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Wellness Takes Root in Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen

This luxury Riviera Maya all-inclusive offers wellness around every corner.


Secrets Spa by Pevonia at Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen.

The Mayan word moxche means tree root, and after a week at Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen (Mexico), it’s clear that wellness is rooted in nearly every aspect of this lovely new resort that opened in spring 2022. From the gorgeous design filled with natural elements to inviting guest rooms to spectacular pools and common areas to divine dining to the incredible spa, I found wellness at nearly every touch point.

What We Love

  • The water circuit at Secrets Spa by Pevonia
  • The spectacular dining options
  • The cenote-inspired pools
  • The Observatory Rooftop Preferred Club Restaurant
Located in the heart of the Riviera Maya on a pristine strip of white beach, Secrets Moxché features 485 lavish suites.

Elegant Accommodations

There are a variety of accommodations available at Secrets Moxché, ranging from junior suites up to a presidential penthouse. My husband and I were lucky enough to secure a Preferred Club upgrade, which provided us with access to elevated concierge service, speedier check-in and check-out, an upgraded mini bar, and exclusive access to the Observatory, which features a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool, restaurant, and lounge area available exclusively for preferred guests.

This upgrade also placed us in a Preferred Club Junior Suite Ocean View, which offered lovely views of the resort, the sea, and Cozumel in the distance. Our room featured a king-sized bed, a balcony with a soaking tub, luxurious amenities, and a minibar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. We also received our own bottle of tequila and were able to make our own “skinny girl” margaritas with seltzer, tequila, and lime juice, which is a bit of a healthier choice than some of the more sugary tropical cocktails we also enjoyed poolside.

I absolutely loved the design of the room and the gorgeous light natural wood, natural ceramics, and dark stone design elements. Back home, we are in the midst of a bedroom and bathroom renovation. I loved so many aspects of the design that I took several photos and am replicating many of the looks in my own space, truly planning to bring Secrets Moxché back with me.

While we did not stay in one of the swim-out rooms located on the first floor, I loved the privacy they offered. I’ve been at resorts where these types of rooms are quite exposed to guests traversing the paths of the resort. But the lush landscaping was so well thought out that those rooms, which each feature a private pool outside the terrace, looked quite private and appealing. I would absolutely consider booking one on a return visit.

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Seasoul is a stunning oceanside open-air restaurant.

Delicious and Healthy Dining

Sometimes, all-inclusive resorts get a bad rap when it comes to culinary offerings. This could not be further from the truth at Secrets Moxché, where every dining experience was an absolute treat. My husband and I traveled with another couple who love to eat as much as we do. As such, we made it a point to dine at each of the 11 restaurants on property. I found nutritious, healthy, delicious options at each one.

A few of my favorite items included the samosas and yellow curry at the lovely outdoor Pan-Asian-style Bamboo restaurant overlooking the Lagoon Pool; the ash-seared tuna at Ember; the salmon filet at the French restaurant Bisou; the Birra tacos at Dos Almas; the various rolls at Suki Japanese restaurant; and the shrimp spring rolls at the Observatory restaurant on the roof. We also alternated our morning meals between room service breakfast and Market Café, a brunch that offered lovely views and a delicious range of dining options to appease any palette.

Two of the most inspired settings were breakfast and lunch at the Observatory and dinner at Seasoul, a stunning open-air restaurant located directly oceanside. There is nothing like alfresco dining complete with a fresh ocean breeze, and our night at that restaurant was unforgettable. Also, on one evening, the resort was transformed into a festival that included a tour of Mexican regions set up in different areas of the resort. At each spot, we were able to sample the food, drinks, music, and crafts for which each region is known. It was a beautifully executed event that offered a fun and authentic experience.

No matter where we ended up, I can honestly say we didn’t eat a bad meal. One thing to note: Still observing COVID protocols, the restaurants all feature digital menus, so be sure to bring your phone along for all meals so you can scan the QR code. For the most part, the menus have not quite been digitally optimized, so it did take a little getting used to scrolling through the menus to get a full gander of the drink and dining options. Also, reservations are not necessary (or available) at the resort restaurants. We never waited more than five minutes to be seated, but if you are eating during prime mealtimes, you may have to wait a few minutes.

Downloading the AM Resorts app and previewing the menus there is a great way to access the various restaurants and peruse the menus prior to your meal. My friend, whose favorite part of vacation is the food, did this and whetted our appetites for every meal by reading the menus for upcoming meals as we relaxed poolside.

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The spa’s hydrotherapy circuit is an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate.

Spa, Fitness & Wellness

Over the years, I’ve visited several Secrets resorts to review their spas and have often thought that the website and promotional materials don’t do the spas justice—every wellness haven in the portfolio that I have visited has been unexpectedly gorgeous. I would say the same of the on-site Secrets Spa by Pevonia. While the photos online look pretty, the real-life version of the spa is breathtaking, and the 38,000-square-foot, 16-treatment-room spa is spectacular.

A true highlight is the expansive hydrotherapy circuit. Be sure to plan at least an hour either pre- or post-treatment to enjoy the facilities, including a large sauna and steam room and an outdoor pool with pressure jets, bubble area, reflexology, and waterfalls. It is an ideal place to while away the day immersed in wellness. Other lovely options include a gorgeous hammam, a bridal suite, an outdoor yoga pavilion, and more. The spa also features an authentic Temescal where spiritual ceremonies are performed by a local shaman. The ritual uses steam from volcanic rocks to cleanse the body internally by sweating out toxins and mentally through the practice of thanksgiving and meditation.

