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Excellence Riviera Cancun
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Reviewed May 20, 2013

We stayed at the Excellence in July 2012 for our 10 year wedding anniversary. I have been back and forth about writing this review, but decided to go ahead.

After a lot of research we decided on Excellence Riviera due to the reviews and great comments about the resort. This is our 5th trip to Mexico, 2nd in an AI, and 4th AI total. We enjoy the area and that is why we decided to go back. When we arrived, we were shuttled from the airport to the hotel and met with a cold wash cloth and a glass of champagne. About 2 weeks prior to leaving, I contacted Excellence to let them know that it would be our anniversary and if I heard that they could decorate for us. They said they would have it all done. We arrived a little early and we were asked if we wanted to upgrade our room. We decided to upgrade to a swim out suite. They told us that the room was not ready and to go have some lunch and it should be ready in about 20 minutes. So, we went and ate, strolled around the resort and about 45 minutes later when the pager did not go off, we went back to the main desk. They said, "oh, let me check". The room was still not ready and we waited for an additional 20 minutes before they took us our room.

The resort is very nice, and well maintained. Our room was also very nice with a comfortable bed, a nice tub in the room and a great tub on the patio. The lazy river was right outside our room as well. When we got to the room, there was no decorations as they said there would be. I didn't worry about it and moved on with our stay. We decided we wanted to head down to the beach. This was the first, but not the last, time that we were not able to find beach towels anywhere. Not on the beach or at the pool. Yes it was a little later in the afternoon, but still they should be available. We waited for about 45 minutes just to get a towel. The beach was nice, but not great. There was a lot of seaweed that came up with the tide and the water was not that clear.

Throughout the trip we had good and bad times. We ate at the Mexican restaurant and the service and food was excellent. The buffet was not bad as well. We were never able to find chairs at the pool because people would reserve early in the morning and there was never any open. This was also what seemed to be the party site, which is not my reasoning for going to an adult only all inclusive with my husband. We did spend most the time on the beach. There were plenty of chairs. One day we had a chair under the shade covers and we went to get a drink down the beach. We left our stuff and was not gone for more than 10 minutes. When we came back another guest decided that they wanted our chairs, not the other 20 that were open and threw our stuff on the sand. The funny part is the wife was even reading my magazine. Instead of really making a scene, we just left. It wasn't worth the arguement for some rude people. We decided to go to the lazy river ourside our room. It is really laid back and nice, however the water was REALLY low and dirty. We were continuously pulling debris out of the water. Was not maintained at all, but it was very relaxing and quiet. This was probably the best part of the whole resort.

On the last night we decided to go to a nicer restaurant, I am sorry but I do not remember which one. My husband had on khaki shorts and a button down shirt. We got turned away because he was not wearing pants. We sat at the bar and watched them allow guys in with jeans, t-shirts and hats on. Holy jeans even. Not sure how that is more appropriate because it is pants. I did complain because this was just icing on the cake at this point. They took us to another restaurante to give us a "special" dinner for our anniversary. At first it was great, waiter took our order and brought us our drinks and then forgot about us. By the time they returned and brought our food it was cold and rubbery. We ended up just leaving. I was happy it was our last night.

The bright spot of the trip was the Spa. It is an amazing spa and they hydrotreatment is like no other. If you are going, you must try that.

We will not be back to this resport or any other Excellence because management did not seem to care. I am not one to complain and I believe that a trip is all in what you make it, but this was not even a trip that was worth a quarter of what we spent on it. I hope all who goes have a better experience than we did. This is just a few of our bad moments, the rest I will just keep to myself. The only reason they got a 2 over a 1 rating was because of the Spa.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank tealh2odreamin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

Working as a hotel director of sales, I take a lot of mental notes while visiting a new property. I also do a lot of research prior to selecting a hotel for an extended vacation and was thrilled to come across this property for our honeymoon...rated #1 out of 24 hotels with a ton of great reviews! Being in the industry, TripAdvisor is HUGE to a hotel and I know that my properties rely on it for new business and return guests. Overall, I enjoyed the resort and time with my new husband, but would I book again? Maybe. This resort left much to be desired, especially when paying an additional $146 per night for the Excellence Club.

