Thursday, September 3, 2015

Honeymoon Recap: Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort & Spa

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Having been back from our honeymoon and settled into our new routine with a kindergartener under our belt, this is an overdue post on our honeymoon! We had an amazing time - easily the most favorite vacation Patrick and I have ever taken - and I cannot wait to share with you what wonderful things we experienced and to also encourage you to take a trip and be pampered!

To start off, we flew on a direct flight from Chicago to Cancun and was surprised it was just a little over 3 hours. Getting off the plane and going through immigration/customs was a breeze and went fast! Soon, we walked through the doors to look for our airport transfer done through the resort, Seasons Tours. There are quite a few options for airport transfers, but we opted to go with Seasons Tours because it was more private and we didn't have to deal with multiple stops to other hotels. After our flight, all we wanted to do is head straight to the hotel and start relaxing! 

We arrived to our hotel, Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort & Spa (EPM), located in Playa Mujeres, just a few minutes north of the ever popular Caucun hotel strip/zone. Situated just 25 minutes north of Cancun, Playa Mujeres is removed but convenient to the activity of Cancun proper. Playa Mujeres is known to be a bit more "exclusive" with only 4 resorts in that particular area, compared to the several hundred in Cancun. We chose to stay at EPM for several reasons, one of which is that it was far from the Cancun hotel strip/zone. We wanted to have a more intimate, less crowded environment and this resort was exactly that! There were no typical timeshare presentations offered or available on property, there were no locals walking the beach requesting hand outs or interfering resort guests, and there was no need to wear the common colored bracelets that put off amusement park feel. 

At EPM, we arrived and enjoyed the luxury of ultimate relaxation... and upon arrival, we were greeted by name with a cool towel to soothe us from the heat and a chilled glass of champagne...

Our first impression once we set foot into the resort was in complete awe. Marble floors, leather couches and bright, open space is what we walked into...

Below is the view at the top of the resort entrance floor, looking down onto the bottom where restaurants, a bar, stores and the connecting space leading to the various resort rooms begin...

And of course, fresh, tropical floral arrangements were everywhere. I especially liked these flowers, set at the top of the stairs...

We found our way down to the main floor and out through the doors, where beautiful sculptures were artistically placed throughout the resort grounds...

Now we stayed at EPM as "Excellence Club" (EC) members, which is an upgrade to the standard stay. As EC members, we enjoyed quite a few little perks. Our check in didn't include going to the hotel reception desk, but rather to the Excellence Club Lounge. There, we were greeted by Dalal, our personal concierge, who did a fantastic job handling all our special requests, excursion coordination, and ensuring we had everything we need for a comfortable stay. 

TIP: You can email the resort prior to your arrival with any special requests you may have, including any celebrations you may have (honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, etc.) They will do their best to provide you with a memorable stay regardless of your celebration or not. Your requests will then be discussed when you arrive and meet with your concierge.

Aside from checking in at the EC Lounge, it also serves as a great place to enjoy a bite to eat, as they often have a small buffet of items during breakfast, lunch, and afternoon/evening snacks.  There is also a fully stock coffee and alcoholic bar with a bartender at your service...

TIP: While on your stay, be sure to stop by for their special  EC Members 'Chocolate Party', featuring everything involving chocolate! You will receive a notecard with the date and time... so definitely take advantage!

Once Dalal had set us up with everything to kick off our stay, we were given our room key and off we went. We stayed in building 8B and had the Excellence Club Junior Suite Oceanfront with this amazing view:

TIP: If you choose the Excellence Club Junior Suite Oceanfront, you most likely will be provided a room in Building 7B, 8B, or 9A. All rooms in this building are east facing and have an ocean view, however, not all ocean views are the same.

Building 7B has a nice ocean view, but it will be a much farther walk to the EC beach and all restaurants,  yet easy access to the EC pool.

Building 9A has a nice ocean view, easy access to the EC pool and the restaurants in the main building, but it will be a much father walk from the EC beach and the 3 beachside restaurants

The best of everything? Be sure to request to stay in Building 8B, as it is perfectly located - just steps from all the restaurants, EC beach, EC pool area, lazy river, etc - with an amazing view. 

