For starters, I cannot say enough positive things about Hidden Beach Resort and it's sister resort El Dirato. We wanted a change from ClubO so we decided to check it out.
From the moment we sat down to check in, until the moment we left, the service and attention to their guests were excellent. We only spent 4 nights there to find out more about the resort as a second choice to ClubO and there were things we love about both.
This intimate resort attracts middle to upper class guests and is laid out very well and very private.....far exceeding that of ClubO. Although the rates may seem high, it's worth it. The food is superb and served with a smile. Each employee will know, and remember, your name through your entire stay.
The staff will bend over backwards to accomodate you and not expect anything in return. Although tips were included, I did not hestitate to tip a little extra to those who worked hard to provide a good time. For instance, if someone sees you carrying your plate from the buffet table, they will rush to take it from your hands and bring it to your table. Another...I wanted a quick cup of coffee, but it was still brewing. I said I would return in a few minutes. I didn't have to! A waitress found me lying on the beach minutes later and brought it to me! One more, and this was the best...Theresa, another waitress, knew we were drinking champagne. She was constantly checking to see if we needed some anywhere we were planted on the resort...and I mean anywhere. She even went to the resort next door to get some when HBR ran out of stock. One night, she brought a bottle and glasses down the beach where my wife and I were having a massage. You can't asked for more than that!
You can eat like a king and as much as you want. You will definately have more than one waiter waiting on you for each meal. Reports said service was slow, but I never felt it was. Only once did we ask for our frig to be restocked and it wasn't. A very minor inconvienence. There is a restaurant, but most guests ate around the pool for each meal. The pool bar is huge and the drinks are made very tasty and quickly. Bring some cd's for music and they will be happy to play them for you there and at the disco. I left two there myself, as I knew they needed some Buffett music.
The guests ranged from farm owners and doctors to surgeons and law enforcement people.
Everyone was very friendly and never too rowdy. One could keep to themselves or join in on the pool games or conversation by the pool bar.
The entertainment ranged from ceramic and Spanish lessons to body painting and Marti Gra night.
I do not believe HBR is for swingers or lifestyle people as we did not see anything like that going on.
Two activity staff employees encouraged the guests to join in on a variety of things throughout the day and evening. Pool volleyball, feeding the fish or stretch classes were among the few.
A local trio played music throughout dinner on a few nights and they were excellent. They took requests and also invited both my wife and I to sing a couple of tunes. Some people danced around the dinner tables.
The DJ at night kept a crowd in the Disco until around 1am or 2am. We took advantage of a few dances and a couple of games of pool each night.
Choosing a swim up room is the best way to go. It's close to everything and has a nice view of the resort and ocean. Walk out of your room and plunge!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with cool face cloths and a glass of champaign. After a quick orientation, we were brought to our room.
The free bar dispenser in the room may be great for some, but the pool bar was right in reach, so I really didn't use it more than once!. It contained scotch, rum, tequila and vodka.
The bed is huge in height and length. The bathroom has a huge tub and plenty of room for two.
The restaurant ice and water are safe! We took zipro just in case and had no problem. You will use a lot of bottled water to brush your teeth and such, as the tap is not drinkable.
There is a sign in the bathroom to that effect.
The room also has a room safe that was quite big enough for all our valuables.
After unpacking, we headed for the hot tub. It was late afternoon and just about everyone was in it. It was a great opportunity to meet other guests. We checked out the beach area which is not swimmable, but great for sunning and lounging.
We did end up in one of the covered cabanas until 2am on two evenings....asleep!
If you would like to secure a cabana for the day, get up at 6am and put your towels on them.
They go very fast.
The disco was perfect for us as we like to dance. Bring some cds if you want to hear something special. They also had karoke which was a little lame compared to the states.
One of our five days was spent in Playa Del Carmen to shop. A waste of time if you ask me and we would never return. Things were cheap looking and everything looked the same! It wasn't half as good as St. Martin.
Another half day was spent at Tulum. I think that trip was worth the money and would recommend it for a half day. We were going to go to Chitzanitza but that was 159 miles away. Knowing that the bus would probably stop at several hotels along the way, one would have to blow an entire day.
My advice...get someone private and arrange a group on your own.
Our other days were spent around the pool, in the hot tub, eating fantastically and getting four great massages on the beach.
We did not venture over to the resort next door as we had everything to make us happy at HBR.
The El Dorato has several desks for excursions to just about everywhere in Mexico. It has many reps working with each guest and, at times, looked like a travel trade show in progress. This is where you can book excursions to the Mayan ruins, rental cars, snorkeling etc. You must experience the massage on the beach for two. We did it twice.
Upon leaving, we strolled to the front reception area with our luggage. A staff member came rushing to greet us and took them from us. HBR could not replace ClubO because both are ideal.
HBR has less guests. It is more romantic and intimate. It is cleaner and has extemely better cuisine and staff services. Being all inclusive does not necessarily make it more expensive than St. Martin. You will get your monies worth. I think the entertainment at night is slightly better than ClubO and Papagayos. The food definately is. The pool and hot tub are a plus. No gawkers or black socks from cruise ships will pass you by.
ClubO, on the other hand, has the beautiful beach, the Tiko Tiko and the beach bars and shops. St. Martin, in general, has Phillipsburg, Marigot, Grand Case restaurants and more water sports close by.
We will definately return to HBR and stay longer.