Budget, Itinerary, Travel

Ultimate Relaxation Vacation: Excellence Playa Mujeres


ultimate relaxation vacation the excellence resort

If you are reading this then you are interested in a stress-free, no hassle, relaxing vacation. Last summer, we went on vacation to The Excellence Resort Playa Mujeres (near Cancun) in Mexico. WOW. I have never felt more relaxed and pampered than I did on that trip.

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What is included

Anything and everything that you can imagine is included in your price. I chose to bundle our airfare and resort stay so it was one lump payment. This is what was included in my price of $4,307.35:

  • airfare ticket (economy, but we were upgraded to first class for free on the way home) via Delta airlines for 2 adults

  • 6 night stay in a junior swim-up suite

  • gourmet food for each and every meal at any time during the day/night

  • all beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic)

  • Live entertainment (nightly)

  • Turn down service with Excellence chocolates on pillows

  • mini fridge stocked with sodas, top shelf liquor, wine, filtered bottled water, candy, and chips

  • daily activities at the different pools (schedule delivered at night for the next day)

  • room service (delicious)

  • all non-motorized water sports (kayaks, snorkel, etc.)

  • beach towel access

  • access to beach chairs, cabanas, hammocks over the water, chairs by the pools

  • bar access to all  bars

  • free wifi (best signal is in the lobby/lounge area, not in room)

  • poolside/beach side drink service

  • gratuity


Tipping is included in your overall price at the Excellence, but I read many reviews that suggested bringing small bills just in case. There isn’t an easy place within the resort to break large bills so make sure that you do that before you leave home. There was a few times that we had a GREAT server and wanted to tip them well, but we had to purchase a gift from the gift shop to break our large bills.

The Excellence Resorts say that tipping is not necessary, but if you are like us then you will want to tip the excellent workers.


The Grounds

the grounds at the excellence resort

The grounds at the Excellence Resort are impeccable. The flowers and plants are colorful and fit in with the tropical environment. The palm trees grow in abundance and give nice shade throughout the large property.


There is absolutely NO LITTER on the ground…anywhere. Throughout the week, we discussed how clean the grounds were kept. We appreciate a well manicured lawn. The workers watered and cut the grass early each morning as to not disturb the residents. The pools were also cleaned early each morning.


The Food

Breakfast delivered by room service. The french toast and the eggs benedict…OH..MY…WORD. Delicious.
the food at the excellence resort
The brick oven pizzas from Las Olas near the beach were so good that we ordered one almost every day for lunch.

The food at the Excellence, found here, is…excellent. I can’t explain the amount of food that we ate over 6 nights/days. Here is a list of the various restaurants. We didn’t try them all so I will give details about the ones that we visited during our stay.

  • Agave-Authentic Mexican food and Tex-Mex favorites 

    Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

  • Agave was a big hit with us because we LOVE Mexican food. Hello chips, guacamole, and salsa! We ate here twice, but Agava also caters the Friday night Fiesta. If I could go back I would just eat here once to experience another restaurant. It is yummy though!

  • Barcelona-Mediterranean Restaurant

    Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

    The food here was very good, but I didn’t pick off the menu well. My vegetables were a tad under cooked, but the meat was delicious. The service was impeccable. Marco was our server, and he was fantastic. He brought out one of every dessert for us to eat at our table. That was enough for me right there! 🙂

  • Basmati-Northwest Indian food 

    Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

    We didn’t try Basmati during our stay.

  • Chez Isabelle-French food

    Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

    This restaurant was one of our favorites as well. The steak was so tender and juicy. If I could go back, I would order their filet mignon for every meal. It was delicious. This was the restaurant where my husband tried his first “ahi tuna” salad, never again. Ha!

  • The Grill-Salads, sandwiches for lunch; surf and turf for dinner

    Lunch 12:00-6:00 pm Dinner 6:30-11:00 pm

    We didn’t eat at this restaurant during our stay.

  • Flavor Market-Tapas dishes

    Dinner 6:00 pm-12:00 am

    We didn’t eat at this restaurant during our stay.

  • The Lobster House-A la carte dishes for breakfast and lunch; seafood and steak house for dinner

    Breakfast 8:00 am-12:00 pm Lunch 12:30-3:00pm Dinner 6:00-11:00pm

    The dinner was very good here, but you have to order the right items. The lobster risotto was fantastic. The surf and turf was just OK. Wear mosquito repellent because you will need it here, I promise. It’s an open-air restaurant, and the mosquitos love the bright lights.

