BRACEBRIDGE, ON — It’s been just over a month since travel advisor Kayla Mahon-Blake enjoyed a much-needed getaway at Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort with flights on Air Transat.
In pandemic times, a lot can change in a month. The day before Mahon-Blake departed for Mexico, the Canadian government reinstated the travel advisory, after an all-too-brief respite. And just a couple of weeks before that, the federal government announced that all air arrivals into Canada must be tested upon arrival and self-isolate pending the results.
Mahon-Blake had booked her trip long before the new restrictions were announced, and like any intrepid travel industry insider, with more than half a dozen years of retail experience under her belt, she pushed on with her travel plans.
The independent travel advisor, based in Bracebridge, ON and part of the Independent by Flight Centre network, reached out to Travelweek to share her feedback about Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort.
For anyone who can’t travel right now and just wants to hear about an industry colleague’s Mexico getaway – especially in these snowy days of mid-winter – here is Mahon-Blake’s travelogue …
“Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort was beautiful, we really enjoyed our time there. The safety protocols were quite impressive.
“The resort felt tucked away and luxurious, and the entrance when you pull up is quite grand. The modern architecture is sleek and has warm elements throughout. It is a very open resort with indoor and outdoor living.
“The restaurants at Secrets were wonderful. The Market Cafe buffet breakfast was well-equipped with an omelette and crepe station and was filled with delicious pastries. My husband and I enjoyed our morning coffee on the level 6 terrace overlooking the ocean and mountains, while we watched the sun come up.
“Our favourite lunch spot was Olio. This rooftop terrace overlooked the ocean as well and had two pools on either side. We enjoyed sushi and gyros (and Pacifico!) here for most of our lunches.
“Bordeaux is open for dinner and was our favourite spot for dinner. It has a very romantic setting and the food was mouth-watering. We savoured the flavours from the scallops, escargot and butter-like beef tenderloin. My husband, who was a chef for 12 years, personally thanked the chef for cooking such a delightful meal.
“You had to wear a mask while in enclosed spaces like restaurants and in the halls and lobbies. There was hand sanitizer everywhere, in the elevators, in the room, at the lobby desks. There were also temperature machines at every restaurant which you had to hold your hand up to each time you went into eat. All of the staff were wearing masks and were very conscious of keeping their distance.
“This resort is laid out in a U-shape and does have adults only sections, like the infinity pools, and the Secrets restaurants, however the Dreams Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort and Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resort are not separate resorts. You will come into contact with families and children.
“The beach is rocky, I tried to go in but there was too much rock for me to enjoy swimming, so if you are a surfer or enjoy the pool this is a good resort for you.
“During your time here I would highly suggest heading to Sayulita, a beautiful town about a half an hour cab ride away. The price was 600 pesos or approximately US$30 to and from the town. Sayulita is a stunningly colourful seaside town with cobblestone streets and everything you can imagine. There are many vibrant restaurants and clubs, cafes, shops and vendors everywhere you turn. The beach here is also sandy with much fewer rocks than the resort. The waves here are still pretty powerful so be cautious swimming. We went two days in a row to visit Sayulita as we fell in love with the energy!
“The resort staff really made this trip, each and every person we came into contact with was incredibly friendly, happy to help and wonderfully polite. They really wanted to ensure our stay was perfect.
“Twice while we were at the resort, the staff put on a huge party, complete with traditional Mexican dishes (buffet style), string lights hanging above, and a show.
“I would recommend this resort to clients for sure. I would say to any client who is nervous about traveling that I had no trouble whatsoever. Everyone we came into contact with on and off the resort was following the protocols that were in place. I feel like Mexico did an incredible job with keeping up with changing restrictions and keeping tourists, and themselves safe. There were thermal monitors in the airports as well and the staff was very diligent in checking that all of our paperwork was in order and that we were tested. It seems as though Mexico has adapted to this ever changing environment in a positive way.
“My return to Canada however was unorganized and none of my paperwork was checked at all. I was off the plane and at the airport exit within 20 minutes!”