F is for Far Away: Wish We Were Here

by Janine on 15 February 2013 · 3 comments

Excellence Playa Mujares_dreamy pool hammock“Hey, you look fantastic! So rested and relaxed. You positively glow. Were you away on vacation?” I’d like someone to say that to me. I’d like someone to say that to me because I’d have just returned from a week or two at a resort I can’t get out of my head.

Excellence Playa Mujares_view from my roomIt’s been more than two years since I stayed at the Excellence Playa Mujares in Cancun, Mexico as part of a Transat Holidays luxury-collection press trip. (Above: a snap from my balcony.) But in the midst of grey days and stupid snow, I’ve been obsessing about it for weeks.

Excellence Playa Mujares_hotel groundsAlternate views of the hotel property, snapped from an upper open corridor.

Excellence Playa Mujares_grounds

Excellence Playa Mujares_Excellence Club double occupancy room w rooftop deckFor three days, a small group of Canadian writers experienced the adult-only Excellence Playa Mujares hotel’s premium vacation package, called Excellence Club. Among other perks, it includes luxurious, contemporary, ocean-view rooms and suites, private concierge service, complimentary chilled champagne and fruit in the room as a welcome greeting, followed by morning fruit and evening petit fours each day afterward. Complimentary bathroom toiletries were Bulgari.

Excellence Playa Mujares_Excellence Club roomThe hot tub in the corner of my room was nestled beside a big window that opened wide onto the balcony so I could appreciate a view of the resort and the beach. And that balcony? It had an outlet so I could sit and work on my laptop without running out of battery power!

Excellence Playa Mujares_Excellence Club beach sectionOther perks included a small private pool area for Excellence Club members, the use of a prime section of beach with loungers, palapas, towel and personal drink service, and access to a small selection of light-reading paperback novels one might assume had been left by previous avid-reader guests (I love that sort of thing).

Excellence Playa Mujares_Excellence Club beach area

Excellence Playa Mujares_on the beach

RoC SunscreenYep, this is the suncreen I used while I was there. Find your best SPF bet, whether you love a spray, natural ingredients, waterproof or powder.

Playa Mujares_beachThere were so many appealing pool hammocks (I desperately wanted to relax in one — one of life’s great pleasures is a hammock — but didn’t have time), a beach-side day-bed deck, and comfortable loungers everywhere.

Excellence Playa Mujares_pool hammock

Excellence Playa Mujares_beachfront lounge deck

Excellence Playa Mujares_night pool hammocks

Excellence Playa Mujares golf clubThe hotel’s golf course boasted a colourful club house…

Excellence Playa Mujares_golf course wildlife_look closely

Excellence Playa Mujares_golf course alligator or croc…and interesting local wildlife when you look closely.

Excellence Playa Mujares_golf course green

Excellence Playa Mujares_bridgeFor honeymooners, there was this beautifully romantic setting in which to enjoy a private candlelight dinner if they chose.

While I was at Playa Mujares, I realized that to be a good travel writer, you have to be present, not trying to catch up on other work. You have to go on local outings, enjoy the local flavour, and really explore. Instead I geeked out about a balcony outlet. I still took a fair number of photos, though. *grin*

Excellence Playa Mujares_view of my room from belowA poolside view of my room, one of the top units, third from the left I think.

Excellence Playa Mujares_rooftop decks in a rowI should have taken more time to enjoy my rooftop terrace (almost twice the size of these, I think), which included large round outdoor beds and a party-sized jacuzzi with water cascading into the tub at either side from spouts built into the wall. Room service could come directly to the upper deck via an open corridor along the back walls. I waited until the last day to photograph my room’s terrace, but was foiled by rain (that’s why one should always take photos ASAP when the weather is good).

Excellence Playa Mujares_spa waiting areaOur stay included a treatment at the hotel’s beautiful spa, Aiile. My massage was outstanding. One of the best I’ve ever had. I woke myself up with a loud snort; the massage therapist kindly pretended not to hear it. I remember she used to be in banking, but decided to switch to a career much more focussed on helping people feel better. Success, I think — I was a tightly-wound mass before the treatment, and jelly afterward.

Excellence Playa Mujares_outdoor diningMy room overlooked this restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch on arrival.

Excellence Playa Mujares_panna cottaMmm… panna cotta.

Excellence Playa Mujares_outdoor dining areasOutdoor dining at another of the resort’s gourmet restaurants — I think there were nine at the time.

Excellence Playa Mujares_authentic Indian cuisineThe food at each restaurant we tried was fantastic. An exquisitely authentic Indian lunch was the highlight for me.

Excellence Playa Mujares_private villa celebs rentFun fact: also part of the hotel, off to the side a way down the beach, is a private villa which 50 Cent apparently had recently rented out for a stay and maybe a video. A music video, I hope, although really, it’s none of my busniess.

Playa Mujares_hotel drivewayI might need to win a lottery to do so because I’d want the same Excellence Club experience (about $3,000 per week), but I want to go back to there. Right now. Who wants to come with me?

I wrote about this trip for Metro News, and focussed on kickstarting the decompression immediately, at the flight-check-in stage.

Photos via my Fujifilm Finepix F80 EXR.

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Christina 15 February 2013 at 4:00 pm

Was the water really that blue? I could use a trip like that right now.

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Janine 15 February 2013 at 10:20 pm

I think so, yes! I’m so effing sick of winter already — I want sunshine, palapa shade and warm breezes NOW, please.

But I could do without the alligators. Thankfully, the golf course is a bit of a trek from the resort proper.

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