The resort offers quite a few different rooms among the 9 resort buildings as seen in the map above. Here is a breakdown with the various types of room categories, where they are located, pros and cons and some additional tips that might make it easy to find a room that best fits your needs:

(view from swim up suite)

Junior Swim Up Suites (standard & EC). These rooms are mostly situated in Buildings 1-9 and are set on Floor 0. [TIP: At the resort, the ground floor is known as Floor 0.] These rooms feature a walk out patio with loungers. The EC swim up suites also have an outdoor king size bed by the EC pools. Some thing to consider - although these are considered swim up suites, they can be difficult to swim up and out of with no steps in and out of the pool. Also, since they are on the ground floor, they are easily accessible from the outside, which can be a pro/con. 

TIP: The pools are not deep, usually about 4-5 feet deep.

(view from junior suite with spa/pool view)

Junior Suite with Spa or Pool View (standard & EC). These rooms are mostly situated in Buildings 1-9 and are set on floors 1 and up.The EC versions of this room have better views and are typically more easily accessible to resort conveniences (see more details below). 

(view of roof top suite with sun bed, private pool, balcony and larger bed)

Two Story Roof Top Terrace Suites (standard & EC). These rooms are mostly situated in Buildings 1-9 and are set on the two top most floors, which could vary depending on building. The EC versions of this room have better views and are typically more easily accessible to resort conveniences (see more details below). Some things to consider: although you have two floors, the top floors may have varying levels of privacy depending on location. Also, top floors have little protection from the sun, so use caution and lots of sunscreen!


The suites in Buildings 1-6 are situated around the spa and also have a lazy river and bar that's easily accessible. This is a great spot for lounging in the morning shade and afternoon sun - the sun hits this area around noon and continues through sunset. Because these rooms are off by the spa, they are typically quieter but also farther from restaurants and the beach. Some perks though, include being close to the Fitness Center, Sports Bar and Spa. The Agave Restaurant is the closest restaurant to these rooms.
(View of Building 7 along curve of lazy river)

The suites in Buildings 7 are situated around the watersports kiosk and also have a lazy river and bar that's easily accessible. This is also a great spot for lounging in the morning shade and afternoon sun - the sun hits the lazy river by Building 7 in the late morning hours. Rooms in these buildings are also closest to a majority of restaurants by way of a small bridge over the lazy river. Rooms in this building also are close to the main courtyard just in front of the theater. As a result, you may hear the show/audience and nightly music playing in the evening hours. 

(view of Building 8B along the end of lazy river)

The suites in Building 8 are situated around a lazy river and bar that's easily accessible. This is also a great spot for lounging in the morning shade and afternoon sun - the sun hits the lazy river by Building 7 in the late morning hours. Building 8 (east side) gets all day sun as there are no obstructions. Rooms in these buildings are also closest to a majority of restaurants by way of a small bridge over the lazy river. Building 8 is also the closest to the EC beach. Rooms in the east side building overlook the main resort pool and 2 restaurants. As a result, you may hear guests during the day as they enjoy themselves poolside and/or at the restaurant.

(view of Building 9 on the north side of resort)

The suites in Buildings 9 are situated off in the north side of the resort, connected to the main building with the benefit of being closest to the Tuscany Restaurant - which is usually open daily for their breakfast buffet. There is no lazy river in or around Building 9, but there is both an EC pool and standard pool, each with hot tubs. The EC pool is also a great spot for lounging in the morning shade and afternoon sun, while the standard pool gets great morning and midday sun and afternoon shade. Building 9 is also closest to the beach on the north end, which is great if you want to do any motorized water sports at an additional charge. The downfall though, is that rooms in Building 9 are the furthest from the EC Beach. 

(view from our balcony of the amazing blue waters, taken in the late afternoon)
So lets go back to our Excellence Club Junior Suite Oceanview! We entered our room and immediately to our left was the bathroom with a 2 person shower (with both a hand held massager and rain shower head!), double sink and separate toilet room. Toiletries are Bvlgari brand and replenished daily.

