My wife and I have just returned from a fabulous 9 day stay at the Excellence Riviera Cancun (ERC). Last year, during the same time period, we spend 7 days at the Excellence Playa Mujeres (EPM) so we thought it would be useful to write a review that will give our take on comparing these two fine resorts.
First, a few facts, we are a couple in our mid to late 40s (I am the one that’s late except when it comes to getting ready for dinner!), we have stayed in 5 star resorts in Mexico, the DR and Jamaica. Our last two vacations were at the Excellence properties mentioned above and in both cases we stayed in the Excellence Club Level.
Our first comment is that whether you choose the ERC or the EPM, you will NOT be disappointed as both of these resorts are truly fabulous. Both offer exceptional service, beautiful suroundings, excellent food choices and bar service, top shelf liquor is available, nice beaches and an overall great adults only atmosphere.
Rooms in either location are very nicely appointed and have similar if not exact same amenities. Here we give the edge to the EPM, because our recollection is that the room there was slightly bigger and configured differently where beds are not set up against a wall as is the case at the ERC. In either case, the rooms are luxurious, maid staff in both places was efficient and the EC level offers special amenities such as evening turndown, fully stocked mini-bar with upgrade liquor selection, special room service menu etc.
Again, our overall statement is that the service in either location is about as top notch as we have seen compared to other 5 star resorts. These guys have this service thing down to an art form and I am convinced that Management must drive that point into all employees regardless of their role. Everyone greets you with a Hola, smiles all around; requests for any type of assistance were always dealt with politely and promptly. Sure there may be a hiccup here and there but whoever reported in previous reviews that they encountered rudeness of indifference must have been at a different resort. We observed nothing close to that. Tipping is not required but is appreciated. I did not leave a tip at every single meal or for every drink served and never got the feeling that I was treated any differently. On service, we would give a slight edge here to the EPM because of the extraordinary level of service that we received last year from the Excellence Club concierge staff, particularly the pool concierge who was constantly coming by to check up on patrons to see if we needed anything or to offer Champagna or snacks in the middle of the aft. Same could be said about the concierge staff at the club lounge as they were a bit more outgoing last year. The ERC pool concierge staff was virtually invisible during the day other than the odd passing around of a plate of fruit skewers.
A tie here the EC level pools were both nice. The EPM is a slightly smaller property and therefore the club pool which we hung around on most days is a bit smaller and quieter. The ERC has a slightly larger club area which made for a bit more people but generally speaking, either one is great. We visited the other pool areas only once in either location. There are several other pools, most rather long and meandering so it’s fun to get a floatie and let yourself just coast along those pools if you want to look at other parts of the property.
We give the edge to the ERC simply because of a preference for long walks on the beach. The beach at EPM is not very long so the walks are not as much fun. Both offer nice powdery beaches and plenty of palapas and beach chairs, beach beds and palapas were available on the beach regardless of the time of day. As with other properties, the prime palapas around the pools get reserved early in the am. But again we found this to be a slight inconvenience as there was always a palapa available elsewhere in the resort in a less prime location.
This is where choices, tastes and preference from one person to another will differ greatly. Like others, we have read all the reviews about the restaurants and agree with some and disagree with others. Both resorts have very similar restaurant options and in some cases, have similar names for their restaurants. Last year at the EPM we raved about the French Chez Isabelle and went back twice, this year at the ERC we found it good but were not blown away. This year, we loved the Basmati Indian restaurant and went there on 2 nights. The EPM does not have an Indian restaurant but rather a Tapas that we did not go to. All in all, it’s probably a tie but if you choose the ERC, try the Basmati and if you like that type of food, you will love it.
Again both offer similar type of top shelf liquor that gives them that added 5 star rating. In the club level, we found the pool side service to be remarkable at the ERC. You can certainly mosey up to the bar to ask for a drink but why bother when someone is constantly walking about poolside and getting you whatever you need. We also saw that type of service outside of the club area. Again, these guys are all about the service. A tie here too. A special thanks to Amable and Moses at the ERC excellence club pool bar as they were amazing!
This is the aspect of a resort that we are the least interested in so I will limit my comments by saying that it was OK. I do not care for the shows. I will go to the disco , usually because my wife wants to check it out. Otherwise I am quite happy with the pre dinner music on the main plaza and I like that their band comes back for a set between 1015 and 1100 at night for a nightcap with friends and dancing under the stars…
We did not use the facilities at the EPM last year but this year we treated ourselves to a couples massage and hydrotherapy and we loved it. It’s a bit pricey but the service was excellent. The hydrotherapy set up they have is very relaxing and can be lots of fun. As a Canadian, I enjoyed being able to throw snowballs at my wife in Mexico!!!! If you go, you will know what I mean..
We loved our vacation, we enjoy the Excellence Resorts and when asked which of the two we would recommend, I guess at the end of the day, it depends on what immediate memory pops into my head at the moment someone asks me that question. We plan to return and will see you at either of these locations. Vacations are really about what you make of them and about savoring a moment doing something or doing nothing and also about letting go and relaxing if and when things do not go exactly as planned or expected. This is a good time for a shout out to Stacey and Steve and Renata and Trey, it was great to hook up with you guys around the pool at the end of the day to enjoy drinks and some pun in the sun… Cheers !
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This all-suite, all-adult Resort is set along Mexico's renowned Mayan Riviera, between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, on an immaculate white sand beach. Six meandering pools wind through their grounds. You have unlimited access to eight international restaurants and ten bars, plus such amenities as an expansive swim-in spa, a full-scale fitness and cardio-conditioning center and an unparalleled range of activities on land and sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Excellence Riviera Maya
- Excellence Riviera Cancun Hotel
- Excellence Riviera Cancun Puerto Morelos
- Excellence Cancun
- Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancun
- Cancun Excellence Riviera
- Excellence Resort Cancun
- Excellence Riviera Cancun Riviera Maya, Mexico