square feet of event space and meeting facilities
No children allowed (con for some)
30-minute drive from downtown and at
least an hour from the airport
Ground-floor rooms lack privacy
Beach not quite as impressive as some to the south
This 450-room luxury all-inclusive is set in the heart of a private resort community to the north of Cancun. Modern, luxurious rooms are huge and have big whirlpool tubs; all have balconies and some have ocean views. Certain categories have swim-up access or private plunge pools. All the features expected for this caliber of resort are here, including seven pools, nine restaurants, 11 bars, and a high-end spa. The secluded location is part of the appeal for many, but may be too isolated for some -- and the white-sand beach, while tranquil, isn't as impressive as those in the Hotel Zone. This is one of the top luxury options in the Cancun area, and is for adults only; families may want to consider the neighboring and similarly luxurious Finest Playa Mujeres.
An adult-only all-inclusive luxury resort far from the touristy Hotel Zone
Excellence Playa Mujeres sets the stage for luxury from the
moment visitors enter the resort. Staff members wearing pith helmets greet guests with hot towels and cold water, and escort them into the Egyptian-themed lobby, which is meant to evoke feelings of being an
explorer from an earlier era. Expect lots of tan marble (calling to mind desert sands), wood paneling, a large chess set, touches of greenery, and a few ancient-looking artifacts and statues. The lobby leads to a cavernous multi-story atrium under a stained glass ceiling and centered around a dramatic staircase. The main building houses many restaurants and bars, some of which overlook the main staircase from interior balconies. A martini bar sits at the lowest level, where doors lead out to the main grounds, resort pools, room buildings, and sea.
Excellence shares a private resort complex with The Beloved Hotel, Finest Playa Mujeres, and La Amada, all of which make use of the inland marina that houses 170 slips. The location far from the touristy Hotel Zone and the luxury price tag discourage party-oriented visitors, and guests include couples of all ages, mainly from the U.S. and Canada. The secluded location also makes it hard to explore off-site -- but with so many features on-site, few guests seem to mind. In addition to lounging, eating, and drinking, guests can partake in land and water activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing,
paddleboarding, scuba lessons, water polo, yoga, and Spanish classes. Add
to that the meeting spaces, spa, library, pool tables, ping-pong tables, and the stage with nightly events, and
it's no wonder most guests are content never to leave the premises.
On a secluded stretch of beach north of downtown Cancun, with sunrises that stretch across the horizon
Playa Mujeres is located in the far north end of Cancun, beyond the city itself
in a section of the city near Isla Blanca. The area takes its name from
the Isla Mujeres, the island that sits directly out across the ocean from the
resort itself, and the beach the resort is located on, Playa Mujeres.
far out means that once guests arrive, they are mostly stuck at the resort.
Although taxis are available for trips into town, there are no public
transportation options available.
is at least an hour from the airport with traffic, 20 to 30 minutes from
downtown, and roughly an hour away from the Hotel Zone and the Cancun
Convention Center. However, the ferry to Isla Mujeres – Ultramar – is 10 minutes away by taxi.
Luxurious, modern rooms with whirpool tubs and balconies; some face the ocean
There are 450
rooms at the Excellence, starting with the 807-square-foot Junior Suite. All rooms have furnished balconies, or on the ground floor, patios, and units with rooftop terraces also have a plunge pool and shower. The majority of
the rooms have views out over the spa or pools, with ocean views reserved for
the Excellence Club Junior Suite Ocean Front, Two-Story Rooftop Terrace Suite, Honeymoon Suite, and Imperial Suite. There are also swim-up suite options available. Four ADA rooms are on offer.
The rooms are decorated in shades of cream and have marble tile floors and wooden furniture (including four-poster beds in many rooms); the overall effect is sophisticated and airy. Junior Suites have either a king-size
bed or two double beds, and all other rooms feature king-size beds. Tech amenities
include flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations. For relaxation, guests will find burning incense and calming music playing upon their arrival, bathrobes and slippers provided, and large whirlpool tubs that are positioned in the living spaces, by glass windows that open to the balconies. For dining and drinking in-room, there are fully stocked mini-fridges, high-end liquor cabinets, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and 24-hour room service. Excellence Club guests get extras such as premium minibars, Bulgari toiletries, and Nespresso machines.
All of the
rooms have a marble bathroom with a two-person rainfall shower, a separate water closet, and double vanities with luxury
toiletries, a hairdryer, and a scale.
also a an insulated and closed-off cubby just to the side of the entryway where
the staff delivers room service. This helps ensure guest privacy and prevents the smell of food from permeating the room until guests are ready to eat.
The Excellence Playa Mujeres is set on a beautiful white-sand beach equipped with palapas, sun loungers, daybeds, massage areas, and a beach snack grill. The entire stretch of Playa Mujeres is relatively calm without large waves, and relatively clear of seaweed due to the currents that sweep around Isla Mujeres and carry the bulk of it along the eastern coast of the tourist strip. Emphasis on the word "relatively;" we did spot some minor seaweed accumulation along the shore. The beach isn't quite as large and the sand not quite as powdery as some stretches in the Hotel Zone, but it's still lovely.
There are seven
pools to choose from, four of which are heated during the winter months.
Accompanying those are four hot-water whirlpools independent from the main
pools, plus five integrated whirlpools. A serpentine lazy river that
guests can float down ties it all together. Two of the heated pools and whirlpools are for Excellence Club guests only; those who upgrade will also get a private concierge desk and private lounge with free Wi-Fi, buffet, and bar service.
The 3,500-square-foot, 24-hour gym features a full range of workout equipment, including modern cardio equipment, full sets of
weights, and weight machines. Also available are a variety of classes and
workout rooms for yoga and aerobics, as well as a fitness trail for those who
prefer getting out into the tropical scenery for their morning run or hike.
also has its own meeting spaces, with 17,000 square feet available, including boardrooms and flexible breakout rooms.
restaurants, 11 bars, and a beach grill
include Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican, Oriental, French, and Indian options. The Flavor
Market focuses on pairing gourmet tasting menus with fine wines, and The
Lobster House provides local fish and seafood specialties.
available are takeaway wood oven pizza, the lobby bar and coffee bar in the main
square, a swim-up pool bar, the lounge on the beach, and the fruit
juice bar by the spa. Reservations are not required for
dinner, and all meals include vegetarian options. Smoking is available in some
of the restaurants, while some are exclusively non-smoking.
extensive selection of luxury treatments, hydrotherapy pool, saunas, and romantic couples areas
Spa at Excellence Playa Mujeres is one of the high points of the resort. It is located
in a secluded area, and there are spa suites for couples. The hydrotherapy pool has high-pressure water hoses and a bubble massage bench, as well as exercise lanes
for counter-current swimming, plus a temperature contrast stone walk.
There are also double massage beds, a cold plunge pool, Swedish saunas, steam
baths, an ice-treatment room, Scottish and Cuban showers, and a variety of spa
suites with private relaxation areas where guests can soak in a mud bath, get a
facial, have a Vichy shower, or experience a shirodara ritual. A beauty parlor offers pedicures, manicures, and haircuts.
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