I like to end with a positive, so I will start with the negatives:
-ALL pools close at 8pm, but the pool bars start shutting down around 5pm forcing people to get out of the pool, as there is no where to get a drink and the ambiance is gone. On our last day, there was a group of people (about 30) and they did last call at 4:30pm! And, then in the middle of the volleyball game said they needed to take down the net at 5! Really?

-We upgraded to the Excellence Club...if you are under the age of 50 or like to be completely alone, then the private pool is great! However, don't expect any poolside service in a timely manner! I asked for a menu only to receive it 30 minutes later and then 30 minutes after that the server still had not come to take our order! Poor girl was working both sides AND the beach! If they are offering a premiere service, wouldn't you have additional staff to provide club level service? Not so much. After that, we spent all of our time on the other side, with much better service. Why did we upgrade again?

-Oh, and anyone can get into the Excellence Club Pool, the beach, or even the private lounge...just tell them you forgot your key...they will let you right in! Upgraded liquor? No problem...this is great to know...why would I pay extra when I get all the same services for FREE???

-Prior to our vacation I called to inquire about Traveler's Checks, which I was told could be used like cash. Come to find out when it was time to check-out, they couldn't give any change back... We had to pay part in cash or they would keep our $50+ in change. If I knew I was going to have to put it on my cc in the end, then I never would have paid for the Traveler's Checks in the first place! Oh, and then my card was ran 3 times...the charges are still pending, so I am hoping this was in error, but still frustrating!

-We did not receive turn-down service every night...I know we did not have our Do Not Disturb on either, as I know a room cannot be entered with it on the door. It seemed that if they didn't get to cleaning our room until later, they just forgot about the turn-down service or combined them. Considering we would come back from the pool and shower before dinner (at 5, when everything closed!), it was nice to have the refresh.

-Overall, don't waste your money on Excellence Club...Just thinking about it, I am extremely irritated to have paid over $1000 more for services that were not any better than the regular rate and that I would have been able to receive WITHOUT paying extra. The only thing that was noticeable was the private check-in/check-out.

A few small notes:
-Lack of daytime music
-Lack of audience involvement, any sort of dancing besides the "club" which was empty every time we looked in to possibly have a drink or dance
-Lack of employees to accommodate the guests (and, it wasn't very busy).
-Running out of pizza boxes during lunch time, so we were told we had to wait 45+ minutes after waiting in line to order!

How about some positives?
-Agave...Excellent Food & Service. By far our favorite!
-All Staff...always nice and polite, saying hello and engaging in conversation...Seemed to love their job...Except when there is only one bartender or server to 20+ people waiting for their attention...how frustrating that must be on both ends!
-Shows were something fun to do in the evening.
-Food was great! Tried every restaurant except Basmati (not into Indian food, and Oregano...heard from others it was their least favorite)
-Cab service to Playa del Carmen was awesome! Private airport transfer was great!
-Aqua Wellness Treatment was unique and different.

Would I book here again? Yes, but definitely would not book the Excellence (Rip-Off) Club. We had a wonderful vacation and would like to come back, however, we may visit another resort. I think the Excellence Brand has it down in regards to customer service, but could work on the operational side of things. Maybe it's my animosity over the $1000+ we paid for nothing or the Traveler's Check issue, but I have to give this resort an average rating.

P.S. I did look to book a resort that had plenty of poolside seating available and did not tolerate "chair holding"...this place definitely met my expectations on that level!! Plenty of chairs to lounge by the pool and beach!

P.S.S. Clean rooms, top notch!

