Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
"it was a pleasure"
Posted by: kate on Nov 16, 2014
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At Excellence Punta Cana, all-inclusive luxury is more than a label, and excellence more than a goal. It's who we are, every day, every night, for every guest. Come see what it really means to get away from it all —at Excellence Punta Cana, the all-inclusive luxury resort and spa.
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""Excellence" Punta Cana is well below average"
Garry on Apr 5, 2011 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
1267 people found this review helpful
We waited 3 hours in the exclusive excellence club until well past check-in time for a room that once was nice but under new owners had fallen into disrepair. Self-locking shower doors, motion sensing lights that go on and off all night, few of the amenities promised. After spending a couple of hours fixing lighting problems so we could see and then sleep, we went out. The food reminds you of an all-you-can-eat Florida buffet with nothing as advertised on the menu. If you order steak its a coin-flip whether you get fish or chicken. The low quality extended to the beer with Miller as the only foreign alternative of an "all-inclusive" resort. The French restaurant had a lump of whipped meat passing as pate. The meats are very tough although the resort does do potato dishes well... and frequently. The staff are nice but not motivated. We are mercifully leaving tomorrow.
Excellence Club Honeymoon Suite
For $800 dollars a night the shower door shouldn't trap you inside, there should be some of the first class accessories promised, and the staff should be able to fix the lighting issues. At 10 pm on our next to last day we were offered another room but the thought of repacking and being or having a handyman in another room for one day was too depressing. If you go here, the excellence club is unnecessary. The sign-in was slower and you will spend no time there. For the extra $500 per day the only difference is a couple of bottles of liquor twhich is free anyway. Save your money.
Restaurants and Bars:
Very nice wait staff but low-quality food that was rarely what we ordered. Unless you are drinking the local beer or wine you will get something to drink that will surprise you. Best bet is avoiding the theme restaurants and eating at the buffet where you can see what you are getting. Room service is slow, cold and pretty tasteless. If you eat in decent restaurants on a regular basis you will be disappointed.
Beautiful beach. Great pool. Plenty of beer at pool-side bars. Guests from the more economically side of the resort come to the "excellence club" pool very early and stake claims to club pool and beach chairs for the entire day. If you go here there is no reason to pay more. Lots of tatoos everywhere.
Owning a marketing company, many of this resorts reviews seem to be written by one person. They may be unique but that would surprise me.
"musty mouldy rooms"
Patricia on Jan 1, 2012 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
1016 people found this review helpful
Punta Cana Excellence rooms musty – but you be the judge!
Ten of us were there for Christmas but our initial accommodations experience started out BAD.
We arrived after a one hour ride from the airport to be greeted with champagne and my thought was WOW! This is great. Check-in went fast. We were escorted to our rooms. The second we entered the room the mould smell was over whelming. My nose started burning. We were very clear with the bellman that this was not OK and needed a room change that evening.
A similar problem occurred with several other family members’ rooms, with mould/must smells dominating their rooms. One of our family members soon became very ill due to the overwhelming mould smell; we had to request onsite medical care due to such reaction.
THE RESORT IS VERY AWEAR OF THE MOULD PROBLEM! The rest of our family had dampness in their beds and linens never felt dry. Most rooms have a faint musty smell on lower floors in buildings 1, 2, 3, 6, 7.
Finally the second rooms (upper floor) we were given was much better. NO SMELL. We were very frustrated to have booked in April but given rooms which we on the ground level when we had requested higher floors initially. However our travel representative was great in the process and had told us he had to help others move out of their rooms due to MUSTY, MOLDY SMELLS.
We want to be fair to the resort and staff they really did try to MAKE IT RIGHT! We have noticed that some reviewers have scolded people for saying anything about this problem; I am just telling travelers what we experienced.
We have been to Dominican 3 times and you can have a little musty smell BUT THIS WAS VERY BAD. All I can say is even if it is a 5 STAR if your health is affected by poor room conditions you will not be able to enjoy the rest of the great stuff resort offers. Be careful as this mould can damage your health, and can affect your immune system.
Apparently early booking for choice custom rooms means nothing. So check trip advisor reports and be your own judge as others experiences can make a difference. If this had not happened to us we would have had nothing really negative to say about this resort. If the rooms do not get corrected quickly then their 5 star rating will be questionable in near future.
Vendors they allow on the resort can be very pushy. None the less the beach is very beautiful; the resort grounds lobby areas and hallways are well kept and clean. The ocean can be rough having red flags displayed everyday in December January but enjoyable. The food choices and restaurants are good but could be more consistent for a 5 star resort. French and Mexican are ranked the best most often. However, do not accept staying in a room you’re not comfortable with as this is what will force changes and improve things for others down the road. Happy Travels.
