My wife and I celebrated our honeymoon here from 26 August to 10 September 2012 and couldn't really have asked for any more from our 2 weeks. The resort certainly lives up to it's name and is a perfect choice for anyone celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary or just a romantic getaway.
There's no point in repeating what previous reviewers have said - suffice to say that the staff and facilities at EPM deserve every ounce of praise. Some of the Mediterranean all inclusive hotels should really come and see how the Mexicans do customer service - they could learn a thing or too. The all inclusive really is all inclusive - top brand drinks available at any time you want. There's no buffet in the evening - instead 9 a la carte restaurants are available (with no reservations needed) and if you really wanted you could order the whole menu.
The food was top notch. Our favourite restaurants were the French and the Grill - mainly for their fantastic steaks! Even by British standards, the curries at the Indian restaurant were pretty good - although on our second visit we came to realise that the curries all seemed to taste very similar. The Asian restaurant was really nice too - the Thai dishes were much nicer than the Chinese dishes. The Mexican and the Italian were good but nothing to shout about. The Flavour Market was just a bit weird - some very strange combinations of tastes! We didn't visit the Lobster House or Barcelona so can't comment on these.
The buffet breakfasts and lunches was fantastic. The desserts on offer at lunch were to die for. If you didn't want to leave the pool side at lunch, the snack pizzas from the sol bar were very very nice. Quite often there'd be some food on offer on the beach - the BBQ with the live band playing made for a great afternoon. My mouth is now watering recalling all the great food we had!
We stayed in a standard junior suite on the third floor of block 5 - overlooking the lovely lazy river. There was nothing standard about the room though - it was huge and the bed is the most comfotable bed I've ever slept in! The rooms are cleaned daily and there's also a turn down service in the evening where the maid comes and prepares the bed and recleans the bathroom area! Now that is service! The guys that came to restock the mini bar were a bit forgetful sometimes but once we started leaving them a little tip each day we were overrun with Snickers bars and Oreo biscuits :-)
The shower in the rooms are amazing and it's now my life's ambition to have a shower like that in my own house, never mind a massive hot tub and a bed on the balcony! We were more than happy with our 'bog-standard' room but as a treat we decided to splash out $160 and upgrade on our final night to a roof top terrace suite. The hotel indicated we would be able to move about 3pm but it wasn't until about 5pm that we finally got into our new room and as it was getting a bit late in the day I was beginning to wonder whether it was actually worth the money. As it turns out it was definitely worth it - we had an amazing final night and the following morning we ordered a room service breakfast and relaxed on the terrace and in the little roof top pool before it was time to checkout at noon. Whatever room type you select the dimensions of the room are the same - the rooftop terrace just added something a little extra. I'm not sure a swim up room is worth the upgrade though as it seemed to me you wouldn't get much privacy as the pools are free for anyone in the hotel to use - others may disagree though.
We didn't go Excellence Club as it didn't seem like you got that much more for your money - a few more private areas here and there. We were pleasantly surprised to find that all rooms including the standard suites had free wi-fi.
Our stay was so relaxing. We took advantage of a honeymooner's discount at the spa and had a couples massage. The whole spa area is immaculate and has an air of tranquility but be warned that it is quite expensive - probably more so than many 5 star spa hotels in England.
The nightly shows seemed pretty good although we normally watched from the back by the Kafe Kafe bar. Some nights though we were so chilled out that we were tucked up in bed by 11.
During the day we never had trouble finding a sun lounger round the pool. If you wanted a particular position by the pool or if you wanted one of the big double beds you probably needed to get out there by 9am, but if you're not too fussy you can normally just rock up at any time and have no problems. The resort did seem quite busy too - particularly during our second week.
We had plans to do a couple of excursions but as it turned out, we were so chilled out we didn't want to ruin it by spending 4 hours of a day sat on a bus. We did however take ourselves to the ferry port for the 20 minute journey over to Isla Mujeres. We hired a golf buggy for the day at 500 pesos (about £25) and toured the island on it. The First Choice rep at the hotel had given us some good advice on things to see and do and the buggies were great fun - these are proper roads you're driving on with buses and taxis overtaking you! It's definitely worth the trip over - if only to pick up some cheap sun cream (it's about $30 at the hotel).
The guests at EPM seemed to be a mix of American, Canadian and Brits. We braved the 10 hour flight from London - flying with Thomson / First Choice which wasn't so bad, although I do think their meals / entertainment options have gone a bit downhill in recent years. The hotel is 20 minutes north of Cancun so it takes about 40 minutes from the airport but the transfers were pretty efficient (it's a shame the same couldn't be said for Cancun airport on arrival - this was carnage to put it mildly!).
For anyone coming from England it's a good idea to bring a mix of Mexican Pesos and US Dollars. The Pesos are better for any shopping and also for the departure tax (payable when flying with one of the UK tour operators) - you seem to get a better exchange rate when compared with the dollar. The dollars on the other hand are better for frequent tips as the lowest Mexican note is 20 pesos which is about $1.50. Reading previous reviews people were saying it was difficult to get small change for tips at the hotel. This is the case if you are asking reception or at the spa but if you ask any of the pool or restaurant waiters they will move Heaven and Earth to get you some dollar bills as obviously it will benefit them (just remember to leave them something for their efforts though!).
One final tip would be to bring plenty of sun cream. We took 3 bottles with us and they lasted about 9 days - we then had to buy more locally but as mentioned earlier, this is very expensive at the shop within the hotel. It might also be an idea to bring sun screen containing insect repellant. During the first couple of days we had a few rain showers and this brings out the mosquitos during the day. Strangely, we found we got more bites during this time than any of the evenings sat outdoors.
All in all we couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon. Even though the hotel is full of couples, the service from the staff makes you feel very special. Everyone will go out of their way to make sure you are having an amazing time - this was epitomised when we were waiting in reception for our transfer bus to back to the airport and the bell-boy brought us over some farewell glasses of champagne. It's little gestures like that, that make Excellence Playa Mujeres stand head and shoulders above any other all inclusive hotel I have stayed in before.
We will definitely return for an anniversary sometime in the not-too-distant future. By the sounds of it though, First Choice no longer have a contract with EPM from next year which is a massive shame. Hopefully it won't be forgotten about by other UK tour operators.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury adults-only resort nestled among seven swimming pools on a powdery white sand beach, in a community that boasts a spectacular Greg Norman signature golf course. This jewel of Cancun sets a new standard of luxury for all-inclusives with finely tuned amenities such as one-of-a-kind accommodations including two-story rooftop terrace suites with a private Hydro-Spa pool, meticulous service, gourmet cuisine, an exquisite spa and the signature Excellence Club. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Excellence Playa Mujeres Hotel Playa Mujeres
- Excellence Hotel Playa Mujeres
- Playa Mujeres Excellence Hotel
- Excellence Playa Mujeres Cancun