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Excellence Riviera Cancun
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A TripAdvisor Member
Gilbert, Arizona
121
Reviewed July 5, 2005

We spent the first week of June at Secrets Excellence. We went for our anniversary and it was wonderful. The staff was helpful and very pleasant. They went out of their way to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and were comfortable. It was definitely a high class resort. The food was wonderful and the 6 restaurants really gave us a choice of where to eat. The resort was beautiful and very relaxing. Because of it being an adult resort, they really catered to us. The rose petals on our bed, greeting us with champagne, the beautiful decor, and the staff made our trip the best we have ever had. We truly can't wait for our next year's vacation at Secrets.

Stayed: June 2005
21  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2005

We just returned on Friday the 1st and cannot wait to go again. The place was absolutely beautiful and clearly well maintained. Here is what we observed.

Food – Ate at the Japanese and French mostly at night. Food was excellent, especially the Japanese. Try the lobster. It was nothing like the description but it’s a whole tail on a bed of seasoned rice. The service was very professional and on par to with fine dining at home. Did see several couples where the men did not pack long pants (not jeans) and they looked upset that they were limited to where they could eat for dinner. We were glad that my husband brought a couple of pairs. Lunch was at the buffet indoors as it was so hot. Again service was good and choices were fine. I like the idea that they are very careful about keeping any food covered at the outdoor places so flies cannot get to it – that’s something I do not always see in the Caribbean.

Room - Our room was far from most of everything in the Spa 3 section but it turned out OK because we stayed at the spa pool. It was much quieter than the pools around the swim up bar where everyone seems to go. I must admit that it is a huge property and it does take a while to get from your room to the pools and the beach. Not good if you have any trouble walking but I guess they would accommodate you if there were an issue. Maybe it was just our location but if we wanted to stay at the beach all day rather than the pool, it would take a good 7-10 minutes to get back to the room is you forgot something. Room was very nice all the same with the 4 poster and all the amenities already mentioned by others. Shower was unbelievable – you can fit 10 people in it. Clean as well. I wiped the floor to remove sunscreen that fell on the floor and the tissue came up clean. Try that in Jamaica.

Gym – I didn’t read much on this so I thought I would mention it. There are 2 ellipticals, treadmills and bikes. All equipment is brand new and kept in excellent condition. There is a section of free weights, a Smith machine for squats or presses, a cable cross-over and pull up. They keep it clean with special cool aromatherapy scented towels to use after your workout. Always plenty of towels and bottled water available. Our only issue is that it would never be open at 6 AM and we had to find someone to radio the guy with the key to get in. They should add to the amount of equipment too since 6 cardio machines is not enough for the number of guests and one morning we had people waiting in line by 7 AM.

Bars – More than I realized. The indoor bar was quite striking and very good service. Since we stick to sparkling wine and jack and diet coke, we were easy. The one thing I thought was odd is that we tried to order room service one night and asked for a bottle of champagne but we were told that it cost $15. That was weird considering they gave us one when we arrived. And that you can get as much as you want if you sit at a bar. Perhaps they prefer that people do not get rowdy and party in the rooms which may be smart on their part. The waitress work their tails off and we tipped one that we saw everyday even though we never had her bring us a drink as she worked so hard. One day she spilled a dring at the pool and immediately opened a bottle of water and washed the entire area down to make sure that no one would step into it.

You will have a great time and you will not regret you choice to stay here.

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
44  Thank melanieg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2005

So you know from where we are coming as I write this review:

I am a 31 yr. old teacher originally from NYC and my husband, 29, owns his own business. I have friends in the restaurant industry and my husband has worked in fine dining. We have stayed in hotels like the W in NY, and the Royal Palm Crowne Palace in Miami's South Beach. We are not snobs, but we aren't easily impressed, either!

But we were. I was a maniac, as many of you probably are, reading review after review, hoping I made the right choice, panicking over someone's illnes, someone's stolen items, misfortune, misfortune.

