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“Paradise, Except for the Food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Excellence Punta Cana

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Excellence Punta Cana
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playas Uvero Alto, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #12 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
A TripAdvisor Member
“Paradise, Except for the Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2004

We were at Secrets from December 25 - 30. It was wonderful! The only reason I'm not giving this resort top ratings is because the food was only fair. There were plenty of choices and the presentation of it was beautiful, but no matter which of the restaurants we ate at, we never once ate a meal that was great. There is 24-hour room service in your all-inclusive package, and that food wasn't very good either.
Otherwise, Secrets was Paradise. HERE'S A HUGE TIP: The day before we left for our trip my husband called on a whim just to see if we could get our room upgraded to an Excellence Suite, since another reviewer on this site said those rooms are so much more beautiful. They said they were booked to capacity but they'd try. Well, they kept their word.
When we checked in they told us that we'd been upgraded per our request for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. It was so worth it! The suite was spectacular and all it took was one phone call. Speaking of the rooms, all the rooms have a mini bar. The mini bar is behind a cabinet door. There is a bottle opener attached to the inside of this cabinet door next to the hinges. If you don't know it's there, you probably won't see it and you'll think you can't open any bottles in your mini-bar. We brought bug spray as the reviews said we should. We were glad we did! There are mosquitoes and you will get bitten a little whether you have bug spray or not. But you'll get bitten less if you have the bug spray. To buy it there is $15 a bottle, so bring it from home (something containing DEET). The place isn't infested with mosquitoes by any means. Use common sense: It's a warm climate surrounded by water. The bites were no more than you'd get at the beach in the United States in the summer.
As for ants and roaches, as one reviewer wrote, I never saw a single one. People seemed to dress up every night and it left me wishing I'd brought a couple more sundresses. Men wore polos, shorts, and pants.
(Always so easy for them!) But most importantly, this was my 7th time to the Caribbean and I've never seen a resort nearly as beautiful as Secrets. It was breathtaking is all I can say. We were sad to come home. I've never seen a more beautiful place in my life. One more thing I'd like to throw out there: Yes, this is an all-inclusive resort. But one waiter told someone we met there that he only makes $300 US dollars a month. They are dirt poor, which you can clearly see on your bumpy bus ride as you pass people's homes. And they are so happy to accommodate you and treat you like royalty. Although gratuity is included in your package, bring a little stash of $1s with you. Every time you hand someone a dollar or two, you're handing them what they see as a lot of money. Enjoy yourself; it's a wonderful vacation!

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2003

My husband and I visited Secrets Excellence the week of 12/21/03! We took advantage of the last minute deala and booked the trip 3 days before departure. What a GREAT resort! THE GOOD: the entire resort is spotless and well maintained; the beach is very clean and although the waves were wild right at the resort, if you walk 5 minutes east, the water is very calm. The food was yummy, although the wait sometimes was long... 30min on average. The entertainment was spectacular...every night there was a 10pm show, followed by a disco night that had different themes every night. During the day we spent a lot of time just relaxing by the main pool, which is where most of the day entertainment took place (e.g. food carving lessons, cooking lessons, dancing lessons, aqua-exercize, tequilla contests, etc.) The staff was extremely polite, however, at times there were misunderstandings due to language barriers. The only BAD experience I can remember was the ride to the resort. It was very long (1 hour) and bumpy. So pack your sunblock, sandals, sunglasses and bathing suits and get ready to have a memorable experience!

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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2003

We went for 8 days and 7 nights on our honeymoon, got in a day after the tropical storm (December 8th) By then the bugs had blown out to sea! Beautifully manicured grounds, unbelievably clean. Friendly staff, mostly bilingual. We had all to eat and drink that we could handle, and didn't even get to all the restaurants in 7 nights of dinners!
Definately go to the Mexican Restaurant, best service and very talented mariachi band going table to table. Honeymooners treated to a special dinner and room amenities. Mini-fridge stocked daily with bottled water and sodas, as well as beer and rum. Room service 24 hours a day with plenty to choose from. No venders to bother you on thte beach (as I've experienced elsewhere) and plenty of included activities if you get tired of lounging. Was heartboken to leave! Highly recommend this resort, even if it is an hour from the airport! P.S. not a single crying child within miles! Adults only is a must!

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A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2003

We went to secrets Dec 1-Dec 8th and it was a beautiful place.
Unfortunately due to our travel plans we did not arrive at the resort until 5:30pm, so missed a great day of sun, which was hard to come by the week we went. We had a garden view room, however we were supposed to get an ocean view- apparently they were all taken. the room was nice with a nice balcony- as all rooms have a balcony or patio- which our travel agent was unaware of- we had the excellence club- which slightly made up for our lack of an oceanview room. They had little snacks, sushi, dessert, and brought you drinks as well- Juan was so nice- please talk to him!

