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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #18 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Finksburg, MD
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2004

First and foremost... thank you to all of those people who posted negative comments about Secrets. Why? Because it lowered our expectations just a little bit, and made us even more overwhelmed with how awesome this place is. We had the best honeymoon we could've ever hoped for! I'll run through some of the hot topics I've read on this board:

Yes, it's long. Yes, it's bumpy. But it wasn't nearly as bad as some people made it sound. Actually the roads are in pretty good condition throughout most of the drive. But because you're in a bus and the driver is going very fast of course it's going to be bumpy. Just sit back and talk to the people on your bus and it'll be over before long.

Absolutely beautiful... as expected.

We were initially booked in a 2nd floor room even though I had our travel agent request a 3rd floor room for us (cathedral ceilings, better view). When we checked in I asked if we could be switched to 3rd floor, and I pulled out a $5 bill. He immediately switched us to a 3rd floor room in the same building - Building 5 - overlooking the Cascade Pool. If you're looking for a quiet room I'd recommend Buildings 1-5 since they're on the quieter side of the resort.

My wife and I were stunned by the food! Everything was delicious!! We didn't have one bad meal, and never got sick. We had dinner one night at Texas (steakhouse), and Bella Italia (Italian) and had two dinners at Quisqueya (French) and Mediterranean (seafood). We had lunch once at Mediterranean (same as dinner menu), once at Texas, and a few times at Higuey (buffet). We had breakfast every morning at Higuey too. The service was excellent and there was never a wait. Compared to some of the other resorts we were considerring where you're stuck with a buffet dinner at most or all restaurants this is definitely much nicer.

Yeah, a couple of them are corny - especially the Legends Concert where they lip sync, but each show was still fun. The performers give it 100% and do a good job trying. Don't miss the "Ideal Couple" show. That was absolutely HILARIOUS! Get there early, the staff usually did games or dancing before the main show.

The staff can't do enough for you. And they are always in such a great mood. Everybody asks how you're doing, and they respond that they're excellente. By mid-week, when we started responding that we were excellente they enjoyed hearing that.

I highly, highly recommend the photo session. We bought all 40 5x7's and the CD with all the pictures for $120 and it was worth every penny. The pictures were awesome, and we had a fun time doing it too.

Yes, it's all-inclusive but if you can afford to go there you can afford to tip a little more too. The staff will bend over backwards for you. No matter what you'll ask them, they'll respond that "It's a pleasure". We also read on here that they really like American chocolate since it's so different than theirs. So we took a bag of Hershey Kisses. I put a handful out for the maid and mini-bar attendent everyday. The day we left I gave the leftover kisses to Patricia and she literally jumped for joy.

- I didn't have any problem with the bugs, but when my wife was wearing a skirt at night her legs got bit up a little bit. If you have some skin exposed you may want to use bug spray or take one of those nasty smelling vitamins.
- You can spend $3.00 per minute to call home or use the internet cafe at $5.00 per 20 minutes. I'd suggest you tell friends and family that you'll e-mail them once or twice rather than call.
- Nobody seems to do well at the casino. Go ahead and play a while if you want, but don't count on winning.
- Even if your sunscreen says it's waterproof or 8-hour protection, be sure to put more on several times during the day. I learned this after I baked pretty good on day 1.

I'm sure there are plenty other points I meant to make and I overlooked. Bottom line - take all the reviews here (positive or negative) with a grain of salt. Some people are impossible to please, some people are easy to please. Just go to Secrets, relax, and have a good time.

I took a TON of pictures, so if you'd like to see them or have any questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail.

19 Thank PurpleSunday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 7, 2004

Well what can I say but "Excellentay" The name is very appropriate. My husband and I where there from Aug27-Sept4. We met some really great friends while there and we all enjoyed Jenny's Special Drink. Hi Philly, Pittsburg, Justin and Agusta and Super Pete. hahahaha. The resort was the best. Very romantic!!!! It felt like a second honeymoon. Not having kids at the resort was great it made you not miss your own kids so much. The food was great. I would have to agree about the hotdogs and hamburgers not like home but the buffet at breakfast is enough to last you until dinner. I liked all the choices of restaurants and never had a bad meal. The Italian restaurant was our favorite, as well as the swim up bar. The rooms were exceptional, very clean always cool (remember to put your card in the slot to get any power and have your sliding door closed). My husband and I had a walk out room to the gardens. We loved it, it was like a little patio and it comes with a hammick. Highly recommended!!! The upgraded rooms are nice too, but too much money considering the standard room was just as nice. We will definately be returning to this resort some time soon and I have recommended it to anyone in need of a little romance!!!!!! For all Canadians considering this resort we had great service from Conquest/VIP tours, great job.

