If you’re thinking of visiting the beautiful beach town of Akumal, you’re going to need a place to stay. The area is home to some excellent accommodation options for every budget, but not many are as special as the legendary Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort…
After seeing the outstanding reviews for the hotel and its position as one of the best hotels in the Riviera Maya on Tripadvisor, we just had to check it out! After spending 2 full weeks exploring the resort, we’ve created a guide to help you learn everything you need to know before visiting. We share our top tips, highlights, improvement recommendations and plenty of insight on what’s on offer here.
Read on for our complete Akumal Beach and Wellness Resort guide and review. If you have any questions, be sure to leave us a comment below.
As its name suggests, Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is located right on the beach, in the charming town of Akumal. Akumal is known for being a great place to swim with the sea turtles and this is one of the key reasons people visit. It boasts one of the best beaches in Mexico’s Riviera Maya and this hotel has one of the most beautiful stretches of the entire bay.
Akumal’s central location is a great base to explore nearby cenotes, nature parks, towns and other top attractions too. You’re only a 20-minute drive from the booming tourist town of Tulum, and 30-minutes from Playa del Carmen. Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort suits those who want a relaxing beach vacation in beautiful surrounding, and aren’t big on nightlife.
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds at Akumal Bay are really something special… Wooden jungle walkways connect the restaurants, accommodation buildings and reception, all covered with thatched straw rooves. The jungle theme mixed with modern white furnishings is a great combination, truly immersing you into the beach-jungle experience.
Outside, gardens are neatly maintained and are full of lush tropical scenery. Lizards roam freely, coconut trees are everywhere to be seen, and there are a number of walking paths for you to explore the resort. We personally loved going for a morning and evening walk along the beach front, without ever having to leave the hotel. The resort area perfectly blends in with the beachfront and you can transition between beach and pool very easily.
A key positive to the Akumal Beach Resort compared to other Riviera Maya hotels is how compact everything is. Whilst many of the resorts in the area are huge, sprawling for miles and involving lots of walking, you can reach all facilities in this hotel in only a few minutes, no matter your room location.
There are three different types of rooms at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort, each offering different amenities, locations and varying relaxation space. All rooms have a sea view, which is unheard of for most hotels and is a major plus. Each room also has a balcony or outdoor area with a whirlpool bath.
This is the standard room type that makes up the majority of hotel rooms. These rooms are small but homely and we prefer them in a lot of ways compared to the larger penthouse suites. They feature a small living area alongside an open plan bed and bathroom. The outside balcony is spacious and features a couple of loungers with a hydromassage bath.
Junior Garden Suite
These rooms feature the same layout and amenities as the standard junior suite. The only difference is the ground floor location, which leads straight out into the garden grounds of the hotel. Access the pool, bar, beach and other facilities in a matter of seconds. The major benefit of these rooms is accessibility. The downside is a lack of privacy compared to upper floor rooms.
Junior Penthouse Suite
The Junior Penthouse Suite is the highest caliber of room at the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort. In addition to a larger living space compared to the standard suites, it also boasts an upper floor rooftop relaxation area. Simply walk up the stairs from your room and you have a huge rooftop area to yourself, complete with a hydromassage bath and sun loungers.
Whilst we loved the spacious layout and outdoor space in the junior penthouse suite, it seemed rather bare and less homely than the standard suite.
Overall, the rooms at Akumal Bay Beach Resort are all well located and we love the fact that every room has a view of the ocean. They’re clean, well equipped and comfortable (especially with the added pillow menu). However, we did think that the rooms could do with some modernization and refurbishment.
Our top room tips
- Ask for a room in block 1 or 2 to be within close proximity to the swimming pools, bars and restaurants. These rooms can be a little noisier on an evening but are in a great location. Blocks 3 and 4 are the quieter blocks with more privacy. Choose a block that suits you most.
- If you’re visiting for a special occasion, be sure to let the hotel know. They’re likely to make your stay extra special with a room upgrade or welcome gifts.
- Take advantage of room service at least once during your stay. The room service menu is very good and it’s included as part of your all-inclusive package.
- Penthouse suites are all on the top floor of the hotel and are a little less accessible. Keep this in mind if accessibility is important to you.
