Located 20 min. south of the airport, Excellence Riviera Cancun is a four-story, Mediterranean-style, adults-only luxury beachfront resort which prides itself on its service, spa, and relaxed ambiance. Over the years it has garnered various awards including Condé Nast Travelers’ Choice Gold List (the “Best of the Best”), Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Hotels for Romance in Mexico, and voted best Mexican spa by Spa Professionals Mexico. In addition to its stellar service, extensive food choices, and impeccably-kept grounds, the Excellence Riviera Cancun offers other amenities that help set it apart from its competition including two heated pools, handicapped ramp access to one of its six pools, swim-in spa accessibility, as well as interior and exterior Jacuzzi tubs in many suites. The Excellence Riviera Cancun has a loyal following with many guests returning each year.
Large automated wooden doors make for a grand entrance into the magnificent lobby with its stained glass ceiling panel and beautifully carved wooden reception desk off to the left. Guests are typically greeted with champagne, a cool towel, and a “welcome home”, then directed to one of two check-in areas depending on whether an Excellence Club guest room has been booked (the Excellence Club is an upgraded service with additional amenities and guest rooms located closer to the beach). The lobby itself is two stories–the upper story where guests enter has multiple seating arrangements, amenity service desks, and a business center with computers for guests to use, while a grand double staircase leads down to the very popular Martini lobby bar, Spice and Chez Isabelle restaurants.
Grounds are beautifully landscaped with flora, palm trees, and grassy areas, with fountains and sculptures scattered throughout. Placement of guest room buildings and the pools surrounding them give a sense of cohesion and flow to the general resort layout–guests are fairly close to all amenities while at the same time feel a certain amount of privacy and seclusion, even when the resort is at full capacity. Since five of the six resort pools are just steps away from most suites, there are plenty of choices of where to cool off or just “chill” since there is a pool type for everyone at Excellence Riviera Cancun. Those who enjoy a quieter venue with soft music can use the provided flotation mats and float all day around the spa area; those who have a spa appointment can even swim into the spa itself as an option. Vacationers who desire nothing but a quick pool dip and the opportunity to catch up on nap or reading time can venture over to guest room building nine. Excellence Club guests have a beachfront pool with a bar all to themselves, while those who enjoy a bit more action and daytime activities can use the non-upgraded beachfront pool with its own swim-up bar–there are even synchronized swim performances during the week. Most pools have a variety of loungers including traditional ones with accompanying palapas, Bali beds, or daybeds with cushions and pillows.
Guests who can tear themselves away from the pools will want to appreciate the beach in style by choosing one of the many lounging options available there as well. Bali beds beckon early risers, palapas shade regular loungers, or guests can have a front row seat to an ocean view with cushioned daybeds (these lack shade). Excellence Club guests have their own designated beach area with a beach concierge who can reserve a private Bali bed for an extra fee, while busy beach butlers bring both drinks and snacks throughout the day. For those who desire a Coco Loco, be at the beach around 10:45 a.m. to enjoy a drink in a real coconut. This area of the Riviera Maya has a reoccurring problem with accumulated sea grass; while it is collected twice a day, it can still be tough to enter the ocean. While this is not the resort’s fault, vacationers should be aware that ocean swimming can be difficult during seasons with a high volume of sargassum.
Spa devotees will certainly appreciate the extensive amenities at the Miile Spa. Guests, whether walking or swimming into the facility, have access to massages, facials, temazcal treatments, couples’ treatments, and the Aqua Wellness circuit which consists of swan jet massages, iced pools, and steam baths. Nighttime massages complete with champagne and sweets are also offered in the beach massage huts, a favorite activity for honeymooners or those celebrating an anniversary.
At the end of long, amenity-filled days, guests will be happy to retreat to their spacious suites ranging from Jr. Suites to Two-Story Rooftop Deck Suites. Swim-up rooms are so popular at this Excellence resort that overbookings may occur during peak travel times. No matter what the room choice, many have two Jacuzzis (bathroom and balcony), a spacious shower with a built-in ledge for seating, separate sitting room area, and in-room liquor. Bathrooms are open to the rest of the suite which may present a privacy issue for some guests; since this is a popular couples resort, it is generally not a problem. Guest rooms were renovated with new beds and room linens/decorations; in addition, 40 Rooftop Deck Suites were added during the renovation.
Eleven restaurants and bars round out this resort experience. Guests may choose from a variety of cuisine including Indian, Asian, French, Italian, Spanish tapas, as well as traditional Mexican. No reservations dining frees up vacationers from having to waste precious time standing in line or phoning in a reservation only to be told that a requested time is not available. If a table is not immediately ready, a pager is given for notification–most guests amble over to the Martini Bar for a pre-dinner drink. (The only dining reservation which needs to be made is at the teppanyaki show tables in the Asian restaurant; this is common practice for all-inclusive resorts since this type of dining experience is about the show as much as the food).
This resort finished a massive renovation project in 2015 with the following changes occurring:
- guest room renovations, including the addition of 40 new suites
- adding a dbl lounger to swim-up suite terraces
- Excellence Club updates
- addition of a Spanish Tapas restaurant
- Sports Bar (used to be Alegria Bar)
- new coffeehouse
- restaurant renovations (Lobster House, The Grill, Spice, Barcelona/Toscana)
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Service, several heated pools, spa, wheelchair accessible pool, no restaurant reservations/wristbands, complimentary WiFi.
