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“PHENOMENAL RESORT” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Excellence Riviera Cancun

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Excellence Riviera Cancun
Ranked #2 of 26 Hotels in Puerto Morelos
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2005

We just returned from out stay at Secrets Excellence Riviera from Feb. 16th – 23rd. There are 4 of us that travel together – my wife & I and my sister & brother-in-law (we are all in our early/mid 30’s). This was our 2nd consecutive year going to Riviera Maya (we stayed at Aventura Spa Palace last year). (--).


We are from Detroit & flew out on an Apple Vacations charter – direct flight, just a little over 3 hours. After a short 20 minute bus ride, we arrived at the resort around 11:30am and were immediately greeted with cool, moist towels (with a hint of some type of aromatherapy oil) to wipe our faces and hands with as well as a glass of champagne. The concierge took our luggage and showed us to the Main Desk. We were immediately waited on and given 2 rooms in building #6 overlooking the Spa & Pool (great view). I cannot say enough about the staff at Secrets Excellence – they really go out of their way to always look up, smile and say hello. The standard of service we received throughout the week from every facet of the resort was top-notch.


The concierge took the luggage and showed us to the rooms, pointing out little things along the way. The rooms are great – very nice 4-poster bed with an in-room Jacuzzi, a small loveseat, 2 chairs and table in the sitting area, his & hers sinks, separate toilet room, a GREAT shower large enough for 8 people, plenty of closet/drawer space, in-room fridge (re-filled daily w/ sodas, beer & bottled water), an electronic safe that you program w/ your own code and a decent-sized balcony with a few chairs, a table and a built-in love seat. There’s also a large armoire that holds both the TV and DVD player (not sure if you can borrow DVD’s from the resort – we never had a need to check). I’ve read a few people complain that they have a free “porn channel” – it’s true, but it doesn’t come on automatically – turn it off if you don’t like it. This is an adults-only resort, so you don’t have to be concerned about children watching too much of the “Gold” channel.


The resort grounds are great – they will be amazing in a few years when all the trees, bushes and ground cover grow in. All of the pools are great – I’ve read that they don’t heat the pools and that some people say they’re “freezing”. I’m not sure what time of the year they went, but last week we were in the “unheated” pools all week and they were great – nice and refreshing. We were all in the pool throughout the entire week. The resort provides you with floating mats which are really nice – we used them every day. You do not have to fight for chairs or worry about towels – they are plenty of both. Fresh towels are laid on each chair every morning. Also, take advantage of the little open air “napping huts” they have every 50 ft. or so by the pool – queen sized, thatch roofed structures that you can lay down and take a nap, read a book, etc. if you need to get out of the sun but don’t want to go back to the room. The beach was nice – it does have a little sea grass that washes up, but big deal – they rake it up and it’s fine. Some people like to complain about everything. There’s a great breeze on the beach, too. MOST IMPORTANTLY – we NEVER had anyone come up and try to sell us anything while we walked on the Beach. There aren’t many places you can go where you can say that.


We had great experiences at the restaurants – never a wait more than 5 minutes. Our favorite was the French restaurant, as we ate their twice. The service was always very good (with the exception of the Mexican restaurant one night when we had a rookie waiter). The FOOD is VERY GOOD. They do a great job with “presentation” – they don’t just slap it on your plate and bring it out. They go the extra mile in everything that they do. One hint – if you want to eat in one of the Teppenyaki rooms in the Japanese restaurant, go down a little while before they open and get your name on the list – they fill up quickly. You can always be seated in the Japanese restaurant and order off the menu, but we enjoyed the Teppenyaki room and meeting other couples. The drinks are made well, with good liquor (they don’t use no-name brands). We drank the red wine at most dinners that was provided at no charge and found it to be adequate. They had some other wine selections that you could choose from, but we didn’t feel that paying $50.00 for a bottle of Penfold’s Shiraz was really worth it (we get it for $12.00 here in the States). Of the 3 “house” reds, we liked the French Merlot the best, followed by the Santa Carolina Cabernet/Merlot blend from Argentina.


We have a great deal with our wives – any time we go Scuba Diving, they go to the Spa (a real Win-Win for all of us). They reported back to us that the Spa was extremely nice, although a little pricier than what you’ll find here in the States. They decided to buy a package – a massage, a milk mousse bath, a sea salt scrub & a facial was approx. $215.00. They split their package into 2-days, which the resort had no problem doing. They also have a “16-station circuit” in the hydrotherapy pools that you can use free of charge when you purchase any spa treatment (both of them really enjoyed these).

