My wife and I stayed at Secrets from February 28th through March 4th. I booked this vacation through Secrets 1 800 line and had absolutely no problem with setting up the reservation. We flew USA 3000 and even though its a charter flight we found that the plane, crew and ultimately the flight down and back were wonderful.
I had reserved a junior suite with a garden view. My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on January 28th, but couldn't make the trip till the end of February. I had booked the trip at the end of December/ beginning of January and had made two emails and two phone calls to the hotel directly to ask about concerns or requests that I had. I wanted a 3rd floor suite for the cathedral ceilings, privacy and ocean breeze. I also asked for a king size bed. I explained about the anniversary being delayed and they noted it on our reservation.
When we arrived in Punta Cana we found the Amstar/ Apple rep that would provide transportation to the hotel. The ride was a little bumpy and approx. an hour, but its certainly nothing to complain about. Your on vacation and someone else is driving - ease up!
The bus passed several hotels and when it pulled into the Secrets complex you certainly felt that you were in the best hotel in the country. It was absolutely beautiful. Well kept gardens and pathways were picturesque to say the least. The variety of birds, domestic and wild alike were situated beautifully along a small pond in the front of the hotel.
We arrived at the hotel at 12pm. and certainly knew that there was a chance our room wasn't ready as check in wasn't until 3pm. Oscar at the concierge was very helpful with the rudimentary check in procedures and then gave us the good news that our room was ready and we could go directly to it. He explained that the bell boy would be bringing up our bags shortly. We were given a site map and showed how to get to our room, #3205. WEll the hotel had come through again giving us a third floor junior suite with an Ocean view. I was totally taken back as everything I had asked for was coming to fruition. The king size bed complete with rose petals covering towels in the shape of a snow man. It was wonderful to see that they cared as much as they did. The front desk actually called later that evening to make sure that everything was to my liking. This happened with room service as well. The morning after a late night snack (2or3 am.) the head of room service called to make sure the food was to our approval. Can you imagine how taken back we were that everyone on the staff really cared how our vacation was going. To Note - The hotel room was complete with an ironing board, new iron, Blow dryer, Coffee Maker, two (2) phones and a digital safe.
The first day we explored the extensive grounds. The ocean side of the hotel flows between the free form pool that never ends and the palapas along the beach. The pathways are clearly marked with what lies ahead, whether it be a restaurant, club house, or bar palapa. I'm more into the beach and spent considerable time sun bathing and swimming in the beautiful water. Many of the vacationers from Europe came down to watch as my wife and I rode wave after perfect wave into the beach. (We were using boogie boards the hotel supplied.) Most complained about the surf being rough, but that seemed hilarious to me. I have vacationed along the East Coast all my life and know what dangerous surf is. The waves and slight undertow couldn't compare to Ocean city, NJ. or Ocean City, Md. on one of their calmest days. WE did go snorkeling but remembered what others on this site said about walking down the beach to the right. It is much calmer there and there are plenty of fish to see. Take bread from the buffet and bananas. The fish love them and will seek you out. Alot of endless fun to be had.
The food that we had each and every day was wonderful. I still cannot understand how those that complain about the food here can honestly look themselves in the mirror. This hotel is self providing in every way. They put on wonderful displays of culinary art each day and back it up with the gourmet tastes that leave you smiling after each bite. Yes if you get to breakfast after 10:30 some of the food will be cold. Remember breakfast starts at 7am and lasts until 11 am. In the event you get there late have them fix you a freshly made omellette at any of the three omellette grills. They will also fix fresh pancakes and french toast if you ask. These cooks are always working to please. They'll ask how your vacation is going and what they can do to help. We went to the restaurant Quisqueseya ? on the first night and were blown away with the chateau Briand and the Mahi Mahi. It is probably our favorite of all seven. Go figure seven restaurants and some still complain.
I have to note we did the Star Light dinner. It seemed that it is a very special occassion and one that doesn't happen all the time. It costs $160, but it was the best money I've ever spent while on vacation- ever! WE were led down to a torch surrounded table approximately 35 yds from the crashing surf. Truly a romantic evening was ahead. There were two cloth covered chairs and an entire silverware setting for each of us. We were given our own single waiter to handle all the courses and wine servings. Murray was a wonderful fellow who made it his goal to keep up wanting for absolutely nothing. WE were given full service from specially made salads, to soups, through our lobster / filet mignon main courses. You are given two bottles of wine and a bottle of Champagne. It was a magnificent time we had that also included a trio of musicians that came down the beach and serenaded us with several songs. They were honestly very talented. The night lasted approximately 5 hours. Not once did our waiter or a hotel empoyee ask us to speed things up. It was a wonderful night we will never forget.
We had fun at the casino and got the chance to try our hands at Black Jack. WE were told to stay away from Dominican Keno, Roulette and progressive slots which we did. We broke even after a couple hours and really enjoyed our time there.
The shows were funny and got you into the act if you wanted. Trust me nobody will be seeing these revues on Broadway, but it was enjoyable. We won a bottle of Rum and a T- shirt on our last night there. It was a great time.
My wife likes to ride horses and I promised that I would see if we could run the horses on a seperate excursion. We did the Gallop ride which is not included with the hotel stay, but is also worth the extra $30. each to have a private ride through the jungle and along the ocean. Franklin was our guide for the morning run and was very helpful but did give us our space to talk and run the horses. Let me tell you that you will see horses on the way to the hotel - The horses at the ranch are much healthier and active. You can tell they are well taken care of and given special attention. The gallop ride was excellent as you can run the horses throught the jungle and then back along the beach. Several times the horses were running in the shallows of the ocean (6-8" deep) and it was like something out of a movie. This tour was only supposed to be a 45 minute tour but Franklin and the owner had told us we could have an extra 15 minutes for free, what a bonus!
We also did the included horse tour, but it was slow and crowded. Spend the extra dough and get yourself something to truly remember.
I booked a snorkeling jet boat tour through Scuba Caribe and wasn't really satisfied with our transportation to and from the location. Once there we had a great time. That would probably be my only constructive criticism, book through the apple rep, not through the Scuba Caribe. The Scuba Caribe hut was however helpful in the watersports at the hotel site itself.
I have been to Jamaica, Cancun, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and several of the nicest hotels within US borders. This hotel and its many employees have to rank as the top combination my wife and I have ever had the pleasure to stay with. With out a doubt you will have an excellent time.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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