Excellence Punta Cana Adults Only All Inclusive (OPEN Nov1)
What We Love
- Geared towards romance at every turn
- A freeform pool winds throughout the property
- Eight gourmet restaurants, a beach snack grill and 10 bars
What To Know
- 35 miles from Punta Cana International Airport, and 60 miles from La Romana International Airport
- Beach is beautiful, but the water can be choppy
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Set on a white sand beach backed by lush palms, this tropical all-inclusive resort and spa makes for an idyllic escape for couples seeking seclusion. The resort has a quaint colonial style with a freeform pool snaking around the property. Spacious rooms have four poster beds and big bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and separate showers; upgrade to the honeymoon suite for a terrace with another Jacuzzi and ocean views. The beach is pristine, though the water at this end of the island can be choppy. This all-inclusive doesn’t just include food and booze, but also a slew of activities ranging from nonmotorized water sports to mini golf and tennis.
In the Area
Travelers up for an adventure should explore some of the best beaches in the world on this island, namely Playa Cabo Engaño, Playa del Macao, and Playa El Cortecito. No need to rent a car; taxis are inexpensive and plentiful, and El Cortecito even has a water taxi.
How to Get There
We had a wonderful stay at Excellence. We stayed for 5 nights which to us was the perfect length of stay. Spent 2 days scuba diving (more on that below) and the rest of our days were spent being lazy at the resort. Perfect beach area and plenty of space around the pools for all the guests. The resort seemed close to being booked up. Weather forecast called for t-storms 3 of the days we were there but it rained twice for a total of 10 minutes all week.
Room itself was great, our only disappointment of the entire trip was our view. Room 6201 should not be advertised as an ocean view. With the backside of one of the restaurants being situated right outside the room, maybe 10% of the view from the balcony was of the ocean and we were left desiring more for our money. We would have been better off with a garden view and would have changed ahead of time if we had known what our actual view was going to be.
Scuba team were great - both to get booked and especially the dive instructor, Juan Carlos. We plan on keeping in touch with him as he is about to move to a new resort in Mexico. Strongly recommend doing dives on the Caribbean side (Catalina Island) - you pay slightly more but much calmer waters and better vibe. We tried to dive on the Atlantic side but waters were very choppy and dive was cancelled - we got a refund.
Just got back from our trip last night and we did not want to leave at all! All staff were amazing, food was excellent. Stayed in the junior garden suite floor level and had our own personal patio! Miguel was AMAZING. Felt like we were at a spa the entire time. Entire resort was extremely clean and well kept. Not one thing to complain about and will definitely go back!
Overall, we had a great time at EPC.
First, the Punta Cana Airport was quick and easy. We used DAT as our private transfer which was a great choice. Highly recommend them as your transportation to the resort (40min drive).
I’ll start with check in. We were met with a cold towel and smiling face. Check in was fast and easy. We were led to our rooms shortly after. Grounds are amazing and they work hard to upkeep them. There is seaweed on the beach, however they shovel it and try to get rid of as much as they can. (I’ve never seen this happen at other resorts with the same problem).
(BRING TIP MONEY) these people work very hard every day, and even a dollar is better than nothing. Did we tip for every single drink that we got from the bar? Of course not. But if you’re being waited on, give the person a dollar or 2. These people probably live off tips and they appreciate anything that you give. Exceptional service always deserves a reward.
We had a swim out junior suite which came with a daybed on the patio area. We used it daily and enjoyed the easy access to our room from the beach / pool. The shower was very large and had a rainfall type water flow. We had a large jacuzzi tub that we also enjoyed. We did not purchase the excellence club upgrade as we didn’t think it would be worth the extra money. But we saw quite a few people that did and they seemed to be enjoying themselves.
As you’ve read from other reviews, the food is overall good. Some meals were better than others, but we never had a terrible meal here. Our favorite restaurants were The Grill, and Agave but Chez and Lobster House were also good meals too. I usually love Asian food, and was not all that impressed with Spice. I guess I set my expectations too high after reading other reviews of it. We frequented the Sports Bar for early dinner snacks and they had a great variety of bar type food that was surprisingly high quality! We ate light lunches at the kitchen table buffet that was very good. They have a flat grill cooking area that allows you to see the chef cook whatever meat you pick out.
My only 2 complaints with the restaurants were the seating process at dinner and long pants rule. The hostess has to fill out 3 different forms just to sit you, and at rush hour dinner time, this causes a large line of people just standing waiting to be seated with open tables everywhere. I also wasn’t a huge fan of having to wear long pants / shoes to dinner at such a humid place on vacation. Dress shorts / shoes should be the norm as those restaurants aren’t fine dining places.
