I traveled to this resort with 7 other friends (3 couples, and two single folks) and we had The. Best. Time. We are all in our early 30's, which meant that we are in the middle between wanting to drink/have fun, and relax. This resort was absolutely perfect for us, as it was the best of both worlds. It was not a crazy party atmosphere, (though if you wanted to party, you could find ways to do it), but it was also not a boring "old-folks" resort with nothing to do and nothing to see. It was EVERYTHING.
Let me tell you, the rooms are all absolutely gorgeous, even the regular basic-rate rooms. Most of my friends did the regular rooms and they were totally beautiful. I upgraded to the Swim-up room because I wanted a hammock and daybed instead of a terrace, and it was well worth the money! Then another one of my friends got a surprise upgrade for being Expedia Gold, and they were given a bi-level suite with rooftop plunge pool, and that was also stunning. All in all, every room I saw was to-date, modern, and high quality--and I saw several!
Okay, other things: many other reviews talk about various employees and how great they are. As a traveler looking to figure out where to stay, I found it tiresome to read the random names of people I didn't know. But now that I've been, I understand why. THESE PEOPLE ARE AMAZING. Seriously. There were so many smiling faces, fun activities, and amazing small touches of service everywhere I looked. From the completely fantastic activities folks (Leyti, Javier, Jezer, Monica, Carlos, Alfonso) to the restaurant staff (Manuel and Adalberto at Agave, Aaron at the mexican fiesta, Judith at Spice, Santos at the sports bar, and Marcos, Isac and Ramon at Barcelona), to Luis and Marella at the Spa, to Carlos the bellman, Ruby at the jewelry store and Moses our craps croupier at Casino Night, literally every single person I interacted with was an absolute joy and they should all get significant raises. Hands down.
Okay, now back to the review stuff: You want to relax and have a low-key trip? We got you. Just book a room near the spa and you'll be in the quieter area where people lounge by the pool, read books, and recharge. Want something livelier? Book near the main pool, where there are daily activites like water volleyball, music trivia, water balloon challenges, aqua aerobics, and tons of other stuff.
PS: Other reviews I had read complained about difficulty finding chairs by the pool. I didn't experience this, but your mileage may vary. Seats were definitely claimed, but it always seemed to me as though there were enough to go around.
The quality of the food was what really amazed me. I assumed, since this was an all-inclusive, that the food would only be so-so. Not so! We visited almost all of the restaurants (I'll see you next time, Oregano and Chez French Place), and universally everything we ate was excellent. My favorite was actually the Indian (Basmati), but others in my group said theirs was Spice (the Benihana style place), or Flavor Market (tapas). The Mexican restaurant (Agave) was also great, but that's no surprise!
The fact that there are no kids running around? Amazing. I will never go to a family resort again, unless I myself am traveling with children. No kids around really made a huge difference in the atmosphere of this place vs. other resorts.
What else? The evening activities! Man! Every night there was a different activity. For our nights it was: Pirate show (holy cow, fire spinning and acrobatics), Urban Show (hip hop dance performance), Casino Night/Michael Jackson show, Mexican Fiesta/Silent Party. Everything was really great and fun! It's clear the folks who put on these shows take it seriously, and everything was really well put-together.
Oh, and finally, the spa--I went for two different treatments--a pedicure on Day 1, and then a massage on my last day. Both were amazing, and I had a wonderful experience both with those treatments and with the hydrotherapy before my massage (worth it!). They do give you daily special deals on the nightly update newsletter you get with your turndown service, so don't sleep on that!
What parting pointers can I give you? a) If you leave special requests for the maids, they'll do their best to accommodate you. My mini fridge had 2 Sol Beers, 2 tecate lights, some various sodas and candy bars in it, that were stocked daily. One of my friends asked for Extra Coca Cola lights instead of other canned items, and the maids accommodated them. They also include a nice incense stick each day for you to use at your leisure. I used mine one night and the next day the maids left me 2, which I really appreciated. :)
b) Tip, if you can! Just a dollar or two per interaction goes a long way. It's definitely not expected, but you can tell it's really appreciated. For my 5 night/6 day stay, I used about $100 in tips and it worked out well for maids, waitstaff, etc.
c) Leave your toiletries at home! Everything from shampoo, conditioner, bath gel to mouthwash and toothpaste is included in your room. Save the space in your luggage for more bathing suits! :)
d) Sunscreen at the gift shop is expensive (literally $20-something dollars expensive). You might want to consider bringing your own!
e) Room service is available 24/7, and they are super super nice. So if you have a late night session in your room, you'll always be able to get something to eat!
f) there's a tiny cafe inside the main lobby, and they have the most delicious little macarons. Make sure you stop by and grab one!
g) Consider an excursion. We did the one to Chichen Itza and I thought it was totally worth it. It was amazing to see, the guide was great (Wenceslao), and the cenote, omg. The cenote was so cool!
h) Just go already! I miss it and wish I were back there!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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