Last week’s post (check it out here!) was all about Mexico, but I don’t think it’s fair to just tell you how great it is and then not recommend our favorite resort! Excellence Resorts is a small chain of resorts throughout the Caribbean. They own five-star resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and soon to be Jamaica (opens in 2018!). So far we’ve been to two, but I’d love to visit all of them!
We first stayed at an Excellence resort for our honeymoon, and it was perfect. I had a lot of specific expectations (surprised?) that I wanted for our honeymoon, and I read meticulously about our options before deciding on Excellence Playa Mujeres. I’ve outlined a few categories below that really made the Excellence stand out for us.
I swore up and down that I did not want to go to Mexico for our honeymoon because that’s where “everyone” went. Umm, now I know why. Compared to other locations in the Caribbean, Mexico is by far the most cost-effective. Since we were shelling out literally thousands of dollars for our wedding, Mexico quickly became one of the top contenders. Excellence Playa Mujeres is a five-star all-inclusive resort which means EVERYTHING is included. One of my favorite things about the Excellence is they don’t try to stick you with hidden costs or crazy upgrades. Some resorts make you pay extra if you want to eat lobster. Hello? Of course I want to eat lobster, and I don’t appreciate you making me pay more on top of what I’ve already paid if I’m craving my favorite shellfish! Excellence’s prices include all water sports, group activities, all food AND drinks, 24 hour room service, and tips. The only things that are not included in your daily rate is the spa, fancy wine in the restaurants, and excursions. There are a few special add-on services not included, but they’re optional.
Type A Tidbits:
Bring your own sunscreen, bug spray, and medications! It is incredibly expensive if you buy it from the gift shop at the resort.
The spa and hydrotherapy circuit is worth every bit of the extra money, but wait until the day before to book anything… they offer daily specials!
The rooms at Excellence Playa Mujeres are gorgeous! The entire resort is decorated in a modern theme so you really get the feel of a five-star resort instead of a casual beach vibe. That was important for us because we really wanted to distinguish our honeymoon from just another beach trip. We chose to upgrade to the Excellence Club category (more on that below) and we were assigned to building 8 on the second floor. We had a fantastic view of the main swimming pool and the ocean. Our room was close to the restaurants and beach, but somehow it was still quiet. We were never disturbed by any loud music or noise. Each room has a jacuzzi tub and a balcony with a lounge bed big enough for two people. There’s a table and chairs on the balcony as well. The bathroom is the only area where there could be some improvement. The toilet area does have a door, but it doesn’t go all the way to the bottom or top. It reminds me of how a public restroom stall door is. For us it was fine, but for people wanting more privacy it could be a negative. The mirrors behind the sink were also hung by people a lot taller than me! I could see to do my makeup and hair, but only from my chin up. The shower in the bathroom, however, is fantastic! It has two different shower heads and a bench seat. There’s plenty of room to put all of your toiletries!
Type A Tidbits
Every room has something called an “X box”. It’s a cabinet next to your door that opens into the room and outside to the hallway. This can be used to put your dirty dishes in, and then housekeeping can remove them from the hallway in case you do not wish to be disturbed. It can be used to deliver room service too.
It’s important to note that room categories labeled “ocean view” mean exactly that. You can view the ocean from this room. I thought it mean ocean front. Ocean front rooms are extremely rare at resorts so don’t be disappointed when you arrive at your “ocean view” room and can barely make out the waves.
The mattresses at the Excellence are pretty firm. I like a really firm mattress, but it was even too firm for me. Not to worry! Just call your concierge and request a pillow topper. Ours was delivered within minutes and they set it all up for us. A pillow menu is also available!
The air conditioner shuts off if the balcony door is left open. This is obviously to save electricity. However, make sure your balcony door is latched all the way or you can come back to a pretty humid room!
The control for the ceiling fan is on the nightstand by the alarm clock.
The bottle opener is on the wall in the bathroom.
If your mini fridge isn’t getting cold enough, try pulling it out of the cabinet slightly to improve air circulation.
Excellence Resorts have two different categories for guests. You can choose to be in the regular guest category or you can choose to upgrade to the Excellence Club. Knowing this was our honeymoon, we upgraded to the Excellence Club when we first booked our dates. Some people decide to wait until they’re at the resort to see if they can upgrade for a cheaper price, but I didn’t want to risk it being all full. Some of the things included in the Excellence Club are private check in/check out, use of the Excellence Club beach, access to Excellence Club private pools, an upgraded room location, better selection of liquor in the mini fridge in your room, and use of the Excellence Club Lounge. Were those things worth the extra price for us? Yes, yes, and yes! And we would do it again if given the choice. After the stress of the wedding, I could not wait to lounge on the beach. The Excellence Club beach is quieter and more relaxing. The chairs and beach beds are more spaced out so it gives you a little more privacy, and they’re nicer and more cushioned than the non-Excellence Club chairs. There are more waiters/servers per guest so we were checked on more frequently. In the mornings the beach concierge offered us mimosas, bottled water, or champagne. In the afternoon, our Excellence Club Beach concierge would come around with snacks and appetizers. This doesn’t happen in the non-Excellence Club section. Matt loved the Excellence Club lounge! It had a full bar, free wifi, and snacks served all day. It was pretty close to the beach so he could stop in to use the restroom or grab a snack without having to go all the way back to our room. I enjoyed the private check in/check out. We were exhausted from traveling all day by the time we arrived at the resort. The last thing I wanted to do was wait in a long check in line. When we arrived we were handed glasses of champagne and cold towels and whisked away to the Excellence Club Lounge. We immediately began chowing down on food while our concierge took care of all of the check in process and luggage. Would we have had a good time if we hadn’t done the Excellence Club? Of course. This resort is fantastic with or without the Excellence Club. But to me, when I’m on vacation I like to really get away from it all and be made to feel special. Excellence Club definitely lived up to my expectations.
