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“Excellente!”

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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #15 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Excellente!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2013

We just got back from our honeymoon at Excellence Punta Cana from 6/18-6/25 and absolutely loved it! The resort is not too close to the airport, but that was one of the reasons we chose it. From the minute we arrived we were taken care of. We stayed in the Excellence Club building 7202 on the 3rd floor. It was right over the pool bar with an ocean view so during the day it was a little loud, but we were rarely in the room during the day. The pool bar closed at 6ish so it got quiet soon after. There are a lot of mixed reviews about whether to do the excellence club or not, but for us it was definitely worth it. Since we are beach people the private area was perfect. It was definitely warm, but with the breeze coming off the water, it was very comfortable and while at the beach we rarely started to sweat. The beach was nice, but the water could be rough. We took advantage of it and used the boogie boards a couple of afternoons. If you do plan on using the boogie boards/go out into the water read up on rip currents and how to get out of them. If you aren't vigilant, they can surprise you. We loved the onsite spa and got 2 massages over our 7 days. Keep a lookout for the daily spa specials on the newsletter you get. It will save you money. We tried all the restaurants except the French and the Italian ones. I can't complain about the food. Nothing was the "the best thing I ever ate," but everything was satisfying. Tips are not expected, but we chose to tip when we received excellent service and when the staff would bring us drinks, food, etc. I do need to give a couple shout outs to the fantastic staff at EPC--Abrahon, Reynaldo (at the front desk), Miguel, Yerlin, and everyone in the Excellence Club office, thanks for making our vacation memorable!
One last note...we didn't know this, but June and July is their slow season so it was much less busy and we never had to fight for a seat at the pool or the beach and we didn't have any waits for any of the restaurants. If you can manage to take your vacation during this time, you will be rewarded.

Room Tip: Buildings 7 and 8 are centrally located Oceanview rooms get the sunrise in the morning
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank Kent G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Findlay, Ohio
Level Contributor
77 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2013

This was our second visit to this resort. We were very impressed the first time, December 2011. On this visit we asked to stay in the same room, and eventually got it. Unfortunately they purchased new mattresses and the new one is extremely hard, which made our night restless. The beach is beautiful, however, and the staff is extremely friendly; they make the experience excellente! I would recommend this hotel, if it weren't for the hard mattresses. Unfortunately, this was probably our last visit here.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank vswartz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mooresville, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

We just returned from 6 days at the Excellence resort in Punta Cana. We can say it was truly excellente! The resort is beautiful and everyone is so friendly. The service was impeccable and we can’t wait to go back!

Room - We booked a Junior Suite Garden View room and our room was spacious and well appointed. We requested a third floor room so we would have a vaulted ceiling (definitely recommend doing this). Upon arrival we decided to try to upgrade to an ocean view room. No junior suite ocean view rooms were available on the day we checked in, however, the front desk promised to let us know if one opened up. When we got to our room it turned out that our room faced the pool and ocean despite being a garden view room, so there was no need to upgrade! The mini bar was stocked and re-stocked daily with more alcohol then we could drink. The brands although maybe not top-shelf were perfectly fine (Jim Beam, Beefeater, Stoli and Ron Barcelo rum). Plus there was plenty of Presidente beer, a variety of sodas and plenty of bottles of water. The room's A/C worked great, there was a flat-screen TV and a very nice shower, sink and Jacuzzi tub.

We were in building 1 and I definitely recommend this location. We did not have any issues with noise even being so close to the casino and main areas. Plus this location was very convenient to the restaurants, bars and pool and beach.

Resort location - It's true that the Excellence is about an hour from the airport (35 miles or so but it takes an hour due to the roads). To me, this is mostly a plus. The resorts nearer the airport are all crammed together in one area which is quite built up and very touristy. The Excellence is in a much more secluded section of the coast. There are very few resorts in that area yet and none are within walking distance of the Excellence's beach. At the Excellence you do not have to put up with throngs of tourists from other resorts and you will not be bothered by locals trying to sell you things, ask for money or try to get you to buy drugs (all of which happen in the Bavaro Beach area which we discovered on an excursion to Bavaro beach as well as by talking to other people staying in that area). If you want an open stretch of gorgeous beach without crowds, the Excellence is the way to go!

