Hidden Beach is in a class by itself. Set along the Riviera Maya about 75 minutes drive from the Cancun airport, Hidden Beach is a small 42 room, five-star, all-inclusive, upscale resort attached to the El Dorado Seaside Suites. The price per room ranged from $450 to $800 a night on their website, but there are deals to be had if you joined a nude travel group or sought out tour operators. Based on this price point Hidden Beach is the highest priced naturist resort we’ve found in the Caribbean to date. However, what they do, they do exceptionally well. The rooms are beautifully appointed (we stayed in a spectacular second floor dome room with a balcony) and fellow guests raved about comfort and convenience of the first level swim-up rooms.
As a rule, nudists are used to/ forced to pay 50% more for vacation rates at sun destinations than at equivalent textile resorts or hotels. It’s not fair, but that’s the reality. Nudists hate wet, sandy bathing suits and are willing to pay the premium to go without them.
You can be naked from the moment you walk through the door of the property. You are provided with an excess of towels, robes if you want, and slippers to use. Despite the heat we thought that rubber-soled slippers were important. The shiny, Mexican tile everywhere in the resort was treacherous when wet. Even the staff mentioned that they had frequently slipped. For that we would caution anyone to think twice about visiting if you are ambulatory challenged.
Hidden Beach prides itself on both the luxury of their resort and the grace of their service. The staff tries incredibly hard to meet your every need. The guests we spoke to were very happy with the service. We were over served at breakfast and dinner, with the response “it’s a pleasure” when you request anything of them. By day two the wait staff is asking if you want your usual. The staff tries hard to please, and work hard to remember your name and serve with that smiling, understated Mexican charm. The animation staff was of particular note. Outgoing and enthusiastic without being pushy, they walked the line beautifully between encouraging participation while letting those who wanted to read a book on the beach relax in the sun. Water volleyball, guided snorkeling trips, 30 person twister may be just some of the activities that happen around the pool. Playing water volleyball where everyone was laughing so hard because of the outrageous cheating was great fun. Some of the evening events included a fire show, Caribbean and world tour dancers, poker nights, karaoke, and live bands that kept the entertainment staff hopping 14 hours a day. The evening shows were held in the huge moon palapa by the beach. The palapa also provided a spectacular setting for group dinners and dancing. It should also be noted that the palapa included a hot tube that would hold 40. It was fabulous to be able to move from dancing to dinner to the hot tub while under the same roof. Our only complaint about the entertainment was that it started far too late in the evening. After a day of sun, volleyball and unlimited alcohol, most of the guests (45 plus in age) were in their rooms before the entertainment had even set up and thus the bands played for only a handful of guests.
Travel articles tend to focus on the features of a specific location and property. This resort really is as luxurious as any we’ve stayed at throughout the Caribbean. But what makes the vacation memorable is the guests. Nudists are friendlier than most any other type of group. Something about taking off your clothes makes everyone friendlier and more apt to start conversations. Eliminating clothes gets rid of pre-conceived ideas about other people and opens up the lines of communication. We were invited to join a group of 10 strangers for dinner within a few hours of our arrival. The staff immediately (and cheerfully) pulled tables together in an elegant dining area and everyone was included in the conversation. Hidden Beach even more than most naturist resorts has you making friends quickly.
For the most part the guests were couples over 40 (a majority over 50) who came from Europe, Canada, and all over the continental United States. A majority had been there before as those who like it, like it a lot. We met four couples who visited four to five times a year. They have a low-key membership package for repeaters wanting to buy extra weeks, or get their vacations discounted over a decade of visiting. Of the five couples who sat in on their presentation for the first time, three chose to become members and commit to Hidden Beach as their holiday destination for the next five years. We did mention that those who like it really, really like it. Most of these couples had frequented the now defunct Superclubs resorts in Jamaica like Grand Lido Negril, Grand Lido Braco or Hedonism III.
There are benefits to hanging naked. It makes doing fun things even better. Our favorites included hand feeding the reef fish bread from the breakfast buffet and wading into the water with the sting rays. With green and loggerhead sea turtles using the Hidden Beach waterfront as nesting grounds, many of the repeat guests had witnessed and/or aided the turtle hatchlings in their moonlight dash to the sea. The romance of sitting on a private beach swing bed watching for baby turtles under the moonlight is worth mentioning. Compared to the Maroma beach which is spectacular (El Dorado Maroma is 30 minutes drive away and is the departing location for the nude cruise which can be booked at Hidden Beach), Hidden Beach oceanfront is rough, shallow and not great for swimming. You still have the turquoise Caribbean Sea water and swaying coconut palms, but it is the community – not the beach that is what makes Hidden Beach special.
We would be remiss if we didn’t write about the food. Hidden Beach shares the property with the El Dorado Seaside Suites. The Seaside Suites is an all inclusive resort with 5 restaurants that you have complimentary access to if you feel like dressing for dinner. Having had outstanding dining experiences at the El Dorado Royale, as part of the Karisma Hotel gourmet inclusive (GI) program we had expected the same great food. This time we were disappointed. The breakfast and lunch menus at Hidden Beach had a sameness about them that was typical at all inclusive resorts but wasn’t up to the usual Karisma standards. The Seaside Suites were casual with our food allergies resulting in a bad reaction. The desserts were minimal and we had orders forgotten by room service on two occasions. On a positive note, the drinks weren’t watered down, in fact they were delicious and the bartending was outstanding.
As the repeaters keep coming back and Hidden Beach increasingly becomes the destination of choice for people who are looking for luxury naturist holidays, being naked is getting better in Mexico.