Amenities / Entertainment
The night shows were very fun! Our favorite ones were the Circus, and MJ show. (Make sure you get to the theatre around 9pm to get a good seat). The entertainment crew works very hard to make each day fun. The main pool area wasn’t as loud as some other resorts which I appreciated. We played bingo daily and I also played in the ping pong tournament. The gym was awesome. One of the better gyms I’ve seen at a resort with about every machine and cardio machine you can think of. 3 full tennis courts, full basketball court, mini golf, pool tables and ping pong tables.
The beach was awesome. Probably a half mile long of beach front that was great for walking! The ocean was a little rough, but it didn’t stop people from getting in. We really liked that every seat / day bed had shade with it and there were plenty of spots so no one had to save spots.
We aren’t all inclusive pros by any means, but compared to the other few that we have been to, this resort was far better than Sandals Royal Caribbean, and was just as good as Sandals South Coast (another true 5 star resort), in my opinion. Overall, a great place that I would definitely return to.
Could not ask for a better place to start our marriage. The resort is so well put together and the staff genuinely cares about their guests experience. They aren’t here just as a staff to serve you but to also build friendships with you. There is not resort out there like this one. If I could give them more stars I would! We will definitely be back in the future!!!
Our recent trip to the excellence resort was fantastic. The resort was in the most perfect of locations. Most of the resorts are built on a thin strip, leaving little beach area...not the case in the Excellence resort. Here you get the impression you're on a private island almost, it was a wonderful view and experience.
The staff is helpful (for the most part) and friendly (for the most part). Our biggest disappointment was the room maintenance. Toileteries and towels weren't replenished as we're accustomed to in a regular 4, or 3 star. If you are missing something, you will have to be proactive and ask for it. We also had a lot of humidity, which was quickly eradicated by a portable dehumidifier (if only we'd thought to ask sooner).
The restaurants, if you keep your expectations reasonable, try to give you a five star experience with a four star menu and similar level ingredients. Coffee is brought to you with a smile and every attention to detail in the Excellence Club, which is a supplemental experience. The Kitchen buffet provides a lot to enjoy but the emphasis is on efficiency and expediency...lingering if you're close to close time is not an option (understandable, but jarring when on vacation).
Craving real "espresso, capuccino, etc." go to Aroma, the coffee bar and you'll find your delights there.
The SPA is amazing - well worth it if you're up for a splurge, the prices, a bit high for the venue are almost justified. The staff and facilities are definitely fantastic just weird to see the same prices as US/State side Four Seasons and the like in this environment.
On the beach you'll be tended to very carefully by the attendants who bring drinks, towels, or whatever you may be needing. Around 1pm daily, someone comes around with snacks, and you can tell the goal is to keep people happy. Be prepared to tip, it will impact your quality of drink and vibe of service. In a country where the average worker makes about $300 a month, it seems a reasonable exchange to feel like royalty. We came with several 1's and 5's and tipped when we felt the service was excellent, not as a habit.
The shows are entertaining, and better than nothing at all. You aren't in Vegas but the effort to give guests a pleasant and distracting experience is there. We never made it to the disco but thoroughly enjoyed the "Silent Disco" on the patio experience one night, as well as the Fire breather/dancers.
We highly recommend you purchase or get a prescription for CIPRO as about 30% of people we interacted with came down with some kind of serious stomach flu. My better half had a rough last two days because of it. I, escaped unscathed. Nevertheless, stock up on Pepto, Immodium, Ibuprofen and the like, as the gift shop charges highway robbery for it - and don't forget the sunscreen $30US for a bottle if you run out. Yup, no joke, but understandable if you think about it.
The transfers, which we ordered separate from the hotel were excellent, totally work the $180 for a private Escallade, going rate for taxi's is about $70 to and from PUJ. If you don't mind being on a bus making multiple stops you can get to and from for cheaper but we didn't think it was worth it.
On arrival or return remember this is not a normal US / European destination - the airport is a bit chaotic. Arrival was easy peezy but departure somewhat disorganized and frustrating. It didn't bother me, because the context of the location is a normal factor - but some folks got really upset. Pack a lunch, so you can munch while in line, stay hydrated and wear comfortable clothing. You may find yourself having to run to make your boarding call...as we did. Southwest did a great job, can't imagine not flying direct though...
Bottom line - we would go back, but better prepared. The beach cannot be beat, the service we received in the Magna restaurants, as well as all the "dinner" places was amazing and it was probably our favorite vacation ever. We plan on returning...just not sure when. A special thank you to Hendrix on the beach, Yazmin at the pool, Dolores in Lobster House, and Ebenezer and Kattyia in Magna, Anderson in Spice, they all did what they could to make us comfy and happy. If you like the coco loco drink, make friends with the bartender or waiter to make sure you get your quota put aside, coconuts run out. As gross as it sounds the Dirty Banana is a delicious drink and the planters punch with extra ice will make anyone a fan of a sweet cocktail but they'll make whatever you want....adventure, it's vacation. Thank you Excellence Punta Cana - hasta la proxima!