I feel badly they did not have the honeymoon we did.

The breakdown:

ROOMS: Wow! They had no kings available, despite the fact we booked one, BUT other than this, no other mishaps and they upgraded us to the Excellence Club, ocean view. A fair trade. Two Jacuzzi's, one inside, one out which we used a bunch. Gorgeoous marble bathrooms, well stocked miini-bar and cleaned about a million times a day.

RESORT: The spa at night is worth a visit even if you don't have any services. I felt like I was on another planet. Stunning. The pools were all great. Hard to choose which one to visit. Architecture is beautful. Someone once complained on here that the resortis too big. We loved it and saw it as a chance to take after dinner strolls and get lost. We also enjoyed a LOT of chess and ping pong. If you're into chess, check out the knee-tall board out by Kafe Cafe. And the popcorn machine in the theatre has great popcorn (the strange things that stand out!)

DINNER: We hit the fine dining places pretty hard. The couple who complained about lunch- I can't speak to that. We were so full from breakfast (which we ate between 9 and 10) we skipped lunch most days. The breakfast buffet was great- and I am not a buffet person. Try the mexican specialties. very different! We also ordered room service one morning. Very nice, but buffet was better.

The four restaurants were DIVINE. Atmosphere, especailly in the French and Asian restaurant was comparable to fine dining in the US. The sushi was not top grade Japanese restaurant sushi, but it was good, and hello-we're in Mexico! The spring rolls were unreal, as was the teriyaki. Tempura ice cream for dessert was decadent, but the best was leaving the restaurant with our bottle of wine in hand! (Sake was good, too!) The italian restaurant was EXCELLENT (remember, I am from NY-this is not a compliment I pay lightly), and while not a traditional atmosphere, still very nice. Portions are small, but you will be stuffed if you try each course. If not, ask for more! The mexican restaurant was delicious. If you're looking for taco bell, stay away. This is the real deal.

That reminds me, ask the waiters if you're torn. All of thier recommendations were right on. Benjamin and Caesar in Portofino are especially cool. Ask them to make you a Mayan coffee (not for the pyrophobic!).
Also, sometimes, they offer to bring out an entree you might like in addition to the one you order. They are very eager to please.

SERVICE: By now you have the idea. An anecdote to represent the whole experience: My bottle of saline exploded in my bag and the resort did not have any contact lens stuff. I needed to go to Puerto Morelos ($8 bucks each way to get to a pharmacy. Rather than pay to have them deliver it (they would!), we decided to go get it. I shared this info with Jorge at the door, and HE OFFERED TO GET IT FOR ME ON HIS WAY HOME. The next day, he had it waiting for me at the reception. Above and beyond.

ENTERTAINMENT: Not great, but they try. They need more dance clubs. There's really only one bar that plays dance music. One night, it was pretty good until Karoke started (the first song was YMCA-we were out of there pretty quick!) Other nights it was decent, but still felt like a sports bar playing club songs. A nice disco or cool lounge would send the place over the top. Play some latin songs, too, so we feel like we're in Mexico!

Excusions offered at the concierge were fine. We went to Chichen Itza for a day. This included a guided tour and free time, lunch and a stop at the most beautiful sink hole. It was the most refreshing, euphoric swim of my life! We also did the Tulum / Xelha tour. Also fun but my husband forgot he was off the resort, since it as all inclusive, and drank many margaritas. He was pretty sick after that for about a day. Xel ha is worth it if you like to snorkel and the ocean water at Tulum is what you're missing from the beach at the resort. Both excursions could have been a little longer, though. Total cost of both for two people was about $350. A little steep. I am sure you could find it cheaper if you plan ahead, but it was convenient.

POOLS/BEACH: People are raft mongers, but there seemed plenty around. The staff addresses it each night in the bullletin you receive and the next day there are still people holding rafts at their chairs while they are no where to be seen. Honestly, this didn't matter, just noting it since it comes up so much. The hammocks in the water were better anyway. Hang and read while sipping pina coladas! (We never got sick on the resort-eating sushi and drinking frozen drinks).

