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“Worth more than what you'll pay!!!” 5 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 #10 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
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“Worth more than what you'll pay!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2004

Went to Secrets July 5 - July 9 and here's my take on it. We've been to Couples Negril twice and loved it there and were concerned that we wouldn't enjoy Secrets as much. We definitely did and would love to return again.

The beach at Secrets is Awesome and not just because you feel as though your resort is the only resort in the world when you are there. I'd recommend going to Secrets just to feel the breeze comming off the Atlantic in the evening along with hearing the sound of the waves. Talk about an aphrodesiac (sp). I chased my wife around pretty much the whole time we were there; and we've been married for over 10 years!!

The food is different. We are not picky eaters at all and are willing to try anything. For instance, at the Mexican restaurant, there is a Dominican menu that changes every couple of days. We went and had an enjoyable evening dining on Goat Fricase... This is something we have never had in the States and probably will never have again but it was definitely worth eating just so I could tell the fellas at work "Man, you haven't lived until you've had Goat Fricase!!!" Worst case scenario, eat the spaghetti if you don't like anything else. Oh, by the way, you can eat at the snazzy restaurant as often as you like. Couples Negril definitly had better food and great food is definitely important when we are on vacation however, we would still return to Secrets even though there is better food at other all inclusive resorts.

Little known secret about Secrets... there are hot and cold pools in the Spa that you do not pay extra for that seemed to have almost no one but us using when we were there. I'll admit, that was kind a nice (see end of 2nd paragraph in this review ;-).

Plus, immersing your entire body in 34 degree water then jumping in a hot tub... what a rush!!!

We really loved the room although we were not in it very much.

I'm not much of a crowd person and resort entertainment is usually not my cup of tea however, the evening shows are usually pretty good.

It does help to know some Spanish as my wife knows it pretty well, we never ran into a language barrier. However, if all you know is English, you should still have a great time as long as you realize that Spanish is their primary language and YOU are the outsider, not them.

By the way, if you've been reading the lousy reviews of this resort, pay close attention to how petty the complaints are... "boo hoo hoo, the maid didn't turn down my blankey, now how can I go to sleep?!?"

GO and have fun!!!

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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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5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2004

This is one of the most beautiful resorts my wife and I have ever been too. We went there on our honeymoon from June 20-30. I can't believe all of the trouble the couple from New York had to go through my condolences goes out to you. This must have been a rare incident that occurred. Our stay at Secret's was incredible. They paid attention to every detail. All the people that worked there made you feel very comfortable. I tried to communicate to them in Spanish while they were talking to me in English. In some of these reviews, people mentioned that they got sick stomachs from there. My wife and I never had a problem from any of the food. The only problem I had was I drank to many coconut drinks and that upset my stomach since coconuts are a natural laxative. Maybe some of the people were confusing being sick from food instead of all the coconut drinks they had. As for the resort, the landscape is absolutely gorgeous. There are palm trees, exotic plants and fountains all over the resort. It is the perfect atmosphere for romance. There are 7 restaurants in the resort. We ended up going to 5 out of 7 and all the food except for Chinese was great. We enjoyed the seafood restaurant and Tex-Mex. They had great lobster and steak dinners. We also loved service we recieved in the restaurants with the waitors allowing us to try the wine before pouring it into both of our glasses. Some people complained about the food, but they must just be too picky of eaters. We are not picky so we were happy with the food. We loved the fact that there are snack bars convienently located throughout the resort. You could always get a snack and a drink throughout the day starting at 10AM. Our room had a beautiful panoramic ocean view and it was spotless everyday. The maids always took great pride in cleaning our room. As for the rest of the resort, an outstanding idea is the professional photographs you can get taken around the resort. They do not cost that much, and we believe it the best, most memorable souveniors, we could get. We really enjoyed this resort thoroughly. We loved the impecable service of the resort, the landscape, and the attention to detail to make our honeymoon the most wonderful, memorable, romantic experience we ever encountered. We hope to go back one day!!

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A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2004

We went for our honeymoon. I work in the industry and this is the worst experience of poor customer service, I have EVER experience. Just so you get the jist of what happend while we were there, read the letter I wrote to our travel agent upon our return.

