Just spent 10 wonderful days at EPM, March 20-30, and would like to share with you my thoughts and experiences.
First of all, a bit about my me and my husband . My husband travels internationally for business on a regular basis, and I have been fortunate to accompany him. We have stayed in some pretty spectacular properties over the years, such as raffles, Madarin oriental, etc. We have not been one for all inclusive, and I had to fight tooth and nail to get my husband to agree to go to one, in Mexico, of all places, where he has never had any interest in going. Needless to say, my husband has had a change of heart....
We booked our rooms through Roads Less Taken, and our flights separately through Air Canada. The land portion included transportation to and from the resort through Cancun Transfers. We arrived at the resort at 10:30 am, were greeted in the usual Excellence manner, and given our pager so that we would know when our room is ready. I did find it strange that a room would not be ready when the resort was at 45% capacity, but no matter; we wandered the resort to find out the lay of the land, then went to the Grill for lunch. Enrique, our waiter was a lovely young man, and made our day! Carlos the director of food and beverages came over for a lengthy conversation, and he offered me a tour of his kitchen facilities at a time of my convenience... I never did find the time to take him up on his offer, though.
Around 12:30 our room was ready, and Jesus, our lovely bellman in training ( he is normally a bartender) showed us to our room, which was decorated with towel art, red roses and rose petals, sparkling wine and a wonderful fruit basket. I won’t go into the rooms in too much detail, other than to say pictures do not do it justice, as so many people have already commented on them. The room did smell a little strange, if not musty, only at first.... one quickly becomes used to it. I loved the height of the bed... mine at home is like that. I would have liked to see more substantial pillows ( king size would be nice), but the bed was very comfortable. The only two things I would have to comment on are, there was no screen on the patio door... we slept with the doors open most nights, good things we did not see a single bug around the resort the entire time we were there. Also, the lovely, but entirely unpractical mirrors is the bathroom were WAY to high for me to see anything but the top of my head in... a proper vanity mirror would be nice. All in all, though, an exceptional room, and spotless.
Adrian, our concierge ( yes, every building has one, whether EC or not), came by and asked us if there was anything he could get us or anything he could do for us. We asked that our room be cleaned by noon every day, and turndown between 6 and 10. Done. Never had to ask twice. Lovely mariachi figures, chocolates and towel art left every night. WE were in room 8203, and had a lovely view of the square, the lazy river and the ocean. Thank you to Esther for granting us our every request for our room, while staying within the non EC block.
For the rest of the afternoon we just chilled by the main pool, then headed to an early dinner and off to bed. For the rest of my review I will break things down by category.
Beyond exceptional. Nothing was too much to ask, and you usually didn’t even have to ask, it just seemed to magically happen. Every one greets with a smile, and everyone seems to legitimately enjoy their job. A++
Special kudos go to Jesus, Enrique, who remembered us no matter which restaurant we went to, Adrian, our concierge, who called us no less than three times during our stay to ensure we were having a good time, Hugo, the sommelier, who knew exactly what vintages we ordered after night one, and had it ready for us every night afterwards ( still don’t know how he managed to be in the same restaurant as us every night), Ingrid, Barbara, Carlos and Juan at the SOL and BLEU, and Danny, Clara and Adrian, who kept us entertained at the pool during the day.
Restaurants and food:
Agave: went there three times. Food good, not great. Had issues with getting the food out to you hot. Soup was lukewarm each time. Chocolate Biscuit and the Mexican Coffee a must. Mariachi band was awesome. Service very very slow all three times we went. Went mostly for the atmosphere. B
Spice: beautiful decor; however our first meal of the trip was our worst. Sushi very good, but everything else lacked flavour, and was lukewarm. Did not go back. D
Barcelona: Had breakfast here every morning. Not your run of the mill buffet. Many many made to order options. Plus free flowing mimosas and bloody Mary’s. A++
Lunched most days at Barcelona, again, made to order stations, plus the best spread for fixing your own sandwiches that I have seen in a while. A++
Dinner , we ate here once. Very very good, it was earth Day, so they turned the lights off and we had dinner by candle light. A
Chez Isabelle... ate here twice... our favourite. Sea bass, venison and Duck were the best. On our last night Hugo made a special dessert of banana’s flambé at table side... so sweet of him, and so good! A+++
The Grill and Lobster house: ok for lunch B, very nice for dinner. Ambience just lovely, and they allowed us to order from both menus. Again, Hugo surprised us with a very nice Mayan Coffee spectacular...amazing! A
Flavour market: kept meaning to get there, but never did.
Special nights ( Mexican and Caribbean, as well as Earth Day) food was plentiful and they obviously put a lot of effort into it, but the food was COLD. D
Fast, hot, guac and chips...mmm.