Beach- not see-through, turquoise water, but not bad. Color was blue and water was comfortable and the sand was powder. Yes, there is sea grass, but it's not that bad. You can avoid it. I LOVE the beach and this had me in a panic before we visited. Honestly, I did not miss it.

Last thing...this was our first all inclusive experience. After a week at SERC, we went to Cozumel for the next part of our trip. We listened to the time share thing at another resort there (I was warned!) and had free passes for the day, so we were able to compare two resorts. They had to wear bracelets, the food and atmosphere was no where near the quality and the service was missing. WE realized then just how smart Secrets is. If I had to wear a bracelet all week and make reservations, I would have been annoyed. Secrets is more modern and respectful fo its guests in this respect.

The only complaint I have is one I realized when I posted here today. We received the upgrade when our room as wrong, but they tried to sell it to us first. In reading the forums, I see this happened to a lot of couples. I hate to think we almost paid for an upgrade we already had since they were overbooked. Not an honest business practice. Puts a damper on this pedastal I had this place on.

Overall, however, my compliments to the staff at SERC. We will probably return with our parents
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As my husband converts our video to still shots, we will post pics. Please feel free to email me with questions.

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
64  Thank ladyV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Portsmouth, NH
140
Reviewed July 1, 2005

returned from honeymoon at SERC, stayed from June 20-29. PERFECT RESORT!!!

Rooms: I am so picky about hotel rooms. The rooms are exactly what the pictures show-I was pleasantly surprised. 4 post king size beds, 2 jacuzzis, marble bathroom, large relaxing space...it was a perfect room. This resort is immaculate and well taken care of by the staff. We walked in on the cleaning a few times and the maids had the bed pulled out as well as the furniture. They mopped and thoroughly cleaned daily. We never found any bugs, dirt or problems. The rooms are clean, we were on the first floor in the swimout ocean view and never saw any insects. I would recommend an oceanview room over a swimout if you had to choose between the 2 but either are fabulous choices. Turndown service every night is a nice touch as was the honeymoon package and robes with slippers! They have many channels for the tv in both spanish and english (they do have 2 uh hum channels for free just fyi if youre into that-we were a little shocked at that but Im sure some people appreciate that?)

Pools: The pools were fabulous, temp never cold. Pools were clean and refreshing. Snacks and bars all around every pool, loved the revive bar in the am (that is a juice bar with smoothies etc).

Activities: We didnt do much on the resort as we like to travel around. There was definitely enough to keep you busy. The staff slip a printout under your door each night w/ the following days activities. They have something going on all day long, every day. Its a great place. We took several tours to Chichen-icha, Tulum, Xcaret and the eco park. We had a great time swimming with dolphins, climbing up the ruins, cliff diving, sight seeing, etc. Definitely go on a tour if you can, its so much fun and you meet some really great people.

Food: I thought that all restaurants were excellent. I was surprised that my least favorite restaurant was the Mexican. I love Mexican food (Americanized) but the authentic didnt really do it for me. I loved the Italian and the Steakhouse!!! People always find a way to complain about food; as other people indicated, it's what you make of it, and if you don't like something, get something else, after all, it's included. I thought the food was better than average. Breakfast was a buffet for the most part. Room service was limited but excellent.

Drinks: If you want a strong drink, tip on the first round. We discovered that the staff is more than willing to give you exactly what you want quickly if you tip (even once). For the most part the service is great, and drinks are strong anyway. The beach drink server was a little slow but thats nothing to complain about. Revive non-alcoholic bar was fabulous also!! Its near the spa and very relaxing.