Sean,

Thank you for all your help thus far in trying to get this straightened out. I am sending you a copy of the first 3 pages of the fax I sent on Monday July 5th, 2004, to Secrets. The other two pages of the fax were all the travel vouchers that were given to the resort at the time of arrival. I am also sending a copy of our registration card that clearly shows our departure date as July 13th, 2004. Marco Soria, the Rooms Division manager, has written a letter stating we did not occupy the honeymoon suite during out last night, I have enclosed this letter. The final page I am sending is a copy of the travel voucher for the Helicopter tour that was to take us to the airport.

I feel that we are entitled to a full refund of one nights stay at Secrets Excellence, Punta Cana for the following reasons:

Prior to the incident on Monday the 12th the following things occurred:
The bus that picked us up from the airport was an over crowed mini van. 5 couples were squeezed into a 5 passenger van and I was forced to sit on the floor.
On Thursday July 8th, 2004 we did not receive the requested 6:30am wake-up call causing us to be late for a tour that we had booked.
We did not receive turn down service for last 4 days of our stay. I left a voice mail for guest services to find out if we had done something wrong, but I did not receive a call back. On the last night of our stay, I called housekeeping directly and asked for turn down service, I was assured the maid would be there right away. We left for dinner and when we returned our bed had not been turned down. (Special turn down was to be a part of our honeymoon package as stated on their website)
We did not have robes or slippers (Also, stated on Secrets Website).
On Monday, July the 12th, 2004:
We received a phone call about 1:00pm, a women called and acted like she had the wrong number. This call awoke us from a nap.
Around 2:00pm we received a phone call from the front desk asking us if we checking out, when I told him we weren’t checking out until the next day, he didn’t have a very pleasant attitude.
Just a few minutes later some one from housekeeping, who seemed to be a supervisor, knocked on the door and entered. We had the Do Not Disturb sign in the door as we were in our room in our under garments getting ready for lunch. I found this very embarrassing and rude.
We quickly got dressed and went to the desk to sort out the misunderstanding. The guest service representative, whose name I do not remember, (Property Management System ID letters I believe to be CSP) informed us there was a problem but he would not give us any information and wanted us to speak with Oscar Ramirez, the Reception Manager. Once we met Oscar, I was appalled by the way we were treated. Oscar informed us that there was no written confirmation that we were departing on the 13th. I asked him if he had an alternative arrangement for us, at which point he informed us he didn’t care where we stayed but our stay at the Secrets resort had commenced and we needed to get out because he needed the room. I felt very belittled and insulted by this man. When I started to raised my voice because I was upset he started to raise his voice back at me. Being the guest and being in the industry I feel I had every right to raise my voice when he would not listen to my side of the story.
So after much aggravation I decided to walk away from the situation and let my husband handle it. He wasn’t getting any where with Oscar. So, Ashley decided to find someone else. Marco Soria, the Rooms division manager took over the case from there. After Ashley had found Marco, I joined them in their conversation. Soon after Ashley started explaining the entire situation to Marco and things had been squared away with our travel agency, Marco produced our registration card, which clearly stated we were to depart on the 13th. When I pointed out the departure date Marco assured us we were right and there was nothing else they could do but accommodate us. He did offer us complimentary pedicures and he offered to comp our incidental charges. I felt this was the least they could do for the amount of stress the had caused us.
Marco then asked us to change rooms, reluctantly we did. He promised us he would send a letter stating we were not in the honeymoon suite for our final night, to our room. When we went to claim our things our room had been cleaned and all the amenities had been replaced. The box to my expensive brassiere had been thrown away and I had to dig through the trash to recover it. We were then put in a room to the far back of resort; we went from building 3 to building 12. The room was smaller and had cobwebs on the door way to the sink and tub and on the lamp shades. The room looked out to some bushes and a mossy fountain. We couldn’t even hear the ocean from this room.
After we got settled into this new room we realized we didn’t have our tooth brushes. The hotel had provided some in our last room. So I called for 2 more. 45 minutes and 2 phone calls later we finally got our tooth brushes.
Monday was the last full day of our honeymoon we were planning to relax and spend some time on the beach building a sand castle. It was rainy morning, and I realize the resort has no control over the weather but we were detained for 3 hours in the lobby during the only sunshine of the day. We did not get lunch and we did not get to build our sand castle, or much less even enjoy the last day of our vacation. We were so upset by the situation that we did not sleep much of the final night.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get much worse, we went to check out on Tuesday Morning, luckily we went early because Marco had not sent the letter he promised to our room and he had not comped our incidental charges. So we had to wait about 45 minutes to find him, get the letter, adjust the room charges, and then get a copy of a zero balanced bill.
We then went to take our helicopter ride to the airport. We were scheduled to be picked up at 12:30pm as the voucher states. When we got to the launch pad there was another couple that was scheduled for 12:25pm. The co-pilot of the helicopter told us they would take the other couple to airport and then return to pick us up. This caused us not to leave the resort until 1:30pm. When we got the airport we had about 30 minutes to get through security and get to our gate before boarding. I feel we should receive a partcial refund for this trip because even though, we did get to the airport, it is not fair for us to have paid $250 to stress out about getting to the airport on time.
Being the last day of our honeymoon, all of this unnecessary inconvenience ruined our trip and left us with a very bad taste in our mouth. We had called home during our trip to our friends and told them we were going to have to stay at the secrets in Cancun, during our trip next year. After this incident we will never consider or recommend Secrets Resorts to anyone.