TIP: No need to bring any toiletries unless you are really particular about certain things. EPM covered everything... except sunscreen,

TIP: Bring sunscreen - lots of it, if not more than you think you need. We put on sunscreen in the morning before going out and again midday, even if you don't plan on getting much sun. The sun can be intense and strong so play it safe. Also, if you forget or run out of sunscreen, take note that getting it from the convenience store on property (and pretty much anywhere in Cancun) will be EXPENSIVE. I spotted a standard size 10oz bottle of sunscreen for $28USD. Yes. Twenty eight dollars. Yikes! Another thing to bring is aloe vera lotion. We put it on once the sun went down and/or before bed. This help keep our skin hydrated, moisturized and prevented burning and peeling.

To our right was a nice sized walk in closet, complete with a beach bag, 2 terry cloth robes, safe, hangers, etc. 

TIP: Keep all your valuables in the safe at all times (passports, wallets, cash for tips, etc.) As for tips, it's certainly not required but a very nice gesture. The staff at EPM work very hard to ensure your stay is relaxing, comfortable and exactly as you want it. We took a couple hundred dollars worth in small bills ($1 and $5) to give to staff throughout our stay, particularly for waitstaff at the places we ate at, room & housekeeping staff, pool/beach staff, bar staff, etc. We also gave our favorite staff, members who took care of us throughout our entire stay, an envelope with a personal letter of gratitude along with a larger tip before we left.)

TIP: Pack some disposable plastic bags (like from the grocery store). These are great for packing up wet swimsuits, sandy shoes/clothes, etc. so they don't ruin other things in your suitcase and keep odors contained.

Continuing on to our right, past the walk in closet is our bar at the top. Notice the full sized bottles? No mini booze here! And as EC members, we can request 'top shelf' bottles or any specific bottles of liquor we want (assuming it's available.)

TIP: You can email the resort before your trip and request what bottles of liquor you'd like in your room, regardless if you are an EC member or not. 

That said, Patrick requested a full bottle of Jameson whiskey which we didn't waste any time enjoying. Also, just below the bottles of liquor, various drink glasses and ice bucket, we also had a Nespresso with an assortment of coffee and teas.

TIP: If you're not familiar working a Nespresso machine, or prefer to have coffee made for you, you can request room service to deliver it to your room (available 24/7) or you can take a walk to the resort's Aroma Cafe (located in the same building when you first entered the resort - top floor.) Aroma Cafe is open from 8am - 8pm everyday and offers coffeehouse favorites, smoothies, pastries and other items I'll cover in a future post!)

And just below the coffee shelf was our mini fridge. This was stocked with an assortment of beers, juices, carbonated drinks, water, and snacks like M&Ms, Oreo cookies and other snacks. Not seen above were bags of chips too, which we ate when we arrived lol. The best part? All the liquor bottles, coffee, teas and mini fridge items were replenished daily to keep everything fully stocked and stocked to our preferences!

TIP: Pack some post its so that you can leave notes for the resort staff to inform them of additional things you might need/want for your coffee bar, mini fridge, towels, toiletries, etc.

TIP: The bottle opener is located and attached to the wall in the bathroom, next to one of the sinks!

TIP: If you pull the mini fridge out just a bit, it will allow more air to circulate through the back. Doing this also ensures the fridge gets nice and cold, as there were previous reviews where guests thought their fridge didn't get cold enough.

TIP: If you plan on taking any excursions while visiting Cancun, consider packing a backpack or a small cooler you can take with you (if your excursion will be full day trips.) By bringing a backpack/cooler, you can pack it with drinks and snacks from your mini fridge and save yourself money from buying snacks/drinks outside the resort.

Our bed was super comfortable. One thing I learned prior to arriving is that the beds may be harder/firmer than you may be used to. So, in an effort to make it more comfortable, I requested a pillow top mattress on our bed. They definitely add height to the bed so if you're short or vertically challenged, you can also request a step stool for your bed (notice the step stool on the lower left hand corner of the pic below.) This helped me get in and out of bed easily lol.

