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“Excellent honeymoon location”

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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #17 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Excellent honeymoon location”
Reviewed 6 April 2012 via mobile

My husband and I, after extensive research, opted for this resort as our honeymoon destination. We were not disappointed. The grounds were impeccably kept, and all members of the staff were friendly and very helpful. The rooms, while showing a bit of wear were clean and met all of our needs. Our oceanview room had amazing views of the beach, and we felt as if we were secluded, all while being close to everything. Our one disappointment was the food at The Lobster House, which we ate on our first evening. As seafood lovers, we were excited about this place, and we both ordered lobster. My lobster curry was flavorful, but my husband's garlic lobster was both bland and tough. To the chef's credit, he did try to make it right by bringing more food, but it was still subpar. On the other end of the spectrum, though, was the Asian restaurant, Spice. Both the food and the service here were impeccable. Had we not eaten here on our last evening, this would have been our dining location of choice. For breakfast, I recommend the buffet at Toscana, where you can find a variety of choices, from basic breakfast staples to more exotic local dishes, like yucca and plantains. Room service is fine, though the food is pretty basic. Be sure to roam the grounds a bit and you will meet the two parrots...the red one will step onto your arm!

My one complaint is not about the resort itself...rather, it is about the tour companies that operate out of the lobby. They manage to suck up your time one morning, and though Blue was supposed to arrange our departure transportation, they failed to do so. That was fine; we opted to have the concierge arrange a private taxi for us, which is also what we did upon our arrival. Contact the resort for this, and the price is $70 one way...exactly what you would pay getting your own cab, but this way you have one waiting for you.

As for excursions, we zip lined....DO IT! It was so much fun, even though we did it in the pouring rain. Wear t-shirts and shorts that will provide a barrier between your skin and the harnesses, and wear comfy shoes that won't fall off.

Overall, this was a phenomenal trip, and we would do it again.

Stayed April 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank Karen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Washington
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

We went for 9 days in early March. Very friendly and helpful staff, lovely grounds, Nice rooms, comfortable beds. A great carefree vacation.

Room Tip: We stayed in the club section. Private beach, club, and concierge service.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank CathiSue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

After choosing Excellence Punta Cana for our honeymoon, I was a little nervous reading some of the reviews that people had put on here. My worries were eased by a friend who assured me that I shouldn't listen - and I was very glad that I ignored the negative reviews! We spent a week there in December 2011.

Here are some highlights/lowlights from our trip:

- The hotel is pretty far from the airport. We took the shuttle bus, which also stopped at a few resorts, but that didn't really bother us because we were expecting it. And really... we were just happy to not be in snow and cold. It also gave us a chance to see some of the other resorts. I also liked being in a remote location, other than when we went on an excursion and it took us what seemed like hours to get where we were going.

- The Excellence staff is truly wonderful. They were very kind and friendly from the start. The one problem we had was with our toilet, and it took them a few times to fix it. The waitstaff was quite attentive - they DO run on Dominican time though. We noticed that while it only takes about a minute to get a refill at an American restaurant, it probably took 7 or 8 minutes at the restaurants. As long as you are a patient person or know to expect this, it shouldn't be a problem. Since it's the Dominican Republic, most of the staff knows limited English, but we found that it was never an issue, although I know enough Spanish to get by. We found we ended up spending more in tips than we had planned because we wanted the staff to know how much we appreciated them, so remember to bring a lot of $1s!

- The room we had was awesome - we were right above the waterfall pool. We were going to upgrade to the Excellence Club, but we loved our room so much that we decided against the upgrade. We met some friends there who had the club - the major difference is that they bring you fruit and treats, as well as access to the Club room with internet/TV. I had brought my laptop, so we just used the wireless available at the hotel. We were in building 2, so we were close enough to the main lobby that we found we could hook in (usually). The bed was a little bit hard, but we were so tired by the end of the day that it didn't really matter. They kept the fridge stocked with glass bottle Coke (my favorite) and other drinks. My one complaint was a very noisy bird who thought it was appropriate to start loudly singing outside our door at 4 AM. Other than that, it was usually quiet.

