We stayed from March 18th – 25th. We stayed in Excellence Club building 7 and our room number was 7155 on the second floor. I had requested a 4th floor room, both at the time of booking as well as by email directly to the resort 2 days prior to our arrival, and received a response stating that our room would be assigned to us on arrival subject to availability. I was a little surprised when our driver pulled up to the security front gate and the gate guy informed our driver what our room number was! Having done all the research I had, I knew this would be a second floor room. A little disappointed, but oh well… we were happy to finally be there!
We were greeted with the sparkling wine and towels as we waited outside for our Excellence Club bellhop to take us and our luggage on a little tour to the Excellence Club lounge to check-in. I didn’t dispute the room location at all upon checking-in, again, I was just super-happy to be there. We were also informed that our room would have two beds. Didn’t bother us, I almost cheered!! We each had our own bed lol! Our room wasn’t ready and they gave us a beeper and told us to enjoy ourselves and would beep us once the room was ready. We decided to just stay put and enjoy the Excellence Club lounge buffet, and had a few drinks while we Skyped the kids on our laptop using the EC lounge’s free wireless connection. Our beeper went off in about 50 minutes and we were showed to our room.
Room: Walked in and immediately noticed the mildewy smell. Now, here’s the thing… it wasn’t awful. It was definitely there, but you didn’t notice it at all after having been in the room for more than 5 minutes. The best way I can describe it is it smelled like a basement, but not bad. We didn’t plan on spending a whole lot of time in the room anyways, so again, I didn’t dispute the room. Some people have mentioned on here that leaving the A/C on helped… I found the exact opposite to be true and found it was much better with the patio door open for a few hours. All of the bed linens smelled fresh as did all of the fabric to be found in the room. I actually went around sniffing everything in the room with this review in mind. We loved the bathroom. The shower was huge and had an adjustable shower head fixture which accommodated my hubby, who’s 6’4”. We did NOT have the fluctuating water temps like a lot of other rooms, and the pressure was super strong. Double sinks, Bvlgari soaps, lotions, shampoos etc. Even toothpaste, a toothbrush, sewing kit, shower cap, comb and shoe shine cloth. I found it a bit dark applying make-up too like some other reviewers but didn’t find it to be a big problem. In fact, the room on the whole was pretty dimly lit, but again, not a problem. I opted to leave my hair dryer at home and used the one in the room. It’s tiny, but did the job.
Huge flat-screen LCD tv with lots of American channels, bar area with coffee set-up and 4 big liquor bottles (ours were Skyy vodka, Beefeater gin, Jose Cuervo, and Jim Beam), 1 bottle of red wine up with the liquor and 1 bottle of white wine in the fridge. The fridge was stocked with Bud, Bud Lite, Corona, Corona Light and pop (in glass bottles) and water. When the fridge guy came I asked if we could swap out some of our Corona for Sol and lots of extra Coke Light. Not a problem, he did it every day for the remainder of our trip. If you wanted to swap out any of the liquor you could have done that too. (Sol was offered in Excellence Club only)
The beds were fine. My husband has a terrible back and he never complained once. The balcony view was great! We had a gorgeous view of the beach and we could also look to the left and see what was going on at the main pool area, which is where most of the activity at this hotel takes place. We never used the jaccuzzi outside. Same goes for the one in the room as well, so I can’t comment on them. We locked ourselves out on the balcony and had to ask our neighbours to call down and send someone up lol! Don’t shut your door when you’re outside!!! I knew this before hand and still made the mistake.
Restaurants: Ate at all of them except for the Lobster House. Hubby enjoys seafood, but I don’t and there wasn’t really anything else non-fishy on the menu. Breakfast buffet was heaven. Absolutely everything you could want. You name it, they had it. The lunch buffet was great too. I won’t go into detail about everything we ate and where, but I will say that Chez Isabelle was our favorite for dinner, and we actually enjoyed Agave for dinner unlike many other reviews. We went with another couple that we met there (which maybe made the difference), and had a great dinner with the Mariachi band playing and our waiter gave me the tequila shot of a lifetime lol! Ask for one if you go. Basically all of the food we had was great. Pasta firm, meats cooked to perfection, meals warm, presentation was great. The only gripes I had were so minor. The greek salad at Barcelona made me laugh, order it for fun. My husband ordered the cannelloni at the Italian and the portion made us laugh out loud – three tiny cannelloni for such a big guy. And I had to ask for a spoon to twirl my pasta. Big deal. All the complaints that you read on here from self-described “foodies” are ridiculous. The service was just so consistently great in each restaurant! We loved it.
