After almost three months in the cramped, sticky, hostels, learning to sleep though the constant assault of noise which came with the territory of shared dorms. Our shoulders sore from hauling backpacks the size and weight of a baby elephant from one destination to the next. It’s safe to say that Sasha and I were well and truly ready for a change of pace and a little bit of luxury. Thanks to the generosity of Sasha’s mum, we had the pleasure of spending the last few days of our trip in the Excellence Riviera Cancun, I was in heaven!

The Excellence Riviera Cancun is one of a chain of luxury hotels priding themselves on customer service, elegance, exclusivity and an unforgettable guest experience.

On what would be our first day at the hotel we arrived at the ginormous, pristinely painted gate house where two security guards greeted us with a friendly smile, but it was clear you would not be getting through those gates without an invitation. The high level of security meant you didn’t have to wear those hideous, uncomfortable swimming bands to identify you as a hotel guest, which at some point inevitably try to cut off your blood supply and leave an unsightly tan line. It also meant you could come and go as you pleased, leaving your things unattended while you went for a swim and not ever being concerned they wouldn’t still be there upon your return.

Our names were thankfully on the list so we started up the driveway lined with palms and exotic plants to meet the hotel foyer, a grand white building with heavy wooden doors and exquisitely polished marble floors. Once again staff appeared as if by magic to assist us and we were offered a glass of bubbly while our bags were loaded onto trolleys to be shipped off to our rooms. I can’t tell you how much of a gift it was not to have to haul my own bag up many flights of stairs as I’d previously done for the majority of our trip, my shoulder muscles sagged in relief!

Our rooms were beautiful; crisp white linen, glossy marble floors and work tops, a mini- bar full to bursting with refreshments, re-stocked daily and at no extra cost. A flower and chocolate lay neatly on our bed in greeting as we walked in and our luggage sat waiting to be unpacked. There were tall wooden wardrobes housing dressing gowns and slippers, a jacuzzi bath and a walk in wet room, all spot lit and immaculately cleaned and finished. On the balcony there was a table and chairs and a large sofa to recline and appreciate the breathtaking views below. Our room looked out onto the lazy river with its dramatic turquoise water nestled amongst the palms and parasols making for quite the perfect picture in the tropical sun. This place was certainly something to write home about, which of course I did and was met with wistful comments of appreciation.

The several pools were stunning, with a choice of sun lounger, beach hut or four-poster to sprawl out on and soak up the Mexican rays. Waiting staff circulated efficiently taking and delivering drink orders and when you fancied a dip to cool off you could explore the offerings of the swim-up bar. If you are more of a beach person, well this hotel has you covered with their pristine private beach. The white sands and turquoise lapping water is like something off the front of a post card and you are free to lie back, drinking fresh cocktails out of a coconut and revel in it!

Now let’s talk about the food… Having survived on a bland diet of carbohydrates, the uninspiring but cheap menú del día and more bananas than I care to remember, the food at the Excellence left our mouths watering. There was so much choice, colour and an explosion of taste. There were several restaurants catering to all culinary tastes including Spanish tapas, French, Indian and Chinese to name but a few. Having spent the last few months being incredibly reserved about our food intake, we were like children in a candy store with unrestricted access to the abundant culinary delights 24/7! The food sometimes looked almost too good to eat, with presentation always kept to the highest standard. I became a regular at the freshly prepared omlete bar at breakfast and I was astounded (and excited) when I realised you could order food to your room or by the poolside at no extra cost.

Food isn’t the only thing that caters for all tastes at the Excellence Riviera Cancun. After a rigorous adventure schedule for the past three months, Sasha and I were quite happy just to relax, soak up some vitamin D and read a good book. However, there was plenty to keep the more active minds and bodies occupied too! Daily activities were timetabled from cocktail making classes and crafting to aqua aerobics, a running club and tennis tournaments. There was a string of evening entertainment nightly and on certain nights the hotel went all out and had a fully themed event. While we were there we were lucky enough to experience their Bollywood evening with the main patio alive with colour, ornate decorations and golden elephants. There was an Indian buffet and Bollywood dancers, I’ve never been to a hotel that goes that extra mile before, but The Excellence definitely does.

So that was our experience at ‘The Excellence Riviera Cancun‘, a perfect end to an amazing adventure. But you don’t have to be treating yourself after a 3 month backpacking slog to warrant a trip here, in fact, this hotel is the ideal getaway for honeymooners, romantic getaways, special celebrations and basically any other excuse you can think of! If you don’t think Mexico is for you, why not try Jamaica or the Dominican Republic for more Excellence resorts? If this blog post has awakened a bit of wanderlust, then check out the excellence website here for more trip inspiration!

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