The lobby at Bahia Principe // © 2015 Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal
Feature image (above): Guests at Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal have access to other hotels in the same complex. // © 2015 Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal
The allure of all-inclusive resorts is hard to pass up. Some clients consider it the epitome of a stress-free, no-need-to-plan beachside vacation, and with properties such as Bahia Principe Hotel & Resorts leading the charge, those sentiments are solidified.
I visited the company’s Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal resort, one of four separate but adjacent Bahia Principe properties in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region. The all-suite property makes for an aptly Caribbean respite, with distinctly Latin-inspired design (think adobe-colored walls and buildings with bright, vibrant decor) and tranquil surroundings replete with swaying palm trees and that “I-wish-I-could-bottle-it” sea breeze.
Along with its sister properties in Mexico — Grand Bahia Principe Tulum, Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an (an adults-only resort) and Grand Bahia Principe Coba — the Akumal resort is true to its all-inclusive format, equipped with most anything your client would want during a relaxing vacation. The numbers alone are staggering: 630 guestrooms, 11 bars, five restaurants, a spa, a casino and even a shopping plaza for souvenirs and trinkets.
And, as of Nov. 1, the numbers became even more impressive. The property has just finished adding 128 junior suites, a new infinity pool and another dining concept that will serve as a casual daytime restaurant that converts into a Brazilian rodizio at night.
My accommodations included an oceanfront junior suite, complete with 24-hour butler service. The Caribbean Sea’s turquoise waters are mere steps away from any spot on the resort, but I couldn’t help but gloat at how my ocean-facing balcony suite was essentially on the sand and practically within arm’s reach of the lounge chairs and beach service. The spacious suite was outfitted with a four-poster bed, as well as a sofa bed.
But alas, being on vacation means one should experience a destination outside his or her room. One way is through the stomach, so it’s a good thing the Akumal property has enough dining options to allow guests to taste the world without leaving the resort. The buffet restaurant has what seems like an endless array of international cuisine for its breakfast, lunch and dinner service. I saw everything from salmon crudites to pork tacos. For those looking for a la carte dining, there’s an upscale French-inspired restaurant, as well as an Italian eatery.
One of the best perks of staying in this hotel complex is that Akumal resort guests are able to enjoy the amenities at the other three properties, as well. Highlights include an outdoor waterpark, two world-class Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf courses (an 18-hole course and a nine-hole executive course) and a dolphin swim-and-ride experience. All are accessible by the free shuttle that runs between the properties throughout the day.
So did the Akumal property give me that stress-free vibe I was looking for? Not sure — I was quite stressed determining which spa service I should select. Ah, the burdens of vacation.