The Excellence chain is known for honeymoon/romance and while Excellence Riviera Cancun fills that mold, it's also a great resort for a few couples traveling together that don't want it so heavy on the romance and want to have some more fun throughout the day as a group. (get your minds out of the gutter, you know what I mean haha). Excellence Riviera Cancun offers a much larger property than the Excellence Playa Mujeres property and is built in typical Riviera Maya fashion. Large expansive grounds, small buildings no more than four stories high, lazy river style pools that circle in and around the room buildings, and much more activities on site at the pool and beach. It is located about 25 minutes from the airport and situated right next to Dreams Riviera Cancun. The overall vibe is a bit more fun than Playa Mujeres. But still adults only. The pics below are the lobby stairs going from the lobby bar up to the lobby. The second pic is of the grounds outside the theater area
I stayed in a Junior Suite Swim Up in the non-excellence club section. While I almost always recommend that you should stay in the Excellence Club if your budget allows, I would say that with this property it isn't necessary. It would probably be a great idea if you could, but not necessary if you can't afford it. The experience you will get is almost the same. The only real difference is the private check in area and lounge, and slightly better in room amenities BUT having stayed in a non-excellence club room, I did not feel like I was missing out on anything. I know from having stayed in an Excellence Club room, you can call down and ask for one of the liquor bottles to be changed out to something you prefer. I called to see if I could have the gin removed and add a whiskey but since I was not in excellence club, there was a charge for that. Little things like that make the difference between the two but to be honest, there are 7 bars and I wound up not even opening the liquor in my room. It may be special for honeymoons but if you are looking for the excellence experience at a lower price, the non-excellence club room will do just fine. My room had a king size bed, sunken down living room area, large shower, toilet room, and open concept sink/tub area. Large closets with plenty of storage. Because I was in a swim up, I was of course on the first floor and had a Jacuzzi on my patio, a bali bed (great in the mornings to lay down and read before showering and going to breakfast) and a hammock (note to self: don't try to use after a few drinks...just saying). The Junior Suites that are not swim outs are the exact same but on the 2nd,3rd, and 4th floors with no jacuzzi on balcony.
I loved the pools. They are really large and there are plenty of them. I never felt on top of people and the hotel was 100% occupied since it was New Years Eve. My first thought was that there would definitely not be enough pool chairs for everyone but I guess looks can be deceiving because we never had an issue..and there was 8 of us. A few days we took 4 or 5 chairs and a bali bed but still, never an issue. They have lazy rivers that wind around the buildings and they are essentially the pools that the swim out suites go out into. The activity staff does everything from water yoga and aerobics In the morning, to some fun games in the afternoon but nothing over the top where there is noise all day. They do have music playing all day so there is a good vibe by the pool. The one pool has a swim up bar and while the main pools are not heated, the lazy river style pools are. The Excellence club pool is heated as well. The one thing I found weird was the towels were all by the beach. They didn't have any towel huts by the pools. It sounds petty but something we definitely noticed and found odd. There is also pool service for drinks if you are in a pool not near the pool bar.
Not the best in terms of the water, but beautiful beach in terms of sand. The water has a lot of seaweed. In fact, it piles up where the sand meets the water. It's also a lot of seaweed when you walk out the first 50ft or so. If you are true beach lovers, and prefer to swim in the ocean, I'm not sure this would be the best option for you. It may be time of year but I believe it's more their location. The beach itself is very big with lots of chairs and palapa's and beach service for drinks. We laid on the sand a few afternoons but always swam in the pool. We only went in the ocean a few times.
Really good food and lots of choices. For lunch, they have the buffet, two sit down restaurants by the pool, and another small buffet that is a grill on the beach. The grill had something different every day (Chicken and ribs one day, and burgers the next day). The one day they had a mechanical bull setup by the grill. Lets just say that was bad news bears for a lot of people with a few drinks in them haha. But very entertaining to watch while I ate. For dinner, they have everything from indian and Chinese to Italian and Mexican. I really enjoyed the French restaurant but didn't get to try the Indian. I heard great things about that one. Service was great and the nice thing is no reservations are needed. If you want to do the hibachi though (the Asian has ala carte too, which was really good) they need to make reservations by going to the restaurant that afternoon. They only take reservations the day of.
The restaurants do tend to get very busy around 730pm, and remember the hotel was 100% full, but we never really waited long and we were a table of 8 so I'm sure tables of 2 and 4 couldn't have waited as long as we did. One night we did two tables of 4 because we were starving. The breakfast buffet was large and really good and we ate at the lunch buffet the day we arrived. That was good as well. Overall, I thought the food at Playa Mujeres might have been a step up by comparison but the food here was very good. No complaints.
There are shows each night. Typical Mexican All Inclusive resort style shows. They had a Mexican culture dance one night, a Madonna show, Michael Jackson show, etc. There is also a sports bar that was fun to watch some of the college bowl games in and there is a nightclub that basically opens up after the show each night is over. If you happen go on New Years Eve like I did, they do a fun night with dance floor outside, DJ, fireworks, NYE hats and noise makers, etc. It was fun.
As I said earlier, I would send honeymooners here in a heartbeat, and couples looking to travel together and want adults only, or couples looking for something not too over the top but at the same time a nice sense of luxury or higher end service. The clientele that was there definitely fit those categories.