Saturday, June 8, 2013

Honeymooning in Cancun

In planning our honeymoon, Thomas and I decided we wanted a tropical getaway, but somewhere we could get to in just a few short hours. We wanted an all-inclusive {a must for any honeymoon} adult-only resort with plenty of options for activities, but somewhere that still felt like an escape if we chose to do absolutely nothing. Cancun, Mexico was the perfect destination for us, and we decided on the gorgeous Excellence Playa Mujeres resort to spend eight days honeymooning as husband and wife.



The morning after our wedding, we arrived at the Austin airport to catch a quick flight to Dallas for our connecting flight to Cancun. We were absolutely giddy. Nothing could diminish our happiness, not even the news that our first flight was delayed. So delayed, in fact, that we would only have four minutes to change planes and get to a completely different terminal at the DFW airport. American Airlines hooked us up, though! Both of our flights got rescheduled for later, which meant we arrived just a few hours after originally planned, but we got to fly first class from Dallas to Mexico. Heck yesssssss. It was a first for both of us. Plenty of leg room, drinks offered as soon as we sat down {didn't have to wait until we were up in the air}, a tasty lunch, and even warm chocolate chip cookies, fresh outta the plane's tiny oven.

For your trip to Cancun, or any honeymoon spot for that matter,
I highly recommend reserving your airport transportation ahead of time. We didn't want to hail a cab to take us, and we didn't want to be stuck on a 15-passenger van with couples from other nearby resorts, further delaying our arrival. We went through CancunTransfers.com and paid less than $150 round-trip for a private transfer, meaning it was just us and the driver. We felt a little like celebrities... a man holding our last name on a sign, Black Expedition with leather seats, a cooler full of beer, wine and soda to enjoy on the drive. It was so great!

The awesome thing about arranging transportation before you get there is that they have all of your flight information on file. Say weather delays your flight and you get there two or three hours late. You won't have to worry about being stranded, because your driver will keep an eye on your flight status. Since we changed flights completely, however, I called their 1-800 number while we were still in Austin and updated them on our delayed arrival.


The drive from the airport to our resort was only 30 minutes, and
I loved how exclusive and secure the resort was. We had to pass two security checkpoints to even be dropped off at the lobby, allowing the resort staff to check our driver's credentials and take a look at our passports. Made us feel very safe!

Pulling up to the entrance of the resort, we felt like royalty. Staff members had our luggage on carts before we even got out of the vehicle, and a man brought us hot hand towels to freshen up. Walking up the marble staircase to the front desk in the lobby, we were brought flutes of champagne, and the first words out of their mouths at the check-in desk were, "welcome home, Mr. and Mrs. Reed." I think it was the first time I heard someone call me Mrs. Reed in real life and it was toooooo good.




After getting settled in our gorgeous room, we unpacked and relaxed on the patio before heading out to eat our first meal. And with NINE restaurants to choose from, we were really in for a treat! That night we ate at The Grill, an outdoor restaurant built over the pool, and enjoyed great steaks.



Left (above): The door to our room. See that extra portion to the right? When you order room service, there's no need to open the door to receive your food. Just request for it to be left in the box. They'll unlock that little cabinet, leave the tray of food, and you can access that same box from the hallway inside your room! It was perfect for mornings when we wanted breakfast in bed, or for a pre-dinner snack when one of us was still in the shower or wearing a towel. When you're finished, just stash your dirty dishes back in the cabinet and they'll pick them up. 

Middle (above): Our bathroom, to the right when coming in the door. Standing at the sink, you can see all the way through the room to the patio. My only complaint was that the mirrors {the sunbursts} were a little too high for this short gal. The toilet is in a room behind you when you're standing at the sink, with a frosted door with huge gaps at the top and bottom. Not much privacy there! But we absolutely looooooved the shower. It had a rain shower head, and now all we want in a future home is a shower head just like it {okay, so maybe there's a bunch of other things we want in a home, but a rain shower head's on the list!}! There was also a window in the shower looking out into the room, so you never had to lose the view of the palm trees outside.

Right (above): The chaise bed out there was nice when I wanted to continue reading my Kindle in the afternoon but had had enough sun for the day. 

