More about Excellence Playa Mujeres
Loved Excellence Playa Mujeres
We stayed along with another couple November 29th to December 6th, 2007...The resort is nothing less than fantastic.
The food was amazing , the drinks were out of this world ...you name it they will be bend over backwards to mix it for you....the staff are second to none...We celebrated our anniversary in The Lobster Houe restaurant and the manager Alex Jiminez and his staff made our evening very special...we will never forget them. the lobster is the best I have ever tasted, the ceasar salad was so good that I ate it everyday...The Asian restaurant was very exciting as well...they have hibachi rooms that seat 8 in private and they also have a sushi bar ...delicious.... all 8 restraunts were opened...we stayed in one of the regular rooms overlooking the pool and were more than happy with the fabulous rooms....everyone has an indoor-outdoor jacuzzi and bed on the balcony....toilettries were high quality....as was everything in the resort....The sports staff were willing to do anything to make your stay exciting....from water exercise to bike ridding tours to beachvolley ball to water polo ....Miguel and Roberto , Eric , Isaac and of course Yvonne were the best...they really enjoy their job and it shows....There is a pool everywhere look.. you can go for a long walk around the resort via pools ....just beautiful.
Everyone that works there will go that extra mile to make sure your holiday is the best ....I must admit it was ...I think anyone who is still hesitant about going needs to book it and you won`t be sorry for sure. Yes there is still building going but it does not interfer with your holiday at all....I think you would be extremely happy with a regular room ....I would give this place a 10 out of 5..
I have way too many photos to put in right now...I just wanted to get this info out there....Go and enjoy....wish we had at least 3 more weeks there....we only went for one and it was no where near enough. The beach is coming along very well ...infact they clean it everyday ...the seaweed has something to do with the current this time of year and by Feb it will change and the beach will be great...right now you can still swim in it as quite a few people did....or just tokyaking or hobie craft..it is all included....this resort is for sure ALL inclusive.
Arlene and Dave Kitchener Ontario
We stayed along with another couple at Excellence Playa Mujeres from November 29 – December 6 and had an unforgettable vacation. WOW!!
The service is absolutely the best we have experienced and we left very comfortable and relaxed.
The food at each meal was wonderfully presented. For breakfast we ate at the Barcelona restaurant which had everything you can imagine…toast, bagels, pancakes, fruit, yogurt, salmon, bacon, sausage, French toast, juice, eggs, etc…… or we ate at “The Grill” restaurant for a delicious a la carte breakfast. Everyday at lunch we had a shrimp cocktail. MMMMM!!! So good. When we ate at the Lobster House for supper we asked for a grilled lobster. Another meal that is a winner. Special thank you to Alex and his staff.
Another evening for supper we got a hibachi room in the Spices Asian Restaurant. Now that was an exciting evening filled with laughter. Thank you so much to the chef and the waiters-Noe and Luis.
In the evening after we had supper, we could go watch the nightly show, sit outside under the stars drinking one of the premium liquor drinks or go to the Alegria disco and dance the night away. The bartender, Eulogio, was more than happy to make any drink you want. He’s the best bartender.
We can’t speak for the Excellence Club section but if you stay in a regular room you will not be disappointed. The rooms were tastefully decorated. The bed was so comfortable. The maid cleaned our room daily plus we had turn down service every evening. We got clean towels twice daily as well and more than enough wash cloths. The mini bar in our room was restocked daily right down to the chocolate bars.
If you lay on the beach or pool, a waiter would come around and offer a drink or snack. The lounge towels were neatly rolled and replaced every morning. No towel cards needed. One afternoon, we decided to walk thru the infinity pools around the resort. We took our time and before we knew it, an hour past by.
One of our favourite pool side waitress was Carmen. She was always willing to learn more English and teaching us Spanish.
Yes there is seaweed but that is nature and the water currents are pushing the seaweed to shore. In the morning, EPM is trying very hard to get the seaweed off the beach. We have to give credit where credit is due to the workers who are working very hard both on the shore and also the snorkelers removing seaweed in the water. The water is getting clearer everyday.
The activity staff were unbelievable. They bend over backwards to ensure that we had a lot of fun. Water aerobics was lots of fun. Beach volleyball filled with laughter. Bingo and casino night entertaining. The bike tour was very informative and fun. Don’t forget your camera on the bike tour. Take a picture with a parrot on your shoulder or pet a lemur. Thank you so much to the activity staff Yvonne, Ulesis, Miguel, Eric, Roberto and Isaac. They made us feel young again. You are the best!!!!!
We totally agree with tripadvisor member Sunshine85 as she took the words right out of our mouth. Excellence Playa Mujeres is 10 stars out of 5.
Linda and Rien
Great Anniversary Trip at Excellence!
My wife and I recently got back from our 5 year anniversary trip to Excellence Playa Mujeres from December 5 – 12. We have stayed at Excellence Punta Cana, Secrets Capri and other resorts in Mexico. This was our best All-Inclusive we have taken…EPM was absolutely terrific. They really go all out for special occasions like our anniversary.
We knew going in that the resort was new and there might be some small issues along the way. However, we did not experience many of the issues that we thought we might with a new resort. Looking at the resort it appears 100% complete. All the restaurants are open and all bars except for one. The rooms near the spa are still being finished but from the outside it looks complete. We just noticed by walking around the resort that some of the buildings by the spa are still being worked on. It appears that the resort is putting everyone in the buildings near the beach…can’t complain about that.
We arrived mid-afternoon and were greeted by the bellman. He asked us our names and he realized we were Excellence Club and we were instantly whisked away to the Excellence Club check-in. Along the way, he showed us around the grounds giving us a layout of the place. Everything about the place is truly beautiful. Marble everything, pools everywhere and extremely friendly staff all around. We arrived at the Excellence Club check in where they verified our reservation (we booked Excellence Club Ocean View, but not rooftop terrace) and the bellman made us a couple margaritas. After check-in, the bellman took us up to the second floor where we met our conceriege (Laura – she was great!) and they took us to our room.