  • Las Olas-Snack grill located on the beach

    Open 12:00 pm-3:00 pm

    I would eat here every single day for lunch if I could. I loved walked up and ordering my brick oven pizza. Between the two of us we tried all of the combinations, and they were all delicious! The best part was taking it right to our beach chairs and devouring them.

  • Spice-Asian cuisine

    Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

    We didn’t eat here during our stay.

  • Toscana-Italian food 

    Breakfast 7:00 am-11:00am Lunch 12:00-4:00 pm Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

    I can’t speak about the lunch and  dinner, but the breakfast buffet is DELICIOUS and HUGE! The only morning that we didn’t eat at Toscana for breakfast was our first morning there, and we ordered room service.

  • Room Service-Gourmet room service is available 24 hours a day

    The breakfast from room service is phenomenal. The brioche french toast is to die for, and the eggs benedict is the best that I’ve ever had. Plus it comes with a bread basket and fresh fruit and juice. Yum!

  • Sports Bar-Big screen TV with bar style food

    Lunch 3:30-5:30 pm Dinner 6:00-10:30 pm

    We didn’t eat here during our stay.

Choosing Room/Building

Junior Swim-up Suite 5000 Building

Swim right up to your suite
Lounge area
The bed

The junior swim-up suite was perfect for us because we wanted pool access directly from our room. The “lazy river” winds around the property and in front of the junior suites with swim-up access. The 5000 building is further away from the main lobby and restaurants, but it is very quiet and peaceful. It is located next to the spa so the air always smells divine. It’s also far enough away from the nightly entertainment that if you want to hit the hay early one evening, you won’t be disturbed by loud music.

Here are the details of the junior swim-up suite:

  • Extra-wide L-shaped sofa

  • Spacious 807 sq ft suites

  • Private round Jacuzzi with indoor and outdoor access

  • Full marble bathrooms including a double shower for two, separate water closet and double vanities equipped with hair dryer, scales, vanity mirror, VIP amenities and wireless phone

  • Bathrobes & slippers for use during your stay

  • Flat-screen TV

  • Air conditioning with in-room climate control

  • CD/DVD player

  • Direct-dial telephone

  • Free calls to USA & CAN

  • Free wireless Internet

  • Radio/alarm clock with iPod connectivity

  • Electronic in-room safe (laptop size)

  • Coffee/tea maker

  • Stocked minibar with beer, juices, soft drinks, water and snacks

  • 24-hour room service

  • Service box for room service

  • In-room premium liquor & wine bottle selection

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Pillow menu

  • Turn-down service and hotel stationery

Here are some other suite options.


Dress Code

dress code at night excellence
Our attire for eating at night. I also wore summer dresses.

The dress code for the Excellence is an easy one to follow. No formal attire is necessary (unlike cruises). The above picture shows what we wore for dinner on most nights. I also wore a lot of summer dresses. My husband brought linen pants, sandals, and button-up shirts for the evening.

The breakfast/lunch dress code for restaurants is more relaxed. We saw many people wearing their swim suits with a cover-up to breakfast at Toscana. Normally, we would eat breakfast and then change into our swim suits afterwards.

Breakfast/Lunch Dress Code:

Dress Code: Casual
Shorts, Bermudas sarong and t-shirts welcome. Tank tops, wet clothes or swimsuits are not allowed.

Dinner Dress Code: Casual Elegance

For Gentlemen: Long pants, dress short, Capri pants, collar shirt.

For Ladies: Long pants, Capri pants, skirt, blouse. Casual shoes or elegant sandals must be worn.  T-shirts, tank tops, shorts or beach sandals are not allowed.


What to Pack

For a 6 night stay women should bring:

  • 2-3 swim suits

  • 3-4 summer dresses

  • 1-2 swim suit cover ups

  • one pair of dress pants/linen pants

  • 3-4 summer tops

  • 1-2 pairs of sandals

  • 1-2 pairs of flip flops

  • 3 tank tops

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • pajamas

  • ball cap

  • fedora

  • sunglasses (dark tint)

For a 6 night stay men should bring:

  • 2-3 swim suits

  • 3-4 tee shirts/tank tops

  • 3 pairs of dress pants/linen pants

  • 6 button-up shirts/polo (or re-wear one or two)

  • 1-2 pairs of sandals

  • 1-2 pairs of flip flops

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • pajamas

  • ball cap

  • sunglasses (dark tint)

 For the perfect packing resource check out my carry-on only packing tips!


