Excellence Exceeds Expectations Again
Where to start with yet another excellent Excellence experience – we really are ruined for any other resorts now as we just know they won’t compare. This was our first visit to Excellence Playa Mujeres and the third to Excellence resorts with this being the last of the three to try. Did we leave the best for last ? I think so. Whilst I was not so keen on some of the harder lines found in the architecture with regard to the buildings as I preferred the look of the buildings at ERC this is personal preference and I must agree with others that the standard & layout of the rooms is by far the best of the three resorts. We arrived on the 9th Feb looking forward to celebrating my husband’s 50th Birthday the following day and two weeks of relaxation & fun. We were greeted warmly with the usual welcome home, a scented towel and a glass of sparkling wine. I had emailed ahead to request a room in block 8 (Non EC) as we thought it would be nice to be able to listen to entertainment from our balcony and the higher rooms in this block had sun on the balconies in the afternoon. This is exactly what we got ! and were pleasantly surprised to find returning guests gifts in our room of Tshirt, hat and beach bag with a note from the management welcoming us back to Excellence resorts. The first night after a couple of drinks in the Martini bar we headed to our usual restaurant the first night of the holiday, Agave. We received a lovely welcome from the hostess who knew it was our first night (must be marked on the room list) and she thanked us for choosing to spend our first night at Agave. It’s little things like this that make you feel they personally show an interest in treating everyone as if you are their only customer. Food was great as was the service with the wine flowing. We enjoy red wine and found the house wine acceptable preferring the Merlot they had to the others. There was a good atmosphere with a female Mariachi Trio singing at the tables during your meal. After dinner we caught the end of the Michael Jackson show and managed to find a couple of comfortable seats along the side, the theatre was almost full. It was the first time we had actually got to see the MJ show and I was impressed my husband less so as it’s not really his thing. We both really enjoyed Gustava de la Cruz who played in the theatre directly after MJ, he had a great voice and had us all singing along. By 11pm we were flagging somewhat after being up around for over twenty four hours but we managed to summon the energy to go back to the Martini bar for a night cap. We got chatting to some people at the bar & the great bar tenders Hugo & Julian who had already asked our names & were making a mental note of what we were drinking so for the rest of the trip our names and preferred drinks were remembered. Service always with a smile. At 12.45 we called it a night and hit the hay ! The bed I found really comfortable although being vertically challenged somewhat high for me to get into. No complaints though as once I was in the bed I slept like a log and woke around 6;30am which is pretty good considering the time difference. We were early to breakfast the first morning at 7.15am however there seemed to be a reasonable amount of people about. Another warm welcome by the hostess in Toscana, The breakfast buffet as you would expect is extensive with made to order stations for eggs, omelettes etc. There was a large selection of fresh fruit and also a further selection of tinned fruits by the cereals. Cold meats, cheeses, Mexican selection, yogurts, breads, muffins, pancakes, ~ you name it and you could find it. Service was good with coffee & water being offered within a minute of being seated. I was interested to see how quickly the beds were taken around the pools to try to judge how early we needed to be out each day. We found a spot every day, towards the end of the two weeks the hotel was at nearly 100% occupancy however there were always beds to be found with shade up to about 8.30 to 9.00am. The beds around the main pool & pool bar seemed to be the first to go and also on the beach the beds seemed to be saved by 7.30am. The first few days were a bit overcast and there was a lot of sea grass which was washed up but cleared regularly by the staff. A few days in the wind direction changed and the sea grass was minimal. Maid service was pretty good and we only had one day when we returned to the room at around 4.30 and they were still making up the room. Not a problem we just popped down to Kafe Kafe for a couple of drinks while the maid finished the room. On my husband’s birthday they left a bottle of cava, a cake and decorated the bed with balloons and streamers, a nice touch. We ate at all the restaurants a least once with our favourites being Basmati & The Flavour Market. Service was good in all restaurants, no complaints. We were only given a pager on a couple of occasions, once for Chez Isabelle (which was always popular) & once for Basmati. We prefer to eat later between 8.30 and 9.30 so it was not a problem for us. We were told the wait for the French would be around 45 mins but only had to wait 15min. We love the fact that you don’t have to make reservations and can decide where and when to eat depending on your mood. For breakfast we occasionally went to the Lobster house for a change, it was nice to sit with a view of the ocean and have table service. Lunch we mixed it up a bit and tried all options during the two weeks, the lunch buffet was great and again an extensive choice, the beach grill was a good option if you really didn’t want to move to far from your beach chair. The Lobster House and Grill we were a bit disappointed that they didn’t have a self- serve salad bar like they have at ERC as this is great if you want something a bit lighter. Also the menu is the same in both restaurants whilst at ERC in 2010 the menus were different. Both sides seemed to be extremely busy and service was a bit slow on occasion. We didn’t partake in any activities but spent a lot of time walking the beach, to the Marina and also out of the resort towards the golf course and to the gate house tower where you get some great views. Midway through the holiday we took the ferry to Isla Mujeres and hired a golf buggy for the day and did the tour of the Island stopping off for refreshments at a couple of spots. It was a fun day out and good value with taxis, ferry tickets, golf hire and a few beers & snacks it cost us around $100 for the day. We tipped the staff regularly as service was always good however we never felt it was expected and you seemed to get good service whether you tipped or not. I think being polite to the staff and treating them with respect was valued highly by the staff and you got the same in return. Now for the dilemma ! where to go next ? I really hope the Excellence in Jamaica is completed in the next couple of years so we can give that a try.
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