Wow…wow…wow. We knew what the rooms looked like because of the various websites but they are even more impressive in person. It was incredible. The room has the most incredible shower…it was huge. Now my wife wants to build one in our house just like it (thanks Excellence). When the towels for the bathroom are located in the shower…you know that it is huge. The shower even has a window looking into the bedroom/living area. This room wouldn’t be great for a group of guys going on a golf trip weekend but for a romantic getaway…I don’t see how it could have been any better.
Very trendy décor, huge LG plasma, private bar, iPod alarm/stereo and big Jacuzzi tub in the corner. The bed was huge and comfortable. The minibar was a nice touch and the fridge had beer, juice, pop, water and snacks. They refilled it everyday.
Now the best part…when we walked in to the room we noticed stairs…they had upgraded us to a rooftop terrace suite! The terrace was truly something. Big outdoor lounger with pillows…big outdoor Jacuzzi (not heated but still nice), another outdoor bed and also an outdoor shower. Since we had a second story room we had a third story terrace. Most are located on the fifth and sixth floors. But even though we were lower it had good privacy. The views from both our balcony and terrace were terrific. We were located in building 8, which was perfect. From our balcony we could see the beach, ocean, Ilsa Mujeres, pools and lobster house/seaside grille restaurants.
Here is a nice tip…when you arrive call housekeeping and request a certain time of day for them to do your room. The first full day we were there our room was not yet done by 3pm…so I just called and requested maid service for that day. While on the phone they asked me if I had a preference on time for each day so I requested 10am. From there on out the room was made up by 11am at the latest.
The pools are the best part of this resort. They are everywhere. We chose 4 or 5 different spots throughout our stay. The pool bar area was fun to meet up with people and be around the activities. There was a spot near the spa (by the revive bar), which was a lot of fun. There were fewer people and the bartender really took good care of us. The sun shines about all day near that location which was nice. Because the pools wrap all around the resort there are certain areas that get shade certain times of the day. It’s a nice option for those not wanting to be in the sun all day. One thing different about the pools here is that they are saltwater. Don’t think we have been to a place that had saltwater pools…just was different the first time getting in and tasting that. We heard a lot about the pools not being heated before we got there so we were a little nervous about that. The big long pools are not heated and yes it is a bit chilly at first but overall, we thought that temperature is refreshing in 80-85 degree weather. Felt great. The pool bar pool was a bit warmer with the Excellence side pools being the warmest. The Jacuzzis were warmer than the pool but not hot like American ones. Another nice feature of Excellence resorts are the pool lounge chairs. They are plenty of them and they have towels set out each morning. With the low occupancy at that time (probably 30%), it made it very easy to find a lounge chair.
One of the best parts of going to Excellence is the food in our opinion. Over the course of a week we had shrimp, lobster, steak, duck, lamb, sea bass, buffalo wings, and everything else that looked good on the menu! We ate at the Lobster House/ Seaside Grille twice, French twice, Mexican once, Italian once and Flavor Market twice. When we began the trip the Lobster House and Seaside Grille were one of the same but by the end they split the sides up to be individual restaurants. We thought the French restaurant was excellent. The atmosphere and presentation made it really nice. We split the Crème Brulee dessert the first time and then my wife wanted her own the second time. Tells you how good that was. The Mexican restaurant was fantastic as well. The food was really good but the atmosphere was even better. Our waiter was terrific, especially making the Mayan coffee dessert….that was fun to see…good to drink too! We wanted to go to the Mexican Restaurant again but realized it was closed on the last night we were there. Check with the hotel staff about which nights the restaurants are open so that you can plan your week out so that you don’t miss any restaurants. The Flavor Market was one restaurant that they are still trying to figure out we believe. They serve tapas (appetizers), which were good, but we were confused as to when the dinner ended. You don’t order off the menu as they just bring out one dish after another. A little background by the waiter/waitress at the beginning of the meal would be helpful. Overall, Flavor Market had a fun feel to it. About the 4th day we were there we realized we could order snacks poolside so we got nachos and chicken quesadillas by the pool for the next few days….they were awesome. The lunch at the Seaside grille was very good. The buffalo chicken wings were awesome…got those as an appetizer each day. All the sandwiches we had were very good. We had room service twice for breakfast as they bring a TON of food…all very good.
From prior reviews we were expecting the worse but we believe in the course of the month the resort has done a nice job with the beach. Everyday we were there they had a group of scuba divers removing seaweed from the shallow waters. The beach itself was nice. Not a lot of seaweed from earlier reports as they seem to run the tractor a couple times a day to remove the seaweed. The water was very warm and is fairly calm with little or no waves, which was kind of nice for a change. It made it nice to walk around in the water. From the beach looking out to Isla Mujeres you can see about five different shades of blue which made it one of the best views we’ve had at a resort. The best part of the resort is the pools so we spent the majority of time there, but overall, we can tell the resort has done a good job with the beach over a couple months. We figured it would only get better in the coming months as they keep working on it and the other condos/resorts built up in the area.
Excellence Playa Mujeres was everything and more that we had hoped it would be. We knew going into it that the resort was new and there might be some small things to work through, but the resort is up and running near full speed in our opinion. This is our third Excellence resort we have been to and will be going back to more in the future. We wanted a week away to relax, get spoiled and enjoy the Cancun sun and we got it! Thanks to all at Excellence for a terrific stay.
