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Reviewed December 11, 2013

I want to start by saying there were some great things about this resort, as well as some not so great. We chose this resort because we've stayed at the one in the Mayan Riviera and found that property to be overall the best all inclusive we've stayed at to date (Comparing to Sandals resorts as well)

Airport: If you are flying with Air Transat dont bother buying your $10.00 travel cards online as they will provide you with them upon arrival. We found the airport to be quick and relatively easy to navigate. Luggage arrived quickly, and lines for immigration were equally as speedy, we were out within about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Transportation: We booked a private transfer with Coco Tours and found them to be not only punctual but accomodating! The trip took about 45min and was comfortable. Our driver stopped at the market so we could grab some cold Corona's for the trip, so that made it even better.

Arrival: As others have said they greet you with a cool towel and a glass of champagne in addition to a big smile, they make you feel at home right away. Check in was speedy thanks to Reynaldo and staff, no complaints at all!

Room: We had a swim out room right across from the swim up bar, (6004) which was fantastic. The room was clean and was kept that way daily.... along with towel art that was a pleasant surprise everytime they had been in our room. The beds were probably a bit more firm than others may like, but we found them comfortable even without asking for the mattress pads.
As you may have read in other reviews there were some noisy birds through the night, we found it sounded like an alarm going off because it was uninterrupted starting around 8pm. Annoying at times, but easily ignored if you have your TV on.

Resort: The grounds are beautiful, as are the pools, beach, etc. The layout itself has some challenges simply due to placement of the towel concierge palapa's and lack of bridges. Should you neglect to get your towels for the day and find yourself on the hotel side of the pool you will be crossing through the water, cutting through the restaurants, or walking all the way around to get them. Doesn't sound like a big deal, and it really isn't, just thought I'd mention it as we found it happened to us alot. Pool chairs are usually not a problem to get when you want one, do keep in mind if you choose the chairs on the hotel side of the pool you will likely want to relocate somewhere around the noon hour as the sun will be behind the buildings.

Service: Overall the service was very good, we did find poolside service was hit and miss in some areas as well as the beach. There was one standout for us that I absolutely must mention, if you are fortunate enough to have Omar serve you by the pool, I'm sure you will endeavor to stay in his section everyday! He was there anytime and everytime we even thought we needed something! He went above and beyond, even grabbing towels for us one day!! If you see him be sure to congratulate him as he just got married! He made our vacation! smiling and friendly every single day without fail! I cant say enough good about him!

Food: This was probably our biggest challenge, the food was ok, some things were better than others for sure. Dont expect too much and you wont be disappointed. We did room service for breakfast alot and this was quite good everyday, as was the lobster house. Lunch at the grill was also fairly good.....Although, we had burgers at Las Olas the one day and found 3 out of 4 of us were ill a short time later. Nothing that a little immodium wouldnt cure, just a little inconvenient.

Dune Buggy Excursion: We booked this through Diego right at the resort. I would not recommend this trip just simply because it was not what we expected. You are taken out on dirt roads full of mud, the guide stays in front of you to make sure you keep your speed down which was fine. Surrounding these muddy roads are cattle and horses, the smell certainly made me question what was in the mud I was now covered in. They take you on a very long journey into a small town which was kind of nice but for the fact that you stop and they try to sell you coffee, etc. That was also fine, but do know there are areas you will be driving in that are busy roads, we were surrounded by traffic, some of which being huge dump trucks that really just wanted you out of the way. We were told we'd be riding around on the beach as well, that never did happen.

Bugs: Be sure to bring bug spray along, I got bit ALOT! They tend to like me even at home though. Seemed to be in the evenings, if we sat on our patio, or anywhere open air they were biting. The spray I bought on the resort was not only $15.00 but had very little deet in it, needless to say it didnt work. Bring your own.

Checkout: We were not scheduled to be picked up until 5:30 as our flight was a late one. We wanted to keep our room for as long as we could and thanks to Reynaldo that was easily done. The morning of our checkout we went and spoke to him at which time he set us up with another room due to our swimout being booked for later that day. He had them come grab our luggage, take it to our new room and we still were able to enjoy the pool and convenience of having our things for the full day. They did charge $10.00 per hour starting at noon, but I felt this was a small price to pay for us to be comfortable until we had to leave.

Overall: The food would be my biggest complaint, otherwise I found this resort to be quite average in comparison to others I've been to.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DarCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Excellence_Group, Community Manager at Excellence Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2014

Thank you very much for taking your time and sharing your experience with us.
We deeply regret that we were not able to meet your expectations since one of our main objectives is the satisfaction of our guests with the quality on the food, service and facilities.

