Very friendly wait staff and bartenders. Very clean dining rooms, pool, beaches and other public areas. Very clean rooms (excellent housekeeping service). Excellent concierge service (they provided me with pants!)
The So So/Bad:
The bed in our room was pretty firm, a little too much for my liking. Felt like a cheaper mattress. Everything else was great!
The food was generally very good. All the restaurants we ate in had great dishes. Our favorite was probably Chez Isabella (the French restaurant). My girlfriend got a slight case of food poisoning (we think) on the last night (stay away from the avocado salad!) Steaks and beef in general are very salty (don’t know why). Other dishes were very good. For breakfast the Grill has a limited menu but sits outside which is nice. Toscana has a tasty variety of foods to suite anyone's liking.
Be Sure To:
For all your souvenirs and gifts (including cigars, rum, paintings, jewelry, etc.) be sure to visit Mark and Lauren at Pandora’s Box. Simply head out to the beach, take a left and look for the tourist stands next to the resort property. You can’t miss ‘em - they’re the only British couple with a store. Best prices on the beach and very informative and friendly and NO PRESSURE to buy (which is a nice change from the other pushy vendors). We had a great time just sitting and chatting with Mark and Fritz (their right-hand man). Tell them that Alex and Shana say “hi” from Montana.
Go to the Caribbean Festival. This is an off-resort excursion and is well worth the $90 per person. You can get tickets at the tour desks in the lobby. You’ll take a shuttle to Bavaro (which is a touristy beach area on the Caribbean side of Punta Cana). From there, you’ll get on a party barge (beer, wine, and rum bar) and be taken to a sting ray preserve in the middle of the bay. You’ll get to snorkel with rays and nurse sharks before being taken to a coral reef where you will swim and feed hundreds of beautiful tropical fish. I was even able to get them to eat out of my hand. Absolutely beautiful water. It’s about a 6-hour excursion and is worth every penny.
The Resort offers a 30 min. free horse ride on the beach. I recommend doing this-it is a little crowded but if you request to ‘gallop’ they will hold you back from the group and let you gallop on the beach several times!
You can also go on a catamaran for free if you go to the club house, they will take you out on the ocean for a ride.
Take a taxi from the airport to the resort. If you take a shuttle it’s going to be a LONG trip due to Excellence’s location (it’s the last resort visited on the shuttle path). A taxi from the airport should cost in the ballpark of $70. I asked the front desk at the resort if this was a fair price and they said that, yes, it was. Even with taking a taxi, it’s still going to take you about 45 minutes to get to the resort.
If you’re a guy, be sure to bring pants! I didn’t see any info on the resort website about pants being required, but you will need them to dine in the restaurants at night. For breakfast and lunch, you’re just fine in shorts and flip flops, but things get a little classier at night. I was able to a pair from the concierge desk - they were very friendly and helpful and it actually made for a funny story as we were meeting other couples during our stay.
Don’t drink water from the tap. Bottled water is very easy to come by (your mini bar will be stocked with it daily).
Bring $100 in U.S. one dollar bills. They are very handy for tipping. You will run into fellow tourists who won’t tip (some who are quite adamant about not doing it). Don’t be cheap. The folks who are working at the resort work very hard and are very appreciative of a couple of bucks.
Pack sunscreen! You can buy it at the resort, but you will pay about $20 for a 6 oz spray bottle. My girlfriend is a red-head with fair skin: 70 spf on her face and 30 spf on the rest of her kept her from a sunburn then entire time! She only applied maybe twice a day and was fine.
Pay attention to the flags on the beach. Red means rough waves. Yellow is so-so waves. White means jellyfish (don’t worry, we never saw this flag). Orange means sea monster (ha). There are life guards on duty throughout the day at the beach, but they will stay in the areas with the flags. If you venture into the ocean outside of those flags, they will come and shoo you down to the flagged area. They were very attentive to people in the water (no slacking off).
Sneak out onto the beach at night (you actually don't have to sneak). It's a nice break from the entertainment, etc. to just sit beneath the stars and listen to the waves.
- 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