"Good hotel, nice rooms, great service, nice restaurants, rough ocean"
Julie on Jul 28, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
1356 people found this review helpful
We had a good time, relaxed and had fun, weather was mid-80's and VERY humid, short thunderstorms almost daily, which is to be expected in July, but was pretty uncomfortable at night when you were dressed up.
Beautiful hotel, no wristbands needed. The resort is much larger than you first think, every time you walk around you discover something new, their map was a little hard to follow. Good service, nice people, great public bathrooms.
The orientation was useful, although they waited too long for no-shows.
Fine, nice people, lobby is beautiful, a nice place to hang out, bellman are great, they give youa warm welcome, champagne and an ice cold washcloth, we checked in and out quickly, although had to wait 2 hours until our room was ready because we arrived early (had a nice lunch and walked around). They provide change, but bring lots of small change for tips (USD, 1's and 5's) because sometimes it takes them a while to find some. Concerge was very helpful.
Great, very clean, garden view King, my husband is 6'5" and was very comfortable, layout and closet space was fine, plenty of room for your stuff, view was OK, giant palm trees, very private porch. Request the 3rd floor! Better view, quieter, high ceilings! Nice Jacuzzi, huge bed. 24x7 room service (limited menu), well stocked beverage bar, coffee maker, snacks were disappointing, TV was fine. Maid service 2x a day (use your Do Not Disturb sign!) Nice maids. They have elevators, but we didn't use them.
Restaurants and Bars:
Beautiful restaurants, great service, no AC - wear loose, cotton clothes! They escort woman to their tables, we didn't get a chance to hit every restaurant, but all were fine, except the Lobster House was full of gnats. Food was good, but we both experienced major diarrhea, do not touch tap water, bring Immodium!!!; do not not ignore warning signs (stomach pains) and stay away from coconuts. Grill on the beach was fun, great ribs. Sports bar was fun, ice cream and snacks. Drinks are good, top shelf.
Pools were nice, but shallow. Swim up bar was fun, and large. People are bad with reserving lounge chairs, and not picking up their wet towels when done. The hotel could have more baskets for garbage and wet towels to encourage clean up, and could do a beter job of cleaning up cups, garbage, etc. on the beach and pools. They often ran out of towels mid-afternoon (and after surprise rain) but would bring them to you when ready. They have nice lounge chairs with cushions, nice towels, and side tables. If you see chairs with rolled up towels, they ARE available!
Beach was fun, nice view, quiet, NO boats (too rough?), a little windy, but that means no bugs and a cool breeze. We received no bug bites (sand fleas) but used bug spray on our feet. Beach and ocean were clean and nice for walking, but undertow / surf was very rough, they recommended NO swimming the 7 out of 8 days we were there (people went in anyway); we walked the beach in the daylight away from the resort and felt safe. The drink service was OK, could be a little better. Public bathrooms were very nice.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We ziplined, which was fun but quite the workout (if you're over 55, overweight or a smoker, or afraid of heights, watch out), you walk through the hot, humid jungle climbing tall platforms. Everyone was dripping with sweat. We bought the CD for $20, it was OK, but 90% is pictures of other people (you can't bring a camera on the rides, you lock up all personnel belongings in a locker, bring Deep Woods off). Guides are excellent (the lead guy is hot!), very experienced, safe and nice. Wear sneakers! The open air bus trip was interesting, dirt roads in the jungles, don't bring a lot of stuff with you. Ladies - this is a glamorous sport (go easy on the makeup). Go in the AM!! We were gone 8:15 to 1 PM, it's not a 2 hour event like they tell some people.
We also did the Somoa Island booze cruise, it was OK but I recommend 1 or the other, and not back to back like we did, the AC bus ride was LONG, and the same roads as zip lining so it was boring to me, bring a change of clothes and leave them in the locked bus, it rained when we got to the island and the entire way back so we were wet and chilly, many people on our boat got very sick from too much rum. The vendors attack you from the bus to boat, very annoying. One way is nice large Catamaran boat, one way is open air, small speed boat.
Again, beware if you're older or overwight, you have to climb up swim ladders and hop over seats. Beach barbecue was just OK, swimming was OK.
The water at the resort was so rough, we did no included water sports. We went horseback riding along the beach, which was fun, go the day after their day off when they're fresh, go in the AM! (cooler), they let you gallop (if you want) and take your pix, horses were surpringly responsive. Don't pay for the extra horse riding.
No golf, but we didn't care.
