Arrival: We arrived in Cancun approximately 1:30pm. Customs and luggage pick up went relatively smoothly and were at the resort by 3pm. We booked our direct flights through Westjet and our hotel package through Sunwing, which also included airport transfers to and from the resort. We found the Sunwing rep and he guided us to a shuttle van (12 passenger) waiting for us. My husband and I were the only 2 in the van. It was a quick 30 minute drive to the resort without any stops! Perfect! We were greeted with a cold cloth and a glass of champagne and a friendly “welcome home”. Heaven on Earth!
Check in is at 3 p.m., check out is 12 noon. We were pleased to learn there were no wristbands; and our room was ready upon arrival at 3. We booked a standard Spa/Pool View room but upon our arrival we were upgraded to Excellence Club in Building 7A. We were given a Resort booklet and a sheet of the daily activities and open restaurants. The bellhop took us to our room, noting things as we made our walk to our building. There were elevators in every building, but since we were on the 2nd floor we used the stairs throughout the week. We emailed the resort 1 week prior to our arrival and requested a high floor, king bed and made note of the 3 couples travelling with us that were celebrating their 25th Anniversaries. We were very pleased with our upgraded room, even though we couldn’t really see the ocean and it wasn’t on a high floor; but we were pleasantly surprised to learn that when our friends checked in they were welcomed with “Happy Anniversary” and banners on their doors….as well as champagne and fruit and towel art. We had top shelf liquor in our room (which we never opened), as well as white robes, slippers and a beach bag to use during our stay.
Rooms: Our suite was beautiful and looked exactly like all the pictures. It was on the second floor, and overlooked the pool and to our left a view of the Café Kafe courtyard. It was a large suite, with a beautiful bathroom with double sinks, huge double shower stall, and separate toilet stall, as well as a living area with sofa, coffee table, desk area and corner Jacuzzi which opens to the balcony if desired. Not sure why there is a telephone in the toilet room….for medical emergencies maybe. The room also had a coffee-maker, ice-bucket, as well as an alarm clock and iPod station, TV with a lot of English stations and a DVD player. There was a basket in the bathroom containing bottles of shampoo and bath gel, shower cap, combs, razors, toothbrush. There is good storage under the sinks for makeup, hair accessories, etc. There is a mini fridge stocked with 4 bottles of water, variety of beer, pop and orange juice. This was replenished daily. We also asked for our own bottle of Baileys (as we didn’t drink any of the top shelf liquors) and they obliged. This was perfect for the “coffee with Baileys” mornings. We ordered a pot of coffee from room service every morning about 6am and it was delivered within 15 minutes. Bottled water is readily available at any of the bars and restaurants. In the closet there was a small hanging rack (bring more hangers as they only had about 10), shoe rack, ironing board and iron, umbrella and beach bag for use during your stay (it could be purchased when you left if you desired). There is a combination in-room safe, at no extra charge. Maid service was ok…on a couple of occasions the room was not cleaned until 5pm, which we found late as we like to start showering for dinner at that time. We tipped $3-5 a day – no towel art but the room was left very clean. Air-conditioning worked great and can be regulated for your own comfort. There is an extra blanket provided in the closet. The pillows are great and if they are not to your liking, a pillow menu is available. We found them perfectly fine for us. There is turn-down service provided in the evening. They also wipe down the shower, leave clean towels, take away dirty dishes and leave you treats. They also leave you the activity sheet for the next day, as well as the weather forecast.
Restaurants and Bars: The Excellence Lounge has a variety of coffee/latte/cappuccinos, as well as sandwiches and pastries if you’re looking for a late night snack. Of course room service is available 24/7. There are a number of dining options available. Overall, I would consider the food quality and choices available to be very good, both in the buffet restaurant and the a la carte restaurants. We did miss the buffet option for evening dining. It would be nice to be able to just pop in and out in a hurry on some nights when you didn’t feel like sitting down and ordering a la carte. There is a soft serve ice cream machine near Café Kafe. This was great! Breakfast was awesome with many choices at the Toscana. They even had egg-white omelets made fresh to your liking…which were superb! Ala Cartes The quality of food and the service was excellent at all six restaurants we ate in. Men are required to wear long pants and collared shirts at most, but can wear sandals. Women can get away with just about anything other than beachwear. Men are allowed to wear dress shorts at a couple of them and this is all explained on the daily activity sheets that are distributed daily. Men are not permitted to wear sleeveless shirts and any restaurants for dinner or lunch. The Grill – The Caesar Salad was very strongly flavored with anchovies, which I didn’t like. The leek and potato soup and chicken were great. Agave – Mexican Cuisine– I had the Field Green Salad, Azteca Soup, and Chicken Fajita. All was good but the service was extremely slow. We felt sorry for the poor waiter who was run off his feet. More staff would have been better. We were almost 3 hours from start to finish. Barcelona – Mediterranean Cuisine– I had the Greek Salad and Chicken/Scallops on Spaghetti. It was all fabulous! We also had special coffees and they were excellent! Chez Isabelle – French Cuisine – I had the French Onion soup and Tenderloin Beef….spectacular! Toscana –Italian Cuisine – I had the Tomato Salad and Pick your own pasta – Fusilla with tomato sauce….excellent! We also had special coffee here as well. Spice – Asian Cuisine – We reserved the private room for 8 and were really treated! The chef prepared the Maki Combo Sushi, Fried Rice, and Beef/Chicken/Shrimp Vegetable stir fry. It was awesome!! The Fried Ice Cream for dessert was the perfect ending! Very enjoyable meal! The service was great at all bars…and having them serve you on the beach was nice as well. There are numerous bars throughout the resort. All had excellent service and the staff was very grateful for tips. The drink service on the beach was also outstanding! The servers are all so very friendly! Room Service Available 24 hours. We did have fruit, yogurt and coffee ordered in on our first morning and it took just under 30 minutes. For the next 6 mornings, we just ordered coffee and had our breakfast at Toscana. Coffee was served within 15 minutes. This was a great feature!
