I need to begin this review by stating that the best way to get to Excellence (EPM) or La Amada is via Cancun Transfers. I did my research and was hesitant on almost every company as there were mixed reviews (late picking up at airport or hotel, etc). I even called La Amada to find out what outside service was most dependable as paying $138 for the service by the hotel was outrageous and they recommended Hertz, which I decided against in the end. I live in NYC and I'm used to paying out of my ears for cabs/car service, but that rate is beyond steep. Anyway, I booked Cancun Transfers and they were amazing. After clearing customs, we met a liaison outside holding a board with my name on it. He radioed for the driver and in the meantime wrote me the ticket for the return trip. I didn't book the top car (I chose the $70 option round trip) and the driver pulls up in a Ford Explorer. Not bad, sure beats 75% of the vehicles on the road. Driver was excellent and got us to La Amada quickly, didn't make small talk the entire way. On the return, We arranged to have the car pick us up at the hotel at 9:00AM. The driver showed up at 9:02AM in an Escalade. Again, quick drive back to the airport, very nice driver. For $70 round trip, this cannot be beat. That's half the cost of the service that La Amada provides (their SUV is a GMC) and cab's will cost you $125 from the airport via Hertz. I couldn't be happier with this decision.
I have to agree with the previous post about the check in service. It was lacking the vital details about tipping policy, percent of bill, if we can tip on the check or needs to be in pesos or USD, how the all inclusive works, etc. I stayed in the 2 story casita, which was absolutely amazing. I've stayed at Beach Palace and Moon palace and this room beats the pants off of those. Mini bar is included in the all inclusive, which had Perrier, Coke, Fanta, Bud Light. Budweiser, Heneiken, Corona, Red Bull, Nips of Absolut, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo and Johnnie Walker and featured snacks like M&Ms, twix, chips, and Ferrero Rocher. The plunge pool upstairs was very nice, but like most people said, very cold. I called the front desk on the first day and someone came to fix the heating timer to be on longer or earlier. Whatever he did, it worked for sure. If its cold, you need to call and have them adjust. There are 7 Casitas in total, 5 face the beach, 2 are behind and have terrible views of nothing (Bella & Bonita). If you're staying in a casita, request any other one but those two and ask for the #4 side as the #4 room has the most sun (for the plunge pool and laying out on the bed).
The service was good, not fantastic. Most employees do not greet you in passing unless you say Hi to them first, which is a turn off. The waitstaff overall were very nice and accommodating. I can't recall any of them saying no in regards to special requests on dishes. Jorge, Spencer and Yolanda were 3 people that really stood out to my girlfriend and I. One night I wasn't feeling too well and my girlfriend wanted desert, so Spencer suggested that we go back to the room and he would deliver the desert and check to us. About 20 minutes later after the restaurant closed, he showed up with desert and the check for us to sign. Little things like that, which was really out of the way for him, made us really appreciate it.
On the other hand, the hostess at Aroma and Lapita Lounge was always in a foul mood. I stopped by Lapita Lounge to make reservations on my way to the gym and as I was leaving, she looked me up and down and said "don't forget the dress code!" This really took me aback as yeah, i might be in a tshirt and shorts, but theres no need to say it with such tone like I look like a homeless person. The following night, we went to Aroma and she was at the hostess booth again. We arrived around 9pm (which is on the late side for dinner) and there were about 4 tables open with a nice view and much more private and quiet. Instead of sitting us there, she put us at the table under a bright light right next to her hostess booth where most of the staff congregate. I requested to sit in one of the more private tables and she said "did you make a reservation?" and I responded with "no I didn't" (since you don't need them even if its 100% full) so she replied with "then this is all I have for you". No one sat at those open tables for the rest of the night and we sat next to the waitstaff joking around and her phone ringing for room service. It would have been one thing if people who made reservations showed up and sat there, but we were the last arriving party that night.
The hotel seems too structured and not flexible in terms of accomodating to certain situations. One morning I was in the pool socializing with other guests and in the span of about 30-45 minutes about 5-6 parties of people went to the swim up bar to only find that it didn't open until noon. You had to exit the pool, walk into Isla Grill and order a drink. If the pool is busy and there are mass amounts of people to serve, management should recognize this and open up the swim up bar earlier instead of waiting for the clock to strike 12 on the dot. Service on the beach is terrible and its not the staff's fault. Most people go to the beach for relaxation to get away from the families of kids at the only heated pool in the resort and they have 1 to 2 staff members attending to everyone. Ordering a drink is a 30 minute process, whereas you could get it yourself if you go to the restaurant in 5 minutes. Again, management should recognize this and put more servers out there during peak times.
The resort has 3 main pools, 1 near the beach and 2 by the main block of rooms. The pool by the beach is quite small and is heated, which means everyone uses it. The other two are big but are frigid cold. No one uses them for this reason, which is unfortunate because it would spread everyone out and the staff could organize water sports in one of them to promote socializing among guests. Walk to EPM and use their pool, its huge. Lastly, the beach water isn't very nice. There are mass amounts of seaweed covering the entire shoreline and the first 10 feet in the water. The water is not aqua blue like the hotel zone and there are no waves, which is unfortunate as cancun has some of the best beaches.
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