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“Relaxing Stay During the Off-Season”

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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #18 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
New Jersey
Level Contributor
53 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Relaxing Stay During the Off-Season”
Reviewed February 10, 2013

We came to Excellence in late August/early September, during the off-peak season, and it was quiet and relaxing. The resort was less than half-full, and we truly felt like the we had the place to ourselves.

After the drive from the airport (about an hour), we were warmly welcomed with champagne as we headed to check in. Check in was a breeze, and the open air lobby area is gorgeous. The rooms were nice; quite large, with an unobstructed view of the ocean and beach from the balcony. After one day there, we realized that the balcony doors must be closed all the way in order for the air conditioner to start in the room. Interesting feature. Housekeeping could not have been more lovely--non-intrusive but helpful when you needed them. I requested more coffee and received it immediately. When we did not want to be disturbed, we were given our space.

The grounds were very nice, and the pool area is large. Due to the lack of crowds, we had the pool practically to ourselves, as well as the lounge chairs. The beach was great too; there was an ample amount of space and lounge chairs, and was somwhat private. The surf was rough when we visited, so we mainly swam in the pools.

There are vendors on the premises that visit. They are somewhat agressive with their selling tactics, but friendly enough. At first glance appear to be resort empolyees.

All of the restaurants were great. We particularly loved the Lobster House, and ended up there two nights in a row. There were plently of choices. The breakfast buffett was wonderful! So many juices (watermelon juice, yum!).

We lost money in the casino (of course), but liked the fact that they had one. It is small, and very 1970s-gaudy, or, if you prefer, retro-not-so-chic. It was cool in a kitschy kind of way. I think the slot machines still spt out quarters.

They offered a lot of activities like Pilates, Yoga, and Spanish lessons) plus some fun night activities like karaoke, and a Michael Jackson impersonator who was actually quite good. They love MJ in the DR. We were also free to just relax in peace if we wanted. My husband did take an ATV tour on the beach that he said was interesting.

It is a far drive from the airport. But we had a fabulous time there.

Room Tip: Close the Balcony and romm doors all the way, otherwise the AC will not turn on.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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6 Thank LaBurladdora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Maple Grove, Minnesota
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Feb 3 - Feb 8th My wife and I just recently returned from our trip here. It was so relaxing. The staff was nice, polite, friendly, and went out of their way to make us happy. There were staff cleaning and doing upkeep all the time. This resort was consistently working at maintaining a perfect atmosphere. We never wanted for food or drink. I am perplexed by the reviews that knock the food here. There were some that weren't to my taste, but the quality was always top notch. We can't wait to return.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank jon b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2013

My husband and I vacationed here with my sister and her husband from Jan 31 to Feb 9.

I loved the beach here and thought one of the best things about it was the fact that there were no other resorts around. If you're concerned about the rough surf, you can find a spot without breakers to bob around on the right facing the ocean just a few yards away from the resort boundary - and within sight of the place we sat all week. If you walk a few minutes more there's an even bigger area that's calm. We brought our mask and snorkels, but there's not much to see here. Be careful of the coral! There were people riding the waves with boogie boards everyday and it was fun to watch them. My husband and brother-in-law both used them one day but weren't able to catch the waves most of the time.

We took advantage of the 30 min horse back ride on the beach that is provided by the resort. I haven't been on a horse since I was a kid (so 50 years?) but the horses are pretty small and I enjoyed it but wouldn't want to do it for any longer. We contemplated going on a snorkeling excursion, but heard we'd have to travel more than an hour each way so decided against. I recommend walking the grounds, they are beautifully maintained and lovely to see. The flamingoes in the "Ecological Park" were a nice touch I thought.

The food was fine, for the most part. I did think the meal I had at Agave was perhaps cooked at another site and then reheated at the restaurant. The red wine was pretty good and if you don't like what's poured, they'll offer other options. We enjoyed the espresso martinis at the bar in the lobby. I think the quality of drinks was very high and they certainly were plentiful. We were offered the "drink of the day" every morning on the beach around 10:00.

Towards the end of our stay they put out floats in the pool and we had no trouble finding ones to use. I enjoyed my time in the pool, but the only day I burned was the day I lounged on the pool float. Coincidence?

We stayed in Room 6107, that's in the arm of building 6 that faces a pond. It had a view of the mountains (as well as a work building that wasn't quite as beautiful) and we enjoyed sitting on the balcony before getting ready for dinner. It was quiet and peaceful. The other 2 arms seemed to be a bit noiser - one faces the elevator and the other is along the staff access route (lots of carts rumbling along there). Bldg 6 is closest to the restaurants, lobby and beach/pool access. A very nice touch was the paper the turn down service left every night detailing what was happening the next day - just like you get on a cruise. It cracked up my husband that they listed sunrise an hour late every day.