Pool grill/ service
If it was not too windy, they set up a grill at the Sol Bar, with hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken sandwiches with all the fixings, as well as guac, salsa, chips. Very very good. Also able to order off Lobster house or grill lunch menu from the pool wait staff. Service was quick and efficient... they even managed to find me some pretzels and potato chips one afternoon. A
OK, we are wine snobs. I don’t apologise for it. Could NOT drink the house wine for dinner... we ordered wine every night, the wine list was majorly extensive and well priced. Hugo very knowledgeable and so mature and educated for a mere 25 years old. Hugo tells us he will be going to Oyster bay to help with the hiring and training of bar staff in August for their soft opening.
Top shelf. Ask for the brand you want and you shall have it, for the most part, and the barmen will remember it. I ordered my chocolate martini ( 1 oz vodka, ½ oz crème de cacao and ½ oz grand marnier ) the first night in both the Martini lounge and Kafe Cafe, and every night after that, one was placed in front of me before I could order. Nice effort on the drinks of the day... one alcoholic one non. Ask for the Mayan specialty hangover cure... CHillata! A+
Unbelievably beautiful and well kept. Lots of hidden gems around the property in terms of quiet places to sneak away and beautiful sculptures around the grounds. Men in green snipping, pruning and hand clipping all days long. Public interior spaces spotless, as well.
Pools were beautiful, and there was a team of young men constantly cleaning and testing the water. Main pool was warm... wouldn’t want it any warmer. The other pools were not heated but by no means cool, simply more refreshing than the main pool. Lots of loungers, hammocks, swinging beds, and loungers that sat in the shallow water. Never had a problem finding a chair. Pool float hogs were rampant... just go take one and dare them to say something to you. Leave them in the pool when you are finished with them, PLEASE!!
Great swim up bar, and the action takes place in the area of the main pool between Bleu and Sol. A great band on Fridays plays for a couple of hours, and taped music at other times, They seem to play a bit of every genre to appeal to everyone. One thing that bothered me was that, although quiet areas abound on this resort ( even at the main pool), one or two people seemed to feel it was their right to complain and have the music turned off. One day a man requested that the music be turned up, less than 5 minutes later, one lady complained, and, not getting her way, seeked out management who promptly turned the music off... not down, off. One of the entertainment staff told me that last year they had a band every other day of the week until someone complained, and now they have them only once.... the band plays for 2 hours between 3 and 5, NOT in the evening, by the way!
People should be aware that the main pool is where the fun, music and activities are held, and if this is annoying to you, please go to a quiet area and allow everyone who wants to participate ( in the case the vast majority) to do so.
Only two staff members during the day, and supposedly two more at night... did not see anyone after 5, myself, but that does not mean they are not there.
We had great fun with Danny and Clara, mat races... too much fun, water and beach volleyball, horseshoes, water aerobics, poker, blackjack, arts and crafts, Spanish lessons, salsa lessons, and my personal fave, Giant Jenga. There are also hobie cats, wind surf boards, parasailing, kayaks and snorkelling gear. Lots to do if you cared to. Also, on one day per week, the spa staff sets up massage chairs and offer free back and scalp massages,,, heavenly!
Day trip to Isla Mujeres: cheap cab and ferry ride brings you to the Isla, where you can rent a golf cart, tour the island, hang on North Beach...awesome, and drink Coronas ( they don`t serve it at the resort). Also cheap silver and everything is to be bargained for. Food is good and authentic, and there is an awesome bar at the beach with swings instead of bar stools. This was a great day.
Also totally enjoyed the free golf cart tour of the resort, golf course, lagoon and LÀmada and marina.
Weather: Beautifully sunny and hot ( low to mid 30`s during the day and low 20`s at bight. Did not need a sweater after dark, which was nice. It was very windy most days, though and water sports were cancelled. I had a diving trip booked each day, but due to weather, I never got out on one of them as the harbour master had closed the port down to all but the largest of boats. Also the jungle tour and snorkel trip was cancelled as well. This however, did not ruin my trip, as the resort had so much going for it anyway. Our second last day there it was cloudy and cool until 3 pm, but then the sun came out and it was beautiful. I think there were 12 of us around the pool that day.
Well equipped, but dark and humid. Walked on the beach for miles each morning for exercise instead.
Never saw a blade of sea grass the entire time I was there, nor any garbage. Yes, ok, up past the golf course near the private residences and beyond, it got a bit more ``natural``, but that is a long walk, and you probably would not want to be in the water way up there anyway. Water was beautiful and warm, rough on the windy days but fun to be in. Di not understand the complaints about the beach at all.
We tipped, others did not. If you can afford to come here, you can afford to tip properly. These people are so gracious and kind, and do not expect to be tipped, but a little goes a long way. The staff here work hard to ensure you have the best experience possible... show your appreciation.
All in all, this was a fabulous experience. We are planning our trip for next year, and it will be at Excellence Playa Mujeres. I do not think I have ever been so pampered or spoiled!
- 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 Plunge 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