Additionally, the resort also has a "pillow menu" which offers a variety of pillow thicknesses and materials. You can request to view the pillow menu with your concierge to meet your needs.

TIP: It's not necessary to bring your iPhone charger if you don't have to. They have an ipod/iphone system (see on the right of the bed, on nightstand) available which can be used to charge your phone.


And as you can see, the staff decorated our bed with lovely towel animals, fresh rose petals and a fresh long stem rose... how romantic!

There is also a sitting area just past the bed with a large 42" flatscreen tv in the corner. Upon our arrival, we had a chilled bottle of champagne and fresh fruit waiting for us!

TIP: Room service is available 24/7 and EC members are offered additional items not provided to standard stays.

And to the right of sitting area is a curtained off section. When you pull back the curtain, you'll find a couple marble steps leading up to this large whirlpool Jacuzzi. The best part is, one side of the jacuzzi is a sliding window that opens out into the balcony which has steps leading out. So the jacuzzi is accessible both from the inside and outside. This means, you can sit in your jacuzzi and take in the fresh air if you want!

TIP: We brought our own bubble bath salts but you don't have to - EPM offers Bvlgari bubble bath!


Speaking of the balcony, here it is! It's a panoramic shot looking down into the Excellence Club Pool area from our room in Building 8B. See the small table and chairs to the right? Just behind that is the sliding window/doors leading up to the jacuzzi...

Opposite the table and chairs on our balcony is a comfy sunbed that fits two comfortably. 

TIP: All rooms in Building 8B face east so we were able to take advantage of the early morning (yet intense!) sun. I loved sun bathing on the sunbed from our balcony instead of leaving our room and finding a spot on the beach or pool. By late morning, the sun didn't reach our balcony so if you want to get your tan on while in 8B, try to do it early on your balcony if you like a bit of privacy.

Here's the gorgeous view of light pinks, apricot and baby blue hues at the crack of dawn. Just in the distance is Isla Mujeres, an island which we visited and I'll be sharing our experiences on soon!

So I mentioned the Excellence Club Pool that was directly below us from our room. There are actually 3 Excellence Club pool areas on the resort, easily accessible from buildings 7, 8B and 9. These areas are for use by EC members only, which means you won't need to fight for a lounger or get up early for a place to relax. At each EC pool area, there is a concierge, bar, ample loungers, beds, and private pool/hot tub with floating loungers. Towels provided by the EC pool are also available and you'll soon notice that EC pool areas have a darker colored towel than standard pool areas. No specific significance on the towel color aside from it being an EC towel (which I found to be thicker, softer and more absorbent). Upon entering the EC pool area, you'll be greeted by the concierge who will set you up wherever you'd like and also get your drink order started. Our concierge for the week was Andres. He was wonderful, always smiling, helpful and really made the effort to not just take care of us during our many visits to the EC pool, but to also get to know us, just as we got to know about him and his family. Aside from setting guests up in the EC pool area, staff does an impeccable job keeping the resort so clean and tidy. 

TIP: There are a few magazines available at the concierge stand, but feel free to bring some reading material if you prefer. If you forgot to bring something and the magazines at the concierge don't appeal to you, you can check out the resort library located in the main building where you first arrived (top floor within the computer room, steps from Aroma Cafe.) The library may have some books and more magazines that may interest you.


TIP: The hot tubs may not be hot in temperature enough. We found the hot tubs on the resort to be more on the lukewarm side. Perhaps they will take note and try to turn the temperature up on the tubs in the future. However, I will say that they regularly clean both pools and hot tubs by emptying them out and often times, I've seen staff check chlorine levels in the pools/tubs to ensure they are up to code... which is impressive!

TIP: Pool floating loungers are readily available while in EC pool areas. However, there seems to be a limited amount at the standard open pools. While you could bring your own float loungers, you don't have to if you're upgrading as an EC member. But if you're not, you might want to snag a floating lounger early. Staff will often respond to requests if guests may be holding on to the floating loungers for more than a reasonable amount of time.. so don't be afraid to ask!