We are very sad to read we didn’t meet your expectations since one of our main objectives is the satisfaction of our guests with a high quality on the food and the drinks. Our Food & Beverage Manager and our Executive Chef have received your feedback and are working on improvements to guarantee our guest the best quality possible.

On the other hand, we are very much concerned by your review since at Excellence Punta Cana we have high hygienic standards and our staff is well trained on this food & beverages safety practices. The resort undergoes continuous evaluation from external recognized institutions in order to accomplish this goal.

Our corporate customer service department remains at your disposal at customerservice@excellence-resorts.com in order to further discuss the matter or in case you require any future assistance.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 10, 2013

A week at the all-inclusive Excellence was as wonderful as I had hoped from the review of others. Only 30 minutes from the airport due to the new, better highway, we were greeted with champagne and cool, scented towels. The staff was all welcoming and cheerful, and that continued throughout our stay. Shown to our room in the #1 building after requesting to be placed with minimal walking (was that our room anyway? I'll never know), we were pleasantly surprised by the size and cleanliness. Yes, the bathroom with the half glass window for the shower/toilet is a bit unnerving, the chairs uncomfortable and inadequate receptacles for the electronics we brought, these were minor inconveniences compared to the comfortable bed (I like a hard mattress!), plentiful towels and large size toiletries. The frig was well stocked and kept that way daily. We had a balcony overlooking the beach, free Wi-fi which was a little sporadic and a wonderful maid who kept everything beautifully fresh and clean. I liked that with a late check-in we were not inconvenienced by being "between meal service." There is breakfast in 2 locations daily, lunch in several and dinner in almost all with no gap in service! Additionally, some of the pool bars have fruit or snack boxes of mini sandwiches. On top of all of that room service is free and speedy. We learned not to bother with the in room coffee maker as we like milk with our coffee. We ordered a pot of coffee each morning and it was never more than 5 minutes until delivery! Food is good, sometimes wonderful. The buffet always had a variety of Dominican style choices so I enjoyed trying all of the local fare. Additionally there was sushi, a carved roast, grilled meats and fish, casseroles salads, breads & desserts. Breakfast included prepared dishes as well as an omelette station, pancakes, waffles, crepes, fruit, yogurt and more. The restaurants include French (excellent) Asian, Mexican, Italian, Mediterrean, Lobster house, and more! One night there was a Dominican barbecue on the beach; the Asian night was rained out. Bars abound and our group tended to meet at the Martini bar for a drink before heading to dinner. Only objection there is the music (most nights piano and sax, one night guitar) was unbelievably loud. No way to have a conversation and relax. The beach is beautiful but the water is cold and very choppy. It was so windy most days that the sand was painful as it blew at us. Pool was delightful, especially the one behind building 1 with the waterfall. Lounges were plentiful and never had a problem anywhere getting a seat or a towel. I can't speak for the shows or activities as I had too much fun just sitting by the pool or beach and never made it past dinner! All in all, with a friendly, helpful and enthusiastic staff, beautiful weather, clean and lovely grounds and facilities, plentiful food and good quality alcohol, if there's a nicer place to spend a week, I'm not sure where it is!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled on business
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6  Thank Amen5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 10, 2013

We traveled with a larger group to Excellence the week of Thanksgiving 2013. We purchased our tourist tickets ahead of time as well as a private shuttle to the resort (Same price for all transportation, so why not go in luxury). We breezed through the airport and arrived after 35-40 minutes at the resort. Welcome was nice, champagne and cool towel, as indicated in other reviews. Half our group had already arrived and we learned quickly that we were grouped together - on different sides of the resort! So that was a disappointment. Our group was in building 11, 2nd floor garden view which was very nice (I give the room a 5, however we spent very little time there), the other group was in building 4 so we were a solid 10 minute walk from eachother. Also the beds are hard, but I didnt think they were unbearable, what WAS unbearable was the brids - sqwuaking day and night - all through the night. If you wanted to relax, forget it between them and the resort staff moving around the hallways early in the morning, we were up a lot. The best rest we got was poolside in a lounge chair after a few cocktails!

We spent the majority of the week by the main pool, which was amazing - 5 stars! Having such a large group, sitting pool side was just the easiest - beach chairs tended to fill up and were grouped in 2's under huts, but we never had an issue getting a spot together at the pool. The pool conceirge is a fiesty woman, but I really liked her. We would constantly just yell out drink orders and she got them all right! We also frequented the swim up bar, not as friendly staff here but they got it done. The last few days when it was just us 2, my boyfriend and I opted to relax on the beach under a hut (You need to claim one early here!) and it was amazing, however the concierge was slow, so drinks were few and far between. We also did the horeseback excursion which was very nice, horses look a little underfed, so bring them fruits and treats!! The families that try to sell you trash when you get done are horrible. Literally their souveniers are trash.

