Excellence Playa Mujeres is a fairly new, all-inclusive hotel located approximately half way between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The resort is completely flawless, boasting eight different restaurants, several outdoor and indoor bars, free entertainment, unlimited drinks, 24 hour room-service, fully stocked inclusive in-room mini-bars, a private beach, and scheduled day and nighttime activities, all secluded in a fairly remote and undeveloped stretch of beach. We had to travel through two large security gates to get into the resort, both fully staffed with security double checking our names and room numbers every time we entered and exited, so there was a pretty decent feeling of security.
The hotel lobby leading downstairs to the Martini Bar
When people had asked us where we were going on our honeymoon, several frowned and said that they loved everything about Mexico but the endless solicitation they encountered on the beach, while eating, and pretty much anywhere they went. This wasn’t the case at all at the resort. Because, at least for now, it is so far away from other resort areas, so no one really has access to the hotel, restaurant and beach areas except hotel staff and guests. There are always plenty of cabanas open to lounge under, and at any time there were maybe only 20 other couples sharing the expanse of beach with us. The seclusion was bliss.
seclusion on the beach
The food was really delicious. The only major complaint that I had were that all salads at all restaurants were consistently less-than-stellar. Main courses were wonderful, but the fresh greens never quite did it for me…the dressings were usually really heavy and a little strange. Vegetarians, beware. Meats were all wonderful, lobster and steak in particular, however, and despite the fact that it was an all-inclusive resort, they never skimped on quality when it came to food. Not surprisingly, the Mexican restaurant and cuisine was the best…the Asian restaurant, my least favorite. I know it sounds silly to eat Asian food in Mexico, but we were intent on eating at every restaurant on the resort at least once.
Clockwise from top left: NY strip steak from The Steak House, Salad Nicoise at Chez Isabella, Lobster at Agave, Duck at Chez Isabella
The resort had an amazing day spa (circular building, below). None of the spa services are free, nor are any of the services cheap…the prices were pretty on par with spa services at a nice spa in the U.S. If you’re a honeymooner, you receive 15% off of any spa services before noon, so Mr. Penguin and I each got a massage. All spa treatments big and small come with a one hour “Marine Circuit” where they guide you through a series of rooms and pools with different stimulating water treatments…very cool! It was a wonderful experience, and if you go as a couple they put you in the same room. Seeing your new hubby in paper panties is quite the hilarious experience!
The Mille Spa
the water circuit **
couples massage rooms**
The public pools are nice, but they’re pretty crowded, especially the one with the swim-up bar. The lazy river is quieter, and great if you just want to float around the resort.
plenty of empty hammocks on the lazy river**
the lazy river that circles the resort**
Our room was spacious and wonderful. Honestly, it was kind of hard to get me to leave. I could only take so much beaching, and reading on one of the three outdoor beds right outside of our room was really comfortable. However, there was obviously no one to make us slushy drinks in our room so we preferred to spend most days at the beach or at the pool. But honestly, if we had a blender or a freezer, we’d have probably stayed in a lot. Junior suites all have their own private rooftop pools, and it was pretty fun to have some alone time up in our own pool, however if I ever visited again, I don’t think I’d pay extra again for the private pool. It was fun to have for our honeymoon, but we didn’t use it every day, and it was just more of a novelty then something that really enhanced our experience. All rooms in the resort include a jacuzzi tub that opens up to the balcony. I really liked that!
oversize jacuzzi tub
rooftop private pool
views on both ends on the roof
The property had some sort of leopards or jaguars or scary cats that I wasn’t to thrilled to check out. They looked scary and bitey. All I knew was that I was glad that we did not have a room on the ground floor in case they had gotten out of their habitats. There were some interesting large lizards too, none right on the grounds of the resort, but right outside, near the big cats.
All-in-all, a great time, and a perfect honeymoon for the couple that really doesn’t want to do anything in particular but relax. As far as the “all-inclusive” aspect of the resort, they never failed to deliver. I’m a big skeptic of anything that’s all-inclusive, but Excellence does a beautiful job at providing a great all-inclusive experience. They carried decent, recognizable brands of liquor, and never limited us to how many restaurants or meals we could visit or have in one day.
We admit to visiting one restaurant for drinks and appetizers and then heading to the Lobster House for our main course. Even the nighttime entertainment was really fun. We went to a magic show, got entertained by mariachi bands, and every night there was beautiful live music filling the air. They set up horseshoe games on the beach, and had cooking demos and kitchen tours, even a woman walking through the gym with cold water and cold towels to give to you while you were working out. We could participate in as much or as little as we wanted. We never felt like we needed anything, because it was always right at our fingertips. We consistently tipped the wait staff, maids and bellhops, but we noticed that not too many people did so, and it’s not required. Also, we didn’t get treated differently than those who didn’t tip, which was a little disheartening sometimes when we got a bad table facing the kitchen and little things like that, but whatever. The staff is beyond professional and nice, and the comfort of not having to “watch your pennies” everyday was very relaxing, as Mr. Penguin and I don’t share bank accounts, and so usually we have to decide who pays for what when we go out to dinner…but since everything was paid for beforehand, it was great to just order whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and to not have to worry about our wallets.
**starred photos from the Excellence Playa Mujeres website