It has been a week since we have been back, and I still haven't received any kind of apology from the hotel or any hint of a refund.

Please for your sanity, do not go here!

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2004

My wife and I just got back from Secrets Punta Cana (July 12-19) and had a wonderful time.

Resort: An extremely bumpy, one-hour ride awaits you after landing. The ride is also saddening as you see the severe poverty most live in. The front desk is not terribly friendly and made an awful first impression on us. They did serve champagne as we waited in line, which was classy. If you are looking for top service with a smile, your chances are slimmer here (at least that was our experience). The grounds are spectacular- simply beautiful from entrance to beach.

Room: Our room was very nice and kept very clean. We made great use of the hot tub. We lucked out with a partial ocean view. Beautiful and impressive. The wet bar was well-stocked at all times and was quite handy.

Food: Do not expect five-star here, though the food was decent, definitely not worthy of the complaints read online. Just bring plenty of Immodium or other stomach medicines. Do not drink tap water and use bottled water even for brushing your teeth. Though we didn’t have seafood, others advised to stay away (except lobster). Service is friendly and good but be prepared to wait longer than you are used to. It’s very laid back. Mexican and Texas steakhouse were the best restaurants, though we didn’t eat at the nicest one (collared shirt required) that others raved about. No reservations needed anywhere.

Beach: Simply wonderful. Clean sand and beautiful turquoise water. The surf can be strong and probably doesn’t break like you are used to so be careful. Waves, after cresting, flush backwards and forwards and kind of flush out instead of riding straight to the beach. There was never a problem finding a chair, or even a covered hut with a hammock, at any time like we have heard about other resorts.

Pools: The large free-form pool with swim-up bar was neat and was more crowded of the two. The cascade pool was gorgeous and much less crowded. We spent all of our pool time there.

Bars: The beach bar is by far the best. Best view, best bartenders, best drinks. Coco Loco (served out of a fresh cut coconut), Dirty Banana, and the infamous Mama Juana (a local concoction that is smooth and a real ass-kicker) are the big favorites. Liquor is top-shelf.

Entertainment: There are nightly shows, which I found a bit trite, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them. And they do try very hard. The disco was fun as well.

Activities/Water Sports: There are plenty of activities if you are looking to do something other than lay out or swim. We found no time for them, though. Boogie boards, catamarans, snorkeling, etc. were all readily available. The included horseback ride was great. Excursions are plentiful but have heard mixed reviews about some. When it comes to excursions, see if you can talk to people who have already done what you want to try. Also, understand that most excursions take up most of the day, leaving no time for much else.

Employees: Tip, tip, tip! The service is good but it’s out-of-this-world when you tip. American money is preferred since it is stronger than the peso. Take care of your maid and your favorite bartender especially. You will live like royalty. They couldn’t do enough for us. We were completely fawned over. They appreciated the fact that we appreciated their efforts and it just made them want to do more and more. By the third day, we could hardly pass an employee without a sincere and friendly greeting by name. I can’t tell you how important this is in making a difference in your stay.

Misc.: This was our first trip and loved it immensely. We will definitely go back. We also met others who had been to other resorts and they said Secrets was the best in comparison. It is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Go through Apple, or really look for a deal. Those we met that didn’t go through Apple all paid several hundreds more, in some cases close to a grand.