There is a gift shop located inside the main building. I purchased a picture frame there because we had our pictures taken holding a couple of parrots. 🙂 I also purchased a locally made Christmas ornament that said Cancun on it (a parrot of course). Collecting Christmas ornaments from our various vacations has always been a tradition for us. When we put up our Christmas tree, it’s fun talking about our past trips.

The gift shop carries clothing, hats, sunscreen (more on that in the next section), disposable cameras, etc.The price of some things are very reasonable, other things…not so much.


The price of sunscreen per bottle (regular size) ranges from $16-$30 per bottle. This one little item is the reason why we checked a bag instead of traveling with carry on luggage only. (Read more about that here.) It was cheaper to check a bag than pay for 3 bottles of sunscreen (We lather up) at the gift shop. Our one checked bag was filled with sunscreen, aloe vera gel, bug spray, and my large beach hat.


Excursion to Isla Mujeres

isla mujeres day trip

One of my favorite memories of our trip to the Excellence was venturing out on our 4th day. We were becoming a little “stir crazy” from lounging and eating all day long. We met a sweet couple from Tennessee, and they told us about Isla Mujeres. For more secret excursion check out Lonely Planet’s Travel Guide to Cancun!

Cancun, Cozumel & the Yucatan travel guide, 7th Edition Sep 2016 by Lonely Planet

*This cost is not included in the resort package.*

The front desk will call a taxi if you ask them to so we asked for a taxi and waited a bit. (This is where the small bills advice comes in handy. We had to go to the gift shop to break our large bills for the taxi and ferry ride.) Once we were inside the taxi, we requested to go to the ferry. The driver took us to the wrong ferry at first (one that his friend owned), but he corrected his mistake.

Cost of the taxi to the ferry $15 including tip; $20 for the return trip (That taxi driver took advantage of us, I think.)

The line for the ferry ride wasn’t too long, but we had missed the most recent one so we had to wait 30 minutes for the next ferry to arrive. The ride to Isla Mujeres was gorgeous!

Cost of the ferry ride round trip $10 per person


isla mujeres ferry ride

Once we arrived at Isla Mujeres, we rented a golf cart for the day. The company did keep our drivers’ licenses for “insurance purposes”, but it was worth it. We were able to zip around the entire island for a very small price.

Cost of golf cart rental for the day $35


How much cash to take

For a week long vacation, I suggest breaking $200 into small bills to have on hand for tips, souvenirs, taxi rides, ferry rides, etc. We didn’t have to exchange any money for pesos because everyone took American dollars as payment. That was a HUGE relief.


How long to stay

Our trip lasted for 6 nights. We could have stayed another night so that we were able to experience all of the fun daily/nightly activities. I suggest staying 7 nights to get the full experience!


Special Offers

Here are the current offers for the Excellence Resort Playa Mujeres. We saved a lot of money by booking a year in advance with the early bird special.



Excellence Playa Mujeres all inclusive resort

The food is amazing, the atmosphere is refreshing, and the ambiance is perfect. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns then please leave them in the comment box below. Have you ever taken an all-inclusive trip? Need more vacation planning tips? Check out this post for more tips on planning a vacation on a budget!

Do you have great travel tips or experiences that you would like to share with the world? Head over to my post, “Starting a Blog: When You Don’t Know Where to Start”, and get all the information that you need to start your own blog!


35 thoughts on “Ultimate Relaxation Vacation: Excellence Playa Mujeres

  1. Omg this place looks great! I want to plan a trip soon and it looks like this resort has a ton of things to do! Thank you for sharing!

  2. My Husband and I are actually planning to visit his family in Mexico later this year. Maybe we can take a few days for ourselves since this resort is only a few hours away from where his family lives. 🙂

  3. Seriously the best travel tips ever. Very detailed tips – makes me feel like I could sit down and plan my trip right now!

    1. It was a very relaxing trip. Sometimes you just need to lay on a beach or next to a pool. 🙂 Mexico is gorgeous!

  4. Looks like you had a lot of fun! I think it’s nice to do a relaxing, all-inclusive vacay every once in a while. Great way to destress ! I haven’ been to Isla Mujeres but heard that it’s breathtaking! Thanks for the read!

    1. Yes, last summer was my relax vacation while this summer will be filled with adventure. Thanks for your feedback Sabrina! 🙂

  5. This resort looks like a perfect getaway to detox, relax and some yoga. The food looks yum and the rooms and majestic. Thank you for writing this piece.

  6. As much as I love planning all the details of my trips, sometimes it is SO nice to just have everything included. It is definitely a lot less stressful and more relaxing. This place looks amazing, I would definitely consider it for a future vacation!

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