Just returned from our second visit to this excellent resort, there is a reason it is continually #1 on TA!
We arrived to the hotel around 10pm and was greeted with a cool towel and "welcome home" Our bags were immediately whisked away and we continued to reception and our cold glass of champagne. Check in was easy and we were off to our room. I emailed prior with our room choice, got a speedy reply email and the the room/location that we requested.
Room: This rooms are spacious with a double sink, separate toilet and shower area, jacuzzi in room, lounge area with couch and desk and balcony. Waiting in our room were a few gifts and letter welcoming us back. The room has shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion. It also has an umbrella, iron and ironing board, hair dryer and ipod dock. We actually found the bed softer this time. The mini bar also worked better this time at keeping the drinks cold. The mini bar also had a bottle of Schmirnoff Vodka, Tequila, Dark Rum and Gin as well as Corona, Corona light, red/white wine, juice, snacks and pop. Two easy areas to improve in the rooms would be 2 comfortable chairs on the balcony (instead of the single uncomfortable chair that is currently on the balcony) and to replace the bedding with duvets. Our room was made up by the time we returned. Turn down service tended to be early (before 7:00) and so we didn't get it many nights as we were still getting ready for dinner. No big deal there at all. We were able to get late check out and when we returned to our room at the end of the day we were welcomed with a bottle of red and white wine to take home with us...classy place!
Food: We love the food at ERC.
Breakfast was a little disappointing. I'm not an egg and bacon eater and prefer waffles and pancakes. ERC does have waffles and pancakes however the two or three times I tried them they were stone cold and hard as a rock. There really should be a person making them fresh, just like there are 2 stations for people to get fresh eggs/omelettes each morning. Fresh juice and fresh fruit were amazing.
Lunch: We ate at the buffet every day but one (we went to the Grill). Love the sushi on the buffet and the salad station. We ate lunch outside every day. You can go to the Oregano and chose to visit the buffet instead of ordering off the pizza and calzone menu that Oregano offers. We did order off the menu last trip and found it was too much food...excellent...but too much.
Dinner: We ate 4 out of 6 meals at Basmati. The Indian food is excellent and really shouldn't be missed. Folks, this is your chance to try it!!! It's not spicy, unless you want it to be. Order this: potato samosa, garlic naan, basmati rice and chicken tikka masala OR butter chicken. You will not be disappointed. We had tapenyaki (cooking demo) at Spice and really enjoyed the show more than the food. We also ate at Chez Isabelle. CI was our least favourite meal and enjoyed the restaurant more at Excellence Punta Cana. Some dinner services were slow, some were quick. Our wine and water glasses were always topped and up and we were in no hurry at all. We actually enjoy a longer dinner and found the pace almost perfect most nights.
Staff: Excellence Punta Cana's staff excels at pleasing the customer. Truly something special!!! Efrain and Raul were our servers on the beach and we started to call them "Diablo Cerveza" because they brought coronas faster than we could drink them. When we begged for mercy they brought coronas and bottles of water. Hilarious and awesome at the same time. Once Efrain even snuck two beers into our coozies without us noticing (we were both on our stomachs reading). How's that for service? Luis was our server at Basmati and he too really made our vacation special.
Pools/Beach: The pools are gorgeous. Clean, clear, quiet. You are guaranteed to find a quiet or louder spot easily at any time of day. Pool are open from 7-8. We never had a problem grabbing a blue mat at the end of our day for a couple of laps of the lazy river. The beach is nice, the sand is amazing. There is a lot of seagrass that bothered us more this trip than the previous one. However, our last two trips were to Punta Cana and that beach is breathtaking and overshadowed our experience a bit here I think. You can walk the beach in either direction as long as you want. We noticed more beach vendors this trip, but they don't hassle or bother you. There is an endless supply of "help yourself" towels at each beach entrance.
The water sports centre offers complimentary lessons (hobey cat, wind surfing). I had a lesson with Eglais and was sailing a cat on my own within 5 minutes. Take advantage of this free opportunity. If you do, a small token of your appreciation to your instructor is a nice gesture. A small problem I had with the water sports team was that they pushed for a tip every time I went to sign out a hobey cat after that. I have no problem tipping my instructor who took me out and taught me how to sail. However, I'm not tipping you for handing me a life jacket and telling me which boat to take out. EVERY TIME they said "remember, I don't work for the hotel, so if you like my service please show me with a gratuity" it made me not want to go over (but I did, because I loved being out on the water on my own).
We love this hotel and its close proximity to the airport. When we return we start looking to our calendars to when we can return again. Please feel free to message me if you have any questions.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.