TIP: Concerned about other guests holding loungers/beds with their towels and personal belongings for an extended period of time? Usually this isn't an issue (especially in EC pool areas), as poolside staff does an great job keeping tabs on area guests around the pool. But if you notice/feel guests are abusing common courtesy by leaving belongings on loungers as placemarkers for long periods (while they go off to eat, shop, do activities, etc) please let staff know so they can handle things accordingly.

In addition to the EC pool areas, there is also an EC beach area. The EC beach was just past our EC pool area a few steps away. Just like the EC pool area, the EC beach area was only for EC members as well. 

What set the EC beach apart was the concierge that took your drink orders quickly, set up your palapa (thatched umbrellas to lie under), covering loungers with towels and they could also take some food orders for you as well. (Thank you Alberto!)

There was also a massage area available for EC members who wished to have a massage while on the beach {heaven!}...

TIP: Beachside massages need to be booked/reserved in advance through the Mille Spa, so connect with the concierge/spa beforehand.

Probably one of the best things about our stay was that the staff made it a point to call us by name. Every single time. And they always let us know they were always available for us. For anything...

One of our favorite staff members was Lily. She's the manager of the Building 8 EC pool area we spent a lot of our down time and I loved getting to know her and her family during our stay. She is so friendly, kind and I look forward to seeing her on our next trip! She took very good care of us and really made us feel at home. 


So with all this talk about the Excellence Club. was it worth it to upgrade our stay as Excellence Club members? For us, yes. The Excellence Club provided an exclusive level of luxury and amenities. The treatment starts right as we arrived and it was clearly evident. We were privately greeted and checked into our ocean-view suite, which is adorned with welcoming flowers. Each morning, fresh fruit and newspapers are delivered to our door. And if there’s anything we wanted or needed, our personalized concierge service means that our needs are always met quickly and with a smile. We enjoyed our private Excellence Club beach and lounge with no wait or wasting time looking for the "perfect spot" to relax. We also had complimentary internet access, buffet and bar service, and enjoyed a Aqua Wellness treatment at the spa which was included (which may have changed since I our visit). That is not to say you have to be an Excellence Club member to enjoy EPM...

The resort itself is gorgeous. Nestled among seven swimming pools on a powdery white sand beach, the resort has 9 all-inclusive international dining options, plus one beach snack grill that has a daily menu or special offering. And with 11 different bars throughout the resort, refreshment is always at your fingertips. Some restaurants feature smoking (outdoor seatings)and non-smoking sections; others are exclusively non-smoking. I'll be covering the restaurants and bars in much more detail in a future post!
Aside from the restaurants and bars, there are a total of 7 swimming pools - 4 of them heated in winter (2 of them in the Excellence Club area). These pools provide guests with privacy and a variety of bathing options throughout the resort grounds. Four independent hot water Jacuzzis right next to the pools (2 of them in the Excellence Club area) and 5 pool-integrated whirlpools complete the experience. All suites on the ground floor enjoy direct pool access.

TIP: If you wanted to get a good lay of the land, take advantage of the free bike tour, usually available twice a day at 9am and 4:30pm. The tour takes you around the resort and also to the sister properties - The Beloved and Finest hotels located on either side of EPM. I recommend taking the earlier tour which won't be as hot to do. The afternoon sun at 4:30pm can be really intense if you're not used to the heat!

TIP: Another suggestion is to take a stroll down the beach early in the morning to the nearby lighthouse, south of the EC beach area. While on an early morning stroll, you may even notice tractors going down the beaches. They typically are there to pull up any sargassum (seaweed) that gets washed up on the shore or fills up the shoreline. Some parts of the Cancun shoreline can heavily be filled with this but EPM is further north than the Cancun hotel zonem and doesn't have a heavy build up. Regardless, EPM has done a great job at keeping the beaches clean and clear of sargassum and its usually done early in the morning.