- The food was pretty good, although differed from night to night. We ate at all the restaurants except for the Lobster House and Barcelona - the asian restaurant was so good the first night, we went back again only to have it be not as good the second time. The breakfast buffet was super. There was a lot of variety and it was usually pretty good. We also enjoyed the lunch buffet, but that's mostly because we like to have a wide variety and the option to go back for seconds if we really liked something :) Just make sure you abide by the dress code, although we did see some violations. I think the dress code is harder for the guys than the girls, which is kind of unfair.

- The shows were good considering where you are. My favorite was the Star Show, but our friends really enjoyed the Michael Jackson show. At the very least, it's fun to hang out with everyone and watch the entertainment.

- The beach was nice, although I was too chicken to get in the rough water. A few days before we arrived, someone had a heart attack while surfing and ended up passing away, so that put a damper on any urge to go out. Clearly this is not the fault of the resort, they just happen to be on the part of the island where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet. They clean the seaweed off the beach every morning and make sure that the chairs are ready to go for the day. My husband and I walked down the beach (past the resort) one day - the vendors did yell for us to come shop, but after we politely and firmly declined, they left us alone. If you walk down to the right of the resort, the water does calm down and you get some Caribbean blue.

- My favorite lounge spot was by the pool. The chairs are comfortable, there are beds to lay on, and there are also little thatch-roof "huts" to sit under if you start feeling crispy. The pool was always the perfect temperature and there was plenty of entertainment - pool aerobics, volleyball and whatever other games the staff invented. I'm not a big game person, but Willy tried hard to get us involved.

- The drinks were great, although I'm not a HUGE drinker. Just make sure you don't drink too many fruity drinks or Coco Locos... because you will regret it that night :) My husband tried a Grasshopper martini for the first time and loved it.

- We did one excursion, which we were happy we did but we were also happy we only did one. We chose the catamaran trip to Saona Island, which was a lot of fun and absolutely gorgeous. It involved a very long bus ride to the boat ramp, about an hour on the catamaran (where they do try to convince you to buy a bandana... it was awkward), about 2 hours on Saona (which was a bit excessive - we were ready to go after an hour. Also IMPORTANT: if you do this, make sure you bring water. There is none on the catamaran and the water on the island is in a cooler, not a bottle. It was sketchy), then you go to the natural swimming pool via speedboat to see starfish, then back to the bus. It was a lot of fun because we had friends from the resort with us.

Overall, we were really happy with our choice and would do it again. If you're looking for a quiet, adults-only, romantic getaway, this is a great place to do it!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank FMRSS1009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ocean City, MD
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

I have to say that we had a wonderful time at Excellence Punta Cana. We just returned home last night. I had read just abut every review since we made our travel plans months ago. What I did not fully realize until we pulled up to the property was that we had been there before, about 5 years ago when it was a Secrets Resort. The resort is truly beautiful. The grounds are lovely and it is kept immaculate. I had written to the hotel about a month ago to ask for a room that would be close to everything because my husband broke his ankle and it isn't healing properly. When we arrived we did, indeed, get a room in Bldg. 6, which was close to everything. The room was damp and a bit musty, but I had read reviews that said this, and I brought a couple of sick-ups to place around the room. The only problem with the room was that we really got no sun, so I couldn't put wet or damp clothes outside on the patio to dry, so everything remained damp. No big deal. The bathroom is quite odd. The shower was great and there was great water pressure and lots of hot water, but whomever designed the room was loco. The far shower wall which is glass is facing the bed, so when someone is in the shower, you watch. The really bad thing is that if you have to get up in the middle of the night and use the bathroom, and turn on the light, the light shines right into the bedroom-into your partners face. Very weird and poorly designed. The staff was amazingly pleasant and helpful. The beach is beautiful and we were fortunate enough to have several very mild ocean days, when we could swim- yellow flags, not red. Unfortunately, the food really is pretty bad. We ate at most of the restaurants and as most people say, Spice was the best. All the others are mediocre. We did try lunch at the Grill twice and it was terrible, so we just had the pizzas and snacks that they have on the beach. The pizza was pretty good. The breakfasts are fine. The only saving grace about the dinner restaurants is the bread. Most of the restaurant served nice, fresh bread with the meal, so I just filled up on that. Not many vegetables here, or good fruit for that matter, which I missed. When we were at the resort, many people were using the beach and you really have to have shade, so a couple of days we got the last little hut on the beach. After that, I went down before breakfast to reserve a spot. I don't know what people do if they can't get a shaded spot. You cannot sit out in that sun. I think they should have more little huts. One of my favorite things about this resort was the martini bar. Every night before dinner, they have live entertainment at the bar. Usually a sax player. It was so nice to sit and have a drink and listen to the sax in the beautiful open-air lobby. Overall, we had a wonderful time and my complaints are few. I think you would enjoy yourself if you decided to go to Excellence. The bus ride is very bumpy, so take your Dramamine, if you are prone to motion sickness, as I am. And enjoy. This is a beautiful place. Oh, one last thing. I developed a urinary tract infection while on vacation and the resort has a doctor on premises 24 hours a day. Dr. Gonzalez was very nice and professional and gave me the antibiotics that I needed. Oh, and the bed was fine, quite comfortable.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ocsam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2012

