After this last year, I think we all deserve a relaxing resort vacation somewhere beautiful. With hopeful hearts for 2021, we booked this trip to Excellence Riviera Cancun back in January with another couple for a fun week away from reality. With this being our third experience at an adults only all inclusive in this region, there were things we loved, liked, and wished were different. Overall, had a wonderful week at the resort and I’m happy to share our experience with you.
Overall Experience at Excellence Riviera Cancun
Pros: There was not a moment at the resort that we were ever hungry or bored. The daytime entertainment staff was a blast and provided us with countless laughs throughout the trip. We try to have a healthy balance of activity and relaxation when we travel and I felt that this resort encompassed both very well. Between tennis, pool volleyball, and the shows we had plenty of fun. The grounds of the resort are b-e-a-utiful and everything was very centrally located.
Cons: I am aware that I am a bit of a food snob, but I was not blown away by anything we ate or drank all week. Everything was good and we were always satisfied, but the drinks were middle to bottom shelf, and the food was all just good, not great. (see more about this below) The resort also felt very understaffed for the amount of guests that were there. We had to get up early every day to get chairs by the pool and I have never had to do that before in Mexico. It’s one thing to go early to get a spot that you really want, but its another to have to go early to get a spot at all.
Dates of Travel: May 29- June 5 the seaweed was BAD this time of year. Every review I had read was very casual about the seaweed situation, but I was very bummed that we could not even get in the water. The seaweed turned the first 30 feet of water brown and also smelled up the beach. The entire coast was impacted by this, so I would definitely keep that in mind for future travel this time of year.
Excellence Riviera Cancun Restaurants & Food
Every day there is a huge breakfast buffet with multiple build your own stations, fresh pressed juices, fruit, pastries, and hot items at The Kitchen Table. I rarely eat breakfast at home and really enjoyed the options here. Most mornings I built my own breakfast tacos or chilaquiles at the “Mexican station” in the back. The coffee bar in the lobby was great for lattes or a quick snack or dessert.
For lunch most days we ate at the pool or did tacos on the beach. Every day around 12:00 they had a cocktail class and street style tacos. A steak quesadilla at the pool was something I looked forward to every day and the guacamole was always fresh.
Our favorite dinner experience was at The Flavor Market. It is a tapas style restaurant, which I always love, and I recommend the chicken skewers, potato croquettes, meatballs, and fried shrimp. Our next favorite was the Indian Restaurant, Basmati. Even though we weren’t very familiar with the menu, Benjamin helped us order and we really enjoyed it. If you’re used to high quality steaks, I would not recommend ordering steak at any of the restaurants. We tried a few times and none compared to the fish options or steaks in the US.
If you want a seat at the hibachi table at Spice, make your reservation when you check in. We were told we could make a reservation later in the week, but all the spots filled up by Tuesday for the whole week. This is the only restaurant that takes reservations and the French restaurant tends to have a long waiting list.
This was the best spa experience we have had, just ahead of The Boca Resort in Florida. Included in any booked service is a water series of baths, steam room, sauna, and stretching. It was absolutely wonderful.
Concierge & Service
The resort has an app that you download at check-in that is very user friendly for your stay. It is more informational than interactive, but will tell you what restaurants are open, the calendar of events that day, and map information. The concierge was not up to par compared to other resorts we have stayed at and as mentioned above the resort seemed understaffed. However everyone was very friendly and helpful.
Room and Amenities
We stayed in the junior suite and it was very comfortable, quite and clean. The showers were large with great water pressure and we slept comfortably every night. Each room has a bar, Nespresso, and mini fridge with drinks and snacks that is restocked daily.
Drinks & Bars
We did not stay in The Excellence Club, which has better drink options, but I was very disappointed that the tequila of choice for the entire resort was Jose Cuervo. I LOVE tequila and Mezcal, and that is bottom shelf even in the US and they only had one mezcal option as well. I would recommend getting a bottle of something nice at the duty free store in the airport. The daily cocktail class on the beach was always fun though and we enjoyed ice beers at the pool. The resort does not allow straws, so I recommend bringing silicone straws and they will also refill your own cups for you at the bars. We loved having these Yeti’s for this trip.
Activities & Pool
Our favorite part of the resort was the activities and the main pool staff. They were so fun and personable. If you weren’t feeling the main pool, there was also a lazy river and another quiet pool for relaxing. We also really enjoyed the tennis clinics with Luis and the yoga classes each morning. Every night there was a show or entertainment. The silent disco was a blast and everyone had a great time with karaoke and the fire show.
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Traveling to Mexico during Covid (June 2021)
- The resort set up our test to return home for free
- There was no testing required to get into Mexico
- Masks were required in public still, but not at the resort
- Be sure to have a pen with you for your customs forms as they are not passing out pens in the airport or on planes
Overall I would recommend Excellence Riviera Cancun for people who are looking to have a good time without spending a ton. There are so many resorts in the area to choose from and though we didn’t love some things here, we still had a wonderful week. The location is great for a quick drive from Cancun airport and there are a lot of excursions nearby. If you are looking to spend a little more, I recommend Valentin Imperial Maya.