- Your room minibar is refilled every day. You can even make drink requests; simply leave a note in the fridge with a tip.
The swimming pools
You have four swimming pools to choose from at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort. Three of the pools are small infinity-edge pools, situated outside room accommodation buildings 1, 3 and 4. You then have a large main pool in the center of the resort. Whilst we found that many people utilized the beautiful beach, we personally loved the pool areas and spent plenty of time there. Here’s an overview on each:
The main swimming pool
The busiest pool with the most lively atmosphere, the main pool is an irregular shaped pool that has a deepest point of around 4ft. It also has shallow area that’s popular with children, plus three in-pool Jacuzzi baths. At various times during the day, an aerobics class takes place, which is fun to watch or partake in.
Surrounding the main pool, there’s a number of large day-bed loungers, which all have curtains to provide some shade when needed. We personally loved the luxurious feel of these loungers and they were a welcome break from the usual plastic loungers you find at a pool.
Pro-tip: The bed sun loungers were often reserved in the afternoon so arrive in the morning to guarantee yourself a great pool spot.
Finally, the main pool is served by two bars; the snack/pool bar and sushi and champagne bar. It’s also a great place to receive waiter/waitress service to your lounger.
The three smaller swimming pools
These are located outside of accommodation buildings 3 and 4, and between buildings 1 and 2. During our stay, these were some of the quietest places to relax. They’re great for an early morning swim, or to cool down in the sun with a drink late-afternoon. As there are only a handful of wooden lounger chairs at each pool, you won’t find many people utilizing these pools. Therefore, you may have the whole swimming pool to yourself!
The quietest of the three infinity pools is the one that’s located outside building number 4.
Pro-tip: If you’re struggling to find a sun lounger, check each of these three smaller swimming pools. There are times throughout the day when they’re completely empty.
The all-inclusive experience
Akumal Bay Beach Resort, like many of Mexico’s beach hotels, is an all-inclusive only hotel. That means that all food, snacks and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) is included for the entirety of your stay. As you’ll read below, the all-inclusive experience is particularly excellent at this hotel. So much so, you’ll be tired of eating and drinking by the time you leave!
All hotel guests are given an all-inclusive band on check-in, which you have to keep on your wrist for the duration of your stay.
There are 6 bars on offer at the Akumal Bay Beach Resort, so you’ll never be a few steps away from a refreshing drink. Some are located inside the hotel, near the restaurants, and others are right by the beach, with different opening hours. Here’s an overview for each bar:
In addition to the bars above, drink service is available throughout the hotel. Simply ask one of the waiters and waitresses as they pass by. We found drink service on offer whilst sitting on a sun lounger at the main pool, the hotel beach area, main interior bar and lobby area (by reception).
Overall drink quality is fairly good, but drink presentation could do with some improvement, especially during the day at the pool bars. Evening drinks tend to be better quality.
The Lobby Bar
If you want to relax in the shade during the day or just want some peace and quiet away from the beach and pool area, The Lobby Bar is the place to go. Pull up a stool at the bar or sit in the hotel lobby area on a secluded table.
This bar has one of the best selections of drinks, all served up with more care and presentation compared to the plastic cups used at the beach bars. Enjoy a pre-dinner drink, post dinner nightcap or a fancy cocktail at any time of the day. The dimly lit ambience on an evening is very cool!
Lobby bar #2
Whilst open all day, with its spacious seating area and nice views of the hotel grounds, the second lobby bar is best enjoyed on an evening. From sunset onwards, there’s often live music, bands, dancing and other entertainment options. The bar is lit up with glowing orange mood lighting and there’s always a good atmosphere.
The only downside to the bar is a lack of seating on an evening. If you don’t arrive in time to grab a seat, you won’t be able to enjoy the entertainment.
The bar itself is well stocked with drink options and is a good place to relax in the shade during the day.
Outdoor snack/pool bar
The outdoor snack and pool door is one of the bars you’ll probably use the most during your stay. It serves a wide range of drinks, from cocktails, spirits, beers and wines, to water, soft drinks, coffees, milkshakes, plus anything else you can think of. Its central resort location serves those relaxing at the main swimming pool or beach.