A jewel in the making
My husband and I have recently returned from a 2-week (Nov. 17 – Dec 01) vacation at Excellence Playa Mujeres. We consider ourselves experienced travellers and are comparing this resort to Sandals Grand St. Lucian, Sandals Whitehouse, Renaissance Wailea, Westin Kaanapali, etc. For the record, we also stayed at the Secrets Excellence Mayan Riviera within a couple of weeks of its opening.
The property is absolutely spectacular! There are still some growing problems but things are improving every day. There is still some construction going on in buildings 1 – 6 as they were not opened yet. Also they were still doing some finishing touches to other areas. It is comparable to maintenance work done at other resorts. It is very well laid out and there is never a problem finding a shady palapa to lie under. Keep in mind that during our stay they were only running at about 30% capacity. When we arrived the pools were ice cold but after a couple of days and a lot of complaints (I assume) they were at the perfect temperature. The room was incredibly spacious and luxurious with a Jacuzzi, a huge double shower and double sinks. The bed was comfortable and you were given lots of pillows. Housekeeping was hit and miss. We had to phone housekeeping on 4 occasions because they forgot to do our room. When we phoned, they had somebody come down within 5 minutes to make up the room. Turndown service was also hit and miss as well.
We really appreciated the beach service, which Sandals does not offer. The service you receive at the pools and at the beach is out-standing. They would see that our glasses were almost empty and would be there to offer you another drink. It is also a nice touch that before lunch, they walk around the resort offering fruit and other snacks.
There are many activities to do that can keep you busy all day, or you can just relax with a book by the pool. They do not try to make you participate if you don’t want to.
The beach is fine white sand but there is sea grass. You can still walk for miles on the beach. They clear the sea grass out constantly, but it is a problem. It depends upon how rough the ocean is.
We did use the Hobi Cats & kayaks. It was fun to be out with the Pelicans fishing near you. The staff was very helpful at the water sports centre.
We did book a trip on site to Isla Mujeres. What a blast!!! They pick you up in a jet boat at the resort & 10 minutes later, you are there. You can go snorkelling & rent a golf cart to tour the Island. The golf carts are great! We visited the lighthouse and the turtle hatchery. The views are spectacular!
The restaurants are a great variety and offer anything from steak, seafood, French, Asian, Italian and of course Mexican. The service within the restaurants was improving daily. You have to keep in mind that these are all brand new employees.
Barcelona: Ate breakfast there daily as this is the only one open early. Jose makes great omelettes. Lunch is also buffet style and isn’t as good as other resorts. We only ate here once for dinner and it was okay.
Toscana: We only ate there once and it was pretty disappointing for Italian food. No garlic bread and we had to send our food back because it was cold.
The Flavor Market: It opened up half way through our visit. Not too impressive & boring food. It says wine pairings, but they only have 2 types of wine – red or white. It was very busy the first night it was opened. After that, it was so empty that the servers were bringing the plates of food out to the lobby bar.
Agave: One of our favourites although the food was blander than other Mexican resorts we have been to. Best service out of all the restaurants. Try to get Fernando as your waiter. He is probably the best waiter in the resort.
Spice: Ate there only once. Asian food in Mexico???? What were we thinking!
The Lobster House & The Grill: This is basically one restaurant divided. Because the resort wasn’t full, we were always given both menus to choose from. This was our other favourite. They have a great selection of steaks, which were always cooked perfectly to order. You can have your lobster prepared any way you want. Caribbean lobster is small compared to the Atlantic so you might want to order more than one. If you want to order “surf & turf” please explain clearly! I ordered steak & lobster and got 2 plates of food. The lobster chowder is to die for!
Chez Isabelle: Great views from the balcony. Good menu selection, food & service.
Overall, the majority of restaurants were good. The food quality was very inconsistent from day to day. The resort does need to hire a pastry chef. None of the pastries or deserts that we ate were memorable. It reminded us of Costco food. (not that Costco food is a bad thing, but it is not special) We still remember several incredible deserts from when we stayed at Secrets Excellence Mayan Riviera.
The only negative things were the inconsiderate people who hogged the floats, some stacking 2 to float on, or using them as cushions at the swim-up bar. We even saw some people rolling them up and stuffing them under their lounge!
The mosquitoes were the worst we have seen. We had to apply insect repellent every night. Also we bought a can of Raid & routinely sprayed our room & outside around the door.
The gym only has 2 treadmills, 1 bicycle & 5 miscellaneous weight machines. No free weights or benches. I asked a couple of times about it, but nobody seemed to know anything about any more equipment arriving.
Overall this property is definitely a 4 star and will probably be a 5 star in a few months when the kinks are worked out.
Don’t worry about all the negative feedbacks. A holiday is never perfect. Don’t be ***! You are there to relax. We have high expectations for the resorts that we stay at, and have found this resort to be exceptional, even compared to other non-all-inclusives.
Luxury for Lowered Expectations
Realizing we all define luxury differently, have different travel standards and experiences, food/beverage tastes and service expectations, our experience at EPM was less than 5 star, less than 4, 3, 2 and only rated a 1 because there is no other option on TA.
We booked the resort at an introductory hotel rate of $600/night for an Excellence Club Roof Top Terrace. Unfortunately, my review would not be altered had we booked at half that rate (which we actually settled on with management - long story detailed below) nor would it be altered, if it were one third of the original booking rate. Unlike many other posters, we did not search the net for the "deal of the century" nor did we play the "book low and hope for an upgrade" game (which many did). We booked at the level we wished to experience .....we expected the services and amenities advertised on the web site and at check in while realizing that it was a new property and a few nits were expected. We also know, as executives of large companies,that service doesn't merely define a company, it sets it apart from the competition. With the value of the $ decreasing every day, we all, regardless of circumstances, want to ensure we are getting what we pay for. We all want superior customer service and feel confident that we got what we paid for. I suspect that as time goes on, the 4 and 5 star reviews posted to date will decrease (not increase) as guests paying full rates will be less willing to accept EPM's overall offering of poor service, poor food, poor beach and frankly, poor management.