We had a good time. A variety of people and ages, most seemed to be from the tri-state area (US) so we had a lot on common. Many honeymooners, some families, some couples in their 40's and 50's, a few older. It was romantic and relaxing. Played a lot of pool volleyball.
The hotel (as they all can) could make a few small improvements, but overall it's a nice place and I would recommend it.
Our only real complaint was the rough ocean. We've been to Jamaica and on the other side of the DR island and loved the water.
"it was a pleasure"
kate on Nov 16, 2014 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2014 | Leisure | Solo
154 people found this review helpful
I came to this hotel highly recommended by a friend who thinks this is the best place for me to have my vacation so I quickly heeded to his plea and visited the place, well, I can only say that it was pleasure coming to this place, had a lot of good experiences to talk about. Right from when I entered this place, the staff worked their hands off to make sure that I and other guests at the resort were all comfortable. They checked us in and then showed us to our different rooms; it was very clean and well arranged when I entered mine. The sheet was well made with a towel art on the bed, the air condition worked properly and the bathroom had functional facilities in it. The property is so beautiful, its amazing with the landscaping and wildlife and the beach, it was a place to be. The rooms are quite spacious compared to those I have been to in Punta Cana and of course, the beds are comfy and the room has a nice looking Jacuzzi. If you are looking to have the best meal and one that will make you keep you coming back to this hotel is the lobster house. I tried it and wasn’t disappointed; it was the best I have ever eaten in all my travels. The customer service here was extraordinary; the staff working in all departments of the hotel was all really nice people.
"You dont get bored even if you dont go on any excursions"
Laura from Vancouver on Jan 10, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
758 people found this review helpful
arrival was fine- i didnt mind the bus ride there or back because it was interesting to watch the scenery go by and see some parts of small towns.
Well, this was the worst part.We noticed our room was musty when we entered, but didnt think we really had to request another room. We should have, because when we returned home, ALL of our belongings had been permeated with a terrible musty smell. I tried washing stuff several times, even with bleach, and could not remove the smell. We had to throw away everything we brought;suitcases, swimsuits, clothes,shoes,jacket,underwear, bras,cosmetic bag, a pillow, book, everything. I was really quite upset about that, but im trying to just forget about it. I also didnt like the maid service... they would move my suitcase from where i wanted it to be, and remove my magazine from the bathroom, and take the shower gel out of the shower... it was annoying! They also didnt leave enough water so we had to ask for more.
Restaurants and Bars::
We found the bars to be fine. Most of the restaurants were fine enough.There was a buffet every breakfast and lunch, with a huge variety of foods. I especially enjoyed the fresh squeezed passion fruit juice, and also the bread pudding with warm vanilla sauce.Lunch included an array of desserts,which were really good, including cakes and parfaits.The atmosphere in all of the restaurants was picturesque and elegant. You could order champagne or anything you wanted. The service was always fine. On the downside, i didnt like the chairs: they wouldnt fit under the tables at all, so you couldnt move close to the table, Compounding this, the tables were large and long for 2 people, so you were forced to be uncomfortably far away from your partner. All the restaurants were like this. Also, for breakfast and lunch there were tons of flies:you just gave up swishing them away from your food. The worst thing was that they have this bizarre practice where they force the woman to walk arm in arm with the hostess to the table for every meal. Its just me,but i HATED it beyond words! The rooms are equipped with a scale so you can watch your weight go up from 2 smorgs and 1 full meal a day, plus drinks and desserts. Amazingly, my husband and I spent so much time walking on the beach (several times a day) that we didnt gain weight! Most of the food was good, but we really didnt like what we had at the Mexican restaurant.I dont know what was in that chimichanga, but i sure dont want to taste it again! However, the chocolate mousse at Barcelona was delicious, and so was the key lime pie and baked alaska at Oregano.
We loved the beach! The beach was beautiful. We spent a lot of time walking along the beach, leaving our resort area. We also went in the water, which was warm and fun. At night, we spent more time at the beach (instead of the shows) and lay on the beds on the beach, listening to the wind and the surf, looking at the stars and the waves and swaying palm trees. It was still warm at the beach at night. The rest of the grounds are beautiful and nice to walk around, and look at the pool. I never swam in the pool, because it was always straight to the beach for me, but my husband did and he said it was nice.
we got bitten by mosquitos, but not tons of times. Repellent DIDNT deter them whatsoever. We didnt take malaria pills, so, i hope we didnt get malaria! The locals selling stuff are so aggressive that you just have to ignore them.Its unfotunate because i actually wanted to look in the makeshift kmart and sears outlet but i couldnt even go in because they are so aggressive! Overall, the resort is beautiful, and you dont get bored even if you dont go on any excursions if you enjoy walking around and eating. Just make sure you get another room if yours is musty (from what ive heard, most are not) because all your stuff will be musty when you get home. It was fun dressing up every night for dinner in a pretty restaurant (no flies at night) and then walking around the pretty grounds and beach all in nice warmth.