It also serves up tasty hot and cold snacks throughout the day, which we found to be very good compared to other hotels we’ve stayed in. Choose from hot dishes such as burgers, pasta, hotdogs, tacos and nachos, or help yourself to the cold salad bar. Ice cream, yoghurts and various other desserts are available.
Sushi and Champagne Bar
Our personal favorite, the champagne and sushi bar, is a relaxation area with a balcony terrace that overlooks the beach. The sushi chef is very skilled and will serve up as much sushi as you wish This is all included in the all-inclusive experience.
This bar is a great place for your morning coffee, or to enjoy a sunset drink and snack before retreating to your room to get ready for dinner. The bar is fully stocked and the staff are very friendly.
Beach Bar #1
For anyone relaxing by the infinity swimming pool outside of accommodation buildings 1 and 2, or within easy access from the beach, this beach bar is perfect. It sits on the sand right by the beach entrance and is open from 10am every day. It serves up all of the usual cocktail mixes, spirits and beers. However, you’ll need to visit the snack bar for drinks such as coffees, milkshakes and anything unusual.
We personally loved pulling up a stool and chilling out at this bar during the day.
Beach Bar #2
This is a second beach bar with the exact same tiki-bar layout as the above beach bar. It’s located between accommodation buildings 3 and 4, also overlooking the beach front.
View the bar menu on the official hotel website here to get a taste of the drinks on offer.
Main Buffet Restaurant
The main buffet restaurant is a spacious restaurant that’s themed much like the rest of the hotel, with wooden furnishings, a tropical style and a tall thatched roof. It also overlooks the beach front, providing some stunning views to enjoy your morning coffee. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here every day.
Food-wise, you’re spoilt for choice with the dishes on offer. Dishes change every day and they’re always cooking up something new, alongside a few favorites that appear each day. We were thoroughly impressed with the food at the buffet and enjoyed every meal we had here. The service was also excellent.
Pro-tip: the only downside to the buffet restaurant is that it can get busy. Therefore, we recommend visiting for an early or late breakfast, and arriving after 8pm for dinner. We found lunch to be quiet no matter the time.
The four a la carte restaurants
All a la carte restaurants at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort are ‘turn up only’, meaning that you can’t reserve a table in advance. We found this system to work particularly well and we often found a table on an evening, even if we had to wait for half an hour or so.
You can visit the a la carte restaurants on an evening as much as you like. They’re an alternative to the buffet restaurant and don’t incur any additional cost.
Pro-tip: Arrive early when the restaurants open (6pm), or later in the evening (after 8:30pm) for the best chance of securing a table. We also recommend having a back-up restaurant option in mind in case you can’t get a table at your first choice.
Lima Peruvian Restaurant (a la carte)
We hadn’t experienced much Peruvian cuisine before visiting Lima restaurant, so we didn’t know what to expect. This small a la carte option has indoor and outdoor seating and a formal presentation. The waiter service is excellent and it’s a great place for couples to spend the evening.
Enjoy 3 courses, a welcome drink and anything else you wish in this vibrant dining location. The spicy ceviche is to die for, and you can’t miss the deconstructed chocolate dessert. Dishes are memorable, delicious and unique. We ended up visiting twice we liked it so much!
Alux Contemporary Mexican Restaurant
You can’t visit Mexico without trying the local cuisine! Although the main buffet restaurant has plenty of good Mexican dishes, the Alux a la carte restaurant is the place to visit for a thrilling 3-course meal that’s full of flavor. The indoor ambience, décor and traditional music of the restaurant will give you an authentic dining experience.
We found Alux to have good quality food and we loved the decorative outfits of the waiters and waitresses.
If you’ve ever been to a Brazilian rodizio restaurant, you’ll know exactly what to expect at this restaurant. Take your seat in the dimly lit beach restaurant and welcome an entourage of courses to your table. Carved steaks, chorizo, chicken, pork and other dishes are served at your table by a ‘Passador’. And you can eat as much as you like! There’s also a buffet cart for cold salad options.
The Rodizio is a meat lovers dream but isn’t recommended for vegetarians due to the limited veggie dishes. It’s one of the most romantic restaurants at Akumal Beach Resort, and one you certainly need to build up an appetite for!
K’ooben Fine Dining Restaurant
K’ooben is the place to dine for a taste of the finer things in life. Indulge in a multi-course menu of varied dishes that are inspired by cuisine from around the world. This restaurant has is a more sophisticated dining experience compared to the other restaurants and it’s expected for you to dress up in formal wear.
