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All-Inclusive Resorts

Excellence Playa Mujeres

Hi, I'm Eddie (My friends call me Fast Eddie but that's a story for another time). It looks like my beautiful, talented, travel agent wife, Tammy, has handed me the reigns for this blog. I question her decision but if you're married, I know you understand the art of compromise. Here's a picture of compromise when your wife tells you to get on the swing when you don't want to.

Now, I think you should know right up front that I'm not as eloquent with the written word as Tammy, but I am honest and to-the-point…which I think most people appreciate. If you're into connecting with an authors feelings or intimate thoughts, you can try reading some of Tammy's trip blogs on the Grand Canyon, Disney World, or Alaska!

Having provided that disclaimer, lets get started!

Trying to celebrate a wedding anniversary in the middle of a World Pandemic is difficult, but we haven't let COVID slow us down yet (Disney During COVID and Unico 20.87). So off we go!

Before we take you straight to Excellence, this blog may be your first introduction to Mexico! If so, WELCOME! After you arrive to the Cancun International Airport and depart immigrations, you will have to pass through a rental car and resort sales area. 

If you have pre-arranged transportation to your resort, which we highly recommend, you don't need to stop in this area. Just keep walking to the double doors that lead outside to the transportation hub. Here you will see all the private transportation and public transportation options. Tammy and I prefer pre-arranging transportation with Kalido and Amstar. Each of them have provided great service. Tip and shameless plug:  If you book your trip with Tammy, not only will she help you select the perfect resort, she will also prearrange your transportation for you (her travel agent service is at no cost to you!) 

This is the hub where your transportation greeter will escort you and your baggage. Here you will meet your driver.

We selected Kalido for this vacation. Our driver was Adriano Sosa. He was one of the best drivers we've ever had. Kalido drivers have always been polite, helpful, and safe.  

As soon as we exited our van and before we enter the resort doors, the Excellence staff sanitizes your luggage, provides hand sanitizer, and requires guests to walk on a sanitation pad.  

Entrance through the front doors of Excellence offers the view of a seemingly ordinary lobby area.

But when you take a few steps forward, the lobby opens up to this spectacular view!

The COVID precautions continue at the check-in desk with temperature cameras and plexi-glass.

Excellence staff decorated the room door to help us celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Oscar did a fantastic job helping with the luggage and showing us the room.

We had a fantastic swim up room in Building 7 with a king bed, full-size tub, and beautiful view of the lazy river outside.

This room was fabulous. Having said that, there is one area for improvement. What is difficult to know by looking at this picture is how small and low these bathroom mirrors are fixed. For anyone shorter than 5'3", they will struggle to see more than the top half of their head.

Like most resort showers, there are two shower heads, with one being a large rainfall element. The shower dimensions are huge.

The winner of the mini-bar contest goes to Excellence! Forget the mini-bottles…They provided full bottles of liquors for consumption during the stay. So, if the all-inclusive alcohol at all the bars wasn't enough, you could still stumble back to the room. Or, if a subtle evening is more your speed, you could enjoy a quiet evening with a drink on the patio. 

The actual mini-bar was reserved for some delightful beverages too.

After we unpacked and settled in, we decided to take a stroll around the resort. The pools and beach are stunning.

The Prelude Terrace Bar provided a festive environment for bands and musical entertainment.

Stars Theater was a fabulous open-air venue that provided entertainment every evening at 9:00PM. During our stay, the theater hosted a range of options from Fire Dancers to the Michael Jackson Tribute Show. 

Excellence is home to Aroma, a specialty coffee and pastry restaurant. The drink menu offers a variety of options for guests.

There were 20 different flavors of sorbet. Check 'em out!

The pastries and donuts were unbelievably fresh and hand-delivered every morning by the pastry chefs themselves.

Aroma also has pre-made sandwiches for a quick bite. Perfect for a meal-on-go before you head to the airport.

One of our favorite restaurants was Spice. You didn't need reservations unless you wanted the traditional dog-and-pony hibachi show. We opted for a quiet table and ordered off the menu. The decor, lighting, and food were all perfect. 

Although chicken teriyaki wasn't on the menu, the kitchen was kind enough to replace the steak teriyaki with chicken for Tammy. The tenderness was perfectly moist. Better than any Asian dish we've had back home. 

I opted for the Kung Pao that was packed with flavor.

But the best stuff of the night was dessert. The Banana Tempura with warm chocolate sauce was sinfully good. OH. MY.

Every restaurant was perfect. The food. The atmosphere. The service.

But I won't bore you with all the details of every menu item we savored, but I have to devote a few sentences to our meal at the Indian restaurant Basmati.

I can't adequately describe the flavor, spices, and aroma this dinner delivered. We love Indian food and have never tasted anything this good. The Korma Chicken (cashew nut, rich poppy seed flavored finished with rich cream) and Chicken Kadhi (chicken, green pepper, onion, tempered with roasted blended spices) was off the chart. The kitchen was also able to prepare a dish of Butter Chicken that wasn't on the menu. This meal was the highlight of all meals.

