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“Beautiful resort but not perfect”

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Excellence Punta Cana
Ranked #13 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Niceville, Fl
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort but not perfect”
Reviewed 2 November 2009

We recently stayed in the Excellence club suite w/ocean view, I had read most of the reviews on this location and after comparing with other reviews of hotels , I finally opted for this one. We wanted all the amenities that were offered. For what this resort lacks that make up for in the friendless of the staff.
We have traveled quite a bit to other Islands, and always stay in the best we can afford. The ocean view room we had had a great ocean view, we were pleased with that.
The room size was average I would have like it more roomy, it could have used a bigger shower. It's small about 36" the jacuzzi tub in the wash area is a good size, I didn't use it though after being in the pool all day, most of the days. I used the shower. The topic of the bed is understated, the bed is very very firm, we had to ask for the pillow top to be put on twice, now mind you they were accommodating but the bed still remained HARD. I would rate the bed as 2% softer than sleeping on the marble floor. The bed room was set up to feel breezy and every thing was clean and tidy. In the excellence club there was unlimited bar and top notch liquor. My husband likes Bud beer and they immediately filled the fridge with the Bud for him. We never did open the bottles of Rum, Scotch, and Whiskey so they let us take that home. You can get your monies worth in the booze alone. Everything was replaced daily and no limit on anything you wanted. Except for the bath gel and soap, for what ever reason there must be a shortage there I had to call down several days for bath gel and soap.
We liked the breakfast and lunch better than the dinners. The french restaurant had the best steak dinner but the lunch buffet in the Tuscano restaurant was great,.
We met some really nice people around the pool and had a good time hanging out with them.
The shows I would give them a E for effort, we actually only made it to a few, and there were ok. I didn't care for the Michael Jackson show.
We played Texas hold'em one night and that was more fun to me.
We did not go the casino, we were warned not to play the progressive roulette and any Caribbean poker.
We choose to go on 2 excursions the Solerano Island, and the deep sea fishing. The island trip was over rated, I brought my own snorkel and mask along, they said there was snorkeling but they did not offer equipment. The water looked clear till you got under water the visibility was only about 10 to 15 feet. We saw a few schools of fish near the pilings but not much else. When we were leaving they took the Jon boat over to the pilings and threw in some bread then we saw some fish. They took us to what they called a natural lake, it was just a different part of the water where the star fish were. That was cool seeing the star fish. The bad part of this trip is the long car ride there about 2 hours to the location and 2 hrs back. I could have skipped this trip.
On our fishing trip it started off slow felt like a whale watching trip then we got some bites there were only 5 people fishing so that was good we weren't on top of each other. We would take turns to sit in the fishing chair, when my turn was up I had a sail fish on the line, I am not an experienced fish person and was cranking that fish in with all my might, I had my husband take over and we brought in a 70lb sail fish. that was great.
We generally like to get out and see the country side more than just staying at the resort but that's us. We didn't do that there, after traveling back and forth for the excursions we pretty much saw all town. It was an experience that on the whole was enjoyable, but I wouldn't go back there, we meet people who said they go there every year and have for 9 years. That was the same when we went on a cruise and that's how this felt a cruise vacation on land. If you like the personal attention you get with a smaller resort, which I do, this was a good choice. I would recommend this with some exceptions as I have mentioned. I didn't like the idea of going to a larger resort thinking it would take for ever to get to your room and such. The staff made coming to this resort more enjoyable.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank Island33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Parkville, Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 November 2009

We searched long and hard for the perfect honeymoon resort. We found one, and we liked it a lot. But there are some things to note.

We booked our 5 night honeymoon through a travel agent. It helped in some ways, and may have hurt in others. More on that later.

The resort is about an hour away from the airport. The trip to Excellence was fast. As noted in some other reviews, you will see significant parts of the Dominican Republic on your way there, including some severe poverty. If this bothers you... well, fair warning. Since it is an hour from the airport, I would recommend getting the latest flight out that you can. Our flight was 4p. Add 2 hours for check-in at the airport, and the additional hour to get to the airport, and we checked out at a comfortable 1p.

Check-in at Excellence was smooth, with one exception. We paid for the honeymoon package, but they had no record of it upon our arrival. They did eventually discover the miscommunication, and were quick to correct the situation. It clearly states on the Excellence website that the package should be ordered at the time of booking. I know it was not in our case. Also, the honeymoon package we received was not exactly as described on the website, but I feel we received comparable value. We never received the "bath drawn in our room," and the "romantic Sade CD," but they delivered wine and fruit to our room every night.

Our room was clean and flawless - no complaints.

