Valentin is set on a long cove of beach in Playa Secreto between Mayan Palace and El Dorado Royale. They own alot of beachfront property and have plans to build five phases to the hotel. The sand is soft and the water clear with shades of blue or green depending on the day. There is some surf and at times large waves - again ...more or less depending on weather and storms. This not calm Playa del Carmen-like water.....Don't wear your hat or sunglasses in......the ocean may claim them.
It's not possible to swim directly in front of the oceanfront suites or the restaurant - too much coral, but if you walk a few hundred yards north toward El Dorado, there is a fine stretch of easy to enter beach. There are about 100 palapas strung along the beach at this time (February 2008) and more being constructed. The most popular ones are in front of the beachside restaurant, accessible via walking from the pool. There are more palapas beyond the water sports shop where access to the water is sandy. If you want more peace and quiet or privacy, the section near building #9 oceanfront is usually sparsely occupied, but there is no access to the water again because of the coral. The bar servers also do not come to this area, but we did see some guests with a champagne cooler with wine and others with soda and beer from their minibar.
The beachbars are not yet fully operational, but waiters do take order and serve drinks and limimted food. Around 12:30PM they come around with trays of finger foods, fruit, small wraps, poppers, onion rings, skewers of beef and chicken and fried Calamari - A nice touch. Hopefully there will be some left by the time they reach your lounges if you got up a bit late and your spot is away from the main center.
Towels are plentiful and you don't have to sign for them. There are lots of lounges, but if you want a shady spot, you must be an early riser. By 8AM on most days all were taken. Guests placed books and shoes on them before breakfast, especially on days of high occupancy. After lunch, again you had a chance of getting shade - Most people made their way to the pool for the afternoon.
One problem that I found, was that all orders took about 45 minutes or so - they do come along with trays of pre-made pina coladas, beer and daiquris for the taking. One day we order a pizza and after an hour, we decided to go to the restaurant. Unfortunately, there is nowhere - at least yet - to grab a quick burger, hot dog or salsa and chips for a quick bite in your bathing suit. You must cover up and go to the ala carte restaurant beachside or take a long walk to the buffet restaurant - which has better offerings. They grill steaks, chicken and fish to order and have at least three pasta choices, pizza and a carvery.
Activities on the beach......walking - you can walk probably over a mile in each direction. Best to carry along something to drink - the resorts along this beach are either all inclusive or cashless. You cannot purchase any refreshments. A couple of times a day a group forms to play volleyball and the watersports center has complimentary Hobies and kayaks. Wave runner and parasailing incur a fee. A little difficult to get out past the surf because of the coral and wave action, but the staff is helpful.