3 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 6, 2004

Okay, let me start by saying that the resort is absolutely gorgeous! I have tons of pictures that would blow your mind away. Like you, I read these reviews for months on end and most of them are accurate, with the exception of a few hard to please people. I will give you the positive as well as the negative because they are both important. Despite the negative, this trip was definately worth it and I would do it again.

Positive: The workers are live-in, 24/7 employees who are all wonderful, with really great personalities. These people are soooo kind and accomodating, which is funny because they are all multi-tasking people. You will see the same employee as the bartender, and then the dancer in a show, and then as a receptionist. It's good to tip now and then because they will treat you like royalty, not to mention they are very poor and really deserve your gratitude.

The grounds are kept immaculate, including the rooms which all have hot tubs (very romantic). The property is definately a five star hotel (especially considering the price is so cheap). This is the place to go to just relax and be with your partner, if your looking for adventure bring lots of extra cash to do the stuff outside the resort, I did the snorkeling which is also the speedboat excursion and that was a lot of fun. This was also on the Caribean side of the ocean so the beach was absolutely gorgeous (the hotel is on the Atlantic side, still nice). They offer free horseback riding, but when we got there it was full for the entire time we were there, so definately book it before you get there, I heard it was great.

My boyfriend and I, are in our mid twenties and the crowd was definately mixed, so there are always people there to relate to. I took someone elses advise, and brought floats for the pool with us, which was a good idea because people do hog them. They really are not kidding when they say the sun is strong because my 100% Italian boyfriend thought he was invincible to the sun and was fried. The drinks are always made very well with top self brands. There is also unlimited room service and the mini bars are always stocked which is a plus when it's 3:00am.

Night life is okay, they have cheesy shows that only run until about 1:00am, but you can still appreciate them. There is a night club, but we never actually made it there we always ended up back in our room (if you know what I mean). The spa and gift shops are a little pricy, but if you can catch the vendors that come around on Tues. and Thur. you can bargain big time. The professional photographer is excellent so I highly recommend him, they can also do hand paintings of you, or of a still picture. If you can bring a waterproof camera from home do it, because it cost $25 at the hotel.

The negative: it's really nothing that significant, but I'm being honest. Okay, all the mixed talk about the bugs is because it varies dramatically on the weather. I being a woman who wore a skirt or dress the whole time, had my legs bitten up. yes, they did have those vitamins , but they smell very bad, which is probably why they work. My boyfriend on the other hand had no bites at all. I heard the same thing from others, were some were bitten bad and some not at all, so bring bugspray (not avon either). It was very hot and humid. Your probably wondering why I didn't talk about the food yet. There is something for everyone to satisfy yourself during this trip. I am not at all picky either, but I recommend sticking with the Texas steakhouse, French, or the Mexican which had a romantic setting. The problem is NOT at all the cooking, it's the meat itself. There animals are raised different from what we are used to, so the meat has a distinct taste. If you use alot of sauce it really helps. The seafood is also a little weird. On a positive note, Breakfast was very good because you could order your eggs how you want them (not buffet).

Yes, the road is very bumpy and long, to and from the airport but it's not the end of the world.
Overall, this was a wonderful vacation and I would definately recommend it. It's very romantic and relaxing, which was just what we wanted. Go and enjoy yourself!

15 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 5, 2004

My husband and I went to Secrets 8/27-9/3/04. We are in our late thirties. To describe this place in one word in nearly impossible.

Ride not as bumpy as Jamaica, but, an hour long. I knew what to expect and we had two other nice couples on our bus. We chatted and laughed. Time went by quickly.

Resort is GORGEOUS! Kept clean and updated constantly. Go see the Flamingos, peacocks and all kinds of other birds on your morning walk to the stores. I didn't shop at the stores so I can't say much about them.

