Review update – Still our favourite all inclusive – 13th trip booked for Feb 2019!
The Excellence are one of my favourite resort chains and this is my favourite adult only resort in Mexico. The Excellence Playa Mujeres, known as EPM by the regulars, is consistently listed as one of the top 10 luxury all inclusives and this hotel has everything you need for a luxury child free beach break. It’s an all suite hotel and even the standard rooms allow for pure self indulgence with an indoor/outdoor hot tub, a double day bed on the balcony and a fully stocked mini-bar all part of the package.
I don’t normally like to go back to places I have been but I can’t resist going back here when I know I need total relaxation – this was our 5th visit to an Excellence hotel and it was an extra special one as it was my husband’s 40th birthday so we pushed the proverbial boat out and upgraded to a luxury duplex with private pool on the roof. The Excellence was my husbands first choice for his special trip and the holiday, the hotel and the amazing Excellence team all combined to make it an amazing trip we will always remember.
The holiday starts here
We booked with Blue Bay as they have a great relationship with Excellence hotels and flew with Thomson direct from Manchester to Cancun. As it was a morning flight we decided to stay over at the Radisson Blu which is attached to the airport concourse. If you book a park and stay package with them you simply leave your car keys with the concierge and they sort your car out and have it waiting back the hotel when you return. Staying over the night before not only meant we extended our holiday but also that we could take advantage of the night-before check in service.
With no check-in, in the morning we headed straight to security and this is where I would flag to give yourself plenty of time. The queues were very long and it took us nearly an hour to get through. We still had time for a coffee on the other side though and then boarded our flight on-time.
What a welcome
After a long flight we were met at the airport by Jumbo Tours (hard to miss in their pink shirts) and it was less than 30 mins transfer to the resort in our air-conditioned mini van. Once you reach the resort you drive through two sets of gates with courteous security guards on each – then you pull up outside and your holiday really starts. If you are looking for service, quality and sunshine free from children then this is the place to be. When you arrive outside the hotel you are greeted with cold champagne, a cold towel and a warm welcome, and as the reception team actually say “Welcome Home” to you, your 10 hour flight is just a memory, you take a deep contented sigh and start to remember that there is life after work!
A place where great service is virtually guaranteed
We had upgraded to the Excellence Club which meant on arrival we were escorted to the Excellence Club Lounge for private check in. As the Bell boys take you to the club and your rooms they point out everything you need to know about the resort and really make you feel at home and relaxed. The reception team check you in with the offer of another cold drink and make it clear that nothing is too much trouble. We arrived about 4pm so our room was ready, if you arrive before 3pm it may not be but they simply give you a buzzer, take care of your bags and you can explore the resort until they buzz you to let you know they are ready for you – either way its a very relaxing way to start your time there.
“Having been to a few couples based resorts I can honestly say that we have never had such great service as we always get at Excellence.”
Room with a view
The rooms here are all amazing as even the standard rooms have fantastic facilities, luxurious bed, well stocked mini-bar, great amenities and a shower you won’t want to get out of. Excellence club rooms are the same layout but have upgraded mini bar, nespresso coffee machine and a sea view. Swim up rooms are available too. We have tried those but they don’t actually have steps into the pool and so we prefer to be on a higher floor for the view. This time, as it was a special trip, we had upgraded to a duplex room with a roof top plunge pool. Steps from our bedroom took us upstairs to amazing views and a very private pool area with two double day beds. It was simply stunning and when we stepped out there for the first time, we forgot all about the jet lag and knew it was going to be a very special trip.
Our days were spent around the pool or lying on the beach listening to the sea. There are lots of pools to choose from. The main pool is busier but never too busy and there is a swim up bar, poolside hot tubs and attentive bar service to your lounger. There are also two Excellence club pools and a winding lazy river that wraps around the spa – laying on a pool float and letting the river gently wind you around the resort is a lovely way to spend a sunny hour, cocktail in hand!