One huge thing to note is that if you have a gluten allergy please bring it to the attention of management immediately and ask to speak to the head chef. My sister informed guest services of her condition, was given a card to show to the wait staff at all of the restaurants, but was made sick twice during the stay. Once management was consulted, they made sure all the rest of her meals (once she was well enough to eat that is) were really gluten free. They also bent over backwards to try and make it up to my sister.

I loved our stay here but feel I should mention the property is revealing its age a bit. The day I arrived, I was surprised to see cracks (mended) in the marble steps and in the bathroom as well as other places that either had been or needed to be repaired. After a couple of days I stopped noticing those kinds of things, I think because the beauty of Punta Cana and the excellent service were so impressive.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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8 Thank claytonleague
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2013

This resort is the most romantic resort that we have ever been to. We have been south about 15 times, all to different resorts, but this one takes the cake! The staff are amazing, and the property is so well kept there are no bad views! It doesn't matter where you are sitting you will see a clean kept beach, or beautiful landscaping. The hotel staff are out every morning trimming and cutting to make sure there are no dead leaves anywhere.

The staff are very friendly, and really do pamper you. Even if you are just relaxing by the pool or beach someone will come and take your drink order. Or someone else may walk by with something to eat.

The rooms are great, our room was a garden view, and wow what a beautiful view! We have had other "garden views" before where we look out at some weeds or un-kept plants, but this was a beautiful little pond with a fountain, statues and nice gardens. The only thing unusual to note is the window looking from the shower into the bedroom. It is a little strange not having the privacy while using the toilet, or having a shower, but no big deal. You can always kick your spouse onto the balcony for a bit.

We were there over the Christmas/New Year break and never had to wait in line during the day for anything. Normally we find this time of year very busy and need to be extra patient when looking for lounge chairs at the beach, or getting drinks at the bar, but that was not the case here.

We are going back in April, this will be our first "repeat" trip, and we are looking forward to it very much!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Kinskey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix
Level Contributor
91 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Our friends visited one of their locations in Mexico and loved the entire experience - these are friends that we've actually travelled with in Jamaica a couple of times and stayed at Sandals.