Food – We really enjoyed the food at Excellence. Unlike most all-inclusives, Excellence does not require reservations at any restaurant - even the a la carte restaurants. You also are free to eat wherever you want any time. You are not funneled into buffet restaurants or limited to 3 a la carte reservations per stay as you reportedly are at most other all-inclusive resorts. Also, all the restaurants at the Excellence are adults only. Most of the other adults-only resorts in Punta Cana share some of their restaurants with family-friendly resorts located next door or on the other side of the property. This means if you want more than a few restaurant choices you may be sharing dinner with families and kids. (Nothing against kids, we have two kids of our own. But on a vacation without our kids we wanted to be truly kid free!) There are expansive breakfast and lunch buffets if you want a large selection, however you can also choose a la carte restaurants for any meal. For dinner you have your pick of 8 restaurants, room service or special event meals. During our stay they had a Dominican night with an expansive buffet of Dominican dishes served on the beach. All of our food was very good. The only meal that was just okay was a 4:00 lunch on the day of arrival at the Grill which was about to close. Because it's all inclusive you can even order multiple entrees or appetizers if you like which we did several times. (The portion size of the entrees is a bit smaller than at typical American restaurants, perhaps with the knowledge that many guests order multiple entrees.) For dinner, we ate at Spice, the Lobster House, Agave, the Dominican beach buffet and for our anniversary we took advantage of the included romance dinner option at Chez Izabelle and loved it. We received personalized dinner menus, rose petals on the table, a bottle of champagne and outstanding service. For lunch we ate at Las Olas which was on the beach front. It had an authentic brick oven and they made terrific pizzas including specials of the day. You could also get hamburgers and hotdogs with French fries every day as well. One of our favorites though was the special of the day which typically was a Dominican entrée such as seafood paella. Most days we were there enjoying the beach front view eating lunch while listening to the local music that was being performed right there at Las Olas. One day there was even a cooking class there! For breakfast we ate at Toscana which was the buffet. It was great! Fresh juices and local fruit, local cuisine, omelet stations, fresh pancakes, waffles, French toast and crepes, yogurt, cereals and cheese, etc. We never ordered room service as we were told by other guests that it was quite slow, but also we really enjoyed the buffet and were ready to go relax on the beach and not stay in the room waiting on food.

Perhaps every food item at every restaurant isn't the equal of the finest restaurant in town. If you have a favorite Italian place where you love the veal, it may be better there. But very few items we ordered dipped below the very good level and most were excellent! Unless you eat at 3-star Michelin rated restaurants every night you will enjoy the food.

Bars - Excellente! There were more bars and more alcohol than we could drink. From the swim-up bar, to the Martini bar, to the beach bar, only once did I get a sub-par drink. That wasn't because the resort was attempting to water it down, I believe that particular bartender just wasn't as skilled at making frozen tropical drinks (for the best tropical drinks - Pina Coladas, Banana Mammas etc. visit the swim-up pool bar). I tried a variety of drinks because it was a great opportunity to try new drinks that I would typically not order. They were able to make each drink and they were all consistently high quality and never watered down. I particularly recommend the Martini bar and Ramon's chocolate martinis.

Entertainment - There is a different show every night. We saw all of them while we were there and most were pretty good. The best shows in my opinion were the Dominican show (lots of fire and indigenous dances) and the circus show. All the shows were fun though. They also had many other entertainment options. There were live bands at Las Olas for lunch, a band on the beach for Dominican night, a jazz band before dinner and on and on. All the music really contributed to a great atmosphere. The casino and disco were both rather small and not crowded. Neither gambling nor extreme dancing are our speed so this didn’t bother us. We spent plenty of time just walking on the beach after dinner or listening to the jazz band at the martini bar. If you are a hardcore gambler or need an intense nightlife scene then The Excellence is probably not the resort for you. For us it was perfect!

Excursions - We took advantage of the free 30 minute horse riding trip that the Excellence provides on the beach. This was great. It was lots of fun and a neat experience but 30 minutes was enough for us. This is definitely worth doing though especially since it is free.

Bavaro Splash - We took a trip to Bavaro beach and did the "Splash" excursion which consists of 30 minutes of snuba diving, 30 minutes of snorkeling and 30 minutes of speed boat driving. This was a great excursion and well worth the cost and time.

Dune buggy tour - We did an "unofficial" dune buggy trip with the same company that provides the horseback riding. We connected with them through one of the guys on the beach rather than booking with the tour groups at the desk in the hotel. The main reason we did was because we wanted to go out in a smaller group. Many of the "official" dune buggy tour groups (booked through the hotel excursion desk) can have 10 or more couples per tour group. Because you are supposed to stay together this can really slow the group down. On the official dune buggy tours you also end up driving along the road next to buses and other traffic. On our unofficial trip we only had 2 other couples in our group. As a result we were able to drive as fast as we wanted and we spent most of our time off-road or in little towns rather than driving along the main highway. We loved it!

