Review of Excellence Riviera Cancun


Let me first give you my baseline for this review. My husband and I (mid-30s with 2 small kids who stayed home with Grandma & Grandpa) stayed here just after Hurricane Wilma destroyed most of this area back in 2006. We were fortunate that the resort was “fixed” by the time we came. We stayed between Christmas and New Years that time. At that point it was still a Secrets property. Our experience in 2006 was over the top outstanding! We knew we would be back to an adult only all inclusive and this was the place to be. Therefore, we booked our trip back without thinking twice.

We booked our trip through Fun Jet Vacations.  Unlike other online vacations, they allow you to choose your flights and price them accordingly and they offer more than just charter planes so you can look at United, Frontier, etc.  The flight to Cancun from Denver on Frontier is direct.  The times are very accommodating with a late return time (4:40pm) out of Cancun so you can enjoy most of your day there your last day.  They also give you free Direct TV on the plane (it cuts out about an hour outside of Cancun due to the airspace rights) as well as a warm chocolate chip cookie which is good for ALL ages!

Our arrival to the resort was uneventful (used Lomas Travel – very good). They greeted us with cold towels and champagne – very nice. They had a desk in the lobby of the hotel that you could book outside excursions such as snorkeling, boat rides, para sailing, dolphin swimming, etc..  We did not leave the resort since all of those items were extra and we had taken a few excursions on prior trips.  Everything appeared the same in the lobby area and the rooms. We had a walk out room to the pool last time and this time we were in room 6108 which was one floor up with no real view – that was fine as we didn’t spend much time in the room anyways.  All rooms have a HUGE shower, separate water closet, double sink, jacuzzi tub, step down sitting area, and canopy beds.  They all have sliding doors to a patio with a couch and chairs as well.

We immediately went in search of some food. We had nachos at the Steak House (which during the day serves lunch just above the beach, opposite the Lobster House). They were great.  The mango mojito was wonderful. Then we went back to our room to unpack. The beds were hard but you get used to them. The mini bar has drinks along with a pack of M&Ms, Snickers bar and a bag of potato chips…this was the only “snacky” food that was available unless you wanted to buy something in the gift shop. They had one ice-cream soft serve machine by the bar outside the theatre but that is turned off in the evenings.

We went to the Asian place for dinner the first night about 8:30.  My Husband wanted Grouper that he remembered from last time and I ordered tempura. I was informed they were out of tempura. Mind you this is a SET menu each night and this was one of their main items.  Therefore, I ordered something else and it was fine, not great. We then ordered ice cream for dessert and were told they were “out” of that too…We left to go down to the Italian place for their Tiramisu and guess what…they were “out” of that as well – very frustrating!! Went back to room for M&Ms and a snickers bar as the ice cream machine was off for the evening(9pm).

Hung out at the beach but you need to get down there early to get a front row cabana seat. We ran on the beach each day and it was very safe and populated. This was much different than last time when everything on either side of the resort was destroyed! Water was decently warm but we didn’t swim in the ocean. I was bit 8-9 times by sand fleas which itch very badly. We stayed up at the pool the next day.

Went to Lobster House for dinner and guess what…they were out of Shrimp! The Italian place was closed that night (they close 2 restaurants per night and try to get you to go to the “themed” buffets…not really worth it – eat at the restaurants. The French place was the best next to the Tepenyaki show cooking at the Japanese/Asian restaurant. If you want to get a seat at the show cooking you need to be outside the restaurant doors by 5:45pm (they open at 6) to get your name in. We tried 3 times before we were able to get in.  Others we spoke to had the same issue. The steak at the French place was good, but not really fillet mignon in the American sense of the word, in our opinion.

Food is good, not great

  • Lunch at Lobster House -> fish tacos were a gross mixture of weird clumps of seafood in a red sauce
  • Lunch at the Steak House -> Quesadillas, Nachos, Quacamole were outstanding, and little desserts of coconut ice cream with little tiramasu bites were great
  • Japanese and French places were excellent
  • Room service (you can order room service unlimited times a day as opposed to once for other resorts) pizza was also wonderful as was the french toast for breakfast!!!
  • Buffet breakfast was ok
  • Lobster House breakfast -> The eggs were really good.

Entertainment some good, some hokey Friday night they had a guy on stage singing with guitar – very very good. Other entertainment is a bit hokey, magic show was ok, fire dancers on Monday night out in the middle of the patio outside the theatre were very good.

Drinks, Pretty Good (depending on who made them) Top shelf if you asked for it and sometimes even if you didn’t.  We waited quite a bit for drinks this time around as compared to our last trip – one bartender vs. 3 a little annoying when it takes you 15 min to get one set of drinks.  They also had excellent virgin pina coladas, strawberry daiquiris and you could mix them for a “miami-vice”.

Resort was very clean, staff was courteous and friendly all the time We were always greeted in the hallway.  They also accommodated us with a 2pm check-out on our last day since we didn’t have to leave for the airport until 2pm.

Would we go back? Maybe.  Definitely not a hands down return like 6 years ago. Also, the average age of people there were mid-50s…we felt a bit out of place. Seemed like some younger people were arriving as we left but not quite the crowd we anticipated.   It could have been the time of year with the Thanksgiving holiday as during the last trip it was a bit younger crowd.

It was nice to get away from the kids and have some quiet time together but we were a little disenchanted with this experience as compared to last time.


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