We thought all of the food was very good. There are plenty of options. The dress code requires a collared shirt in most restaurants, and usually something more than bathing-suit bottoms. I think this adds to the class of the place, although some seem to find it inconvenient. In the restaurants that serve food buffet style, the code can be stretched. One note on the coffee - it is exceptionally strong. Someone more literate in Spanish culture than I am told me that they expect you to order it "con leche" (with milk), and I recall the waitstaff really trying to push the milk on me. I should have take them up on it. :)

One other thing to note... WE DID GET SICK. We are not sure where we made the mistake. We only drank bottled water and the water served to us in the restaurants. I used the tap to brush my teeth once. We did eat the fruit. Whatever we ate, it created a situation where we needed Pepto. Eventually, the Pepto failed to work, and we needed something stronger. This is where Nancy's comes in. It is an independent gift shop at the northwest end of the resort. They have a lot of gifts there for reasonable prices, and they are similarly stocked with anti-diarrhea medications. Mexican Immodium did the trick. If you want to save a few bucks, bring some of your own. :)

The massage at the spa was fantastic. All the pools were crystal clear and the water was cool. We found sitting poolside to be a little hot, so we spent most of our time on the beach. The beach had a constant wind blowing off of the sea. It kept the July heat tolerable. Every staffperson was friendly and eager to help us. They will, however, test your Spanish. I am OK with this - you are in THEIR country. All of them will switch to English if that is your preferred language.

The broadcast stations they receive seem to be out of Denver. One channel on the feed is nothing but porn... just FYI.

Overall, I would recommend Excellence Punta Cana, but know that it is possible to get sick. Take every precaution you can, and bring plenty of your own medication. Since it is an Adults Only resort, it made for an Excellent honeymoon.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
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7 Thank loki74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 November 2009

My partner and I traveled to Excellence Punta Cana Oct 11 - 18/09 and were delighted with our stay.

Service: exceptional. The staff can't do enough for you. We encountered a problem with our hotel room safe. We reported the situation and were told that someone would be there within 2 minutes to fix it. About a minute and a half later, an employee showed up, fixed it and left. Two minutes after that, the conceirge called asking if everything had been remedied and if were there anything else they could do to make our stay more enjoyable.

Excellence Club: We decided upon check-in to up-grade to the Excellence Club package. We are glad we did. Fresh flowers, fruit and newspaper in the room daily. Premium alcohol. Upgraded toiletries by Bvlgari. Access to the Excellence Club lounge for personalized conceirge service, internet, bar and small buffet upstairs. Private beach if you like. Recommend it.

Room: Very clean and spacious. Fully stocked bar. Comfortable pillows and bed. Flat screen TV. Great view of pool bar and ocean. Simply lovely.

Food: Terrific. Almost everything is a la carte. So much from which to choose. Italian, Mediterranian, Mexican, French, Lobster, Grill, Asian, Pizzaria, and even lunch-time beach bbq. Delicious and the presentation is exceptional. Very gourmet. We enjoyed the Lobster very much. This is the only all-inclusive resort that we have stay at where the lobster is actually all-included!

Alcohol: premium top-shelf everything. Even have Corona if you ask. Try the Mamajuana (but not too much - it's potent!)

Location: Be prepared for about an hours bumpy ride from the airport as this hotel seems to be one of the last on the strip (but it is worth it). The only method of transportation is cab, bus or helicopter. No limousine service available that we could find. We didn't do any day trips due to the distant location. Many day trips required an hour to an hour and a half bus ride each way to get you to and from the outing.

Beach: Beautiful soft golden sand with lots of loungers and palapas available. Grab a boogie board as the water is rough. Great if you love to play in the waves. Employees are constantly working to serve drinks and food on the beach. Wonderful!

Shopping: At the north end of the beach is a small conflagration of shops. Please visit Pandora's Box. No bartering, no hassles and everything has a price tag. If your dream is to live in the DR, talk to them as they have lots of information and are so helpful. They really helped us out.

Overall, this hotel is fantastic. We've been to many all-inclusives and this was the best. Many people whom we met have been there several times and wouldn't choose any place else. We agree. Great for couples who want an adults only vacation, honeymooners, and same-sex relationships. Everyone was treated exceptionally well.

Book it and enjoy!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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6 Thank on_airToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2009

Excellence Punta Cana was an absolute delight in everyway. The all inclusive resort was worth every penny. The hotel was clean the rooms were beautiful. The food was decent. I have yet to find a five star all inclusive Hotel on an island that has a high poverty level that has excellent food.But the food was good enough to enjoy.The amenities were awesome. If you needed anything the staff would bring it to you within minutes. The only disappointment for me was that it rained the first two days and then it was chilly at night. Nothing to do with the hotel.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank Etf763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2009

We visited Excellence Playa Mujeres last year and had one of the best trips ever. We decided to try another Excellence property by visiting Punta Cana. Unfortunately, the two resorts to not compare. Maybe our expectations were too high coming from our previous experience in Playa Mujeres. Exc-Punta Cana is defintely the honeymoon spot. I would have to say that 75% of the guests were on their honeymoon. Nothing wrong with that, but just a heads up.

Room- Nice and clean. The balconies are small and not really a place to relax on.

Service- The service was great. Everyone is having an "Excellente" day everyday. Tips are not requried, but much appreciated and deserved. Bring 100-150 $1s, which should cover you.

