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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #17 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
A TripAdvisor Member
“Loved It!!!”
Reviewed January 6, 2004

My husband & I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary at Secrets from 12/28 to 1/4/2004. Main rule #1 - don't sweat the small stuff -- yes, the food isn't the greatest, etc, but you are in another country, and you need to respect that; it is easy to forget that fact, when you are staying at a beautiful resort like Secrets. We encountered no bugs. It was extremely windy all week. One thing the travel agent didn't tell me, was that you are located at the Atlantic Ocean side of Punta Cana, therefore, you will not have the calm Carribean waters, like at other islands. The red flag was up on our beach all week; no one was allowed in the water - that was a downer!

Main Positive Factors - the resort is extremely Zen-oriented as mentioned previously on this site, and very peaceful and soothing. The Outback Safari Tour was the greatest -- excellent tour guides who took us all over the northern side of the island -- lunch at a ranch, visiting a typical middle income family's home, stopping at a sugar cane field and having a sample, visiting a cocoa bean family's home in the mountains and learning about cocoa (I purchased ground cocoa, cinnamon sticks, and ground sugar cane there for US$12). Kon Tiki Tour (snorkeling & partying on a boat) wasn't the best; in fact, the snorkeling was terrible; 50 people (kids included) on top of one another in the water, unable to see anything except some fish swimming up to the guide's chum bag; however, the local guys on the boat on the way back (5 minute ride from shore) did one heck of an entertainment show and got everyone clapping and dancing to the oldies! Do the professional photo session at the resort, if you can - excellent quality photos. Also, as mentioned previously on this site, do the helicopter ride back to the airport - very, very cool - just like Hawaii Five-O for those who can remember the series!! We had plenty of towels, turndown nighttime service, and mini-bar stocked daily. Tipped the maid and the minibar guy, and got just about anything we needed or wanted -- these are a great people who appreciate the little things -- had a great time! By the way, horseback riding is included in the resort fee; although you don't go too far for much more than 30 minutes, it's still worth doing if you normally don't get to do that at home!

Also, regarding school supplies for the underprivileged schools. I brought 4 bags of supplies (from Walmart) along to give to the school along the Outback Safari Tour. We were told by the tour guides that they no longer let you give the supplies directly to the kids, as they were waiting for tour trucks and tourists to come down the road(s), and choosing not to go to school months' back, so the tour guide people said they now accept any and all supplies and donations directly, and will see that the principal(s) get the supplies. We had no reason to doubt them, as they supposedly also give 45 cents on every dollar they make off of T shirts and hats to the schools; it's a good thing! Just wish I would have known in advance.

Negatives -- the resort is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island; we had strong high waves and were unable (all week) to swim in the ocean.
If you want to do anything off-site, it will take at least 60 to 90 minutes drive one way to do anything; after a few days of traveling back and forth on the same pot-hole road(s) that gets trying......
Also, there are no "white sugary beaches" as mentioned in the brochure; sand is tan, just like at the shore.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Just remember, those going in Dec-Jan-Feb should expect lower temps (high 70s low 80s) and lots and lots of wind!! If you want the Carribean waters, you've got to travel about 90 minutes south.

All in all, a beautiful 30th anniversary for Greg & I; our pics show our happiness! Enjoy your vacation!

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Milwaukee
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2004