The food was okay- lobster was very small- breakfast buffet had a lot to offer- went to the Mexican- which had slow service, but we did go later in the evening- food was good though. The french was also good for any kind of fish and chateaubriand. The mediterranean- they really did not use any special sauces- it was just lobster or just clams, or just shrimp. The lobster was the same in the Texas restaurant- very small and they just give you a tiny tail and chop the lobster in half- no claws- but lunch was good there. We went to the Italian for lunch and dinner buffet- it was okay- the pasta was pretty good. Never made it to the Asian. Room service wasn't bad- they tell you forty-five minutes is their basic wait time- sometmes they come early sometimes they don't- minibar was stocked and re-stocked daily. Drinks were great- try the coco loco and they have a huge drink menu at the lobby bars- house wine is from chile- it was alright

Water was rough, but warm and fun to jump in the waves- if you walk down the resort- it is much calmer- there must be a reef there for the waves to break - we got a lot of coral- couldn't snorkerl though because of the bad weather- we were refunded for the snorkel excursion, though- they also let you borrow the snorkel equip from the watersport area- got the professional pics done- they turned out really nice- black and whites are more expensive and they did not offer us the negatives

Bugs were bad at the outdoor restuarants at night, at the lobby bars and theater, and on our room balcony- we sprayed and were still itching a week after we got back

all in all it was a nice trip- too bad we had a tropical storm- might try another island next time

  • Stayed December 2003
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Potomac, MD
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2003

We spent five nights last week at Secrets with our best friends. We were a little apprehensive about the trip given the very low price and some of the comments on this board. My most recent comparisons were a stay at the Ritz Carlton in Jamaica and the Casitas at the Conquistador - two of the very few five diamond AAA resorts in the Carribean. While this resort could not compare to these two top Carribean resorts in finishes, we were pleasantly surprised. The resort is very beautiful, the staff is very friendly with only a few exceptions (although it definitely helps to speak a little spanish!), the resort is immaculate (four guys sweep the entire pool daily - I never saw even a leaf in the pool during the day, the maids mop the tile pathways at least daily, etc.), and there is plenty to do although we were glad that we went with friends. I'd say that the guests are 50% Northeastern US, 25% European, and 25% misc. The crowd is predominatly solid middle class.
The food was OK - it got better as we figured out what to eat and what not to. Definitely try the gellato at night in the main/Italian restaurant! Even though there are so many options in the carribean, we would go back to secrets.

ps We stayed in the Excellence Club - definitely worth the money for the additional service - separate check in, they arranged for private cabs from the airport which saves at least an hour on both ends, single malt scotch in the private lounge, excellent service including some amazing personal help - definitely be nice to Deborah, she can work miracles!

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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2003

Secrets Excellence, only a name? We think not,a first class hotel set in a tropical paradise of luxuious gardens, white sand beaches and swaying palms filled with coconuts! We recently spent 12/9-16 in this resort and if there is a down side to it the only complaint would be that our ceiling fan broke on day 2 and apparently replacement units are hard to come by in the Dominican Republic and so we lived without it for the duration, not in surmountable. Food, choose from French,Texas style, Mexican, Dominican, Italian, Seafood, or Oriental.
Not a bad meal was to be had in any restaurant. If you go to the Mexican, don't leave without savoring mega amounts of a local topping called pico de gauaio. We experienced impeccable service, our room was cleaned to perfection each day and our mini- fridge was well stocked an extra dollar or 2 here and there gets you extra's such as extra coffee and towels. Off site tours are readily available through a few select on site tour companies, Apple and Prieto are the 2 that seem to have the biggest following. We used Prieto, but found the Apple tours to be better organized. If you go on the Quervo Fun Fun cave tour, it is not for the faint of heart! After a 30-45 min horseback ride there is a good one-hour hike through some VERY rugged terrain of narrow paths, steep hills and very rocky. The cave itself is gorgeous but take a swimsuit and change of clothes, you will be wet and muddy upon completion of the tour and a video of your adventure is available for a nominal fee on VHS, CD or DVD. Also worth the price was the Jeep Safari, be prepared for drivers that know not what traffic lights or stop signs are or know which side of the road to drive on assuming the one or 2 roads we were on were even paved. A fun time though and the opportunity to see and get a feel for the local people. Manati park the last tour we took was also fun, a chance to see some of the island residents of the non-human persuasion. A cute parrot show along with a horse show was nice but the highlite of the tour was the chance to swim with the dolphins, at the dolphin and sea lion show you have a chance to get a kiss from a very affectionate sea lion a moment you will not soon forget, and they will capture it on film for you, for a nominal fee of course. All in all, Secrets Excellence is a first rate hotel, with a caring and dedicated staff who went out of their way to make us comfortable and happy. We would go back in an instant, worth the few extra bucks.

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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2003

Our trip was from 12/9 to 12/16. The grounds is impeccably kept. We missed the tropical storm which went on for 3 days from what we were told.The weather was perfect, rained twice in the early a.m. Of course there were a few mosquitos but we brought bug spray. My husband and I did a couple of the tours. If you do the cave tour, wear some underthings that you don't care if they are stained forever. This tour is not for the faint of heart. Very steep mountain climb and some treacherous footing in the cave itself. I am 48 and my husband is 53 and we might have changed our mind had we known how hard it was but we had a great time doing it. The food, staff and room we had was perfect.
We had a double balcony. Even if they don't speak any English they try so hard to please. I don't know how anyone could have a problem with the food. All of the restaurants were fantastic. The beach is beautiful, ocean is rough but you can still get in it. The ocean is warmer than the two pools though. Never had any problem with people hoarding boards or anything. Would do it again in a minute!

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Additional Information about Excellence Punta Cana

Address: Playas Uvero Alto, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#5 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#6 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#11 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family 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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