#MyUnicoExperience at the New UNICO 20°87° All-Inclusive Resort

My UNICO 20°87° All-Inclusive Resort Experience



I was recently invited down to experience the brand new UNICO 20°87° All-Inclusive Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. This resort had been on my radar for several months now as it's been generating a lot of buzz in the travel industry. So when I was asked if I wanted to come down and check it out for myself, I jumped at the opportunity. I expected to come down for a few days and see a beautiful resort that would be a great new resort option in Riviera Maya to offer my clients. What I didn't expect was to be so genuinely WOW'ed by this property. Unico in Spanish translates to essentially mean "only" or like "unique". This property fits that description completely.

When we first arrived and exited the airport we found the "Hard Rock" reps wearing the maroon shirts. We knew to go to them since Hard Rock Riviera Maya and Hard Rock Cancun are both owned by the same parent company - AIC Hotel Group. So just a tip, if you don't see anyone holding a UNICO 20°87° sign- look for the Hard Rock sign/t-shirts. 

We were first off of the plane and didn't check any luggage, so we did have to wait a few minutes, but not long at all. Barely even long enough to pop over to the Margaritaville stand outside of the airport to grab a drink. But that wasn't necessary because the first "wow" of the trip was when we realized UNICO 20°87° gave us private transfers complete with water, soda and/or beer and complimentary WiFi for the hour+ long drive to the resort. My favorite part was the UNICO playlist that played the entire drive which helped us relax and get into the mood for our stay. It's actually a UNICO2087 playlist you can find on Spotify.



We were incredibly comfortable the entire trip and would HIGHLY recommend the private transfers to our clients going forward. However, if you don't want to spend a little extra on that, we also had a chance to check out UNICO's shared transfer van one afternoon. It's comfortable and offers the same refreshment amenities, music, and WiFi.

When we arrived we were given cold towels immediately- pretty standard for luxury all-inclusive resorts- then ushered inside to the lobby which gave us our second "wow" moment of the trip. On first impression, "unique" was exactly how I would describe it.

You first walk into the main lobby and there is the check out area immediately to your left. We were brought to the comfy couch and seated while the concierge check you in.


The concierge got us all set up while someone came around and gave us a refreshing (and very delicious) drink from the bar.

While we sipped our drinks, the concierge brought us a sample of three scents to smell, then he asked us to pick the one we liked the best as that would be the scent housekeeping used in our room. It was hard to pick just one!


Right behind the wall is the lobby bar is a lounge area where guests can hang out. During our stay we saw guests there playing billiards, card games, chess, reading books, or just hanging around the bar sampling some of the artistic creations by the mixologist. In the evenings guests would hang out at the lobby bar and there would be live music playing.

Once we were checked in, Livi, our Anfitrión (or "Local Host" as they are also known) came to greet us. The Local Host is available to make your spa and tour appointments, pack and unpack luggage, order your room service, draw you a bath, etc. Basically anything you may need during your stay, you can reach out to them. But the best part is, you don't need to call them- all you have to do is download the free UNICO 20°87° app on your smart phone and everything you need will be right there in the app for you. You'll be able to schedule spa appointments, order food and drinks (to your room, pool, or beach), make dinner reservations (only restaurant that needs reservations are for the hibachi tables at Mura House), etc. Basically anything and everything you need can be done at the click of a button:

Now, here is my honest feedback of this app. I'm a social person and I love being able to get on an app to do stuff like this. I wish more resorts had features like this. But, with all apps comes bugs and quirks. UNICO is no different when it comes to that. I got pretty frustrated on day one when I tried to make dinner and spa reservations and were having issues doing that. I would have loved for Livi to give us a quick rundown on how the app works since some features were "in hiding" and took a while to play around with to figure out. 

I highly recommend you download the app before you arrive to get familiar with it, and make sure to do the Pre-Arrival form. This will help the resort prepare for your arrival and get you all set up. You can also pre-arrange things like tours and spa treatments so you don't arrive to find nothing available which is also something I now realize in hindsight. But at least you can learn from my mistakes.

Either way, kudos to UNICO for accomplishing something I've been desperately wanting other luxury resort brands to offer their guests. It brought their service to a whole other level and despite the kinks that have to be worked out, I know they're evolving and fixing it every day and for that I'm highly impressed. I was also very impressed with the fact that the minute we walked in the front door of the lobby I was able to connect via the resort's complimentary WiFi. I didn't even have to be checked-in as a guest. For someone who has to always stay connected for work, this was a huge plus in my book.