I can't think of one memorable thing to say about this place...I will give the room a pass....it was new and had a great shower but certainly not lux (sheets were like sandpaper which in the day of the heavenly bed is unheard of). Unlike some of the other posters, we have more than one review under our belt and have experienced charming 1 star B & Bs in the south of France, Tuscany, Umbria , Portugal (and others) to hi-end properties in London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Bora, Bora and many other cities. We have had excellent travels in South Africa and the US...not always 5 star classification but always near perfect. We are not newbies...we book based on the area and what we believe to be the best experience for our $ and our taste. We had not been to Cancun in many years...primarily because the other experiences were awful. Having stumbled across the Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort on Luxury Link and with additional research, we decided to give the area another try and booked EPM. We were not looking for an all you can eat and drink fest as AI's are usually known for (we saw alot of that there though)....we were pulled in by EPM's claim to be luxury, every day, every guest and were intrigued by the so called "upscale" dining experience. Admittedly, this was out first and last AI.
The food, service and beach did not meet our standards or expectations. We expected at least the promised amenities, more than a standard level of service and a variety of quality food using fresh ingredients. The beach was disgusting. There is no amount of cleaning that is going to solve that mess. The frequent tractor scraping (ahhhh..the fumes and noise) doesn't help. Can you swim in it? I guess, if your standard is wading in a cess pool to get to semi clear water. Ours is not. We have been to excellent beaches around the world. This isn't even close. This is not a little sea grass issue. Undercooked, overcooked, bland and raw food regardless of quantity (all you can eat for "free" as others said) was unacceptable to us. The raw food was not sushi, which by the way consisted of fake crab and smoked salmon on rice. What were we thinking? Sushi in Mexico? OK..we will take that one as a lesson learned but why have an Asian spot if you can"t deliver Asian? French food, oh please. Lobster, I don't think so. Italian, oh no, another miss. Barcelona, finally a meal worth taking more than one bite. Second trip to Barcelona (realizing it may be the only place to eat) was a total disaster. Flavor Market - great - until we asked for the "wine pairing" which consisted of one Mexican Merlot and Chardonnay. Premium, not even close. This went on and on...issues with various dishes we tried during our stay.....sea bass, tuna, duck, grouper, mahi-mahi, filet, lamb, pasta, quiche and the infamous Mexican food which we could not understand how that, above all else, could be a disaster (the beans and gauc were very good) . More on the food later.
Hotel web site and brochure at check in advertised the following: (Excellence Club Upgrade)
Ocean front room
Superior room service menu
Upgraded mini bar
Daily fruit basket
Fresh flowers in room
Maid service twice daily
While our room was OK, it was most definitely not ocean front ("restaurant front" seems more appropriate--with the constant sound of air conditioning units, clanking dishes and constant guests peering onto our balcony - bldg 9 overlooking Lobster House) or what we would consider a "two story roof top terrace" where we could sun all day (our hope was to avoid the pool crowds for privacy and sun on the "roof top", but given the location--with several floors above us....there was no sun after 1:00 PM). The patio had construction debris (screws , nails, chipped tiles, peeling boards and above all, a dirty hydro spa pool) and was not a place that we could de-stress and "forget" it all. There was no room or spa service menu in the room upon arrival (a nit)...and it took two attempts to finally receive an in-room menu (and it wasn't an Excellence Club menu which we had to ask for a third and fourth time). There were no "beach towels" on the outdoor lounges--we had to go to the pool and search for those since communicating with the staff regarding that was another exercise in futility (we had the same towels on the bed for four days before giving up and depositing them in the hall and bringing our own up every night). There were no flowers or fruit in the room (as advertised), and we had to ask for both (we usually order flowers to be in the room upon arrival so we feel more at home)....the flowers took a day to arrive, the fruit two days and then was never replaced, even after leaving the fruit fly infested tray in the X box where it stayed for two days, We never did receive newspaper delivery - 9 days, There was no "pillow menu" and those in the room are quite substandard. The concierge did deliver new pillows (he tried) and explained that there really was no menu. Worse, the twice daily maid service was practically non existent until we finally got our audience with the management team. Our room was not cleaned the first day of our trip. We had to ask for cleaning the second day of our stay. Since we had no service, the concierge had to deliver toilet paper...twice. The bath tub was dirty upon arrival, and remained in the same state for three days, but was finally cleaned on day 4, only after our management meeting. Our in room mini bar was not restocked for fours days even though our room "guide" told us it would be restocked "daily". Further...no clean glasses were restocked, and those that were in the room upon arrival were dirty--with lip stick stains on them. We had quite the struggle getting the Smirnoff vodka replaced with Absolute (we don't consider Smirnoff a premium liquor...we really don't consider Absolut a premium but given the choices, it was better than the S) and it was then only "substituted" when we exchanged the gin and whiskey for it. If this is Excellence Club Service, we would be horrified to be in a "standard room".
Restaurants and other "services":
The pool service is hit or miss. The first day, the young lady actually argued with us over an order of a hamburger (which was horrible) and a club sandwich (equally bad) insisting we both ordered hamburgers when we clearly said, no less than three times, one hamburger, one club sandwich. After arguing regarding the incorrect order she did manage to deliver a club with far less than a 5 star attitude. Was it necessary to argue over a $2 frozen hamburger and bun (there are only 4 choices at the pool). Surely the $600/night rate could cover the hamburger she delivered in error.
Lobster House was horrible... two dreadfully overcooked lobsters and no sides. When we asked for the potatoes and vegetables (listed on the menu), the waiter looked confused. Referencing the menu (which he had to go and get to prove us wrong), we were served the sides requested. The potato was the best part of the meal. Perfectly cooked with one little side of butter and al dente veggies.
