My husband and I recently visited Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for our 20th anniversary. We stayed at the Excellence Resort, an adults only all-inclusive property. Wow. Just loved it! From the moment we stepped out of the van that transported us from the airport (where we received a glass of champagne, a cooled cloth for our necks and a friendly "Welcome Home!!"), until the sad day we left, we were treated like royalty. Where to begin? The service everywhere was impeccable. They were eager to please and accommodated special requests. The food in the restaurants that we went to was awesome- especially loved Spice (Pan-Asian cuisine), Chez Isabelle (French), and The Grill (which is anything but your basic American Grill type place- the steaks there were PHENOMENAL!). All beverages (including alcohol) are included, as well.
They have an optional "Excellence Club", which we paid the few extra dollars for. Included in that is access to a special lounge where you can sign out iPads (for use in the lounge), get yummy special snacks all day long, watch TV, have a drink. You are also provided top shelf liquor in your room, and a never- empty mini bar. When we arrived in the room, there was a bottle of champagne ready to be chilled waiting for us. We also had access to a special area of the beach, with it's own concierge. Less crowded, more beach beds. Loved it. Worth the extra few dollars, in my opinion.
The room we stayed in was called the Junior Swim-Up Suite. We were able to walk out of our ground floor room and jump right in the Excellence Club only pool. We also had a bar within a one minute walk from our door. There is also a swim-up bar further down the pool from where we stayed. But back to our room. Wonderful jacuzzi bathtub (they even provide incense for the right atmosphere), and a shower with an awesome ceiling mounted shower head that provided a nice "rain-like" shower (there was also a hand held shower head). It did seem, however, that housekeeping came rather late in the day.
There are plenty of fun activities nearby, too, if you wish to add some adventure to your vacation. We went horseback riding on the beach, and we did a deep sea fishing trip, as well. There are tour group representatives off to one side of the lobby every day should you wish to book an excursion (I heard the zip-lining was incredible).
One thing you need to beware of: as in all resort areas, there are locals out to make a buck. Most are quite friendly, but they can be a little pushy. They will usually try to bargain with you not just for money, but for alcohol. They are well aware that alcohol is provided as part of the price you already paid. Do NOT give them bottles of alcohol out of your room. The Excellence is more than happy to replace a bottle that you drank, but if they don't find the empty one, you may be charged a pretty penny for it when you check out.
There are shows every night- some are a little cheesy, but the "circus" show we caught one night (more of an acrobatic show) was amazing! There are plenty of places on the resort to visit and hang out at during the evening, or you may even want to schedule a dinner on the beach!
One thing everyone must do while there is take a stroll around the gardens. I was so impressed with the landscaping and all of the wildlife- beautiful birds (including flamingos!), turtles, we were even surprised by a chicken that came walking out from under a bush! The grounds are simply beautiful.
We visited in January, and the weather wasn't quite as perfect as we were hoping. We seemed to get more clouds than what they say is usual (a few days were clouds-sun-clouds-sun, we had one day of yucky-ness), but we did have a couple of gorgeous days toward the end of the week. Slacks aren't too much at night- it hovered in the mid 70's. During the day, low to mid 80's, depending on how much sun was around. I hear it is quite steamy in the summer, so I don't think I would go then. Perhaps a little later in the winter or early spring would be the best time.
My husband and I have decided not to wait another 20 years before returning! I hope this review is helpful to you, and I hope you enjoy your visit to the Excellence, Punta Cana!
By the way, I give only 4 circles for location, because it takes quite a while to get there from the airport. The beach is just as beautiful as anywhere, but it's a good hour from the airport, especially if your van has visitors to drop at other resorts (the Excellence is the furthest from the airport, so you are the last to be dropped off).
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.