Here's a panoramic shot of my handsome lunch date at the edge of one of the restaurants  (The Grill) that sits above a pool area...

Excellence Playa Mujeres also offers a wide variety of beach, land and water activities throughout each day, including kayaks, snorkeling gear, sailing, windsurfing, paddle board, deep-sea fishing*, private yacht excursions*, introductory scuba lessons, scuba diving with instruction*, aerobics & water aerobics, water polo, fitness, yoga, jogging, Spanish lessons, dancing lessons, cooking lessons, a library, theme nights, beach volleyball, beach football, tennis, basketball, football, bicycles, table tennis, darts, board games, archery, air rifle shooting & billiards. *Additional costs may apply.

In the center of the resort, this large activity board is updated daily with the various activities and events happening throughout each and every day, with something different every 30 minutes.

TIP: Try to make it a habit each morning to check out what's available so you can take advantage of some of the free events and can plan your day incorporating some of these activities!

Every night at turn down service, you will also receive an Excellence Times Newsletter. This outlines the upcoming activities for the following day, along with the restaurant hours, special offerings at the beach grill, spa specials, weather info, excursion offerings, and a lot of other helpful information.


TIP: Each night has a specific theme and the theme nights we experienced are as follows:

Monday - White Night Beach Party (white attire encouraged but not required)
~ White dinner party ambiance where guests experience great food and drinks with music and entertainment. Started at 6:30pm with a Drum & Lights Show at 8:00pm and closing the soiree with a live band on the beach at 9:00pm


Tuesday - Magic Show
~ Held at Café Kafé at 6:30pm with live music and dancing, followed by a Magic Show at the Theatre at 9:30pm. Afterwards, more live music at
 Café Kafé and lounge music with a DJ at the X Lounge.

Wednesday - Managers Meet & Greet (daytime) and Evening Elegance Show
~ Festival del Taco lunch party held at noon in Las Olas with live performances of the Mexican "lazo" and voice of "Adelita." The main pool offered another live band at 3:00pm followed by the Manager's Cocktail by the Sol Bar at 4:00pm. Fun continues at  Café Kafé with another live band at 6:30pm, an Elegance Show at the theater and lounge music with a DJ at the X Lounge.

Thursday - EC Chocolate Party (afternoon), Casino Night and Evening Burlesque Show
~ Held at Café Kafé at 6:30pm with live music and dancing, followed by Casino stations of black jack, roulette, Texas hold'em and others will be out for Casino Night at 7:30pm. The Burlesque show continues the night at the Theatre at 10:00pm.

Friday - Fiesta Mexicana (detailed post on this soon!)
~ Lunch begins with Paella Cooking at Las Olas Grill at noon. As evening falls, the courtyard of  Café Kafé at 6:30pm is transformed for Fiesta Mexicana. A delicious buffet set up with some of the best Mecian cuisine and live music fills the night. The Mexican Folkloric Show, a tour through some of the most traditional folklore dances in Mexico will be presented at 9:00pm. Afterwards, lounge music on the beach with a DJ at the X Lounge.

Saturday - Bohemian Night
~ The romantic evening starts at 6:30pm with the Fusion Flamenca Duet,followed by the "Romantic Tenor Show" at 8:30pm. Later, a spectacular Fire Show at 9:30pm is performed by dancers and acrobats. 

Sunday - Rock & Pop Stars Show
~ A time trip to the 50s on the beach at Las Olas begins with a live  band for rock n' roll. Later at 7:30pm at Café Kafé, dance to another liveband and enjoy an evening of gambling - black jack, roulette and more Casino Night favorites. The evening ends with a Pop Stars Show at 9:30pm in the Theatre.

During our stay, we didn't get a chance to enjoy any of the nightly shows held in the theater but we plan to check them out on our next visit. The theater itself is pretty big and along one side is a huge bar  (of course!)

TIP: You may want to arrive earlier than the show times to get a good seat. Every seat has a great view with a small table for your drinks, but some seats do have some obstructions.