Now, more on the rooms and amenities of Excellence Playa Mujeres. When booking your trip, you're given a few choices on the type of room you stay in:
  • Junior Suite (spa or pool view)
  • Junior Swim-Up Suite (spa or pool view)
  • Two-story Rooftop Terrace Suite (spa or pool view)
  • ... and a series of "Excellence Club" Rooms, which get you rooms with an ocean view or on the ocean front. 
We went the cheapest route (junior suite) and were completely happy with our choice! At first, we thought adding on the Excellence Club membership would be a fun splurge for our honeymoon, but friends that had been before told us not to. It really wouldn't have been that worth it, in my opinion...
  • Private check-in: There was no one else checking in when we arrived, and even if there had been, I can't imagine it would have bothered me. 
  • Private lounge with free Internet access: Like I want to be checking email and social media on my honeymoon... no, thanks! 
  • Upgraded mini bar in the room: We were peachy keen with everything in our room's fridge {completely free! Lots of soda and beer, and a few liquor options}. 
  • Fresh flowers upon arrival: The room was gorgeous without them!!
  • Complimentary newspaper delivered to room each day: see above comment about Internet access. Hello? I'm on my honeymoon with the love of my life. The real world can wait. 
  • Access to the private beach and pool: the regular ol' beach and pool were perfect.
  • Complimentary beach bag: brought our own.
The ONLY thing that would have made the Excellence Club upgrade worthwhile would have been the view. The Excellence Club rooms are in a more "convenient" spot to the pools and beach, and you have views of the ocean - so if that's what you're wanting, by all means, do it! Just wasn't something that was important to us.

Here's a tip for ensuring the best room at the lower rate. Check out guest reviews online, many of which have exact room # recommendations. You can add room requests to your reservation, but you won't know exactly where you'll be until the day you check-in. After reading several reviews on Trip Advisor about the ideal spot, we requested to be in Building 7B. Our room looked out over one of the private pools, so it was nice and quiet. We didn't have access to this pool {Excellence Club only}, but like I said, not worth it. Our building was in a great spot - close to the spa and tucked away from the open-air theater, but it was an easy walk to the main pools, spa, beach and lobby/restaurants.




Restaurants! Our favorites were Chez Isabelle {French cuisine, too many amazing things to list} and Spice {Asian fusion, killer pad Thai, sushi and fried rice}, both of which we visited twice during the week! Agave is their Mexican restaurant that I loved {Thomas not so much}, and their Italian place {Toscana} wasn't anything to write home about. There were some restaurants we didn't even go to because we loved the first two so much: Flavor Market {tapas}, Barcelona {Mediterranean}, Lobster House {seafood}, and Basmati {Indian}. Every day, we'd eat lunch at The Grill {restaurant over the pool} where we'd have enchiladas, chips and guac/salsa, nachos, and fish tacos! There's also free 24-hour room service which we took FULL advantage of. You will not go hungry at an all-inclusive resort!



With Monday being our first day of true relaxation post-wedding, we spent it like anyone should... at the the MiilĂ© Spa. Absolutely heavenly! We did a three-hour couples treatment, which included a swim in the hydro-spa pool, a marine scrub, a milk mousse bath, a scalp massage, and then a one-hour botanical oil massage. We only wish we could have afforded to be at the spa every day of our honeymoon.


For the rest of the week, we switched back and forth from having planned activities, and days of total relaxation with no plans. Tuesday was spent at the beach and the pool - soaking up the sun, reading, napping, eating, drinking. Wednesday was SCUBA day! Thomas is certified, and I was too busy with work and wedding planning to get fully certified before we got married. Luckily I was able to take a beginner's class in the resort's pool Wednesday morning, and Thomas came with me and my class on our dive in the afternoon.


Thursday was another no-plans day, and on Friday we did a full-day excursion to a theme park of sorts called XPLOR. It was all-inclusive: we paid one price for the bus to get there and the park ticket, and the ticket included zip-lining, a buffet lunch, juice bar with smoothies and snacks to refuel, driving through rainforest and caves, and cave swimming too... we definitely recommend this place if you go to Cancun!


Honeymooning is the greatest idea anyone ever had. Relaxation, romance, fun in the sun, time alone without the distractions of the real world... it was the perfect start to the rest of our lives together. Did I mention we HIGHLY recommend Excellence Playa Mujeres?! We have so many friends who've been before us or who are going for their honeymoon this year, and we'll definitely go back for an anniversary trip sometime! 

Check out the video below for a closer look at the resort we love!

4 comments:

  1. Amanda! This took me back to my honeymoon! Such a great post and resort! You two are so cute!

    Katie Walker

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  2. Great blog!!! This was super helpful. I do have a few questions, we are beginning to book our honeymoon, and this is my top place i would love to go! Did ya'll book thru a travel agent or a travel website? We are a little Leary about book thru a travel website, because we want the travel from airport to hotel and activities. but, i did read you went to website to book your travel from airport to hotel...so that is something we would def be interested in! Thanks again for the wonderful blog.

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  4. I went to the Excellence resort in Punta Cana (which was AMAZING by the way) and I got engaged there. I was googling about the Playa Mujeres one (reason I came across your page 3 years after you posted) for our honeymoon! Loved your article. I'm really leaning towards this and when you mentioned the "Welcome Home" it took me back to Punta Cana! If you ever make it out to another excellence resort, definitely try the tapas restaurant!! Punta Cana was beautiful and they had the same restaurants. We weren't a fan of Toscana either. Thanks for the article!!

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