Every Iowa winter I’ve had to suffer through, there’s always been multiple assholes posting pictures via social media from a tropical climate. While they’ve enjoyed sunny 80 degree weather, I’ve been stuck in sub zero temps so cold I can cut glass. Finally in summer 2015 I convinced Tyler: “Let’s be one of those assholes”, and we did just that.
On January 24th, 2016 we flew down to Cancun, Mexico for a five night stay at the all inclusive resort, Excellence Playa Mujeres. I booked a flight and hotel package through Expedia.com and also prepaid our round trip shuttle through the Cancun airport. This prevented us from having to bring money or withdraw pesos from an ATM! Going everywhere and not having to pay was more enjoyable then we though. It was nice not having to worry about money because EVERYTHING was paid for. All inclusive really is the ONLY way to go when you are in Mexico or anywhere it’s available.
As soon as Tyler and I stepped out of our car, we were treated like royalty. Before we could get a hand on our luggage, the bellhop handed us a wet towel and were confused by what we were supposed to do with them, obviously it was to cool our faces. Moving along to check in at the front desk, we were brought champagne. So far this WAY surpassed our expectations. The bellhop (Fun fact: They had on khaki colored pants and shirts with hats that made them look like they were going on safari!) then took us to our room but on the way there gave us a mini tour of the resort.
The Lobby we entered in:
Walking to our room, everything about this place screamed paradise! Just gorgeous! The pools were designed like little lazy rivers with bridges over them and hammocks over the water. Sun chairs and actual beds were everywhere!
The view from our room:
Our Junior suite didn’t feel so junior to us: king size bed, jacuzzi, full stocked bar and mini fridge (all included with the room at no extra charge!) Balcony patio with bed!
The inside of our room had the feel of just being open: the suns behind the bed (the back of the vanity mirrors) were not behind glass, you could talk to someone in side of the bathroom from the living area. The shower had a door but also a window to the room so for the whole week we gave each other a show. In case you were wondering, the toilet in the bathroom had it’s own little closet with a door; no one wants to see that.
The balcony patio was our favorite feature:
After we settled into our room we had a late lunch at The Grill, one of three restaurants opened for lunch. This place is attached to The Lobster House which shares a lunch menu with the Grill, both are also open for dinner and have their own menus for that time.
Eating a late lunch next to the pool with the ocean in the background was very surreal, nothing we had ever experienced. I think it was then Tyler was sold on the idea of making this a yearly trip. YES! Besides the Grill and Lobster House with a shared lunch menu, other lunch spots include: Las Olas (A snack bar on the beach that does different food everyday. One day we had a Mongolian Grill); The Sun Bar which make personal gourmet pizzas in a stone oven; and Toscana, an Italian Restaurant at night but massive buffet by day (serious they had everything and it was all good! I filled up on sushi!!) Toscana and Lobster House also served breakfast in the morning but we never made it up that early. We usually just grabbed a coffee with a muffin at Aroma, the coffee bar which literally was one of the bars. We could grab an Irish coffee at 9 AM if we so desired! Seriously for lunch though: go to the pool, lay back and enjoy a pizza with endless Coronas being delivered to you! Many times I would just swim up to the bar for mine. What could be better than all of that?
There were 4 or 5 restaurants only open for dinner and we didn’t get to hit them all, sadly. Here’s a mini run through of where we went and didn’t eat at:
Where we ate (loved them all!!)
Sunday night: Toscana (Italian)
Monday night: Spice (Asian)
Tuesday night: Chez Isabelle (French)
Wednesday night: Barcelona (Mediterranean)
Thursday night: Basmati (Indian)
Where we didn’t get to eat:
Agave (Mexican, we heard it wasn’t very good)
Flavor Market (Tapas/ Bistro/ international food)
The Lobster House
The Grill (we did these two for lunch but at night you could get shell fish or a nice big steak instead of their light lunch options of sandwich and salad type of foods)
There is a dress code at dinner to make sure no one wears clothes from the beach into the restaurants. Listed on the website: excellenceresorts.com
When we weren’t eating at five star dining options, our days were spent at pool or by the beach. There are four pools two of which are heated in the winter. The main pool was were everyone spent most of their day because that’s where you found the swim up bar! In the afternoon there was always a band playing above it:
Even if you didn’t go into the water, wait staff were always going around taking and delivering orders. That was our daily agenda: get up, go to the pool or beach, drink, swim some more, etc. The beach was perfect! The ocean water seemed cold at first but once you got used to it you didn’t want to get out!
We didn’t participate but a wide variety of water activities were available: kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving…
Every evening there was always some type of show or activities going on: mexican themed, Circus Show (acrobats doing death defying stunts and routines), live Cuban band with dancers, Casino night, traditional dancing, etc.
We would usually end up at CafeKafe, the bar outside in the common area next to the theater where the evening events would take place, or at the Martini Bar in the main building. The whole place is still so beautiful at night even when you are just walking around. On our first night my inebriated self took my husband on a romantic stroll on the beach. I probably enjoyed it more than he did.
We met so many wonderful people: two couples from Canada, three couples from England and a younger couple also from England that we spent quite some time before we had to leave but are now Facebook friends with! 🙂
We just can’t say enough good things about this place!!! Excellence Playa Mujeres is worth every single dollar we spent and more!! Just go here when you spend a vacation in Cancun!!!
If you would like more options on where to stay in Cancun: Here are my all inclusive recommendations based on ratings from Expedia.com:
All inclusive Adults Only:
Excellence Rivera Cancun (in Riviera Maya are south of airport)
Secrets The Vine
Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf and Spa Resort
Sun Palace (Couples Only)
Many more in the Riviera Maya area too!
Isla Mujeres (Couples Only located on Isla Mujeres)
All inclusive that allows children:
The Beloved Hotel, Playa Mujeres
Finest Playa Mujeres
Riu Palace Peninsula
Riu Palace Las American
The Royal Cancun
(There is more to this list, I would just look at places that have a 90% or higher recommend rate from customers)