Nightlife: Honestly, we didnt see much of the nightlife. We did go to one bar but the resort is rather quiet for couples. They do have shows and movies every night, but it's more of a background to dinner and drinks then anything. The theatre is awesome and there is a bar there...so you can get drunk while watching a movie or show. We saw a few movies and the circus magic show was amazing!!! There is a disco, which I did not go in to, but looked nice. You could have all kinds of fun in any of the bars, we just didnt see many of them!

Overall: We loved this resort and may go back next yr. Its quiet for couples but not boring at all. We had a great relaxing honeymoon but none-the-less, never sat around bored or feeling old! The weather fortunantly was amazing right up until the day we left. The resort did lose power one night for about 4 hrs (which one of the staff said was an occasional problem) but otherthan that, the whole experience was amazing! We didnt have problems with theft or staff problems. The staff was so friendly and accomedating. They really go out of their way. We did have to wait until 3pm to check in but we went and got lunch so that wasnt a huge issue. I would highy recommend this resort if youre looking for the perfect couples resort. It was a perfect blend of relaxation and fun!!!
Feel free to email me if you have further questions!

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
40  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2005

My husband and I stayed at SERC from 6/18-6/25 and we were so sad to leave! The place is immaculate! People are running around cleaning all day long to keep the place looking spotless. The staff was incredibly friendly and hard working.

Food - very good. My favorites were the Mexican restaurant and the Italian restaurant. I'm a pretty picky eater, but I enjoyed the food a lot. We did order room service for breakfast one day and the food was kind of cold, so we didn't order it after that. That was my only complaint about the food. The service was quick and we never felt like we had to tip, though we did most of the time. One restaurant we returned to, the waiter remembered what my husband had to drink from the time before, even to the brand of rum he wanted in it!

Rooms - unbelievable! We couldn't believe how beautiful the rooms were! They were very clean, the jacuzzi tub was soooo relaxing, and the shower was huge! Housekeeping came twice a day. The turndown service was nice. Sometimes they left the "towelgami" swans and rose petals, sometimes just a rose on the pillow. One night we got a decorated plate with some little candies and snacks on it. A word to the wise, though...if you have food in your room, either eat it then or put the dishes in the little compartment by the door that they use to get your dishes. We left the candies on the table to eat later, but a couple hours later it was covered in ants. :-( Yuck. That was the only time we saw ants, though. We had a jr. suite on the third floor and I'm glad we didn't pay extra to get a swim-out room. We had a private balcony and it was still not far from the pool.

Pools - wow! The pools were amazing - love the swimup bar! The water was never too cold, always refreshing. We never had trouble getting a raft. The hammocks in the water were neat, too.

Beach - not great. After reading reviews from this website, I knew what to expect from the beach. Unfortunately, the water was always choppy and there was seagrass in it.

Spa - amazing! Though we only did the marine wellness circuit, that alone was so relaxing! It was neat to go through all the steps and stations. We left there very relaxed!

Little details - This resort does many little things that made my experience special, also. We were welcomed to the resort with a cool towel, cookies, and champagne. They have postings up on all buildings welcoming newlyweds and announcing birthdays. They even put an indentation of a seashell in all the ashtrays around the resort. You get a newsletter each night explaining the activities and weather forecast for the following day. You are able to use the internet at no charge, which was nice because we could let our parents know we made it safe since our cell phones didn't work. And we didn't even get our bags to the lobby before a staff member offered to take our bags for us to get after we checked out.

Also, apparently the resort had overbooked their rooms and asked for volunteers to go over to Iberostar for a night. My husband and I decided to try it and we were glad to go back to Secrets. Iberostar was beautiful, but not as laid back as Secrets. You had to wear wristbands and make reservations to eat dinner at any restaurant, some you had to be put on a waiting list to eat at! Plus there were children at Iberostar and we were just glad to get back to Secrets. The only thing Iberostar had over Secrets was the beach was nicer.

We had a wonderful time at Secrets. I only wish we could have stayed longer! We would definitely return to SERC and would recommend it to anyone!

Stayed: June 2005
32  Thank Amber143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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