My new hubby and I stayed at Secrets from November 29 - December 5th for our honeymoon. This place is truly amazing. We went to Punta Cana two years ago and stayed at the Iberostar Bavaro. We enjoyed the Iberostar very much, but in my opinion, it doesn't hold a candle to Secrets. Here are a few helpful tips. (1) If you are going to Secrets on your honeymoon or for an anniversary, contact the resort ahead of time. I emailed the resort about a week ahead of time to let them know and I requested that we received the "honeymoon package". These are just some nice extras you get like a fresh fruit basket, a bottle of champagne, robes, and a romantic dinner. I also requested that we get a swim out room if possible. The resort was very prompt at getting back to me and they told me that they were near capacity that week, but they would try their best to accommodate us. We did not end up with a swim out room, but we did get upgraded to an oceanview room for free. We also got all of the honeymoon extras. (2) Have the resort photographer take your picture. You sign up at the little desk which is near the Apple / Prieto desks. You get 12 5x7's for $60 and they look really nice. In fact, I like some of these photos far better than our wedding pics! (3) Do sign up for the romantic dinner - the food is amazing and it is very romantic. (4) Don't be afraid to ask for extra rum or whatever kind of alcohol is in your drink. Sometimes if you ordered a dacquiri or other drinks, there was little alcohol in them. Just ask for more - it is no big deal. (5) If you go to the French restaurant, get there early -- like when it opens! If not, you will end up waiting and it could be very lengthy wait. If you do have to wait, we just sat at the bar that was near and the hostess came to get us. Those people who decided to wander around while they were waiting, ended up waiting a very long time b/c the hostess couldn't find them when a table opened up. (6) Try the room service - it is not bad, especially the Chicken club and the fettucine alfredo and contrary to what others have said, it was very speedy. (7) Lastly, don't worry about waking up at the crack of dawn to get a chair at the pool. I made my poor husband get up really early our first full day there and it was for no good reason.
There are plenty of chairs in and out of the shade - even at 11am. You should not be dissappointed with this restaurant. It was wonderful. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Have a great time!

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13 Thank coriwis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed December 31, 2003

We were at Secrets from December 25 - 30. It was wonderful! The only reason I'm not giving this resort top ratings is because the food was only fair. There were plenty of choices and the presentation of it was beautiful, but no matter which of the restaurants we ate at, we never once ate a meal that was great. There is 24-hour room service in your all-inclusive package, and that food wasn't very good either.
Otherwise, Secrets was Paradise. HERE'S A HUGE TIP: The day before we left for our trip my husband called on a whim just to see if we could get our room upgraded to an Excellence Suite, since another reviewer on this site said those rooms are so much more beautiful. They said they were booked to capacity but they'd try. Well, they kept their word.
When we checked in they told us that we'd been upgraded per our request for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. It was so worth it! The suite was spectacular and all it took was one phone call. Speaking of the rooms, all the rooms have a mini bar. The mini bar is behind a cabinet door. There is a bottle opener attached to the inside of this cabinet door next to the hinges. If you don't know it's there, you probably won't see it and you'll think you can't open any bottles in your mini-bar. We brought bug spray as the reviews said we should. We were glad we did! There are mosquitoes and you will get bitten a little whether you have bug spray or not. But you'll get bitten less if you have the bug spray. To buy it there is $15 a bottle, so bring it from home (something containing DEET). The place isn't infested with mosquitoes by any means. Use common sense: It's a warm climate surrounded by water. The bites were no more than you'd get at the beach in the United States in the summer.
As for ants and roaches, as one reviewer wrote, I never saw a single one. People seemed to dress up every night and it left me wishing I'd brought a couple more sundresses. Men wore polos, shorts, and pants.
(Always so easy for them!) But most importantly, this was my 7th time to the Caribbean and I've never seen a resort nearly as beautiful as Secrets. It was breathtaking is all I can say. We were sad to come home. I've never seen a more beautiful place in my life. One more thing I'd like to throw out there: Yes, this is an all-inclusive resort. But one waiter told someone we met there that he only makes $300 US dollars a month. They are dirt poor, which you can clearly see on your bumpy bus ride as you pass people's homes. And they are so happy to accommodate you and treat you like royalty. Although gratuity is included in your package, bring a little stash of $1s with you. Every time you hand someone a dollar or two, you're handing them what they see as a lot of money. Enjoy yourself; it's a wonderful vacation!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed December 28, 2003

My husband and I visited Secrets Excellence the week of 12/21/03! We took advantage of the last minute deala and booked the trip 3 days before departure. What a GREAT resort! THE GOOD: the entire resort is spotless and well maintained; the beach is very clean and although the waves were wild right at the resort, if you walk 5 minutes east, the water is very calm. The food was yummy, although the wait sometimes was long... 30min on average. The entertainment was spectacular...every night there was a 10pm show, followed by a disco night that had different themes every night. During the day we spent a lot of time just relaxing by the main pool, which is where most of the day entertainment took place (e.g. food carving lessons, cooking lessons, dancing lessons, aqua-exercize, tequilla contests, etc.) The staff was extremely polite, however, at times there were misunderstandings due to language barriers. The only BAD experience I can remember was the ride to the resort. It was very long (1 hour) and bumpy. So pack your sunblock, sandals, sunglasses and bathing suits and get ready to have a memorable experience!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed December 27, 2003