The following morning for breakfast, we requested bagels only to be told that were no bagels at the hotel. They did offer to substitute toast for the bagels, but we elected the french toast instead.
That night for dinner (Toscana), we ordered tuna which was to have roasted red potatoes. No potatoes. The waiter checked with the chef who said the hotel had no potatoes. We asked for a wine list and were told that the wine list was "extra" and were offered a less than acceptable Mexican Merlot. Is a no label Mexican Merlot now considered PREMIUM? We WERE NOT EVEN OFFERED THE LIST TO CHOOSE AN "EXTRA" charge wine. To his credit, he noticed that the Mexican Merlot was not a hit with us and offered us a wine from Chile. Why was this not offered at the same time of the merlot? While it was better, it was still undrinkable. I can't remember the last time we had dinner and neither of us finished even one glass of wine.
No lox the next day for the bagel and lox. No cream cheese or capers the following morning.
Is this "Luxury All Inclusive"? We don't think so, we were not requesting Dom and caviar. The marketing tagline is "Luxury, Premium, Every Day, Every Guest". What E Ver!
The following day, was sadly, more of the same, poor pool service, poor lunch and poor dinner. No longer being surprised we made dinner out of desserts which are the same at every dining spot....there is no variety excpet at Chez Isabeel which offer Creme Brulee (or what they call Creme Brulee).
Returning to the room, we attempted to have water delivered since again, nothing had been restocked in the room (we have had no bottled water since our arrival unless specifically calling and requesting it to be delivered). We asked for four bottles (not an unreasonable request at 10 PM - we passed on teh earlier Micheal Jackson in the Yucatan show - tacky, tacky, tacky)....40 minutes later, two arrived. Two calls later to the service desk....and still no more water. We finally had to order "food" from room service just to get the TWO additional bottles of water which we originally requested.
On and on and then came the raw and we mean very RAW chicken "fingers". We don't usually order chicken fingers but given the choices of a club, hamburger, quesadilla or nachos, it was the only other choice they were willing to substitute at the pool. No apologies for the raw chix. Want a hamburger or club? Humm...no thanks. At that point....our patience ended and we went to the Excellence Club to contact a manager to express our complete dissatisfaction with our entire experience. We were told to wait 15 minutes, we waited a half hour. We then went to the front desk and were told the "management team was off site for lunch". Of course they were....who would eat here. We went back to pool and then back to the Excellence Club lounge at 5 PM at which point we were told to expect a call shortly. No surprise but SIX hours later we still had not heard from ANYONE to discuss and address our issues. We waited another hour then sent a formal complaint to the Excellence Resorts Group President, Ernesto Usana (General Manager) and their PR firm. Within 15 minutes of sending the email we had a "supervisor" on the phone willing to finally meet with us.
We were offered a change of location to the Cancun property and after serous consideration decided it was probably not worth the inconvenience of packing, moving and unpacking. Afterall, the property is owned by the same group, managed by the same executive team, has the same dining spots, menus and food providers and likely the same service standards and amenities. We settled on a reduced rate. Had we been given a choice of leaving with no penalty, we would have been out in in a NY second and on our way to the Ritz Carlton.
Making the best of EPM, we booked several spa treatments. The hydro series is wonderful and we were so ready for the massages. But alas, it was not meant to be. There is still construction going on outside of the spa and we heard constant hammering and tiles being sawed above the "tranquil" spa music. The spa prices are discounted but at $440, I don't want to hear jackhammering and tile saws. The tile dust was blowing all around the spa. So not zen!
At then end of the day (or 9 days), did we get what we paid for? Nope. We would go back (if they paid us)? Never. Never. Ever. Never.
Rest, Relaxation, and Fun! EPM is a Great Up and Coming Resort
A friend and I just returned from the Excellence Playa Mujeres after a 6 day stay. The goal of our vacation was to have a girlfriend getaway with lots of relaxation, fun, and enough time in the sun to make the Chicago snow/ice/wind etc. seem like a distant memory. We had a truly wonderful time and want to share our opinions for those thinking of traveling to EPM. There were some good, bad, and so-so experiences and here is a summary.
First off a few key points to consider:
1.Not near the hotel zone: EPM is not near the hotel zone. We booked through expedia which lists the property as 5 miles from downtown Cancun…it is 5 miles from downtown Cancun, just not the “downtown” most would think of as the hotel zone..if I understand correctly, the downtown expedia is talking about is more where local Cancun residents do business, socialize, etc. So, if you are looking to go out in the zone to the clubs or restaurants, this would not likely be the place for you. That said, you can take a cab into town at night and we heard various reports on how expensive it is but one estimated it to be about 30 each way, for a total of 60 just for transportation. We never left, although we missed the shuttle to Coco Bongos by one day (on Wednesday) for 50 per person for transportation, entrance into the club with no waiting, and open bar.
2.Girlfriend Getaway?? My friend and I went to make use of the spa, no kids atmosphere, all inclusive package and beautiful pools etc. However, it should be noted that the resort is definitely geared towards couples, honeymooners etc. We had a great time and met some really fun people, so the fact that it was all couples didn’t bother us. If you don’t mind some curious looks and probing questions into the status of your relationship, a girlfriend getaway is doable here. Likely best for female friends in their late 20s and up. Be prepared for going with a friend that you are very open with or getting creative when it comes to obtaining privacy while showering…there is a window to the main section of the room from the shower and the door on the other side is glass…so you can see all!
