We just returned from another fabulous stay at EPM from 9/11 to 9/18. What a wonderful week! Though this review is somewhat long, I’m trying to not duplicate too much of what others have already said so I’m skipping over stuff like the beautiful grounds, seagrass (minimal),etc. Same with the weather (which was fine except for one storm that really only affected one morning).
In advance, I requested to be in building 8 and not on the ground floor and that’s exactly what we got. At first, we were a little disappointed in the location because it was almost the exact opposite of an ocean view. However, seeing that we didn’t book an EC room, we weren’t really surprised. Our room was 8304 and it directly faced the theatre. If we looked off to the right of our balcony, we could see some of the ocean, so as time went on we liked the location more and more. What was especially nice was being able to watch every show from our balcony! Plus building 8 is very central so there were no super long walks.
There are a few things about the room to keep in mind. First—don’t leave the balcony/patio door open indefinitely or the floor will turn into a skating rink (and the AC will automatically shut off). My better half slipped and down he went--that floor is very unforgiving. Should you run into this situation, just get extra towels (a quick call to the concierge results in immediate delivery) and spread them around until things dry off again. Another thing to keep in mind is that there are a couple of chairs near a small dining table and if you slide them around, they make a horrible racket. We heard people beneath us, above us, and next to us—and I’m sure they heard us, too, until we started lifting the chairs to wherever we wanted them.
-The bed. We are used to a very firm bed with a pillow top. This bed was a very firm bed without a pillow top and we had trouble getting good sleep in the beginning of the week. If one or both people are restless, it’s like being in a canoe. You feel every single movement. One night, we were having so much trouble that DH went out onto the balcony with a blanket to sleep on the balcony bed. That turned out to be a mistake--it was the night a huge storm came through so with the rain came mosquitos—he got a few bites. Anyway, one thing we did to improve the situation was calling the concierge for different pillows. That upgrade made a definite difference for the rest of the trip. Bringing earplugs and a fan also worked well for us as we are white noise people due to some snoring issues.
-The mini-fridge. While not super cold, it did the job. We left a note and tip each day and asked for certain items to be restocked. This was always done correctly and promptly plus we had an ice machine about two doors down. I bought gin in the airport so we just mixed a few drinks in the room when we were getting ready or watching the shows from our balcony. Beer crises were quickly resolved with a call to room service (or again, the note near the mini-fridge).
-Breakfast: Definitely try out the room service breakfast. We did this twice—called ahead the night before, placed our order, and requested a time. Both times, they delivered exactly what we ordered within 10 minutes of the requested time—nice and hot, too. As others have mentioned, the French toast is out of this world and if you like Mexican food, they have this ranchero meal that’s basically a fried egg on a corn tort, smothered in a Mexican sauce along with refritos—really good. The rest of the time, we did the Barcelona buffet and it was a nice spread. You could always seem to find something.
-Lunch: We hit the Grill twice and I wanted the grouper sandwich, which was not on the menu, but I had read about it in the reviews so I was hell bent. Of course, due to their superb service, the waiter obliged and it was delicious as others have said. We also had a fajita-like item that was really good and some shrimp cocktail that was marginal (tiny shrimp in a tomato sauce). We also tried the Lobster House twice and I had the Caribbean burrito both times—delicious mahi-mahi while DH had barbecued chicken which also was good. Finally, we hit the buffet one day and they had a really nice spread with good sushi and a mixture of mussels and calamari that they prepared in front of me. Very good. Desserts abounded but we managed to steer around them for the most part. The only other lunch we had was wings poolside with our Trip Advisor friends and they were great!
-Dinner: The only restaurant we missed was Barcelona. Anyway, some highlights—the penne with bleu cheese at Toscana was delicious as was the carpaccio appetizer. At Spice, the appetizer platter was also really good. The surf and turf at the Grill on our last night was really good along with the eggplant parmesan appetizer. Agave, the Mexican restaurant, had a good appetizer (campesinas) along with Aztec soup and farmer’s enchiladas. Chez Isabelle, the French joint, was our second to least favorite. We thought the atmosphere was a little too formal for our liking plus we had chateaubriand that was more like pot roast. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t quite what we anticipated. Our least fave of all was the Flavor Market. They just didn’t have it together in there—highly understaffed and not well organized. We could see that the food was going to take forever so we tried one appetizer, called it quits in there, and moved on.
In summary on the food angle, we were perfectly satisfied and experienced no ill effects. We did not go into this trip expecting five-star gourmet food that we’d find here in the US so our expectations were set very realistically. We always found something that we liked. What we would do differently next time around is to send back any items we didn’t like and order something else. We’re so not used to doing that that we didn’t even think of it. So overall, they do a great job! Best food I’ve had at an all-inclusive for sure.
While at the pool, we had primarily beers all week long and the pool waiters will be happy to bring you a bucket with four iced-down beers at a time. This system worked very well for us—very attentive waiters. Additionally, I tried a few frozen drinks but they aren’t my thing—too sweet. We did see a few people get too carried away with the sweet drinks, resulting in one person getting sick in the bushes and another having to be assisted to her room! Don’t get the wrong picture here, though—this really is not a party resort but it certainly isn’t boring, either. We found the blend to be just right and spent most of our time at the main pool/pool bar area (important side note: the concrete and tile all around the pool area become VERY slick. We saw a number of wipeouts so beware). As far as the room drinks, we had picked up a bottle of Tanqueray when we arrived at the airport and the mini-fridge stocking person was happy to provide tonic after I left a note (and tip) indicating our preferences. We heard a few other people saying that they (non-EC people, I should add) tried to call for a full-sized bottle of wine or their fave liquor and they were told that they’d be charged. I’m sure that there’s a way around this situation if you talk to the right person. However, we found it much easier to just have our own upon arrival. I did order wine one day and they delivered a small bottle of Merlot which was adequate for us.
Chair and Float Hogging
We’re pleased to report that neither of these issues posed much (if any) of a problem for us. Finding good seats by the main pool was absolutely no problem. We’d typically be done with breakfast and in search of a good seat by 9 a.m. and very few people were there. We did see some instances of people reserving seats but generally, it seemed like those who did so were only gone for a short while. As far as the floats, we saw a few displays of aggression but generally, you could find a float and most people seemed willing to share. Our approach was to use one float for the two of us. Most couples seemed to do the same while one group of two couples just insisted on each having their own (which made a substantial dent in the number of available floats)--they retained them for hours on end and were unwilling to share. The bottom line is that there aren’t enough floats (in addition, people haul them off to other pools which makes it worse yet) yet everyone wants one.
Maid and Turn-Down Service
Fantastic overall. Our first day, we left the “ready for service” card in the door first thing in the morning when we headed to the pool. A little before dinnertime, we headed back to the room and encountered the maid doing her thing. Thankfully, she was on the tail end of it and we waited her out on our balcony since we had drank 400 beers all day long in the hot sun and were ready to be parked. This seemed to clue her into our routine so we never ran into this situation again the rest of the week. We tipped her and the mini-fridge person every day. As for turn-down, they only missed it once and we really didn’t care at that point. They all (all staff, that is) did a great job!
At this point, we are still suffering from withdrawal from a fabulous week at EPM and are figuring out our next target date for making reservations. After some brief research on other comparable properties, we quickly decided that EPM has all the attributes that are important to us, so we will be back!!!
- 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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- Excellence Hotel Playa Mujeres
- Playa Mujeres Excellence Hotel
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