My husband and I wanted to dig our toes in the sand (Floridians living in the desert now) and decided that for our Christmas present to each other, we'd plan a trip. We were there from Jan 19-26 and had a wonderful time- weather was perfect each day. We love going to beaches where we can walk for an hour or more, and this is exactly what we enjoyed doing each day. Felt very safe. When you leave the property and head north (to the left), you will reach Zoetry resort (beach was never well kept there...by the way). To the right, another rather large property and then Dreams. Yes, vendors outside of the property and they usually just ask you to stop in on your return. Not the same as Jamaica where they constantly come to you (sometimes three at a time) to include "Farmer John." So, a much more pleasurable encounter. We've been to a few islands, as well as living in the Philippines for three years, so I don't need any wood carvings or t-shirts or knick-knacks. But, if you do - go and enjoy seeing what they have! From those that would go and shop and bring their goodies back to their beach chairs...it look liked they got some fun things.
We decided to go for the Excellence Club level - ocean view. Yes, we were in Bldg 14 - furthest from anything. But, oh so quiet. Do NOT think I would have like being in this building with a garden view as it views towards the shops which are off property (noise, dogs, etc). I'll be attaching some photos, and took one from near the stairs which shows this area.
The pool area was very nice and it didn't look as if those had problems getting chairs. We were up early in the morning to go to the gym and people already had their chairs "marked" - shoes/books,etc. Again, we are beach people and I guess if I didn't have a pool in my backyard, I may have wanted to spend time by the pool, too. I did bring my little float chair (ring ) so that when we did go to the pool, we just floated along to cool off. Speaking of things to bring - we also brought our "bubba" kegs which kept our drinks cold and ice from melting. They had no problem filling my hubby's with Presidente! Kept it nice and chilled.
Being in the Excellence Club level, they do have a beach conceirge who would set up our chairs each day. They were a great team - Inez, Rafael and Antonio. Gabriel did a fantastic job keeping drinks going all day as well. They also walk around with drinks of the day, pizza, and mid-day a group from the spa come down and do five minute massages there at your chair. And come on, if your going to do this, give them a tip!!
Speaking of tipping - yes,we did: housekeeping (morning/evening), servers and more. So, bring a stack of 1's with you. Most of the 600 employees there live on site in the dorms. They work for 12-16 days straight and then have three days off (where they hurry home to see family).
Service - we were never in need of anything and rated the service far better than other resorts that we've been to. Constantly asking if we needed anything, are we having a good time, etc.
Food: OK, this is the Dominican Republic. About five years ago we went to a large property in the DR with some friend and the food was horrible - ate rice and bread the entire time! So, we went with low expectations. We were going for R & R and the beach. And, so many reviews that were bad. So - the food was great! We ate at all of the restaurants except Agave and Oregano. Fish was fantastic (Grouper was wonderful). At the Lobster Grill/restaurant, we ordered lobster as our appetizer and then grouper as our main course. As a Floridian, we call these lobsters, "rock" lobsters and they are more like a large prawn. If you are from the NE, please don't expect something that you would get at home. At Spice, your order comes with fried rice or white rice. Instead, we ordered Pad Thai rice as an extra entry and split that with our meal. The french restaurant (went there twice) was also fantastic - even the red meat. We are not big eaters, so the portions were the right size for us. And, a nice tip to the waiter, the bottle of wine was left at our table. Also to note for dining options: The Grill, Lobster House and Oregano's have outside seating, so men can wear nice shorts here for dinner (no tank tops). No shorts for women - and no flip flops at dinner either for any of the restaurants.
At the Excellence Club, they always have a great selection of appetizers. We'd stop in after the beach and pick up a few to take back to our room as we were getting ready (have to-go containers). The room was always re-stocked each day. One day, we didn't have any tonic water and after a call to the conceirge, not even five minutes passed and there was a knock on our door with plenty of tonic water!
Other things to note:
Water: surf is strong and they always had at least 1 -2 lifeguards on duty. If you go off to the right of the property, the water is calmer. And, calm when the tide is going out (but watch for the under-tow!). I grew up on the Gulf coast of FL, and this reminded me of how the surf is in Miami. Still lots of fun and we had a blast. Another bonus when comparing to the beaches in Negril, Jamaica. In Negril, the water is calm and you therefore hear the constant buzz of jet-skis all day and people riding on them shouting to you when you are in the water advertising parasailing, or taking rides with them. The beaches here were nice and quiet - I'd much rather listen to the roar of the surf vs. someone yelling at me to go para-sailing!
Dominican Night: outside dinner/buffet. We opted to not do this, but looked like fun. They brought in vendors for this (jewelry, etc) who were set up in the lobby area and out in the plaza.
Entertainment: great sax player as noted in other reviews. Fun to have a martini here and listen prior to dinner. Also had a great band to dance to in the plaza area before the nightly show and they would continue afterwards.
Gym: great equipment and yes, busy in the morning.One morning, we had to wait for treadmills, but just changed our routine and within ten minutes, they were available.
Casino: Thank you, we doubled our $$. Was lots of fun to stop in here in the evening and play black-jack or roulette. Fun talking with other guests, too.Also to note - if you do have to exchange any money, the rate is better in the casino vs the front desk.
Spa: wasn't sure if I'd go while I was there but decided to. Each evening, with turn down, they put the fact sheet for events the next day along with the spa special. Look for these - was very easy for me to get an appointment.
Property: in great shape (remember they are dealing with elements - salt, etc - everyday). Looked like everything was freshly painted. No bug issues at all - did get some bites one morning, but that was when we were walking off the property.
Room: great shape and yes, the bed was hard! But, did I have a problem sleeping at night - no. Plus, we asked housekeeping to throw on a couple extra mattress covers - helped a little.
And last, it was a classic scene right off an advertisement. My husband and I had just walked down towards a very large resort - people and madness everywhere! No beach service, etc. Just as we walked back in front of Excellence, there was a server walking down to a couple just getting out of the water, serving them their pretty tropical drinks - with a smile. It's very hard to find a great resort that also offers beach service like Excellence does!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
Looking forward to going back next year!

