Whilst on a recent 21 night trip to Mexico we spent 3 nights at La Amada between 22nd – 25th June before moving onto Excellence Playa Mujeres
This was our 27th trip to the Caribbean and our 6th trip to Mexico having stayed previously at Occidental Grand Xcaret [Royal Club], El Dorado Royale Casitas, Excellence Riviera Cancun, Excellence Playa Mujeres and Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita. In addition on this trip we had a full day out at both Secrets Maroma Beach and Secrets Silversands so we like to think that we have a fairly good well calibrated holiday measuring stick
Can I preface this review by saying that we have stayed at all three Excellence Resorts multiple occasions and have spent some time at La Amada on our previous trips to Excellence Playa Mujeres. So on this occasion that we decided we must spend some proper time at the resort to enjoy the full experience
As many regular readers of TripAdvisor will know we just love how Excellence treat their guests and how they run things – they are our sort of people and are far better than many Sandals Resorts we have stayed at. Going back to Excellence just feels like we are returning home as we are lucky enough to have built up a relationship with many of the management and staff at their three resorts, now four if you include La Amada and we feel like part of the family
We actually arrived at La Amada 2 days ahead of schedule as we had curtailed our stay at Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita [see review for the reasoning behind the earlier than planned move]. We made the decision 3 days into our stay at Zoetry and thanks to the great company we book through, Caribbean Warehouse here in the UK and the understanding of the Zoetry management, this was very plain sailing indeed with our options being made available after 12 hours with everything being repackaged within 24 hours
Our transfer from Zoetry to La Amada was trouble free and courtesy of Zoetry as they include transfers as part of their “Endless Privilege” package. On arrival at La Amada at around midday we were greeted by Jean François the GM whom we had met previously on tours of the property and we had a chat about what had happened over the past 12 months. When we first met Jean François just after the resort had opened he was talking about maximum occupancies of around 16% whereas now they have had occupancy as high as 75% and already have a large amount of repeat guests
At check in we were blown away to find that we had been upgraded to a Penthouse Suite. As I have said many times before such sizeable upgrades do not influence what I write or comment upon as my integrity over the years on TripAdvisor has been built on being honest and unbiased
The suite as you would expect and as you will see from my photos is just stunning. Our Penthouse [#241] is one of two that sit on the roof of Building #2 and has great view across the resort toward EPM and also the ocean. As you enter the suite you have a well equipped kitchen & cloakroom on the left. A bar countertop acts as a buffer between this area and a large lounge area with large white leather suite – the room also has a dining table, work station and large flat screen TV.
Through a large archway which has two large sliding doors you have access to a large bedroom area with it’s own seating area and another flat screen TV. Behind the headrest of the bed as at EPM you have an open plan bathroom area with a huge wet-room/shower and large walk in clothes closet
One of the best attributes of the suite is the wrap around, L shaped balcony/terrace, accessible by three large patio doors, which has a large day bed, table and chairs on the forward facing part and then it opens out onto the side elevation of the suite where you have another two large beds and your hydropool - totally mind blowing
As it was such a great afternoon and as the suite had anything one would want we opted to order off the “in room dining” menu and have lunch on our balcony and soak up the feel for the place. I must admit it did seem rather odd to be sitting on a balcony at La Amada looking at EPM rather than the other way round
La Amada is a very different resort to EPM as it is Boutique Resort with 109 suites so it is less than 25% of the size of Excellence Playa Mujeres. Accordingly, the dining options are far fewer but in my opinion more than adequate for the size of the property. When you view the property from EPM you may feel it is very similar is style, actually it has very many subtle differences. Although it has the same clean lines there is very little colour to it and the designer has purposely used a very limited colour palate of white, shades of grey and sand. Most of the interior furnishings which are all lavish and elegant are in shades of white with pools of colour being provided by lighting and/or soft furnishings and artwork
During out short stay we experienced all the dining options available
For breakfast you have the choice of in room dining or the Aroma Restaurant. As you will see from my photos the buffet breakfast is a totally different experience to that at the other Excellence Resorts and many other AI Resorts. The presentation is world class with many “taster” dishes where different yoghurts, muesli dishes, etc are presented in shot glasses and in very small bowls to allow you to sample many different foods. Many of the items available at La Amada we have never seen on offer at any other resort we have stayed at in Mexico – the chefs try wherever possible to provide authentic Mexican dishes and this layered with your more traditional international foods gives the place its’ unique appeal
It is small things that make the difference - like the fact that all the preserved fruits, jams, pickles are all made by the chefs and not just bought in. All the coffee is proper perked coffee served to your table in individual cafetieres
For lunch you have three options – in room dining, the Isla Grill or the Beach Pizza-Grill which allows you to experience barefoot dining either in the shade on the beach or by the pool or on your lounger if you want to maximise the rays and views
We experienced all three options and the choices on the excellent menus and the food was first class. In the Isla Grill itself you have a great selection of hot and cold entrees, main course and sweets. All the food is beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. The chefs will also cook for you off menu items at your request if they have the ingredients to hand
At the Beach Pizza-Grill you have a more limited menu but a very diverse range of pizzas that are cooked in an authentic brick built, wood burning pizza oven and as I have said you can either have this served to you on shaded tables on the beach looking out at Isla Mujeres or wherever your chosen spot for the day happens to be
In the evenings you again have in room dining available and the choice of either two of the three hotel restaurants as they close one on a rota basis – as the resort becoms even more popular and occupancy increases they aim to open all three in the evening.