Excellent bar none
Whether you are in the pool, by the pool, on the beach, under the stars or enjoying an aperitif before dinner, all the bars here are fantastic. Excellent bar staff with a huge array of cocktails and a better choice of premium drinks than we have had at any other all inclusive mean that you really need to try something new. If you can’t choose then just ask one of the team to make you something, just tell them what sort of flavours you like and they’ll do the rest. If you would like some tips as to what to ask for then here are some of our favourites.
Here are our 5 must-try drinks
- Iceberg -perfect for a cold day as it’s a beer with frozen margarita in it
- Chocolate espresso martini – caffeine, sugar,and alcohol in one amazing drink – tastes fantastic
- Excellence Maritni – if you love cosmopolitans you will love this
- Hemingway iced tea
- Mojito – a classic done beautifully
and as for our favourite bar, well we’d probably have to say either CafeKafe (because it’s the first place we head for drinks before dinner) or the Martini bar as the team there are just fantastic and the cocktails are amazing.
Life’s a beach!
The bars are great but the drinks service both on the beach and round the pool is worth shouting about too, and again is some of the best we have had anywhere. All the team are friendly, happy and helpful and we’d like to give a special shout out here to Fidel for looking after us so well almost every day of our holiday. The beach is beautiful and we spent most of our days on the Excellence Club beach area. Everyday we were warmly greeted by Guillermo and Antonio who looked after us from the moment we arrived til after the sun went down with fresh towels, cold drinks and the occasional tempting snack and canopies. The Excellence club hut on the beach also has iced water, face spays for when the sun is just too hot, magazines and books and event a mint drink thats recommend the morning after the night before – we did need that a few mornings…..! The beach is clean, safe and well looked after. Some days there is more sea weed than others but they work hard to clear it. The sand is white and powdery and the sea is blue and welcoming – what more can you ask for! We loved it.
A Perfect 10
Going out for dinner on a balmy evening and eating somewhere different every night is is a big part of our holiday and at Excellence Playa Mujeres we get to do just that. There are 10 restaurants on site offering an array of great food from Mexican specialities and well flavoured curries through to Lobster by the beach. Unlike most all inclusives all the restaurants are A La Carte at night and whilst there is a buffet option for breakfast and lunch there is a also a great selection of other options too. The Lobster House and Grill both do waiter service breakfast and lunch and the views over the beach are beautiful. There is a also a pizza over by the pool with fresh pizza available to order all afternoon and daily on the beach is a themed food event with live entertainment.
Add to all this 24 hour room service and you’ll see why you need to be prepared to be a few pounds heavier on the way home! Having said that, every restaurant offers healthy options, great salads and there is a juice smoothie bar. So if you have the will power and want to not undo all your good work at the onsite gym then it is possible – we’ve never managed it though -the cocktails and curry house are just too good!
Here are our top 5 restaurants
- Basmati – hot, spicy and authentic curry with great selection
- Spice – pan Asian flavours front sushi to pad Thai
- French – elegant atmosphere and fantastic creme brûlée
- Flavour Market – fabulous Tapas, perfect for your first night if you have jet lag and ned something a bit lighter than a 3 course meal
- A tie between the Algave – A Mexican where we highly recommend you try the frozen tamarind margaritas, and the Lobster house – the home of chilli lobster eaten al fresco with the sound of the sea
Ask and it will be done
On my husband’s birthday the team did everything possible to make him feel special and exceeded all of our expectations. Each block of rooms has a concierge and they are there to make sure you have a great time so our advice would be to talk to them if you need anything at all.
The team including Nelson, Pedro and Carolina were absolutely fantastic. They helped me arrange a few things for my husbands birthday, came down to the beach to see him on the day and check we had everything we needed and made sure that if we had a request for anything that it was sorted as quickly as possible. So a big thank you to all the amazing team!
So the food is good, the drinks are great, the pool is relaxing, the beach is beautiful and the service is amazing. I know I sound like a brochure but this really is my honest review and trust me when I say that I am quite demanding of holidays and hotels as it is a really precious time – but the Excellence hotels always deliver. The adult only element of the resort is what made us book the first time but it is the service that keeps us coming back. When they say “Welcome Home” as you arrive, they really mean it and nothing is too much trouble. So go, enjoy and if you have any other questions about the resort feel free to email me. We’re already looking forward to going back home soon!