Spa- The spa was really nice! The people were all really friendly and accommodating. My wife had an hour of complementary hydrotherapy before the paid message and facial even started which she raved about. The hydrotherapy included time in the steam room, sauna, jacuzzi tubs including water back massages, green tea and a short face massage while waiting for her other treatments to begin. The massage was upstairs in a private room and she had a very nice Dominican woman who she states did a great job with her treatments. My wife said she could have gone back every day! The spa was very clean, updated, calming and luxurious. A must!

Service - I cannot say enough about the service we received. All of the staff were extremely polite. I don't think I’ve said 'hola' more in my life. Everyone from the wait staff to the bartenders to the cleaning staff and even the maintenance people were extremely friendly and polite. We were greeted with 'Welcome home' upon arriving at the resort. When asked how they are doing, the staff typically reply 'excellente!' and they all seemed genuinely happy. No tips were required or expected. We did tip on many occasions and it was extremely appreciated. I don't think it improved on the service which really didn't need improvement. But the people we tipped truly deserved it and had worked hard to earn the tip.

Upon our arrival to the resort, we were greeted with cheerful smiles and holas as well as chilled glasses of champagne and cool damp cloths (that smelled great) that were given to us by tongs to wipe our hands and feel refreshed after the long ride from the airport.

Cons - There were very few cons in our opinion but there were a few things worth mentioning.
Although we liked the secluded location, being further west than most Punta Cana resorts does make for a long trip if you want to do excursions in the Bavaro beach area (where many are located). It also meant that the ocean was rougher. The ocean closer to the Bavaro beach resorts is protected by a coral reef. As a result it is very calm and is a pretty shade of green. Excellence is far enough west that it does not get protection from the coral reef. There are definitely waves and the water is more like an east coast American beach. There were a few days where the waves were downright rough; however, this was not really an issue for us. We still went in the water and body surfed and boogie boarded daily. We had a lot of fun playing in the ocean. Ideally, it would have been nice to have the calmer waters of Bavaro Beach combined with the Excellence’s secluded location.

Another con was somewhat surprising. Although we really enjoyed most of the food, the desserts in most places were not outstanding. Many of the desserts were very small and did not have a lot of flavor. Even our key lime pie at the lobster house did not have much flavor, tasting more like lemon. There was also a lack of chocolate flavored desserts. At a resort dedicated to adult luxury I was surprised that the desserts were not exactly decadent.

The only other minor thing worth mentioning was the condition of the room. The resort itself was spotless and extremely well maintained. But our room showed its age in a few places. One lampshade had obviously been mangled (lots of dents in it) on a previous stay but not replaced. Near the front door the door jamb could have used a fresh coat of paint. It showed smudges from all the hands that had opened and closed the door there. Despite these minor annoyances, the room was clean and we enjoyed two maid services and a restocked mini bar each day.

In summary, we loved the Excellence. We definitely plan to return as soon as possible and would highly recommend the Excellence to anyone looking for a truly all-adult, all inclusive luxury vacation!

Room Tip: Choose a 3rd floor room to get a vaulted ceiling. Building 1 is close to restaurants and bars and yo...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank James G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

The best resort we have ever stayed at. All the staff went above and beyond any expectation we had. They are super friendly and willing to do anything you need. A big thanks to Abrahan and Santos......best bell hops ever.
Great entertainment program with great staff.............here is to you Miguel.
Very clean rooms and public areas.
Beautiful beach and pools.........pool bar attendant always looked after us.........Big thanks to Felix and the best coco loco's.
Restaurants were good..............can't say anything was terrible but the Spice was our favorite. My advise is just try them, its personal preference really. Room service was great.

Basically you would be missing a fantastic get-away if you did NOT go here.

Would I go back here? Absolutely without hesitation!!!!!!

Room Tip: If you like the pool, splurge and get the excellence club pool view.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Simon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
32 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

stayed at the resort (junior suite) for nearly two weeks for my friends' wedding.. paid for a room with a sea view but it was rather obscured by the palm trees even though I was on the 2nd (top) floor; it was however better than other people's views who did not pay extra and had swimming pool/garden views.. a much better view was offered in the blocks 1, 2 and 3. Couple of months prior to my arrival I requested a room in block 7, which is fairly close to everything but never even got a reply to my emails and upon arrival was told that hotel was full and my request could not be fulfilled.. I got a room in block 11, fairly a long way from all the bars, restaurants and sport activities.