Our room was gardenview BLDG 7. View was a pond with a fountain, really nice. Grounds are beautiful!!
The shower is definitely made for one. Great water pressure. Now the tub is for 2. ahhhhh. Relaxing.

Food was good. Burgers and hotdogs are definitely not at all like anywhere I've been. Jamaica, St. Lucia, Cancun..etc..Wasn't a fan. Everything else was just yummy. Pizza, French fries, BLT's and the other lunch stuff great. Loved the Mexican and Chinese place the best. Well honestly, we enjoyed all the restaurants we went to. SERVICE was absolutely EXCELLENT! Didn't have any stomache problems.

Pools are well maintained! Crystal clear water and refreshing. Plenty of places to lay and plenty of floats. Hung out at the pool bar ALOT! (My husbands on request for the trip.) Nisibons are really good but, don't ask for double rum. It's 151 and I can't remember leaving the pool that day. HAHA Loads of fun! Met our new friends there! Hey Pittsburgh! Hey Canada! Water Polo is an adventure! Not for the feint of heart.

Beach is beautiful and clean. A really nice breeze make it not so hot. The waves are sometimes rough but really really fun.

Casino is air conditioned. Lost money and so did everyone we ran into. Nice tables. Nice bar.

We only had one problem while there. Room key eventually would not work and it took a day and a half to get it set right. Not a big deal just a lot of walking.

We took our first helicopter ride back to the airport. AWESOME!!!!! See all the hotels and island. Since it was our first I can't compare it to anything but it was really great.

The whole place and experience was EX CEL LAN TAY!!

6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 4, 2004

We are a Scottish couple who stayed at Secrets Excellence from August 14th to the 28th 2004 (2weeks).

After a long 10.5 hour flight from Glasgow to La Romana and a 2 hour bus journey from the airport we arrived in heaven and it was well worth the wait!

Check in was a breeze and the Mimosas were a nice touch! The room was amazing, very clean and tidy, the maids really do a great job! We had a ground floor garden view room in Block 8, which was perfect, very quiet, as the pool view rooms may have been a bit noisy!

The food was amazing! This was our first all inclusive holiday, and were a bit worried about some of the reviews saying that the food was not all that great! Believe us, it was superb! We stayed for 14 nights and never had a bit of bother at all with the food! We met up with 4 couples from Scotland and they all felt the same, the food was terrific! We never had many coconut drinks so thats our tip! Every restaurant was unique in its own way! We tried the Mexican, Italian, Steakhouse, French, and Chinese! We dont like seafood and didnt fancy anything on the Dominican Restaurants Menu! We think that the reason for some people becoming sick or requiring Immodium is that there is so much rich food and a huge variety that people cant help themselves and are eating too much compared to what they would normally eat! Although you are on holiday and deserve a little more, but you need to be able to stop once you've had too much! The service in the restaurants can be a bit varied, in the Steakhouse and the Italian the service was not great as the others, but all in all, the restaurant staff were excellent. Although the Steakhouse service was not as great, Winston who works there was terrific, if you want to eat there, ask for him (He's a funny guy!).

Room Service was really good, it was handy if you were hung over from the night before and couldnt be bothered to go out for breakfast or lunch!

The resort itself, is spectacular, the gardens are immaculate and the pool is fantastic! The beach was superb and looked even better in real life!

Entertainment was really good also, although they only have a 1 week programme, so it was the same shows the 2nd week, but no big deal, theres plenty of other things to do, like the Casino or Nightclub or just go back and have a jacuzzi in the comfort of your room!!! You will never get bored at this resort, as the water sports, tennis courts, basketball court, shooting, or a helicopter ride, theres just too many to list!!!

Drinks!!! There is such a great variety for everyone, we tried all the cocktails but our favourite was the Banana Tropicale! The swim up bar was awesome, the first day I thought I would have a nice strawberry slush puppy (ice drink) and was amused when they put Rum in it!!!

The Entertainment Staff were really good also, Luciano was a really nice guy! They work really hard for only $7 a day (the average earnings outside the hotel are only $4 a day plus the hotel provides their staff with accomodation, food, clothing and transport), working 11 days straight and then only 3 days off! Although you might get pretty annoyed if your staying for 2 weeks at the CD that they played by the pool everyday!

We went horseriding which is free with the hotel, and was fun and would recommend to go at the 10am spot instead of the 3pm slot because its just too hot!