Dishes are beautifully presented and full of flavor. As the restaurant is very small, it has an intimate, romantic feel. We personally recommend sitting outside.
Akumal beach area
The absolute best thing about Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is, you guessed it, its amazing beach location. As the hotel’s name suggests, it’s situated right on a quiet section of Akumal Beach, the infamous home of sea turtles and one of Mexico’s best snorkeling locations.
The open-plan layout of the resort means that you can access the beach within a matter of minutes. Pull up one of the resort sun loungers and relax all day long on this beautiful stretch of Caribbean sand. The beach is the most popular place to relax at the hotel so it can get busy, so arrive early morning for the best spots.
Go for a swim, snorkel, play volleyball, sunbathe or join a free paddleboarding tour. There’s enough going on here to keep you entertained all day, with regular drink service to your lounger.
Pro-tip: As per hotel policy, towel reservation of sun loungers isn’t allowed, but everyone does it anyway. We really weren’t a fan of this! Be sure to secure your loungers with towels before 8am and then head straight to breakfast.
The snorkeling experience
Snorkeling is the highlight of any visit to Akumal and this hotel is the perfect place to get the full experience. Many visitors actually stay here solely for the snorkeling! Within only 100m from the shoreline and hotel private beach, there’s a number of coral reefs that are teaming with tropical fish. You then have stingrays scouring the ocean floor and sections of sea grass that are popular eating spots for the sea turtles.
We recommend bringing your own snorkeling gear if you can (we use this full face mask from Amazon). However, you can also rent gear at the hotel’s very own snorkeling and dive shack. The shack is located between the beach and pool area. Rental is free for one hour, or you can reserve an item of equipment for 100 pesos for 24 hours. Choose from a snorkel, life jacket, fins, or the full set.
It’s worth noting that snorkeling is restricted on Akumal Beach, so you can’t swim past the line of buoys that are 100m from the shoreline. You can see some amazing sea life within this area, but to give yourself the best chance of seeing the sea turtles, we recommend booking onto a tour further along the beach.
Evening entertainment is one area where we thought Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort could really improve. The hotel website advertises nightly entertainment such as Mariachi, live bands and singers. However, we found that the music was a little cheesy most nights and wasn’t the quality we expected. We personally would have preferred more traditional music and less pop/rock.
The other downside to the live entertainment was the lack of seating in the bar area. It’s rare to find a table for the entertainment unless have an early dinner and arrive earlier in the evening.
Nevertheless, the hotel provides live music every evening, which is worth checking out if you can secure a table.
The spa area at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is really something special! Located in its own outhouse building across the road from the main hotel, the spa is a tropical retreat that’s surrounded by bamboo trees, wooden décor and a huge Buddha statue.
It features an outdoor plunge pool, sauna room, steam room, changing facilities and separate spa treatment rooms. It’s a great place to relax for an hour after the gym, taking advantage of the hot and cold therapy circuit. You don’t need to book the general spa facilities, but you will need to book treatments at the spa front desk. Treat yourself to a massage, facial or full body spa experience!
We visited the gym 5 times during our stay and had a good workout every time. The gym is located right next to the spa area, in a high-rooved hut building that’s similar to the rest of the hotel grounds. It’s well equipped, but the equipment is very dated and it could do with an update. You should manage to get a good workout in regardless.
You don’t need to book the gym; simply turn up whenever you wish and register your room number.
Pro-tip: Wear mosquito repellant if visiting the gym late afternoon/early evening.
Being a beach wellness resort, Yoga is the perfect activity to enjoy, especially when it’s overlooking the beach! The Yoga studio at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is a wooden shack that’s located to the very far end of Akumal Beach, in a quiet corner of the hotel. They host frequent yoga classes throughout the day and anyone can join. It’s the perfect way to start or end your day at the beach.
As avid tennis players, we always try to get a game in if the hotel has a tennis court, and this trip was no different. Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort has a modern tennis court just outside the main entrance to the hotel. It’s completely free to use, and equipment rental is also free. Simply book a slot at reception, preferably the day before you want to play.