"Great but I kind of like a little more Dominican in my stay."
Kelly on Mar 1, 2009 >
3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
482 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Mar 1 - 7
we took a taxi from a week at the palladium palace .Didn't know that the roads could get worse than the airport to the palladium.Also didn't know it is on the atlantic side of the island and near mountains.
We were given the furthest rooms from the lobby on the resort,and it was great.The rooms are very nice and eventually we even got our luggage.4 hours later they tracked them down,in the wrong room.They appologized but it was no big deal.
Restaurants and Bars
Wow,wow is all i can say.What a nice resort.The restaurants were wonderful and the bar liquids and people were unbelievable.The only thing wrong with restaurants was the cuts of meat,not really medalians or fillet men...You know. Although very tasty just not what you ordered.
Beach was not really nice, darker sand,couldn't swim in most of ocean because of strong undertow.Never seen more than 10 people in the ocean at once.Loved the big waves where you were aloud to swim.It is so windy on the beach you could only stay so long , seemed to drive you nuts,the wind and sand in your face.Pools were really nice and well maintained and cleaned . You had to get to the pool chairs before 7:00 to get under a palupa or bed with a lid on it.Grounds were very well looked after.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Never left the resort,Don't know if you would want to .A long ride to do anything off of the resort.This resort is out in cattle country and a long way from towns .
If this resort was on the carribean side of the island you would have to book 2 years in advance to get a room.If you like the beach and swimming in the ocean , this resort is not for you.Too windy and you could wear a jacket and pants at nite .This resort is very american like, booze,food,music.I really enjoyed that but i kind of like a little more Dominican in my stay.I speak fairly good spanish and i listen to a lot of music from santa domingo.I would highly recommend this hotel otherwise,the staff speak better english than some people from canada and the usa.Have never seen staff look after you like they do at the Excellence hotel.Unbelievable!
"Better than ever"
don on Feb 18, 2014 >
4 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2014 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
553 people found this review helpful
Excellence Punta Cana has managed to improve since we were there 7 years ago and said it “deserved a 5-star rating.” Though we went at a prime time, we never had to wait for anything.
ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF CHAIRS: There were plenty at the beach under umbrella trees, as well as the pool. Enough towels too.
SMOKING: This was a concern at some locales back then, but no longer.
BEACH: Still the best, practically private at .45 miles long. Big waves, and meticulously groomed (no seaweed).
ENTERTAINMENT: We went only to circus night, and the talent was as good as on “America’s Got Talent.”
TENNIS AVAILABILITY: Three courts, but I think only one other group ever used them..
FOOD VARIETY: On our last trip, I was impressed with getting caviar one morning. This time, there was caviar every morning, as well as sushi, fresh honey, mimosas and bloody marys. Food was not hot at the outdoor barbecue. Overall, the food was average, with some items excellent, and others mediocre.
BARS: Nice sports bar by the tennis courts with sandwiches, ice cream and desserts.
NON-HARRASSMENT: Vendors never approached us.
TV STATIONS: Major network and cable available. Newspapers were free every morning.
QUIET: The pools were mostly quiet. Likewise, the beach.
STAFF: They seem to enjoy helping guests. On our first night, we needed more hangers. We asked a maid three buildings away for some, and I wasn’t sure she understood, and had no confidence our request would be fulfilled. When we got back to our room: a dozen more hangers.
CLEANING: Two days out of seven our room wasn't cleaned in the morning, and a call got a maid before too long.
GROUNDS: Included an ecology trail with geese and ducks..
ROOM: Nice hammock in our first-floor yard. Bathroom walls made of glass though, so light shines in room when someone uses at night. High-tech shower, nice jacuzzi. Toiletries were “made in China” (bad idea).
WRISTBANDS: No nonsense with bands IDs or reservations for restaurants, not even a credit card request when checking in.
CASINO: Odds on slots seem stingy. Customer-contact personnels’ English inadequate.
Last time I said “ it's not the best we've been to.” This time I think it is.
"Just booked for a third year"
Gwen on Aug 28, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
1371 people found this review helpful
For many years, have I taken a sunshine winter holiday (from London, UK) with a long-standing friend. We have both travelled extensively and for our special winter break simply want to spend time together lazing by the pool, soaking up the sunshine on the beach, sharing a pleasant dinner, reading lots books. We first stayed here in 2008 and it was the first time either of us had been to an all-inclusive resort. Towel cards (what are they?), wrist bands (we know what they are and we certainly wouldn't want to wear them!) and restaurant bookings are unknowns to us. We're pleased we stay at the Excellence which is still our only all-inclusive experience.