As for SCUBA DIVING, we dove with Dive Puerto Morelos in the small little town of Puerto Morelos (5-minute taxi ride from the resort). I cannot say enough about this Dive Shop – I’ve logged close to 100 dives and never had as much fun as I did with these guys. My brother-in-law finished his certification dives with them and then we booked a 2-tank dive - the “656 Wreck” in 90ft. of water and a 40 ft. reef dive. Excellent dives – a great wreck that you can safely & easily swim through and a nice reef with a lot of marine life.

The shop owner’s name is Cat, from Australia, and she genuinely knows how to make you feel welcome. Our Dive Master was Brett, originally from Salt Lake City and now livin’ the dream in Mexico. They run a great shop, have wonderfully maintained and modern equipment and know the areas well. If you’re going to do some diving, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND giving Cat a call to set it up. We can’t wait to get back next year to do some cenote dives with them.


With regards to tipping – I don’t know what the problem is with this – I read a lot of reviews bashing the thought of tipping. We KNOW it’s not expected (or even encouraged), but it’s our choice to hand the waitress a few dollars every afternoon because she’s been running drinks to us at the pool all day. I’ll be honest – I’m not going to miss the $10.00 I gave her during the week. If you don’t want to tip – don’t. It will NOT affect your service at this resort – we just thought it was a nice thing to do.

We are definitely planning on coming back to Secrets Excellence next year. For what we spent, we felt like we got more value than what we paid for, which is certainly the exception when you’re talking about all-inclusives.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
44 Thank jmac934
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Pittsburgh, PA
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2005

Just returned from 7 days at this amazing resort. Everything about this place is amazing from the architecture, the pool layout, the food, the service.
I must say that the people that think this resort is "terrible" are just not able to be pleased. We arrived around 11am and were instantly handed a cool towel and a glass of champage. I finished mine before we got to the room and Jonathan, who was taking our bags and giving us a tour of the resort on the way, quickly got me another glass. Once arriving in our room, I was pleased at how beautiful the room was, big 4 poster bed, jacuzzi tub, incense, sitting area, and sliding doors that lead to a patio with another jacuzzi tub. (FYI, the lights go out on the patio at 12:30am if you want to use the outdoor jacuzzi in private *wink*). We had fantastic lunches around the pool everyday, dinner at every restaurant was an experience to enjoy, I especially enjoyed our dinner at the japanese restaurant. We met some great people on the plane and became quick friends. We had a private room together at the japanese restaurant where we were given great food and a great show by the chef. Service here is amazing. I cannot say enough good things about this resort. Go, relax, enjoy the service, the food, the beautiful atmosphere. You will not be disappointed.

30 Thank Tilwedanceaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2005

We were at Secrets from Feb 16-Feb 22nd. Overall- we had a great time.

The rooms & bathrooms (huge shower, large bed, nice decor)
The pools and resort lay out (temperatures seemed to vary from day to day)
The spa (try the hydro circuit for $20 a day- worth it) and the spa rooms are beautiful
The food (for an all-inclusive- the best you will get)
The service- friendly and very attentive (besides the manager of the resort who never called us back after two calls to discuss the noise from the convention activities)
The restaurants for dinner were very nice- the french, the italian and the steak place were all quite good for an all-inclusive.
Great place just to relax and do nothing on the beach or around great pools.

The seagrass in the water really is a factor (even for die-hard ocean swimmers). If you must swim in ocean- I would go elsewhere.
The ocean color is not like Cancun (or even close). I ran in the mornings along the beach- lots of seagrass- not attractive. This resort cleans it up in front of the resort but other areas don't and it is ugly.
lunch choices are a little weak if you are staying for a week (only two restaurants..one serving pizza (and too fancy italian lunch food) and the other seafood but they do have some lite fare at bars which was nice and burgers on the beach which weren't great)
entertainment at night was lame or non-existant (we did not care because after these long and full dinners, we'd have a drink at a bar and then head for bed)

Ask for spa room if you like it very quiet and don't mind being farther from the beach and not near a bar (they have waiter service around the pools)
Ask for a room close to the beach if you want to be near the bars and "action". We were in room 7301. This was a top floor, end room (they are a little bigger and have nicer balconies). We had a partial ocean view and were right next to the exellence club. Great location for access to bars, the heated pool, the restaurants, and beach. But the spa rooms looked very nice. Swim up rooms looked darker. I'd opt for a top floor room to get a view instead unless you get a swim out room in the exellence club in front of the heated room.

Don't go when there is a huge convention. We had one that took up 200 of the 449 rooms. They were "well-behaved" but it was somewhat intrusive (techno volleyball and the resort catered some activities just to the convention people right in the middle of the resort). It turns a very romantic resort into a convention-like hotel. It was very loud one night until midnight , because they had nighttime activities (loud music and mc) in the main plaza where many rooms faced.