Room Tip: Oceanfront view! Best recommendation. :-)
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank DivotJ2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

Just returned and wish I was still there! There were 6 of us celebrating some birthdays. Staff was courteous, friendly, accommodating... Excellent service across the board. Rooms were spacious and everything was very clean from rooms, common areas, pool etc. We had an absolute blast and would go back for sure!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Mary Jean E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

We stayed in the excellence club oceanfront room. We had nice big bed, big shower, jacuzzi inside and out on balcony. Hotel just felt classy everything seemed perfect. With the excellence club you had two options if u wanted party atmosphere you could go down by pool bar at the main pool. Or if you wanted tranquility you could stay in the excellence club area. Everyone was super friendly met a bunch of couples. Enjoying the Beach cabanas were my favorite part of day laying down on a bed on the beach with drinks being delivered was just what we needed. And if ocean was to hot we spent rest of day laying on lounge chairs in couple inches of pool water. Food was good the French and Japanese restaurants were our favorite. Would highly recommend this place to anyone. Looking forward to the opening of there Jamaica location since we try and see a different place every time. But would definitely use excellence again

  • Stayed: May 2013
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5  Thank Lefty514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2013

We just got back from 8 days in paradise! If you don't have fun at the Excellence Resort, it is your fault. My daughter and son-in-law spent their honeymoon there. My daughter told me " Mom, you have to go there!" We have been to Cancun 3 times, but never stayed at a place this nice. We celebrated our 30th Anniversary. We never left the resort, except to take a free trip to Puerto Myrelles. I know I spelled it wrong! The hotel will pay for your taxi, if you leave at 6 and return by 8. This isn't something they advertise, but take advantage of it. When we left our bill was zero, because we spent zero money and we had an unbelievable time. We stayed in the standard room. From the other reviews I had seen prior to arriving I thought I had made a mistake and should have gotten the swim up room, so when we arrived I asked if we could upgrade. I was told that not only were they sold out, but they had over sold the swim up rooms. There were 4 couples in line ahead of us. They had reserved 4 swim up rooms. Only one was given a swim up room. After being at the resort I was glad we didn't get a swim up room. We met lots of people who had swim up rooms, but spent their time at the main pool rather than the pool in front of their room. We loved the main pool. That is where everything is. I did water yoga, water aerobics, and Texas Hold'em. I had never played Texas Hold'em, but Sofia, of the entertainment staff told me not to worry, she would teach me and she did. The first day I wouldn't play for money because I hadn't brought any money down. The next time I was prepared and brought my $20 buy in. Their was more people wanting to play than there was room for. I said that they needed to play more than once a day. That is when the problem started. Now Sofia is the one doing Texas Hold'em, but Karla who is also on the entertainment staff was there. She told us all that she would have another game that night at 5:00 next to the theater. There were at least 11 of us that heard it! There were 10 of us that showed up at 5:00. No Karla! We waited. A lot of people left, but we stayed. We thought she had gotten tied up. A little after 5:30 we saw Sofia. Now Sofia is a stains. She was already off work and had missed her ride back into town. She told us that Karla got off around 3, so she didn't know why she would have told us that she would do Texas Hold'em. She got her boss. Her boss called Karla. He said Karla said that she had said that she would do it if we met her there at 3. This was just a lie. All 11 of us heard the same thing. Karla stayed overtime and got us all the things we needed for us to have our card game. She is an exceptional employee. The next day my husband played volleyball against Karla. He spiked the ball to Karla and said " That was for my wife,since you stood us up for playing Texas Hold'em. She turned her back to him and never apologized.
Don't get me wrong, most of the employees are exceptional. Karla is the exception. Alejandro, at the pool bar is unbelievable! He is the hardest working employee there. He needs help. He is the only bartender at the pool bar and this is the busiest bar. He was fantastic!
We met so many wonderful people! We will always remember our friends Caroline and Matt that we met from England! Thanks guys for the wonderful memories!

I also wanted to mention USA Transfers. They picked us up at the airport. It was a direct taxi to the hotel. They were at the hotel to take us back to the airport 15 minutes before promised. The hotel charges $120 round trip from the airport. USA Transfers only charges $60 round trip. They are listed under entertainment plus. They are well worth the money.

Love Excellence Riviera Cancun!

Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Judy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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