I enjoyed the resort entertainment staff a lot, Kassandra, Esmile(sp) Lieby, Ismael, Chile - all a good time but you can tell they dont all get along which is funny and I didnt like the very structured activity schedule. I get you have certain events at certain times, but everything was so mapped out. Also, maybe being there for 9 days was a little overkill, because everything just started over ... The night entertainment was good, the shows each night were pretty impressive, and the band was pretty good. Mosquitos were biting, per other reviews but they did fog for them every night which made everything smell like burnt rubber. We were so tired and sick we pretty much went to bed every night after the shows ended, which was unfortunate. A couple ppl in our group gambled and they enjoyed the casino.

The food - no bueno. I was nervous having read the reviews and they were def right. Almost everyone in our 20+ group was sick one night or another - DO NOT ORDER ROOM SERVICE NACHOS!! My boyfriend and another person with us are still having stomach issues a week later! Toscana was great for breakfast, lots of choices so you cant beat that. The place on the beach was also good, and easy when you wanted to grab something by the pool. Spice was my favorite restaurant, the staff was awesome, friendly and the food (minus one dish that smelled so bad we sent it back) was really good. Agave was also great and the staff friendly. Oregeno was good food (pizza you can get to go), but the staff was less than friendly both times we ate there. The Grille was horrible, except for the salads, but our main courses were almost always wrong. Lobster House we only ate at for breakfast and it was pretty good, but I heard from other people in our group the dinner was awful. Also, not one restaurant could accomodate us, either because there wasnt enough room, or another group was already seated. So we typically had to split off into groups of 6-8 and pick a different spot to eat. Since they are such a large wedding venue - boasting 2 weddings a day, you would think they could accomodate that. Also, they guys did not like the pants dress code. How are jeans dressier than khaki shorts? Thanksgiving the resort attempted a large outside buffet, however they ran out of turkey pretty quickly and besides turkey there were no other typical Thanksgiving fixins. The set up was nice, but the food once again disappointed.

Overall I would only give this resort an average score. Not worth the money we paid to go there. I would go there again for about $1k less and think the experience was well worth it, except for the food, but for the price I paid for this trip I was expecting a lot more and the resort just did not deliver. I am definetly disappointed and probably wont return to the Dominican - time to try a new island!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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4  Thank Raeftch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Excellence_Group, Community Manager at Excellence Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2014

Thank you very much for taking your time and sharing your experience with us.
We deeply regret that we were not able to meet your expectations since one of our main objectives is the satisfaction of our guests with the quality on the food, service and facilities.

We are very much concerned by your review since at Excellence Punta Cana we have high hygienic standards and our staff is well trained on this food & beverages safety practices. The resort undergoes continuous evaluation from external recognized institutions in order to accomplish this goal.

Our corporate customer service department remains at your disposal at customerservice@excellence-resorts.com in order to further discuss the matter or in case you require any future assistance.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 10, 2013

My boyfriend and I travelled to Excellence to celebrate our first vacation, and I can't imagine having spent it anywhere else. The food was above average when compared to other all-inclusive resorts that I've visited in the Caribbean (Beaches, among others) and the hospitality was over-the-top. I especially appreciated the "no reservation" rule at Excellence, and we never seemed to have to wait for a table. The 24/7 room service was also a perk; I have never stayed at a resort where a made-to-order burger could be delivered to me at 2am. Great food. The bartenders and wait staff, along with the entertainment crew, went out of their way to help us with our Spanish, and we left having made good friends: Ramon (Martini Bar), Victor (outdoor bar) and Ciely just to name a few. The beach was beautiful and pools and grounds were well-kept. Yes, there was a bit of construction but resorts like these are constantly updating. We stayed in a swim-up room in building 4, and the cascade pool was a nice touch. It was no surprise that the beach view was amazing; yes the water was rough but still swim-able. We traveled to relax, and not participate in excursions, and were not bored after 5 nights at this resort. The nighttime entertainment was definitely above par with a jazz musician each night in the lobby, followed by an outdoor band (lots of dancing) and then a musical act on stage. Excellent has our vote!

