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Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

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St. Simons Island
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Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Hey fellow travelers,

I'd love your help choosing the best resort for my wife and myself. We have 4 kids and this is our annual "get away on a trip WITHOUT the kids". Neither of us are super high maintenance but the main reason we like to get away is rest and relaxation. We do want adult-only, though.

We've been to Secrets Resort in Jamaica (Wild Orchid/St. James in Montego Bay and LOVED it) and thought we'd try the DR this time.

Probably traveling in the Fall, maybe right after Labor Day (Hurricane season, so will get travel insurance).

We are in our low-mid 40s and we're not big party people so although my wife may enjoy going out dancing for a few hours, we're not into staying up past midnight and going crazy.

We'd rather be away from all that noise, and by 11:00 PM, we're wanting to be asleep. (Our room in Jamaica was too close to the very loud party festivities that would go well past midnight).

Excellence looked really nice, but I read a lot of reviews about the food being not-so-good. Pictures of the food seemed like it was always the "fancy presentation, small servings". Both of us tend to prefer regular food over super fancy stuff ... in other words, "gimme a medium rare steak, not a steak with a bunch of sauce we can't pronounce, lol.

Ideally, our days would be spent relaxing by the pool, beach, playing a little volleyball or other activities, enjoying the restaurants, bars, and maybe some after-dinner entertainment.

So:

1 - great food, with good variety

2 - beautiful beach/pool spaces with plenty of room to relax

3 - large enough (or high enough) property to be able to escape the late night party noise

4 - comfortable rooms/beds.

Look forward to your suggestions!

Oakmont...
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1. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Secrets was very nice but most of the food choices are on the family side at NOW, but at that time of the year kids are back in school and should be many there at all. They have evening activities but most were done by 11pm and then it was shifted over to the night club on the NOW side. very nice property. Beds were fine did not have an issue with them. Granted I was there almost a year ago. Best part is no reservations for dinner and no towel cards.

Toronto, Canada
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663 posts
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2. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Secrets is quite small, very limited beach/pool space. Good food but only 4 restaurants. Most amenities are next door at NOW.

Excellence has 9 restaurants, huge and quiet beach, overall better service. Food is fine, as good as any AI in DR. No kids, much better entertainment than Secrets. More to do if you want, or just relax.

Marblehead, Ma
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274 posts
49 reviews
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3. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

I just returned from Excellence, sounds like it would be good for you. The food was good, and very relaxing. we loved the pools. rooms were very nice, we had a swim up. lots to do. it did get noisey in the halls sometimes, could have been our location.

St. Simons Island
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52 posts
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4. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Thanks but what is "NOW"?

St. Simons Island
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52 posts
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5. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Thanks for the info. Curious on Excellence restaurants... At Secrets in Jamaica they had one restaurant that was just a huge continental buffet with tons of choices (no menu). Is there anything like that at Excellence?

Hamilton, Canada
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6. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Consider breathless as well. We have been to breathless and excellance. Both are excellent choices.

We have never been to secrets. The pricing always seemed to be high for what was being offered.

Pete

St. Simons Island
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52 posts
23 reviews
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7. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Is Breathless adult-only?

Boynton Beach...
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8. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

The food is not too fancy at Excellence. They do have a buffet. There are quite a few other resorts in PC that have adult only sections for that quiet and extra pampering. Several of them are better priced than Excellence.

St. Simons Island
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9. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

Hey gang

I forgot another super important question for those who stayed at Excellence:

How strong is the wifi coverage? I own an internet business so even though it's vacation I do have to check in with work and like to surf Facebook, etc on my iPad by the pool. The rooms are stated as having wifi but is the signal strong? Is there good signal out by pools?

Edited: 30 April 2014, 23:14
Toronto, Canada
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for Punta Cana
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10. Re: Help us Choose - Excellence, Secrets, etc?

If you don't like sauces, then how much food variety can there be? Having said that, there are 9 a la cartes at Excellence, including The Grill, where you can get filet mignon, New York strip, rib eye, etc. cooked however you want it, and the beef is very good (imported from the USA). And the chateaubriand at the French restaurant is superb (the sauce is on the side). Also, if you want something different than what's on the menu, or with no sauce, etc. just ask for it.

Secrets Royal Beach is different from many of the other Secrets in that there are only 3 a la carte restaurants, and a buffet. The beach is quite nice, but lots of foot and boat traffic, and noise from the helicopters coming and going nextdoor. No such traffic or noise at Excellence, except from the waves. Secrets has much calmer waters. Excellence has a much bigger beach area with lots of elbow room and lots of palapas, cabana beds, etc.

The lazy river pool at Excellence is the best I've encountered. Again, lots of palapas and cabana beds. Lots to do if you want, or quiet if you wish. No kids within a mile or so in either direction.

Mark