Con: Sea grass accumulation, lack of bathroom privacy, weak WiFi spots
Best Suited For: Affluent couples ages 35-65, honeymooners, couples celebrating anniversaries or other special occasions
No. of Rooms: 440 suites
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony or terrace with daybed, sitting area with loveseat and coffee table, desk and chair, fully stocked mini-bar including snacks, in-room liquor and wine, digital safe, flat screen TV, service box for room service, CD/DVD player, two telephones, radio/alarm clock with iPod dock, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, pillow menu, hair dryer, marble bathroom with dbl sinks, separate shower, Jacuzzi tub, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, free calls to the US and Canada, and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest rooms:
(Non-Excellence Club Suites)
- Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds. Spa or pool view.
- Jr. Swim-Up Suite: King or two dbl beds, terrace Jacuzzi, terrace lounger, dbl daybed, and hammock. While there is no direct access to the pool from the terrace, pool entry is only several feet away. Swim-up suites by the spa have a bit more privacy due to side hedges.
- Jr. Suite Ocean View: King bed. Partial ocean view and ocean view.
- Two-Story Rooftop Terrace Suite: King bed, second story with plunge pool, daybed, table with two chairs, sofa and two armchairs, outdoor shower area. Spa or pool view.
(Excellence Club Amenities)
- check-in/check-out in the Excellence Club Lounge
- early check-in/late check-out depending on availability
- guest rooms are located close to the ocean
- private pool, pool bar, Jacuzzi, and beach area
- private concierge service (hotel and beach area)
- use of the Excellence Club Lounge with computer and printer access, buffet service including continental breakfast/snacks/desserts, premium liquors
- upgraded room service menu
- upgraded toiletries (Bvlgari)
- upgraded in-room premium liquor and wine bottle selection. Guests can switch out liquor bottles, ask to see the list of available brands.
- Nespresso coffee machine
- sparkling wine upon arrival
- fresh flowers upon arrival
- daily room delivery of fresh fruit
- daily newspaper
- shoeshine service
- beach bag use during stay
- Aqua Wellness Hydrotherapy Treatment, one complimentary circuit p/person p/stay
(Excellence Club Suites)
- Jr. Suite Oceanfront: King or two dbl beds, balcony Jacuzzi, Excellence Club amenities.
- Jr. Swim-Up Suite Ocean View: King bed, terrace Jacuzzi, terrace lounger, dbl daybed, hammock, Excellence Club amenities. While there is no direct pool access from the terrace, pool access is available several feet away.
- Two-Story Rooftop Terrace Suite Oceanfront: King bed, balcony Jacuzzi, second story with plunge pool, daybed, two armchairs and sofa, table and two chairs, two full loungers, outdoor shower area, Excellence Club amenities.
- Honeymoon Suite Oceanfront: Separate bedroom with king bed, Jacuzzi tub, walk-in closet, flat screen TV and small balcony, living room with two sofas, coffee table, desk and chair, flat screen TV, Surround Sound, balcony with Jacuzzi tub and daybed, and Excellence Club amenities.
- Honeymoon Suite with Rooftop Terrace: Separate bedroom with king bed, Jacuzzi tub, walk-in closet, flat screen TV and small balcony, living room with two sofas, coffee table, desk and chair, flat screen TV, Surround Sound, balcony with Jacuzzi tub and daybed, second story with plunge pool, daybed, two armchairs and sofa, table and two chairs, two full loungers, outdoor shower area, and Excellence Club amenities. Ocean view.
- Imperial Suite Oceanfront: Separate bedroom with four poster king bed, Jacuzzi tub, walk-in closet, flat screen TV, table and two chairs, living room with leather sofa and loveseat, armchair, coffee table, flat screen TV, fully stocked bar area with two bar chairs, dining room table with six chairs, stocked full size refrigerator, microwave, stovetop, small sink, glassware, half-bathroom, large balcony with Jacuzzi, two full loungers, daybed, and table with three chairs, Excellence Club amenities. Additional amenities for this suite include butler service for packing/unpacking, iPad use, one private Wine Cellar dinner, barman service at the suite for one hr. p/stay, day pass to other Excellence resorts with transportation included, unlimited access to Aqua Wellness Spa Circuit, select spa services provided in-suite, and Express ironing which includes one outfit p/person p/stay. These upper floor suites are close to the beach with full on ocean views.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Six pools (the main pool has a swim-up bar), multiple Jacuzzis, spa, temazcal ritual, beauty salon, non-motorized water sports, dive center, fitness center, tennis courts and clinics, shooting range (archery/air rifle shooting), horseshoes, Puerto Morelos bicycle tour, shuffleboard, game room, jogging trail, theater, disco, sports bar, shopping arcade, pool and beach butlers, Bali beds, beachfront massage tables, concierge, business center/internet room, tour desk, car rental, medical services, laundry, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: This resort offers the following restaurants for respective mealtimes:
- Barcelone/Toscana (buffet), The Lobster House
- The Grill, Las Olas, Oregano, The Lobster House, Barcelona/Toscana (buffet)
- The Grill (grilled cuisine), Flavor Market (Spanish tapas), Agave (Mexican), Oregano (Trattoria/pizzeria), Basmati (Indian), Chez Isabelle (French), The Lobster House (seafood), Spice (Pan Asian–reservations for teppanyaki show tables), and Toscana (Italian–the Barcelona restaurant turns into the Toscana in the evenings)
(Snacks, Casual eatery)
- Las Olas, Sports Bar, Aroma (pastries, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, breads, desserts)
Eleven bars are located throughout the resort including the lobby bar, a swim-up bar, two pool bars, X Lounge by the beach, theater bar, sports bar, cigar bar, juice bar by the spa, CaféKafé, and the new coffee bar, Aroma. In addition to the Excellence Club swim-up bar, upgraded guests can also enjoy the Excellence Club Lounge bar.
Entertainment: Nightly stage shows, poolside shows during the day, live music including singers, guitarists, harp players, and tableside mariachis.