With all the hype about the new Finest Playa Mujeres resort I just had to check it out for myself. Following my visit to the lovely Riu Palace Las Americas I took a 35 min. taxi ride to this new resort–in fact, it’s so new that my taxi driver had to confirm its location with both the Riu doorman as well as the security personnel at the Playa Mujeres gate. Since the resort is located north of downtown Cancun and well out of the Hotel Zone district, my taxi had to go through two security gates–one at the entrance to the Playa Mujeres resort area, and the other more lengthy security check at the entrance to the resort itself. There is a third security checkpoint between the Playa Mujeres and the Finest Resort checkpoints, but this one was still under construction so there were no live personnel to ask me for identification. With the amount of time it took to actually enter the resort, I was beginning to think the queen of England was a guest as well–this is a very secure location, so guests can feel at ease about non-registered individuals roaming the property.
Finest Playa Mujeres is a five-star property throughout with amenities and services to match. I was greeted by a friendly doorman who tagged my luggage and presented me with a warm, scented washcloth (via tongs). I was then escorted into the pleasantly scented lobby via the electronically-sensored double doors and asked to sit in the comfortable sofa and armchair area; a chilled glass of champagne was presented while I waited my turn to check-in. Since my guest room was an upgrade to the Excellence Club, I waited several minutes until a staff member greeted me and gave an abbreviated property tour on our way to the Excellence Club Lounge. This is a relatively small, compact property, so no matter where you are off to it will not take you long to get there. NOTE: Those who are sensitive to fragrances may be affected by the spa-like aroma of the entire resort. My guess is they have the scent pumped in with the A/C.
Check-in at the Excellence Club lounge consisted of passport copying and a thorough explanation of the resort’s amenities as well as the amenities associated with the Excellence Club–especially appreciated free WiFi throughout the resort. I was presented with a lovely aqua brochure (complete with a resort map) and escorted to my Swim-Up Suite which happened to be conveniently located just past the double doors of the lounge (#6051). By the way, the Excellence Club Lounge is a nice spot to while away some time–it has a full bar, some reading materials, comfortable seating areas, and bites to eat throughout the day. Additionally, there is a specially prepared dessert bar which is nicely set up in the Lounge on Friday–not to be missed.
Although I am not a fan of contemporary design, the room still impressed me with its large size and number of amenities. Upon entering, the “X Box”, or room service box, was set in the wall on the right while the bathroom was to my left. The shower size was impressive (definitely large enough to have a small party in there) along with a huge 15″ rainforest showerhead, built-in seat, and small wall holder for the Bvlgari toiletries. If you’ve forgotten toothbrush, toothpaste, or razor, don’t fret because that’s included as well. There is no shower or bathroom door, but the toilet area did have a frosted glass door with a light sensor of its own. A freestanding towel rack, double sinks, bagged hair dryer, slippers, scale, lots of electrical outlets, and tons of counter space completed the space. Although I loved the bathroom, I could see how it may pose a privacy issue for some with its open design to the rest of the guest room. Across from the bathroom was the closet complete with digital safe, iron/small board, umbrella, robes, and plenty of shelves and hangars for clothing (there are no bureau drawers in the room in which to store items). A beach bag is also available for use during your stay.
The room itself was open and airy with a king bed (I believe the mattress was comparable to a Tempur-Pedic with memory foam–very comfortable), L-shaped sofa, several chairs, large wall-mounted interactive flat screen TV, mini-bar complete with sodas, beers, and snacks (there were several more snacks by the glasses in the cupboard below the counter), along with a bottle of sparkling wine on ice, fresh flowers, and four full bottles of liquor (tequila, rum, vodka, and gin) along with a bottle of red wine. There was even an opener for soda bottles fixed on the wall next to the mini-bar. If you don’t like the brand of alcohol which is provided, just stop by the Excellence Club Lounge and ask if your preferred brand is on their list of provided bottles so that it can be switched out.
To the left of the terrace door was the Jacuzzi tub along with its own Bvlgari soap, separate towel and incense stick. You can only enter the tub from within the room and it does fill up fast, but it has limited privacy if you’re in a swim-up suite due to the foot traffic from the walkways beyond the swim-up pool.
The terrace was awesome–two full loungers (yay! no getting up prior to 7 a.m. just to get a lounger), two contemporary chairs which weren’t as uncomfortable as they appeared to be, a day bed, and stairs leading down to the swim-up pool. The only thing I didn’t like about the terrace was the absence of a handle with which to open and close the sliding door–a design flaw to be certain since it is necessary to close the door most of the way so that the room A/C stays on. At the bottom of the stairs was a button to start the cervical jet spray, while a hammock laid invitingly just beyond the terrace. Short individuals may have a difficult time getting in and out of the hammock since it is positioned well above the water. On the other side of the swim-up pool were loungers with shade palapas and several shelves of rolled towels, while the row of loungers was flanked by a heated Jacuzzi at each end. Although no one else can use the individual hammock assigned to each swim-up suite, the swim-up pool area, loungers, and Jacuzzis in this area can be used by any Excellence Club guest. I particularly loved my swim-up suite since it was the end unit–a perfect location for extra afternoon sun, a short walk to the main pool or Central Plaza bar via the side ledge, and no loungers directly across from my terrace which allowed me a good view of the main pool. There was no ocean view from my suite, but I didn’t really miss it since I accessed the swim-up pool quite a bit during my stay. Swim-up suite pool access (and main pool access) is technically only available until 6 p.m., but quite a few guests use these areas until 7 p.m. or so.