Okay... so back to our experience... 

Livi told us our room wasn't ready, which we expected since we arrived before 3pm local time which is the official check-in time. She suggested we go have lunch at 20°87°, the only buffet restaurant on property. We were pretty famished, so we agreed and she led us over there- giving us a tour of the resort as we walked. This resort is visually stunning. Just walking from the lobby to the restaurant was a treat. 
View of the entry level rooms- swim up suites.



It's not a large resort but it also doesn't feel cramped or like the buildings are on top of each other, which is a good thing. Sometimes smaller resorts tend to feel crowded but this resort was almost at maximum capacity while we were there and it still felt pretty empty.

Once at the restaurant we got seated immediately right by the window. First thing I noticed were these hanging chair swings in the restaurant where guests can "hang around" and relax to cool down from being outside. Later on in our trip we came back here just to chill for a little while. Very comfortable and a great idea!


Buffet restaurant tables.
Buffet

I know the restaurants are brand new, but I just loved the decor and design. It wasn't my husband's taste, and isn't mine either in terms of how we'd decorate at home but for this resort and for Mexico it was a very interesting blend of designs making it live up to it's name of being "unique".

The food, no matter where we ate, was good. Definitely some of the best food we've had in Mexico. I love the variety of dining options too.

There was a cafe off the lobby where you could get sandwiches (not a large variety but they did have a panini press), pastries and coffee.


Authentic Mexican restaurants. Not Tex-Mex but actual real Mexican food that you'd get if you left property and visited local places.

 

Of course they had our favorite, Japanese hibachi, which sadly we didn't get a chance to try. :( But we did sit down and dine at a table there and the food was excellent even when it wasn't cooked in front of us.


Or you can sit at the Sushi bar and dine there too.


If you're in the mood for Italian there is a delicious Italian restaurant on property that we dinned at the last night. Wished we had been there longer because I'm sitting here writing this and my mouth is watering thinking about how delicious that food was.

Food presentation was also on point!
Appetizer at Mi Casa (Italian restaurant).

Appetizer at Mura House (Japanese restaurant).

My favorite part of dinner at Cueva Siete (the Mexican restaurant) was when they brought the tequila cart around and custom crafted a special drink just for each person who wanted one. No matter what bar you went to on property, the drinks were freshly made and made with care, as if each were "unique" to every guest. Even at the swim up pool bar my frozen strawberry margarita tasted like fresh frozen blended strawberries instead of a pre-made mix like most frozen margarita machines use.




The service was also stellar! Everything you asked for was met with a "no problem" or "of course" or "my pleasure".  Bartenders, pool staff, wait staff, etc. were all smiling and greeted you as you walked by.





By the time we finished eating it was time to go to our room. I think I was most excited for this moment because we'd been up since 3am and I was ready to take a nice long nap before dinner. Upon entering we noticed how "unique" the decor was. Livi told us all about how everything in the room was locally made and not imported in, which was a very nice touch. 






I was so ready to hop right into this or the bed, but the bed won the battle.
Even the complimentary in-room toiletries were local.

The in-room amenities were excellent too.


An in-room steamer. Genius! 
Extra pillows in linen bags.

Cloth laundry bag.

In room bar area. There was also a mini fridge with soft drinks and water
as well as a drawer with snacks like chips and cookies!


My favorite part of our room? The robe and slippers. The robe is SO soft, like wearing a giant sweatshirt. I wish I could have bought them and taken them home with us! The slippers were velvety soft too. Also, there were hats in the room that were locally made and were a gift for us. Every room gets them which I thought was another lovely "unique" touch.

I miss this robe so much...

After Livi explained everything to us and left, we got into our robes right away, just to test them of course. :)  Then Rob took a look at the room service menu and declared he was in heaven. On the menu was everything from quesadillas to chicken wings or tenderloin and even a whole section for "make your own dish".



I personally also loved how the smart TV knew my name! :)




The rest of our trip was full of work related things, but we did manage to get some down time. We got to explore the pop-up event by the pool which was another "unique" feature of this resort. 


They had fruit and veggies stands and food stands with different types of food to try.


One evening I got a mango pop which was basically a full (peeled) mango on a stick. They also had locally made Mexican candy and even cotton candy. Yum!


There was also live entertainment all throughout the day and into the evening at various spots around property.




And they even brought local vendors on property to make in-room gifts for guests (make sure to go to the lobby area early on during your trip and find the table to claim your complimentary gift from them).