Aside from the daily and nightly activities, take advantage of some pampering time! Surrounded by water, Miilé Spa at Excellence Playa Mujeres is literally an island of relaxation, well being and inner peace. I loved how clean and relaxing the spa was. The spa facilities included amenities such as shampoo, body gel, lotion, body splash deodorant, etc. Bathrobes, towels and sandals were also provided for you to change info. Our favorite spa experience was definitely the Aqua Wellness Hydrotherapy Circuit. This was a hydrotherapy pool with water swans & waterfall high-pressure water hoses and a bubble massage benches that provided various hydropressure to massage your entire body under water. It was so awesome and unlike anything I've ever experienced before! I also opted for an 80 minute massage... which practically made me feel so relaxed and like jello. (Thank you Suzy!)

The spa also has exercise lanes for counter-current swimming, temperature contrast stone walk, fresh water treatment pool with swim-in access, double massage beds, a cold-plunge pool, Swedish saunas, a steam bath, cool water fountain, an ice-treatment room and a variety of different showers (sensations, Scottish, Cuban, and Tropical rain showers). 

There are also a variety of treatment rooms: 2 Spa Suites with private relaxation area, mud bath, hydrotherapy tub, shower, treatment room, terrace with ocean view, 15 indoor treatment rooms, including 2 couple’s other treatments rooms. 3 facial rooms and 1 Vichy shower, 1 Master room with hydrotherapy tub and a massage area, 1 Master room with spa vital warm bed and shirodara ritual, outdoor oceanfront treatment room, outdoor relaxation patio, pedicure stations, manicure stations, haircut & hair wash stations, and locker areas.

But despite all the amazing things the spa has, the most important thing I took away was how extremely clean and spotless the entire place was. I wouldn't be surprised if the standards exceeded a hospital because it was so clean, inviting and welcoming.

TIP: Everyday in the Excellence Times, there are spa specials. Be sure to check those out (which are usually reflected on the top of the newsletter) and schedule a spa visit while on your stay! And if nothing else, the Aqua Wellness Hydrotherapy Circuit is worth the $35USD per person!

Just before we left, we also took advantage of the available photo shoots done on property. The shoot itself is free and you can purchase pictures you like separately. This allowed us to capture the beauty of the resort and have great pictures taken of us together! (We really need to work on our selfie skills anyway lol.) Our photographer took roughly 100 photos at various spots around the resort and beach. We definitely recommend you take advantage of this while you're there - it makes for a great souvenir and momento of the wonderful times spent at the resort... (Man, we miss how gorgeous that blue water is!)

TIP: When deciding on which pictures/package to get, don't be afraid to haggle - they are definitely open to haggling the price so you leave with your pictures!

On our last night, we had our last dinner on the beach at sunset. This is complimentary for guests celebrating their honeymoon and/or anniversary. The dinner menu is one you can choose from with your concierge (beef, lamb, seafood and vegetarian menus are the options) and it includes a salad, soup, entree and dessert course, along with champagne, wine pairings and/or cocktails. The photography group that did our photo shoot during the day also was available to take dinner photos of us too. 

TIP: There are generally two seating times for the beach dinner. I suggest choosing the 7pm dinner seating so you can experience the beautiful Cancun sunset and capture that in the pictures taken. The later seating will be pitch dark where you won't see much of the beach (although you can hear the waves) and won't see much of your dinner either.

Despite how lengthy this post is, it is really just the tip of the iceberg of all the amazing things I can say. If you noticed, I barely talked about the food and drink and that's because I'm going to share that all in another post.With 9 restaurants and 11 bars to cover, I simply couldn't fit it all in this with everything else! I'll also share a couple posts of the excursions we took outside of the resort, which includes our trips to Chichen Itza and Isla Mujeres. So stay tuned for those posts in the coming week! 

In the meantime, here's a shot of Isla Mujeres as we flew over it on our way back home. We miss Cancun and all the wonderful staff that made our honeymoon so memorable. The best part? We have already decided to go back for our first anniversary next year and will be bringing our families with us too so they can experience EPM for themselves!
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