1.The Grounds: The hotel grounds are beautiful! There are lots of little touches around the resort that you may not notice right away that make it very interesting. Green landscaping with bits of desert landscaping mixed in. Some great metal sculpture outdoors peppered around the resort. The pools are pretty with great hammocks in some areas (although good luck getting in one!). Yes there is some work being completed (landscaping, tiles being repaired), however, don’t focus on the one workman who you have to walk around to get to the pool, instead focus on the beauty of the overall resort and you will not be disappointed. * we didn’t spend too much time on the beach itself…but it looked pretty from afar.
2.The Spa: The spa was great! The hydrotherapy circuit was wonderful-you can go an hour before your appointment and do the hydrotherapy as part of your spa experience for no extra charge. Or you can pay to just do the hydrotherapy. My friend and I both loved the excellence massage. It was a massage that combined various techniques…deep tissue, shiatsu, stretching etc. Super relaxing. I didn’t hear any construction noises during my experience there…loved every minute. Also, the spa is Beautiful!! It puts you in the mood to relax and get pampered.
3.The Service by the Pool: The attendants by the pool were great-they were quick with your drinks (which were very yummy), water etc. One curious point was the limited kinds of food you could order to the pool, particularly with two of the restaurants being right by the main pool! I think the selections included-nachos (please don’t-cheese sauce on Mexican nachos-yuk), hamburger, hotdog, chips and guacamole, club sandwich, and quesadillas. Would recommend the quesadillas and chips and guac (I think I ate about a pound of guacamole on the trip and loved every bite!).
4.The Room: We had a swim-out, spa/pool view, with double beds in block 6. The room was lovely! Very modern looking and not too small. We had a swim out room, although didn’t really partake in the “swim out” areas since we spent most of our pool time at the main pool which was not that close from our room. The beds were comfy..not the best but certainly not the worst I’ve stayed in. The lounging bed outside on the veranda was great, we sat out there and read, listened to music every night (has an outlet so that you could plug in an ipod and speakers). Nice television, good closet space, a safe for valuables, a great shower!!!! We were close to the construction, yet almost never heard it! We were worried that it might wake us up or disturb our trip, but thankfully no!
5.Socialize or Keep to Yourself: Due to the size of the resort, and the number of pools etc., there were lots of options during the day to either socialize with other guests or find a place away from the louder main pool area to be by yourselves and enjoy time together. People that wanted to socialize tended to congregate in the main pool area at the pool bar or in the main pool “hot” tub (more like luke warm). We saw lots of couples however that chose to sit away from the main pool and seemed to be equally enjoying themselves. So there is something for everyone.
1.The Housekeeping Service: We were definitely disappointed with the housekeeping service. Although we had turndown service every night, our room was not cleaned properly until the third night into our trip-this required us making a call and demanding that it be cleaned. This meant that we had old glasses of water, drinks brought back from the pool, mini-bar peanut wrappers etc. hanging out in our room for the first two days without anyone thinking to clean them up-kind of gross. This would also include our disappointment with the room service clean-up. We didn’t fully understand the X-box idea, since our room service was always delivered directly to us in our room, which meant that for the first day our room service dishes also spent the night in our room without cleanup. Then, when we did come to understand that we should “bus” our own dishes into the x-box for clean-up, the dishes sat in the box for the day without being removed…we are talking eggs from breakfast sitting around in a box all day-not good.
2.The Room Service Food: Salad served with warm dressing, and un-edible hamburger with lettuce so steamed that it dripped water, cold eggs for breakfast and stale pastry. Enough said. However the chocolate cake we ordered from room service was the best dessert we had the entire trip.
1.The Food: The food was really hit or miss. We had some really nice dishes and some awful ones, sometimes at the same restaurant, just different dishes. Some of the highlights-the lobster and the lobster chowder at the Lobster House. Everyone I spoke with loved the lobster! It is a small tail-prepared to your liking-grilled was excellent, and served with mashed potatoes and veggies (you could substitute a baked potato). The lobster chowder was so good-like a New England clam with lobster instead of clams. The guacamole, I know I already mentioned it, but it was so good! The quiche and the scallops at the French Restaurant. The quesadillas with chicken. The tapas was good at the flavor market: moderately good cheese, olives, roasted red peppers, great spicy potatoes. The breakfast buffet at Barcelona was okay-great omelet station, lots of stale pastry and bread though. Some of the lowlights: the steak-I heard some people liked theirs, but mine was so smokey and not a good smokey, like burnt charcoal-I did not eat it. The chicken fingers-mine were cooked, but not a good flavor. The sea bass I had at the French Restaurant was overcooked. Also the wine selection was not great. If you are a wine lover I think you would likely be disappointed. If you averaged out the great and the awful, you get overall somewhere in between (so-so). If you are a foodie, this would not be the place for you. It is definitely a step up from most all inclusives…but remember it is still an all inclusive, meaning you get what ever you want and as much as you want, so you are not going to get top of the line quality. I truly do not believe we will ever see a top of the line all inclusive when it comes to food. Some may get close, but for truly delicious food you almost never think “bulk” as in all-inclusive. If you want that I would suggest sucking it up and paying a-la-carte at a hotel known for great food.
2.Entertainment: This is going to be somewhat subjective depending on what you are looking for in a vacation. The daytime activities were plentiful-bingo, cards, volleyball, crafts etc. At night, they had some shows-the Caribbean show was very good! There was a “discotech” that we went to the first night and the last. Both times we were two of only a few (like up to six) people in the club. We still managed to have a good time, but again, for some this would be disappointing. Going back to the “girlfriend getaway” concept-after about 10:30-11 pm, most couples are heading back to their rooms, and we entertained ourselves by dancing like fools (only two left in the club) and hanging out with the club bartender. Another small detail…there was no music pool side most days (although they did bring in a great band for a couple of hours one day). However, most places I have stayed play some top 40, or local music by the pool to add to the festive vibe. There are enough pools at this resort so that they could play music by the main pool for those who were interested in socializing, and keep it quiet and serene at some of the other pools for those who were looking to enjoy a more quiet and peaceful environment.
