For my 50th my husband treated me to a stay at Excellence Punta Cana June 11-16. As so many before me have said, this resort truly lives up to it's name. We have been to Sandals a couple times in Jamaica and truly enjoyed our stays, but I would have to say Excellence was better.
Our trip from the airport was not bad at all. Bus had fully functional AC and was reasonably clean and NOT a scary driver. I've had a few of those on other trips and appreciated not having an anxiety attack en route to resort.
On arrival we were greeted with cool cloths and champagne and check in couldn't have been easier or quicker. We had room 11104 toward the end of the complex 2nd floor ocean view. It was very nice. Clean and cheerfully decorated with a well stocked fridge. The in room whirlpool was most welcome as was coming in to find the towels bedecked with fresh flowers each day. Although we had a balcony facing the ocean, in honesty, it was so hot I wasn't able to enjoy sitting out there as I normally would tend to do. That being the case and assuming hubby paid an upgrade for ocean view I might consider saving a few bucks and go for the garden view next time. Gardens and grounds were lovely and with the heat outside, I wasn't able to leave the door to the outside open to hear the surf anyway.
Speaking of the gardens, do take a chance to stroll around the property early in the AM and enjoy the beauty of the grounds. I'm an animal lover and especially enjoyed chatting with the macaws each morning. They are quite friendly and let you know when they want to be picked up by reaching toward you with one claw. DO NOT pick them up if you have a necklace or earrings on. Also they sometimes climb right up to your head so if you're not comfortable with a very large bird preening you best leave them be. Also, although they are fine with being held they don't like being stroked. I also enjoyed feeding the flamingos just across the way. On leaving I heard there were some actual trails to explore that I never found on my own. If I were to have one small complaint, it would be that I would have appreciated an orientation tour of the resort.
Food was absolutely delicious and service wonderful. I only had to wait for dinner one night and that wasn't more than 10 minutes. Went to order a margarita and a table was ready. I didn't try Toscana or the Lobster House. I would have loved to go there but being in a mixed marriage-- shellfish lover/fish lover it didn't work out since all dishes include lobster. It would have been nice if the menu was a little bigger to accomodate families like mine...we can't be the only ones with a lobster lover/hater combo. Fantastic meals at Chez Isabelle and Spice. And...much to my surprise, the Grill. I'm not a big meat eater and went there for my husband's choice only to find it delicious! Try the mixed grill BUT make sure you bring your appetite. Only problem with this restaurant is that it's open air, which I normally love but it was hot even at night. The second time we ate here we had the balcony seat and that was better. Breakfast and lunch buffets were also wonderful. And I really enjoyed the cooking class on the beach. This is where we got some real caribbean food. Even the pizza's delivered (unrequested...they just come around and bring them to you) to the beach were yummy.
The hotel staff couldn't have been nicer. I especially enjoyed Antonia who was our breakfast server and Francisco who led the Spanish classes.
I don't know that I've ever seen a more beautiful beach. Clean and clear..not crowded and sand like soft powder under your feet. This is one of those smart places with the no-building- higher-than-a-palm-tree rule and boy does that make it nice. Even with this huge complex it looks very natural thanks to the palms and plantings. It is the rainy season, but frankly, the clouds in the afternoon were a nice break from the sun and posed no problem.Good news for my fellow red heads...plenty of shade both at beach and pool. Also, much to my delight after reading numerous reviews here, I didn't see a single mosquito or biting fly the whole time I was there. And we went for a stroll each night after dinner (had to do something after those delicious meals). I'd still bring my bug juice to be safe.
We really needed to destress and that's just what we did. I normally like to go diving or sight seeing but it was so beautiful and relaxing I never did anything more taxing than borrowing a boogie board. Didn't even try the spa because I was just so relaxed and happy on the beach or in the pool afterwards.
A word on tipping: it's an all inclusive and so theoretically not necessary but these people work so hard and are so nice why not? I wanted to bring gifts as some people here suggested but ran out of time so I stopped at the bank for a pack of ones and a pack of fives and just spread them around freely. I don't think it bought us better service because the service is just great anyway. But I felt better sharing and a little goes a long way here.
Well, I seem to be getting long winded here so to sum up: SUPER place, SUPER setting, SUPER staff. For a relaxing, wonderful time in a beautiful spot book this place. You won't be disappointed!
- 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