The treatment menu is equally extensive, offering face, body, hair, and nail services using products from Pevonia, a comprehensive line of natural products, as well as Natura Bisse, Babor, and more. A fully stocked retail area also is the perfect place to pick up products, gifts, and more to take home and help maintain the wellbeing practices started at the spa. The area features local and international organic products, eco-friendly sunscreens, an assortment of men’s products, apparel, wellness accessories and jewelry, and grab-and-go skin and hair products personalized from the oil bar, bath bar, ampoule bar, mask bar, and scrub bar.

But perhaps the biggest standout from my spa experience was the wellness team. The spa director, Carla Paladino, was charming, informative, and ensured an unforgettable experience, making sure it was customized to perfectly meet my needs and those of the others in my group. And the therapists have an elusive blend of skill, care, and healing hands. All four of us received a variety of treatments at the spa, and we each walked away feeling amazing and nurtured. I believe it is the people behind the scenes who truly make a standout spa, and the entire team was wonderful. It’s worth spending at least a day—if not more—enjoying the spa and taking advantage of the talented therapists.

As for fitness, there is a full facility where guests can take advantage of treadmills, free weights, exercise bicycles, rowing machines, step machines, and elliptical machines. Gorgeous new tennis and pickleball courts are a perfect place to start or end the day breaking a sweat. The property also offers activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking and can facilitate excursions like scuba diving, bike tours, golfing, and more.

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The Lagoon Pool is the stunning centerpiece of the resort.

Pools & Beach

Seaweed is certainly something that a resort cannot control and is a product of the tides and the time of year, but when I was at Secrets Moxché, the ocean was rather seaweed laden. Plus, the beach wasn’t huge, although there are plenty of seats for those who prefer to sunbathe near the sea. Instead, we spent most of our days enjoying the seven pools. The massive Lagoon Pool has zero-entry and sand at the bottom, so it feels a lot like a miniature ocean itself. Another thing I thought was very cool and authentic were the three cenote pools, private and cozy pool areas inspired by the cenotes that are found throughout the region.

There are several pools and plenty of seats, so guests never feel crowded or that they need to wake up at the crack of dawn to reserve a chair. When I was there, no matter when I decided to chill out poolside, I was able to find a place to recline. If you are looking for a more serene experience, I would suggest avoiding the main pool and Mantarray swim-up bar, which was always bustling with activities, contests, games, and more. It’s lots of fun if you are a group activity person. Not so much if you want to quietly soak up the sun and read a book. The good thing is that the resort offers something for every type of traveler, so it’s a great option for couples or groups who may enjoy both on vacation.

Environmental Efforts

The wellbeing of people and the planet is an integral part of the resort, making it an ideal escape for eco-minded travelers. It features 95 percent LED lighting, meaning larger energy savings and a reduction of toxic waste. Throughout the resort, there are species of plants that have great ecological economic and scientific value, such as the náaj K’aax palm and the Chit palm, both protected by Mexican laws, and sea grape, among others. Additionally, the Coastal Dune remains on the beach, functioning as a protective barrier against the effects of the wind and tide. It also contributes to soil formation, preventing erosion. “We are committed to conservation and environment protection, the labor security of our employees, and the legal compliance of ecological matters by offering clean technology services, minimizing the emission of dangerous and non-dangerous waste, its treatment, and disincorporation,” says Patricia Navarro, spa director for AMResorts. “The program Preferred By Nature aims to align global standards on the topic of sustainability promoted by the World Tourism Organization. Both international organizations provide technical advice and training on issues of sustainable development, climate change, and the strategic planning processes of tourism in Mexico.”

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Secrets Impression Moxché is a first-of-its-kind product designed to deliver the highest level of luxury and all-inclusive service and amenities in the portfolio.

Secrets Impression Moxché Playa del Carmen

Secrets Impression Moxché Playa del Carmen, which is located on property, had not yet opened when I was on-property in early October. But its debut was just weeks away, so I did get a glimpse of some of its pre-opening offerings.

Secrets Impression Moxché, which opened Dec. 1, is a first-of-its-kind product designed to deliver the highest level of luxury and all-inclusive service and amenities in the portfolio. “Demand for high-end travel remains high with guests seeking an unforgettable vacation experience in settings that prioritize luxury, personalization, and superior service,” says Navarro. “The Impression concept further optimizes this segment, elevates the already high standards and strong foundation of the Secrets Resorts & Spas brand, and meets luxury travelers where they are.” 

Three distinctive suite categories including two-story oceanfront penthouse residences, master suite residences, and signature suites that are outfitted in a rustic modern style accented by rich wood tones and a warm palette inspired by the natural beauty of the destination. In-room terraces, a continuously replenished in-room feature bar, and access to a dedicated beach area are some of the unique amenities available. Impressions guests also have access to a personal butler, three dedicated restaurants. At the spa, Impression guest have access to VIP double treatment rooms with private pools, soothing waterfalls, and showers, as well as exclusive custom treatments, services, and offerings. As an added benefit, guests staying at Secrets Impression Moxché are also able to enjoy unlimited access to the adjacent Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen, so it truly is the best of both worlds.

Even without being opened, my sneak peek made an impression on me, and I can’t wait to return and let my love of the property take root even further.

The next outpost of the Impressions brand, Secrets Impression Isla Mujeres, is expected to welcome guests in March 2023. I’m already marking my calendar!

About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.