Take free shuttle to Puerto Morales. It is a very cute and authentic Mexican town. We actually skipped dinner at the resort one night and ate in town. Very good food and fun to be in a real town (Playa Del Carmen is like Key West but in Mexico- very cute but very touristy). There is nice shop that sells one of a kind silver pieces. I got a very nice piece from there. Cigars are alos cheaper there than at the resort. (the airport is cheaper than the cigar store at the resort too).

If you want a warmer pool, go to the one in front of the exellence club near the sugar reef bar. It is heated.....

Skip any beach buffets the resort many offer. The food is cold and not nearly as good as the restaurants. It gets windy on the beach at night so the food iends up being ice cold.

ALL IN ALL- a great place. If they had clear water and no sea grass- this would be a perfect destination.

38 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2005

This is an incredible place. I would go back tomorrow if we could and plan to go again next year. They did everything right. There was incredible attention to detail in every way. Definately a high-end all-inclusive. I personally did not go in the water -- it is on the chilly side for some people. But it absolutely did not matter and I would go back again. I think what people do not understand is that most resorts in the Carribean do not heat the pools the way we do here (at least in the Northeast). If you want warmer water, go when they have their hottest weather. We were there in early February and had friends in St. Thomas and St. John, at high end hotels, and experienced the same issue with the pools. Definately book this resort, you will not be disappointed. We were hesitant due to a few of the negative reviews. Overall, I think the reviews have been above average. There are some people that no matter what will find fault and can't be pleased, natural complainers. Great food, great service, attentive staff, beyond clean, and beautiful resort!

35 Thank jaemef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2005

My husband and I arrived at this resort mid-February and we have been here for five days. On the first day we arrived, we were so impressed with the impeccable service and the relaxed, yet elegant appeal of this hotel. It is simply immaculate and each staff member goes above and beyond to show their hospitality and to make you feel like a v.i.p.

We stayed in a swim-out room with the jacuzzi and hammock on the patio. We absolutely loved coming home from a day at the pool and relaxing on the patio in the jacuzzi, watching the sunset as our waiter brought us cocktails. You honestly feel like you have your own private waiter in your own home! The rooms are absolutely first class and so inviting. It truly has the best feel of any room I have stayed in. We loved the marble floors, sinks and giant showers. The jacuzzi tub in the middle of the room was lovely too. There is beautiful artwork in the room, a cozy sitting area and we loved the butler pantry where you can have your meals delivered with the utmost privacy.

We have dined in all the restaurants and were pleasantly surprised by the service, the attention to detail in the over-all ambience of each one and by the presentation. It was far more than we expected from an all-inclusive resort. These restaurants rivaled many of the best places we have been to around the globe.

We also indulged at the spa. I am a spa junkie and must say, this is THE BEST spa I have been to. The grand architecture almost feels like you are somewhere in Santorini, Greece with the billowy white linen curtains, the dome shaped architecture and the blue sea glass accents throughout. It is ultra modern and so refreshing. My husband and I loved the marine circuit of different pools and spas. We did a couples massage one day that we both thoroughly enjoyed and I just had an aromatherapy massage today that was so good, I am booking another one before we leave.

Some of the other nice touches....We came home on our first evening to fine a chilled bottle of champagne, fruit and some desserts left for us. On the second night, we came home to a hot bubble bath with rose petals in the shape of a heart and the bed scattered with rose petals and towels turned into 'swan origami' as my husband called it. Soooooo romantic. I love how they also put incense in the room and leave roses and chocolates on the bed each night.

The drinks here are outstanding. We loved the Bahama Mamas and the Miami Vice. The 'sexy Mayan coffee' served at Portofino was worth video taping. It's quite a show!

We are going scuba diving tomorrow. They provided training in the pool for us today. We also went to Playa Del Carmen and checked out the scene there. We were so grateful to come back to this resort away from all the crowds, kids and cheesey tourism. This hotel is so quaint, elegant and absolutely breathless. You cannot go wrong!

We were married in Maui and stayed in the best hotels on the island. Our hotels averaged $500 a night and up just for the room. For the same price, you get the whole package here with ANYTHING you want. You feel like a rockstar here and there is no need for indecision. If you want it, ask and you shall receive. The only thing we have paid for is massages, daytrips and tipping to people who took extra good care of us.

This is bound to be rated as one of the best hotels in the Mayan Riviera, if not the best all around. Well worth every penny if you want to escape and not think about a thing! ENJOY!!!!!!