Bars: Drinks were never watered-down, unlike other reviews I’ve read. We’re not the fruity concoction-type drinkers though. We’d have only one or two of those a day and even then, we sometimes asked for doubles. We mostly drink wine, beer, whiskey and shots. All you had to do was ask for whatever you wanted and it was yours. Every two weeks the bartenders switch bars. Watch out for Filberto, he’s a riot! We also loved Wilbert who was at the swim-up while we were there, and Lorenzo who was with Fil at the Cafe Kafe bar. The Cafe Kafe was our favorite! It’s outside the theatre. It was a great place to meet up before dinner and again after. We didn’t use the martini bar at all. We just preferred to be outside. We found the Excellence Club beach bar to be a tad quiet for our taste during the day. But the EC beach wait service was AWESOME! Diego was our waiter and I loved him. He was so sweet. We never ordered food on the beach or at the pool, but we saw others that did and it looked great! Think club sandwich with fries or burger-type stuff or nachos, etc. We even went to the night club/disco Alegria twice. It was hit and miss depending on the day. Only 4 nights out of 7 while we were there did we see anyone in there. But it was super fun when we went in. The DJ has a great Lady Gaga mix, ask for it!
For wine drinkers: There are 4 wines included throughout the resort, 2 whites and 2 reds. There was a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (Antares was the name) and there was a Chardonnay, but I can’t recall the name. For the reds there was a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. I’m sorry I can’t remember the names. The sparkling wine was Mexican called Dubois. And the in-room wine was both a tiny bottle of Spanish red and white, called Rene Barbier. I never drank it. You could order wines off the wine list at the restaurants, but the prices were pretty steep for us. We noticed lots of people bringing wine with them. I was happy with the Sauvignon Blanc, as I prefer a dry wine.
Beach: Fine, white, powdery sand and very wide. The swimming was a little adventurous on windy days as lots of sea grass gets washed in and the water got a bit murky when it was wavy. But we loved that. We were killing ourselves laughing at each other one day as we stepped on mystery things we couldn’t see. On calm days you can see the bottom perfectly. The tractor goes by everyday and cleans the beach. One of the main reasons I booked Excellence Club was to try and avoid the chair reserving game. We could ALWAYS get a palapa any time of day on the EC side. And an EC beach concierge would even walk with you and find you one if you arrived in the pm. Nice. An interesting fact: The best palapas at the EC beach are to the right. The ones to the left are a bit lower (actually it’s the sand that’s a bit higher). The plapas that were being reserved the most were the ones in the first row and the ones to the right. We never cared where our palapa was as long as it wasn’t too low, and we always managed to get one to the right. The EC beach is extremely quiet. We never used the beach on the non-EC side so I’m afraid I can’t comment much on that.
You can walk for miles in either direction, and we did. Excellence is sandwiched between two family-oriented resorts: Dreams to the south, and Paradisus to the north. You WILL see and hear children. And the odd family would walk by our beach with kids. We walked to Puerto Morelos for fun one day where we had some beer and ate at Pelicano’s.
Pools: EC pool was so quiet we never used it. It is the only one that’s heated. We just preferred the action at the main pool and so used it instead. The fact that the main pool wasn’t heated was a let-down to our friends that we met there, but we didn’t care at all. The main pool was as warm as we could ever hope ours would get in the summer here in Canada. It was high 70’s. Now here’s where you will find the reserved chairs! The ones under palapas were the ones that were reserved first. There are only about 8 or so shaded areas around the main pool to sit. We got a palapa here twice during our stay. On our way to breakfast we would just reserve our spot and come back to it right after and stayed put the whole day. We woke up early every morning around 6 am so the chair reserving never bothered us too much. We never used the lazy river, but found that it was also extremely, extremely quiet and peaceful around there.
Grounds: It’s exactly as others have described… beautiful, clean, amazing..
