The welcome we received at Excellence Punta Cana All-inclusive Resort, felt personable and genuine. However, they could only find reservations for part of our party. I have since learned that other people have had the same experience. Management did everything they could to correct this. The main lobby is open to the outside, spacious, clean, and elegant.
The layout of the resort is long and spread out. It is a bit confusing at first, but we all became familiar with the geography within a couple of days. The fact that it was so spread out was nice in that I never felt crowded. I’m not sure if that feeling was due to the layout of the resort or the fact that we visited in March, which I was led to believe is during the “off” season. The landscaping is beautiful and you can tell that the resort pays close attention to the landscaping. There were always staff attending to the plants and landscaping.
The Pool itself was lovely and always kept clean and the way it snaked round the different areas of the resort it created different areas which meant it was never overcrowded. There are some pool “party” areas and also some quiet relaxing pool areas.
The Beach was stunning and again kept very clean, the sea was always red flagged so you couldn’t swim and the life guard was very protective over this, however if you were acting sensibly and wading in to about waist deep he didn’t mind.
It sounds strange that a gym is one of the highlights of a tropical vacation, but I absolutely loved this gym. The gym is huge, perfectly air conditioned, with a super high ceiling and wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows. It has a great view of the mountains and the eco park. Inside were all the weight machines of a real health club, new and in great condition, plus two sets of free weights. They are in kilometers, but there’s a handy chart on the wall to convert.
The cardio equipment was in great shape as well. They pump in a lovely scent and blast super fun Dominican hip-hop. They have fruit-infused and chlorophyll infused water. The other half of the gym is a functional fitness room with mats, kettlebells, jump ropes, medicine balls, push-up handles, etc.
Drinks wise there is a house wine and plenty of beer and spirits including cocktails available all over the resort at the various bars. I recommend the coco loco its very refreshing but sometimes huge depending on the coconut!
The buffet, was fantastic. A huge fresh salad bar with items I don’t often see at home, like hearts of palm. It also had sushi, grilled-to-order meats, a wide variety of prepared dishes, self-serve champagne, and two flavors of sangria.
A la carte breakfast and lunch
Most days, we went to the Lobster House for breakfast. They offer a handful of egg-based breakfasts with different meats or starches. We enjoyed all of them. The service is attentive, and the open-air restaurant has a nice breeze and view of the ocean.
The Grill is also open air, built over the pool. We had lunch there several days. The special of the day and soup of the day were always very good. The grilled grouper was one of my favorite things I ate. The Grill has its own bar, so drink service is very prompt.
Las Olas is outdoor grill right on the beach open from 12-4. They have a standing selection of pizza and burgers, and rotating items of the day. The unfamiliar Dominican dishes were better than the American ones, duh, branch out! They had paella and spicy beef/black bean nachos that were delicious. Their pizza is wood-fired and amazing! We liked to pop into Las Olas for a snack about 3:30. They have to-go containers if you want to take it back to your lounge chair. The servers there, and the guys grilling, are super nice. In the afternoon, they will also walk around the pool with mini-pizzas, so you don’t even have to get out of your chair to indulge!
You cannot walk for more than three minutes without coming across a bar. Cafe Kafe is the most central bar, so it gets a little crowded/ backed up. Branch out and give some of the other bartenders your business! The sports bar is hard to find- we had to actually carry our resort map. But it’s lovely with an indoor/outdoor vibe and super nice bartenders. There are four different TV’s and seating areas, and the guys will work to find whatever sporting event you want to watch. It also has ping pong, pool and darts, and the widest beer selection on the property. (Next to the sports bar are also the racquet sports courts, shooting, etc.
The Sol Bar had the best location (quiet end of the main pool and just feet from the hot-tub. We preferred the vibe at the main pool to the Cascade Pool, but we did swing by the Cielo bar a few times on the way back from the gym for a drink. Their bartenders are super nice too. One suggestion I would make to the management is when it rains, put some bar stools at the Sol and Cielo. Both are covered with a thatch roof, but no stools. If it’s sunny, I’m sure most people prefer to take their drink to a lounge chair. But on the rainy days, it would’ve been nice to sit at either bar. Instead, the ones with covered seating, Cafe Kafe and the indoor bars, got crowded.
Included in our package we had a hydro treatment (which basically means use of the steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi with a very short head massage.) We chose to upgrade to a full body massage which was very relaxing. We also paid for use of a beach bed which came with reflexology, which again was well done but perhaps a little too short.
There is a good selection of souvenirs available but go to the gift shop further down the strip rather than the mini-market the lady in there will give you a good deal if you ask nicely. Avoid the cigar shop at all costs very rude and overpriced.
The casino is or was very disappointing. About a dozen machines. A couple of blackjack tables, a roulette table, and another Caribbean poker table. The dealers attempt to deal very quickly. Sometimes entirely too quickly. It took away from some of the fun and on multiple occasions the dealers made mistakes. I was in the casino on four different evenings. I probably stopped play 6 – 8 times informing the dealer they had made a mistake in their count or payout. Understand that I sincerely do not believe that there was any intent on the dealer’s part to cheat. That wasn’t happening. They simply made errors and some of that was caused by their pace.
Overall a fantastic stay, and I would recommend this resort to family and friends. However, it is not the best Excellence property that I have been to. Overall I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.