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The Resort is beautiful from the moment you drive through the 3 security gates. It is not a huge resort and we found it very easy to get around and find things. We were centrally located and didn’t have to walk a long way to any of the restaurants – which can be a problem when you are dressed up wearing high heels. The grounds at Excellence are beautifully manicured and everything is kept very clean. The beach area is soft white sand with plenty of chairs but limited amount of palapas for shade. In my opinion, they could build more of these, as everyone was looking for shade during the heat of the day. The main pool is large and has a swim up bar as well as a bar near the X Lounge. It was really warm (at least 85 deg) when we were there. It meanders into a lazy pool area that leads to buildings in the front of the Spa. There are lots of chairs, swings, hammocks and beds with shade. We never had trouble finding a chair during the day. Beach towels are laid out on the chairs surrounding the Excellence Club buildings. Towels are readily available any time of day and they never once ran out. No towel keys are necessary so people are using 2 per person (one for a head rest) and there were still plenty to go around. I think the laundry staff must be running their services all day and night!! The pools and hot tubs are all very clean and are open until 8pm.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Internet We used the free internet service available in our rooms a daily basis. There is also internet availability in the Excellence Lounge as well as the top floor of the lobby. DVD’s They had a DVD player in the room and a library of movies available – we never once considered staying inside to watch a movie. Nightly Entertainment We went to the courtyard area of Café Kafe every evening before supper and enjoyed live entertainment. The shows were average, with only ¼ capacity until the Michael Jackson show – which packed the house with standing room only. All shows were good. We thought the Circus show was the best! They really were outstanding!! Disco The Disco is located behind the theatre and we went one night. There was a wedding party taking up most of the dance floor so we didn’t feel right about intruding too much. It was a nice disco, with good music and they did a great job at keeping the sound inside. We couldn’t believe how sound proof the disco was from outdoors. Shopping There are shops in the main lobby that carry many souvenirs. We found the prices to be extremely expensive! A swimsuit (bikini) was $350 US. We didn’t buy anything there. Bike Tour We took the 1 hour guided bike tour from the resort. This is offered twice/day at 9am and 4pm. It was really nice to see some of the Playa Mujeres Golf course along the way. We stopped at a small botanical area that had parrots, flamingos, ducks and a crocodile. We also stopped at a lookout area and climbed it to have a beautiful view of surrounding areas of the Marina and resorts around. Only 10 people can bike on each tour, so get there early….the first 10 go. Tours We spent a half day on Isla Mujeres Island. We left the resort at 8am and were back by 2pm. This was just enough time to be away from paradise. We took a taxi to the Ultramar Marina ($15 each way). We then took the Ferry boat over to the Island ($14/person). This took about 20 minutes to cross and goes every half hour. The color of the water was spectacular!!!! We booked a golf cart for touring the Island ($42/day) that held 4 people. We toured up to the South Point and back down to the North Beach. We stopped at Zama Beach Lounge and Restaurant for cold refreshments and a bathroom break. This place was beautiful and the perfect oasis! We then finished our tour at the North Beach where we swam in the most beautiful crystal clear water. Snorkeling is apparently excellent here if you wanted to stay longer. We caught a taxi back to the resort and I was extremely happy to be back in Paradise!!
Other Comments: Spa/Gym/Sports We were impressed with the Spa facility. We compared it to our other favorite Spa at Excellence in Punta Cana and Grand Palladium in Mayan Riviera. What impressed us most was the wide range of services, but they were very expensive. They offered “specials” every day that were priced more reasonable but we didn’t book any. They were promoting the Spa one day on the beach and I was lucky enough to be asked if I would like a 5-minute free massage, so I did enjoy that. She did a scalp massage for about 5 minutes and then a back massage for another 5 minutes. It was lovely. The Gym facility seemed to be busy most mornings between 6-8am. The treadmills were always occupied when we were there. There are free weights, benches, universal equipment. It is air conditioned, but still gets very warm. They had a yoga room adjacent to the gym that offered morning classes ranging from boot camp, yoga, cardio kick, and fitness ball classes. There are 2 tennis courts as well as daily beach volleyball, water polo and water volleyball. Also there is aqua aerobics each morning at 11. Weather and Bugs We were there during April and we had perfect sunshine all 7 days. We couldn’t have ordered better weather! As far as bugs, there were a few at night. My husband got about 7 bites in one place on his leg and about 3 on his arm. They all seemed to happen one night while sitting on our balcony. I had no bites. Summary As an adults-only resort, Excellence Playa Mujeres is the perfect choice for those who just want to veg out and relax. At the same time, a full range of activities are also available to you. It is the perfect choice for a honeymoon, anniversary or couple time as there are many romantic areas to enjoy each other’s company. We found the food choices very good, and especially liked not having to make dinner reservations. If asked to compare our vacation this year to other vacations, I would have to say I prefer the beaches in Punta Cana and Varadero for swimming but everything else was superior at EPM. We don’t usually return to resorts so we can enjoy other places, but I would not hesitate to return to EPM and would highly recommend this resort.