Here are some delicious pictures of other food favorites we enjoyed!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the most important meal of the day…breakfast. Tammy and I chose to enjoy breakfast two mornings at The Lobster House which provided some great views.

And like most great resorts, the drinks were plentiful and delicious. 

Having stayed at Unico a few months ago, we were eager to see how Excellence Playa Mujeres compared.  It was almost on even par in all areas. There were two clear areas where Excellence exceeded expectations – the food and the beach.  Every single meal was fantastic and the beach had plenty of lounge chairs, palapas, a long stretch of area to walk and activities such as jet skis and parasailing just steps away.    

There are a lot of resorts that provide wonderful service and amenities in Cancun. Excellence Playa Mujeres ranks in our Top 2 (A trip report of our Top 5 resorts coming soon). As we wrap up this trip report, here are some positive elements if considering Excellence Playa Mujeres: 

  • Plentiful Beach Palapas
  • Lounge Chairs in Pool
  • Breakfast views at The Lobster House
  • Large room shower
  • Wide Beach
  • Agave restaurant (Awesome Mexican Food)
  • Spice (Great Asian/Better than Unico)
  • Basmati Indian Restaurant
  • Toscana Italian Dinner/Breakfast

Also….Excellence Playa Mujeres has some wonderful art. Check out a few of these landscape sculptures. These sculptures as scattered throughout the property and add to the elegance.

When we returned home I noticed that we didn't have a lot pictures of ourselves from this Anniversary retreat, but I'll leave you with one of my favorites during our dinner at Toscana.

UNICO 20.87. Arrival Day

To read about our covid travel experience, click here.  

Unico is a fabulous resort. Our visit was during the Summer of COVID and the resort had taken all the necessary precautions to keep their guest safe. The fabulous staff were always wearing their mask. Our room host, Adriano, met us in the lobby upon arrival.

Adriano goes over details with Tammy

When you arrive, guests are welcomed with a refreshing beverage – Jade (cucumber and mint). I later had some vodka added to mine. 

Aromatherapy menu for guest room diffuser

After discussing the aromatherapy options, spa treatments, and dinner reservations, Ernesto took care of our bags and escorted us to the room.

Ernesto was super helpful

We passed through Bar Balam, then proceed outside through covered walkways on the way to the room.

 

Bar Balam

Beautiful display cases in Balam Bar

Pool table in Bar Balam

Anticipation was building with each turn on the way to the room.  All we wanted to do was unpack and go poolside.

The grand lobby

Corridor leading to the resort restaurants.

Breezeway view

After a pleasant walk to the room with Ernesto, we arrived!  And it was amazing.  But first, Ernesto showed us some of the room’s amenities.

Fridge stocked w/ soda, water & beer.

And now, the big reveal…..and it was spectacular!

Fabulous bedroom with a view

A HUGE bathroom

The unbelievable balcony view

Plenty of balcony space

View of sunrise from the balcony

This was the start of a great vacation.  Stay tuned for more resort photographs and a review of resort restaurants and menus.  

COVIDcation Travel? No Problem – Riveria Maya, Mexico

So, COVID-19 has you down and out? Don’t fret. There are still lots of travel options available, including international destinations. Most amusement or resort destinations have reduced capacity numbers, making you feel like royalty when you arrive.

The airports were empty. It felt like we were in an episode of The Walking Dead.

Charlotte International Airport’s main passenger hub. Pre-COVID, there would be thousands of people in this areas hustling to their gate:

We had a connecting flight in Miami. We were curious if Miami International would like the similar to Charlotte.  Yep. To our surprise, even at 10:00 am, Miami International was eerily similar to Charlotte. Empty, vast corridors allowed families to skip without obstacles as far as the eye could see.

Even the more narrow corridors where food kiosk operate feel voluminous.

The casual emptiness allowed us time to enjoy the many art decorations throughout the airport.

 

Social distancing and masks were common in all the public areas.

Starbucks had well-established 6′ apart markings on their floor.

 

How were the flights, you ask? Great! We flew American Airlines to-and-from Mexico with no problems at all. Drink and snack services were suspended but most people brought their own food and drink onboard.

The flight to Cancun was half full.  

Mask were mandatory, even if worn upside down!

We made it!  Let the COVIDcation begin.  

Arriving in Cancun International is uneventful. Everyone flows like cattle toward immigration and customs. The entry process is easy. Once through customs, you will pass through a corridor, bordered with resort and hospitality businesses on each side. There is really no need to stop or speak with individuals unless you have no clue what your plans will be in Cancun.

One of these passenger vans is ours! My lovely wife, Tammy, will hook you up with the best transportation options available.

Public transportation area outside the arrival terminal:

 

 

This COVIDcation was to the all-inclusive resort, UNICO 20.87, just a short 70-minute drive south of the airport. UNICO provides several safety precautions for guests.  

There’s a digital imaging thermometer at the welcome counter, and staff are masked up to welcome guests.

Guest step onto a disinfectant tray and staff provides hand sanitizer as guest arrive.

Let the fun begin!