Spent two weeks here in February 2012. Lovely Hotel on a great beach but very isolated. Most front of house staff very friendly and helpfull but definite attitude problem from cleaners and back-room staff. Hotel shops asking ridiculous prices, $20 for 12 Paracetamol, $15 for a $5 Cigar. We found the locals outside the Hotel unfriendly, unless they were trying to sell you something, which is understandable in some ways when you see how little they have got compered to us affluent visitors. We found the airport staff were rude and often openly hostile. The Hotel was mainly full of very noisy and often brash and arrogant Americans who seemed to think it normal slam bedroom doors and to yell and scream at the tops of thier voices throughout the day and well into the early hours. The Hotel tries very hard to provide a quality experience but can't compete with so many of it's guests bringing such selfish attitudes with them. Went to Excellence Can Cun Mexico last year which was much better. Would not go back to the Dominican Republic.

Room Tip: Excellence Club not worth the extra. Get rooms as far away from public areas as possible if you wan...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Alan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Red Deer, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2012

We chose Excellence for our honeymoon and arrived here March 28th. We were welcomed by amazing bell hops with champagne! All staff are so nice! All guests here are quite older. The age range is 40-60, we felt like the youngest couple here. It's a very classy resort, guests almost seemed snooty, not very friendly. Not the resorts problem though. Food is unbelievable, best restaurant is Barcelona, which we saved for the last night and are now regretting that decision! Pool and beach are never crowded, there is always room. Chairs & beds at beach and pool are super comfy. The honeymoon suite is amazing- private deck with pool and bed, fantastic!! My only complaint is the bed in the room, it is rock hard. It didn't ruin our stay what so ever, but we can't wait to get to our bed at home! Thank you Excellence for the best honeymoon ever!

  • Stayed March 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank ChelsnBlake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2012

We just got back from 6 nights at the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana. 2 couples went and we all got the Ocean View Rooms. To try and make this very simple and easy, I will provide the Pros and Cons from our POV.

