Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Travel Review: Excellence Riviera Cancun

I realized this week, since my new job, that I never posted the reviews that I have written on Trip Advisor to the blog.  Here is a review that I wrote back in October on the Excellence Riviera Cancun.  

We got back from our 5 night/6 day stay at the Excellence Riviera Cancun 10/24/11 and we had a great time! Before leaving on this trip, I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews on ERC. This review is a true and accurate description of our stay. I hope it helps you make your decision. We were a party of 4. My husband and I stayed in a Jr Suite Pool View and our niece and her husband stayed in an Excellence Club Swim-Up room. I know this is lengthy but I really wanted to be thorough so that you could make an informed decision.

If you go in the month of October, expect cooler temperature both during the day and at night. I took several shawls and wraps with me and I needed them every night. The cooler temps along with the wind made it a little chilly.

SERVICE. We felt that the staff was prepared to do anything to make our stay perfect.
(Pro) On our first night at the resort we really wanted to watch the World Series game so the entertainment staff pulled a TV out in the open air theater and we were able to watch the game while listening to the mariachi band, a server bringing us drinks, and the ocean out in front of us. It was amazing.
(Pro) Waiters were around at all times whether at the beach or around the pool to ensure that the guests were comfortable and always had a cocktail in hand.
(Pro) Service was also really good at the restaurants.
(Pro) We never felt like it was expected to tip but quickly realized that just giving 20 pesos (equivalent to about 1.50) when the waiter brought our drinks, ensured that they came to us more often.
(Pro) Salvadore at the Sol bar was so much fun!
(Con) At one point we were hanging around the swim-up bar and it was nearly impossible for my husband to get drinks. He finally called me over to help get service. This annoyed him and he decided just to get all of his drinks from that point on at the Sol bar.
(Con) The iron in our room stopped working and we called down for another. After 30 minutes of waiting, we decided to just leave and use the iron in the room of our traveling companions. We never received the iron.

(Pro) The grounds, foliage, and water features were beautiful and well maintained.
(Pro) Clean. This property was very clean and workers were constantly ensuring that empty glasses were picked up, no trash on property, and everyone was always cleaning.
(Con) There seemed to be a lot of maintenance going on. The water feature in front of our hall wasn't working, the female restroom located by the Lobster House had one stall that was flooded the entire stay and one of the sinks didn't work. There were never any hand towels in it and on the last day it was completely dark, I had to have my husband hold the door open with his foot just so I could see inside.
(Con) There was no heated pool. There really needed to be a heated pool. The temperature never went above 85 during the day and got down as cool as 70 at night and the water was freezing. Once the sun started setting around 4:30-5:00, the pools were completely empty. We would have loved to been able to get back in the pool at night after dinner.
(Con) There is no hot tub on the property. A couples/adults-only resort screams for at least one hot tub and preferrably quite a few.

(Pro) The beach was beautiful. I read a lot of reviews complaining about it being rocky and full of seaweed and I just can't figure out what they were complaining about. I was on the beach and in the ocean every, single day without shoes. Soft sand and beautiful ocean.
(Pro) There are plenty of beach chairs, beds, and palapas.
(Con) It may take a bit longer to get a drink out on the beach (but we went off-season so I'm not sure if they had a depleted staff during this timeframe).

(Pro) The pools are all crystal clear and very, very clean.
(Pro) There are literally pools all through the property.
(Con) There are no heated pools and the pools do get cold.
(Con) People get out really early and "claim" their spots so it can be difficult to get chairs in the main pool.
(Con) The main pool on the property is the only pool that has access to the swim-up bar and to the Sol Bar. We would have taken advantage of some of the smaller pools so that we could have chairs together but there would have been no bar service.
(Con) There were not enough floats. People hoarded them and really the only way to get a float was to snatch one in the morning and then keep it in your room until you wanted to use it.