When I wasn’t in the pool off my terrace, I was in the main pool just steps away or at the beach. Finest Playa Mujeres offers two pools–the main beachfront pool which has two swim-up bars (one for adults and the other which allows children to order), while the other pool is tucked away at the back of the resort by buildings #1 and #2. The secondary pool doesn’t have a swim-up bar, but it is located by the Tropical Juice Bar. This pool tends to be rather empty, so if you’re looking for a mostly solitary swim or time alone, I would definitely head here. If you like lots of pool games and activities you will be disappointed–the activities team organizes things like Bingo, dance lessons, and music trivia, but no water volleyball. The main pool, although busy, wasn’t overly crowded, but this may be due in part to the presence of pools everywhere at this resort. I did not personally count the number of pools, but even ground floor rooms in buildings #1 and #2 each had their own small individual pool. Many top floor units at various locations around the resort have their own rooftop terrace with plunge pool as well.
Now let’s discuss the beach. Prior to arriving I had some reservations about sand quality and ocean swimmability due to reading prior reviews, but I found my reservations to be unfounded. Although the sand is a bit courser than the Caribbean Sea beach areas, it was white and certainly walkable in both directions–I brought my water shoes but never had to wear them. Swimmable areas were marked off by ropes with easy ocean entry and gradual increases in depth. Just adjacent to the resort on the south end is a water sports hut; it offers wave runners, parasailing, and various water-based excursions available to any resort guest. Non-motorized water sports are also available along this stretch of beach.
Beach loungers are divided into sections–the north side is for Finest Club upgraded guests, the middle section is for any guest, and the south section is for Excellence Club upgraded guests. There is a palapa-shaded hut at both upgraded beach sections–you will need to stop there if you are Finest/Excellence Club so staff can verify that you belong in that section; these huts offer sparkling wine and regular wine on ice, misters, reading materials, and sunscreen. Tell staff where you’d like to sit and they will set up your area with towels and anything else you may need. Snacks are periodically brought around during the day, while drink and lunch orders are taken by assigned beach wait staff.
If you don’t want to be waited on to that extent or feel the need to get up and stretch your legs a bit, Las Dunas Beach House is an excellent beachfront lunch option. It is located in the middle of the resort’s stretch of beach with easy access for all guests–food offerings are on one side, while the bar area is on the other. There were many lunch choices here ranging from chicken quesadillas (which were excellent, I might add) to salads to hamburgers and hot dogs. Food was grilled upon request and not stacked under a heat lamp–desserts were even available. Early afternoon live entertainment is located near here as well; the resort has booked some good live bands who play everything from reggae to rock to more laid back pop tunes. Other lunch options exist at the buffet (Market Kitchen) and some of the a la cartes including Insieme Trattoria and Dukes Lobster and Seafood (there was no lobster on the lunch menu, however).
The resort advertises ten restaurants and 19 bars and they aren’t exaggerating. Everywhere you go there is a bar, and food is available from a variety of choices. I was impressed with Market Kitchen’s breakfast buffet and their morning “pick-me-up” bar offerings, Las Dunas Beach House (as previously mentioned), while my favorite meal was at Insieme Trattoria (the sliced tenderloin menu option). If you want the veal at this a la carte, don’t arrive until after 7 p.m. The only a la carte which required a reservation was the teppanyaki table at Shoji’s–show up around 4:15 p.m. at the restaurant to put your name on the list at 4:30 p.m. There are several dinner show times ranging from 5:30 p.m. until after 9 p.m.; when you show up for dinner you will be asked to linger at the accompanying sake bar until the hostess comes in with her clipboard and asks specific parties to come to one of two teppanyaki show table rooms. My least favorite meal was at Le Petit Plaisir which was a bit too pretentious for my tastes. The Legends sports bar was a fun atmosphere with plenty of flat screens to enjoy your favorite sport (even WWE wrestling) as well as pool tables to while away some time; I did order the highly recommended onion rings and enjoyed them very much. I tried the Sweet Corner initially to request some gelato ice cream, but the machine was broken during my visit so I had a Mud Slide instead (an alcohol drink sneakily disguised as a chocolate shake-like mixture–try it). All guests are given a daily list of activities and restaurant closures, so refer to this as you are making decisions about where to eat on a particular day. It is important to refer to this list since even the buffet is closed on certain nights when the resort has their “Pirate Night” or “White Night” on the beach.
I had a blast at Finest Playa Mujeres and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to family or friends. If you want a chance to explore the entire resort, it is best to book a minimum of five nights here; I only stayed four and it was not quite enough time to get a full resort experience. Take a moment or two and enjoy the picture gallery below–click on any thumbnail and you will get a larger picture with the option of going forward or backward in your viewing.
(The comments in this review are those of the author/reviewer. This trip was paid for in its entirety by the author; at no time were any monies or services exchanged for this review).
Location: 35 min. directly north of the Cancun airport.
Telephone: 52-998-872-8180 (Mexico), 01-800-966-3670 (toll-free Mexico), 1-866-540-2585 (toll-free USA), 1-866-451-1592 (toll-free Canada), 0-800-051-6244 (toll-free UK).