Room Tip: Bldg #14 only if you have an ocean view to the south. We were on the top/third floor which had a gre...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank tpa2az
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

First visited this resort in late May 2011. Loved the resort but it was spoilt by the presence of so many mosquitoes! That, my friends was down to bad luck! It seems that we went, then, in the wrong time of year when there was a lot of rainfall and, consequently, being a marshland location, the Mosquitoes bred!...We suffered it and pledged to return at a later date!...................
This time we visited between 22nd January - 5th February 2013 and what a lovely time we had!
We stayed in a refurbished Master suite in block 5 on the second floor facing the cascade pool.
As usual, we were welcomed tothe resort with cool towels and a cold glass of good quality champagne. Didn't need to worry about luggage as it was safely deliverd to our room by the bell boys.
Room was a lot fresher than last time and now included bottles of : Jim Beam, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Red wine as well as a well stocked fridge which included good quality beers and mixers, and of course, plenty of water.
Mattress was a little on the hard side but that is a personal preference! Some may like it that way. Plenty of pillows and cushions spread around as well!
Moving out, the resort is spotless! Staff are forever sweeping and grooming the pathways and gardens and the pools are very clean. Never a big deal getting bds at this time of year, the pool bots put rolled up towels on all of the beds in the morning so don't think that they are reserved.
Try to avoid the lazy river pool area near the show theatre end as this is where you get all of the noise and loud music and games et cetera! If its peace that you want, you are better off on the beach, especially when the volleyball games last all afternoon!
Drinks service was second to none and even better if you look after the staff with tips ( not really neccessary but they work so hard in the sun and deserve it) AltaGracia was our girl who calls all the ladies 'Mama' - bless her! You also get chefs coming round the pool every so often with tasty little finger foods, then there are pizza's when they have made too many at the beach grill. On that subject, you can get ribs, burgers, hot dogs, allthat sort of stuff to take away from the beach grill from 11.330 - 2.30p.m if you don't want to go in one of the lunchtime buffet restaurants.
The Beach here is second to none and they ensure that it stays like it by ploughing it every day...No pebbles, driftwood or debris! just pure soft warm sand! And its perfectly safe to walk round the bay and feeling the Atlantic lapping around your toes!
Now then! Food !
As you probably realise by now there are 8 different themed Al a Carte restaurants to choose from in the evenings. The quality of the food, generally, is very good indeed and you are correct if you feel a 'but' comig here. so here it is....BUT they do not serve the food hot enough for most people. The best way to overcome this is to tell them EVERY TIME that you want the food " Muy Caliente por favor" ( very hot please ) and make a habit of it! They might get the hint eventually! A fellow visitor that I met made a point of talking to the general manager about this matter, It was resolved that evening then back to normal the next evening.
Can't blame the excellent waiting staff for this...not their fault!
The lunchtime buffet had quite a choice but sometimes the cuts of meat were so overdone! the salad choices were fine and there was always some nice fish options.Not a great selection of fruit was available, just a few bananas and apples most days.
Breakfast buffet was OK unless you are looking for a good old British 'fry up' Bacon is crispy and streaky but you can have eggs in any form that is your want! But realise that this resort caters mainly for the Americans. i.e. Pancakes, maple syrup etc.Plenty of cereals and I particularly enjoyed the Hot Oatmeal
There's a show on every night which is usually good quality but the irritating thing for me was the main announcements were always in Spanish by Julio Cesar. No point in this really as all of the holiday makers are either American, Canadian or British!
Apart from the couple of negative comments this Resort is well worth visiting to enjoy a good lazy relaxing time if required. The sports facilities are very good if you are feeling more energetic. The Gym is really well stocked!
Go for it! and enjoy!

Room Tip: Quieter rooms are round the cascade pool
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank S50EES
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Punta Cana Excellence is excellent! The staff are very well trained and very friendly (wish I could hire some of them). From Dario at the front desk, Yanika in public relations, Casandra in activities, Sonia and Altagracia drink servers and table wait staff like Ararujo, Carlos and Jeffery all made our stay one of the best we've ever had. Their attitude towards thier job and all the guests they encountered was very special. The grounds, with the ecological park, are spectacular. Pools and ocean area were also always clean and fantastic. There was never a problem trying to find a lounger by the pool or ocean as in many resorts.
Our room was always clean and very quiet and comfortable. Mini bar was second to none.
The entertainment was very good, but Domingo, on the sax at the martini bar was spectacular. This guy could play at the best jazz bars in North America, What a talent!
The eight restaurants served great food. Spice, lobster house and french were our favorites but all were tasty.
We have travelled many times to the Mayan Riviera including the Excellence Playa Mujeres, This was our third time to the Dominican and first to Excellence Punta Cana. I think we found this trip to be the most relaxing we have ever had and we'll be back.

Room Tip: Garden views are all gorgeous as the grounds are spectacular.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank DougM521
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Excellence Punta Cana

Property: 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
#13 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#17 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#18 Luxury 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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