Other Random Statements/Requests from Guests:
1.Get bar stools for the outside bar or at least more table seating.
2.Have better towel service by the pool.
3.Start concentrating on some of the small details: like does every room have a remote, mini bar stocked etc.
I included the bad and so-so comments because I feel that it helps to be honest about the hotel so that others can know up front what may happen during their stay. However, each person’s experience is going to be slightly different depending on the circumstances and each individual's perspective. Overall we had a great time, and would recommend it to couples who don’t really want to be close to the clubs etc. We would recommend it with some reservations for a friends get-away for women in their late 20s and up looking for rest and relaxation. We thought that for just having opened a short time ago that they are doing a great job. Once they have been up and operating for a while, provided that they take the feedback from guests and make changes, I think that the resort will be even better! I hope to go back someday, preferably as soon as possible!!
Excellent potential at EPM, not quite there yet...
My husband and I stayed at EPM from Sunday 11/4 until Friday 11/9. We booked it by accident thinking we were booking the resort closer to Tulum. A few days before our departure we realized that this was a new resort when we could not find how to get there. My husband sums it up nicely by saying our stay was "roughing it at a luxury level!!" When we arrived there were only about 5 other couples there since it had just opened 2 days prior. They upgraded us to an excellence club level room with ocean view, which was nice to have the ocean view however the excellence club amenities were not available yet. When they took us to our room they said the hammering was all done, they were just doing finishing work. When we looked straight outside our window we saw ocean. When we looked to the right we saw a construction site of more rooms being built. First 3 days were very windy and the wind took the noise with it. The last two there was no wind and construction and hammering starts at 6am!!! We are early birds and it did not bother us, but I can imagine it irritating people that were staying in the same building as us. We also had small issues with our room not being ready, no mirrors, no do not disturb sign, construction dust, no room service menu etc. We asked the front desk before dinner and by the time we returned they were all in our room. One thing did really peeve me though, although all the rooms amenities and toiletries were not ready in our room throughout our entire stay we asked the concierge for 2 razors (we only travel carry on so we usually just get them from concierge of where we stay) and they had the audacity to charge us 40 pesos for them!!! I could see if everything was up and running, but come on!!!
The hot tubs are not that private, but we realized where our room was that if we were to hang two towels over our balcony we would be good. If your room faces the main lobby entrance and Chez Isabelle be wary- the waiters were watching people get in and out of the tubs! You can look right down on the "private" rooftop terraces from common areas on certain floors.
Housekeeping does not come until late in the afternoon, and it is different housekeepers that do different things. One actually strips the beds and towels and cleans and another remakes the beds and retowels and a 3rd person does the mini bar. If your do not disturb sign is out during the minibar guy he does not come back unless you call down and request it.
We were a little impressed by the quality of the food. We live in NY with probably some of the best restaurants and best service around and defiantly spoiled by it! Something worth noting is that although your server seems to speak English, it is not their native language. Speak slow and clear and understand that if you stray from the menu with requests it probably will not be what you had in mind. That being said often the menu did not match what came out but we were never unhappy. Very disappointed that the flavor market was not open, but the restaurant is about pairing food and wines and frankly I do not think the staff if ready for that yet- Our favorite restaurant is the lobster house and grill. You can get both menus at either location. The baby back ribs are fantastic. We enjoyed the hibachi, if you have never been before, its fun, you sit with other couples so its a nice way to get to meet people from other parts of the world. Breakfast buffet and lunch at Barcelona was excellent. We are not buffet people but they had a fresh omelet bar and the standard breakfast buffet spread for breakfast and some brunch items and fresh stir-fry bar and sushi at lunch. You can get espresso or cappuccino for breakfast, just ask. We did not eat at the Italian place, we are in Italy about once a year and do not try to replicate it (!) Most of the restaurants are only open for dinner and about 1-2 are closed a night so we did not get to try agave. We did not care for the French restaurant but I think we are not French food types so don't go by my take on it! One disapointment is that there are not many choices that involve just vegetables. My husband is a vegetarian and found the menus done by our third day. The restaurants are not open 24 hrs, they all have different times, however room service is available 24 hours with a limited menu and you never need reservations at any restaurant. The mini bar in the room was well stocked. I do not remember what type of beer was in the fridge b/c we don't really drink it, my husband was upset b/c the photo of the mini bar shows a bottle of Chivas Regal which is what he drinks and it was not available anywhere on the resort. Also, we could not get icecream anywhere on the resort.
There was nightly turndown service with an itiniary for the next day each night. When we were there the dvd library was not available yet and our DVD player was not hooked up.
Spa was not open, gym not open, game room not open, no shops open. Beach was def. a mess, but they were working on it while we were there and by our last day there spa was opened and parts of the beach were cleaned. (by dirty I speak of a type of seaweed, we grew up on the ocean so it did not bother us, however I can see it bothering someone who only gets to the ocean on vacation!)
Everyone we encountered was happy and pleasant and willing to do anything to make us happy.
We rented a car and everything I read before we left said to get all available insurance, which I kind of thought ridiculous b/c it takes a $10 day rental and makes it an $75 a day rental but I did it anyway, and it is a good thing too- we pulled out of the airport, stopped at the first stop sign and were rear-ended by a taxi!!! The lady at Hertz told us it happens constantly. It is about $30 to downtown cancun via cab. If you drive, the resort is not on a map, but you will be heading towards punta sam.
We were a little annoyed by the inconveniences, but all in all we had a great stay. Be aware, because it is a new hotel it is not crowded!(lol) We considered asking them to switch us to the other resort but loved the fact that it was so quiet. It was not uncommon to be the only people in the club pool where our room was. We wanted a quiet relaxed week and that is what we got!! We both think the resort has excellent potential for the future.
