Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Good, the Bad, the Excellenté - Part 4

Activities at the Excellence Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico

I use the word “activity” lightly here. When I think of doing an activity, I think of hiking, horseback riding, or skydiving. At the Excellence, my activities revolved around relaxing, lounging, and more relaxing. (And if eating and drinking count as activities, those too.) A resort is a great destination if what you want to “do” is pretty close to nothing at all. The entire resort seems carefully crafted to provide a wide range of easy and relaxing options.

My favorite activity was lounging. I was pleased at how many comfortable places there are to just lie around. My favorite place was the X Lounge, a small deck overlooking the beach with beds that have ridiculously comfortable mattresses. It was really, really nice, and I spent at least a part of everyday in the X Lounge. One day I was so tired out from all the lying around I did in the morning that I took a nap there after lunch. Very comfy. There are plenty of lounge chairs scattered throughout the resort, too. The chairs are high quality with comfortable padding and an adjustable back. One morning we picked a couple chairs on the beach. There was a rather relentless breeze blowing up from the ocean, though, and this made it a little chilly, especially when a cloud blocked the sun’s warm rays. Luckily, chairs on the resort property have more wind protection if the breeze becomes too much. On Thursday, we were treated to our first completely sunny day with a clear, blue sky and hotter temperature. We chose chairs by the pool for easy access to the chilly, but refreshing water. There are even chairs in the pool, on a shallow ledge, so you can lounge but still stay cool. They also have some beds in the pool areas. The mattress isn’t as comfortable as those in the X Lounge, but they have a thatched roof and fabric hanging from all sides, which is especially nice when you’re seeking a little bit of shade. In the late afternoon, we’d like to wander over to one of the hammocks and laze around for a bit. My hardest choice everyday was, “Where do I want to lounge?” (Okay, maybe it was “Which drink should I order next?” But this was a close second.)

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t quite warm enough for me to spend much time in the pool. It was only on our last morning there that it finally got hot enough for me to gingerly lower myself into the water. I don’t think it was the time of year; I think we just caught a weather pattern that was a little cooler and windier. The resort has three pools, and one of them has a swim-up bar. Or, in my case, a tip-toe-across-the-pool-from-the-shortest-distance bar. It was fun sitting at this bar, and I imagine it’s quite popular when the heat is in full force. I liked ordering a mango colada, and Nick discovered a drink called the iceberg – it’s cerveza beer topped off with frozen margarita mix. This was a good place to hang out and strike up a conversation with some of the other resort guests.

Despite how it sounds, I didn’t remain sedentary the entire time (but definitely the majority – that was the whole point). On Wednesday morning, Nick and I took a walk on the beach, heading left away from the resort. We passed a few other establishments, and based on the beach chairs and building conditions, decided that the Excellence was the nicest. We couldn’t walk too far in this direction, as the beach eventually reaches a point where you can’t walk any further (at least it looked that way). On Thursday morning, we turned right for a walk down the beach. We took a longer walk and eventually reached the fishing town of Puerto Moreles (about three miles away). Since we were only wearing our swimsuits, we didn’t walk into town, so I can’t tell you what you’d find there.

The resort does actually schedule a bunch of activities. Nick played poker one afternoon. We were going to participate in air rifle shooting, but when we arrived to a line of men waiting their turn to take two shots at a berm twenty feet away, changed our minds. They had cocktail classes, aerobics, napkin folding lessons, beach volleyball, and a bunch of other things. Lying around just always sounded better to me.

In the evening, there was always entertainment. We’d go for dinner and then get a drink and find a good seat to watch the stage show. Our first night, we got to watch “The American Way” – cute girls dancing around. On Tuesday, it was “The Caribbean Show” – more cute girls but with really fun, feathery costumes. The Michael Jackson show on Wednesday was honestly a little creepy, something about that impersonator…. Fire spinning was exciting, and another night I was amazed by acrobatic feats during the circus show. After the shows, they often had a band playing near one of the outdoor bars. For a classier setting, there’s the martini bar, where you can listen to a gentleman playing the piano while you sip your cocktail (in my case, the girly Flirtini).

Not only is drinking an activity at the resort, it’s practically a sport. With it already all paid for, it’s easy to drink throughout the day. I’d like to start off with a mimosa or bloody mary and then explore other drink options. I discovered the Hemingway mojito, which includes champagne. I tried out a drink recommended by a friend – the BBC (banana, Bailey’s, and coconut). One afternoon, we drank from a coconut. A guy hacks off the top, and then a girl dumps in a bunch of alcohol. Vodka, rum, tequila, champagne, beer, wine…oh, and bottled water. Wouldn’t want to get dehydrated – everyone knows that’ll only make the hangover worse.

To be sure, no matter your activity level, you’ll find it at the Excellence Resort (or the excursion representative would be happy to help you find it elsewhere…for a fee, of course).

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