Food- Pretty bad. We were excited about the great room service that we recieved in PM. The Punta Cana room service food was terrible. Service was good, but the food was bad. It is hard to make a bad breakfast, but that is what we got....twice. We opted for the buffet instead, which has all of the standard fair and was good. They have a smothie bar which was something different and nice. The resort is big on pizza, which is good if you do not stray to far. We did try something different, which backfired horribly. As Chicagoans, we take pizza seriously and when we were served a pizza with cubed feta, capers and canned tuna fish...game over. We would reccomend keeping it simple. Ask Carlos by the pool to order lunch for you and eat on the beach. Simple, yet effective. Dinners were fine. If you appreciate steak...stick to the chicken. My wife ordered the filet twice and got what looked and tasted like horse. No joke. The beef tenderloin was not bad. The restaurant Spice is very good and definitely reccomended.

Drinks- If you are a beer drinker, be prepared. The main beer served is Presidente. I like to compare it to Old Style. It is not bad, but after a week it was very nice to find a Corona in the bar at Agave. Otherwise, your choice is Budweiser...yum. You can also get Numero Uno at the main bar by the theater. There are special drinks everyday, so you can always try something new.They also have a variety of wines for dinner.

Activities- There are boogey boards and other water sports to use. The water is very rough, so be careful. You only have to go out 10ft from the beach to have 2-4 waves. Find Pierre walking around the pool and he will get you squared away with a horseback ride or atv. The prices are responsible, so it is worth it.

- sun block is expensive, so make sure to bring plenty.
- insect repellent is useful
- sand fleas are there, so just be prepared to get bit. Not much you can do about them.

Overall. It is not a bad place, but definitely does not meet expectations. If you have the opportunity to visit Playa Mujeres instead, do so.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank FirehouseDad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 October 2009

The shuttle from the airport was fine...took about an hour, but we were lucky because we only stopped at one other resort before we arrived at Excellence.
Check-in went very smooth and they greeted up with a nice refreshing drink.
Checked into our rooms with no problems. Family and friends were all close together, which was also nice.
The food was great as were all the specialty restaurants, as was the service.
The beach was beautiful but it was closed way too many times for swimming / boogie-boarding, etc. or even wading...they were just too strict and it got to be silly when they wouldn't even let us wade.
The pools were very nice as was the swim up bar...service was great too.
The activites were handled very poorly ... always had to look for someone to bring the ball down for volleyball and as far as any other activities, it seemed to be non-existent.
Now comes the bad part.
Our refigerators either did not work or they fell apart and it took a while for them to either get fixed or replaced...sometimes having to be repaired or replaced more than once.
One of the poles that holds up a hammack broke and injured one of my friends arms, and had to go see the doctor on site, which was fine, but it took forever to get the staff to understand what had happened...they seemred more interested in fixing the poles and hammock...it was very frustrating and we became very angry to say the least.
Some of the rooms ceilings had water leaks and they seemed to have a tough time fixing them...the duct tape was apparently not working.
When some of my friends had problems they were given another room, but there were problems with other people showing up in them during the day...can you believe this?
The air conditioning/power went off on average 4-5 times a day, so needless to say it got a bit sticky when it went off at night along with all the power, so the ceiling fan was off too.
The resort wasn't even half full, so I can't imagine if they had a full house how they would ever keep up with all the complaints.
But hey, the drinks, entertainment and food were very good but in now way will it ever make up for all the problems and mishaps at this resort.
Thank heaven my daughters wedding went off without a hitch (except there was a problem with the photograhers fees) ... it was very nice and beautiful on the beach.
The ride back to airport went well and the flights were good too.

  • Stayed October 2009
    • Value
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2 Thank drbross1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2009

The resort was lovely - rooms lovely and large with bath robes and jacuzzi bath - didn't have to upgrade as we had a pool view over in block 1 which was the quiet pool away from the disco and entertainment.
We have been to Jamaica and Cuba and each was different (resort much the same) Jamaicans and Cubans far more friendly and outgoing than in Dominican - much more to see and do in Jamaica and food was good. Cuba food wasn't so good but entertainment in Varadero Iberostar was absolutely amazing. Dominican Resort much nicer but people, entertainment and food wern't great - drinks were premium but cocktails terrible - too sweet and I think totally geared for the American tourists (no offence) as they love the sweet cocktail drinks. The house wine was Frontera white chardonnay, red merlot or rose and it was good for all inclusive. It was only 40% occupied and sunbeds with shelter were still hard to get. If you tip the guy he will put towels on the beds every day but if you dont get a book on them asap then someone else will claim them. If no sunbeds around the pool then there are plenty on the beach. Massages were expensive compared to other spas we have been to. French restaurant was the best. We only had 7 nights and this was enough - would not have liked to have stayed for 2 weeks. We did have a nice break though and lucky enough it wasn't our main holiday. Entertainment is repeated every nights and daily programme is the same each day.
We booked the trip with first choice and upgraded to premier which was worth every penny on this long flight - lovely staff and would definitely use them again.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1 Thank BevHowarth
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:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre 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
#8 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Family 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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