Pro-tip: There’s no shade at the tennis court so we recommend playing early evening as the sun goes down, or first thing on a morning.
A unique way to experience Akumal Bay is to hop onto a paddle boat and take to the seas, glancing at the coral reef below and trying to spot the local sea life. You can either rent a paddleboard from the hotel beach and go on your own adventure. Alternatively, and our personal favorite, join a guided tour with one of the hotel instructors and they’ll take you on paddleboarding trip.
Whilst we didn’t partake during our visit, the hotel offers various dance classes once a day, usually in the afternoon. Join a class to learn dances such as Merengue, Cumbia, Salsa, Bachata, Reggaetón and Cha cha chá. You can try something different every day of the week!
Other Useful details
Complimentary parking is available a short walk from the reception area of the hotel. If arriving by car, you’ll first need to enter the grounds through a gated area and tell the guard your reservation details.
High speed internet is available across the hotel, in every single area, including the beach. We used the Wifi a lot during our stay and found it to be very reliable. You can connect to the network without a password.
Concierge services at the hotel include pillow menus, taxi bookings, babysitting services, laundry, currency exchange, car rental, wake up calls and all of the other usual services you’d expect at a 5-star hotel. We found the front desk to be very friendly and helpful.
If you want to explore the wider Riviera Maya and beyond (and you definitely should), you can book tours with a third party tour service. The tours desk is located right next to reception and is operated throughout the day up until late afternoon.
We personally didn’t use the tours service, but it often appeared busy and is well regarded on Tripadvisor. Tours range from ruins adventures to Chitzen Itza and Coba, to cenotes, Xcaret Park and multi-stop day trips.
Tipping isn’t expected at the hotel and staff didn’t seem to change service without tips, however we do recommend that you share your appreciation for good service. Based on our experience and what we’ve read, 20 pesos or so for every round of drinks and 100 – 150 pesos for a la carte meal is typical. During our stay, we also tipped 40 pesos per day for housekeeping.
Tip as much or as little as you like – it varies from person to person. We found the staff at Akumal Bay Beach Resort to be extremely friendly and hard-working.
Summary and review score 5/5
Looking at Tripadvisor’s glowing reviews for the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort, it’s clear that the hotel has an overwhelming appreciation and is one of the top-rated hotels on the Riviera Maya. Many people fall in love with the beach settings and relaxing vibes of the hotel, and that’s exactly what won us over. It’s welcoming, staff are amazingly friendly and it lacks the ‘in your face’ luxury of other 5-star hotels. The food variety, quality and range of a la carte restaurants will keep you entertained for as long as you wish and you’ll really miss it when you head back home.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at ABBR and can’t wait to return! With a few improvements and some modernisation, we can see it being one of the best hotels we’ve ever visited (and we’ve visited a lot of hotels!).
- The lush jungle grounds and tropical wooden décor are visually stunning. You’ll feel like you’re living in the jungle!
- The staff at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort are outstanding! They work hard every day and go above and beyond to be friendly to guests and make you feel welcome. There’s a good chance you’ll get to know many of the staff individually throughout your stay.
- The beach-side location on Akumal Bay is the star attraction of the hotel. You can reach the shoreline from your room in less than a minute and the stretch of beach the hotel is located on is idyllic.
- On a similar note, the snorkeling and paddleboarding activities on offer will make your vacation. How many destinations can you swim out to see the sea turtles within 100m of the shoreline? You’ll want to make the most of this every single day.
- Whilst rated 5-stars, Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort lacks the luxurious finish of other similarly rated resorts and could do with modernization in some areas (gym and rooms most notably).
- We were disappointed with the evening entertainment on offer. Evening traditional Mexican music (instead of cheesy rock and pop) would be well received.
- Drink quality was very reasonable, but drinks were poor in comparison to other 5-star hotels we’ve visited. Better presentation and better quality spirits would improve drinks significantly.
That concludes our Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort guide and review. We hope you found it helpful and can use it to help plan your next trip. The hotel is a great choice for anyone looking to visit Akumal and if you can get a good deal, the value for money is excellent. Especially considering the Secrets Hotel next door can cost double the price!
If you have any questions about Akumal Bay Beach Resort, be sure to let us know in the comment section below. 😊
Check out our other Akumal travel guides:
By RickyAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.