The Isla Grill which offers a la carte Mexican & Caribbean dishes
Lupita Restaurant which offers traditional ancestral cuisine with an urban contemporary kick to it – the food we ate there was the best Mexican food we have ever eaten and all those that we talked with said likewise. Remember and ask for Mexican wine as it is very good indeed
Aroma Restaurant which offers a la carte Mediterranean cuisine
You also have the option of the sushi & ceviche bar in the Lupita Lounge should you either not be all that hungry or just want to have a bedtime snack
The food and dining experience at La Amada as you would expect with it being a boutique resort is much more refined that at other Excellence Resorts and will not suit everyone. The food on offer at the Isla Grill is akin to what would be served in Chez Isabelle
In the evening you can sit in the Lupita Lounge which although open air does have a large “sail” floating over it to offer shade during the day and also some protection should in rain. There is nightly entertainment in the form of a sax player, singer, etc – all very low key and laid back and more as background music than entertainment. The Lupita Lounge is just a great place to sit and relax and just be together or to meet and talk with people. The seating is mixture of traditional chairs and settees blended in with beds where you can lie down and chill out. Lupita is a great lounge with well thought out planting and lightings – not to mention some of the very unusual artwork/sculptures
The service at La Amada is as you would expect is a very high standard indeed with all the staff being immaculately dressed in white and grey. They offer a very personalised service and try to get to know each guest from day one of their stay and the ambiance is much more composed than that at EPM– nothing is too much trouble
The beach at La Amada has a diverse range of beach loungers and has a lot of natural planting which provides some privacy should you wish it. There is more than adequate shade for those that want it and they also have a few more luxurious cabanas that are available by reservation and rent through the concierge desk. We found the beach and pool service to be very good indeed and again those fellow guests we talked with felt likewise
Although La Amada is a “family resort” we found all the children very well behaved indeed and it certainly would not put us off booking to return. They have a tremendous kid’s club and play area where the children can play happily away either being looked after by their parents or left in the care of dedicated resort staff. Seemingly the ground floor Casitas with their own pools are very popular with people with children as they are self-contained. Some people with larger families have even been known to book more than one Casita to offer flexibility
La Amada is a fabulous upmarket boutique resort that has so much style and is certainly the best boutique resort that we have stayed at so far on our travels. It is a modern, chic resort that has so much elegance. Is better than Excellence Playa Mujeres??? – Yes in my opinion as in many respects it is a notch up with regards to service and even better food. However, it does have far less pools, bars and restaurants that does limit the number of nights “WE” could stay there. At EPM we can quite easily stay for 14 nights whereas at La Amada I think we would start to get bored after 7 nights.
We did meet two couples who were booked to stay at La Amada for 14 nights and one couple were having a great trip whereas the other couple were already thinking they had made a mistake as the restaurants may not be varied enough for them. As luck would have it they had booked through a Travel Agent here in the UK that we know very well and we were able to assist them repackaging their trip with them spending the 2nd week of their trip at ERC
At La Amada you do have a 26,000 sq foot Spa which has everything you would ever need in a Spa. People staying at La Amada also have full use of the water sports facilities that are on offer through AquaWorld at EPM
During our short stay at La Amada we had perfect weather and we had no problem with mosquitoes
Finally, having visited all of Excellence Group Resorts multiple times I would say that they are very similar but different if that makes any sense. To a certain extent it is like trying to compare a pineapple, a kiwi fruit and a mango – they are all great tropical delights but they each have their own flavours and appeals. What is easy to recognise is that the same person has been the designer and architect – his attention to detail is amazing.
Many people have asked me which we like best and all I can say is that EPC and ERC are to a certain extent like stepping into your cherished vintage car and taking it for a drive as you instantly feel at home and the quality and craftsmanship just oozes out at you – they both have a touch of magic hidden away under the bonnet. Whereas La Amada and EPM are the fresh new models on the drive with all the modern gizmos and that sports button which offers that little extra touch of excitement. The thing they all have in common is the emblem on the front grill.
All in all we had a wonderful 3 nights at La Amada and could easily have stayed a bit longer. This stay of got us back on track for the final stop of our trip – 9 nights at EPM. A very big THANK YOU to all those that looked after us and made sure we had a great trip
On the flipflop_man 360 holiday scoring matrix which measures 14 different parameters which are important to us La Amada scored 328
Should you be interested in seeing some photos of our day out please click on the link below:
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For photos and videos of other trips we have made feel free to check out
Please note that any time you enter the happy world of flipflop_man’s magic moments and memories it is always wise to have a drink in hand as there are always a lot of them to see – we are very lucky people.
As always I am happy to answer any questions
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres combines luxury and comfort with the convenience of the 'boutique style' Adults only all-inclusive Hotel, in the perfect setting poised for pleasure and relaxation. Here you'll have a comfortable home base of contemporary luxury. Stylish hotel architecture and decor, generous suites, spotless service, deluxe facilities, and of course, our secluded beachfront setting, all enable you to let your days happen naturally. At this intimate beachfront community you'll enjoy personalized spa and wellness programs, fine dining, seaside golf, boating and fishing from our inland marina, and a host of other activities. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- La Amada Resort
- La Amada Playa Mujeres