I've just booked for our January 2011 2-week trip so let's hope that nothing's changed for the worse.
Oh - by the way, if you don't like the idea of being escorted into meals (I agree with another reviewer, I absolutely HATE it. Can't think why they do it - it's creepy!) then DON'T DO IT. In fact, my male companion makes a joke of it, takes the waitresses arm and gets escorted himself. AND if you don't like the long tables (we don't because we like to gossip about other people!) then change the seats so that one sits on the short side and the other on the long side. After a few days when the staff saw us coming in to breakfast, they changed the seats and place-setting for us. That sums up the Excellence - good service from the local team.
It's great to hear the "pop" of the fizz as you step into the lobby. Check in has been quick for us and if you are a returning guest they make sure they welcome you "Back". It's a nice touch.
I agree with others, don't waste your time viewing rooms on the "upgrade" tour. The first year we were upgraded to a suite because of a problem with the air con in our room, but in fact I prefer having one large room. If something isn't quite right, have a word with the room maid and it will be put right. I speak a little Spanish (European - my "th" pronunciation for "ci" is always good for a laugh) and know how to communicate in simple, slow, basic English.
Restaurants and Bars:
Essentially ALL THE FOOD IS THE SAME whichever restaurant you eat in, it's just the ambience that's different. I suspect they have a central kitchen and simply apply different sauces and offer different presentations. No, it's not gourmet, fine dining, but hey, it ain't going to kill you and it's mostly wholesome. Better than most meals I've had in the USA (sorry guys, us Europeans eat differently). Breakfast is probably the best meal of the day and we make the most of it after taking a long walk or shorter run (either on the beach or on the road outside the resort - not exciting view but good exercise).
Beach is lovely, cleaned daily. I'm normally not a great beach person (don't like the sand getting mixed up with my sun lotion) but for some reason I like this beach - breeze is great and I love watching the breaking waves. Undercurrent extremely strong. I'm a confident swimmer, but wouldn't swim here. Pools nice. Grounds well kept and pleasant for a stroll.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We just stay on the resort. When I've been in the US, I've bought clothing made in the DR. I wonder where all the clothing factories are situated and why there isn't any outlet shopping??
Yes, the little shopping area on site is expensive and yes, Nancy's is great. Vendors not nearly as aggressive as in Bali or Africa. A pleasant smile, a "no thankyou/gracias" generally does the job. Small denomination US$ (1s and 5s) useful for tips. When my travel companion was unwell during this year's trip with a heart glitch (a pre-existing problem) the Resort doctor was on hand very quickly - good to know.
"Outstanding customer service and very quickly responded to every request"
Kevin from Ellicott City, Maryland on Jan 9, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
503 people found this review helpful
The name speaks for itself, this is an excellent resort. Definitely book a room in the Excellence Club, the service was outstanding and you have access to your own buffet for breakfast, internet access and a private beach.
Loved our room! We had a swim-up room which turned out to be an excellent choice. Normally, I like to be up high to have nice view of the ocean, but it was even better to be on the ground level, with the same view, but being literally steps from the pool. We frequently sat on our shaded patio and lounged or jumped in the pool to cool off.
Restaurants and Bars::
We visited all the restaurants and each was good, there is a nice variety. The buffet was very good too. Even though every restaurant wasn't open every night, there was still enough variety.
Very nice, especially the pool. The staff cleans it every morning and keeps it immaculate. The grounds are beautiful, make sure to arrange for a photographer to take pictures on the beach, ours looked great.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
We went on the day trip to the Carribean side of the island, via speed boat over and catamaran/booze cruise back. This was a fun trip, with just the right amount of relaxation time mixed in with lunch and leisurely trip back. I don't remember the name of the destination, but the front desk personnel can tell you.
A special thanks to the staff in the Excellence Club, all gave outstanding customer service and very quickly responded to every request. They were also extremely friendly and courteous.
Lisa on Apr 22, 2012 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Apr, 2012 | Leisure | Family and Kids
959 people found this review helpful
This was our second stay at the Majestic Elegance CLUB and it was absolutely wonderful! The rooms are big, clean and very comfortable. The beach is CLEAN and not overcrowded with staff bringing drinks to you. The staff are very friendly and accommodating.
If you stay at the CLUB you get special check-in services with NO lines.
Clean, big and very comfortable.
The beach at the CLUb is not crowded and very close to the Concierge lounge. The pool is cold and needs to be heated.