We had lovely weather while we were there, some times at night around 10pm or 11pm we would have a thunder or lighting storm, but after half an hour it was gone and the place was dry, but hey its a tropical island you have to expect some rain, and we are used to that living in Scotland!

We decided to have our Photographs taken by the resort who had their own photographers! We saw a gallery of previous photographs taken and they looked fantastic! There is a folder at the desk where you can choose your day and time with the photographer! We recommend to do it early as possible as we did it at 10am and it was still so hot! We got 65 amazing photographs (a mix of black and white and in colour) and the negatives to take home for only $190 and thats including the photographer! Definately worth while as the resort is so beautiful, we jumped at the chance! We also recommend to book as soon as you get there because the booking slots go very fast and the photographers can have a few weddings booked also!

We also did a romantic meal on the beach, where we had our own waiter and table in the middle of the beach! It was so romantic, our waiter was Alexander and he really went all out for us! On the menu lobster is the only choice, but when booking you can change your meal to either steak or chicken! We had the chicken, it was delicious! This was only $160 for the two of us, and is well worth it if its an anniversary or a special occasion!

We also went a trip to Saona Island, which was good, we had to travel down to Hiquey to get to the harbour where we travelled out by speedboat to an area in the Carribean Sea where the water is only chest high and this is where you can pick up the starfish, which were amazing! Then we went to Saona Island for a BBQ Lunch which was ok, possibly not worth the money as it cost $150 for the two of us!

Overall this holiday was fantastic and we made great friends and had a wonderful time in Paradise!!! If you are in any doubt, just book it!

We only have one complaint about Secrets Excellence, it was such an amazing holiday, we have no idea how to top this place next year!!!

P.S If anyone has any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us!

5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed September 3, 2004

Secrets is a fabulous resort and deserves all the 5 stars it receives. The staff all understand English very well and are very helpful.The rooms are of a good standard ,third floor garden room was peaceful . Perhaps its just American tastebuds from all the reviews I have read on this site however from a European perspective the food is excellent. The fact you can have lobster tail ,(not Scottish) steak and champagne every day sets the standard. People need to remember they are in a poor country for the hotel to provide the fresh produce it does every day is commended,particularly having listened to others on the way home complaining about their hotels full of buffet meals and stomach bugs. You will only get a bug in Secrets if you overindulge in the cocktails and alcohol. For those of you who enjoy wine instead of cocktails the house chilean wine is very nice with cabernet sauvignon,merlot, chardonnay,sauvignon blanc and cava champagne, all spirits are top brands. There is plenty to do if you want to however the trip to Saona Island is not worth it as the beach around Secrets is more peaceful ,the helicopter trip is a must.The Spa is lovely however the staff are not trained up to UK standards and are therefore not as professional as they should be for the standard set. If you go to the left of the hotel facing the sea there are girls who will give a very good massage for a 3rd of the price in the hotel (its a small shack worth taking the beach towel with you.) If you want to chill out ,meet lots of fun people ,go to Secrets.

4 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed August 31, 2004

My husband & I went to Secrets Excellance on our honeymoon. (July 24-August 1) We absolutly loved everything about this resort! We went to every single resturant, they all have tons of great food. Our room was kept very clean the whole time we were there. We loved having the little mini bar in our room. The front desk was very helpful whenever we needed help w/anything...my husband does know pretty much Spanish, so that was a big help with communication. Our room was on the 1st floor, poolside. We wouldn't have picked any other room at the resort. Our pool had a little waterfall, and seemed to be fairly private. Very little "traffic". The view out at the beach was gorgeous, but the water was a little to much for me. The undercurrent really twist & churns you if your not careful. My husband really liked to buggie board though. We booked our all-inclusive trip w/Liberty Travel, and we loved how everything worked out great! We did go snorkeling a little bit, but you do have to go pretty far down the beach. What bugs? We didn't have any problems w/bugs!! We loved our little romantic dinner at the Mexican resturant!! The food was great and very plentiful! The bus ride to and from the airport is approx. an hour and 20 mins. long, and it is pretty bumpy! All in all we loved our honeymoon, and we're hoping the visit again next year for our 1 year anniversary!! We'd recommend it to anyone!!

  • Stayed July 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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
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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