We travel frequently (4-5 trips/year) and have been to the Excellence RC as a comparison (hence the 4 star rating instead of 5). We stayed for 14 days in July. As an Excellence resort I probably should rate it a 3 star (compared to ERC), however if this is your first Excellence experience it is definitely 4-5 stars.
Arrival: The drive from the airport was just fine. I normally do not comment on the transfer from the airport, since everybody seems to, I thought I would throw my two cents in. It's just fine! The roads are fine! It's about an hour long, sit back and enjoy the free tour. Once we arrived we were greeted with the customary champagne, cool towel and "welcome home". We had emailed prior to arriving and got the exact room description we requested (top floor, corner unit, quiet).
Rooms: Okay, the good/great stuff first...
Rooms are large with a firm king bed, jacuzzi tub, lovely shower and balcony. Rooms come equipped with a full mini bar (stoli vodka, jim beam, beefeater gin, dark barcelo rum, red and white wine, presidente, presidente light, coors lights and various pop and juices). The room is equipped with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc so if you're not picky about product, a lot of room and weight is saved in your suitcase as you don't have to bring these items. The room was always made up before we returned around 4:00 daily.
Not so great stuff...
The bedding is very dated and quite gross. Many resorts (not just Excellence) have upgraded to white duvets and it's way overdue here. Also, we didn't have blackout curtains on our sliding glass doors and no way to turn off our balcony light. The light was on a timer and shut off around 11:30 which made the room a weird orange colour when we were trying to fall asleep (early to bed, early to rise type folks that we are). The mini bar was not restocked consistently. We would leave a note, some money, etc. inside the fridge and sometimes got what we requested.
Service: The service was truly hit or miss. Some staff were truly excellent, however they were the minority (Rosemari, Angel, Juan at Sol were excellente!) Service at all of the restaurants was inattentive. We would have to ask for an initial drink most nights (wine should just be offered right away, as should any additional beverage) and then there was very little chance of having your glass refilled. We are beach people and many days did not get beach service at all. The maximum we ever saw a beach waiter was twice a day...total...for the entire day! The water sports centre was the worst I have seen. The gentlemen that work there are not wearing swimming trunks, have no interest in getting up from watching youtube videos on their laptop to help you and we saw many guests getting turned away from renting equipment because they couldn't be bothered to get up and help. The bars also seemed to be understaffed. We stopped going to Cafe Kafe during the day as it appeared you were ignored. The staff was busy (many of them pool wait staff preparing drinks to be returned to waiting guests) and nobody appeared to be a bartender to serve the guests waiting at the bar. We would wait upwards of 10 minutes and just stopped even trying at this bar and headed to Sol.
Food: The food was very good. We ate breakfast daily at Toscana (the buffet) and had lunch everyday, but one, as well at Toscana. The variety and food quality was very good. We tried lunch one day at the grill and did not return. Service was slow (again, we had to ask for a drink other than water) and the meal was only okay. Dinner was very good every night. Our favourite meals were Chez Isabelle, Agave and Spice. We did not try the Grill or Lobster House. We were pleasantly surprised by Oregano on our final night and wished we had tried it earlier in our trip. We didn't try the room service.
Pool/Beach/Grounds: This is what will keep me coming back again and again! We are beach people, so can't comment too much on the pools except they sparkled and looked very clean and inviting. The pool area near the volleyball net got very noisy. The activities staff blared music all day and this is not something I've experienced at any adults only resort before, let alone an Excellence resort. This was a major turn off for us as we could hear the "thumpa thumpa" on the beach. The beach is absolutely gorgeous. You can walk forever on it and stop for a swim wherever you like. There are waves directly in front of the resort. Some days the waves were huge, other days they were small. If you walk to the left or right of the resort and just out of the cove the hotel is situated in you will find calm and clear water. There are a ton of chair and pallapas. Here is the thing though, many of the chairs desperately needed to be restrung as they were so saggy you had to shop around to find one taught enough so you weren't sitting on the plastic legs. Again, a lot of little things that doesn't earn this resort a 5 star rating from us.
One of the main reasons I can't wait to return to this resort is the grounds. There is a nature trail on the resort property that is home to numerous wildlife. I absolutely fell in love with the red parrot. I think I visited her 4 times and day and ask if you go to this resort to please bring her some yogurt in the morning (Roberto the GM...who is also fantastic) recommended it as one of her favourites. Also, there is a few almond trees around. If you can collect the almonds (they looks like yellow plumbs???) and bring them to the parrots they will gobble them up. You can hand feed the parrots, put them on your arm, talk to them, etc. I just loved this experience and can't wait to return to see them. They also enjoy apples and watermelon :)
In the evenings we enjoyed the sports bar (best beer selection, table tennis and pool), visited the casino and saw a few of the shows. Everything was great and very relaxing.
The moral of this long story...The resort is great and will be our new home in Punta Cana. Don't hesitate booking this place. It's clean, luxurious and the beach is gorgeous. A few things here and there never bothers us on vacation and they certainly didn't bother us here.
- 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