Type A Tidbits:
Don’t be afraid to ask your concierge for anything. They are there to help you and make your stay perfect!
It’s pretty hard to find sugary white sand in the Caribbean outside of the Gulf of Mexico (Florida) and Mexico itself. Excellence Playa Mujeres has the perfect sand texture and color. The water was also crystal clear and extremely calm… almost too calm. I really like to play in the waves, but the ocean here is more like a lake. Some people really prefer that because it’s easy to swim and snorkel. I guess I like to hear the crashing of the waves, but that really wasn’t a thing here. It definitely didn’t spoil the beach for me though… it was just different. We never experienced any sand flea bites or jellyfish stings. A lot of seaweed does wash up on the beach, but they have employees whose job it is to keep the beach groomed. They would rake the sand and remove any trash or debris multiple times a day. They had a tractor that would clear the seaweed periodically as well. This didn’t affect our day at all. It’s a beach… of course there is seaweed!
Type A Tidbits:
Beach beds and palapa/chairs can get taken pretty fast. Your best bet is to get their early. But please don’t be one of those people who puts your book and towel on a chair and then doesn’t come back until after lunch. That’s rude!
Food and drink
Excellence Playa Mujeres has ten restaurants and eleven bars spread throughout the resort. You are always near a drink and a snack! There are so many restaurants that we didn’t even get to visit them all… and we really tried! There were a few nights where we had dinner at one restaurant and dessert at another! What? I loved the creme brûlée at Chez Isabelle (the French restaurant)! There are restaurants for every cuisine you could want: Asian, French, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Seafood, plus a few others! One of our favorites was the casual restaurant on the beach, Los Olas, that served lunch. We could walk over barefoot in our swimsuits and get the special of the day. The food varied between burgers, hot dogs, or traditional Mexican. Matt loved the wood fired pizza grill by the main pool. They would serve made to order pizzas throughout the day. There were a few times he went missing right after we ate lunch only to come back with a pizza! We also loved the 24 hour room service. Our sleep schedule was really off during our first night at the resort. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and ordered caesar salad and chocolate cake!
Type A Tidbits:
Remember the dress code for dinner! Guys must wear dress pants! They will turn men away for wearing shorts. I have heard of the resort having a few pairs of dress slacks that can be loaned out, but just bring your own for goodness sake. Girls must adhere to the “resort casual” dress code too. I usually wore maxi dresses with sandals to dinner. They frown on shorts for women, but if it’s dressy shorts with a nice top then you should be fine.
We brought our own insulated mugs for our drinks, and I’m so glad we did! Our drinks stayed colder longer, and the frozen cocktails didn’t melt. If you ask nicely, the bartenders will make your drink in your own mug so you don’t have to pour it and make a mess.
No reservations are needed EXCEPT for the Hibachi table at the Asian restaurant.
Any drink can be made without alcohol. Message me if you’re interested in their drink menu!
I cannot speak more highly of the employees at Excellence Playa Mujeres. They do a tremendous job of keeping the grounds looking nice while smiling at the same time. Every time we passed a groundskeeper or housekeeper they stopped to greet us. They take such pride in their jobs, and it really shows. Every member of the Excellence Club has access to a private concierge. There were several times we stopped in to ask a question or get an extra towel. We even asked if we could have more cookies in our mini fridge instead of peanuts. Not only did they fulfill that request that day, but they made sure we had extra cookies the whole rest of our trip. Somehow they all remembered our names every day too! Since the staff knew it was our honeymoon, they hung a decorative banner on our door for our arrival. When we came in from dinner we would have towel animals and truffles left on our bed. We were at the resort over Christmas holidays, yet the staff never once complained about having to work. They even did extra things to make it special! We had Christmas cookies in our room on Christmas Eve, and Santa came to visit at lunch on Christmas Day. One day we went out into the ocean and came back to our chairs to see that the beach concierge had set us up with fresh clean towels without us even asking. We chose to tip extra on top of what was included in our daily rate, and I’m really glad we brought $1 and pesos. These people work so hard to make sure you have a memorable trip, and they deserve the extra tips.
I’m sorry this post is so long, but I do love some details! Hopefully this helps anyone that already has a vacation booked at the Excellence, or maybe it’ll inspire you to reserve your room now!
Feel free to leave any questions in the comments or email me!