The biggest difference is that Playa Mujeres is isolated. Nothing in that area except other resorts, so if you like to go outside the resort to restaurants, bars, shops, etc.
One of the other main benefits of choosing resorts in the Playa Mujeres area is that the resorts here are much larger than the resorts found in Cancun's main hotel zone. With that, you get a lot more amenities on offer, as the resorts are more spacious. The beach at Playa Mujeres is also significantly better. It is protected by Isla Mujeres, so the water is very suitable for swimming and there are very private beaches with no steps between the resorts.
Whoever said that finding peace and quiet in Cancun is difficult, has never been to Playa Mujeres. Yes, Cancun has its hideaways like Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox, but Cancun itself is best known for its mega-sports, entertainment, high-octane nightlife and lots of activity. Travelers looking for a little peace and quiet can still do so in Cancun, without having to drive more than an hour south to Riviera Maya. The destination is home to luxury resorts, two of which are Excellence Playa Mujeres and Beloved Playa Mujeres, both awarded TripAdvisor Travelers' Best of the Best award this year for offering guests a full experience of first-class service and luxury amenities.
One of the first resorts you'll see when you enter Playa Mujeres, this also means it's one of the closest to Cancun, making it a quick and easy trip if you decide to explore it during your stay. The Atelier is a boutique-style resort that feels a little more luxurious and exclusive than most other resorts in Playa Mujeres. In contrast to Cancun's high energy, Playa Mujeres offers a more relaxed environment, ideal for those looking for a relaxing getaway to the beach. However, once you arrive, the resorts live up to Costa Mujeres's billing as the “modern luxury destination” in the Mexican Caribbean.