49 Thank lesteroc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2005

This was a very nice vacation for us, in a beautiful resort pool-wise, but the beach is not even an option . The restaurants were above average with small portions, but great taste for all-inclusive. The resort itself is really beautiful, except the beach. Sea-weed ridden, the water is pretty much un-swimmable. Some small problems, in my opinion is this resort is still understaffed. Housekeeping scheldules are a bit strange, and maintenance calls went unanswered. The spa is probably the best thing going. Very clean and beautiful facility is truly the star of this property. Staff all around were exceptional. If you are to book this, take my advice, and get a Swim out Spa view room, cause that truly is the best category in my opinion. Any questions, feel free to email me. Would I come back to this resort, probably not, But I would stay at another Secrets resort in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
16 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2005

I really hate to give this resort a bad review but I felt compelled to do so. My husband and I returned Feb 5. after a weeks stay. We have been to several all-inculsive resorts in both Mexico and the Carribean. If this is all you have to compare an all-inclusive to. I can see why people say they do not like all-inclusive. Ok, first of all, The resort itself is beautiful. rooms very nice, kept spotless. plenty of linens.Staff pleasant, eagar to please. Grounds kept nice, will be beautiful when trees and flowering plants mature. Beach nice, plenty of chairs and tables. Sporatic service on the beach. By this I mean, some days there was a gentleman bringing towels right to you beach chair and other days no one. Sometimes a girl would get drinks for you, other times not. I really didn't care to much about this, but I realize some people do. The beach had alot of sea grass, which didn't bother me to much. A machine would go by once a day and pick up most of the grass. One day maintance men also raked up the grass, but this only happened one day. I thought they could have kept the beach nicer. Lots of cigarette butts and other things in the sand. I felt they could at least rake the beach once a day. I found you had to watch what you were stepping on, when leaving the beach. Very long beach,you can walk for miles if you want. Resturants,several of them. First of all breakfast, not great. They state that they have two. We only found one open in the morning. You could order off the menu or buffet. First morning we ordered off the menu. Terrible! Eggs not cooked, cold. Not much to choose from. Rest of the week we did buffet. Every thing cold, except if you want omlettes. But if you choose omlettes, be prepared to wait at least 20 min. There is only one chef at this station. Pancakes,french toast, right in front of this station, so unable to get at when growded. Lunch ok, pizza in Italian resturant good, sandwiches in Oceana resturant good. Hamburgers on beach ok if you are desperate. Dinner in evening, we tried a different one each night. Everyone raved about the French Resturant, we found poor service, food cold, bland.
There are two Italian resturants, one same as lunch ,by this I mean pizza and a few pasta dishes. The other Italian Resturant was terrible! I ordered lazana which I could not eat. We found the Mexican and Chinese to be about the best, but not great. As for salad bars, which are in most resturants. Just some lettuce, tomatoes, sometimes cucumbers , really awful. Desserts, same every night, in all resturants, not great. We like a glass of wine with our meal, cheap wine unless you want to pay for a decent wine. Now let me get to tipping. A lot of people were tipping. I feel this is an all-inclusive resort. That means tipping included. This is very much encouraged. I did not feel that this resort gave exceptional service. Now to water sports, found them to be ok. Wanted to take out sunfish, which they had 3. sitting on beach. 2pm in afternoon was told not enough wind, when in fact there was as other boats from other resort were out and sailing just fine. I would rate this a 3 star resort. I will not go back. If you want to try a Secrets Resort go to Puna Cana, as it really was a 5 to 6 star resort.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
13 Thank nixta01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Excellence Riviera Cancun

Property: Excellence Riviera Cancun
Address: Carretera Federal 307 Chetumal-Puerto Juarez KM 324 -342 | Manzana 7, Lote 1, S.M. 11, Puerto Morelos 77580, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Puerto Morelos
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Morelos
#2 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Morelos
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Morelos
#2 Spa Hotel in Puerto Morelos
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Morelos
#5 Business Hotel in Puerto Morelos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Excellence Riviera Cancun 5*
Number of rooms: 440
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This all-suite, all-adult Resort is set along Mexico's renowned Mayan Riviera, between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, on an immaculate white sand beach. Six meandering pools wind through their grounds. You have unlimited access to eight international restaurants and ten bars, plus such amenities as an expansive swim-in spa, a full-scale fitness and cardio-conditioning center and an unparalleled range of activities on land and sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Excellence Riviera Maya
Excellence Riviera Cancun Hotel
Excellence Riviera Cancun Puerto Morelos
Excellence Cancun
Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancun
Cancun Excellence Riviera
Excellence Resort Cancun
Excellence Riviera Cancun Riviera Maya, Mexico - Puerto Morelos

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