(Pro) We thought the food at all of the restaurants was really, really good.
-My favorite was Agave (Mexican). The ceviche was delicious as was the Tampiquena.
-The Mahi Mahi at The Grill was a big hit.
-The Lobster House was great, too.
-We tried for 3 days to eat at the Hibachi in Spice and could never get a reservation.
-We really wished that there would have been a quick service, walk-up kind of food place on the property. Since, understandably, none of the restaurants wanted guests to come in wet swimsuits to eat, it would have been nice to just have a snack shop with hamburgers, hotdogs, etc to walk up and grab and continue on with swimming, etc. Also, a snack shop would have been great when we weren't particularly hungry but just would have liked a snack.
-The breakfast buffet was ok.

We had a Pool View and our niece and her husband had an Excellence Club Swim-Up room. There was no difference in the size, bed, decor of these two rooms. They were exactly the same. The 2 differences were: #1 The Swim-Up room is located on the pool and has a hammock and outdoor tub along with a couple of private tanning chairs. #2 The Excellence Club rooms offer liquor bottles in the room such as Jose Cuervo and Jim Beam. The Excellence Club rooms also have a couple of extra beer solutions in their refrigerator as opposed to only Corona in the "regular" rooms. Those are the only 2 differences in the rooms.
(Pro) Upon arrival, the towel animals, champagne, and fresh fruit were so inviting and really made it special.
(Pro) The evening turn-down service was great. I loved that they laid the mints on our bed and turned relaxing music on.
(Pro) On each side of the bed there are LED lights that they turned on it to set "the mood" during turn down service.
(Pro) Each night we received an itinerary for the next day's events.
(Pro) Robes and slippers are provided.
(Pro) The jetted tub is big enough for two and has hot water. They also offer incense for a relaxing bath.
(Pro) The toiletries offered are in-depth (sewing kit, female personal hygiene items, comb, toothbrush) and the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotions are larger than the normal hotel-sized toiletries.
(Con) Our air conditioning was broken and we could not turn it down. We had it set on 80F and still needed extra blankets at night.

(Pro) The room service staff always created an atmosphere by setting the table and introducing the food.
(Con) The room service menu was limited and took at least 45 minutes no matter what time of day you ordered.
(Con) I was very excited about the special breakfast in bed for our anniversary . . . DON'T BE. The first day we arrived I scheduled this breakfast and was asked if I wanted the continental breakfast and I said sure (I had no idea what it involved). Basically, it was 5 pieces of fruit, a basket of bread, a mimosa and coffee. We actually ended up getting dressed and going over to the buffet for breakfast. If you want a romantic, anniversary breakfast in bed just order straight from the room service menu, don't expect much in the special breakfast.

(Pro) The Romantic night singer is AMAZING!! Definitely our favorite entertainer of the week.
(Pro) The Reggae band that played poolside was awesome. It was, by far, our favorite part of daytime entertainment.
(Con) For us, we weren't in to the "games" they played poolside such as movie trivia/music trivia. We would have loved to have more live entertainment or more upbeat music played during the afternoon.
(Con) This was a big con for my husband. After dinner, there really is not a lot of nightlife going on. There is entertainment provided both in the form of bands and entertainments shows BUT all of the entertainment is over by 11:30 and then there is nothing. My husband would have loved if there was a late night bar. They do have the Allegria bar but there is never anybody in there. We checked 2 or 3 times and there wasn't even a bartender. We would have loved even just a sports bar that had a few tv's or just something for those nights when you just aren't ready to turn in.

Puerto Morelos is only about a 35 minute walk down the beach (go past 2 piers and look for the lighthouse) and go into town. We had such a good time shopping and eating at the little restaurants. Plus, it was great to break up being at the resort all day. Do it!

Overall, this was a really lovely resort. We had a great time and we would definitely go back again. Remember, during this review, I was trying to be as specific as possible so that you could get a true and accurate description. I truly believe that there is no way you could go to ERC and have a bad time but these are just a few of the nitpicky things that may make a difference for you.

-Take a wireless router. We were able to tap into the WiFi from the room. It was awesome to be able to have internet in our room.
-Schedule your scuba/snorkeling at the beginning of your trip because they do not offer these excursions every day.
-If you want something, ask for it. They will go out of their way to accomodate you.
-If you like a certain kind of alcohol or brand name, then ask when you go to the bar or you will receive rail liquor.

Excellence Club Swim-Up Room #7051 was incredible

If you'd like to see a video of what a Junio Suite Pool View looks like, check out my link that I posted:


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