It was also nice finding little spots for privacy to hang out and relax. There were some really beautiful spots to just sit down and watch the world pass you by for a little while.
 




The only down side to our stay was the beach. It could have just been the time we were there, but the surf was rough (there were large rocks in the water), plus it was windy on the beach, and there was some seaweed in the water. So we didn't get to go into the ocean during our short stay. That is unfortunately a common problem with the beaches in Mexico, but that didn't take away from our overall experience. From our previous trips to Mexico, we knew not to expect the beach to be incredible compared to other destinations we'd been to.
Path leading to the beach.
Beach area when looking off to the left.

 We did get a chance to tour one of the one bedroom suites. The views and spaciousness were incredible.










One of the afternoons we were able to pop into the spa for a couple's massage. One thing I LOVED about UNICO is that there are select spa treatments and tours/excursions that are INCLUDED in the room price. The only thing we had to pay was the 20% service charge for gratuity. So what normally would ave cost the two of us around $500 for a couples massage ended up only costing us $45 per person in gratuities.



We also had a chance to hang out in the spa area and experience the complimentary perks to all guests there.
Sunbathing area and hot tub in the spa courtyard.
Plunge pools inside the spa.
There was a sauna as well as a steam room (not pictured).
Salon area with included treatments.

There was also a large gym across from the salon which was open to all guests. They had included classes as well.

Sadly, we did not get to try any of the included excursions or tours because we had a packed schedule for our short 4 day stay. However, we did learn that the excursions and tours are "unique" to the resort and explore off the beaten path places with small groups of people just from the resorts, or smaller groups to popular places with separate tours, instead of large tours full of people from several resorts around the Riviera Maya/Cancun area. I saw options like "swim with the dolphins" and "Chichen Itza with a cenote swim" or "snorkeling reef park" or "dine and sail". Lots of options were included and I only wish we had been able to try at least one of them to report back on the experience.

We did make sure to spend some quality time during our down time at the pools. My favorite pool was the "quiet" pool, which had been less quiet that week because of the Elvis Duran show being down there doing a live radio event that weekend. But it would be the perfect pool to grab a book and relax by. Plus I love looking at the blue water.


There were two other pools there as well which we were able to enjoy briefly. They had bottoms that looked like black rocks, which I normally don't like because it darkens the pool, but it looked very nice and again... "unique".




There were plenty of comfy pool loungers to be found and the minute you went to sit down on one a staff member rushed over to set it up for you to cover it with towels and make it extra comfortable, then to take your drink order for you.



Even the towels had a reminder that you didn't have to get up for anything, they'll come to you. Just use your app. Love it!


The drinks at the swim up bars were delicious and I could have spent all day laying in the pool enjoying the sun and sipping on margaritas... well, actually, I did just that. :)

They even gave out pineapple drinks IN pineapples and coconut drinks in UNICO branded coconuts!

And if you were lucky enough to score one of the UNICO floats that looked like this, it makes for a great vacation photo op. ;)


There were also pools in the swim-up suites but those were only open to guests in that room block with the swim out rooms. If we are lucky enough to go back to UNICO soon, we'd definitely consider booking this room because we love the idea of a swim out suite! In ALL our years of travel we've never actually stayed in one, and this would be a great place to try it since the swim out rooms are actually the lowest priced entry rooms. Most places the swim out suites cost more than entry level rooms, so this is a great deal.


At night, after a day of relaxing in the sun and pool, there were plenty of options. After a delicious dinner you could go have drinks Bar Balam in the lobby while listening to live music from local artists. You could head over to the Palmera Lounge (inspired by the Cuban clubs of the 1940's) for more live entertainment and delicious drinks. There are also pop up events by the pool with live music. The best part is, the UNICO App on your phone will alert you to what is going on, and where to find it.

Or, if you're not into staying out late and drinking, coming back to your room after dinner to find your room turned down and complimentary chocolates is always a treat too. :)


All-in-all, #MyUnicoExperience was a pretty incredible one. This resort lives up to it's name, it's "unique" and one-of-a-kind for sure and I definitely recommend you check it out if you're looking for an adult's only all-inclusive resort in Mexico that feels off the beaten path and different from the large resort experiences you'd find further North or in the Cancun area.





I hope that this blog recap of #MyUnicoExperience was helpful for you. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or if you are considering booking this property, I would love the opportunity to work with you. My help booking you is 100% free! You can request my help at myparadiseplanner.com/help or email me directly at kira@myparadiseplanner.com. I hope to be able to help you all! :)

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