Pros:
1) Customer Service -- The service is OUTSTANDING...no matter what you needed there is helpfuly staff ready to help. Service is not always the fastest with meals and drinks at the pool, but its "island time". "Super Willy" and Omar at the pool are great and lots of fun. Room Service was quick and the housekeeping checks the rooms 2x per day. When you arrive you are greeted with champagne and "welcome home".
2) Beach and Pool-- Both were BEAUTIFUL...all these comments about them not being nice are crazy. They keep the beach in pristine condition and there are plenty of chairs. The pools are the same way, very clean, shade if you prefer and lots of chairs. Very relaxing. The ocean can be rough 2 of the 5 days we were there you could not get in.
3) Plenty of Bars and Top Shelf Drinks -- There was always a bar within 100 yards of you...and the drink selection is very good. Jack Daniels, Absolut, Bombay Sapphire, Baily's, Stoli, Dewars...and it goes on. I was very impressed to have so many good choices and the drinks were always plentiful and good. The rooms are also stocked with full bottles of liquor, beer, bottled water, Coke, Sprite, Orange Juice and anything else you want. Only downside was they only have 2 beer choices (Presidente and MGD). But again, overall it was really good and we were impressed.
4) Breakfasgt Buffet -- Lots of choices and good food...I loved the made ot order Omlet, Panckaes, Waffles and Crepes.
5) The Gym -- very nice, top of the line place to work-out.
6) Wireless internet was great around the resort. I was able to sit at both the beach and pool and be online without an additional charge. Phone calls and texts with At&T service were incremental charge (not from the resort).

Cons:
1) Local Vendors Aggressive Sales -- 2 nights while we were there they brought local vendors on to the resort to sell items. I had no issue with that, but they are VERY agressive to the point of chasing you down...not needed. Im on vacation, if I want to buy something I will, but dont need to be hassled. This is also true if you walk off of the resort, just be aware. Shopping at the "walmart", "target", "sears" and "kohls" is fun, but know they all have the same stuff and are a bit pushy.
2) Beds -- The beds are like sleeping on wood...not real comfortable.
3) Lunch -- Lunch Buffet was not that good and the only other option is the grill were the food was "okay". Coconut Grouper was best food for lunch in the grill.
4) The Rooms -- not a true "con" but the rooms are older. The rooms are a nice size, but they are starting to show their age...an upgrade would go a long way.
5) Dress Code -- I really wish thet would allow nice shorts in the restaurants for guys...the are VERY strict on the dress code for guys as you must wear pants to most restaurants.

Other things to keep in mind:
1) This is not the US...you are not getting 5 star quality food like you would in the US. The food is okay and very "hit or miss". Some things were good (PAd Thai and Sushi at Asian as well as Mexican), others were not so good (any steak or meat...just look at the cows when you drive in and you will see why the steak is not good).
2) The drive from the airport is over an hour...feel free to ask the driver to stop for beers on the way...
3) The Employees do not make a lot of money...they live at the resort 11 days working 12-14 hours per day then get to go home for 3 days. Tip them and be kind to them...they work hard and even $1-$2 goes a long way. We took $50 in singles and it worked out great.
4) Spanish is the native language -- most employees dont speak a lot of English but they all try hard.

Oveall a good trip, the shows at night are fun (not great) and the Casino is humorous (i offered my own deck of cards to use as there's was a bit beat up) and its only open 8pm-3am. They have blackjack, roulette and 3 card poker as well as some slots. There is lots to do during the day and they work hard to get you involved if you want. The evenings always have a theme of some kind and that is a lot of fun. The adults only part is great.We did not do any of hte excursions, but heard most of them require long rides to another part of the country.

Ovearll it was a good vacation...just keep in mind your expectations when going into it and enjoy...

Room Tip: First floor rooms are nice and they each have a hammock outside.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank XUACE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Excellence Punta Cana

Property: Excellence Punta Cana
Address: Playas Uvero Alto, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#11 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#17 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Excellence Punta Cana 4.5*
Number of rooms: 464
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This quaint, colonial-style resort is the ideal destination for couples seeking secluded romantic getaways. Nestled among palms on a perfect white-sand beach on a remote stretch of Punta Cana's Caribbean shoreline, Excellence Punta Cana provides the perfect All-Inclusive playground for adults only and is also home to a world-class spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and an exceptional range of activities and services. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Secrets Excellence Punta Cana
Excellence Resort Punta Cana
Excellence Punta Cana Resort
Secrets Punta Cana
Excellence Punta Cana Dominican Republic
Excellence Dominican Republic
Punta Cana Excellence Hotel
Excellence Punta Cana Hotel
Secret Excellence Resort Punta Cana
Punta Cana Secrets Excellence

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