We went for 8 days and 7 nights on our honeymoon, got in a day after the tropical storm (December 8th) By then the bugs had blown out to sea! Beautifully manicured grounds, unbelievably clean. Friendly staff, mostly bilingual. We had all to eat and drink that we could handle, and didn't even get to all the restaurants in 7 nights of dinners!
Definately go to the Mexican Restaurant, best service and very talented mariachi band going table to table. Honeymooners treated to a special dinner and room amenities. Mini-fridge stocked daily with bottled water and sodas, as well as beer and rum. Room service 24 hours a day with plenty to choose from. No venders to bother you on thte beach (as I've experienced elsewhere) and plenty of included activities if you get tired of lounging. Was heartboken to leave! Highly recommend this resort, even if it is an hour from the airport! P.S. not a single crying child within miles! Adults only is a must!

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9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed December 22, 2003

We went to secrets Dec 1-Dec 8th and it was a beautiful place.
Unfortunately due to our travel plans we did not arrive at the resort until 5:30pm, so missed a great day of sun, which was hard to come by the week we went. We had a garden view room, however we were supposed to get an ocean view- apparently they were all taken. the room was nice with a nice balcony- as all rooms have a balcony or patio- which our travel agent was unaware of- we had the excellence club- which slightly made up for our lack of an oceanview room. They had little snacks, sushi, dessert, and brought you drinks as well- Juan was so nice- please talk to him!

The food was okay- lobster was very small- breakfast buffet had a lot to offer- went to the Mexican- which had slow service, but we did go later in the evening- food was good though. The french was also good for any kind of fish and chateaubriand. The mediterranean- they really did not use any special sauces- it was just lobster or just clams, or just shrimp. The lobster was the same in the Texas restaurant- very small and they just give you a tiny tail and chop the lobster in half- no claws- but lunch was good there. We went to the Italian for lunch and dinner buffet- it was okay- the pasta was pretty good. Never made it to the Asian. Room service wasn't bad- they tell you forty-five minutes is their basic wait time- sometmes they come early sometimes they don't- minibar was stocked and re-stocked daily. Drinks were great- try the coco loco and they have a huge drink menu at the lobby bars- house wine is from chile- it was alright

Water was rough, but warm and fun to jump in the waves- if you walk down the resort- it is much calmer- there must be a reef there for the waves to break - we got a lot of coral- couldn't snorkerl though because of the bad weather- we were refunded for the snorkel excursion, though- they also let you borrow the snorkel equip from the watersport area- got the professional pics done- they turned out really nice- black and whites are more expensive and they did not offer us the negatives

Bugs were bad at the outdoor restuarants at night, at the lobby bars and theater, and on our room balcony- we sprayed and were still itching a week after we got back

all in all it was a nice trip- too bad we had a tropical storm- might try another island next time

  • Stayed December 2003
    • Value
    • Rooms
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Potomac, MD
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2003

We spent five nights last week at Secrets with our best friends. We were a little apprehensive about the trip given the very low price and some of the comments on this board. My most recent comparisons were a stay at the Ritz Carlton in Jamaica and the Casitas at the Conquistador - two of the very few five diamond AAA resorts in the Carribean. While this resort could not compare to these two top Carribean resorts in finishes, we were pleasantly surprised. The resort is very beautiful, the staff is very friendly with only a few exceptions (although it definitely helps to speak a little spanish!), the resort is immaculate (four guys sweep the entire pool daily - I never saw even a leaf in the pool during the day, the maids mop the tile pathways at least daily, etc.), and there is plenty to do although we were glad that we went with friends. I'd say that the guests are 50% Northeastern US, 25% European, and 25% misc. The crowd is predominatly solid middle class.
The food was OK - it got better as we figured out what to eat and what not to. Definitely try the gellato at night in the main/Italian restaurant! Even though there are so many options in the carribean, we would go back to secrets.

ps We stayed in the Excellence Club - definitely worth the money for the additional service - separate check in, they arranged for private cabs from the airport which saves at least an hour on both ends, single malt scotch in the private lounge, excellent service including some amazing personal help - definitely be nice to Deborah, she can work miracles!

Helpful?
7 Thank MattPotomac_MD
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
#11 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#17 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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