Contact: There is a lot to be said, so if you need more details, please feel free to contact us for more information. We did exhaustive research in advance and made the right choice, but it would have been nice to talk to someone instead of reading through hundreds of reviews that often made it confusing. Feel free. Jsmattingly@yahoo.com

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2004

As a employee of a tour operator I have had many oppertunityies to travel. One thing you must understand is when traveling to the Dominican Republic you are in a third world country. The food is not going to be what your used to. It will be satisfactory at most. I have stayed in over a dozen diff resorts in Punta Cana and you will be impressed by Secrets more than any other in every aspect. Food,entertainment,service,landscape you name it they will top it. Of course the hotel will have those few clients who give it a 1 star cmon now. Just because you can't be pleased does not mean this is a bad hotel. As a person in the travel industry secrets is by far the BEST hotel in the Dominican. If you have any questions email me at billsincavage@rcn.com.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2004

My wife and I just returned on July 19th from our vacation. We have traveled to a few islands now (Bahamas, Jamaica, Virgin Islands) and have stayed in all inclusive resorts each time and this one has been the best yet. The resort, grounds and people are absolutely top notch. We were greeted with mimosa’s and check in was a breez.

The ride from the airport is not as bad as every one complains about, our driver actually pulled over to a local restaurant so we could all get a drink. I think these people must not travel much, because most of the islands to not have great roads.

We had no problem with misquotes although we did the B1 vitamins offered at the front desk. This is supposed to help.

Restaurants:
The food is good not the best we’ve have ever had but that‘s the same on all the vacations we’ve on. The Mexican is the worst like most of the reviews say and room service food, not the service is terrible. Do not order your breakfast from room service, go to the Italian restaurant and have them cook it for you, its great!

Rooms:
The rooms are very nice and spacious. The room was very clean and the mini bar was always stocked. I would definitely recommend an ocean view or pool walk room after being there, they are much more convenient.

Beach:
The beach was absolutely beautiful and you can walk forever and feel very safe. This is very nice. The waves are huge, so a little different than what we were used to but the change was nice.

Activities:
If you get bored easy there are plenty of things to do just look for the activity board in the lobby, there always lots of fun events going on. There is no reason to get board here.

Tour’s:
I can not stress this one enough. Do not waist your money on the Manati Park!!! The park takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk through and you spend 5 minutes in the pool with the Dolphins and they drag the whole thing out for 5 hours. What a waist!!!! Plus it’s the smallest pool I ever saw for Dolphins. Apparently all four died last year and these are new ones. The swimming with sharks snorkeling tour was not good either, not very good snorkeling the worst we have ever done. The jeep excursion was great! Its pretty much all day but you see a lot of the county side, walk through one of the plantations and meet the people and have a great lunch.

You will love this vacation!! Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2004

We just returned from the best vacation of our lives. Secrets Excellence is unbelievable. The people who work there are the friendliest we have ever met. The bus ride from the airport was a bit bumpy, but you get to see how these people live as you drive through the small towns. When we arrived at the resort we were greeted with a champagne/ orange juice coctail, and a cold towel. Nice touch. As we arrived around 11:00A.M. our room wasn't ready, which would be the case at almost any hotel. Not a problem, we just headed out to the pool, and over to one of the many hut bars, for some food and drinks. Try the Coco Loco, it's served in a hollowed out coconut shell, and tastes great! Our room was soon ready and we were totally impressed with it. We were on the 3rd floor and our room had cathedral ceilings with painted artwork on the walls. From our balcony you could see the ocean from the right, and the mountians from the left, and a beautiful garden below. The ocean is a beautiful torquiose color, and the waves were great for body surfing. The main pool is huge and never seemed crowded, even at the swim up bar. The food was great. We loved the steak house. And no, we didn't get sick. Just don't drink the tap water in the room and you'll be fine. (They provide you with plenty of bottled water in your room for brushing your teeth etc.) We never once saw a mosquito, or any other bugs for that matter. Do bring a good sunblock, SPF 30, or higher. The staff there is just unbelievable. They wait on you hand, and foot. A little hint, bring plenty of $1 bills for tipping. They will wait on you hand, and foot even if you don't tip them, but these people deserve a little extra. They work 14-14hr. days straight, then 3 days off, for $45, so a dollar tip is very much appreciated. We had no problems at all. Nothing to complain about. Nothing! It will be the best place you ever visit, and if you're like us, you can't wait to go back.

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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:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#8 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#9 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#28 Business Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Excellence Punta Cana 4.5*
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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