We arrived at Excellence by taxi about 1pm on Jan 5th having just stayed 3 nights at Gran Bahia Ambar. It was our second visit to this resort having stayed in Dec 06 when it was Secrets Excellence. We were given a cool towel and champagne with a "Welcome Home" greeting. We promptly were checked in but had to wait a little for the room to be finished since we were early. Our luggage was secured with the bellman so we headed out to see the ocean from the Cafe/Kafe bar and look for an old friend. You can walk from check in at the lobby and be standing on the beach in less than 1 minute vs. ½ mile away at our last location. Try that anywhere else in Punta Cana! Benjamin was on vacation but we were well taken care of by Carlos. We grabbed a bite at the lunch buffet which was a wonderful improvement from our previous resort. We checked back at the time we were told; the room was ready, the first time. We went to our room in building 6 and within 2 minutes our bellman called. Our luggage was delivered to our room in a few minutes. Excellent bellmen here!
We stayed in room 6102 which is the 2nd floor overlooking the swim up pool (Blue) area. Our room had a king size canopy bed, double Jacuzzi tub, separate shower and toilet. The mini bar was stocked with 6 bottles of beer, 6 bottles of Coke products, 7 waters and a couple pineapple juices. There was no liquor in the room. We also had an iced bottle of champagne and fruit plate. The room was very well cleaned during our stay.
We dined at the breakfast and lunch buffet at the Toscana. There is a huge amount of choices which every item we tried tasted great. If they had the buffet at dinner time I would have eaten there as well. We had just come from Gran Bahia Ambar and the food was just so much better here. We thought the buffet at Excellence was better than the Gourmet at Ambar. We had dinner at Chez Isabelle (Gourmet), Spice (Japanese/Asian) and Toscana (Italian). All the food quality, presentation and service were superb. I had heard that they were working on improving the food quality here and I can see an improvement. It is noticeably better than our stay in late 2006 when it was Secrets.
As for the bars we generally went to the “Café/Kafe” (just outside the theater) with Benjamin, Carlos, Kenny and “Blue” (swim-up in main pool) with Jose and Raphalina. You will be treated like a friend here, not a customer. They all do a great job keeping your glass full with your drink of choice. Plenty of name brand liquors available at most of the bars. (I will try to include a photo.) Just ask for your brand if you have a favorite. They can make them as strong or weak as you like. They are not stingy here with the alcohol.
The beach at Excellence is very beautiful, deep/wide and arching with soft tan sand. The view and sound of the ocean is great. There is wonderful surf to play in. Keep in mind it can get rough and have an undertow. Don’t go out in the black flag areas. The red flag areas are ok; just don’t go out too far. There is a calmer area down to the right on the beach if you don’t like the waves. I found them to be wonderful and I am not young. The surf is no different than I have seen on the Atlantic coast of the US. It is just not calm like at some location of the Caribbean. In comparison to the northern Bavaro beach area I had just come from I saw little difference in the surf. Just the sand was a little whiter at Bavaro but not any better or worse than what I saw. I suppose it could vary depending on the weather but it was 80-85 each day with a low of 70. We only had a little sprinkle for 5 minutes one day during the week stay. It was partly cloudy most mornings and sunny by noon. The sun can be intense on a cloudless day so don’t forget your sun block.
There are 2 large pools. The main pool winds back and forth through the resort near buildings 6-14. The Cascading pool is surrounded by part of rooms in buildings 1 & 2 for the upper section and part of 4 & 5 for the lower section. This resort is unique because it runs parallel with the beach. No room is very far from the beach.
We loved going for a walk in the morning after breakfast. We headed down the road by the shops. We would stop and feed the parrots/flamingos/ducks/geese/etc... some old bread you would get out of a wooden box nearby. Then we traveled down the trail just inside the entrance. It was fun feeding the fish some bread near a bridge. If you would feed them near the shore a white crane type bird could feed on fish! The next area had many hungry turtles to feed.
We did go on the horseback ride. It was fun just like last time. I wish we would have gone on another ride but did not get around to it.
There have been some nice changes since our last trip. There have been improvements in the rooms, the restaurants, sports bar, etc… They even have a large new fitness center.
As for shopping we went to the left of the resort to see the vendors. Just walk straight to Nancy’s hut for better prices. She must be doing well since I see she moved to the closest location to the resort and beach. She even has massages for 2 available for about the price
of one at the resort.
After dinning we loved sitting in the theater area waiting for the show. There was a wonderful sax player nearby who added to the ambiance of Excellence each evening.
In comparison to where we stayed at the start of this trip it was not even close. The layout, food, service, romantic atmosphere and quality were not a little better but vastly better! My wife felt we wasted the first 3 days of our trip and I would agree. You can stay in a new huge resort and be lost in a crowd or stay here and be served by people who treat you like friends. The service and treatment I received here was so good that I have booked a stay at their newest resort in Cancun, Mexico in a few months. Excellence resort is just what I was looking for. A place I NEVER want to leave. It is not the newest, just the best. You do get what you pay for 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