Spa: The most beautiful spa I have ever been to in my life! They do employ both female and male masseuses. If you have a preference make sure you make it known when you book your treatments. Also, the marine wellness circuit: I highly recommend doing this with a partner!! I did it alone and was wishing I had someone to laugh with the whole time. It’s included with any spa treatment. I had the Excellence massage and it was great. I’ve had a few massages before and I can say that this one was my favorite. The only thing I didn’t like was that the robes were thin white cotton and if you were wet at all from the pools, it clung to you and, well, you know. I found myself averting my gaze when people walked by.
Tipping: We tip and we tip well. I’m sure it didn’t make a difference in service, but having worked in the service industry, I just enjoy tipping. We tipped everyone. The mini-fridge person is different from your housekeeping person – keep that in mind. All of our tips were accepted graciously and appreciatively here.
Activities and Entertainment: We are in our mid-thirties and were a little nervous before we left with people commenting on the average age here being around 50 and that it was a very quiet place. We found the ages of everyone to be quite varied. People who are looking to make friends, do activities and have fun at the bars will. And everyone looking for quiet solitude will certainly find that too. It really is predominantly couples at this resort. Seemed pretty gay-friendly to me as well, which I loved. There is a list of activities that are included in the little newsletter you get with turn-down service for the following day. There are things to do from 8am – 4pm and then in the evening there are other things and then the nightly shows. My husband tried the rifle shooting when I was at the spa and he came back laughing. Unfortunately it was just a pellet gun. The archery would have been better, but we didn’t do that. There were kayaks, peddle boats, windsurfers and snorkel gear you could take out at the beach. Kickboxing, yoga, ping pong, Texas hold ‘em, tequila tasting, Mexican cooking, volleyball, pool tables, Spanish lessons, even bingo! The reggae band at the pool rocked. They got people up dancing. Theme nights are really fun too. Just be prepared to be seated at large tables with other people. If you like shows, the Michael Jackson show is the best. The circus one was pretty good too.
Service: Here comes my one major complaint. It’s not even that big of a deal to me, but could be to someone else. Our room was not cleaned every day, and we only got turn-down service 3 times the whole time we stayed. Eeek! And not only that, housekeeping was at different times each day, so late sometimes that turn-down service would have been redundant. Considering the EC price, I just expected more. This is the one and only area that Excellence did not meet my expectations.
Other than that, service here was superb! Everywhere you turned people were bending over backwards for you. You will fall in love with this place because of the people who work here. Try to make it out to the Managers Night. You will get the chance to meet them and see for yourself just how much they care about their service and about making your stay as perfect as they can.
Room Service: We had it twice and both times were for breakfast. It arrived in about 20 minutes and it was warm. Great!! See my pic. They set it all up for you in the room or on the balcony or you can use the magic box. We never used the magic box for room service, but here’s a tip: they prefer it if you store all your dirty dishes in there. I left a dirty fruit plate out overnight on the tv stand to find tiny ants all over the place. Not a complaint.. could happen anywhere.
Excellence Club Upgrade: Worth it? There is a lot of thought on this throughout these reviews. For us it was worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed the Club beach and do feel it was a bit nicer (spaced out a bit better and nicer beds) and less occupied than the other side, at least while we were there. Like I mentioned, towel games never an issue here. We visited the Club lounge everyday to see what Juan was cooking up for the little buffet and had some drinks. We loved hanging out in there and enjoyed having the ability to exchange our money and get small bills, and check-in/out was nicely done there too (while seated in nice chairs). Liquor and wine in the room was good in theory, but we preferred to go to the bars. Never used the upgraded room service menu. Never did use the jaccuzzi on the balcony. Sol beer was nice. The beach bag was handy. Flowers and daily fruit plates were ok.. none of these little extras make it worth it. It all really boils down to whether or not you want an ocean front room. Period. And we did.
I struggled with my overall rating of Excellence. I should really have given it a 4 star rating because our stay was not “perfect” because of the room smell and the housekeeping issue, however, the service and people and the genuine desire to please far out-weigh any of the issues we had. Would I go back? In a heartbeat!! In fact, I don’t think I would even consider another resort in the Mayan Riviera. Would I recommend it to a friend? Absolutely! I give it a 5. Go, enjoy yourselves and fall in love with Excellence Riviera Cancun.
- 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