Fantastic 2 night stay at the Excellence
I went down as part of a group of 19 and we all thoroughly enjoyed our 2 night stay 11/30 - 12/2. The food and service was excellent. The room was amazing. The grounds and pools breathtaking. In time, this will definately be one of the top of resorts in Cancun. Premium brand liquours are used. The only item that keeps me from rating the resort a 5 is the beach (I am a beach bum.) I did swim in the beach and there are spots that are nice and sandy, but most areas are sea grass. Depending on wind, the seaweed can be an issue. To their credit, the tractor was there everyday picking it up. The X-Lounge was a really cool spot, nice to hang out and see the stars etc. Also don't miss the nightclub / lounge - Alegria - small and cozy and great music.
My husband and I booked at Excellence from Nov. 29 - Dec. 5. I will start from the beginning. We used Cancun transfers from the airport, they were great and cheap compared to what the hotel priced their transfer at. The ride takes about 45 mins, we hit rush hour traffic 5PM took about 1hr 15mins. Was fine lots to look at. We arrived at the hotel, its beautiful and when we pulled up very impressive . Cool towel and champagne, great people got our room assignment and did the tour. The rooms around the spa do not seem to be open so we were given a room on the excellence club side. Room 8001. It was fine it was dark and hard to get orientated. The airline had lost my bag, but they sat me in the Agave resturant in just pants and a t-shirt, thats all I had. The rooms were georgeous, the bed was so comfortable. Just a heads up I hope you are confortable with your partner because there is not alot of bathroom privacy. Glass doors for the toilet and big glass window in the shower. The food at Agave was good IMO. The staff were great meal was so quick, we were both very satisfied. That evening we could see the theatre, and hear the show it was quite loud. The next day I was still having issues with my bag and was getting no where with the airport or the Alaska Airlines bag claim rep so my husband went to the conceirge and within 2hrs my bag showed up, I couldn't thank them enough, and to boot we complained about the noise of the theatre and asked to be moved so they gave us an ocean front room in block 9 and we were so grateful. What a great room. Pool out the back door, pool out the front door. The pools some were heated some weren't, but it honestly wasn't that bad, even the unheated pools were tolerable. We ate at Agave, Grill, and Spice. I was happy with all, had the best steak and lobster diiner at the grill. My husband wasn't very happy with Spice but I liked my meal. Breakfast was good, lunch at the Grill was good wasn't to impressed with the buffet lunch pretty boring. We didn't do to much through out the day, just hung out at the pools. We had a wonderful waitress Veronica, she will take really good care of you. The beach is not great in Cancun standards. There is seagrass, and its not crystal clear but it didn't bother us we are pool people. The resort put in some shows and had live music most nights, but its on the quiet side. They do have a night club a but we never went. The gym has a few treadmills, about 5 weight machines and one bike. There is a fitness room next door that they do ball classes, streching, yoga etc. Did the spa wellness circut, I would not pay for this. Fun if free but not for $35. I also had a hot stone massage that was absolutely wonderful. The spa is beautiful but IMO I think that the spa at ECR is superior. All in all we had a great time, can't say enough about the staff they made our vacation. Anyone have any questions please PM me and I will do my best to help all. I would definetly go back if I could afford it, which isn't likely in a few months, but I will try to save my pennies.
A Disaster!!! Terrible stay!! 0 out of 5!!! Unless you love Flies & Concrete!
We booked a stay through Expedia.com for 11/25-11/27 for the Jr. Suite with Rooftop Terrace. The hotel was still under renovation including our hotel room. Shelfs were missing, door locks not installed, outdoor furniture was missing cushions. Also, all of the restaurants and rooms had tons of flies!! But, the main problem was the smell from the mattress and the sheets. It was a very powerful smell of concrete. My guess is that the mattress was left in the room during construction and as a result the mattress absorbed the fumes. After much convincing (they didn't believe us) we were moved at the end of the night to a lesser room (ground floor, no rooftop terrace). This room had a Mosquito problem (was actually a can of Raid in the room
when we got there). We were bit multiple times throughout the night. At the very end of the 2nd day they put us in a rooftop room that still had things not yet finished. They were going to create a free two night voucher for us as a result (which was to be used to get credit back from Expedia) but they never sent it to us as promised. This was a horrible, horrible experience and we have yet to be compensated.
Should have been an amazing experience but ended up being the worst hotel stay that I have ever had. Terrible Customer Service, just awful!!! This is especially bad for a new hotel, which should be smart enough to know the importance of building a good reputation. I can't state enough how awful this hotel and staff is. A total ripoff!! And, the location is really bad!!! Cost $25 to get to the main part of Cancun and we were lucky the cab found his way back. It is so hidden that he had to drive around for 20 minutes looking for it. Nothing is around this place.
Stay away, many better hotels. We really enjoyed our stay at the Royal Playa Del Carmen so I would suggest the Royal in Cancun to anyone going to Cancun.
Mexico Vacation Awareness Organization
The great water in Cancun- such a pretty turquoise
Chill out on a hammock
View of CasaMagna pool from my room
art galleries in Cancun area
I'll be traveling to Cancun in January and would really like to visit some art galleries. We heard about the tourist shops in Playa,but would really like to check out some artwork.
Re: art galleries in Cancun area
wow. I've been traveling in Mexico for 15 years and have found the art galleries much friendlier and more affordable than Paris and New York. I will, of course, be visiting the ruins as well so thank you for your advice.
Re: art galleries in Cancun area
To my eye, you should go to the La Isla Mall, to the Sergio Bustamante store (the one in Kukulcan Mall is gone ). There was also one dowtown. I'm no artist or great lover of all art but his work moved me as no other. He is Mexico's most famous artist.