I will try to give all of the info I was looking for when I read reviews. We were at Excellence from July 5-10, 2013.
First during my search for the right resort and booking. My wife and I are not overly social, we tend to prefer our own company when going on a relaxing vacation. That being said the Excellence was the right place for us. Although we did walk down the beach to right to the next resort it was probably just over a mile walk and I didn't see anyone else doing it. That was one reason I chose this resort is that you wouldn't get a lot of traffic from other resorts, ones that may not be adults only. I think this resorts tends to be a little more relaxing quiet couple oriented so if you are looking to party I think you could have fun here but may have more fun at some of the resorts like the Hard Rock or Iberostar Grand or Secrets or Majestic, which were all on our list. We decided to book through Funjet, most places all had roughly the same prices but Funjet was one of the only ones I could find that had options to add transportation to your package which I was SOOOOOOO glad we did. It was a breeze. They had options for regular, non-stop, or private non-stop ($36, $43, $70 each, respectively). For the extra $7 each the non-stop was a no brainer for us, especially considering Excellence is one of the last resorts away from the airport. When we arrived we walked up to the Island Sun counter which is the local partner for Funjet and they loaded us in a small van. We waited about 5 minutes for anyone else going to our resort but no one came so we ended with private transfer anyway, also happened on the way back. It did take 1hr 10min just like everyone says. The first 30 minutes were pretty smooth and easy. the last leg was giant potholes and bumps everywhere and can make the strongest stomachs (like mine) just a little queasy. They are building a highway that goes all the way out there, just have no idea when it will be done. I would guess if you go any time in 2014 you may be in luck. I would think that would cut the travel time nearly in half.
Ok on to the resort. We arrived with a friendly greeting, checked in very quickly and were escorted to our room by a bag man that was filling us in on everything the whole way. We got settled and went for a walk to scope things out and grabbed a late lunch at The Grill Restaurant. Very american style burgers were good although my wife thought the beef tasted a little funny. I am sure she is just tasting the difference in the cows diets, I thought they were good burgers but I am a deer hunter so I like a wide variety. The pool was absolutely incredible, or both of them actually. The cascade pool was very neat even though we only went one of the days in the morning. Pool water was very warm as you might imagine in July. They walk pizzas around to you for lunch and you don't even have to get out of the pool, which we did one day. Grounds were absolutely gorgeous and kept up beyond belief, which I found remarkable consider we only saw grounds crew working on one afternoon, not sure when they do the work. Tons to do and see, make sure you explore.
FOOD, this is a hot topic among the reviews. I will give you my opinion and try to paint a picture of what I have to compare it to. We are from central Illinois and most of our dinners are typically chain restaurants. So if you go into this comparing this food to 5 start restaurants in big cities you are going to be thoroughly disappointed. I am not very picky so I thought the food was very decent. My wife had a harder time feeling satisfied after a meal but we found our favorite to be The Grill. The filet at the grill was probably better than any franchise restaurant in the US. The portions are definitely a lot smaller than us glutinous Americans are used to but if you make sure to each order appetizers, salads (they don't know how to do a salad, Caesar from the grill was the closest they came to a good salad) and dessert you will get full. Don't try to share any appetizers or desserts like my wife typically tries to do with me, the cheesecake she got was literally one big bite for me. I would imagine you could order more I just never did. We did skip appetizers and desserts 2 nights and hit 2 different restaurants just so we could try them all. I really think I would have to say The Grill was my favorite with most of the others all tied after that. The Italian stuff was decent the lobster was ok but a little disappointing considering the vicinity of the ocean. We didn't make it Barcelona. Went to Toscana for breakfast everyday, very very good. You can find just about anything. Lunch was also good in my opinion but just because the buffet offers so many choices. My wife did not like the buffet quality so we only did that once. The beach grill was pretty decent to go to as well, burgers and brats, that kinda stuff. They only had one or two options each day and they rotated. The Grill would let you come in in your swim cover ups and flip flops for lunch so don't worry about that, its definitely the best quality lunch you can get there. Make sure to take a trip to the Sports Bar (if you can find it). They have some good ice cream for a nice afternoon snack. They also have a wide variety of bottled beers that you can only get at this bar. Corona, Coors Light, MGD, Bud Light, Bohemia which is Presidentes big brother with better flavor. I actually put a note on the daily $1 I left in our rooms mini fridge that simply said Bohemia por favor. and the next day there were 6 of them in there and every day after as well. Make sure you do that if you want something special because the staff is super accommodating. We tipped $2-$3 per meal, $1 per round at the bars and $2/day to the maid and $1/day I put inside the mini fridge. I felt like more than half the time (mostly at the bars) it was unappreciated or almost unnoticed. I certainly don't think it affected our service in any way. Being friendly and conversing with them is probably the best way to help that. Drinks were a little weak but that's fine because they are free an endless just keep ordering more. Banana Mama was excellente.
I am sure this is way to long and I probably still forgot a bunch. I will update it if I think of anything else.
- 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:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, BookIt.com, Savannahville Tours N.V., Hotels.com, getaroom.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, Evoline ltd, Cancelon, TripOnline SA and HotelQuickly so you can book your Excellence Punta Cana reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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