After staying at a number of adult all inclusives I would have to say that EPM ranked somewhere in the middle.
Upon arrival (Beginning of June), we were greeted with a Mimosa and hand towel and lead into the lobby area. Although pretty, everything seemed a bit dark. We found that to be the case in most of the restaurants and common areas as well. Our rooms were not ready, which was not a problem, as we were early. Everyone waiting for a room received a “buzzer” except us. I had not discovered that until we were at the lunch buffet to killing time. We returned to the lobby for check in had to wait with two other couples to have our bags brought to our room. The whole process was well over a half hour and after a long plane trip, it was laborious to have to stop at others rooms before our own.
I should mention, at this point, that we were traveling with another couple and a group of twenty somethings. All in all 13 people. I had emailed and called the hotel directly and well in advance to request that we be near one another or at the very least, on the same floor for convenience sake and It turned out that we were in 3 different buildings quite a walk from the main lobby area. I was asked and told the staff that we were celebrating birthdays and graduations. They specifically asked the rooms and then balloons and champagne were sent to the wrong rooms! Not a huge deal, but still not great customer service. With that said, I think it’s easier to break down areas of review:
Property: The grounds we lush and well maintained with beautiful sculptures throughout. There is construction going on next door that is not pleasing to look at, but understandably unavoidable. Some of the balconies off the rooms and pools had a worn look, but nothing major. One huge drawback was the tiling everywhere. It rained intermittently during our stay and the floors throughout the resort were treacherous. Very slippery and constantly wet. We even saw one woman take a fall on the steps. The staff diligently worked on keeping the floors dry but it was a lost cause.
Rooms: This is by FAR the main reason I will never return. I don’t care if you are a honeymooner or celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary; we all want some privacy! There is NO DOOR into the bathroom. You heard that right. NO DOOR! There is no wall above the sinks. There are two sun shaped mirrors where you can see directly into the bedroom. There is, however, a glass door to the toilet, but it does not reach from top to bottom. There is a 6 inch space from the floor to the bottom of the glass door. Let’s face it, when nature calls we ALL seek a bit of privacy. This isn’t, after all, the last frontier! One other unfortunate issue is that the hotel places smokers and non smokers in rooms beside one another. When we went to the balcony we were greeted by a plume of smoke.
Restaurants: Can I just say from the get go that men having to wear dress pants is just silly. I completely understand having a dress code, but if women can wear dress shorts, men should be able to as well. So long as your are appropriately dressed in a nice pair of shorts, this should not be an issue. This means that after dinner they now have to go back to their room to change into shorts in order to enjoy the rest of the evening, which is usually quite humid.
Spice and Agave were my favorite restaurants. I also heard people praising the Grille and Lobster Bar. One big drawback was that you cannot make reservations. If you came after 7:30 you had a good chance of at least an hour wait. Although we were with a big group we never insisted that we all sit together, but seating was still a problem that could have been avoided with reservations. We than had to scramble to find another restaurant and still wait. For the twenty somethings it would have been nice to at least have the options of a buffet for dinner if you could not get a reservation.
Pools: All pools were very nice and some days they had live musical entertainment that put people in a great frame of mind. There was also very popular pizza oven by the pool that made fresh pizza all afternoon. It was a huge hit with pool goers. Another nice feature was the ability to have lunch at a little restaurant directly on the beach. Downside; every Jacuzzi around the pool was lukewarm. A number of people complained, but it was not rectified during our stay. Plenty of towels and lounge chairs were available on the beach and at the pool.
Activities and Entertainment: No matter what all inclusive you go to, the shows tend to be a little cheesy, but I will say the EPM was a cut above the rest. The performers were well trained and the performances were fairly current. They had a singer who performed before the Michael Jackson review and he was excellent. They also had a band playing outside by the bar prior to the show and they were excellent as well. I would have like to have seen more of them. After the show they opened up a “disco”, until 1am. The entertainment around the pool was a bit lackluster. Not much to get the crowd going, but it may have been the intermittent rain that delayed or postponed activities. We aren’t huge party people, but it is nice to see the guests having a good time around the pool.
Staff: We found all of the staff to be very friendly and accommodating. We had a couple of issues with a broken mini bar and fallen curtain and the staff addressed those issues very promptly. One person we couldn’t find a lot was the concierge. We were told they were available until 11 pm, but we never saw anyone after 4 or 5 if then.
Tipping: We tipped at both bars and restaurants but never felt pressured by the staff to do so. They were appreciative, but not at all pushy.
All in all, if I were to return to Mexico and wanted a five star adult all inclusive, I would return to the Iberostar Riviera Maya. EPM has nothing on them!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury adults-only resort nestled among seven swimming pools on a powdery white sand beach, in a community that boasts a spectacular Greg Norman signature golf course. This jewel of Cancun sets a new standard of luxury for all-inclusives with finely tuned amenities such as one-of-a-kind accommodations including two-story rooftop terrace suites with a private Plunge pool, meticulous service, gourmet cuisine, an exquisite spa and the signature Excellence Club. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
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- Excellence Hotel Playa Mujeres
- Playa Mujeres Excellence Hotel
- Excellence Playa Mujeres Cancun