There are few restaurants in the hotel, some with a strict dress-code for lunch & dinner, the food is ok but I haven't eaten anything outstanding; fresh juices and egg white omelettes at breakfast were a plus; normally there was no buffet at dinner time, only a la carte menus, sometimes my friends have complained of their portions being too small.

There are few little bars dotted around the place but drinks aren't impressive either, very sweet and the alcohol isn't of the best brands but I guess that's to be expected from an all inclusive resort. Pretty much all of them close early and we "had to" end up drinking the alcohol in our rooms (rum, whiskey and vodka + beers were provided in the rooms).

I was hoping the beach will be more idyllic but it was clean and ok for long walks. we were warned not to wander off too far because of the "banditos" hiding in the forest, luckily we didn't see any.. there were a lot of locals trying to drag you in to their hut-shops which was rather annoying as they were very persistent and there were many of them.

the hotel offers quite few activities (again, the reps are rather annoying trying to sell you stuff) e.g. horse riding, helicopter ride (nice scenery but more expensive than a ride over NYC), snorkelling and quite few sporting competitions..

there weren't I don't think many Germans (mostly Canadian & US citizens) staying at the resort yet you had to get up well early to get well-located sunbeds whether at the pool or on the beach; even though the hotel policy does not supposedly allow towels to be left on the sun loungers to reserve these...

I liked the idea of the swim-up bar, shame about the quality of the drinks though.. and my friends loved their stay and their wedding day was lovely..

would I stay there again? definitely not...

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank blueiffy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

What a wonderful vacation! The resort was beautiful, our room was magnificent, the staff fell over each other to pamper us, and some of the restaurants were great. I highly recommend a visit to the Mille Spa and a couples massage. My legs were like putty, one of the best massages I ever had. I had a medical emergency (left my insulin at home) and the medical services staff and the pharmacy were quick to respond and get me what I needed. Everyone was quite responsive to my needs.

What did I enjoy the best? Besides the beautiful beach and the free-flowing Coco Locos, I enjoyed the staff. My parents are Dominican so it was a joy to be amonst so many Dominicans. It would have been nice to have other Dominicans staying as guests as well. I had 2 cousins and their spouses meet us at the resort so it was a mini family reunion. I loved the Mexican restaurant (my favorite) and the Asian restaurant (SPICE) was my second favorite. Other than that, the sancocho at the Grill for lunch and the asopao and mofongo at the Olas were to die for. My favorite meal was had during the Dominican night. Every dish brought me back to my childhood. My favorites were on the dessert table: habichuelas con dulce, dulce de leche cortao, etc. I also enjoyed the kipes. The Excellence Club Lounge was wonderful! What a treat!!! Having access to an iPAD and the daylong goodies was such a treat. Miguel was wonderful and took care of our every need.

What I didn't like: One of the women in the Excellence Club Lounge had an attitude. She was never very helpful and seemed to push me aside to take care of other guests. She did the same to my cousin so we can only deduce that we weren't white enough for her. Also, the air conditioning in La Toscana wasn't working so we usually had breakfast in a sweat. I would love to see a Dominican restaurant on the premises instead of having to search for the 1 or 2 Dominican dishes spread across the resort. The 30 minute horseback riding wasn't worth it. Also, our room had a very musty odor about it. Good thing they provided us with incense.

Room Tip: We stayed in a junior suite ocean view. It was beautiful.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank medinan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St Louis
Level Contributor
141 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2013

I booked the Excellence for my husband's birthday. When we arrived we were greeted by a bellman with champagne, which was lovely. The disappointment came when we checked in and were told my upgrade, I paid for, to a suite was unavailable. We still were given an ocean view room, which I had paid for, but not a suite. They did offer to compensate with the Excellence Club, but we did not receive a refund for the upgrade. We did use the Excellence Club's restricted beach area. Other than that, the resort was lovely. The grounds are beautiful and the rooms are very nice. The staff was fabulous and in uniforms to identify them. We tried several of the restaurants and the food was good, not great. Once again though, the service was wonderful. I would recommend this resort. It is out away from most of the other ones and is somewhat remote, which we liked. A very relaxing trip, but excursions are offered. The night time entertainment was quite good and it was a nice way to end the day.

Room Tip: Definitely get an ocean view.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank TravellerStLouis
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
#9 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 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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