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We had a wonderful opportunity to visit Book Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort, in Puerto Morelos last week. From the short (25 minute) professionally handled commute (from Cancun airport) to the opening greetings by all the staff of “welcome home” we knew we were in for something special. Pearl is a small hotel but opulent. It has the wow factor. Its goal is to be the most exclusive couples resort in the Caribbean. In that it succeeds, at least in our experience.

The staff are superbly trained to be attentive yet give you the space you wish. Some guests wish to very interactive, some are looking for a holiday of solitude and reconnection. It is a hotel that pledges to encourage you to be whomever you wish to be. From the very sexy and flirty to the simply elegant and private. There are only 88 rooms, with 12 of them being elaborate suites, and the hotel boasts 240 staff. The room are very comfortable, well appointed and large. The grounds are immaculate and eco-sensitive. There are multiple restaurants serving a variety of meals. The resort has 5-star amenities throughout.

What differentiates Pearl from other resorts is the emphasis on couples. (Singles are not allowed reservations). Pearl attracts a very loyal clientele that wish to be sensuous. Nudity around the pool is common but very relaxed during the daytime. Restaurant dress code at this time of day is simple and casual. In fact, with the very active and engaged animation and bar staff, the resort resembles top end fun destinations throughout the Caribbean from sun up until about 4pm. However, after 4 the focus transfers to more adult interests. The large hot tub comes alive with a laughter filled happy hour (the swim up bar staff are fantastic). Couples still have quiet space if desired but most are actively engaged in conversation. While there are no clothes to be seen in the hot tub, dress is very elegant for dinner and many couples have complete costumes for the nightly theme dances that include nautical, western, and neon nights.

Dinner is very elegant if you choose the Pearl restaurant. You may also choose a very cozy gastro bar for tapas or a larger common dining room. No matter where you go, the clothing is eye popping. You end up knowing the names of the serving staff as the level of service and interaction is so high. The word we use to describe the staff best is charming. You simply want to get to know them better.

There are some deals to be had if you pick off-season or follow the website and watch for specials. Otherwise the rack rate is very high. This is not a resort for the budget conscious. There are enticing extras such as the spa services. Or you can order special meals including one that is served on the beach where somehow you end up having a sizzling romantic encounter at the end of it – on the beach bed. Use your imagination. In fact, the hotel specializes in creating fantasy encounters. They have a senior staff member dedicated to bringing them to life. (Kind of like a wedding planner, but just for those fantasies you always wished would happen, but you had no clue where to start). Everything is done amazingly well, but make sure you are prepared for the bill when you check out.

Desire sells the feeling. The feeling of attention to detail and that you are important. You also feel very safe in the resort. In fact, if you stay on the resort for your entire trip, we don’t have any reservations about saying that safety should not be a concern at all when selecting Pearl as a holiday destination. This area of Mexico is well patrolled and very tourist focused. There is a safe in each room and guards on duty everywhere. If you wander the grounds at night, the only sounds you hear coming from the bushes are small local animals, the most predominant being little raccoons. The resort also sells the feeling of community. Everybody wants to belong to a group and you quickly feel like the other guests are your people.

If you prefer to focus on your partner and just be silly, the Saturday afternoon foam party in the pool is not to be missed. Jello shots are distributed during the swim and it is an opportunity to watch a hundred adults turn into children again. Or you can find a quiet pool side bed and focus on your partner in other ways…..so many choices.

Like any destination, there are downsides. The hot tub can be overwhelming for a first timer just dipping a toe into nudism or lifestyle activities. Expect to be approached by folks who may be fueled by liquid courage and who may not display appropriate decorum. Also expect to see sexual activities front and center. (On the flip side, if you are trying to decide between Desire Pearl and Desire Riviera Maya, the people we interviewed were unanimous in stating Pearl was the quieter and less aggressive of the two resorts).

We would also recommend sandals with good tread. We found the tile and polished concrete around the pool area to be slippery after heavy rainfalls. The staff works extraordinarily hard in keeping the water off these surfaces but just be aware.

Pearl sells plans of pre-paid nights. We were very surprised with the number of guests who had purchased the plans. To a person, everyone was thrilled. They wanted to be part of something, and generally the story was the same. They had traveled around, tried a bunch of other places and decided Pearl was home. The feeling was if this is where they planned on returning annually (or more often), then it was better to have a discount and some perks. We truly could not find anybody with buyers remorse.

If you are looking for an opportunity to spark up your relationship in a big way, or dip a toe in the world of sensuous and flirty adventures then this is definitely the place. You are immediately surrounded by friends. As the manager told us “Mexico is about people”. Talking with hundreds of guests and staff over a week, at least in this gorgeous slice of the Yucatan, it would be very hard to disagree.

Sue McGarvie & Blaik Spratt