This was our first all inclusive vacation, so other reviewers may have more experience at these resorts. We took our two adult children (18 and 21 yrs old) and had a great time. We were checked in by Roberto - what a great guy. He remembered us every time he saw us and even helped us as we were leaving. I think he works all the time. Everyone who works there is extremely friendly and at your service constantly. They really want you to have a carefree time on your vacation. Now to some details you will want to know about Excellence Punta Cana.
Travel from the airport to the resort took exactly 64 minutes. We used VIP Travel services and we had our own minivan take us directly from the airport to the resort. Our driver was very careful on the road to the resort, but what an experience. Recommend that you use VIP. The new 4 lane road will eventually reduce the travel time, but it's a long way from being finished. Mel, with VIP Travel at the Excellence resort, gave a very entertaining one hour talk about the resort and VIP's excursions (this is what he is trying to sell you). You have to attend if you want your return travel to the airport. The trip back to the airport took about 1 hour 20 minutes. We were on a full scale bus and made a stop at another resort. But, don't worry, they got us there in plenty of time to get to our airport gate.
Dress Code - Know that evening dress code is long pants and casual dress shirt for men. Most of the women wear nice dresses for the evening. Everyone remained dressed nicely the entire night. It was refreshing to see all the couples neatly dressed. You will NOT get into one of the inside restaurants wearing shorts, no matter how nice they look. The dress code is enforced.
Language Barrier - Just doesn't exist. Everyone you interact with speaks English, some speak English very well. If you can just say two words of Spanish "Hola" and "Gracias" you will be fine.
Evening Entertainment (The Shows) - Each evening there is a show in the open air theater in the main section of the resort. We saw the Michael Jackson Show, the Circus Show, and a couples "Match Game" show. We thought the Michael Jackson show was a bit overhyped based on other reviews, it was OK. The Circus show was really good and the Match Game show was hillarious. We usually got our seats about 8:00 and had drinks until the show started. There are waiters and waitresses coming by all the time to get you drinks. You never have to get up.
Drinks - Some reviewers said the drinks were too sweet or too weak. We found them to be typical frozen tropical drinks and probably a little on the weak side if you expect to get hammered on three drinks. We all liked the bannana momma, but there are many, many other frozen tropical drinks and a different drink of the day. Caution, be careful drinking 5-6 of these every day as after about three days of them all our stomachs were a little upset. Our room had a bottle of gin, bourbon, spiced rum, and vodka, plus a red wine. There were two cokes, two diet cokes, and water in the frig. There were also some snacks (peanuts, oreo cookies, and crackers). The frig was refilled once a day, but we used very little from the minibar. Other mixed drinks at the bars were normal. You can find some other beer than Presidente at the bars, but its not a bad beer.
Wifi - We found good wifi signal all around the resort except for by the casino and the Agave/Oregano restaurant area. Otherwise, the pool and our room had great wifi allowing us to keep in touch with each other and the outside world. The TV in the room must have had 75 stations and there was NBC, CBS, and ABC stations from New York.
Food - We all thought the food was very good. The breakfast buffet in the Tuscana has something for everyone. Our son had room service for breakfast each day which took about 45 minutes to arrive but he liked what he ordered. For lunch you can go to Las Olas between the beach and pool in your beach attire or to The Grill if you are dried off and clothed (coverup). We found both to be very good. Las Olas menu changed each day and the Grill had a set menu. They also bring personal size pizzas around the pool about 1:00 if you want to stay in your hut. We had very good dinners each night. We tried Barcelona, Spice, Agave, Toscana, and Oregano. Our favorite by far was Spice and Agave. One night Barcelona was good but the second try was not so good. The Barcelona and Tuscana are joined together and are NOT air conditioned. Dinner in the evening was very warm at those two restaurants. Note to Excellence - put some ceiling fans in those two large rooms to move air around.
The Pool - The pool was our relaxation spot. There were plenty of lounges in our area. I found a hut each day to get out of the sun. The girls spent some time at the beach but not much. Each day we took a stroll through the pool to the swim-up bar and then strolled through the pool with our drink back to our area. There is a second pool over by sections 1, 2, 4, and 5 but that was on the other side of the resort from our room. We only saw it in the evening when we walked to the sports bar to watch the NBA and NHL finals. Sitting by the pool, you will never be with an empty drink for more than a minute or two as the waiters come by to serve you. The pool does close at 6:00 PM.
The Room - The rooms are not 5 star - at least ours wasn't, but you aren't there for the room and we didn't spend much time there except to shower and to sleep. I've stayed in better suites at Holiday Inn Express, however, we found them acceptable. We called for a pillow top mattress cover for our beds as soon as we arrived and it came within 10 minutes. With the pillow top cover the beds were comfortable. The room with two double beds did have a frosted window into the shower so you couldn't see someone in the shower or toilet. The room with the king bed did have a clear window into the shower/toilet. Figuring out how to turn the lights on was a challenge. They conserve electricity using motion sensors, so if they go off, just move and they come back on.
Our Excursion - We took a two hour late afternoon horseback ride from an offsite vendor. It was fun. We didn't go on others because of the travel time, but we talked to some who did the dune buggy trip and they said it was really fun. There was a 1/2 day snorkel trip in two person speed boats that sounded fun, and we almost did that one. There are many other excursions available.
Final Thoughts - If you are looking for a resort without babies and little kids running around, Excellence is for you. It was very quiet and relaxing. If you want to be served constantly by very nice people, Excellence is for you. If you want to do the dune buggy excursion, bring clothes that can get very dirty. If you do change back into shorts in the evening and you venture outside the inner buildings, consider spraying some bug repellant on your legs; however, we didn't find mosquitos to be a problem as others have suggested. Take a walk to the stores (Target, WalMart, Home Depot, etc. - you'll know what I mean when you see them) on the left side of the beach for some value shopping. Bring pens to fill out the customs forms, they don't provide anything to write with. We purchased our $10 entry cards on the internet, but were put into the same line as everyone else to get through immigration, so that didn't save much time. You do NOT have to pay $10 again to leave if you keep your receipt for your entry fee. About half of the visitors at Excellence were young couples on honeymoon when we were there, but there were many couples in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. We saw two other families with their grown up children like us. We will return again some time, but next time with friends. Thanks Excellence Punta Cana for a relaxing, carefree vacation.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.