Room Tip: Rooms in the buildings surrounding the cascade pool (building 2,4) were quieter than in the center of the resort.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Lauren K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 9, 2013

My husband, myself and another couple visited the Excellence on November 17th to celebrate my birthday for the week. I was concerned about going to the DR because of everything we have heard over the years about it not being safe. Since three of the four of our group are retired NYPD we were even more cautious. I have to admit we were pleasantly surprised. Like all caribbean destinations people are bombarding you with transportation offers to get you to your final destination. We secured transportation directly through the hotel before we left home. They are more then happy to set up your pick up at the airport. We paid $70 US dollars for four people in an air conditioned mini van. Our driver was very nice and even stopped for us for beer (DR's Presidente - really good beer) when we asked. The ride to the resort was about a half hour. Luckily there was no traffic. There is one main road to the resort and some parts have construction going on. When we arrived at the resort we were greeted with glasses of champagne and fresh wash cloths to freshen up. After learning we were there to celebrate my birthday I was given the whole bottle. We tipped as we went along and were treated like royalty. Our bags were taken and we proceeded to check in.

There are many restaurants within the resort. Some good and some not so good. Since we are from NYC area we are privied to great food. Some reviews I read prior to the trip gave rave reviews and others not so rave. I think it depends on where you are from and the quality of food you have in your area to determine your rating on these restaurants.

Chinese/Japanese/Thai Restaurant - not good.
Steak was ordered medium/rare and came out purple - raw!
Sushi was just ok
Desert was really good
Dress Code - Men need to wear long pants. My husband came to dinner with dress shorts and had to go back to the room and change. Yet, other diners were dressed in grungy dirty jeans and flip flops were allowed to dine. Go figure.

Lobster House - not good.
Lobster came opened in half but small and mushy. Overcooked. Looked like they steam them first then keep them on the grill as needed for orders.

Las Olas - great
This is a grill/brick oven pizza eatery on the beach. Open air with music playing or a live band to teach you dancing. You can wear any attire and come right off the beach in a a wet suit and sit and eat or take your food to go. Pizza with your choice of toppings, hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries are on the menu every day. In addition, there is something different every day as well. One day was awesome baby back ribs with or without bbq sauce, another was paella, then all types of sausages, grilled/roasted chickens and spanish rice.

The Grill - very good
Steaks to order with various sides and soups. They also serve breakfast and have some tables overlooking the beautiful beach. We ate there our first morning and it was a great start to relax us from our hectic schedules at home.

Toscano - very good
Buffet for breakfast. Egg stations, egg white station and every breakfast item you can think of. Champagne mimosas every day if you like. Baby grand piano in the front and is played every morning by a very talented man.

They also serve dinner at night. Very good as well.

Oregano - good
Italian dishes and pizza. Hard to compete with NY but not horrible.

French and Spanish restaurant - we did not try.

Bars - very good service and any drink you could imagine with top shelf liquor.

Rooms -
More then adequate size with plenty of space to put your clothes away. Maid service was very good. They check your room about three times a day and keep you supplied with fresh towels. They also have a bar service that keeps you supplied with bottles of Coke, Sprite, Fanta, various beer, wine, etc. There are five or six unopened bottles of various top shelf liquor in every room. If you don't see what you like all you have to do is ask. On my birthday there was a cake on the bed made out of towels with a rose in the center. Rose petals on the bed with balloons. The hot tub in the room was filled with bubble bath rose petals and balloons as well. There was also a mini birthday cake waiting for me. It was a really nice touch.

Tips - are included but bring about $100 in singles with you and you'll be waited on hand and foot. We tipped the maid the morning we left and she hugged and thanked us and was so appreciative.

Some areas of the resort need to be maintained better. Since it is a humid climate mold grows quickly and should be addressed. Various areas could use some paint updates - around the guest rooms. The main areas are in tip top shape. What's really cool about the resort is that you can walk from your room to any of the restaurants or entertainment areas completely sheltered. It rained often. Usually at night and part of some mornings.

Excursions -
Take the free horseback ride - that was very nice. We paid a little more and added time to it.

Polaris/ATV - $180 for two people with about 1.5hours ride time through town/farms. The roads are all dirt and with the rain fall you have a blast going through puddles. Wear dark clothes and ones you may not care about if the mud doesn't wash out. We were filthy and covered in judd when we got back to resort but had a great time.

So we survived the DR. I wouldn't recommend going out on your own but utilizing the people set up by the resort or that they suggest you will be fine. As we do in NYC when we go in just use your common sense and don't wear all sorts of flashy jewelry and Coach this and that. Be aware of what's going on around you. The people we met were all very nice and hard working like us.

Oh one more thing. I also read that the beds were uncomfortable - not true. All four of us were very comfortable. Beds were not soft and mushy but firm and just right.

Enjoy!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank thumperbeau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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