and sofas invite visitors to stay and enjoy the vista for a while, and original artwork adds a touch of color to the interior.

Guests can also lounge by Secreto’s infinity pool or on the beach, where they can make use of free poolside iPods and Wi-Fi. The hotel doesn’t have an onsite restaurant, but the Isla Mujeres’ eateries and shops are only a short walk away. Rates range from $185 to $225 per night. At check in, guests are greeted with Mimosas and chilled towels.

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